Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
The principle that any estimate of what is morally good must be judged on the whole of human existence and purpose in life. Thus the totality of what constitutes a human beings is not body alone, but mortal body joined with immortal spirit. It is not earthly life alone, but a continuum of that life which begins as soon as a child is conceived and bridges the moment called death into eternity. It is not even human life alone, of body and soul, but human life elevated to participation in God's life because God became man in the person of Jesus Christ.
Essential to this view of totality is the value of human liberty, by which a person can freely collaborate with divine grace and thus give glory to God, although lying in bed as a "helpless" invalid; the value of enduring the Cross by patiently accepting, in oneself and in others, the ravages of disease or the heavy demands of old age; and the value of loving mercy, which does not ask why, but, like Christ, sacrifices self for others just because they are others, and knows that the self-obligation is pleasing to God.