Over the past few months, the McGrath Institute for Church Life’s Office of Life and Human Dignity has been hosting a series of webinars entitled “Conversations that Matter.” The goal of this series is to spark authentic dialogue that deepens our commitment to our fellow sisters and brothers without the polarization and vitriol that currently characterize these conversations. This semester’s focus is the “Intersection of Justice and Pregnancy.” These particular webinars are structured to widen the scope of understanding about the work of the pro-life movement, societal structures that impact women, and supporting women who are in crisis. In learning more about these topics, we hope that conversations will move beyond the categories of pro-life and pro-choice to empathy and creativity in support of both moms and their unborn children.
We can look to the heavens, or the mountains, or the vast ocean and marvel at the work of our creator. The Lord reveals himself to us through his creation, and when we take a moment to stop and behold his majesty, we are in awe. But what about the pinnacle of God’s creation? What about the human person?
The common good has been invoked in discussions surrounding our charge to stay at home, to physically distance ourselves from others, and to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. Each one of us has been called to pick up our particular crosses: working on the front lines, isolating at home with no one else around, or living on top of one another—kids and parents vying for space. We see grandparents and grandkids through glass walls, unable to give or receive hugs, we spend time with friends via FaceTime and Zoom, and we pray at home instead of joining with our faith community in prayer and sacrifice at the church in celebrating the most holy sacrament of the Mass.
Last year, the Notre Dame Office of Life and Human Dignity launched a new offering, Teaching Human Dignity. The Teaching Human Dignity series is a one-of-a-kind collection of units/lesson plans, curriculum resources, and expert guides that empowers teachers to incorporate life and human dignity issues into existing curriculum. These resources are meant to be used in traditional academic disciplines, such that students are formed to recognize the worth of the human person while discussing poetry, analyzing historical events, or learning about biology.
As New Year’s resolutions abound, it’s important to reflect not only on what resolutions we might make, but also why we are making these resolutions. We just spent several weeks preparing for the coming of Christ. While the joy of Christmas is now upon us, we still live in a period of already/not yet. We still await Christ’s return in glory, so in a way, we are always called to prepare for his advent. Maybe this year, in addition to resolutions to exercise, eat well, be more fiscally responsible, etc., we might consider a resolution to cultivate a spirit of preparation all year long so that our hearts are ready to welcome Christ when he comes again.