We experience many things in this life both good and bad. On the one had there are happy times; when everything seems perfect to us, when our hearts are filled with great rejoicing. On the other had there are sad times; when everything seems difficult or even meaningless, when tears roll down our cheeks. Brethren, we exist, it is an unquestionable fact, but are we living? No one can ever doubt his own existence. There are people who hold that nothing can be known for certain, and yet if they are to doubt their very existence they would appear very foolish even in their own eyes
Life is full of questions. I recall standing before a mirror as a child, looking at myself with many questions in my tiny mind: what am I? Who am I? Cannot say I had all the answers then. I am only discovering them as I grow. It is clear that there are many things that people experience in common: pains, happiness, peace, fear, death etc. This is an indication that life has a common source; since life everywhere is identical it means that it proceeds from a common source. For the fact that life has a common source, it also has a common end; a common purpose; one destiny.
The Creation accounts in Genesis give us a clear direction on this point. It identifies the origin of all things neither with random mutations of electrons, nor with chance but it rather identified its source with a Personal God whose Love moved Him to create everything including Man, to whom he gave power over all other things. There are people who doubt the existence of God; there are others who describe God’s personality in a very ridiculous and impossible way. But there is no doubt, as far as truth is concerned that the God who could create all things must needs be outside what he himself has made, he also needs be all powerful to make all things. Our existence is from God, who himself is uncreated. He does not merely have life, he himself IS life. It is from him that all things spring from.
To many people, life is synonymous with enjoyment, with the gathering of wealth, drinking, eating, etc. Everything to them revolves around the material; the here and now; the physical. Any other thing aside these will either incur their disgust, hatred or at least indifference. To others life is synonymous with building good character; developing themselves by all means. But are all or any of these the true goal of existence? Am I alive simply to make money, eat, drink, gratify my flesh through sex and other means and afterwards die? No! The very fact that one is created without his own consent invalidates the claim that each person has the power to choose his final purpose; to decide what he has been created for. Final purpose has to do with the intention of the Creator, not the selfish will of the creature. The will of the maker precedes the will of the creature and since God is Ultimate Intelligence, he could not have made man without a purpose; a mission; a destiny. This purpose is discovered from the Scripture and Church Tradition and Teachings.
One could be very sure of going the wrong way when he follows his personal inventions rather than that of his Maker. The mutability of man is in itself a great reason to avoid self-trust and self-confidence. If I cannot even depend on myself in temporal or worldly matters, how can I possibly trust myself in eternal or spiritual ones? If I sometimes make wrong choices in taking care of my temporal needs, how can I possibly boast of being infallible as to spiritual things?
All the spiritual goods we know (e.g. Happiness, peace etc) do not come from ourselves or from things seen. We cannot for instance impart happiness to ourselves or to others at will, neither can we receive these from our fellows, they just come to us. We hardly even take note of their real source. We are also to note that all causes do not produce the same effects in all, even though 10 people were to receive the same gift and the same measure, the effects would still differ. The differences lie in personal disposition of the recipient. We cannot conclude that Chicken is good and always sweet without calling to mind that it is so only to those who are healthy – for the sick would quickly vomit them upon consumption.
The meaning of life begins at birth. At that time there arises consciousness in a new person; he is awakened to reality by the Almighty, who is the foundation of all things that are real and true. Life to the newly born begins to take shape. It is the shape it finally attains to at death that will determine the eternal destiny of this soul. Some people just leave themselves at the mercy of their community as to the discovery of the meaning of life, some do not even sense anything else beyond the material universe, and some have fragments of eternal truths but are too lazy to seek out the rest. The one who was born is a creature of another, and for him to lead a fulfilled life, it must never be lived away from his Creator who alone perfectly understands him and knows all that his heart craves for. I was once blessed by God with a very strong (but childlike) conviction. I sensed that everything that man eats, gives him some satisfaction, wine, meat, etc. I believe that God is the one who gives such satisfactions through those created things. Then I concluded that God in His omnipotence can give me those satisfactions without those created things; that God can make me infinitely happy without the aid of any created thing; that if I am able to live for God alone, then my life will truly be blessed.
A created thing is good insofar as it fulfils the will of the maker. A calculator is good when and only when it fulfils the reason for its existence: calculation. A calculator will cease to be good when it begins to do any other thing other than that for which it is made. Man, being a creature is like this. Man is not good when he goes to Church and prays and avoids evil just because of doing sakes, man is good when he fulfils the will of his maker; he is good when he does all those things because of love. Goodness is conformity with the will of the maker. This conformity brings fulfilment with it. Truly, people who do not live according to the dictates of God are sometimes happy; they find some pleasure in life. These pleasures are fleeting and easily pass away. Those who live according to God find real joy; one that lasts forever. There is a great difference between pleasure and joy. pleasure is of the flesh and when stretched becomes disgust or even pain. For instance, eating can cease to be enjoyment, watching movies can weary the eyes, etc. It is simply so with every other thing that has to do with the flesh. But true joy is in the soul, it never turns to disgust. For instance, the joy of a good conscience can never turn to disgust. Contentment does not come from the struggles of man, they are not just something that we give to ourselves or an attitude that we just cultivate. Its absence is not just another thing that we can “fix” anytime. Joy and contentment are given as a reward for doing the will of God. It is not like a thing that is super added to it but something that comes in concomitance with the doing of the will of God.
Life is much more than waking up every day with a heart that is completely replete with temporal things; it is not waking up in the morning to a world that promises us nothing after this present life; it is not living in affluence or in poverty; not in amassing wealth or in seeking popularity. Some may think this is the meaning of life. This is only true to them because they are yet to find something higher than that which they possess. An ugly woman who is the most beautiful in her country is admired by all, not because she is really beautiful but because she is relatively beautiful; because she is the most manageable out of the others, just as the adage goes “in the city of the blind, the one-eyed is the king”. We often cling to those things we are accustomed to with much tenacity, not because they are what we take them to be nor because they actually give the satisfaction they promise but because we are often afraid to lose that thing which we posses in order seek that which we cannot immediately posses; or in other words, we are afraid to lose that which we can see to go in search of that which we cannot see. We are afraid to even abandon sin. But does sin make us any better? Does it give us lasting satisfaction or just momentary pleasure? Life does not revolve around that which we can see; but around He which we cannot see. It is not the promise of a carnal fulfillment, but a possession of a spiritual life; a satisfaction that totally transcends time and space. It is not self seeking or in the gratification of selfish desires. It is in the finding of that thing which we cannot look for; it is the receiving of that satisfaction which we are unable to fathom; it is in the realization that totally outdoes us. It is not in the finding of what we are looking for but in the finding of that, which we cannot seek by our efforts alone, it does not lie within but without; it means going away from ourselves. The meaning of life is found when we “stand still”, it is found in docility, it is found when we realize the fact that there are feelings we are yet to feel, abilities we are yet to possess, life we are yet to live. It means discovering God’s life in our souls and reorienting our lives towards Him. Living has its completeness when we live for God alone, when we wake up in the morning with the conviction that our very existence transcends the here and now; that we cannot be restricted by anything temporary; that we have an existence that is truly life. Then shall everything have new definitions and meanings. Now in this present life, we attain to real peace when we stick to what the Almighty has for us, when we live only for Him. Now in your country you resemble every other person in character, and in your heart you think your life style is ideal; that there is nothing better than living in sin. What shall be your sentiment later? Life is all about growth. Every life grows except life itself (God). Stagnancy is decay. If you remain the way you are, you are stagnant and you are decaying, but if you keep improving yourself; shunning everything that displeases the God that made you, then you’ll keep receiving life, until you posses it in full at death. That which drives you is what you live for. When the driving force of your actions is self then you are living for yourself alone, and believe me, there is no reward you can offer yourself. But when the driving force of your actions and live pattern is God, then you can be sure of being truly human; of being complete; of being truly awake and alive.
Christ is the Word of the Father. We ourselves are the echoes of the Lord. The Lord still speaks to the world in many ways, through the Scriptures, Church Teachings and Traditions, but in the realest way through our very lives. The life of the Christian becomes an answer to the call of the Lord; a resounding of his very voice to the whole world. The life that we live become the reflection of the Word of the Father; Our Lord Jesus Christ, when it meets with the requirements of a true Christian living.
Do you say that all these are lies? What if they are true?