If you are like me, you are probably rather content with life. In meditating on my own life, it seems clear to me that I like comfort and ease and try to avoid challenging situations. I just want everyone to get along. And for the most part, it all works out. Most of us are well fed, educated, housed and clothed. We have friends who agree with us. If we are of working age, most of us have jobs. What could be better?
Now, admittedly, we all have our times of trials and difficulties. We have cancer and loved ones die and we get into accidents. But, by and large, most of us move along with nary a major concern.
So, in the face of such a life, where is there a need for God, a need for a Savior, a need for the Church? However, to me, there is a significant question that challenges my self-satisfaction: Why? Why am I here? Why is my life worth anything? The answer to these questions about why cannot be settled merely by looking into myself, as if I can explain myself and my purpose.
Now some will say, ah, why bother? Just enjoy life and move on. Stop thinking about any meaning in life and simply take on one day at a time. It is that old “whatever” response that many make when a challenge is posed that they don’t want to accept. Perhaps I think too much, but I am not made in such a way as simply to move on.
Something that amuses me greatly that I have often heard at funerals is how our loved one will live on in our memories. I am one of the very few of my cousins who actually remembers my Great-Grandmother Boyea. I suppose when I die, she will really be gone! And besides, how much of her do I really remember? Does my feeble memory count as the only purpose of her life? You see, I need more. I want to know why I am.
The only answer which makes sense to me is that Someone loved me into being, and I don’t simply mean my parents. Someone loved all of us into being, including those who are not actually the result of physical human love. That Someone loved me into being not for his sake but rather simply to share love, to have me exist. That Someone is beyond us and yet continues to love me and yearns for me to be with him forever. This life is not all there is. The horizon of my day-to-day existence is eternal love. I don’t mean selfish love. I mean love that seeks truly and only the good of the other.
Now “real love” does give purpose and meaning to my life, especially a love which will last, that is not fleeting as the morning dew. I know, from my own sinful experience, that I am simply incapable of that kind of love on my own. I need ongoing love and help (yes, grace) of that Someone who loved me into being. The Savior is the Son of God, the Son of Love, who came not only to show me how to love, but to give me the power to love in a self-giving way. His Holy Spirit and his Church give me the means to grow in that kind of love, to be forgiven for the countless ways I fail in that kind of love, and eventually to be united with that Son of Love, Jesus, and all those who seek him as we journey to heaven.
Yes, I suppose I could just sit on my couch and not think about the big questions, but that is not how I am made. As a result, I have to go forth and announce the Gospel of the Lord.