And the answer to that question from the first volume of the old “Baltimore Catechism” (the 4 volumes of which educated millions of American Catholics until the 1960’s) is:
“God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”
God made you because He loves you and wants you to return that love now and forever. Period. That’s it. That is why God made you. He didn’t make you to be rich, to be knowledgeable in the “ways of the world”, or to be materially successful. Some of those things are good, depending on how they are used. But those aren’t contained in the question nor it’s answer.
The question and answer is rooted in Sacred Scripture, if you read Genesis 1 and 2 and understand what happened in Genesis 3. God made us in perfect union with Him, and loved us so much that He gave us Free Will so that we can freely return that love. Under the deception of Satan, we decided that we can find fulfillment outside of that love and that we can be “just like God” in determining what is good and evil. This ruptured our relationship with Him, and the World and it’s ways largely became our focus. We are not God, and our stewardship of this planet proves that. Only Jesus Christ repaired our relationship with Him, but the effects of Satan’s deception still afflicts our planet.
Now, back to the question and its answer. Our sole reason for being is to know, love and serve God here and now, and then to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. The pursuit of worldly glory and material power and advantage are contrary to this reason. Even, in my opinion, the need for satisfaction on a more ordinary and mundane level.
Think about that question and its answer next time you feel unloved, unwanted, unneeded, irrelevant. The next time you feel like a loser or a failure, or because you are an alcoholic or drug or porn addict and that you are unworthy of God’s love, or anyone else’s, consider that question and answer.
I quite often feel as if I am a failure, a loser and a screw-up. That is because of my alcoholism and its derailment of my life and career and the financial cost, and the stigma associated with it. If I never picked up that first drink, I would be a few tens of thousands of dollars richer (cost of booze, lost income, hospitalization, etc.) and probably a homeowner (of my late parent’s house, or maybe some other purchased by myself and whomever I might have married had I not preferred vodka, tequila and rum to blondes, brunettes and redheads).
But I cannot dwell on that. That is the world talking. Focusing on the question and its answer takes me away from those feelings and helps me get more oriented on my value merely as a child of God. That as long as I “know Him”, meaning I pray to Him, meditate on Him and read His Bible; “love Him”, meaning I keep His Commandments and follow His Church; “serve Him”, meaning that I do His will in all things (put God first, other people second, and myself last), I will stand a good chance at “being with Him forever in the next.”
All the struggles and failures in this life will have some enduring meaning as they form the person I am now, but if I nail them to the Cross of Christ they will be transformed from the miserable things the world says they are into something else.
We don’t know why any one of us is an alcoholic or an addict. There are theories as to genetics, upbringing, psychological disorders and such, but that is irrelevant. We are what we are and God permitted it for a reason. Evil is permitted because of free will, but God’s influence in the world draws good out of evil. Evil may be in the happening, the event or the occurrence, but good lies in the response.
We can be defeated by whatever it was that happened, we can be defeated by how we are made, but we can rise above it and make the most out of it. I started this blog because of my alcoholism and as an attempt to help others who are Catholic (or seeking Catholicism) deal with their alcoholism in accord with the Faith. I hope to do more than just this.
Regardless of how miserable you think you are, the basis of that misery is temporary. It is not what you are. It will not endure, unless you allow it. It is not insurmountable. Some people resort to suicide because they think it is the way out. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Trust that the seeds of your own “resurrection” lie in the dying and death of your addicted life. The old life dies and a new one is born. We alcoholics and addicts are lucky in a way: we have two lives contained in one lifetime. It is our responsibility to makes certain that the first lifetime bears some meaning in the new.
The entire Baltimore Catechism is available from Gutenberg. Go to here and the Catholic Digital Studio will take you there. At CDS see under “Catechesis: Learning the Catholic Faith”, under “Basic Catechesis” you’ll find Volumes 1 & 2, under “Intermediate Catechesis” you’ll find Volumes 3 & 4.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"