Central to our Catholic faith is a conviction that human personality is sacred, and that human life has meaning both now and forever.  That is one thing that makes the Christian Gospel the most redemptive force on earth – it believes in and proclaims the eternal worthiness of human life.  So, we have schools and hospitals and orphanages and rest homes; we send out missionaries, we feed the poor; we befriend the lonely and forgotten.  Why this tremendous expenditure of time and effort and money?  It is because we believe that all people are the most important things on the face of the earth.

The highest mountain in New York State is Mount Marcy.  It was named after William Marcy, who in his youth was regarded as the worst boy in the town of Southbridge, Massachusetts.  More than once, he and his friends had run the school teacher out of town.  In his later years, the town gave a reception for the Honorable William Marcy.  The old school teacher, Salem Towne, was there.  From the podium Marcy points him out and says, “This is the man who made me.  When I was a youth, I thought everyone was against me; no one saw any good in me.  He was the first person who ever believed in me.  Whatever merit or distinction I have attained, I owe to him.”  Marcy was a United States Senator, Secretary of State, and three times governor of New York.  They named the highest mountain in the state after him.  When he died, more than 100,000 people were in his funeral procession. 

It all went back to someone who believed in the possibilities of human personality.  I know nothing about Salem Towne, but I would be tremendously surprised if he were not a Christian, holding to the eternal truth of the sacredness of the human personality.  How could a man discover such values in a boy and help to bring them out, if life were just a game that we played for a little while?

Our Catholic faith with all its God-given values and principles lead to open doors, a universe, not of blind alleys and dead-end streets, but of open doors.  That is how we, as Catholics, see life from conception to the grave.  Granted there are problems we have not solved and questions we cannot answer, but these are a part of the adventure we call human life.  They too are open doors, granted that to some death seems to be a red light, but red lights turn green.  When the time comes for each of us, we will pass through that intersection with only a brief delay.

We adults have the key that will open many doors for our children and young adults.  That key is our belief that Jesus has the words of eternal life.  With all the values and principles that the word of God has revealed to us through Jesus, our children can truly realize their full potential.  As Catholic adults – parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts,  teachers, coaches – let us not shortchange our children.  Teach them what Jesus taught you.  Teach them our Catholic values and principles.  With deep confidence let us commit ourselves to the task of always teaching our children about Jesus, knowing that it is all most worthwhile.