By Tom Grenchik
December 20, 2013
Life is fragile.
We like to considerourselves strong and independent, but when it comes right down to it, we are
pretty fragile. It does not take much to
throw off our independence and strength.
A medical setback, the process of aging, a personal loss, a severe
storm, and even a broken-down car, can remind us how dependent we really are.
Our culture glamorizes strength,
beauty and freedom, and provides all sorts of temporary fixes for the realities
of our humanness. We can join a health
club, dye our hair, eat organic food and drive an all-terrain vehicle, but
eventually our fragility catches up with us. Perhaps we should just recognize the fact that
being fragile is a part of life. God
certainly recognizes it. God even cherishes and celebrates it. In fact, he
values our human fragility so much that he chose to embrace it personally in
order to save us.
Consider the Creator of
the universe, humbling himself to the point of becoming the weakest of persons:
the human embryo of an unwed mother, the unborn child on a dangerous journey,
the newborn infant surrounded by smelly animals and outcasts, the migrant child
fleeing the violence of a murderous king.
God certainly understands and embraces our fragility. By his own
personal witness, he even shows us that fragility is beautiful. Recognizing our
fragility helps us to remember and love those who are weak and defenseless.
At this holy time of
year, when we contemplate artfully composed manger scenes and attractive
Christmas cards, let us remember the message in God's personal witness: there
is profound beauty in all human life, even the most vulnerable. Even when people are small, weak,
defenseless, dependent, demanding or disgusting by worldly standards, God sees
beauty. So should we see this beauty in
ourselves and in others.
Pope Francis recently
captured this when he reflected: "Even the weakest and
most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces
of God's creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and
deserving of the utmost reverence and respect."
This message is
captured in a moving one-minute video entitled "Open Your Hearts to Life," which can also be
found on the USCCB YouTube channel.
Life is truly fragile.
Life is incredibly beautiful.
May we remember God's deep and profound love for us and cling fast to Him. May
we find the strength and encouragement in this great season of joy to assist
and protect all those who are especially fragile. And may our witness to their
beauty inspire others to see it too.
Tom Grenchik is Executive Director of 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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