(Give This to a 20/30 Something)
Just west of Des Moines, Iowa, Interstate 80 hits a fork in the road. If you’re going to San Francisco you keep on I-80 heading west. If you want to go to Houston you bear south on I-35. Two roads heading to two different places. Where do you want to go?
It’s like life. Where you want to go determines which road you take. But here’s where we get caught. We don’t know what to think about life. “Look,” we say, “I just want to be happy”. “Whatever makes me and my loved ones happy, that’s what I want.”
Okay. But what does our real happiness consist in? Not surprisingly I suggest our key to happiness is God. Not that we chose Him . . . rather He has already created us to be His children. We are Children of God. Let’s start there.
The God Factor is critical in how you experience life. Things go off in two very different directions depending on what you believe about God and whether this God has a purpose for your life. See what you think…
Here’s what happens if there is no God
(or if there is a God, one who is indifferent to human history).
- Nothing means anything. Everything is up for grabs as to what is important or valuable or worthy of caring for. There is no goal or standard by which any thing can be judged as “good” or “bad”. It doesn’t matter what you think, there’s no final truth to any thing.
- Since there is no supreme or ultimate goodness that guides our actions, then “lesser goods” will compete for our attention. (Money or possessions of course. Leisure and pleasure are pretty attractive too).
- We become potential “threats” to each other if what you and I both want is in limited supply.
- Things like sickness or poverty or tragic happenings can only be seen as absurd (something like a bad joke). Flee these things. Pity those who encounter them.
- Any longing or fleeting feeling that our lives have ultimate meaning is an illusion and should be treated like Santa Claus with our children. (However let these continue as long as it keeps them happy).
- The noble sentiments that we do have (patience, generosity, brother/sisterhood) leave pretty quickly when life punches us in the nose. Kindness evaporates when you’ve been robbed or lied to.
- Our best hopes for our children would be that they were skillful hunters in getting what they want in a world that doesn’t care.
- About the best thing we can wish anybody is “Good Luck”.
Pretty grim wouldn’t you say? Yet that is the way of the human heart without God. You see we humans were MADE FOR God. Made to enter into relationship with Him and without Him . . . . we lose our purpose for existing. We become, as renowned theologian Romano Guardini put it, “clever animals”.
But there is a God and he does have a purpose for you with your life.
Here’s what happens when you discover God in your life.
(These follow 1-8 above)
- Everything means something. The fact that something “is” gives it purpose in the plan of God.
- The “lesser goods” become what they were intended to be—joys of life that point to a loving God who wishes our happiness.
- Loved by God (and revealed in Christ), we become brothers and sisters to each other NOT “threats” or rivals.
- The hard things in life (sickness, etc.) have been redeemed. They too now serve God’s purpose. (We only know this by Jesus Christ who took suffering and death to himself as part of God the Father’s plan of salvation.)
- Longing for peace or fulfillment in life is a grace put there by God to remind us of our true home. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee Oh Lord.” St. Augustine.
- Noble sentiments for humanity again are graces from God calling us to ACT on behalf of our common good as Children of God.
- Our best hope for our children is that they would grow to be good and kind and happy in “doing what is right and just”. And that they too would come to know the presence of God in their life.
- Our best wish for someone? “Go with God”?
Sooo…Go with God!
Public Policy Issues
In February our diocese reminds us of the need to continue to educate ourselves about public policy issues. Each year an issue is thoughtfully presented to area Catholics to consider in light of our rich faith.
Legislation has been introduced in New York State that would authorize assisted suicide by allowing doctors to legally prescribe a deadly dose of pills at the request of a patient with a terminal diagnosis. This would allow the direct and intentional taking of a human life. There will be petitions at all exits of the church this weekend. These petitions will be hand delivered to our representatives urging them to focus on palliative care and pain management for all those who are terminally ill. Please consider signing this important petition as well as reading more about this issue at www.dor.org