Life in Christ: Dignity of the Human Person

Life in Christ: Dignity of the Human Person

The third section of the Catechism, 'Life in Christ', examines how we fulfill our vocation as Christians, that vocation which our Lord gives in the Gospels to witness, proclaim and evangelise by word and action.

We begin my considering the fundamental dignity of each human being. Created by God in love, created by God in His image we are called with our human body, spiritual soul, intellect, will and freedom to seek to know and love God and in that alone lies our happiness.To know, love and serve God in this world and to come to blessedness, happiness or beatitude in eternal life is our vocation. Though our natures are damaged by sin and the fulfillment of this vocation can be difficult yet, the grace Christ gives us, precisely because he loves us, is stronger. This vocation involves choice. It involves deciding, in the face of moral questions, different situations, the attractions of this world, from whether to stay in bed one morning rather than come to the Sunday Mass or whether to act always in union with Christ our Saviour.

It is the will of God, Who so loves each one of us, and so wants us to be with him, that guides us in this vocation. This will he reveals to us above all, in the ten commandments, the beatitudes (given in the sermon on the mount) and the traditions and teachings of the apostles and their successors.

Our response to God's will must be free, it must be a true freedom, the ability to choose what is good and what leads to happiness. Choosing evil, rejecting what is good and true, is a misuse of freedom since it leads to slavery and unhappiness. It is the exercise of freedom that makes us responsible for our actions and their consequences. Original sin was a free choice to reject God's will, and seek happiness in the passing things of creation and in a false understanding of the nature of human dignity. Because we are made for eternal happiness, and called to be fully human, such a choice leads to frustration, unhappiness and disorder.

By his passion death and resurrection, Christ Our Lord, enables us to escape that frustration, unhappiness and disorder and offers us the truth that leads to freedom together with the grace which gives us fortitude, wisdom and confidence in exercising our freedom.

Catechism paragraphs: 1691 - 1748