By Kyle Richard Therese George
“The Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, “that all may be one . . . as we are one” (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” – Gaudium et Spes, Paragraph 24 (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Vatican II)
Mankind becomes fully aware of his purpose while in relationship with another person. If man is on a journey to discover his purpose then there must be a presupposition (to assume something as a matter of fact or a matter of falsity) of man that he was given a purpose by something. A person does not simply search for something that they think will fulfill them, if they did not believe it has the purpose to fulfill them. If it does provide fulfillment then this presumes that something made it a fulfilling thing. So, a question must be asked, what would that something be, that gave us a purpose, a fulfillment?
Was it not the greatest of some things, which created all the some things in existence? I think it was certainly that. It is simple to understand that it is a fact that all things were created by God, most specifically, the God of our Catholic Faith. For what exists must have a cause. What action never had a cause? A cause must have a person or thing that caused it. The greater the effect, the greater the one causing that action will need to be to cause it. The greatest of all effects (creation of everything that exists) must have the greatest of all causers. That causer must be so great to cause everything to exist that He could not be caused because He is the reason that all are caused. Yes, He is the reason we exist. God is the reason we exist, so that we could be loved.
Man was not created to be merely a means to an end, neither was he created to simply be God’s sole possession without allowing any kind of relationship to exist between God and man. Mankind was willed for itself. To be self-willed, to be self-choosing. To be capable of loving, to be capable of choosing to love because mankind was made simply because he is loved.
God did not make us merely so that He could be loved. He did not make us because we satisfy an insatiable desire of Himself to be glorified, worshiped, and loved. No, God is self-sufficient He does not need any man to be loved, to be glorified, or worshiped. The word “need” here is key. God is a Trinity of reciprocal love. The Father perfectly gives His love to His Son, who perfectly receives that love and reciprocates that love, from which the Holy Spirit perfectly proceeds as the eternal expression and power of that Divine Love. Yet, because God loves so greatly He desires that it be shared. Contemplate that beautiful truth.
The greatness of the love between the Father and the Only-Begotten Son is so perfect that it is not overwhelmingly causing Him to create humans to receive the excess. No, the love is so perfect that it cannot be overwhelming. The Holy Spirit is the perfect and eternal procession of this love, and is not a simple creation of that love, but is the very gift and presence of the love that God has. It must be shared. Not because it is necessary, but because it is in God’s nature to share that love with another being. God so loves that He created a creature that could be capable of knowing the love of the Trinity. He created these creatures to live out relationships with other persons that point towards that Trinitarian love, and then share it with others in order to know their purpose and live it out to one day be completely joined to the union of that Divine Love in Heaven. God made mankind so that man could tangibly know the love of God, share it, be consumed by it, and live it well.
Although this sounds beautiful, to our fallen human heart this hits a great lie that we’ve been told in our modern culture. There is a belief that God simply uses us to be loved, worshiped, and glorified. He does not need any creature for those things. He is capable of doing that His self. Yet, what child would not love, honor, or even praise their parents; those who raised them; or those who cared for them throughout their lives? Is it not fitting to honor the Creator of all things? Especially the One who created everything so that all mankind could be loved. God made us so that we could be loved. Knowing that we might not love Him in return.
He loved us into creation knowing that refusal would be the very reason that He would send His only-Begotten Son down to die in order to make up for that refusal, so that we would not have to. Despite all of this, God loved us into creation anyway. He knows everything about us; He knew the choices we would make. He made us anyway not to watch us make those choices, but because He wanted to share His love with us so that we might choose His will over something that would deprive us of the good we were made for. Is love not acknowledging that someone is good, and then willing (wanting, providing, and guiding the person to) the good of the other? I know so. God made us perfectly capable of knowing what is good and best for us; He made all things for us after all. What God would create something simply to watch it suffer? It is befitting for a God of love to come into the human experience and endure all, except sin, in order that we might know His love tangibly.
Love then is the art of being more fully human. How man finds himself is by being a sincere gift to the broken and fallen, to the ones who have and the ones who have not, and to those that do not know love or care about it. However, a gift must be properly given. Through being in relationship with another person, man becomes more aware of his purpose to pursue happiness. Man knows himself by knowing the love of another. He allows the other to reveal to him how to be a better person. Yet without God, how can we know the true standard of the good that the two (or more) persons will seek in order to achieve happiness?
What makes us most happy is our relationship with others. By recognizing that as humans, we are relational creatures, we must then recognize that we were made for something that science and reason alone could not explain. How can science and reason possibly explain the purpose of humankind’s happiness, and how our existence makes sense? Humanity’s relational nature is supposed to point us towards the love of God, so that we can understand our purpose. It is through love that we are capable of knowing another person, but it is also through love that we are capable of knowing the love of God more fully.
Through a sincere devotion to God, man can fully know how to love, as he ought. It was God who designed mankind to share His love well. It is the crux of the human experience, Reason for Existence: to know, love, and to be known, and to be loved in return.
Kyle Richard Therese George, is a Seminarian of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.He has a Bachelors of Theology from Belmont Abbey College. A convert of 6 years, he enjoys writing spiritual reflections on how to live a devoutly Catholic life in a fallen world.