College is tough. No matter how mature, social, or academically gifted you are, becoming an “independent adult” is not an easy process.
Many young people, many of my peers, spend their college years seeking independence in frat houses, one-night stands, and atheistic classrooms. They say things like, “This is my life, I can do what I want,” “You only have one life to live,” and “It’s my truth.”
I’ve made a different decision. Why? Because I know that the Lord Jesus has a different idea for my life. Instead of having my own apartment with a guy I barely know and losing myself in the party culture surrounding campus, I live with 10 men who are committed to their faith and to each other. No, this is not a monastery. This is a Saint Paul’s Outreach Household near the University of St. Thomas.
At 6:40am, instead of enjoying more sleep, I’m eating cereal with other young men who want to live radical lives for Jesus Christ. Each day after breakfast we walk to the parish next door and once again dedicate our lives to Christ in Morning Prayer. After a hard day of classes, homework, and part-time jobs, we come home for dinner with our Household, where we take turns trying out our moms’ best recipes. We all pitch in with chores on Saturday mornings for an hour to keep a clean house, and we participate in various campus outreach activities several evenings each week. Many of us also help out with local youth groups, and yet all of this isn’t the most radical part of our lives.
What makes us radically different from our peers is that over 8 short months, we have become brothers. We live a life of brotherly commitment to each other that involves pushing one another to grow in the Lord. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” By “sharpening” one another through daily activities and relationships, we help each other live God’s plan for our lives. We’re all called to holiness, and living with 10 other men who want that not only for their sake but for yours makes a difference. It makes such a difference that young people from all over the country are noticing and gladly giving up convenience and selfishness for lives of radical holiness.
Patrick Quillan is the assistant leader of a SPO Men’s Household at the University of St. Thomas, the Mission Leader of a local youth group, and a graduate student in the new SPO Master of Arts Program.