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Searching for Faith on a College Campus

I remember touring college campuses with my oldest daughter as we searched for the right place for her to land. Thankfully, practicing her Catholic faith was one of the priorities on her list, and we would visit the Catholic campus ministry everywhere we went. The differences between the campuses were striking. It was like there were two different realities.

A few of them were tucked away in some far corner of the campus behind a non-descript door that could just as easily have been the entrance to a dentist’s office. Their mission was to be a safe place to worship that was protected from the harsh reality of the world just outside their door. It was a church in hiding.

Then there were those campus ministries whose doors were literally flung open, with huge signs and banners spilling out of the entrance inviting people in because there was something there worth receiving. There was energy, joy, excitement, and the whole church was alive. They were in the middle of campus, or pretty close to it, and the life in that church was vibrant and inviting. There was no hiding because they had nothing to hide; they had something too good to keep to themselves.

These vibrant campus ministries weren’t watering down the Catholic faith or trying to be everything for everyone and in so doing becoming nothing for anyone. These were places of deep faith, deep joy, and a deep invitation into the truth of God. It was incredible, and that was where my daughter decided to go.

I’ve been thinking about this recently as I have been looking at how I am called to share my faith and live out this ministry that I have been given. There are as many ways to express and share our faith as there are people, but the question I ask myself all the time is this: Am I in hiding, or do I live as though I have something to give that is too good to keep to myself? Do I offer a place of protection, or do I offer a place of mercy and grace? Am I keeping people out, or am I inviting people in?

They are good questions for all of us. One looks to the difficulties of the world around us, the other looks to the joy and hope we find in the Lord. One shuts us down, the other lifts us up. One changes the world, the other really doesn’t.

I challenge you today to look at how you are living out your faith. All of us can slip into hiding when things are hard or when people challenge us, but I want to encourage you today to acknowledge the ways that you are hiding and start to open the doors. You have something to give, you have Someone to share. Open the doors and bring others in!

Let me know what you think, and how you are seeing this play out in your life or in your church.

And let me know how I can pray for you!

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