What is the meaning of life -why are we here?

The Meaning and Purpose of Life

"The meaning of life is to prepare to be with God in heaven." -It is really that simple. Or, perhaps you may prefer Father John Corapi's straightforward statement- "In the end, there is Heaven or there is Hell. Period. Exclamation point!"
In other words, our lives here on earth are but a pilgrimage to our everlasting destination, which is to be forever united with God in heaven, or forever separated from Him in Hell.

Why does God allow the very young or innocent people to die tragic deaths?
It is a perennial question of humanity who often asks why God allows and permits the loss of loved ones at such a tender age, or why for example He allows great tragedies and the great loss of innocent lives during natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis? Sometimes these events in our lives cause us to contemplate our own mortality. I believe this is the grace of God in an effort to move and turn our hearts and minds towards Him.

To such a question I think the Catholic church offers the response that we are only in this life for a short period of time, even if we live to the ripe old age of 90, such is but a moment in eternity, and that we are on a pilgrimage to our everlasting destination, which is to be forever present in infinite joy and love with God, or in damnation apart from Him.

A hundred and fifty years from now, no one presently here on this earth will be alive. What will it then have mattered whether we live to be age 9 or 90? However, what will have mattered then is how we have lived and spent the years that we were given to live here on earth, be they few or many---by "spent" I mean whether we chose to love God and to love others out of love for Him, or not. As John says in his Gospel "God is love" and also "Love is from God", and so those who choose to love, choose God.

In other words, if this life that we are presently living here on earth was everything, and was all that mattered, then the death of a young child or the great loss of life during a natural disaster for example would indeed be an absolute tragedy. But the reality is is that upon our deaths we are only really just beginning our true lives, which last forever in an eternal, everlasting life with God (or without Him), and so the only real tragedy then is eternal damnation, that is, eternal and everlasting separation from God.

And so ultimately, our existence is but a matter and exercise of our own choice to love or not, using one's gift of free will, to choose to love...to choose to be with God, or not. The soul of a newborn baby who dies is given the opportunity to make that very same choice, even though it was not given the opportunity to live out the deeds of its choice in a lifetime here on earth.

Anyway, assuredly this is a very deep subject, and I am certainly no theologian... I am just a simple layman, but this at least is my poor understanding of what the Catholic Church teaches. But let us not be afraid to "wade out into the deep", and to reflect upon this very important matter of our everlasting destination. This very important subject is what the Church calls "The Four Last Things"-----Heaven, Hell, Death and Judgement, and the Church encourages us to contemplate such matters, because in the end, it is all that really matters.

And so we can see that it is a good thing, really a grace of God, that we ponder upon the meaning of life, and contemplate our own mortality, because by doing so we are opening our hearts to God, and the essential Truths necessary for one's salvation.

Jesus, with his arms wide open, spread out with His hands nailed to the cross, thus removing and forgiving all of our sins, welcomes us into His Church...into the faith....the faith of our fathers. "Be not afraid" He tells us in the holy Gospel, "I go before you always. Come, follow Me, and I will give you rest".
The role of the Church in the salvation of our souls
Perhaps there are some reading these lines who might have left the Catholic faith, having become disaffected and disillusioned with the Catholic church perhaps because of the bad example of one or more of its pastors or members. But I think we must always keep in mind to distinguish between the Catholic Church and its pastors and/or members. Jesus instituted and founded His Church upon the Apostles, with Peter as their head. But who were these apostles that God Himself chose? Well, of course we have Peter who denied Him, and Judas who betrayed him, and handed him over to be put to a horrible death on the Cross. They were certainly far from being shining examples of holiness and virtue! And yet Jesus, being God, knew all this beforehand, telling Peter beforehand that he would deny him, and He also pointed out to John that Judas would betray Him. So what was God's point in choosing these sinful men as His apostles? It is that the teachings of Jesus, that is the "Deposit of Faith" contained within the Catholic Church, are separate from the "shepherds" or disciples who proclaim these teachings.

In other words, the essential teachings or doctrines of the Church that Jesus founded are perfect, because they come from God himself, but the disciples that proclaim them are certainly not perfect, and worse still, some like Judas, are even betrayers! And so, such is the need from the very onset to distinguish between the doctrines and teachings of God, that is, the "Deposit of Faith" given to the Catholic Church by Jesus, and then on the other hand the disciples that profess it.

Some Bishops and Priests make mistakes in judgment and decisions, not only in what concerns others, but also in what concerns their own personal lives, some causing scandals by their lives of sin, and scandalizing the faithful. But once again, the line must be drawn and the distinction must be made on the one side between God and His church, and on the other side the members and their many faults and sins. We mustn't blame the Catholic church for the sins or faults of It's members!

Many of us have up to now lived a good part of our lives caught up solely in this material world, seeking after possessions and wealth that we cannot take with us. I reminds me of a statement of a Priest friend of mine who once said- "I have officiated and have been to a good many funerals, but I have never seen a hearse towing a U-Haul behind it!" In other words, you don't take it with you. And many of us have lived thus far unconcerned about God and the next life, as if we would never die... as if he would be here forever!....How foolish we are! But let us receive and use the grace that God has given us in the present fleeting moments...in these moments that remain for us, and let us gratefully inherit and live out the faith of our fathers, the holy Catholic faith!

"..But these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. And the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13)


billh said...

I thank you for this page immensly. I was planning to start my own blog but when I read yours especially the above I saw no need to. Your description of life is what matters and the problems concerning it and the Church are wonderfully written. May God continue to bless you in your work.
Bill Henzey

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Bill,
It is nice to meet you.
Thanks for your kind comments. I am really glad to hear that you appreciated this article. I can sincerely say that I wrote it from my heart.

Best wishes and may God bless you and your loved ones!

A Loyal Reader said...

How is the soul of a new born baby who dies able to make the decision to love or not? Where has the Church ever taught such a thing? Please keep to what we know, like John 3:5. You have a great site here. Don't endanger your credibility with speculations which do great harm to the perennial teaching of the Faith.

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi "A Loyal Reader",
Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

To reply to your comments, as you probaly know the Church has no specific teaching on the judgement of those such as infants who die prior to being Baptized.

However the Church does teach that all who are Baptised have the opportunity to be saved, including infants.

Many theologians however believe in the possibility of a "Baptism of desire" for those, such as newborn infants who did not have the opportunity to be Baptized, and since the Church has no strict teaching in this regard, we are free to subscribe to this theological theory or not, and as for myself, knowing the infinite love and mercy of God, I strongly subscribe to the idea of a Baptism of desire.

And I would say that it is precisely the soul of the newborn baby, just as you say, that makes the decision to love or not. The soul is independent of the brain (and is not only independent of the brain, but of course it is also independent of the entire body after death). So I would imagine that at the death of an infant, God informs the soul with His grace to know love and hatred, good and evil, and in doing so allows the soul to freely make the choice to love Him or not, that is, to choose to be with God or not. This is what God did in the beginning with the Angels who freely chose to love and serve Him or not, so we can very much assume that He does the same with those who are not Baptized also.

The recently published "Catechism of the Catholic Church" for the most part leaves the question of unbaptised infants unresolved.

On the one hand, C.C.C. #1261 and #1283 allow the faithful to hope that in the mercy of God such infants may be admitted to the Beatific Vision, while #1257 recalls that we do not know that they are so saved, stating that "the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude."

Thanks again for your comments and may God bless you and your loved ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Jeanette said...

Dear Glenn..Thank you for this lovely site. Is it possible that you could post something on Marie Julie Jehenney and Berthe Petite? I believe they would fit in perfectly on your site. Thank you for all your work. Jeanette

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Jeanette,
Thank you for your kind comment and also for the suggestions.
Actually, I do hope to post articles on both Marie Julie Jehenney and also Berthe Petite. I have studied a bit about both of them and I hope to create articles about them soon, God willing.

Thanks again and may God bless you and your loved ones.
Glenn Dallaire

Therese said...

Dear Glenn,thank you for this fascinating and inspiring website.Lately,I have been wondering,what am I doing here,and praying for help with this.I'm about to turn 50,I'm alone and sometimes I feel frightened.I did not choose to be alone,I do not have a vocation to the religious life.Perhaps I was meant to read your blog today.God Bless,Therese.

Anonymous said...

Hey I would like to know if in our religion having a physical relationship with your girlfriend before marriage a sin?? If yes ,I would like to know why since its purely love and so does our religion says to spread love. And if possible I would like to know the exact meaning of love about which Christ talks about in the Bible. Is it infactuation???

Glenn Dallaire said...

Hi Anonymous,
To reply to your question,
yes, having sexual relations outside of marriage is the sin of fornication, which is condemned by God numerous times in the Holy Scriptures. So, the short answer is that fornication is a sin because Jesus says so (see Mark Chapter 7, verse 21)

For an excellent straightforward explanation, I would suggest that you see this short article written by Father Michael:

Why sex before marriage is wrong

The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed traditional Catholic teaching on the subject of sexual relations outside marriage, stating:

‘Nowadays many claim the right to sexual intercourse before marriage, at least for those who have a firm intention of marrying and whose love for one another, already conjugal as it were, is deemed to demand this (sexual intercourse) as a natural outcome. This opinion is contrary to Christian teaching, which asserts that sexual intercourse may take place only within the sacred bonds of marriage.’

This is a very serious matter so I pray that you will take the time to understand God's will and judgement in this matter. And remember too that if you have already engaged in this sin, Jesus is always ready to forgive, so do not be afraid to repent and seek His forgiveness in Confession, as in His infinite love and mercy He is always anxious to forgive us.

Best wishes and may God bless you and your loved ones.
-Glenn Dallaire

ember lobo said...

This explanation is similar to the Living Water Jesus the Word of God gave to the samaritan woman. Now I get it we are all vehicles with power and action only with the one who steers the wheel Jesus, to our destination to be with Him. Every day we breakdown (with our sins) He fixes if we yield like the car. You are really God's angel in human disguise.Keep shining! AMDG!!! ember

Anonymous said...

If God creates humans "in his own image" and perfect, how come the fell? Does that mean that God fell? And hoe come he let the serpent into his garden? Isn't he perfect, powerful? If he knew they would fall, why didn't he stop so that his beloved creatures (which were supposed to be exactly like him) wouldn't suffer? Doesn't make sense.

Glenn Dallaire said...

The book of Genesis states that God created man in His own image and likeness, WHICH LIKE GOD INCLUDES INTELLIGENCE AND FREE WILL---and the free will is the key to understanding the answer to your question. The gift of free will is necessary for the ability to choose to love God in return, or not, however with free will also comes the ability to choose to love or to hate, to choose good or evil etc...

The reason why God allowed the serpent into the Garden was to give Adam and Eve the ability to exercise their free will and make a choice to obey God, or not. To have free will, one must be able to freely choose---otherwise their is no free will.

And the whole reason why free will is essential for us is so we can freely choose to love and obey God, or not. For, you can't "force" someone to love you---love must be a free choice which requires the gift of free will.

May God bless you and your loves ones,
Glenn Dallaire

Anonymous said...

The question 'Why are we here?' can be answered in two steps:
1) First of all we will have to know as to whether there is any God or not;
2) If we can somehow come to know that there is a God, then we can further ask the question as to why he created the universe. When we will have the answer to this question, we will also come to know as to why the universe exists, why we exist, why we are here.
The above two questions have been discussed in detail in the two below-listed links:

1. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/is-fine-tuning-actually-required-for-proving-the-existence-of-god/
2. https://sekharpal.wordpress.com/2016/02/07/why-did-god-create-the-universe/

Joseph said...

I have found all such mysteries an truths moving the Saints within Catholicism to be a profound community of love, an I have so much still to read. Today is the end of March 2017, I desire to know where are the Saints today, are there Priest etc. people are flocking to, are they raising the dead, healing the blind etc..I to would like to flee among such. Brethren, someone needs only point the way...Medjugorje perhaps?

Eloise said...

I ask and have not found the reason we are here. Jesus said even the least in heaven is greater than John the Baptist and there was none greater born unto man; thus, why are we here.
Your sight is a good one I am lucky to have found it. Thank You. John P.