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It’s how St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+202) defined the glory of God. The glory of God is the human being fully alive. But actually being fully alive? Easier said than done.
Which is why Aleteia is launching an ongoing series titled “The Human Being Fully Alive.” Our goal is to provide a regular short essay to help people flourish in understanding and living their humanity.
How to be human?
But maybe we look upon being human as a cinch — a no brainer … something automatic. An eminent theologian of the 20th century, Dominican Fr. Colman O’Neill, claims it is quite the contrary:
The Christian’s faith leads man to recognize that the project of being human is not within his own grasp. Recognition of this incapacity to be human is a first opening of the human heart to the need for a new and divine initiative, an act of divine love, triumphing over sin.
Aleteia’s The Human Being Fully Alive series aims to provide that divine initiative with standout original essays brimming with insight and encouragement.
At the heart of the series is an insight of distinguished moral theologian Fr. Servais Pinckaers, O.P.:
The human is more than human: Moral theory can never truly grasp the full meaning of the human itself, unless it realizes that the human is always greater than our idea of it. Whatever is human always exceeds our ideas about it. No concept of humanity can adequately grasp the best and noblest qualities of the human person.
He then adds:
The human dimension is revealed particularly in times of trial and suffering, which touch us intimately and show us true reality. It also makes us sensitive to the suffering of others and teaches us that goodness of heart that we describe as “human.” The human is also revealed in love and hatred, hope and discouragements, sadness, fear, and joy, in all the stirrings of the human heart, which open to us life’s secrets.
Aleteia’s The Human Being Fully Alive series wants to connect deeply with those stirrings of the human heart and open up to our readers life’s secrets so that they can live their humanity fully, freely, and with great joy — as an adventure.
The basic human drama
Who among us isn’t looking for a little extra help in facing the questions raised by culture, the confusion caused by so many conflictual issues? Pope St. John Paul II — who was also a dramatist — told us that “the basic human drama is the failure to perceive the meaning of life, to live without a meaning.”
So many of us in our heart pray this prayer of the poet Pär Lagerkvist: “Who are you who so fill my heart with your absence? / Who fill the entire world with your absence?” We know that we are made for a Presence. “Nobody settles purely and simply for living. We want to live for something” (Simone Weil).
The topics to be covered include everything for becoming the most informed, animated, convicted human being we can be. They include: the restlessness of the heart for God, happiness, the Beatitudes, the theological virtues, the moral virtues, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the religious sense, truth, friendship, freedom, fragility, the mystery of suffering, perseverance, beauty, relationships, prayer, goodness, betrayal, sacrifice, wonder, desire, generosity, liturgy, trust, expectation, sin and forgiveness, gratuitous loving, listening, laughter and humor, loneliness, loss, dependence, health and fitness, community, thankfulness, destiny, mission, growth, being needed, study and learning, detachment, compassion, kindness, tender-heartedness, meaning, purpose, risk, and holiness.
Vincent van Gogh once observed, “I wouldn’t give two cents for life if there were not something infinite, something deep, something real.” There is something infinite, deep, and real, and Aleteia’s The Human Being Fully Alive series is going to show it to you so that you can embrace it and let the Infinite fill your life to fullness.
You’ll be able to follow the series through the tag “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.