By Kim Baker
August 28, 2015
Our fast-paced society, which is rapidly losing its sense of God, divides human beings into two categories: winners and losers. In the midst of life’s daily pressures, it is tempting to see others as a means to an end. We can become overly absorbed in the individual quest to fulfill our needs and goals without giving a thought to those around us. When we are not grounded in our belief in God’s love, we begin to lose our sense of humanity - and a sense of reverence for life in general. The loss of a sense of God leads to what St. John Paul II called the “culture of death.”
In his encyclical letter Lumen Fidei
(The Light of Faith), Pope Francis speaks of faith as providing a foundation for all other aspects of life. He sums up the modern predicament as follows: “Once man has lost the fundamental orientation which unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires; in refusing to await the time of promise, his life story disintegrates into a myriad of unconnected instants” (no. 13).
The light of faith saves us from this fate, helping us to see ourselves and our world with fresh eyes. Pope Francis describes the experience of faith as “the new light born of an encounter with the true God, a light which touches us at the core of our being and engages our minds, wills, and emotions, opening us to relationships lived in communion” (no. 40).
The more our perspective is enlightened by faith, the more we see life as a gift to be cherished, moment by moment. We become more sensitive to the beauty and goodness around us in the most ordinary things, because we see everything as a gift -- and each gift points back to God, who has given it freely to us in the first place. In short, faith makes us more fully human, more grounded in a deeper and brighter sense of reality that transcends the mundane aspects of ordinary existence.
Faith in God helps us realize how sacred we are as human beings. We remember how God’s loving gaze is fixed on us, and how much He desires for us to reach our potential and become all that we are meant to be. From all eternity, He was thinking of each one of us and wants us to experience his love and live out our unique mission. When we realize our own sacredness and dignity, it touches the core of who we are and fills us with a joy that we cannot help but share with others.
Our faith is a source of radiance into every area of life. It helps us see other human beings as gifts, as persons to be respected and loved for their own sake, rather than as objects to be used or taken for granted. If we have the internal certainty that we are deeply loved, that each of us has a special purpose in this world, we will carry a joyful confidence wherever we go. And this light will radiate to others and help us more effectively reflect God’s love to all we meet, building up a culture of life.
Kimberly Baker is Programs and Projects Coordinator for the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information on the bishops’ pro-life activities, please visit www.usccb.org/prolife
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