Junior Division First Place
Arianna Z. Tilley
In Matthew 5:13, the Gospel explains that we should be “salt of the earth” but not live in the world. In other words, we must not get trapped in the world’s troubles, but rather work to draw the world to God. One of the many troubles that the world has today that prevents us from fulfilling this mission is the lack of protection for life. To help make out world a universal “culture of life,” we must reach one heart at a time through prayer and action.
Prayer is the most important means to build a “culture of life.” During prayer, we lift our hearts and minds to God. Thus, praying for those who abuse the gift of life is a good way to reach their hearts. This will allow God’s love to penetrate their hearts.
After all, Pope John Paul II did say that the prayers of children are very powerful. Although our prayers as the children of God are powerful, they are often not answered right away. Thus, we must pray with perseverance (always). Prayer is an indirect and powerful way of reaching many hearts; however, the right actions are also important to fulfill our mission to build a “culture of life.”
It is often said that actions speak louder than words. We must live out our faith as Catholics, showing what it truly means to be pro-life and treasure the gift of life from God. Some ways that we can show our commitment to the culture of life include voting for pro-life candidates, having rallies, and participating in programs such as 40 days for life. Many politicians have great influential speeches, but they only go so far. For example, the candidates may have the passion, but they don’t have the strong deep conviction that we need to have in debates on the pro-life issues.
The deep conviction that we have as Catholics has the ability to carry a far deeper meaning and it sends it into the hearts and minds of others. We can also use our powerful speech and our actions to create a culture of life in our daily lives. This can also play a great effect on our culture of life, because we are setting a good example for others who may not be pro-life and may gain interest in doing so.
Creating a culture that is full of life and happiness, through prayer and action, will bring peace to us and everyone around us who sees and is drawn to it. Using prayer and action, along with our gifts and talents, and doing it patiently, and with loving kindness, we can ultimately build a culture of life that will endure and spread for generations to come.
Senior Division First Place
Paul VI High School
A culture of life can be built in many ways because each individual and every family in the world is completely unique and, so, their pro-life views may be used much like paintbrushes in the hands of an artist to paint a beautiful picture reflecting God’s love and truth. Some families may welcome many children into the world, while others may adopt one or two or not have any children at all. It is not the size of one’s family that makes it pro-life, but rather its mentality.
To be pro-life means to love life! A pro-life person sees God’s goodness in every single human being. It does not matter how young, old, sickly, or disabled one is. Indeed, these are the most vulnerable groups in society. Pro-life people see the beauty and goodness in these frailties and in all God’s children who they know have value and worth. They fully recognize that every human being born into this world is worthy of being treated with dignity and respect. It is this behavior, loving all God’s children, that embodies and radiates God and His affection to the world. This is the only thing that will ever build up the culture of life.
Many artists can paint different landscapes, but the one thing that they all have in common is light. For, in the dark, nothing can be seen. It is black. Likewise, in building a culture of life, each person and family must have the light of God with them. For, if they do not, it is impossible to see, to love, as one should.
This should not cause fear. God is never far away. He said, “Knock and the door shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7). He resides in every human heart and all one needs to do is seek the Lord and He will reveal Himself, give light, so that one will understand, know, and adore Him more. Additionally, reading and studying the Bible can help one intellectually comprehend God at a deeper level – for ignorance is not a virtue. It is important to desire spiritual growth as one progresses through life.
Yet, it is more important to “do” than to “know.” If we, Catholics, wish to build up a culture of life, it will only be done by “behaving our way to success” or loving others because of our personal love for and devotion to God. Actions speak so much louder than words. This, in turn, will open the hearts of those who disagree with us so that maybe a little seed will get in — and seeking truth themselves, they will find God who sends light and grace for them to blossom and grow.