I was 17 years old and just finishing a date with a young woman named Karen. As we sat in her driveway she asked me, “What are you thinking about?” To be honest, I do not know what I was thinking about. However, what came out of my mouth was, “What’s it all about?” It was a question that somewhat startled me. It also began to nag at me. What is life all about?
Perhaps it was the years I had at Catholic elementary school or my weekly attendance at Mass (though I attended weekly, my attendance might be better characterized as weakly), I knew the answer to that question: Jesus Christ. I also knew that I was not responding to Christ as I should have been. Over the next couple of years I began to take steps toward the Lord. These responses to the movements of the Holy Spirit in me prompted me to surrender my life to the Lord and be baptized in the Holy Spirit in April of 1975. I was a 19 year old freshman at the Ohio State University.
What is it all about? The ironic thing is that many people seem to be too busy or distracted to ask the question! Yet, if we are going to be busy, we ought to be busy about the right things. Without an anchor for the soul (see Hebrews 6:19-20) we are subject to every passing fancy (see Ephesians 4:14).
Alice von Hildebrand, a devout Catholic and retired professor of philosophy at Hunter College, recently reflected:
The great tragedy of today is that truth has been replaced by preferences, goodness by whim and beauty by “fun.” In my 37 years of teaching, the overwhelming majority of students I encountered were of the belief that truth, goodness and beauty were relative: They were whatever you wanted to make of them. [Modern thinking is that] my conception of them [truth, goodness and beauty] may differ from yours, and this was to be celebrated, not lamented…
3. Why did God make us?
God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.
4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?
To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.
5. From whom do we learn to know, love, and serve God?
We learn to know, love, and serve God from Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who teaches us through the Catholic Church.
(The Baltimore Catechism, revised 1941)
Fr. Bob Franco
Bishop’s Delegate to Catholic Renewal Ministries