A few months ago, I was asked to give a talk at Maggie's Place about chastity. I began sketching out ideas on two dry-erase boards and I came to the realization that chastity is the fruit of dignity. Contemplating redemption, I saw a pattern: restoring human dignity can be found in the Our Father.
Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name
I was on an airplane headed to California when a friend of mine was released from prison. She wanted to make changes in her life. As I looked down on the mountains, I penned a song to welcome her back:
You're more than societies label
and in knowing you, I see your true heart
and I just praise God for all that you are
and I pray you get a brand new start, as a child of God.
We are God's children and we have a dignity that no other creature can claim. No human can take this away. No sin can take this away. It is The Truth.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, on Earth as it is in Heaven
A few weeks ago, I heard a man talk about how it was useless to do anything because the little he does changes nothing. I thought, "What a horrible thing to say about your life!"
In praying this line, we acknowledge we have the ability to live a redeemed life on earth. We have been given the responsibility to bring the Kingdom of God to this world by living holy lives. We are much more than the misery we see. We are all called to bring Christ into this world, and that is our calling to holiness. In this, we are dignified through the work that we do in bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
While I was working at Maggie Place, some of our guests were so consumed with worry that they would not take action. They lost trust in God, making worry their god.
Part of restoring dignity is realizing that God has given us everything we need and will continue to give us everything we need. Our dignity is not wrapped up in how much we can consume. Our dignity is based solely in God. We make a grave mistake by looking at material goods to gauge dignity. It's the total opposite: those who do not need ?material affirmation? have true dignity.
Forgive Us Our Trespasses as We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us
The greatest gift God gives us is forgiveness (in the form of Christ). In turn, the greatest gift that we can give is forgiveness. You cannot talk about the redemption of human dignity without talking about forgiveness.
There was a time in my life where my heart became hardened, and in not forgiving, I bore bitter fruit. I was not whole. I could never be whole without recognizing that I need to be healed. I need to forgive and I need to be forgiven.
Forgiving has the power to heal; not forgiving has the power to corrupt. Forgiving has the power to redeem human dignity; not forgiving destroys human dignity. We all have a responsibility to restore human dignity.
Lead Us Not Into Temptation, but Deliver Us from Evil
As a man, I am constantly challenged in my calling to purity. I drive down the street and images of scantly clothed women challenge me. Not only does it challenge my purity, but it challenges my dignity. I was made for a greater good than sin and a greater purpose than temptation.
While our dignity should never be judged by our sins, our dignity is realized through mastery of our sins. We cannot master our sins on our own. Someone going through Alcoholics Anonymous calls their sponsor at their moment of weakness to remain faithful to their calling of sobriety. If we are going to remain faithful in our calling to restore dignity, we must be willing to humble ourselves enough to ask God for help. In humbling ourselves, we gain dignity in living out our calling to holiness.
Can you imagine the actions of the Our Father? If we truly lived this prayer out in our everyday lives, we can restore the dignity of the human person in today's society. Be fruitful, and may God's grace be multiplied.
By Theo Tigno for Maggie's Place
More Recent "Our Father" Reflections in Dawg's Thought