Last Sunday, we shared the article about the human and corporate greed. Greed is one of the 7 deadly sins; hence it’s a mortal sin. People and corporations should not be deceived by this sin. Instead, they should respect the right of human dignity.
As they say, change starts in oneself. Changing ourselves into a better person, avoiding greediness in our heart, and a becoming a caring and loving person for others starts in journeying with Jesus and carrying our own cross.
His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, urged us to go “on a journey of faith with Jesus” and deepen our faith in Him. He said that it is really our faith that will enable us to journey with Jesus, who suffered and died because of His love for us.
“By journeying with Jesus, hopefully we can journey with one another especially those who are suffering and bring them love too so that we could also experience the resurrection or new life,” the charismatic Cardinal said.
Our new Pope Francis, in his homily during his inauguration mass, urged the people and Head of States to be protectors of the creatures of God, just like St. Joseph. He said that St. Joseph responded to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church by being continually attentive to God and opening himself to the signs of God’s presence, not on himself.
According to Pope Francis, Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. “In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ! Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!”
“The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about,” the predecessor of Pope Benedict XVI said.
“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that builds up and tears down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
All people, not only the rich and powerful, should heed Pope Francis’ call. We should all be protectors than being greedy. “I think that is a reminder that comes from his (Pope Francis) own experience. It is always good to serve the poor but the quality of the service of the poor is of the faith, not purely social work,” said Cardinal Tagle.
Respecting others, especially the human dignity of each person, non-PWD and PWD, is one way of showing how we care for God’s creation. We’re sharing below some teachings on human dignity from the two books: THE APOSTOLATE’S FAMILY CATECHISM and COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH.
The Second Vatican Council defines human dignity: “The dignity of man rest above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. The invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exist it is because God has created him through love, and through love contains to hold him into existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator.”
Citing the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the Council stated that “Wishing to come down to topics that are practical and of some urgency, the Council lays stress on respect for the human person: everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as another self, bearing in mind above all his life and the means necessary for living it in a dignified way lest he follow the example of the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man.”
“Today, there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of every man, no matter who he is, and if we meet him, to come to his aid in a positive way, whether he is an aged person abandoned by all, a foreign worker despised without reason, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering from a sin he didn’t commit, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ ‘As you did it to one of the least of these brethren, you did it to me.’ (Matt 25:40)”
The Church calls upon Christians to live for others as Jesus lived and died for all. Such a life calls for sacrifice and earnest effort, and it will help to make our Christian Faith alive and real. The Church wishes us to make room in our hearts for all people, so that we might labor with all men to build up human society.
The movement towards the identification and proclamation of human rights is one of the most significant attempts to respond effectively to the inescapable demands of human dignity. The Church see s in these rights the extraordinary opportunity that our modern times offer, through the affirmation of these rights, for more effectively recognizing human dignity and universally promoting it as characteristic inscribed by God the Creator in his creature.
Kindness is a very positive virtue. Its essence is the strength of a person’s self-control and the conquest of his egoism, especially within the family. Its object is the giving of self to others. This interior disposition inclines a person to think kindly of others, to wish them well, and to do good.
Only the recognition of human dignity can make possible the common and spiritual growth of everyone. To stimulate this kind of growth it is necessary in particular to help the least, effectively ensuring the conditions of equal opportunity for men and women and guaranteeing an objective equality between the different social classes before the law. (PAUL VI ENCYCLICAL LETTER, 16)
All of us are equal. No one is higher than one another. All of us are God’ creation, created in the image and likeness of God. Persons with disabilities are also human so they needed to be treated humanely.
Many societies today treat them as indifferent. They see PWDs as an eyesore to the community. Glaring examples are not giving them respect for human rights, discrimination, non-employment, etc. As what some PWD advocates say, the real person with disability is the person who has bad attitude towards PWDs.
The late Pope John Paul II said that “Persons with disabilities are fully human subjects, with rights and duties: in spite of limitations and sufferings affecting their bodies and faculties, they point up more clearly the dignity and greatness of man”. Since PWDs are subjects with all their rights, they are to be helped to participate in every dimension of family and social life at every level accessible to them and according to their possibilities.
“God shows no partiality, since all people have the same dignity as creatures made in his image and likeness.” The Incarnation of the Son of God shows the equality of all people with regard to dignity: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH)
This Holy Week, we should carry our own cross and we should be more like Jesus. To be more like Jesus, “we have to put off the old self, pride, arrogance, selfishness and whatever kept us from reflecting the presence of Christ in us.” (Tertio Millenio Adveniente, n36)
A Blessed Holy Week to all!
REFERENCES: THE APOSTOLATE’S FAMILY CATECHISM and COMPENDIUM OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH.