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Last updated 6-8-13




     The Dignity of the Human Person

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There is nothing more profound, or more misunderstood than the dignity of the human person.  No other misunderstanding has caused so much human suffering.  Some say all creatures are equal in dignity.  Some say man has the least since he can sin and do evil.  Some say man can become a God and that gives him dignity.  And many say that even though we are created by God, since He allows evil; He can't care much about us and therefore our dignity can't be much.

False Ideas



The most common error that I see today amongst the faithful is the belief that our dignity is in what we do.  But our Catholic faith tells us that we can do a good deed with an evil intent, and that evil intent corrupts our act and it becomes an evil act.  So our actions don't necessarily tell of our dignity since we can act contrary to our true dignity.  Furthermore, if you take this concept to its logical conclusion, then the persons with the most dignity, and therefore those whom God loves most and are closest to Him, are those who simply do the most good deeds regardless of whether their intentions are morally just.  And since all good deeds can be done with an evil intent, and therefore be evil acts, this can't be so.  Furthermore, I believe it is obvious that simply being someone who keeps themselves busy with good works and accomplishes much isn't necessarily holy.  The next most common idea I see that is also false, is the idea that our dignity is proportionate to our financial status.  It is sad to see this idea so rampant among the people in the pews.  It is not a sign that God is not blessing someone because they are poor.  According to the gospel of Jesus Christ, those who have, should give to those who have not.  He says "do not turn your back on the borrower."  A person who has much wealth has no more dignity than someone who has none.  It is an error that is taught in many circles among our separated brethren, that God blesses those who are in His favor by giving them financial prosperity, and that you are not in His favor if you are poor.  Job's friends tried to tell him that but they were wrong.  Our Blessed Lord never had it while He was on earth; did the Father not favor Him?  The second Vatican council urged all members of the Catholic faith to practice the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience in as much as they can, according to their respective vocations and states of life.  Would our Church ask this of us if it were contrary to God's will for us?

What Gives Us Dignity

What gives us dignity is not that we are human beings and not insects.  It is not that we are good instead of bad.  It is not in what we do or don't do.  It is in the purpose for which God made us.  God created everything: the plants and animals, the sea and the land; so what makes our dignity unique?  All of creation, He made for man; but man He made for Himself.  It is true that He made us in His own image and likeness, and that is part of it; nevertheless, it is the relationship He wants to have with us that truly makes us unique in the order of creation, and gives us our dignity.

Why God Made Us

God made man in order to have a creature that could choose to receive His love.  Only man has the free will to choose to receive love or reject it.  He revealed to us through His only Son, our blessed Lord Jesus, that He wants us to see Him as a father.  But not just any father, but The Father of all.  What else can this mean except that He wants to relate with us even as He relates with His only begotten Son.  God is love and love wants to give and give totally as a self-gift.  This is how

God wants to be with us.  This is why He gave us Himself in giving us His Son (the Father and I are one).  He even made it simple for us.  He became one of us, lived among us, suffered like us, taught us, and died like us.  And when He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, He sent us the Holy Spirit.  Imagine what it is to love so intensely that your love is a person.  The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son.  


In being given the Holy Spirit, we are asked to enter into a relationship where we can be in union with the Father and the Son by the same means that They are united to each other, namely the Holy Spirit.  When He instituted the Blessed Sacrament; He did so in order to give us Himself in an even greater way.  He did all of this to call us into a relationship with Him that He may give us fully all that He is.  When we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament, we don't just receive a part of Him but all, body, blood, soul, and divinity.  Can we ever fully comprehend what it is to receive divinity?  Jesus is not separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit, so in a

real way we receive the Holy Trinity.  God, who the angels and saints constantly praise and worship, truly present in our bodies to adore, to give thanks, to worship as He is worshipped in heaven.  What great things does He communicate to our souls?  How His love through His mere presence must purify us, heal us, change us to be more like Him and draw us to love heaven where we can behold Him more fully

It is sad to me that so many people seem fixated on, what does He want from us, in a way that perceives God as a taskmaster who orders us around in a disinterested way.  It seems to me rather, that to see His will for us as an intimate calling, we should ask, what does He want for us.  Because we can't reach union with Him simply because we will it.  All is grace, as St. Paul says.  And it is the Holy Spirit who inspires and accomplishes everything in us and through us.  That means that God is always and in all things the prime mover.  Our Lady at the Annunciation is the perfect example.  She says fiat.  She responds with Her yes, and that is our job as well, to say yes to what He wants to give us.  We should always seek from Him as He tells us in the gospels; nevertheless, wanting Him is a grace which comes from Him, and we can not create in ourselves a desire for Him.  Feelings of fervor and devotion in prayer, are themselves graces that call us deeper into a more intimate union with Him and are not simply signs of how good we are praying.

Our Part

So what can we do?  Respond to every good thing God gives us.  But mostly, consecrate yourself to Our Lady. So that you may have in the fullest way, an Advocate in heaven that can do for you what no one else can do as well.  And that is guide you to Her Son and prepare you to receive Him and all He wants to give you, and unite you to Him.  And She will say Her fiat for you, and teach you how to say it with Her.  And as St. Louis says, She will give you Her virtues and mold you into a perfect image of Her son.

In Conclusion

What greater dignity can we possess than be in relationship with Him who made us for Himself out of His great love for us, and share in His own divine life.  That is where our true dignity lies, that we are loved by God who made us.  He saw us in His mind's eye as He thought and desired to create us, He loved us in that moment, then made us with a desire for eternal union with Him, stamped as it were, on our very souls.

And finally, I give you a quote from Pope John Paul The Great

"Dear young people, you know that Christianity is not an opinion nor does it consist of empty words. Christianity is Christ! It is a Person, a Living Person! To meet Jesus, to love him and make him loved:  this is the Christian vocation. Mary was given to you to help you enter into a more authentic and more personal relationship with Jesus. Through her example, Mary teaches you to gaze on him with love, for He has loved us first. Through her intercession, she forms in you a disciple's heart able to listen to her Son, who reveals the face of his Father and the true dignity of the human person…"


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    Br. Mariamartin de la Cruz  S.D.B.V.    General Steward

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