Back in the high school days, one of those loaded questions that came up every once in a while was “what is the meaning of life?” Everyone would joke about it, laugh it off: I went to a public high school, there were all sorts of viewpoints and no one wanted to touch that sort of a question with a 10 foot pole.
This has to be a common crisis to most American high school kids, though. It’s one of those questions that are “too controversial to talk about,” so we avoid the topic. But here’s the issue: I really didn’t know! And almost everyone else was in the same boat. Who in the world is gonna tell us what life’s all about?
Our parents are supposed to. Our leaders are supposed to, too. Unfortunately, for the most part, they don’t know either. Our society is pretty lost (that doesn’t even seem controversial to say anymore), so where can we find the truth?
I found the truth in Jesus and His Church, who still proclaims the good news of Christ crucified even in these troubled times. Jesus said,
“I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” -Matthew 16:18
There are a few times when it becomes so evident that Jesus really did mean that the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail against it. This is one of those. When everywhere else, people are clueless about who we are and what we are made for, I open up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and on the very first page (again, this is the very first page of the entire catechism!), there is the following collection of scripture passages:
“FATHER, …. this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” than the name of Jesus.
Next comes one of the most mind blowing paragraphs I’ve ever read.
1. The Life of Man-To Know and Love God
1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
How appropriate to start off the catechism with answering the biggest questions of who we are and what we are meant to be. We are God’s creation! We are His adopted children! We are to be heirs of GOD! Read it again, let it sink in. No more self-esteem problems, folks. What more could we ask for? God wants to give us everything that we could ever want and more, if only we could open our hearts to Him.
Life isn’t about “isms” anymore, it’s just about God, His love for us, and our response to it.