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?

Article 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

Making a Difference

Image of Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses.

By Tony Magliano

Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses. They spoke truth to power, and challenged all of us to advance the kingdom of God - a kingdom of love, justice and peace. St. John XXIII, affectionately known ... continue reading


Rome being crushed by millions of pilgrims packing into the city for historic canonization Watch

Image of Pilgrims are packing into Rome, creating a logistical and safety problem for city officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All roads lead to Rome and that isn't a happy thing for everybody as the city is being crushed by millions of pilgrims seeking to attend the canonization of Bl. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. The city's mayor says the city is prepared, but not everyone is happy ... continue reading


John's Paul II's Doctor: I don't know how he survived the shooting Watch

Image of Pope John Paul II miraculously recovered from assassination attempt. After his recovery, he forgave his would-be killer, visiting him in prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The doctor to Bl. Pope John Paul II has explained that he doesn't know how the assassin's bullet intended to kill him did not do so. He also talked about the Holy Father in his last days, as he worked amid failing health. "I don't know how he survived the shooting," ... continue reading


Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action' to end global hunger Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis helped launch a worldwide movement to end hunger through prayer and action. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Online with Your Catholic Voice Foundation is participating, along vwith Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and the ... continue reading


Coptic priest added as Pope Francis' second personal secretary Watch

Image of Some say that the appointment of a Coptic Catholic priest is a sign of  Pope Francis' commitment to dialogue with the Arab and Muslim world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Coptic Catholic priest Yoannis Lahzi Gaid has been personally chosen by Pope Francis as his second personal secretary. Lahzi Gaid is currently working in the first section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and is also one of the "translators" who reads the ... continue reading


From an Ancient Easter Homily: Jesus Christ, the Source of Resurrection and Life Watch

Image of

By An Ancient Anonymous Preacher

Thus the passion of our Savior is the salvation of mankind. The reason why he desired to die for us was that he wanted us who believe in him to live for ever. In the fullness of time it was his will to become what we are, so that we might inherit the eternity he ... continue reading


TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: Pope Francis delivers powerful Easter message Watch

Image of Pope Francis enters with his candle symbolizing the light of Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis urged Catholics to share their faith "to the ends of the Earth" during a baptism ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. The solemn ceremony reminds us that we are called to serve amid the joy of the resurrection. The most enduring call of Christ is for us to ... continue reading


Rome already crushed with pilgrims for historic canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII Watch

Image of Hundreds of thousands packed into Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This time, the numbers will be far greater.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rome is well-packed with throngs of pilgrims who have begun a week's long vigil awaiting the most historic canonization in world history. Next Sunday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized by Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. ROME, ITALY (Catholic ... continue reading


BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... 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, Acts 3:11-26
11 Everyone came running towards them in great ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 8:2, 5, 6-7, 8-9
2 even through the mouths of children, or of babes in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:35-48
35 Then they told their story of what had happened on ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 24th, 2014 Image

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen
April 24: Franciscan Capuchin martyr. He was born Mark Rey is Sigmaringen, ... 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