I want to backtrack a bit and touch on some topics that we’ve already discussed, since I’ve just recently started contributing to this blog. Volunteering with the Meals Program at St. Vincent’s last Sunday compels me to reflect on the topic of life and human dignity. The Meals Program is the most consistent example of the parish’s commitment to faith in action, a regular opportunity to engage with our community members experiencing poverty. The purpose of Meals seems simple: provide the opportunity for food and fellowship to those in need; however, the motivation behind this purpose makes all the difference. Guided by the Catholic social teaching principle that every person is worthy of respect, we strive not only to provide for basic needs, but to honor each Meals guest’s dignity and uniqueness.
Seeing and experiencing the Meals Program in action clarifies this principle for me. Volunteers and guests, facilitated by the meal, have the opportunity to build relationships with one another. And if we truly believe that each human life is a sacred, unique creation of God, it makes complete sense that we would want to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with people different from ourselves. What does valuing other people’s dignity and worth look like to you, whether while volunteering or in your everyday life?