Tag Archives: college

Blame it on the Alcohol

Alcohol is bad!

Except, ok—it’s not.  It’s actually inherently good.  Even Jesus was a fan.  We see him drinking wine as part of the Jewish feasts and even performing a miracle transforming water into wine at a wedding (taking “open-bar” to a whole new level).  There’s no basis anywhere in Scripture for a Christian to say that God is against people enjoying alcohol.

That being said: there are many places in Scripture that condemn drunkenness.

Unfortunately, the reality for our age group is that knowing that getting drunk is “a sin” is not usually enough to keep most of us from putting ourselves into situations that tend towards drunkenness, i.e. – that party on Saturday night,  “Thirsty Thursdays,” or sneaking out into the woods to drink if your college has a dry campus.  These are just things people our age do—and God understands, right?  For the most part, we’re not hurting anyone by getting more than a little bit tipsy, or even a little bit drunk, when out with our friends.

So then why is getting drunk “wrong,” if we’re just having fun?

The fact of the matter is: if you’re getting drunk and somehow don’t end up doing anything [else] “wrong,” there is very little separating you from the girl who wakes up with a tattoo the next morning besides chance.

When you choose to get drunk, you choose to reject your ability to reason.  And, in a nutshell, this is why it is a sin.  God gave us our intellect, our judgment, and the ability to control our desires.  Alcohol in excess removes this God-given power, slowly but surely.  A creature that lacks the ability to speak clearly, control his tongue, or even stand erect sounds more like an animal without motor skills than a man with the power of intellect and will.  And even though you might have that friend at the party that you have hired to take care of you, it’s not supposed to be anyone else’s responsibility to make your decisions for you.

When you get tipsy, that’s a good indicator that you need to stop.  If you’ve lost the ability to converse with God, you’ve had too much.

Besides, even if you may not wake up the next morning with a stranger in your bed, or you may be able to miraculously avoid bad decisions when you’re trashed, that doesn’t mean your friends or other people at the party are so lucky.

I’m not saying we should all quit drinking because other people have problems handling their alcohol intake.  I’m saying that we should stop letting it be “normal” behavior to get wasted and blackout on a regular basis (or ever).  It’s not normal behavior.  In fact it’s a sign you have a problem (contrary to popular belief: it most certainly can be alcoholism before graduation).

If you think that you or someone you know may have an alcohol problem (or if you’re just plain curious as to what one looks like), check out this questionnaire from Alcoholics Anonymous.  As they say, only you can make the call as to whether or not you have a problem.  But from experience, they say that answering, “yes” to 4 or more of the questions typically indicates a problem.

Sin is sin because it hurts us and the people around us.  Don’t reject your own ability to reason; and don’t be the reason someone else thinks it’s normal to have an alcohol problem.  It’s just not worth it.

The Back-to-School Post

It’s officially September.  And as it seems the rest of the young adult world returns to classes or goes off to college for the first time, I find myself 9 days away from my college graduation.

As such, I thought this would be prime opportunity to impart a very important piece of wisdom for those of you continuing or just beginning your college years.  And that is, if your experience will be anything like mine was…

Very few things will go according to your plan…and I mean that in the best way possible.

Translation: Don’t stress :)

I know this is going to sound terrible (and odd, since it happened in three years)—but graduating from college was never really a high priority on my to-do list.  Like a lot of girls (girls that other women often scoff at for giving womankind a bad name), I was always kind of hoping I could get away with just a year or two of classes and an MRS. rather than a B.S.

But God clearly had other plans.  And, contrary to what I probably would’ve said had I seen the program schedule He had in mind from Day 1, I like His plans much better than mine…

So here’s to beginning college in one state and graduating in another…  And putting off declaring a major to the last second and then choosing the one that your school technically doesn’t even offer yet…  Here’s to taking an entire year to actually open up and talk to people (actually, please learn from my mistake on that one and begin to socialize… NOW :) )…

And to all the ups and downs you will experience in your walk with God during this time in college, and remembering that no matter how far you fall He will always take you back.

College will be great.  Work hard; but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re the one in charge.  It’ll be more fun His way.  I promise.

The Reality of the “Real World”

Professors instructing you, grade books, and meal plans don’t exactly add up to life on your own.  The thought seems to be that true reality doesn’t really set in until you have to support yourself, make your own wages (and dinner), and even…yes…fold your own laundry.  The “real world” is not for the fainthearted.

Whether you find yourself in the “real world” of the workforce or the idealistic bubble of a college campus, it’s all too easy to forget about—or miss altogether— the reality that we ought to take most seriously as Catholics.  I’m talking about the reality of our faith, and it’s more than mass on Sundays or a private school education in Catholic theology.

The reality of our faith is that Heaven exists—which means that Hell also exists—And Satan will do everything in His power to keep us from reaching Heaven.

As Catholics, we are not free to dismiss the supernatural realm as merely movie magic. Spiritual warfare is real, which is certainly a terrifying reality, if God is not on your side.  Fortunately for us (as humans, not just Catholics), God is always on our side.  However: though God will never reject us, we can choose to reject God (read: choose Satan).  We do this every time we choose to sin.  God wins the battle every time.  The question is: are we letting Him fight for us?

We are in the midst of a battle for our very souls.  Are we acting like it?

The reality of our faith grants ordinary men the supernatural power to forgive sins through priestly ordination. 

Ever been at the airport and seen a priest walking around?  You could be surrounded by hundreds of other people, but, as a Catholic, that priest is the only one in the terminal who has the power to literally take your sins away from you and give you forgiveness.  Because of a priest, in a matter of minutes we can be reconciled to our God whom we have offended through our sins.

Do we even stop to think of what this means?

The reality of our faith as Catholics is that at every mass, our God comes to meet us in the Eucharist. 

Literally.  He remains present in His body, blood, soul, and divinity in the tabernacle, 24/7, at our local Catholic parish (and He longs for us daily just to stop in at least for a quick visit).

Are we taking advantage of so great a gift?

 

It’s not that the “real world” isn’t real, nor am I saying that college can’t (or shouldn’t) be as awesome as you can make it.  The point is to keep things in perspective.  In the end, there is nothing so real as the reality of our faith.

Last Friday Night

A few months back, I wrote a post about how the music we listen to—whether we want it to or not—has a real effect on the way we behave.

With that, I thought I’d write a bit of a reflection on what, unfortunately, seems to be turning into a sort of “anthem” for people (especially girls) around my age.  I’m talking about Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night”—currently the 3rd most downloaded song on iTunes:

“Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

…This Friday night
Do it all again”

I could go on, but I assume most of you have heard it, or if not, you get the picture.

Katy Perry is known for her catchy, upbeat songs with lyrics meant to shock.  After all, she first topped the charts with her 2008 hit, “I kissed a girl (and I liked it)”.  The mentality of her music and those who listen to it is one of a certain type of mockery towards any sort of perceived moral authority.  It’s not that she intends disrespect, but the thought of her (and her listeners) goes something like the following:

Whether people like it or not, this is reality.  People our age do things like this.  Rather than condemn and judge, we should embrace different ways of living, and then maybe by doing so, we will eliminate the unnecessary guilt and shame attached to partying, sleeping around, etc.

(and you thought I was just some naïve Catholic with no understanding of the way “the real world” thinks :) )

My main issue with songs like this is that they only last around 4 minutes.  In the real world, we don’t live within the parameters of any 4-minute, feel-good song.  And no matter how many times we try to play it on repeat, eventually it ends, or gets old, and our “nothing can take me down” mentality fades out with the final chorus.

Unfortunately for us, once that happens there is usually a new song to live our lives to for a short time, and then it takes us even longer to find what we are truly looking for.  Because when it comes down to it, what we are looking for to vindicate us of feelings of shame or regret cannot be found in a catchy melody or the lyrics of a song (as profound or “meaningful” as they may be).

If you get nothing else from this post, remember this:  We are already living in a world with pretty low standards when it comes to morality.  The fact that “Last Friday Night” is such a popular song speaks to this.  So if you are feeling shame or regret because of something you are doing, it is probably not due to other people “judging you”.

Just some food for thought.  I’d love to hear what you think.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Article first published as Last Friday Night on Technorati.

Impossible Standards

For almost as long as I can remember, I have had the title of a “good student”.  Typically, I take my schoolwork pretty seriously.  I work hard on my homework assignments, and I usually fare pretty well in my classes as a result.

I wish I could say this was because I always cared a lot about the specific assignment, or simply because I am just a really smart individual… but to tell the truth, I think it often has more to do with a kind of fear of failure, and conversely—a near constant and impossible struggle for perfection.

When it comes to school or work, this kind of attitude can definitely have its benefits; but I am realizing more and more as I grow up that there is a significant difference between desiring/really working to be your absolute best, and struggling in vain to meet some vague and undefined standard of perfection out of fear of failure.

As a Christian, I know that God tells me to “be perfect” as He is perfect.  But seeking perfection for perfection’s sake isn’t exactly the message of the gospel.  I think sometimes us Christians get too bogged down in this struggle for perfection, and somewhere along the line we forget that this life is not supposed to be a struggle we face on our own.

The truth is that the minute we start to think we are alone, or that failure is something even worth being afraid of, we have already lost the battle.  When it comes down to it, a Christian is not someone who thinks he or she is perfect.  A Christian is someone who knows and offers all that they are to the one who is.

“…As for me, I will glorify Thee by manifesting how good Thou art to sinners.  In me Thou will show that Thy mercy is superior to all our malice, that nothing can exhaust it, and that no relapse, however shameful and culpable it may be, should make a sinner lose hope in Thy forgiveness”