In the Image and Likeness of God ...
Aristotle observed that, “The ultimate value of life depends on awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”
In other words, our value as human beings is not found in our instinctive nature, it is found in our sentient nature.
Some say that “ignorance is bliss”, but, in reality, the gift of thinking, reasoning, and then knowing is the greatest gift humanity has been given; aside from salvation for the misuse of such gifts.
It is because of our sentient nature – the ability to be spiritually aware of those things and people around us – that we can experience wonderful things such as love, joy, and peace.
Yes, the converse is true. We can also experience negative things like hatred, bitterness, and strife. But these should not overshadow our ability to experience the positives. If anything, the negatives should drive us closer to the positives.
At St. Francis we teach our students to understand the value of their ability to “be aware”. However, we teach them more. In addition to teaching them “what” it means to be sentient, we teach them “why” we are sentient – the more important of the two.
Blessed Pope John Paul II explained it simply, “I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life — from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages — is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God.”
Aristotle was correct. Our ultimate value is in our ability to be aware, which is a sacred gift, because it is a gift that comes with being created in the image and likeness of God.