Is the Image of Humanity the Greatest Gift We Can Give Someone?

by Mark Votava


When I was a child, gender, race and class were not labels that I used to differentiate others in my life.  I saw people for the gift of who they were by their love, joy and presence to me.  Differences were harder for me to see.  I just liked being with others because it made sense to my young self to be with people and value them for who they were in the image of their humanity.

As I got older and learned about “life,” I had to work harder to see the value and sacredness of others.  I tended to lose what my younger self seemed to know so well.  But I am learning to recover from all of this.  I am becoming free not to label others in any way.

I have often thought, “What if I never judged anyone anymore for whatever reason?”  Is this even possible?  Sometimes I don’t believe it is.  Sometimes I believe it more than other days.

I would like to say that I don’t label and judge others, taking away their humanity in the process, but unfortunately I do sometimes.  I want to be free to love and not label.  Being free to live by valuing the image of humanity in others is healing me to be a more loving person in the world.

  •  Learning to see Christ in those around us

At times our prejudices make it hard for us to see in others the image of our humanity.  We see only what we want to see.  The communal imagination longs to touch our humanity in the real contexts of everyday life.  It is essential that we learn to see Christ in one another in the parish.  Healing will come to us as we learn to see Christ in those around us.

  •  Being healed by being in each other’s presence

“Because we are learning to recognize the Christ in one another,” Enuma Okoro points out, “we are also more susceptible to being healed just by being in one another’s broken yet holy presence.”

  •  Looking for the image of humanity in others

Sacredness lives in us because Christ lives in us.  That means simply being in another’s presence is to value that sacredness while embracing a holistic spirituality in the parish.  The communal imagination looks for the image of humanity in others.  Everyday life will reveal to us relational revelations when we see the image of humanity in others.

  •  Christ inhabited a place that shaped him

Christ was the ultimate image of humanity.  He was a human being just like us. He breathed the same air.  He walked the same earth.  He inhabited a place that shaped who he was.

  •  We are all made in Christ’s image

He slept and ate and drank.  He had relationships.  He struggled with emotions. He laughed and cried.  We were all made in his image and that is reflected in our humanity.

What is one way you are learning to see the image of humanity in someone else?