The following is the winning ESSAY to the ACCW 2011 Scholarship Award:
A story in the Catholic News Service reported that Catholic young women lag behind their Protestant Jewish Counterparts on many measures of religious belief, experiences and activities. The writer suggested that to regain the religious potential of these young women, the Catholic Church needs to “invest more attention, creativity and institutional resources into its female members.” While I would never suggest that the Church lessen its attention on women, I do not believe the answer lies solely in what the Church is not doing. The answer lies within each woman.
Today, Catholic women take responsibility for their own spiritual development. We do not blame the Church if we are suffering from ambivalence or complacency. We do not disengage from everything our Church has to offer because we don’t like our new pastor or early morning Mass schedule. Catholic women do not ignore the fundamental beliefs of our religion because they are inconvenient or ignite political firestorms.
Today’s Catholic women are not passive observers. We emphasize action over theory, community service over religious discussions, speaking the truth over social graces, and doing justice over looking nice.
When I became uninspired by Sunday Mass, I formed a music ministry group. Our group traveled to concerts together. We wrote music together. We were not powerless. We used our own creativity when we were stuck in resistance. We used our creativity to walk with God.
John 14:8 says “Lord show us Father, and we will be satisfied.” Prayer, fellowship and service are powerful ways to open the heart. The path may not always be the same for everyone but if you take responsibility for your own feelings and needs, help is there. God is there.
Holy Cross Parish
Deerfield High school