Leo Tolstoy, the 19th century author of such classic literature as “War and Peace” wrote a book called “A Confession” in which he describes his own search for meaning and purpose. Tolstoy discovered that many ordinary people were able to answer such questions through their faith. They had a relationship with God through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit. That friendship with God gave their lives meaning and purpose.
As we go through life, we face crises of one kind or another. The word “crisis” has a twofold meaning: it can be a moment of disaster or a moment of opportunity. I prefer opportunity.
We are constantly letting go of the past so that we can move forward. Time and again, we have to let go—of friends, loved ones, perhaps health or job and ultimately we will let go of our earthly life in a leap of faith into the hands of an all-loving God.
As trapeze artists trust in their fellow acrobats when they let go, we trust in God’s mercy that He will catch us as we let go of our lives in that final leap into the mystery of death. Our earthly life, from a Catholic point of view, is a journey, a pilgrimage toward an intense life with God forever.
So what are we living for? There are as many answers as there are people. We answer by the way in which we live and what we do.
Acknowledging the brevity of human life, and acknowledging our freedom, all of us are responsible, accountable, for the way in which we choose to live. Tragically, sometimes people do choose evil over good. Human beings cry out for freedom, peace, justice, truth, healing, salvation! Who can heal us, save us? Some have sought solutions in things, in “isms.”
The Catholic tradition looks beyond the world of things, to a power beyond ourselves.
This awesome and overwhelming power -- God -- is not indifferent to our human situation. Our compassionate God became flesh in Jesus and is alive by the power of the Spirit in our midst today—especially in the community of the Church, and in the sacraments.
We must continue to struggle, as the prophet Micah said centuries ago, to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with our God.
“Salvation,” “healing,” “restoring to right order,” describes an overwhelming good, beyond our wildest imaginations. The Word who was with God became flesh in Jesus of Nazareth and was transformed into a new heavenly reality. God will also lift us up where we will be in relationship with God forever.