The Beauty of Mankind
In these turbulent days, it is very difficult to appreciate the beauty of the world in which we live and particularly the beauty of human life, which is the summit of all creation. We live in a wonderful world with beautiful people. But this is not always evident. To be truly human, we have to put on the eyes of faith and endeavour to see man and his world as God wants us to see his creation.
It is very important that we have a positive vision of human life. People who do not have this vision easily develop negative and destructive attitudes. Either they endeavour to use people for their own advantage or they react violently to every manifestation of wrongdoing in the hope that they will overcome.
A basic problem is that we have a false view of life. People expect life to be a bed of roses. They look at life as a medium for self-aggrandizement. They ask of themselves what they can get out of the world rather than what they can contribute. Sometimes they begin their journey with noble intentions. But when they stumble on their way, or when they encounter opposition, they become frustrated and abandon their golden ideals.
Life according to the Christian ideal demands a spirit of sacrifice. Without this necessary ingredient, we are doomed to futility. We become frustrated; we give into bitterness. Some even adopt a posture of rebellion. As one writer put it:
Sacrifice is indeed the way, the truth and the life. It is not some unfortunate burden that we have to shoulder because of our sin, but rather the basis of our lives as creatures made by God, redeemed by Christ and living under the Cross.
So the goal is there before us. We need to be human. This means that we are unfinished beings. We have to be patient. We have to be fully focused. We have to learn. We have to grow in wisdom and knowledge.
We, human beings, need to be more open to nature. To find our way is often an arduous journey. We need to follow the rhythm of life. This is often a slow unpredictable process. Life gives us no guarantees. To progress we often have to take risks.
In our post-modern world, we have unfortunately developed the tendency to tarnish the beauty of human life adorned with many splendid gifts. This springs from the wrong concept of what it is to be human. We have established such a strong focus on the material element that we either belittle or reject the need for the development of the deeper and more transforming elements of life.
In his Encyclical, 'Redeemer of Man', Pope John Paul II writes:
Man cannot live without love. Without love he remains incomprehensible to himself. His life is devoid of meaning, unless love is revealed to him, unless he encounters love, unless he experiences it and makes it his own, unless he has a lively sense of participation in it.
Few people understand the full implications of love. Love is a very beautiful thing. We, Christians, believe that mankind was created with love and for love. Anyone who does not experience love is destined to become a human monster. And this is a very basic problem in this world. It is at the heart of most human tragedies that have cluttered up the roadside of history.
Today much is happening in the Church. No, it is not a new Church. But there is decidedly a new focus, a new emphasis. This is very important for the proper understanding of the present thrust of the Church.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta says that, "The biggest disease today is not leprosy, cancer or tuberculosis, but the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and abandoned by everybody."
Pope Francis tells us that the biggest issues today for the Church and for the world are the loneliness of elderly and the unemployment of youth. This calls for the reordering of our priorities.
What all this implies is that there is the urgent need to promote comprehensively the beauty of human life. But for this we must be convinced that the world is not what it ought to be. This conviction should spur us on to eradicate all that places a blemish on the dignity of human life and to make the necessary adjustments and sacrifices. To promote the welfare and the dignity of all men, women and children, to make them what they are called to be, must be the great goal of mankind.