Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Christian's Goal in Life

What is the goal of life? God, for the religious; for the nonreligious, living well. Although pursuing the material comforts of life is a tempting goal for many, the believer knows this will not bring true happiness. For a Christian, the direction of our life can be summed up by  the familiar words of Jesus in the Beatitudes. The columnist writing on spirituality for the Catholic Times says the secret to attaining happiness is to have the proper goal in life: living in harmony with God's will.

The proper goal for a Christian married couple should be, first and foremost, to live for the glory of God, and secondarily to save one's soul. In the same way, he says our students who often study hard primarily for personal success, should have as their primary goal the glory of God. This approach to life requires obedience to the will of God.

Faith needs obedience. Without obedience, says the columnist, we will have the temperament of migratory birds, and problems that are fundamentally spiritual will come to the surface. We can do well for a time with a fickle temperament, but then we flutter off to something else, when dissatisfied or in trouble.

Obedience  requires that we cease being migratory, that we be steadfast in our pursuit of our goal, while being open in our responsiveness in meeting the challenges of life. If we are restricted by our thinking, the columnist believes that the option of choosing among multiple possibilities will not be available to us.  God is always there  to fill us with his word; with his grace, he  is moving our minds and hearts in the right direction. Throughout  our life God continues to move us, whether through those we meet in life, or through the Scriptures, the lives of the saints, or our reading--both of books and of nature. We have no way of knowing the  many ways he speaks to us, so we have to be ready and open.

This is not an easy path for most of us; there are many things that militate against this openness to God and others. Those fixated on  yesterday will not be open to the dawning of a new day, or be open to the possibility of an ever-renewing self that is responsive to our neighbor and to whatever situation in life comes our way. We contemplate  yesterday only to learn about living today, striving each day to be more in harmony with the will of God. To insure that we stray as little as possible from our good intentions, it's helpful at the end of each day to reflect where discord made its appearance in our life, and take note of what can be improved to bring us more in harmony with the will of God.