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Central to our Catholic faith is a conviction that the human personality is sacred and that all human life has meaning both now and forever. That is one thing that makes our Christian gospel the most redemptive force on earth. It believes in and proudly proclaims to all the world this eternal worthiness of every human life from conception until God Himself calls us home. For this reason we have schools and hospitals and orphanages and rest homes. We send out missionaries; we feed the poor; we befriend the lonely and forgotten. Why all this tremendous expenditures of time and effort and money? It is so because we believe that people are the most everlastingly important thing on the face of this earth.
They tell me that the highest mountain in the state of New York is Mt. Marcy. It was named after William Marcy who, in his youth, was regarded as the worst boy in the town of Southbridge, Massachusetts. More than once, he and his friends had run the school teacher out of town. Then Marcy came under the care of a teacher named Salem Towne, and things began happening to Marcy. Now let us shift the scene; years have gone by. The governor of Massachusetts is giving a reception for the Honorable William Marcy. His old school teacher, Salem Towne, is there. From the podium Marcy points him out and says, “This is the man who made me. When I was a youth, I thought everyone was against me; no one saw any good in me. He was the first person who ever believed in me. Whatever merit or distinction I have attained, I owe to him”. Marcy was a United States Senator, Secretary of State, and three time governor of New York. They named the highest mountain in our state after him. When he died, more than 100,000 people were in the funeral procession.
It all went back to someone who believed in the possibilities of the human personality. I know nothing about Salem Towne, but I would be surprised if he were not a Christian, holding on to the eternal sacredness of the human personality. How could a person discover such values in a boy and help to bring them forward if life were just a game that we play for a little while?
Our wonderful Catholic faith with all its God-given values and principles leads to open doors, to endless possibilities; a universe not of blind alleys and dead-end streets, but of open doors. That is how we Catholics ought to see all human life. Granted there are problems we have not solved and questions we cannot answer, but that is a part of that adventure we call human life. Those problems and unanswered questions can be for us open doors.
We adults have the key that will open many doors and open many possibilities for our children and grandchildren and for our neighbors. The key is our belief in love as Jesus taught it and it could work miracles today. With all the values and principles that the love of God had revealed to us through Jesus, our children, and grandchildren and indeed all human beings can truly realize their full potential. As Catholics, let us not shortchange any human person. Love everyone with the unconditional love of Jesus. Teach more by example what Jesus taught by His life. Practice what we have been taught by Jesus. Do not scorn anyone but lead them by your love and care to all that Jesus has in store for them. You too can be a miracle worker for others!!
Father Robert F. Grippo