Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Alex Farmer

1/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic-Link (en.catholic-link.com/)

Heath's main concern was what people would think of him. How could he, the perfect man, have a baby with Down Syndrome?

Today's video tells the story of Heath, the man whose perfect life didn't turn out the way he expected. An overachiever, he excelled at everything he did: in school, on the athletics track, as a pilot. He married Jennifer, his high school sweetheart, and they soon had a beautiful daughter. Heath looked forward to them having a son to round out their perfect family. He was disappointed when their second child turned out not only to be a girl, but also to have Down's syndrome. Heath's main concern was what people would think of him. How could he, the perfect man, have a baby with Down Syndrome?

Highlights

By Alex Farmer

Catholic-Link (en.catholic-link.com/)

1/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Down Syndrome, Value of Life, Love, Children, Abortion, Pro-Life


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Link) - When I first saw this video I was mainly struck by the obvious pro-life aspect, especially the courage of Jennifer in refusing to have an abortion despite her fears that her husband would leave. But there is a lot more to it.

Firstly, what does it mean to be perfect? We live in a very perfectionist culture, and in many ways the more we achieve the harder it is for us when we fail. We are pushed to excel at everything, whether that means being the smartest, the fastest, the most popular, the owner of the coolest cell phone or the biggest house.

Being the best is made even harder by the opposing train of thought which says that it's not fair if some people are better at things than others and so there will be no prizes, because everyone's a winner!

We then find ourselves wondering, how am I supposed to succeed when the opportunities to succeed have been taken away from me? Even the Gospel tells us to "be perfect" as our heavenly Father is perfect. Be as perfect as God? But I'm not the best at anything! Why would God set me such an impossible task?

Heath is a man who has figured out the answer to this: he now knows he is not perfect, but one thing is, and that is his love for his daughter Paisley who was born with Down's syndrome. God is perfect, He is love. So when we listen to the words of Jesus telling us to be perfect we need to remember that he is no talking about races or exams or possessions, it is not about never making a mistake, he is talking about love. Love, as St Augustine says, and do what you like. 

This brings me on to my second point which is happiness. God has a plan for our happiness, and it's not about passing exams and winning races. The plan is not about what we can do, it's about who we are: it is a plan of love. To be happy, we need to be fully ourselves, the people God has called us to be. Part of that certainly includes nurturing the talents God has given us, but the way we become fully ourselves is by giving of ourselves to other people.

Heath is obviously a great athlete, but he didn't run 321 miles because he wanted to win races. He did it because he wanted the world to know he was proud of his daughter and to change the way people think about Down's syndrome. He was thrilled when they won a race, but his happiness in life comes from loving Paisley (and his other children), caring for her and being a good father. He gives himself to his daughter by loving her: this makes him happy and fulfilled. He started out with a checklist of perfection which he thought would lead to happiness, and it was only when he let the list go that he really became happy.

Real love always has the other's interests at heart, and we can see this with Heath and Paisley. Once his fears were for himself and what other people would think of him. Now his fears are only for Paisley, that other people might be unkind to her and cause her pain. Heath's love is also open, he talks about what he has learned from Paisley. Jennifer also showed this real love (which often means standing out from the crownd) when she refused to do something she knew was wrong, literally risking her life as she knew it, when the man she loved asked her to. Loving in this way made Jennifer more open, and she was then able to allow Paisley into her heart soon after she was born.

Finally I would like to ask a question. This video challenges the way we see perfection, love and happiness, but where have our ideas about them come from? We need to be aware of the messages the world is constantly giving us, what they are and where they come from. As Catholics we need to have the truths of the Gospel at our fingertips so that when we come across these ideas (many of which are plain wrong, or even crazy) we know how to respond to them.

-----
Catholic-link.com is a website run by a group of young Catholics seeking to offer videos and resources to help others in their apostolate. See us on Facebook!

---

Videos and resources for Catholic apostolate.



Comments


More Living Faith

If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


You Go Into the Vineyard Too! Every Christian Has a Vocation Watch

Image of Priesthood, Diaconate in Christ,consecrated or religious life,lay ecclesial movements, consecrated Christian marriage - every Baptized Christian has a vocation. We just have to learn to live it!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Church is a seed, sign and beginning of the kingdom, making the kingdom present in a world which is wounded by the effects of sin but waiting to be born anew. The Lord continues His work through us. We are the workers in His vineyard. It matters little what ... continue reading


Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by Islamic State Watch

Image of There was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981 by Turk Mehmet Ali Agca. That Pope later forgave his attacker.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis at risk of an assassination attempt by ISIL'Band of criminals' could have Pope Francis in its sights prior to his visits to Albania, TurkeyCatholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See warns that there are credible threats against ... continue reading


Patriarchs ask faithful to help 'save Christianity in the Middle East' Watch

Image of Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan prayed during an ecumenical service in Washington last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the region. "Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian ... continue reading


With just six months to live, news anchorman finds comfort with God Watch

Image of Dave Benton announced on his Illinois show that he had only six months left to live after a long battle with brain cancer.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An Illinois news anchorman with Champaign WCIA-TV shared heartbreaking news with his viewers on September 11, revealing that after a lengthy battle with cancer, he had only six months to live. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 51-year-old anchorman, Dave ... continue reading


Did a Catholic Online candle contribute to a miracle? Here's a yes!

Image of Did a prayer candle have a role in a recent miracle?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online has received many comments thanking us for sharing the prayers of the faithful. Catholic Online has a vibrant prayer community and we are happy to report another miracle. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Mika T.* sent an email to Catholic Online ... continue reading


Pope Francis denounces ongoing global conflict as 'piecemeal' World War III Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has often condemned the concept of war in God's name, said it would be legitimate for the international community to use force to stop

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his visit to the Redipuglia monument, the resting place of 1000,000 Italian soldiers killed during World War I, Pope Francis condemned ongoing conflicts across the globe. "Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep. Even today, after the second ... continue reading


Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Watch

Image of Rev. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D. is the Executive Director of the Catholic Education Foundation.

By Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas,Ph.D., S.T.D.

Every cross borne by any believer in history gains meaning and becomes life-giving when it is brought into a relationship with the Cross, the Cross from which Jesus reigned as the King of Love and over which He triumphed in His glorious Resurrection.  The ... continue reading


Two U.S. priests appointed by Pope Francis to address clergy sexual abuse Watch

Image of Father Oliver had previously served as a judge and promoter of justice in Boston tribunals and as a consultant to the Boston archdiocesan review board.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Addressing the sexual abuse of minors by clergy within the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has appointed two U.S. priests to top positions at the Vatican. Father Robert W. Oliver, from Boston and Jesuit Father Robert J Geisinger, a member of the Chicago-Detroit ... continue reading


The truth about climate change

Image of Pope Benedict is known as the 'Green Pope' because of statements he has made on the environment. Pope Francis is also said to be working on an encyclical about the environment.

By Tony Magliano

"Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change .  loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek out Yahweh while he is still to be found, call ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16
1 'Now the kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 all in accordance with my most confident hope and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 21st, 2014 Image

St. Matthew
September 21: St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter