Who are we and where are we going?
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that? Who are you really? What would happen if you weren’t the head of that club, if you became paralyzed, if you could no longer remember as much as you used to…essentially, if all of the things that made you feel important and worthy of people’s time, just went away?
Your life would still have dignity and meaning.
Because you were created in the image and likeness of God.
This summer, I’ve been singing at a nursing home near my house and being around the elderly, many of whom at this nursing home, have dementia or Alzheimer’s, need assistance going to the bathroom and taking a bath, and no longer receive prizes, awards, or much in the way of praise from society. And yet, each and every one of them still has dignity and you can see it in the smiles of the ladies that sing along to “Fly Me to the Moon”, that there is still joy and grace when all cause for earthly praise is gone. As my mom put it, you’re slowly stripped of all that can give you pride in yourself, so that when you meet God, you are just you. As beautiful as truly you are, when you are truly just yourself. For God sees beyond what we see as important, and sees a greater importance and a greater purpose.
I picked out my top 5 quotes from this section, on a variety of different topics, but I think that the idea above is the main theme for this section and for the whole of the Christian faith. We are in a constant struggle because of original sin to discover who God truly calls us to be, but that does not mean that in that struggle we won’t have incredible moments of grace. At each moment of the struggle, wherever we are at, we are created with dignity, surrounded with love, and are called again to come to God.
1. “For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan” 306
2. “God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it…But for all that, evil never becomes a good” 311
3. “From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God” 336
4. “Man and woman were made “for each other” – not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones…”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”, they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents cooperate in a unique way in the Creator’s work” 372
5. “After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers” 410
And I’ll end with this little quote from this section:
no creature is self-sufficient 340
In my prayers as I hope I am in yours,
Week 5 — CCC pg. 74-105, Part 1: Profession of Faith