Project Description

October is a month especially dedicated to the respect for human life.  It’s certainly a time when we remember a lot of the big issues associated with beginning and end stages of human life:  abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment.  It’s also a time when we remember a lot of the ways in which human lives are disrespected in everyday life:  poverty, racism, war.  But most especially, the call to respect life is a call to look beneath all of these issues at the attitude underneath.  These issues all spring from the same place, a failure to love and appreciate every human being – no matter their age, health, economic circumstances, etc. – as a precious and unique gift from God.  If we want to see lasting improvement in these social issues, we have to work on the attitudes underneath.  Conversion of our culture must include the conversion of hearts.

 

“The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.”  There are seven themes that make up Catholic Social Teaching, and the first of these is respect for the life and dignity of the human person.  We live in a culture that frequently judges people based on how productive they are and what they can accomplish.  The lives of people who are not “useful” – the unborn, the terminally ill, the developmentally challenged, the convicted criminal – are often judged to be less valuable than others. In the extreme, sometimes these lives are judged to be not worth living at all.  It’s frightening to think of human beings judging whether someone’s life is worth living or not, but we see it all around us.

 

The Christian view of the human person is completely different.  We are called to value other people not because of what they do, but rather because of who they are – even if they are not productive in the eyes of the secular world.  This Christian counter-witness is simply a witness of love.  We are called to be unconditionally loving of each of our brothers and sisters, and we are not supposed to keep that love to ourselves.  We are instead called to share that love and to make our world a more loving place.

 

So how are we to do this?  Here are a few things to keep in mind, especially during the rest of October:

¨ Pray:  It all starts with prayer.  We should never underestimate the power of prayer, and we should never think that prayer is somehow less effective than “action”.  Prayer is absolutely essential if we want to infuse our “culture of death” with a love for life.

¨ Learn:  Stay informed on current events related to life issues.  I know that it seems like these issues seem to surface at lightning speed, but we must stay informed.  Find a reliable news source, search for the Church’s response to these issues, and make sure you understand why the Church teaches what she teaches.  You’ll start to see that all of these teachings originate from the same world view.

¨ Get Involved:  Look around town for worthy charities that promote the dignity of human life or work with populations who are marginalized or at-risk.  Support them with your time, your donations and your prayers.

 

 

 

 

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/seven-themes-of-catholic-social-teaching.cfm