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Guest Posts Little Sistas

Where do we look for love in our lives?

LOVEWhere do we look for love in our lives? It is the basis of a question that goes far beyond the surface of our understanding of ourselves and our relationship with others, delving deep into our sense of security and belonging. Where there is love, there is purpose, whereas the opposite is also true. The absence of love creates “holes,” empty places in our hearts that are often times hard to fill depending on the circumstances, and yet the people who learn to seal this emotional void in a healthy way are often truly inspiring.

Holes can appear at any time or place in a person’s life, but the holes I wish to explore are those which arise from challenging familial circumstances, as well as their effects on the interpretation of love they create. My inspiration comes in the form of one of my very close friends who has faced more challenges in her short life than many do in a lifetime, but who has risen to the trials with grace, wisdom, and humility. This is a girl who was born out of wedlock to a father who removed himself from her life before she had ever taken her first breath. She was the blessing of a mother’s choice to keep her child instead of giving into society’s constant pressure for abortion. Raised by a single mother, she did not meet her father until she was 7 years old, and despite occasional correspondence, has never felt that deep emotional connection to a paternal figure. God created man and women to be together and procreate, therefore creating a family dynamic where the presence of both a mother and a father is important in the upbringing of a child, especially a little girl. It has been proven that girls are born with the inert desire to feel protected, as well as the desire to nurture and care for those around us. This maternal instinct begins at a very early age. Just think about your favorite toys as a child. For most of us ladies, a baby doll would make the list, and we were often seen tucking it into bed, pushing it in strollers, feeding it plastic bottles, and singing it to sleep. I recently spent the summer living with my 3 year old cousin who, as to be expected, begged to play house at every opportunity. As she “tucked” me into bed, she would kiss me on the forehead, get me a “drink of water,” and tell me very seriously not to be afraid of monsters. To most of us, this interaction with young children takes us back to a place where innocence and imagination were the forefront of thought, yet it also opened my eyes to the impressionability of children in their early years of development. What my cousin was replicating so innocently was the love of her mother demonstrated by her nurturing care, something that is bound to stay with my cousin for the rest of her life and into her own motherhood.

While a mother’s love is essential in establishing the compassion and nurturing tendencies of a little girl, the father serves as the knight in shining armor right out of the pages of every fairy tale read to these little girls as they are tucked into bed. There is an innate desire in every girl that creates the desire to love and be loved. Something about being surrounded in the strong arms of a male figure, whether it be a father, brother, grandpa, uncle, cousin, boyfriend, or spouse, is incredibly special because it creates that feeling of security we all yearn for. The presence of a father goes beyond security, however, altering the emotional composition of a child as well. Although I may be biased because I have been blessed with a supportive and loving father, I believe that we, as girls, learn the identity of love from the male figures in our own lives. There are so many of us who strive to be “daddy’s little girl,” and as we mature, we still look to please them and yearn for their approval and admiration. It is they who set the foundation and set the standard for our expectations of how we perceive affection as well as the treatment we desire when it comes to finding a significant other.

I have seen time and time again girls who have struggled in the past with familial issues of all kinds with varying responses and methods of compensation. Sometimes the holes they discover are the result of a missing family member, a death, divorce, abuse, breakup, or even negative experiences with another male or female. It is here where faith plays the biggest role in the helping fill these holes which can appear, so it seems, without reason. There are often two roads we can take when dealing with this emptiness: the first is to turn to material things as a way to plug the “holes” which can involve extremes of drinking, smoking, drugs, and extensive partying. This can also include the desperate search for love in the form of any member of the opposite gender who is willing to take you in his arms and show you “love” in whatever way you require. When we take this road, we lose our sense of expectation, seeking instead for superficial love instead of the deep emotional and spiritual love often needed to heal our hearts. The second of these two roads, as I mentioned before, is the road of faith. My friend whose story was recounted earlier has chosen this road, a decision which has not been without struggles but has allowed her to touch the lives of many people around her. She often speaks about the 3 types of love in the bible: philios, eros, and agape. Philios, brotherly love, and eros, erotic love, are the two emotions within the capabilities of mankind, but agape love is the selfless love of absolute sacrifice, a pure and unconditional love which can only be given to us by our Heavenly Father. God’s love for each one of His children supersedes even that of our closest friends and loved ones. When we reach the point in our lives where our holes seem to have turned to chasms too great to fill, it is only by reaching out to Him that we can begin the process of healing for God is there to take you in His loving embrace no matter what the circumstances and fill you with the unconditional love that only our Father in heaven can provide.

bri
Brianna Barkocy is a high school senior and honors student who has attended Catholic school for all four years of high school. She has been actively involved in the Church since 6th grade and her father was recently ordained as a Deacon. She enjoys reading and hopes to pursue writing into her adult years. She is also passionate about reaching out to youth who are in the process of finding their faith, serving as a youth group leader and teen spiritual advisor at her parish. Her motto is “God doesn’t always give us everything we want, but he always gives us everything we need.”

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Guest Posts Little Sistas

“The Catholic Church is Irrelevant to Today’s Youth”– a young woman’s perspective

kidchurch

This post is part of our Little Sistas series, in which we showcase writing by talented young ladies who love the Faith.

“The Catholic Church is irrelevant to today’s youth.” This is the falsehood promulgated by society in the hope that it will become a reality. This is achieved by focusing completely on the negatives of youth: the wild parties, drug abuse, and casual sex that occupy only a fraction of youth today, as many teens, such as me, would prefer to view the drama of the stereotypical teenage lifestyle from the comfort of their living room couches. Those television shows, such as Gossip Girl and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, portray a sect of teenagers that has given in to the “church of society” in which morality is irrelevant in the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure; the “weird” Christian girl loses her virginity and abandons her beliefs and the parents who once preached about faith and morality to their children are often times the most immoral of all. These messages illustrate a society which has lost faith in the moral capacity of its youth and persecutes those that hope to rise above the stereotypes. However, hidden beneath the falsities and drama of the media is a youth that is bursting with passion for the faith, a youth which defies the stereotypes society has thrust upon them and fully realizes the true relevance of the Catholic Church today.

As a Catholic youth, I have come to fully realize the relevance of the Catholic Church in my life, for walking into my church greatly parallels walking into the home of a friend, not in appearance or smell, but in feeling, for in entering the house of God I feel completely welcome and at peace. My senses are overtaken by the splendor with which I am met because there is truly beauty in everything. The choir, their voices in perfect harmony, as unique as every ingredient in a perfect meal, the incense, a scent so powerful it cleanses me of all my worries, and most of all, the tabernacle, adorned with jewels of every color meant to reflect the treasure it holds inside, the Eucharist, the body of Christ, the food which nourishes not my body, but my soul. Entering a church reminds me that I am part of something much greater than myself, the celebration that is exclusive to the Catholic Church. I am in awe of the history of the Catholic Church and the strength of faith which its members embody. The reverence of the Mass and the love and care with which cathedrals and basilicas have been built remind me of the greatness of God and his presence in my life.  The strength of the Church provides me with strength in my faith. Being Catholic is the most important part of my entire being, for it has been engrained in me since my conception and I have embraced it throughout my life.

In attending a Catholic high school, I have the privilege to be surrounded by those who have completely embraced the faith in their lives. They are not solely Catholic because it’s what their parents believe or what they’ve been taught since they were in grade school (though there definitely are teenage Catholics who fit that description), they are Catholic because they deeply and genuinely love the faith. This love is truly beautiful, for the passion of youth, usually stereotyped by parties and promiscuity, translates into the celebration of the Mass, because for us, the Mass is exactly that, a celebration. They celebrate the impact the Catholic Church has had on their lives because they are better, more joyful people because of it, and they hope to continue the celebration in their daily lives. These youth are inspired to make an impact on the lives of others, for the Church gives them the strength and confidence to become leaders in the community, to spread the love of God throughout the world– or simply in their high school community, and to service others to the best of their abilities– whether that be acting as a part of campus ministry or volunteering at a homeless shelter. Regardless of the important impact of the faith on youth around the world, there continues to be teenagers and adults alike that will argue that the Church’s teachings on chastity, homosexuality, and numerous other issues are outdated and inapplicable to society today; however, those who truly know the Church and its teachings realize that they are meant to foster love and goodness in our lives, so that we may be joyful and at peace. We as youth recognize the profound effects the faith can have on the life of an individual if one is both open and disciplined. We take solace in the community of the Church and celebrate the joy which we have received from the faith because the Church is timeless. It realizes the worth of every human being, including its youth. This fact is what draws the youth of today, for the Church recognizes that we have something to offer the world and that we can make an impact. It encourages us to be the greatest versions of ourselves and supports us when we have lost our way. The Church has always been and always will be relevant to youth, for the youth is always relevant to the Church.

er::Erin Rose Howard is a high school senior and honors student who has attended Catholic schools for almost fourteen years. She enjoys reading and is passionate about writing. She is active in student council, was a member of her parish’s youth group, and her school’s SOUL club (Students Organized to Uphold Life). She says her life is guided by the four Fs: food, friends, family, and most of all FAITH.::

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Homeschool Little Sistas Respect Life

On The Topic Of Euthanasia, By A 15 Year Old High School Freshman

As my oldest closed out her first year of homeschooling with Seton last year {after attending public schools exclusively prior to} I was surprised to see she had chosen such a meaty topic to write about for her grammar and composition class. “Euthanasia” I thought to myself. Huh. That’s a topic I wouldn’t have known to choose or how to write or, to be honest, recalling how I would have responded at that age, what my take on it would have been. I mean, I knew abortion was wrong, but the other life issues were not something I knew much about.

I thought I would share her paper {with her permission, of course!} because even though it is a simple three point essay, it gives some insights that are pretty deep for the typical 15 year old my 15 year old.

 

Euthanasia is defined as intentionally killing a person who is suffering or whose life seems

burdensome or meaningless. It is a combination of murder and suicide. The Church teaches that

life is a sacred gift from God. Euthanasia is evil because it goes against God’s plan, society

wrongly decides who is worth living and who is not, and it robs the individual of offering up

their suffering.

     Euthanasia goes against God’s plan. God is the sovereign Master of life. He entrusts us

to take care of our bodies, although it is dangerous for the soul if we decide to take ownership of

our bodies. Our bodies are made to serve, love and praise God. Euthanasia is the grave opposite

of how we can love God.

     Society mistakenly decides the value of all life. It fails to recognize that all life has a

purpose, and God does not make mistakes. The handicapped, ill, and dying are seen as

burdensome or meaningless. Society sells “quality of life” as a good thing to people who do not

have a strong moral underpinning. Sadly, most of society falls into this category. We can see this

distortion of moral foundation in animal activist groups, such as PETA (People for the Ethical

Treatment of Animals). They place the value of animals on the same level, if not having more

worth than humans. In all this disorder and confusion, having God as the center of our life is

critical.

     Euthanasia deprives the human being from offering up their suffering. Society sees

suffering as a bad thing. Catholicism teaches that although God never wills suffering, He allows

it for our benefit. An example is a child suffering through swim lessons. The parents allow it so

the child’s fear will cease, and they will learn swim safety. We may not always understand God’s

reasons for allowing suffering, but through our Faith we can find comfort by trusting that we can

endure with His grace, by knowing there is a reason for it, and it helps us realize how dependent

we are on Him.

     Euthanasia is a misnomer because the prefix “eu” in Greek means pleasing, good, or

well. The “eu” is misleading as the three points prove. Without the Catholic Faith, we would be

caught up in society’s definition of what is good and what is bad. I think that the Church’s

definition of right and wrong is perfect, because God is perfect.