2012 Respect Life Apostolate Creative Writing Contest Winners
The annual archdiocesan Respect Life Apostolate held its Creative Writing Contest awards assembly April 25 at the Cardinal Rigali Center in Shrewsbury. There were 1,137 entries this year. The following are the top four winning entries. Each person receives a $1,000 scholarship for Catholic high school next year:
Chastity: The Key to Happiness
By Elizabeth Hayes, St. Monica/St. Joseph Academy
(Bishop Edward O'Donnell Scholarship)
Dear Future Spouse,
Ireally wanted to talk about something I think will help us have a happymarriage and a good life together: chastity. Chastity is the virtue given byGod that helps us properly control our sexual nature. Yes, it means not having sex before marriage, but it also means being modest in the way we dress andact, and showing respect towards others and ourselves. I know staying chasteseems like a lot to ask, but the decision is one you will not regret.
IfI choose to be unchaste, then I might have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, and I might feel the need to get an abortion which could leave me feelingempty, depressed, and guilty about the sin I committed. Staying chaste will keep both of us from having to deal with the stress of a baby at a young age,or worse, an abortion and we will both be free to live according to God's plan.
Beingunchaste would not only break our friendship with God, but it could also have a serious effect on our health and the health of our family. If either one of usgot an STD, we could pass it on to each other and to our future children.
Having premarital sex could also leave us feeling worthless and unhappy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "The alternative is clear: either man governs hispassions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy." It seems clear that the path to a happy life starts with chastity.
You may be wondering if it is really possible to live chastely in today's world. Psalm 119:9 says, "How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word." Inother words, if we listen to our conscience God will lead the way to a holy and chaste life.
I hope you join me in living a chaste live. I know our marriage will be well worth the wait!
A Letter to My Child
By Benjamin Krapu, St. Catherine Laboure PSR/St. Louis University High School
(Mary Forrestal Hennessey Scholarship)
I'm almost fourteen years old and I'm already thinking about what it means to be a parent and what it feels like to be a son. I talked with my mom today about chastity for quite awhile and she helped me understand that I should not refrain from sex just because I think I should, but that I should do it for a reason. My reason is you and your mother and my relationship with God. Being chaste means that I will respect all girls that I date and treat their bodies like what they truly are, a temple of God (1Corinthians 3:16). Most likely I will not marry the first girl that I date and that is why I must practice chastity, so that she is clean and chaste for her future husband and I am for my future wife, your mother.
Chastity is a way of life. It ispro-life. Being chaste help to prevent abortion because when a woman's body is respected and one waits for sex until marriage then parents are ready for a child and will never need to consider an abortion. I have heard people say "what if the woman who was meant to be your future wife was a child that was aborted?" How sad to think that the perfect girl for me, your future mom, could have been a child who was not born into this world because she was aborted.
Chastity makes me holy because when I am chaste it means that I can be patient and respectful. By definition, holy means dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion (dictionary.com). If I am chaste it means that I am so devoted to God that Iwill respect women and refrain from sex until marriage. "For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:44)
I love you my son. I plan to live a life of holiness.
By Shelby Warden, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta/Trinity Catholic High School
(Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship)
As a teenager living in today's day and age
I observe my peers dealing with depression and rage.
Due to choices they made which were far from right,
The path that they chose led them to a dishonorable plight.
A beautiful gift that should be precious and pure
Given to the wrong person makes life hard to endure.
A decision was made and at the time it seemed best,
But the act that was done gives their minds no rest.
Abortion has taken many innocent lives
Paying for a mistake takes a child's chance to survive.
If for a moment their life they could rewind
Chastity would be the choice, no other thought on their mind.
The gift, once given, cannot be returned.
It is gone forever, the bridge has been burned.
Squandering God's precious gift was a terrible mistake
Now lives are ruined, no chance for a retake.
Depression takes hold, despair and disgrace
Feelings of shame, so hard to face.
I vow in my life to stay pure and true
And appreciate the gift of my chastity and virtue.
I look to my savior to give me strength and support
And if ever I feel weakness, he is my fort.
I will honor him daily with the choices I make
I will give him the glory, do it all for his sake.
And on that day when two become one
My gift, still ungiven, will be held for that one
Who God in his glory sent into my life
When I say "I do" to become his wife.
Living Out the Virtue of Chastity
By Matthew Frein, St. Gerard Majella/St. Louis University High School
(Mr. and Mrs. George Kletzker Scholarship)
"Do you not know that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit? You have been purchased, and at a price. So glorify God in your body." These words from 1 Corinthians, chapter 6 teach us that we should treat our bodies as if God were living in it.
The words "chaste" and "chastity" derive from the Latin adjective castus meaning "pure."
The sixth beatitude states, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God." These words from Jesus Christ himself address the virtue of chastity. Those who are chaste or have a "pure heart" are morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions. Chastity is a virtue of self-respect and respect for others. It is the proper use of your sexual nature according to God's plan.
In today's society, the virtue of chastity is not embraced. Many people in our culture look to the media as a model of how to live. Often the media glorifies sex before marriage without appropriately addressing the consequences. The best model for chastity is Jesus Christ. He taught us unconditional love, and how to exercise self-control, not indulging in the desires of our bodies. Living a life of chastity allow us to discover who we really are and who God made us to be.
When we live out the virtue of chastity, we avoid conflicts that may damage our relationships with family and friends. These troubles include insecurity, STDs, unplanned pregnancies, abortion, divorce, and depression. Living virtuously takes the focus off of our sexuality. It frees us from the worries associated with an unchaste life, allowing time to develop meaningful relationships based upon mutual respect and love which ultimately leads to true happiness and health. Living a chaste life can also help us see a world where our sexuality is a gift from God and something we save for marriage. If we can do this, we will all be able to truly discover who we really are and who God made us to be.
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