Why We Serve
Question: What do you think of when you hear the word “service”? Does it call to mind images of mission trips? Soup kitchens? Helping elderly women cross the street?
Serving others can take many forms. Whatever it may be whether you volunteer we must get outside ourselves and tend to the needs of others. Saint Paul wrote to the community at Philippi: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-4)
Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
Jesus taught us how we should treat others and how to create a more just and compassionate world. Since then, his lessons, along with scriptural tradition, have developed into Catholic social teaching—the values and principles that guide us as we put our faith into action. Here at St. Monica, we use the seven key principles of Catholic social teaching as the inspiration and motivation for serving others, especially those who have far less. Those seven principles are:
- LIFE AND DIGNITY OF THE HUMAN PERSON
Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore, every person’s life and dignity must be respected and supported from conception through natural death. We believe that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
- CALL TO FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND PARTICIPATION
The human person is not only sacred, but social. How we organize our society — socially, economically, legally and politically — directly affects human dignity and the ability of every human person to grow in community. Marriage and family, the foundations for social life, should be strengthened and supported. Every person has a right to participate in society and a corresponding duty to work for the advancement of the common good and the well-being of all.
We are one human family. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Our love for all of our brothers and sisters calls us to seek a peaceful and just society where goods are distributed fairly, opportunity is promoted equally and the dignity of all is respected.
- DIGNITY OF WORK
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. To uphold the dignity of work, the basic rights of workers must be respected — the right to productive work, to fair and livable wages, and to organize and join a union.
- RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Every person has a fundamental right to life — the right that makes all other rights possible. Each person also has a right to the conditions for living a decent life — food, health care, housing, education and employment. We have a corresponding duty to secure and respect these rights for others and to fulfill our responsibilities to our families, to each other and to our larger society.
- OPTION FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
Scripture teaches that God has a special concern for the poor and vulnerable. The church calls on all of us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. This preferential option for the poor and vulnerable should be reflected in both our daily lives and public policies. A fundamental measure of our society is how we care for and stand with our poor and vulnerable brothers and sisters.
- CARE FOR GOD’S CREATION
The world that God created has been entrusted to all of us. Our stewardship of the earth is a form of participation in God’s act of creating and sustaining the world. In our use of creation, we must be guided by a concern for generations to come. We show our respect for the Creator by our care for creation.