Fr Mark Sultana replies to the question ‘ why are we alive. He states that the real question we face is ‘why do I exist?’…
“One person is precious more than the whole of the universe
Human persons are not simply part of humanity every human person is always more! We can also zoom out in this regard: no human person is simply part of the universe every human person is always more! That is: you are more precious than the whole universe! And that is true for every human being. That sounds paradoxical; after all each of us is, of course, part of the universe too. Also, if I am precious, it seems that I must be precious to someone. Now, that is true of my parents, my siblings, my friends. They try to treat me with respect, they love me and cherish me and I attempt to do the same in their regard. But I never say to myself: ‘My mother is more precious than the entire universe’! I rather say that the love I have for my mother is unique she is completely irreplaceable and so am I. But that is scarcely enough what could we mean by ‘unique’? What do we mean by ‘human dignity’ after all?
“I exist because I am loved for myself, not for what I can do
And this brings us to what we mean by ‘soul’. My human soul is not part of me but it is my relatedness , primarily with God. And this ‘relatedness’ is personal and completely unique. That is, my existence means that God wants me and wants me for myself. I exist because I am loved for myself , not because of what I can do or say but simply because my creator, the Lord God wants to love me irrevocably. And this is true for every human person; God does not love humanity in general God loves every human being personally and uniquely. And neither can I love humanity in general I can love my mother, my father, my friend personally and uniquely. So the real question of “what are we living for” is really ‘why do I exist?’
“Every person reflects something of who God is like goodness, knowledge, beauty, love..
This brings us to another point each of us is created in the image and likeness of God. That is, each of us is a unique participation in what it is to be God. And this is why we have such immense capacities, why we have infinite wishes and desires. Each of us reflects, through his or her existence, a unique light on God’s existence, goodness, beauty, knowledge, love. Each of us is a unique mirror on what God is personally like so that we can see that whole of humanity , throughout the ages , as a kind of immense reflecting telescope on what God is personally like.
“Our uniqueness shows God as one, our relatedness shows God as trinity
And God is certainly unique God can only be one! So each of us, through his or her uniqueness shows what it is like for God to be one. God is always greater so no one of us can exhaust what this means neither can the whole of humanity do so. But each of us is a unique take on God. The Lord God is also related God is Trinity. So each of us, through his or her relationships, is called forth to uniquely show part of what the relationships within God are like.
“Facing our weak reality
Now, we know that our reality is not so idyllic. We face grave difficulties. We know that we are tarnished mirrors. Not only, but we tend to be narcissistic in that the mirror that we are is facing inwards. This is what we mean when we speak of the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, gluttony, envy, anger and acedia. We cast shadows with our presence.
“The more we turn to God, the more we feel encouraged
The Lord God, our creator, continues to call us to look outward through the love the Lord God shows us in so many ways and all the time. The Lord God calls us to turn the mirrors of our lives towards God. We are scared to do so but the Lord God reassures us. As we slowly turn our gaze towards the Lord God, we receive the light of sanctification beautiful light. And that light enkindles and encourages our hearts. And we are made more and more capable to relate beautifully and with true goodness and transparency, with purity and self-gift.
“When I allow myself to be fully loved, I become love
So the answer to the question: ‘why are we alive?’ or rather ‘why do I exist?’ is to receive love from God my creator. I am created to be loved by God. The Lord God loves me in creating me, in walking alongside me, in being always closer to me that I am to myself and in transforming me into a more beautiful image of Godself. The Lord God loves me through thick and thin: even in my doubts, even in my suffering. The Lord God enables me never to lose joy. Even when I am in pain and suffering, the Lord God grants me a deep peace which is joy. And when I allow myself to be fully loved, I become love. And I am created to give and receive love from all persons around me and also, to relate well to all creatures around me. I exist in order to relate well and beautifully. I exist in order to receive and to give joy and peace. And this is also what we mean by ‘vocation’.