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

Why do Catholics love the crucifix so much?

Image of The crucifix is an important part of our Catholic identity.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The crucifix is a quintessentially Catholic icon. Although other Christians fondly and proudly display the cross, it is the crucifix that is largely unique to the Catholics. Why is the symbol of the death of Christ so important to Catholics? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


What is the Kingdom of God? How do We Live in it Now? Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present as seed and sign in a world which is in labor, awaiting a new birth. We are a people on mission in that world, waiting to be fully liberated from the ... continue reading


Nuclear weapons still threaten the world

Image of Nuclear weapons still threaten the world.

By Tony Magliano

You are within 30 minutes of being incinerated from nuclear weapons! If you live in or near a large U.S. city or major military installation, you are in harm's way. And when considering that radiation fallout from a nuclear attack would hurt virtually everyone, we are ... continue reading


POPE: 'A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others' Watch

Image of The pope told the priests that

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"A man who is alone ends up bitter, not fruitful, and he gossips about others." Those are the words of the Pope, speaking out during a meeting with 123 priests working in the Diocese of Caserta along with 19 bishops from Italy's Campania region this past ... continue reading


UPROOTED: Largest displacement of worldwide religious communities reached last year Watch

Image of In the nation of Central African Republic, widespread lawlessness and violence between Christians and Muslims resulted in at least 700 deaths in Bangui in December -- alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The year of 2013 turned out to be a very grim year indeed for religious tolerance and diversity. Millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Papal visit to US not confirmed, but archbishop confident

Image of Pope Francis coming to Philly next September!

By Catholic News Agency (News Consortium)

Lets all Pray that Pope Francis comes to visit us here in the United States of America. Philadelphia, PA  (CNA/EWTN) - Reports that Pope Francis will travel to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in 2015 remain unconfirmed by the Vatican; however, ... continue reading


Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... 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, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder 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