Winning entries in annual vocation essay contest

For the Serra Club’s annual Vocation Essay Contest, students were asked to write about religious vocations by answering one of three questions. Printed below are the two first-place essays.

How is following a religious vocation a courageous and radical act?

By Audrey Dant

To answer this question, let’s start with the definition of vocation. Webster defines vocation as “a strong desire or leaning for a certain career or course of action; a divine call to the religious life.” Do you hear that? This isn’t just some hobby you do in your free time. You put God before all else. This is a career. You spend your whole life loving God. Does that not sound radical? After all, radical means “characterized by departure from tradition; innovative or progressive.” To me, being called by God and choosing to be a religious brother or sister is a wonderful “departure from tradition!”
When you choose to follow a religious vocation, you spend your whole life learning and praying and preaching about God. Does that not sound courageous? People will disagree with your beliefs and challenge you. Does that mean you stop? No! If you choose to follow a religious vocation, you bravely and courageously keep going.
We have all been taught to love God before all else and that we are made in God’s image. We believe that God knew us before we were born. We have also been taught to think of soldiers and superheroes when we think of courage. We don’t typically think of our parish priest or the nun we know at school. Maybe that should change.

Audrey Dant is a sixth-grader at St. Patrick School in Eastwood.

What does it take to give your whole life to Christ?

By Mackenzie Hustead

To give your whole life to Christ takes three main characteristics. The first is commitment. The second is courage. The third is love. You should use these characteristics to serve God and help others all the time.
Commitment is extremely important if you want to give your whole life to God. Giving your whole life to him means every single thing you do is to be serving him. You have to enjoy serving him and want to do it all the time. You shouldn’t be forced to serve God. You should willingly do it with all your heart.
Courage is so important to serve God because it is a really hard thing to do. You have to be strong to devote every second of your life to God. Sometimes it is really hard for us to forgive others and just do the right thing. If you really give your whole life to God then you should be able to not only forgive them, but also love them.
Lastly, love is the most important characteristic you should have to give your life to Christ. You have to love everyone. Most people just truly love their family and really close friends, but if you are giving your life to God then  you need to love everybody. Love is what keeps us all together. Without it we would be mean and it would be a terrible world to live in. You should love everyone as much as God loves them.
These are the three main characteristics that you need to give your whole life to God. If everyone did this then the world would be happier and there would be no war or poverty. So every day we should try to serve God with commitment, courage, and love.

Mackenzie Hustead is a seventh-grader at St. James School in Elizabethtown, Ky.

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