"Setting the tone"

Do you have to get drunk to have a good time with your friends, or take drugs? Clement, who lives in Paris, talks about how his faith helps him find the right answer.

What Faith Means When You're 20

I’m a believer and find life a lot of fun. I live my faith fully and, at the same time, I find it easy to have a good time. For me, having faith and having a good time are compatible.

How do I have fun?  That’s easy: just like anyone else. I like to go out with friends, to a bar or a café, and talk. I’ve learned to box with friends the past year. Some are Catholic, others not. I’m an avid cyclist and jogger.

Clement, with a friend.

Usually I practice these sports in the countryside with my friends. We stop by the banks of the Seine, and swim in the river, near Fontainebleau. Then we drink a couple of beers and have a good laugh.

Sometimes my friends tell me:  “Since you’re a Catholic, you don’t know how to have fun. Your life is strange, very strange, because you never go to excess; we’ve never seen you drunk, or taking drugs.”

I, in contrast, see things quite differently.  I have fun in the way I like. I even think that I have more fun than they do. When I graduated from high school, some friends told me: “When you go to a party, you set a special tone. You know how to enjoy yourself without overdoing it, without being foolish.”

That’s how it was. All at once, they saw that it’s possible. It made me think too, when my friends told me that. I like to have fun as I am, and that’s why I’m so happy. My trick is to remind myself that I don’t need society to tell me how to have a good time, or make me think that to do so I must always go to excess.

For me, enjoyment requires putting some limits. And that’s where faith helps me: to make something great of my life. Faith is part of my life, and I’m not about to separate it from the rest of my life.

“Humbly ask God to increase your faith. Then, with new lights, you’ll see clearly the difference between the world’s paths and your way as an apostle.”

Saint Josemaría Escrivá, The Way, no. 580.