Day 50: The Dignity of Man (355-361)
Congratulations!! You made it to Day 50!!
We are in Paragraph 6: Man
We are focusing on HUMAN BEINGS
When we talk about MAN in The Catechism, we are talking about HUMAN BEINGS
This is how people have spoken about human beings for a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME
Using the term MAN to mean ALL HUMAN BEINGS
It’s kind of an obvious thing
Whenever we say “MAN” it means HUMAN BEINGS
UNLESS IT SPECIFIES MALE OR FEMALE!!
For the next few days we are going to look at human beings
Paragraph 355 establishes the roadmap
Paragraph 355 says, “Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is ‘in the image of God’; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created ‘male and female’; (IV) God established him in his friendship.”
So human beings are the only creatures who have BOTH body and soul
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!
We will highlight (I) today
IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Paragraph 356 says, “He (man) is the ‘only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.’”
That’s a BIG statement and it comes out of The Second Vatican Council
It’s much more ancient than that
It highlights the INHERENT DIGNITY of human beings
That statement means that all the rest of creation on this earth is made for OUR sake
The rest of creation is ordered towards OUR STEWARDSHIP
Human beings are not made in that same way FOR OTHERS
WE ARE MADE FOR OUR OWN SAKE!!
We can USE the resources of this world
We can NEVER USE another person
Does that make sense?
EVERY ONE OF US IS ORIENTED TOWARDS GLORY OF GOD!!
In the NATURAL ORDER all the LOWER creatures exist for the sake of the HIGHER
Human beings are the HIGHEST in the order
AT THE SAME TIME…
Human beings exist FOR OUR OWN SAKE
In the SUPERNATURAL ORDER human beings AND all creation exist FOR THE SAKE OF GOD
SO KEEP THE CONTEXT!!
We have been reading about Heaven AND Earth the last couple of days
So Earth is not the ONLY thing
Gaudium et Spes in Paragraph 356 says, “He (man) is ‘the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.’”
In the SUPERNATURAL ORDER man AND all Creation exist for the sake of God
We are ALWAYS in relationship with the Lord
WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET THAT!!
So what is it to be made “IN THE IMAGE OF GOD”?
It means we have a DIGNITY
We are not a someTHING
We are someONE
We are capable of SELF-KNOWLEDGE
We are capable of SELF-POSSESSION
We are capable of FREELY GIVING OURSELVES AWAY
We are capable of ENTERING INTO COMMUNION WITH OTHER PEOPLE
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
So let’s pray and ask the Lord to come and open our hearts and minds to be able to receive His truth about the DIGNITY of human beings made in His IMAGE AND LIKENESS
YOUR dignity being made in the IMAGE OF GOD
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we praise you and give you glory. We know that every good thing we have comes from you. We know that every good thing we are comes from you. We know that you have made us free and you have made us like you. And that is why we are good. We do know that our hearts are broken. We do know that our lives are broken. We do know that our relationships are broken. But, we ask that you please, in the midst of that brokenness, help us to see the truth. Help us to see you as you are. Help us to see others as you have made them. And help us to see ourselves, even, in the dignity that you have given us, in creating and redeeming us in your Son, Jesus Christ. We ask this in the name of the same Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen”
IN THE IMAGE OF GOD!!
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 356 says, “Of all visible creatures only man is ‘able to know and love his creator’...and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life.”
THIS IS REMARKABLE!!
It does not DIMINISH or DEMEAN the rest of Creation
We talked about this the last couple of days
God created EVERYTHING toward His Glory
We all have this CONNECTION
St. Francis of Assisi has the Canticle of the Creatures
All of those things have DIGNITY because they come from God
There is this UNIQUE DIGNITY that human beings have
IT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Paragraph 356 continues, “It was for this end (that we are called to share in God’s life) that he (man) was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity.”
Paragraph 357 says, “Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person…”
It is worth reflecting on what it is TO BE A PERSON
We can break it down…
To be a person is to have an INTELLECT and a WILL
IT IS TO HAVE A SELF
THAT IS INCREDIBLY REMARKABLE!!
We are not just a someTHING
We are a SOMEONE
YOU are not just a someTHING
YOU are a someONE
Paragraph 357 continues, “He is capable of self-knowledge…”
You can KNOW that you EXIST
You can ask questions about your EXISTENCE
We KNOW that animals can suffer
Human beings can suffer
Human beings can suffer in a UNIQUE WAY
When one of our pets is in pain, it can break our hearts
A dog can never ask the question, “Why am I suffering?” (Have you ever wondered whether dogs bark in the local language? Like does a dog who lives in Paris, France bark in French? Or do dogs’ barks have accents? 🤔 😃)
A cat can never ask the question, “Why am I suffering?”
A human being CAN ask the question “Why?”
We are capable of SELF-KNOWLEDGE
We are ALSO capable of SELF-POSSESSION
I can hold onto myself OR I can freely give myself away
THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!
Your dignity means that NO ONE can ever USE you
That is one of the things we hold as PROFOUNDLY TRUE
Human beings are NEVER MEANT TO BE USED
Human beings are MEANT TO BE LOVED
I can NEVER TAKE
I can ONLY GIVE
That FREELY GIVING MYSELF means that I can ENTER INTO COMMUNION with another person
That’s not only it though
Not only other persons on earth…
Paragraph 357 continues, “And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.”
NO ONE can respond to God with FAITH AND LOVE like we can
NO ONE can do it for us
My parents may be really really holy and given themselves to the Lord
I STILL HAVE TO DO THAT MYSELF!!
You might be married to someone who LOVES the Lord
YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THAT YOURSELF!!
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!
Paragraph 358 says, “God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him…”
THERE IS SOMETHING SO INCREDIBLE ABOUT THIS!!
God has given us SO MUCH
The way in which we an LOVE and HONOR and LIVE this life in the best possible way is when we take ALL OF GOD’S GIFTS…
INCLUDING OUR HEART AND SOUL…
Give them back to God and say, “I respond to your gifts, Lord, with LOVE.”
“I respond to your gifts, Lord, with GRATITUDE.”
“I respond to your gifts, Lord, by giving myself BACK TO YOU.”
It seems natural once we realize WHERE WE COME FROM
It seems natural once we realize THAT WE ARE ORDERED TOWARDS GLORIFYING GOD
It seems natural once we realize HOW MUCH GOD HAS LOVED US
The response is going to be, “God, my response is that I give myself back to you. I have nothing else to give you.”
I have nothing to give God that He didn’t first give me
Paragraphs 360 and 361 highlight the fact that because of our common origin…
Because every human being regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, differences between people…
Regardless of intellectual prowess or deficiency…
ALL OF US!!
The human race forms a UNITY
Paragraph 361 says, “‘This law of human solidarity and charity,’ without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures, and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.”
EVERY HUMAN BEING!!
Regardless of the great variety of persons, cultures, races, ethnicities, etc.
EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THIS PLANET ARE TRULY BRETHREN!!
We will talk about racism and sexism soon
That is FOOLISH for a Christian to have ANY sense of racism or sexism
IT IS RIDICULOUS!!
Because we ALL are made in God’s image and likeness
Yes, individuals have differences
Groups of people have differences
What unites us VASTLY OUTWEIGHS our differences
It is a VARIETY in accidents
It is a UNITY in our ESSENCE
The ACCIDENTS are where we come from
ACCIDENTS are races
What we are as HUMAN BEINGS are CREATURES OF GOD
That should show how RIDICULOUS it is for any kind of desire to rank human beings
Any kind of desire to think that some human beings are more worthy of life than others
Any kind of desire to think that some human beings are better than others
When it comes to DIGNITY…
THAT IS COMPLETELY FALSE!!
It could be OBVIOUS now
It has not always been obvious
IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS TO US NOW!!
Especially those of us who believe in the God who created ALL OF US in His image and likeness
The God who bestowed upon each and every one of us an INTRINSIC DIGNITY AND GOODNESS
From all around the world
We are SO GRATEFUL that we are UNITED in this
Ensuring this Faith
Striving after the Lord
GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH!!
Fr. Mike is SO PROUD OF YOU making it to Day 50
Hope you have an INCREDIBLE day!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!
Scripture References & Reflections
- compiled by Andrew Adamany
Bible Translation - RSVCE
CCC 355 "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is "in the image of God"; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created "male and female"; (IV) God established him in his friendship."
"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so."
CCC 356 "Of all visible creatures only man is "able to know and love his creator". He is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake", and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:"
"then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God."
"What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good."
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life"
CCC 357 "Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead."
Wisdom of Solomon 2:23
"for God created man for incorruption,
and made him in the image of his own eternity"
Wisdom of Solomon 3:9
"Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his elect,
and he watches over his holy ones."
CCC 358 "God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:
"You shall serve the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of you."
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."
CCC 359 "In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear."
"St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . The first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life. . . The second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. The first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. The last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: "I am the first and the last."
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
"Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
1 Corinthians 15:20–23
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ."
CCC 360 "Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for "from one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth"
"And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for
‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your poets have said,
‘For we are indeed his offspring.’"
CCC 361 ""This law of human solidarity and charity", without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren."
"Thou madest Adam and gavest him Eve his wife
as a helper and support.
From them the race of mankind has sprung.
Thou didst say, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone;
let us make a helper for him like himself.’"