By Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel
Special to The Texas Catholic
Every Sunday we solemnly declare in the Profession of Faith that we believe in “One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” God, who is love, by his very nature creates. It is in the very nature of love to bring life into being. All that exists is a result of the perfect and unlimited love that exists in God.
From the Bible we learn that the high point of God’s creation is the human person. The story of creation in the book of Genesis teaches us that the created material world came about by God’s willing it. “Let there be light, let there be dry land and water, let there be birds in the sky”, etc. Only when it comes to the creation of the human person does the sacred author record that God said, “Let us make man in our own image and likeness, male and female he created them.” And again, only when the account of the human person is created does the sacred author record that God breathed life into the nostrils of man.
Being created “in the image and likeness of God” sets the human person apart from all the rest of creation which is not created in the “image and likeness of God”. Like a painting that reflects the style and personality of the artist, the created world reflects the beauty, power and wisdom of God. But the human person has a special quality that no other part of creation shares in. The human person is created in God’s image and likeness, having a material body and a uniquely created soul or life source which never dies. Man is endowed with a reason and free will giving him the ability to choose and to be in loving communion with God the creator and other human beings. No other part of creation has these qualities.
God has created us for life and communion. Like the internal life of love in the Holy Trinity, God invites us to share life with him and with the rest of humanity. Even though there are many cultures, races and nations of people, we share in this one common thread that we are all born of the one father in heaven. It is to this ultimate end that we are called. God creates us to live forever in communion with him. Everything else that is created exists to help us along that journey and to attain that ultimate goal.
The world today often tries to convince us that our ultimate happiness can be found in this world or the things of this world. The Sacred Scriptures remind us often that these do not give us life. God creates us to live forever. Only God, the author of life, gives us true and everlasting life. Our Lord told us in the Gospels, “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” When Our Lord called himself the Bread of Life, he added, “whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
The Most Rev. J. Douglas Deshotel is an auxiliary bishop, vicar general and moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Dallas.