May 25th 2016: Personhood III.

 easter garden MaryM (2) (800x707)
Mary Magdalene was a ‘being in relation’ to Jesus -York Minster MMB

So far in our reflections on the meaning of personhood, we have said that a person is distinguished from the rest of creation in possessing an interior life, a spiritual life; we have said that a person must realise his personhood through the pursuit of truth and spiritual reality, through the responsible use of freedom, we have said that a person is not interchangeable with any other person.  But, there is still more to be said.  Karol Wojtyla will help us.

One of the themes in Wojtyla’s writings is that a person is a person because of his capacity for relationship with others.  He says, ‘Biblical man discovered he could understand himself only as a “being in relation” – with himself, with people, with the world and with God.’  The human person grows and becomes him or herself through relationships with other persons, and the name of that relationship is love.  ‘Person’ is the term that tells us that we’re not merely a member of a species.  There is a perfection in the manner of our being requiring the word ‘person’ to describe it, and leading to a specific manner of realising that perfection.  Again, the manner is love.  Communion with other persons is a vital part of what makes a person a person.

SJC

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