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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, August 31, 2016
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Rock and Refuge
with Fr. Roy Cimagala
OPINIONS

Rock & Refuge

Human life is sacred

Nowadays, when the value of human life has been greatly reduced, we need to recover its true worth by revisiting the pertinent Christian doctrine about it.

It cannot be denied that in many parts of the world, an open anti-life culture is taking place and it's slowly coming also into our country. Abortion is legal in many countries. Euthanasia is fast gaining ground. Summary and extra-judicial killings are getting rampant. Of course, there is now a creeping wave of terrorism in many places.

We need to reaffirm the truth that human life, no matter how deformed and depraved in its earthly condition, is always sacred, because it's a life that has a special and very intimate relation with God, its creator.

No one can just put it away on his own volition or that of another or even of the state. It's a life whose death can only come properly by God's will. This usually takes place through natural causes — sickness, old age, etc.

Though God can allow death to occur due to human volition, such event is clearly against his will and would constitute a grave sin. Our Christian faith also teaches that if some evil is allowed to happen, it's because a greater good can also be derived from it.

We should be quick to discern God's designs when some evil takes place, so we avoid falling into a vicious cycle that sin usually generates. In this, we should try not to be scandalized by evil, not by affirming that evil is not evil but rather by acknowledging evil in the context of God's merciful and wise providence.

From there, we can start to perceive the good God has in mind for it. This effort may be aided by our legal and juridical system, some conventional wisdom that we have accumulated through the ages, etc. But we should also be aware that these elements are never perfect.

At best, they can lead us to divine wisdom but can never replace it. In fact, the way things are now, we may have to do a lot of purging, since many distortions if not errors insofar as the moral law is concerned may already have contaminated these systems.

Human life is sacred because it is always a life intimately linked with the very life of God. And that's because we have been made the image and likeness of God, children of his, endowed with faculties that would enable us, together with his grace, to enter into the very life of God.

Thus, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “from its beginning human life involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.” (466)

In another point of the Catechism, we are told that “of all visible creatures only man is able to know and love his creator.

He is the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake.” (CCC 356) In other words, our life somehow reflects the life of God.

That is how each one of us is designed by God. The full realization of that original design may be thwarted by the many manifestations of our sinfulness. Just the same, in spite of such condition, we also know that God became man to save us and has given us all the means so we can be what we ought to be, according to God's providence.

This brings us to the conclusion that human life is always sacred no matter how sinful it is. God is so in love with man that he cannot abandon him. He will do everything to bring him back to him while respecting man's freedom. That's why in Christ, God is made to die, which is the greatest proof of one's love for another.

We need to counter the attack on human life by spreading this fundamental truth about us. That may sound quixotic, but with faith in God's powers and with our persistent effort, we know that the good and the truth will always prevail.

In this regard, St. Paul gave us a relevant piece of advice: “Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened. For Christ our pasch is sacrificed.” (1 Cor 5,7)

This will certainly take a lot of time, effort and suffering. But we need to convince ourselves that this is all worthwhile. We should pray, offer a lot of sacrifices, and do whatever we can, individually or with others, to do a battle of love to uphold that human life is sacred.*

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