“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. ‘ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Cuddy). God intended for His people to be a reflection of Him. He has given us many gifts that can help us to know what is right and what is wrong. He has also given us guidelines and rules that, when abided, can help lead us to happiness with Christ forever, in Heaven.
At conception, God implants in us dignity that is rooted in our relationship with Christ. Christ has given us the tools needed to allow our dignity to grow. However, our decisions ultimately choose the development of our dignity. “It [dignity] is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1700). It is crucial that we allow ourselves to grow in faith to help be disciples of Christ to others. In order to do this, we need to be free. Not just free of sin but also free of fear. If we allow ourselves to fear the world provided to us or the unknown around us, we are limiting ourselves to the mystery of Christ.
Sin can also fog our relationship with Christ. God knows we are susceptible to sin and that sin is inevitable. How we react to sin though can strengthen or weaken our relationship with Christ. When we sin we need to ask God for compassion or forgiveness, just as the Prodigal son did. However, knowing that what we have done is wrong can be complicated. Thankfully God has given us free will to help with this. Another one of the many gifts that God has bestowed upon us is “a spiritual and immortal soul” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1703). This is the gift that makes us different from other living things like animals or plants.
This is why people go to heaven, not animals. In reality, a person’s body does not go to heaven however their soul is the one that makes a place next to Christ for the rest of eternity. In many cultures and religions today “Body and soul are recognized as a dualism and their values contrasted: ‘Fear ye not them that kill the body… but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Soul). This could be because many cultures are not evolved or knowledgeable enough to understand the wonders of the soul. Many think that body and soul go together because once a body is no longer living, the soul leaves the body.
A soul can not live without a body just as a body can not live without a soul. However, the body and soul are two different things and are not interchangeable. The soul is made up of reason, intellect, and free will. Catholic Culture defines free will as, “The power of the will to determine itself and to act of itself, without compulsion from within or coercion from without” (Dictionary). Free will helps us make day to day decisions without us even knowing it. “man recognizes the voice of God which urges him ‘to do what is good and avoid what is evil.
Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1706). Free will is a part of our souls that allows us to think like God, in knowing what is right and what is wrong. “Our free will is a clear sign that God is not manipulative; he does not force us to love him. True freedom is a manifestation of the image of God present in every person. ” (Singer-Towns 13) We are also given reason which correlates to free will.
Reason is the power to understand why something is morally right versus morally wrong. Free will is the ability to chose this. There is a third part of the soul as well. This part is intellect. “Having intellect means that we have the ability to see and understand the order of things that God has established. Our intellect allows us to distinguish between what is truly good and what only appears to be good. Having an intellect means that God has given us the ability to understand how to be in communion with him” (Singer-Towns 13). The beatitudes are a way for us to allow others to see Jesus in us.
The beatitudes are a set of rules that show us that by lessening ourselves our rewards will be greater. By living our lives according to the beatitudes we are strengthening our relationship with Christ by helping His people. Many say that the beatitudes are a paradoxical spirit of a life in Christ. I think the beatitudes are a paradoxical spirit of a life in Christ because many think that through the beatitudes we will be allowed to live with Christ in His life in Heaven. However, it’s ironic that through the beatitudes we are ultimately allowing Christ to live with us in our lives as well.
The Catholic Catechism says that “they [the beatitudes) are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1717). I believe that out of all of the Beatitudes that “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” is the Beatitude that is the MOST needed lesson for the world to learn today.
I chose this one because where I know we live in a world of mostly good, I do still believe that we live in a blasphemous world. You will constantly be peer pressured into doing things that do not make you feel comfortable or that you do not believe are morally right. To stand up and speak your opinion on a topic means putting yourself out there. I do not believe that when it says persecuted it means death. I think it means that you are putting yourself out there to be belittled or made a mockery of. I think it is saying that you know what could happen but you believe so strongly in this topic that it is something worth fighting for.
I think for me this beatitude mainly means standing up for Christ. Christ has given you everything that you have and the least anyone could do would be to stand up for Him when he can not stand up for Himself. I also chose this one because it bluntly states that theirs is the kingdom of heaven. That is the goal for me on this earth. My goal is to one day make it to heaven and I feel like this is a goal of so many of people in society today. “The natural law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid.
God has given this light or law at the creation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1955). The golden rule is the love your neighbor as you love yourself. Would someone bully themselves? Or talk down about themselves? Or even emotionally hurt themselves? Then we should not do that to others. If we would not do it to ourselves then it is probably something that we must avoid. The golden rule really helps us understand of other will appreciate it or if they will be hurt by our actions. There are many incidents in society today in which natural law is being ignored.
I think the biggest for me is the death penalty. God states it very clearly that it in no circumstance is okay for us to kill one of God’s creatures. Would we kill ourselves? No. Most people who are not depressed or in a state of confusion would not. Therefore, how can one fathom the idea that killing a murderer will make the situation any better. What are we accomplishing by taking someone’s life? Is the murderer going to understand why what he/she did was wrong and get help? No! Therefore, I do not understand the benefit of this.
Society, however, uses this often and does not understand what it does to a person’s psyche. God has made the human in His image and likeness to show His constant, everlasting love for humanity. God has given us so many gifts to flourish in society and in relation with Him. We need to use these gifts to better ourselves of the impurities of the world around us. The love that Christ has for us is the same love that we should have for others in our lives. Humans need to remember that even when we fail we can ask for forgiveness and we will grow from that experience.