Margret of our faith permeate our values and

 

Margret Mary Missar

2018 Scholarship Essay

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Nick Opack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class of 2019

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

12708 Altice Court, Darnestown, Maryland
20878

301-947-4699

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catholic
Americans face many challenges today. Views expressed in popular culture
including movies, television, politics, and literature increasingly present a
secular point of view where God is minimalized. In fact, Catholicism and belief
in God in general are ridiculed in popular culture. It is our responsibility to
balance our faith through our daily actions, when we vote, and in
the way we spend our time and money. It goes against much of our popular
culture today to stand up for the rights of those in need, to vote based on our
faith, and to spend our time and money helping others and the planet. However,
this is our responsibility as Catholics today.

 

As
Catholics, we are responsible to evaluate the viewpoints of those we vote for
based on their positions as they relate to our faith. By voting for the proper
candidate, we stand up for the rights of those in need and can influence the
care of others and our planet. Monsignor Peter Vaghi said in a recent homily
that “we are challenged to let the good news of our faith permeate our values
and the choices we make when we vote in the public square.”(Homily from Mass 29th
Sunday, October 22, 2017) If we believe this to be true, we must evaluate whom
we vote for and what political actions we take based on our faith.

 

A
dilemma exists for Catholics today. A good example of this struggle is
illustrated clearly in the pro-life movement. Often, politicians who vote pro-life
and say that every life is worth saving will not vote to support the child that
will be born as a result of saving that life. For example, “In 2009, pro-life Arizona Governor Jan Brewer closed her state’s
$1.6 billion budget gap partly by eliminating $155 million from the state’s
Department of Economic Security—money that had gone toward early-education and
therapy programs for the developmentally disabled.”(The Pro-Life Paradox)  This is a hypocritical action for a pro-life
candidate and is the essence of the pro-choice argument for many.

 

The
Catechism of the Catholic Church states
“Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the
creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with
the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its
beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself
the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.” (Catholic Church 2258)  Taking our faith into account when we
vote is just the beginning of our responsibility of living a truly Catholic
life. We must also balance our faith in our daily actions. In the Washington,
DC area we are faced with decisions regularly about how involved in politics we
need to be. For example, must we march in the March for Life? Do we need to
protest abortion clinics? Are we living a life in line with our faith through
our actions on a daily basis?

 

As Catholics we are called to
support all of God’s creation through our actions doing charity work and our
spending and giving to the poor. This
topic was addressed in a homily given at the Red Mass at the Cathedral of St.
Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C. on October 1, 2017 by the Most
Reverend José H. Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles. In his homily
he tells us, “Let us commit ourselves to an America that cares
for the young and the elderly, for the poor and the sick; an America where the
hungry find bread and the homeless a place to live; an America that welcomes
the immigrant and refugee and offers the prisoner a second chance.” The
Archbishop is encouraging us to perform the corporal works of mercy in his
homily. He is telling us we need to step outside of ourselves and give to
others through works and with our spending.

 

According
to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities…The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless,
clothing
the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.” (Catholic Church 2447)  Performing these corporal works of mercy takes time
and planning. At Our Lady of Good Counsel High School as well as many other
area high schools we are required to do some volunteer work every year. This is
a good way to get us started and in the habit of volunteering in our
communities and performing corporal works of mercy.

 

According
to Pope Francis, “Caring for the poor is our ‘passport to paradise.’ Pope
Francis says, “Think it is
‘society’s problem’ to solve, looking the other way when passing a beggar or
changing the channel when the news shows something disturbing, are not
Christian responses. God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation, but
whether we did some good. True goodness and strength are shown ‘not in closed
fists and crossed arms, but in ready hands outstretched to the poor, to the
wounded flesh of the Lord’.” (Catholic Herald Co UK)

 

As Catholics we are called to do
what we can to affect the policies of our nation through our actions and our votes,
respect life in all forms, and make the world a better place in whatever ways
we can.  There are many ways to do
this.  As Monsignor Peter Vaghi said in his homily, “We must pray
each day to be convicted anew by the power of the Holy Spirit that we might
know when and how each of us, in little and big ways, should attempt to affect
the policies of our nation and our own individual challenges.”
In the Bible we see in John
Chapter 15:12, “This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.” (English Standard Version. Bible
Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15&version=ESV
)  Clearly God wants us to treat each
other with kindness and love. We are called to respect life in all forms and to
help those in all stages of life – from the unborn to the elderly and all those
in between. As Pope
Francis teaches, “An authentic faith . . . always involves a deep desire to
change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better than
we found it…. If indeed ‘the just ordering of society and of the state is a
central responsibility of politics,’ the Church, ‘cannot and must not remain on
the sidelines in the fight for justice’.” (Evangelii Gaudium, no.
183).

 

Clearly it is essential that we act
as our faith directs in our daily lives. We must spend our time and money helping
those in need and doing corporal works of mercy. This does not mean you need to
have a lot of money to give away. Simply spending time visiting and praying for
those in need are corporal works of mercy.

 

Through our voting, our actions, our
spending, and our prayers, we as Catholics are called to do what we can to
affect the policies of our nation, respect life in all forms, and make the
world a better place in whatever ways we can. Not only do we need to protect
human life, we need to protect our planet with our actions. With the guidance
of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and love, we can do the little and the big things
to make our world a better place.  We
must vote in line with our Catholic values and help those in need however we
can whether through our actions, our words, our votes, and our money.

 

Works
Cited

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship – Part I – The U.S.
Bishops Reflection on Catholic Teaching and Political Life,
www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship-part-one.cfm. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church – The fifth commandment,
www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm. 

Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText, www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P8F.HTM. 

“Caring for the poor is our ‘passport to paradise’, says Pope
Francis.” CatholicHerald.co.uk, 20 Nov. 2017,
catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/11/20/care-for-the-poor-says-pope-francis-they-are-your-passport-to-paradise/. 

“The Pro-Life Paradox.” The American Prospect,
prospect.org/article/pro-life-paradox.

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+15&version=ESV