Today marks the day of remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we do every year, the U.S. honors the late civil rights leader whose prophetic stance in favor of economic justice and equality for all people continues to rattle our consciences.
More than 50 years ago, he shared his dream that “people would not be judged by the color of their skin but instead by the content of their character.” Yes, the content of OUR character.
Our lives, currently, are very focused on what is convenient without necessarily thinking about the fact that we share our world with other human beings who are on the same journey toward realizing their purpose. This means that we recognize the dignity of each individual regardless of who they are and where they are from. Our differences add to the richness of a world that, at times, is bereft of appreciating contributions made by many no matter how great or small. If we become stumbling blocks in the way of another to achieve his/her potential in life, then we step away from recognizing our own potential that can only be realized within the human community as we know it. This is not always convenient for ourselves individually, but it is convenient for all of us collectively because it leads to inclusivity, and inclusivity is authentically human.
Constructing authentic lives contributes to our journey toward discovering our purpose and celebrating the good that we are and the good that we do always in relation to the other. Being authentic does not endorse ambition, entitlement, or power that seeks to control. “Not everybody can be famous”, King says, “but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service…you only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” This is the heart of Christ’s teaching.
We are architects of our own destiny, yet, it is the Gospel message that engineers our lives and orients us toward God.