Hi everyone. I had a question that has been on my mind as of late. Well I’m currently in college and am a 20 year old male. I want to walk with God in my life so I avoid anything that may be sinful (near occasions of sin), ie: going to parties, drinking, doing drugs, having sex. It may seem weird but I feel so alone. It seems like everyone I meet wants nothing to do with catholicism, or is very interested in the sinful behavior I discussed above. I feel so lonely that I don’t have any friends. This causes me to feel depressed. I get mad at God because I’m trying my very best to do his will and I’m giving up a lot of social situations to do so. I also give up desires of the flesh for him, unlike most others on a college campus (I’m still a virgin). I find it hard to make friends in my major, because most live a secular lifestyle. When I do share my faith, I feel indirectly shunned or ignored at times because I’m “no fun”. Sometimes I feel like caving and doing what everyone else is doing to feel normal. Yet I don’t want to get caught in sin and go to hell. I remember the scripture about the road to heaven being narrow and I get scared. I’m not being social enough to have a strong career because of my faith. I don’t want to sin. It seems like the only people who would have a good chance of getting to heaven are those in religious life. Sometimes I consider becoming a priest but I feel like its just a way for me to escape feeling lonely. Any suggestions?
There should be a campus ministry you could look into
I think you should join your local Catholic community ( like a Newman center). That’s what I did when I was in college and I met many like minded Catholics who were my age. Also, you sound like you’re leaning towards puritanism. Going to parties is not a sin. Drinking (in moderation) when you turn 21 is also not a sin. Doing drugs and being promiscuous are sins so you’re right about that.
I went to all kinds of parties and social events on my campus through my entire four years of undergrad school. I simply didn’t drink alcohol at any of them until I turned 21 and then only drank in moderation. And I never used drugs.
I did commit some sexual sins but it was generally in the context of being with a steady boyfriend - I was not picking up guys at the parties. (I do not recommend sexual sins of course, just saying that they weren’t being caused by my partying.)
It’s quite possible to have fun without needing to drink, even if those around you are drinking. It’s a good skill to have too. Start learning it young.
These are not necessarily sinful… Though, I advise CAUTION ️
Find a Newman Center?
Friendship with God is more important. Do not be concerned when the world rejects you.
‘In silence and quiet the devout soul advances in virtue and learns the hidden truths of Scripture.
There she finds a flood of tears with which to bathe and cleanse herself nightly, that she may become
the more intimate with her Creator the farther she withdraws from all the tumult of the world. For
God and His holy angels will draw near to him who withdraws from friends and acquaintances.’ - The Imitation of Christ
Fearing of interacting with people isn’t what God wants of us. He wants us connecting with people, building friendships and supporting each other. With this task comes the possibility of sin–to miss the mark of moral perfection. Afterall, we have a fallen nature. We WILL sin. This is a part of life.
When it comes to the narrow road, we need to recognize, it’s not like this.
There is no wall to lean our weight against. The road is more like this.
There are two ways to fall. The first way is to give up trying to do the right thing. The second way is to become SO concerned with your own moral goodness that you overcorrect and fall off the other edge. This spiritually prideful fall is actually WORSE. It’s worse because it’s the type of sin that is harder to acknowledge is sinful. Afterall, you become so preoccupied with holiness that you can’t imagine repenting of your actions BECAUSE you were trying so hard. It’s sort of that thing that leads you to think “What more do you want of me God? I have nothing left to give?”
Lewis tells us Christ’s answer is this: “Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked-the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.””
So how do you give your whole self? For once, you keep your eyes on Christ. It’s like jumping into the water and walking on it with Jesus. You look down and you WILL fall, just like Christ fell under his Cross. You need to have the humility to discern the difference between that type of fall and deliberately running into sin. God doesn’t want us isolating ourselves from others. He also doesn’t want us gloating in our own self-righteousness because the whole world is so “evil.”
Wow. Thank you so much! This really put things into perspective. Thanks for your reply!
I kinda know how you feel; even though I go to Catholic school I know a lot of non Catholics too. The solution to the depressing thoughts is simpler than it seems: be happy. I promise, I’m not mocking you. That’s actually the answer. It has helped me so so much. Find the beauty in every tiny thing. I get a good grade and I celebrate in my heart and thank God. I feel the wind and just let myself get caught up in its mysterious, gentle strength. I see someone I only kind of know and I’ll just kind of let shyness drop and talk to them and don’t worry because worst that can happen is that they’ll think I’m annoying and why would that matter? There’s other people. Anyway, all this is to say just take some of the weight off yourself. Offer it and everything else that day up to God. Don’t take it all on your own shoulders. Trust God. Make yourself a mirror reflecting up to heaven in a beam of light every joy, sorrow, thought, feeling, wish, hope, and worry.
I will say this - at the Catholic church -
the largest and saddest - of funerals - is when a person your age -
suddenly and tragically - dies.
Christ says - YOU KNOW NOT the hour of your death.
But death strikes - like a thief in the night.
As easy as this is for me to say and difficult for you to do, stay true to your Catholic beliefs. KEEP THE FAITH! You won’t regret it. What others do they have to answer for. Sure they may seem to have it all but they also will pay for it all in one way or the other.
I’m thinking many priests feel lonely very often. That being said, if, at your age, you are strongly concerned with walking in friendship with Jesus, (I definitely wasn’t) you might want to talk to someone about some kind of religious life. Perhaps in your case you would feel fulfilled and surrounded by people as a priest.
I will assume that there is a Catholic student chapel where you should go for worship and for meeting others where you will be more likely to be accepted. At 20, I assume you’ve been there for a couple years already (?) so you should look for social life at the chapel. You are going to live and work in a diverse social environment so the sooner you adapt to that the better. But, don’t compromise your principles. College isn’t forever and when it’s finished, you will wonder where the time went.
You don’t know the maturity level of strangers you meet, so don’t blame yourself automatically for everything that does not go right for you.
Without intending to embolden you in the wrong direction, it may help you to know that fear of God is only the beginning of wisdom, not the complete fulfillment of it - in other words, as Catholics, we see the fear of God as imperfect because it is incomplete.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t fear offending God. Fear of offending God is healthy. God is our Creator and our Redeemer - He Loves us, and He blesses us with living waters. He is all good, and, therefore, deserving of all our Love in return. So it only makes sense that fearing the loss of heaven is a protective grace; you wouldn’t want to lose that in favor of some sinful thing. You could go pound your face into a brick wall for no reason, right? But why? Common sense would say - “Dude, that’s insane…”
On the other hand, when you look at God - you see all the goodness life has to offer, and you can’t really help but love it. God IS Love. And, when you really find God, you are actually very happy, humble and so on. In fact, when Jesus is around - I dont think we fear God… I mean, we could… but I tend to think, when Jesus is really present, we actually feel very confident by His very presence and graciousness… It’s very much like being at home…
To understand the contrast, think about the apostles after the crucifixion…
They were very afraid after the crucifixion. They went into hiding, and - even after the Ascension - they seemed to be laying low right up until Pentecost. Then the Holy Spirit came to rest upon them. And, when the Holy Spirit came upon them - the Spirit of Love - at Pentecost, the time of fulfillment… when everything was fulfilled, perfect and complete - they were to reap all Christ had sown - they then set out upon the world with tongues of fire and a boldness no one had ever known before…
The same is true with the story of Saint Paul.
You’re still a young guy, so you’ve got plenty ahead of you. At your time of life, you’re faced with some tough questions, so hang in there. Pray and stay open to the Spirit. Learn to discern God’s word and His actions in your life, and you’ll be fine.
Pax et bonum.
In her diary, Saint Faustina speaks with Jesus at several points about loneliness, and he reassures her not to worry about it. She’s given the grace to know He’s all she really needs.
Maybe God calls us to serve another person in life, but - even then - I dont think he calls us to leave Him in so doing.
Be content with God; stick with it; and everything will be very good.
Cool song, but a fire and brimstone sermon probably isn’t going to do much more than make matters worse for the OP.
He’s already admitted he’s scared to go to hell, and - while he’s not really spoken specifically of dying - it should be clear his question is aimed more at living his life happily in God’s good graces and finding the confidence and support to do as such.
Let it be.
You’ll be okay.
You’re making the right decision in avoiding most parties. Parties and drinking aren’t inherently evil but I’ve never seen one among fellow college students in the past where it wasn’t associated with sinful actions. Not even one of them. This is why St Francis of Assisi and many, many others abandoned that lifestyle and it paid off in the long term a thousand fold.
Also, what most people call friends aren’t really friends. If you can find a small group to hang out with from time to time that is far better than 100+ people that you’re only loosely associated with.
But there’s nothing wrong with having nights where you’re not with anyone else. That’s a great opportunity to deepen habits such as prayer, reading, writing, etc, or find something relaxing and peaceful to do with your time. Imitation of Christ is one of the classics of spiritual reading and Thomas a’Kempis points out something that is very true: if you seldom spend any time alone in your room, you’ll increasingly hate any alone time. But if you embrace it, you’ll gradually cherish that time more and more. Attitude makes a big difference and I would think less about the alleged good time that other people are having (depression is soaring among youth so whatever seemingly good things they are enjoying obviously has a hidden misery behind it) and think more about the blessings you get to enjoy for being different.
An inordinate fear of hell is not unusual for a deeply religious person in their late teens or early twenties. Lots of saints have been in that situation and it might last months or even years but it won’t last forever as long as your trust in God continues to grow and mature. Over time, you’ll be too much in love with God and his holy laws that the thought of hell won’t disturb you. The Jews called God’s everlasting laws “sweeter than honey” because of the great joy they bring over time.
As others have said, there’s probably a Newman Catholic center at your campus, or it may be called the Ecumenical Center or something, if it’s a building that’s shared by other faiths. Call the office and ask if there are any groups for young Catholics. In my town, there’s a Newman center and students from the local technical college and the university go there. It has a Sunday evening Mass designed for busy students and those who travel on weekends, and it has free meals once a month for any/all students along with other fun activities and things.
Call the Catholic churches in town and ask if there are any other young adult groups. Another place to look for a group would be meetup.com…there probably won’t be a Catholic group there, but there may be one for young adults with interests like your own.
Don’t cave in and do what others are doing just to fit in. The results will put you in a worse situation than you are now. Let me repeat that: the results will put you in a worse situation than you are now. If you just hook up with someone for sex to lose your virginity, you’ll end up sleeping with someone who will likely reject you as soon as they are through using you. Add this rejection to your current loneliness and depression and your life will be unbearable. Stay true to God and remain pure!
The song isn’t about going to Hell ? It’s about - death.
Death - is a fact that all Catholics should keep in mind, from time to time.
It’s a kind of reality check. Granted, he’s only 20 years old.
But everywhere in the Bible - it does say to Fear God -
That it is - the source of all wisdom.
And Jesus himself said - to fear him - for He - has the power to - etc
I would have to say…if Walter is actually considering Priesthood…to consider that -
it may give him more insight into “ loneliness “