Monday, November 14, 2005

That Super-Complex, One-Syllable Word...


has inspired me by a post of hers to write... that is... to TRY to write a bit about this thing we call life. I think I must be a philosopher at heart, because it really has me so often intrigued and I can't ever seem to come to the end of pondering this concept and what it means.

Why are we here?
Most people sadly don't know the answer to this question. They can't face it themselves and they can't answer you if you ask them point-blank. I'd love to take a survey at... say... Walmart... one day and just see what sort of answers I'd get to that! I'd almost bet money that the majority would be a blank stare or at least a pronounced and puzzled hesitation. What really is the purpose of this life?? Why have we been given existence??
The Catechism provides us with the answer. We have been placed here, now, in order that we might know, love and serve God in this life and thereby be happy with Him for all eternity in Heaven. A fundamental truth and so little known. But what ramifications this short answer has! Indeed, it must determine the very path our whole life must take.

To whom much is given, much is expected. And how very much I have been given!!! A thoroughly Catholic education from kindergarten through college, in a day and age where this is unheard of. A wonderful family; one that is secure and whole and entire, unlike the average American family; one that is loving and giving; one in which we all have the common, ultimate goal of Heaven. He has blessed us with peace, prosperity, daily Sacraments, life in a small, safe and Catholic town, true friends (those who help us reach sanctity), priests and sisters close at hand, and so much more! It is really staggering. And I - for one - don't appreciate it enough until I get outside of what we affectionately (if sometimes 'frustratedly') term "the fishbowl." Not until I attend Mass at a mission chapel or spend a week in a big city - where so many people stumble through a godless life - do I realize what I've got!!

But I digress...
Life. It means so many different things to so many people. To me, life is going to school, interacting with friends, good days, bad days, very predictable days, and family life... much less predictable! ;) Who knows? To someone else, it may mean a lonely house with only a TV for company after a day spent working at a computer screen.
Which brings me to a poem I find most appropriate in this consideration of our existence...

"Without and Within"

If every man's internal care
Were written on his brow,
How many would our pity share
Who raise our envy now?

The fatal secret, when revealed,
Of every aching breast,
Would prove that only while concealed
Their lot appeared the best.

~ Metastasio

Appearances are never to be judged by... it is occasionally proven to me first-hand that things are seldom what they seem: skim milk masquerades as cream. Only today, I was given the opportunity to have a lengthy and very good conversation with a friend of mine... I only had an inkling that something MIGHT be up. It wasn't until after the conversation that I realized the whole of it... and I doubt even still that I can grasp the whole of her troubles. Probably only a slice. Yet, it was enough to make me remember that it will never do to envy someone else their lot in life. Our crosses are perfectly fitted to us... and they say that if you cannot feel your cross, then you know you are carrying it well.
As Fr. Griego reminded us in Sunday's sermon, there is the story of the man who had the opportunity one day to talk to Our Lord. He asked him if he might exchange his cross for another as it was much too hard for him to bear. Our Lord permitted him to enter a room with many, many crosses of all dimensions. The man walked along and each cross seemed bigger than the next. All much too big for his strength! At last, he came to a little cross resting in the corner of the room. He exclaimed that this is the one he would take! Our Lord then gently pointed out to him that this little one was the cross he had laid down next to the door upon entering the room!

We all have different duties, different crosses, different lives. But we are all given the graces we need to turn these into opportunities to practice sanctity. And this is what life is all about... perfecting ourselves, through the grace of God, so that we might praise Him for all eternity in Heaven. Life ought to be the sanctification of ourselves through the perfect fulfillment of our daily duties.
If we fall in this - and we all do, sooner or later - it is only for our humility. Thus, we see once again the ineffable goodness of God who does ALL things only for our good! They say hindsight is 20/20... and it is often only post-facto that we can see Providence's touch in our lives. It's always there and we must be sensitive to its presence so that it might guide our lives. The lives we are responsible for... responsible to our Creator, Almighty God.

Thus, I can truly say,

C'est la vie!!

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