Created in, for by…?
What is the meaning of life? How do we fulfill our true meaning as children of God? I don’t need to tell you that this question has been around for centuries. Man seems to have a natural longing to find an answer, the very reason for being. I believe the reason that Blessed Pope John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ is becoming so popular is that it explains who we were really meant to be, and on some level we realize this to be true. In my first article I spoke about the meaning of love and the counterfeit of love which is Using in light of Karol Wojtila’s (later to be Pope John Paul II) Love and Responsibility. Understanding love in this way is important in answering the question of who we are as human beings, children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.
We were created in God’s Image (Genesis 1:27). We also read that God is Love (1 John 4:8). So we were created in the Image of Love. This makes sense in light of the trinity since the trinity is a relationship of love! So we are, in essence, created in the image of a relationship. This struck me when first I heard it and I had to agree. Why else would I feel called constantly to be in relationships with others? And why else would my relationships with others lead me to experience God more deeply? I have come to realize that being with friends does not only feel good but helps me to be closer to God. I first showed up at a youth group meeting (and then at band practice and then at a Singles for Christ retreat and then at a Theology of the Body course) because of friends that had made an impact on my life. All these things continue to lead me to a deeper understanding of God. My friends sustain me, encourage me and help me in my spiritual journey. Also the nature of our relationships, as I am sure we have all experienced, severely influence who we are as people. So we image (in other words, are more like) God when we are in pure, loving relationships since God himself is a relationship. So we were created TO love.
The trinity includes the father and son in a relationship of love, love that is so incredibly intense and life giving, that it results in the creation of another, the Holy Spirit. In marriage, when husband and wife express their love in the most intense and life giving way, this too results in the creation of another (with the help of the Holy Spirit). Nine months later he or she is born. We were created FOR love.
Through the biological, normally sexual act, between a man and a woman, where conception results in human life, this human being is created unique and immutable by the “Giver of Life” as we say in the Creed, and so we are created BY love.
Hopefully we can see a trend here. We were created TO, FOR and BY love. Not a love that puts our feelings above the good of the other person or a love that is periodic or partial, but a love that is self sacrificing, total and a constant decision. This kind of love is not an easy thing to keep up. When feelings have faded and work is thankless and hope is almost gone, this decision to put others before ourselves seems not only joyless but pointless. However, as Christians, we know that anything worth doing is going to be a challenge. As Mother Teresa said for “Love to be real, it must cost-it must hurt-it must empty us of self.” While the world we live in is a place that laughs off this idea of real love as a bit too much effort, it is important to remember that we do not live for this world but for heaven where love is eternal.
But since we are created for the love of God that is self sacrificing and never ending, how can the love we experience on earth ever measure up? We are drawn into relationships (especially romantic ones) by the call to experience the love of God. When the love we receive in these relationships does not satisfy this longing, it is easy to think that it is the person that does not suit us and move on to the next person. This is said to happen because we make the other person a type of idol, making them the end of our love. We are actually called to love God through and with them. In doing so we realize that God’s love is the only love that will satisfy our longing for love.
So what is our purpose? Why were we created? What is the reason that we are all here? The answer is simple… Love.
We are Created for Love.