Saint Paul wrote that the difference between what we will know in heaven is as great as the difference between what we know now and what we knew when we were children:
When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am a man, I have no more use for childish ways. What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete – as complete as God’s knowledge of me.
Meanwhile these three remain: faith hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
As a child gradually emerges into adulthood during the period of adolescence, more and more opportunities arise to form – and test – a personally validated self. Deep within our human consciousness, God has implanted a hunger for the truth, for goodness, for love – all of which are at holy war with the unevolved beast in us, the Id. Human dignity lies in conquering that beast and discovering God’s law, written right into the way God made things and people.
All creatures deserve proper treatment simply because of the way our Creator made them. According to Vatican Council II:
By conscience, in a wonderful way, the law is made known which is fulfilled in the love of God and one’s neighbour. Through loyalty to conscience, Christians are joined to other [persons] in the search for truth and for the right solution to so many moral problems which arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships. Hence the more a correct conscience prevails, the more do persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and try to be guided by the objective standards or moral conduct. The Church in the Modern World, 16.
What guides you in making important choices, such as the way you deal with your family, friends, and strangers? With animals, food, the environment? Do you treat each consistently or haphazardly: as the mood strikes you or by what you can gain or lose? Are you, honestly, more of an altruist or a utilitarian?