We can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. The human being is not a mistake but something willed; he is the fruit of love. He can disclose in himself, in the bold project that he is, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to him and that moves him to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me.
In the Beginning, 71-2
Reflection – These words from Ratzinger, originally published decades ago, ring with ever-increasing relevance today. There are just so many attacks on human dignity, on the divine origin and goal, and the divine valuing of the human person.
Besides the obvious ones of abortion and euthanasia—the reducing of human life to something other human beings can dispose of at will—there are many faces and forms to this reduction of humanity. There is the whole hyper-sexualization of women, in particular, reducing the value of the feminine person to physical measurements and ‘hotness’. There is the reduction of the person to an economic unit of production, the virtual return of the caste system where human worth is measured by net worth. There is the ominous growth of collectivism in much of the democratic world, with its tendency to subordinate the person to society, and society to the state and the government. And then there is the terrible outright denial of human dignity that flows from radical atheism, viewing human beings as ‘meat’ living briefly in a meaningless dead universe.
All of this is all too familiar to us, so I won’t dwell on it further. Instead, this radiant picture Ratzinger presents to us is worth pondering. We have to take this personally, I think, to be able to really take hold of it. In other words, it is a good spiritual exercise to take the above passage, and every time he says ‘human being’ or some related pronoun, to replace it with ‘I’ or ‘me.
I am indeed a divine project which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. I am not a mistake but something willed; I am the fruit of love. I can disclose in myself, in the bold project that I am, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to me and that moves me to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me.
Beautiful, eh? This is good self-esteem, Christian style! Personally, I like the idea of God having to be audacious to think of making Fr. Denis Lemieux, as if there was a risk that this particular one could all go terribly wrong. But this is all very beautiful—nobody is a mistake, nobody is extra, surplus, unwanted. Everyone is a bold project of God from the moment of his or her conception, with God having a special plan for how you and I are going to express, disclose the language of the creating Intelligence who made us.
We have to take this to heart, pray for the grace to really believe this about ourselves, and then be very serious about communicating this to everyone in our world. If everyone you meet today is willed by the Father and is the fruit of love, a divine project, then you will treat them with respect, right? It changes our attitude towards others, if we really believe it.
And this, to me, is the deep and consistent pro-life ethic that we simply must strive to live if the terrible assaults on human dignity are to be turned back in our times. We have to treat people like they are of divine origin and destiny; we have to, simply, love one another as Christ has loved us. The more we do this, the more all these terrible tragedies of abortion and euthanasia and exploitation and injustice simply will not happen.