As they form their identities over time and seek to affirm their own worth in the face of the goodness and the ambiguities of being in relationship, human beings must choose between accepting or rejecting God's love and God's promise. God gives human beings this choice precisely because of God's love for human persons. God respects the inviolable dignity of the human person and their absolute worth as moral agents, as people who can make moral decisions. Christian faith affirms the worth and dignity of all human beings and God's boundless love for humanity. However, individual human beings, situated as they are in particular historical circumstances, have to make choices and to act, in ways that realise their own and other's dignity. Such ways of acting 'incarnate' God's love in the world. Because they are free, rational and relational, human beings can choose to tear down and destroy the beauty and goodness that God has given to them. On the other hand they can choose to hear God's call when God asks them to care for the world, and deeply love all that is in it. This is the fundamental choice that all human beings face, a choice that all human beings must make.
Living life wholeheartedly entails engaging in life with openness, sincerity and authenticity. It is about cultivating courage and compassion and sharing life with others (Brown, 2012). The pathway to wholeness and freedom rests largely on what we decide to do with our disappointments, frustrations, failures, betrayals, injustices and hurts. Acknowledging and sharing weaknesses and difficulties can often be more nourishing to self and others than sharing qualities and successes (Chittister, 2003). 'Only when all of our weaknesses are accepted as part of our humanity can our negative, broken self-images be transformed.' (Vanier, 1998 p.26). The struggle to keep these opposing tendencies of human nature in proper balance teaches us wisdom and leads us to an increased capacity for compassion, forgiveness and love (Rohr, 2011). The Christian narrative teaches us that in each struggle there is a divine gift—conversion, independence, faith, courage, surrender, limitations, endurance, and transformation (Chittister OSB, 2003). Living wholeheartedly also involves the struggle to recognize and overcome distorted perceptions of, and inclinations away from, what is true, good and authentically human. In this struggle Christians seek help from God. As we grow in our capacity to make God present in the world, we grow in the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love.
Wholehearted living is made possible for the Christian through faith in God's love for the world and God's promise of eternal happiness for all human beings. It could be argued that there are two ways that one might decide to live wholeheartedly. The first would be to say that the world is an absurd place where the inevitability of one's death and the infinity of the universe makes an individual human life insignificant. In the face of human insignificance and the apparent meaninglessness of life the individual can only choose between accepting death and despair or living in a whole-hearted life-giving way. The second, more Christian way is a more hope-filled one. Certainly, the Christian is also exposed to the same experiences that suggest a meaningless universe but the decision to nonetheless live wholeheartedly is based on an affirmation that contrary to these experiences, the world is fundamentally a good place, freely created by a rational and loving God. For the Christian there will come a time when suffering will no longer have any place in the world. The Christian view is thus a hope-filled one rather than despairing one. The Christian view is based on faith in God, and hope in God's promises. The Christian view chooses love over destruction and joy over misery.
God has called us to flourish. God wants us to flourish. In a sense, flourishing is our human vocation. Human beings don't simply exist. Human beings can exist badly in circumstances that don't seem to be in tune with the idea that their existence is a good thing and that they are willed and loved by God. Such circumstances can lead to the death or perishing of human beings in both the literal and the figurative sense. Perishing in the figurative sense mean that spiritual life, mental well-being and physical health begin to wither and die. On the other hand human beings can exist well, living their lives in circumstances and ways through which they flourish. When we think about what it means to talk about human flourishing, we focus on the achievement of the fullness of our potential as human beings in all dimensions: physical, mental, spiritual and relational. The Catholic perspective promotes human flourishing in all its dimensions together with the making of moral choices in ways that contribute to, rather than threaten or undermine, this flourishing of the whole human person.