We are all confronted with the question--what is the meaning of life? What do I want to do with my life?
I think all of us have a vocation, and I am not necessarily talking only about religious vocations. We are called to manifest the gifts and talents given to us, to be humans fully alive. As St. Irenaeus shares, it is when we are fully alive that the glory of God radiates forth unto this world.
In the Our Father, we pray 'on Earth as it is in Heaven.' Perhaps we can say that, to be in heaven, is to become fully alive. It is that end, that telos, to reach the pinnacle of our human existence. The road of our history aims towards this end, with the light of Christ as the beacon for humanity. To be as it is in Heaven would be to have the entire world fully alive.
Yet, a new Earth does not just happen. It requires hard work. It requires sacrifice. It demands our whole being.
It also demands that we get over ourselves.
We are beings who, by nature, rely on one another. Our lives are inextricably linked. Just think of all those who have formed you in your life, whether for ill or for good. Your parents. Your kindergarten teacher. The mailman who delivers your mail. The farmers who help to produce your food and the ones who bring that food to your communities. Those who pick up your garbage. All those who came before them, spanning all the way back to the beginning of humanity. And, for those who believe, the One who made it all possible to begin with.
Part of how we live our lives depends on whether we believe that our lives have purpose, or if we believe that we are just mere accidents of nature. I, personally, would not feel impelled to do anything with my life if I did not believe in a Purpose behind it all.
I joined the Jesuits because I felt called to serve our world in this particular way. That somehow, through my life, I would help to bring heaven here on earth, even if the movement towards that goal moved only slightly. Although miniscule, that still makes us closer than before.
Add up all of our minuscules, and perhaps mountains will be moved.
You have your own vocation which is different from mine. You have your own gifts and talents that I do not have. But, I do not think we are meant to live our lives merely for ourselves. In reality, we cannot do it by ourselves. If that was God's intention, He would have created for us isolated, self-sustaining islands in which we would never have to look each other in the face.
The kingdom of God here on Earth is a collective effort, and all of us are involved. We do not necessarily have to like one another, but we are all called to love one another. There is a difference. That love spurs us to service, to help our brothers and sisters become more fully alive on this earth.
What are your own gifts and talents? How are you called to serve? How will we bring increased life to our world?
In this Lenten season, let us pray that our lives become lives of almsgiving through the love and service that we offer to one another in this world. Let us not tear each other down, but to lift each other up. And let us believe and have faith that this is all possible with the grace of God in our midst.