One of the results of personification, giving human characteristics to animals, is that the reverse is happening. Instead of viewing animals more like humans we are viewing humans more like animals. The age-old question of who we are seems to be answered by the conclusion, sophisticated animals. Many in our world today want to say that while we may be more intelligent and sensitive and emotional and creative, we are only animals. We are animals who evolved, through mutation and natural selection to arrive at modern humans. This is a really sad and dangerous belief.
As christians, we do not reject the notions of mutation, natural selection, change, but we acknowledge that our evolution was not haphazard. We acknowledge that God is behind our development. We acknowledge that God has called humans to greatness. At the root of that greatness is our ability to make choices, free will. Only human beings can say that we are not the product of our genetic material and environment only, but the product of our choices.
We make the choice between love and sin. We know the difference between good and evil.Our greatness lies in the ability to choose love. Of all the species ever evolved, only human beings are called to the greatness of love.
Only human beings can ask, “what is the loving thing to do?” and then act upon it. Only human beings have a conscience and can know the right thing to do. Sin is the refusal to do the loving thing, when we know what the loving thing is. Our greatness is not our own doing, but the call and the gift of a loving creator. While all of us can aspire to greatness, none of us can make it happen without the grace given to us by God.
Greatness is not something to be achieved, but something to work towards. It is a process. While few of us ever lives up to greatness, our history is full of saints who went the distance. Think only of the martyrs of history. Think only of those who gave their lives for you, so that you could have a better life. Saints are not only from history, but from your own family and friends who gave themselves for you. I was blessed with parents, siblings, children, friends, teachers, nuns and priests, soldiers, doctors and nurses and even civic leaders, who gave their lives for the good of us all.
No matter what your situation is, you are called and gifted, to the greatness of love. With the grace of God, and your free choice to love, you can achieve that greatness!
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”