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Bishop of Cracow, Poland, Martyr (entered heaven this day in 1079)
My dearest of nieces, you have no reason to torture yourself so. It’s not an “either/or” proposition – either you speak out against the sinful behavior of your peers or you keep silent – not at all; rather, you both remain silent AND you speak out. First of all, you are right in perceiving the sinful and destructive nature of typical college behavior; drunkenness, drugs, and promiscuity are contrary to human dignity, enslave their perpetrators, and destroy lives. That’s why God and the Church warn us against them. So you’re right on that score. And you’re right as well to want to do something to change it – if we who are followers of Christ don’t spread his truth, who will? Secondly, however, you don’t have to go into the middle of the student center, stand on a soapbox, and start preaching about it in the open air. There are at least two other options. First, let your example speak for you. Believe me, if someone like you – normal, happy, popular, pretty, smart – doesn’t go to raucous parties and do the “normal” things, it will get noticed. And then people will ask you why, and then they are ready to hear the message. But don’t stop there – get creative! Organize some kind of activity to tweak the consciences of your poor, misguided fellow students. Invite a nun to your dorm to give a talk on chastity; invite a recovering alcoholic to tell his testimony on open microphone night… Stir things up! The Holy Spirit will take over from there. You should also ask today’s Saint to give you a hand. He faced up to the notorious public sinner King Boleslaus II when all the other Polish bishops were afraid to. St Stanislaus warned him that if he didn’t desist from his cruelty to the people and his shameless, rapacious adultery he would be excommunicated. Of course, you, like St Stanislaus, should be ready to face the opposition that will inevitably ensue. I hope and pray that your fate, however, will not be quite as violent as his (the King stormed into his chapel while the saint was celebrating Mass and slew him with a blow of his sword), but you never know. Hopes and prayers, Uncle Eddy.
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