I don’t think I can adequately express how happy I am that it’s summer break. Of my six semesters of college, this past spring has been by far the most trying.
It seems that Catholics are having a particularly tough time as of late. We have Harvard’s Black Mass, Notre Dame’s same-sex marriage controversy, Stanford’s Anscombe Society debacle, and Loyola Marymount’s decision to hire a pro-choice atheist as the new liberal arts dean. Even on Catholic campuses, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to profess the faith.
Naturally, environments like these make being a Catholic student leader really hard. When our own administrations are unsympathetic to our causes—such as promoting conjugal marriage and the traditional family, opposing the HHS contraception mandate, and lobbying for more responsible faculty hiring practices—it can be so tempting to admit defeat and move on to another cause.
In my own experience, the best way to draw strength in leadership is to learn how to be an effective follower. We must become active and thoughtful followers of Truth, Christ, the Church, faculty members, and peers. There are faculty members and other students with deep commitments to many of these issues, and it is in our best interest to seek them out, take their classes, join their clubs, and follow their examples.
Christ tells us throughout the Gospels to be not afraid. As we take the summer to prepare for another school year, let us reflect on this command as it relates to our witness as students. Though we may very well be fighting an uphill battle, we must always remember that, in the words of a favorite professor of mine, “Gold gets tested in fire.”
Lilia Draime is a junior at a Catholic university in the United States. Her biweekly column addresses issues that impact young students struggling to live their faith on college and university campuses, whether those institutions be Catholic or not.