Ask a Franciscan

Seeking the Purpose of My Life 

In the “winter” of my life, I look back and see basically an upward struggle to survive, especially as compared to giants of our faith such as Thomas à Kempis, William Carey, and the Apostle Paul. What has been the purpose of my life? Why was I ever born? What is the purpose of life for an average person such as myself? 

The Baltimore Catechism opened with the question “Who made you?” and followed it with “Why did God make you?” It answered the first question with “God” and the second one with “To know, love, and serve him in this world and be happy with him in the next.”

Did the people you listed live in an ideal world? They would all be very surprised at any suggestion that they did. Genuine faith comes easily only to those who refuse to take it seriously. 

I cannot improve on this unedited prayer from St. John Henry Newman: “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.” 

May the Lord help you to believe that your life has had a very definite purpose even as you question it.

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