The True Meaning Of Life
“....but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:15).
What is most meaningful in your life? “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a book by Viktor E. Fankl, who was born in Vienna in 1905. He wrote more than 30 books on clinical psychology, and lectured at prestigious universities in the United States before he died in 1997. This book describes the lessons in spiritual survival of those who suffered through the atrocities of the Nazi death camps. Frankl’s theory argues that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as maintained by Freud, but the pursuit of what we find meaningful in our lives.
In 1989, I joined a Bible study in search for fellowship and a better understanding of my Catholic faith. A friend in the group invited me to attend a “Life in the Spirit Seminar” at Christ the King Parish (now Annunciation Parish) in Evansville. I was a busy wife and mother of four, so I found many excuses for not attending the weekend seminar. I took the application and promised to pray before making a decision.
I began praying a novena to the Holy Spirit; and on the 9th day, I had my answer. I was awakened at 3:16 a.m., and was prompted to read from the Gospel of John, verse 3:16. Obediently, I opened to the third chapter of John and found the application to the seminar. Unbeknownst to me, it was bookmarked for John 3:16: “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” I filled out the application, and my reasons for not going became transformed into plans to attend. I was anxious when I arrived at Christ the King on the morning of March 18, 1989, but I was quickly comforted by the opening Scripture for the day—John 3:16!
When we ask God to lead us, He will clear the path we need to follow – but we must listen attentively. I could never have imagined the impact my “yes” to attend this seminar would have in my search for better knowledge of faith and meaning of life. The search is challenging, and no one is exempt from pain and suffering. The true meaning of life is found when seeking holiness, which provides the strength for our spiritual survival. God created man in His image; and through the Holy Spirit, the attributes of God are reflected in each human person. Our openness in using these gifts is the key to our contentment.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “By virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an "outstanding manifestation of the divine image. By his reason, man recognizes the voice of God, which urges him "to do what is good and avoid what is evil. Everyone is obliged to follow this law, which makes itself heard in conscience and is fulfilled in the love of God and of neighbor. Living a moral life bears witness to the dignity of the person” (CCC 1705-1706).
People work hard to be healthy, successful and happy, but this should not be our primary motivation for pleasure. We need to be concerned with the wellbeing of our soul and the souls of those we love. God placed a yearning desire to love Him in our souls. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful!” (Psalm 139). Finding a path to holiness is attainable; ask your parish priest to help you! Amen!