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Pictured above: Chiara Corbella Petrillo

Every human person is born with dignity. We call this human dignity. It is the principle that states you are good and made for eternity. You are made in God’s image and likeness and are unrepeatable. As simple as this sounds, it is the understanding that you are special and your life is a gift. This teaching applies to all human persons. Your life is important, but so is every other person’s. Each life is an unrepeatable gift.

Following the understanding that each life is a gift, one could conclude that every part of life is a gift –both the joys and trials. To radically live out the principle of the dignity of the human person, we must rejoice in the gift that life is wherever it is found, but also give thanks in suffering and lead others to do the same. An example of this can be seen in the life of Chiara Corbella Petrillo. Chiara died in Italy in 2012 when she was 28 years old. Throughout her life, she radically said yes to the gift of life as it is. She had three children, two of whom died shortly after they were born due to untreatable abnormalities in the womb. She accepted each life, completely entrusting it to God in gratitude. She was diagnosed with cancer during her third pregnancy but chose to hold off on treatment until after the baby was born. After the child’s birth, she was informed that she was a terminal patient. She accepted each joy and suffering in her life with gratitude for the gift of life that it was. As death became imminent for Chiara, she received each moment as a gift, but prayed, “Lord, you can ask me anything, but I can’t do it if I am surrounded by such sad faces.”  Chiara can be a witness to each of us, to look on each moment of life for the gift that it is despite how it may look.

Human dignity is intrinsic to every single human person. Each human person is created good in the image and likeness of the Creator. Their life has meaning and purpose despite any outward appearance or trial. We are invited to respect both the dignities of our own lives and of those around us.

Prayer:

Lord and giver of all life, help us to value each person, created in love by you.
In your mercy, guide and assist our efforts to promote the dignity and value of all human life, born and unborn. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Action:

Take some time and write a note of encouragement and thanksgiving to someone who is going through a difficult time. Remind them of their goodness and the goodness of life.

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