Dignity of the Human Person: God is love. Every human is created in God’s image. Every human person is a unique expression of God’s love.
Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all of the principles of our social teaching.
Our focus point this week is:
What does it mean to be human?
What Does Scripture Say?
“God looked at everything that he had made, and he found it very good.” (Genesis 1:26, 31)
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you.” (Luke 12: 27-28)
What has the Church said over the years?
The Christian faith is ‘incarnational’ – we believe that God became human in the person of Jesus.
“Christianity is the meeting-point of earth and heaven. It lays claim to the whole human, body and soul, intellect and will… Hence, though the Church’s first care must be for souls, how she can sanctify them and make them share in the gifts of heaven, she concerns herself too with the exigencies of man’s daily life, with his livelihood and education, and his general, temporal welfare and prosperity.” (Mater et Magistra, #2,3)
What was St. Vincent’s response?
St. Vincent spent much of his life caring for people that society had cast away. In 1619 he became chaplain to the galley slaves – convicted men who were sentenced to row the king’s ships, as though they were nothing more than machinery. Vincent was appalled at the despicable conditions these men were subjected to. He objected to the inhumanity of it and worked to bring relief and reform.
What is our own experience?
Do we see people in our world today being treated as less than human? Do we know anyone who is alienated from others, who is in need of kindness?
What action(s) are we called to?
What basic level of respect do we owe to those we encounter?
Is there someone to whom I can show some simple human compassion today?