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By Father Charles Irvin

Dear Student – Where's God in your life?

Dear College Students,

You are in college to engage and expand your intellect in many areas – not only in your chosen field of interest, but in many other disciplines of knowledge that will as well bring you into well-rounded intellectual development. What, then, of your faith?

For many years in my life as a Catholic priest, I have ministered to college students, along with professors and staff persons. I challenged them with the notion that faith is a reasonable act. Faith and reason are twinned. For I know that faith is an act of reason – it is a reasonable thing to believe.

St. Anselm (1033-1109 A.D) was a monk, abbot, philosopher, theologian, archbishop of Canterbury and doctor of the church. He is one of the Catholic Church’s great teachers and intellectuals. A very famous quote of his is: “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this I believe – that unless I believe, I should not understand.”

It is popular these days to assert that true intellectuals should critically doubt everything, particularly religious beliefs. Popular maybe, but shallow. One of the greatest minds in our day was that of Pope John Paul II. One of his most celebrated pieces of writing was  Fides et Ratio, written in 1998. No one can accuse him of lack of depth in his thinking. Nor can St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, or hundreds of other “greats” in Christian history be so accused.

Seeking understanding is what you are all about as a college student – seeking understanding not only for your own sake but so that you might well serve others around you whom you shall encounter in your life’s journey. This privilege charges you with a responsibility – the responsibility of understanding why you believe what you believe and of understanding why the Catholic Church proposes what it does for our belief and our salvation.

Your years in college are an adventure – an adventure involving your intellect’s growth and development. Those years for you should also be an adventure for your faith – faith in the God who wants you to love him with your heart and your mind. Giving honor and glory to God is an act of your mind that expands your heart’s love for him.

The things of the Spirit are the things of the mind and the heart – the two lungs that breathe in life for you. While it is true that the heart has its reasons the mind knows not of, it is likewise true that the mind has reasons for which the heart hungers.

May your college years expand and fill your spirit with the breath of life.