Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Purpose of Life

Is A Life Of Purpose

“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God's providence to lead him aright.” —Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)

I have a few friends who come to mind as I contemplate truth as a guide and a life of purpose. They have all been battered on the seas of life, and have risen from some manner of family or life dysfunction, or both, and taken on a primary vocation, either early or later in life. Two of them I have known for many years, and two are newer friends.

One man has been a friend for over 20 years, and has risen above family dysfunction, a stint in a Catholic Seminary, lots of job changes, and challenges, and recent battles with addictive behaviours to embrace more fully than at any time in his life the vocation that he has to his marriage and to his position as a father to his four grown and growing children.

A woman I have known for nearly as long was a victim of abuse as a child at the hands of her father, which was dysfunctional in itself, but when compounded with the concept of a "family secret" upped the ante considerably. She has battled her way through the injuries incurred to her person with counselling, and hard work. She is now strong in her weakness, and secure in her person. Her primary vocation in life is her husband, her grown children and his, and her grandchildren.

Another newer friend came up in his loving family, only to be abandoned by his father in his teens, when the attractions of another woman pulled his father away from this "happy" home. He fought his way through years of self abuse, and criminal behaviour, and eventually turned his life around. His primary vocation is raising his children.

The fourth friend is another good man, who was abused by the Christian Brothers in his early years, and has overcome the torment of that, and risen above it to be in his vocation to his marriage to the love of his life, and to the loving of their now adult children.

These folks are much deeper than one paragraph can tell. One paragraph really does them a disservice, except that I am only working on making a point.

They all share some things in common, which I think is the point. All were raised in the Catholic Faith and baptised into it, as well as having enjoyed the sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation. All now share a love of God that they are living and expressing as they choose, but they are all living in deep faith.

Two of the four I know more personally, but I am aware of the stories of all four, and their stories would make you cry for the pain and suffering that they endured in critical times in their lives. But, knowing them and the victory they have achieved over the victimization of their earlier days also brings tears of joy to my eyes, and warmth to my heart.

I call this blog Freedom Through Truth. That is a tough moniker to live up to, but it is only a blog, just words written on artificial paper. Their lives are Freedom Through Truth in the flesh, with skin on the bones, and meat. They are real.

I believe that the early exposure of my four friends to the sacraments and life of the Catholic Church, and to fellowship with God in the Person of Jesus Christ influenced their lives, even in the darkest days. That seed planted in their Baptism and in the other sacraments has borne great fruit in each of them.

Two of them have stayed in the Catholic Church, and continue to worship the God they cannot see in their participation in the sacramental life of the Church. The other two have brought what they have elsewhere, for reasons of their own calling and choosing. They still worship the God they cannot see with their hearts, minds, body and souls. Each one has kept his or her faith in a God who has a plan for their lives, through all the turmoil, trials and tribulations. Even when it was tough and they quit, they never QUIT.

I have admiration for these four and for many others, who have found their purpose in life. None of them have stopped with their primary vocation that I articulated briefly above. Each is working to make the world a better place for others. But, the common denominator is faith in a God that cannot be seen, cannot be understood, but who when we pull back the covers of our lives and our disappointments and sufferings has always been there, giving us what we needed, not what we wanted, for our betterment, out of the abundant love that He has for us.

I invite you all to set aside your sorrows, or better yet, if you can offer them to God as maybe the only thing you own. Ask God to heal you of your blindness to the great love He has for you. There was no sorrow my four friends had that God could not heal for them, though it took time, and also work on their part.

To paraphrase John Lennon: Give God a chance. He's more than up to it.


Joshua S. said...

The smart traveler knows how to pack. Know int how to pack has a lot to do with knowing what to bring along. What will you need, and how much of it?

I'm currently in the middle of a three-month long regimen of daily radiation therapy for cancer. They won't let me bring my family into the treatment room. Only the patient is in the room when equipment is running. It's a solitary experience, and a frightening one. I decided early on to issue a formal invitation to Jehovah to accompany me to these appointments.

At this time in my life, I need God more than ever. He has always been there for me in the past. I don't ask for the impossible. Only the strength to help me get through what I must get through to better my chances of beating this thing. I need the emotional and spiritual support of my faith in God and of my relationship with God. Know that I need God makes me a stronger man. Turning to God in my hours of need is not a sign of weakness, but one of faith. And strength.

I can recommend giving God a chance. Very highly. There are roads you may have to walk down in this life "alone" - and they do not lead to fun places. But you always have the option of getting around that by inviting God to come along - even just for the company!

Note: This works better if you remember to invite God along for the fun times and to the fun places, too. God makes those better as well. I could go on, but testimonials can get so dull and boring...

If I could wish for one thing to come true, it would be for everyone to suddenly awake with an awareness of how much God really does love them. What a seismic shift in geopolitics that would incite!

Michael Brandon said...

Thank you Joshua.

Definitely Post worthy.