How do you quiet your mind?

This isn’t a terribly philosophical question—at least, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, I find it to be one of the more pressing questions facing college students today. How do we insulate ourselves from worry?

Everybody gets stressed, and for college students standing on the precipice of the brave new world of interviews, job applications, acceptable transcripts and academic research, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When we look to our omnipresent phones for news from the outside world, most of it is not reassuring. All too often, we go to bed at our young age wondering how the next day will invariably make the world seem worse.

So the question remains: how do we stop worrying?

This past Wednesday, I was invited by Fr. Nick Colalella to find an answer by attending the weekly adoration service offered by Fairfield’s Liturgical Ministry. Although I am a regular Sunday Catholic and have attended adoration outside of campus, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the experience.

Before I go any further, I feel compelled to recognize the fundamental difficulty of preaching the benefits of a non-compulsory aspect of the Catholic faith to college students. Some Fairfield students feel that college is an escape from the routine religiosity they grew up with and rather, a chance to tackle big questions themselves. Some have an attitude of, “I go to Mass on Sunday, what more do I have to do?” Still other students aren’t Catholic, or don’t believe in God at all. To all these students, the idea of spending 8-9pm on a Wednesday night in silent meditation ranges from unfamiliar to wasteful to laughable.

To these students, I say that there are many ways to slow down and stop the seemingly endless spiral into despair. This is but one of them. 

So, what is adoration all about?

I think that Fr. Nick answered that question quite succinctly when he spoke to the small group of gathered students at the start of adoration.

“This is an hour where you are able to put yourself in the presence of Christ and work on your personal relationship with Him,” he said. “Your worries and insecurities are not important during this hour, because you are with Him.”

With that, Fr. Nick went off to hear confessions, and the rest of us were left alone with God and our thoughts.

In that hour, did I somehow develop an entirely new, more personal understanding of Christ? Did I have some transcendent experience of life in heaven or the perfect solution to every problem in my life as a Catholic?

No. But in that hour, my worries couldn’t touch me. And frankly, that was even more incredible.

For once, the rigors of deadlines, the stresses of exams, and the fears over expectations were reduced to nothing. In that brief hour, I was reminded that the difficulties in my life (if I can even refer to them as such), really weren’t up to me. There’s tremendous comfort in that realization.

My trip to adoration was my first at the Egan Chapel, but it certainly will not be my last. I sincerely hope that some of you will join me next time. After all, I have no doubt that all those stresses in my daily life will return, as they surely must. But what room do these worries really have when I make room for something bigger?