The award-winning essay: Anne Marie Hauge on St. Francis

 

To mark the publication of my Saints for Our Times: New Novenas and Prayers, Pauline Books and I co-sponsored a student essay writing contest this fall.  This week I announce the winners of that essay which drew around 75 entries from around the country. 

Here is the essay that won First Place (as judged by my wife and I and our kids).

 

“Love without Boundaries,” on St. Francis of Assisi, was written by Anne Marie Hauge, an about-to-turn-15 year-old student at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita, Kansas.  Anne Marie wins $30 and a signed copy of Saints for Our Times

 

 

 

Congratulations to Anne Marie and the other winners!  I’ll be posting the other two prize-winning essay in the days ahead.  (All the winners’ names are posted at www.barrymichaelsbooks.com.)

 

“Love Without Boundaries”

     “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” What is meant by these words of St. Francis, and how is this important and applicable to our society? St. Francis of Assisi told us how. Not only that, he showed us how to live out this message in daily life. This message that he lived out was the message of-love.
       St. Francis’s whole life was spent in search for love. As a young man, he sought love in parties and a material life. It was only when he gave of himself completely to God that he found love. This is the message that he gives to all people: LOVE! Love your neighbor without reserve! Love God with all that you have, with your whole being! Love unconditionally, and let your love be unquenchable. This is what St. Francis wants to get across in his words. Our actions MUST be with love. Even if what we say is good and loving, it will mean nothing if our actions are not love itself. Faith without works is dead, and so too is love without works also dead. Love is not real, true love without actions that reflect it. St. Francis wants us to know this, for it is extremely relevant in today’s society.
     Everybody seeks happiness. Many people seek happiness through dating and material goods, hoping to find the love that will give them happiness. The happiness found in material goods is not lasting-St. Francis discovered this! Neither is it sincerely a true love that will give true joy and happiness. Some times people do not even find the love that they seek through dating relationships. When these relationships end, a person is left feeling unloved. Many people do not have the realization that true love and joy comes only from God-it is He who gives us the ability to love without boundaries. We live in such a broken world, where many people seek joy and love. St. Francis’s message of love needs to be brought to everyone, so that people will discover the true love and joy that is only found in God.
     God does not have us on this Earth to be “comfortable.” He does not want us to try to be in our “comfort zone.” God wants us to radically love everyone we meet, and treat them with His love. I spend much time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, begging God to help fill me with His love, and to help me give it to others. I have discovered that when you give all that you have to God and others, you receive such love for others that is unconditional. The more love you give, the more love you receive from God to give.
Give yourself to God, and He will work wonders. I sought joy in my life, and it was only when I gave everything to God that I found true joy and love.

 

 

 

 

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