“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20
We are all made in the image and likeness of God. We are His and His we are. We have been purchased at a price and it is the price of the precious blood of Christ. Even those people who do not acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God—well, He still died for them and He is still their Savior. God loves each and every one of us on earth from the hardened criminal to the living saint. Because we are all made in the image and likeness of God, we all have God-given dignity. According to Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, dignity is defined as the quality or state of being worthy, honored or esteemed. Our dignity does not come from how beautiful in appearance we may be, from how much money we make, what college we went to or did not go to for that matter. Our dignity is not dependent on how big a house we have or how many cars we have. It is not dependent on how well we speak or write or how smart we are. Our dignity is because we are beloved children of God. Who are we to say that someone who is not what we think they should be has less or even no dignity? Who are we to play God and think that we know better than Him? What about the handicapped person who cannot speak and sits in a wheelchair all day long? What about the blind person who needs help to move around from place to place? Do you remember Helen Keller? She was deaf and blind and look at all the amazing accomplishments she had in her life. What about the brain-injured child who can read and write and move about on all fours by crawling but has not gained the ability to be continent? What about an infant who is totally dependent on his mother and father to care for all of his needs to even survive? Do these people not have dignity because they are not ‘up to par’ with the ‘standard’ that our materialistic and consumerism filled society has determined gives us worth? I don’t think so. Their lives are precious because God loves them and He made them and who are we to decide that they are not as good or worth living as the ‘normal persons’?”
When a loved one loses their memory and they do not know who they are or who their loved ones are that is very sad indeed but that does not take away their God-given dignity. Suffering is a part of life. No one can escape it. Jesus came not only to die to save us from our sins but to teach us that suffering is redemptive if only we offer it up in love and unite it to His cross. Redemptive suffering puts a whole new light on this ‘right to die’ mentality. We, as human beings are not animals that can and maybe should be put down when the pain or difficulties of life become unbearable. We are human beings and we are worth far, far more than animals. As the Bible teaches us, we are called to imitate Christ and that means even in our suffering. He could not escape it– for love of us he suffered far more than all of us on earth put together. Who are we to not follow in our Lord’s footsteps? Who are we to play God? Who are we to say to God “I will not accept your plan for me in my life or my loved ones’ life so I am going to take matters into my own hands and end my life or help them end theirs?” God’s will for us is often not our own; in fact most of the time it is not. God gives us many trials in life not to punish us or make us angry at Him but to draw us closer to Him. It has been said by the greatest of saints that those of us who suffer the most should count ourselves worthy to be the called the friends of God. Are we above the saints that suffered so very much that we should not imitate them in our suffering? God does not make mistakes—EVER. He does not punish people but He allows all things to happen, yes, even the bad things. Nothing happens in this world without His permission. He gave Adam and Eve free will because it was the only way they could truly love him. They disobeyed and hence sin and suffering and death entered the world. It was not supposed to be like this my friends. We were never supposed to suffer or die at all. However, he brings good out of EVERYTHING. As St. Paul says very clearly in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God who are called according to His purpose.”
I have been deeply moved to write this by the Holy Spirit for fear that my own conscience would not be clear in the sight of God until I did. As a faithful Catholic Christian, I am held accountable for not only what I do and say, but what I do not do and say. I must speak out when the Spirit of God compels me. I must admonish and instruct the ignorant as the Holy Word of God, the Bible says. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. May I remind you that I am not writing this blog to make people ‘happy’ all the time and I am certainly not worried about what others may think of me. I am writing it to speak God’s truths, not my own. I have over 2000 years of Universal Church teaching to back me up. I am writing it and I am not concerned with the possibility of offending some. Sometimes people need to be offended for them to take a good hard look at themselves—how they think or how they act. Sometimes when someone is offended they are struggling with the possibility that they just might not know it all. None of us do. We all need God’s loving guidance in our lives whether or not we admit it. God has called me to write this blog, of this I am certain and woe to me if I do not obey my Lord!
The 5th commandment “Thou Shall not kill” is not up for discussion by any means. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave Him the Ten Commandments for the Israelites and for all people of every single generation after that including us. The Bible is not changeable. The Bible speaks to all generations and it is interpreted infallibly only by the Catholic Church which Christ came to found. God is the only one who gives life and He is the only one who has any right to take it away. Life must be respected from the first moment of conception to natural death. Yes, there are justified times when life must be taken such as in self-defense or in defending innocent people. Yes, even if there is a justifiable war as Pope Francis has recently said because of the atrocities that ISIS is committing against countless innocent people. We are not God. WE do not have the right to decide when our life or the life of another is not worth living. Pope Francis, as the Vicar of Christ has recently denounced euthanasia as a sin against God. It is indeed misguided compassion.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2277 states, “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.
I have heard the expression from more than one person in my life that,” When the mind goes” well, then that person’s life is not really worth living. Oh and if they do not know who they are or remember their loved ones, and if they are incontinent and in diapers then well, they have no dignity. This is not from just one person it is from several and I have also read it as well. This is such a warped way of thinking. Every single person has dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Who are you to determine that they or you do not have dignity and should not go on living? My grandfather, whom I adored with all my heart was a devoted husband and father and grandfather. He served in WWII and received two purple hearts for his gunshot wounds. He was incontinent at the end of his life and yes, I was honored to be able to change his diapers. I am sure that was difficult for him but he was a very humble man and He knew and loved God with all his heart. I had the privilege of being able to feed him meals because he could no longer do that as well. I count myself blessed to have been able to do that for him towards the end of his life. Yes, he had his complete dignity and it came from God alone.
There are those out there reading this who will not agree with me at all. They will scoff or laugh and think I don’t know what I am talking about. There are those who call themselves tolerant or more liberal-minded and think they know better than that religious person who listens to a 2000-year-old Catholic teaching which, by the way, came from God himself. I, too, am a very tolerant person but there is a big difference between tolerating others because they do not agree with you and accepting just any old thing. But let me just say this one last thing. Moral relativism is a plague that is going through our great land. People think what is right for them is fine and what is right for others, well, that is fine too. Well, I am here to tell you that all of that is plain humbug. Truth is not relative. You must admit that. It does not even make sense to believe that people can believe whatever they want. God has laws and they must be respected and obeyed!
How many people are in the world today? About seven billion and even if you cut that in half that is still an awful lot of ‘truths’. There is only one truth and that is God’s truth which has been handed down to us through Apostolic Teaching. Where did the Apostles get their teaching? From Christ Jesus Himself. Whether or not you agree or believe it is certainly up to you. But just because you do not believe in God’s laws and the teachings of His Catholic Church does not make them any less true. God gave you free will because it is the only way you could truly love him freely. He does not force anyone to love him or his ways. The Truth is – life is sacred. Life is precious. God gave you yours and He is the only one who has the right to take it away. Suicide, or euthanasia or believing in the ‘right to die’ to avoid suffering is still murder of oneself or another. You cannot put a fancy word on something and make it okay. Believing that you have the right to decide when your life is no longer worth living or your life does not have meaning is just one step away from deciding when someone else’s life is not worth living or doesn’t have meaning. It is a risky, sinful way to think and it must never be acceptable. It is spitting in the face of God. It is telling Him that you know better than He does and that simply is not true. God is all-perfect, all-just, all-knowing and all powerful. He is God and He is the Author of Life.
My prayer is this: That we will all continually ask the Lord to give us the grace to seek His will and His ways and His mind and Never our own! May we never be so selfish as to think that we know better than God Almighty who is the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Saint Augustine and all you holy Saints in Heaven, pray for us and all people to seek God’s Holy Will and to come to respect all life from conception to natural death.