Christians must offer hope to others

By  Jennifer Beggs, Catholic Register Special
  • February 3, 2008

Editor's Note: This is a runner-up essay winner in the Friars’ Student Writing Award. Jennifer Beggs is a Grade 12 student at Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School. Over the coming weeks we will publish all six winning essays.

{mosimage}As Christians we have a duty. It is our responsibility, not only to live in peace and follow the Word of God, but to reach out and offer hope to others. We must put aside our differences and prejudgments, and lead by example. When we follow God’s lessons and teachings, it reflects in our actions and people notice the positive message we portray. Our ability to fulfill this duty lies in unity.


For too long Christians have been divided by people. Schisms and separations often occur because of an aspect of living our faith we do not like. Therefore, we must go back to the core of our faith and “be happy in our faith at all times” as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5: 13-18. Although we may have questions and uncertainties about teachings of the Church, we must remember to stay faithful with a positive outlook and grow as children of God.

Unity has great value and is essential to the community of the church. Unity creates a bond, a wholeness, the “we” generation. Separate lives and individual priorities take focus away from the poor, the aged, the minorities — those in need. We then revert to the “me” generation of selfish people only concerned about themselves and things that directly affect them. Apathy creeps into our lives.

Today, we live in a secular society and as a result, we are losing the spirit of prayer. Secularism has caused society to suffer; we are seeing increasing rates of divorce, teen violence, gangs, drug use, homelessness, war and terrorism (which ironically is often rooted in religious fervour).

Pope Benedict XVI’s recent papal encyclical Spe Salvi calls prayer a “school of hope.” Wealth and technology are prized over humanitarianism, but prayer can balance these two seemingly disjointed values.

Prayer is a common bond. It is a time to reflect and think, rather than react. Prayer is calming, as it allows people to look back on their thoughts and actions, and consider what they could do to improve their relationship with God. This time allows people to release any worries and put their trust in the Lord. In prayer, we come together, we unite.

Culture and religious differences build walls among people, but prayer is a way of breaking those barriers and offering hope. A common bond will help unite those with different tenets of faith to come together and learn from one an other. Many disputes are a result of ignorance; however this is not a reason to part. We need to examine our differences and accept our varying views. We can learn by exploring and sharing different opinions. We need to acknowledge Christ together.

Prayer offers respect and dignity at no one’s expense. In a very competitive world, in order for someone to “win” someone else must suffer. Instead, we can come together and help each other and all earn the benefits.

I cannot stop war on my own, and neither can a country of individuals. However, united in prayer, much can be changed.

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