Lovely and honest and thoughtful piece by Allison Hogan in the Sept. 5 issue (“Wavering faith during college?”). A few points to add:
One: I’ve always thought that a faith that doesn’t waver isn’t much of a faith. Religious faith is illogical, unreasonable, unprovable and such a deeply human construct that you have to regularly grapple with the usual human idiocies like violence and greed, which foul all religions, as Catholics are, or should be, the first to admit. If you never question your faith, and don’t regularly conclude you are nuts to try to act with love and compassion to all living beings - even Los Angeles Laker fans and other such muddles - then you are not taking it very seriously, seems to me. Ask any of the Holy Cross priests and brothers on campus, or our cheerful wealth of religious sisters, and they will tell you this is so.
Two: One of the best things about the Holy Cross energy, I think, is its rather blunt approach that service is prayer. You can talk about faith, you can study it, you can argue about it, you can perform the rituals, but if you don’t do anything with it, it’s just a shiny jacket, something you wear that isn’t really part of your being. There are about 100 different ways to do something with your spiritual urge here, which is pretty cool.
Three: Seems to me that one mark of a healthy Catholic university is that it’s wide open and inviting and alluring and stimulating and engaging for all religious faiths, and none. I’m proud of the University. I admire that it’s not exclusive, much (the announcements before large Masses that non-Catholics are not welcome to receive the Eucharist are not only cold in tone but poorly timed), and I pray that this will always be the case. The best way to show people that Catholicism is a vibrant, honest, creative, indeed revolutionary idea is to throw open the doors, welcome everyone in, and then poke for common spiritual ideas and dreams and projects.
Four: For students who don’t go to Mass even occasionally, you are missing a great simple honest joyous half-hour of table talk with bread and wine. It’s a meal with stories. The Masses in the halls are especially sweet because they are so unadorned and shaggy and unself-conscious. They are spiritual village greens, I think, where all roads cross. There’s one every noon and night on campus. Catch one and see for yourself.