What is the Meaning of Life?


Tom Lyman was on Boston Catholic TV, this morning.  He was talking about the New Evangelization.  Tom stressed the need to be ready to share our faith, when the opportunity presents itself.  He gave as an example an encounter with a customer in the checkout line.  He was a stranger but while waiting, the two of them shared a sigh of resignation.  (It looked like a long wait.)  The man said to Tom, "What is the meaning of life?"

Tom said he used the opportunity to share the kerygma.  I understand that Tom shared the Gospel message.  But he didn't say exactly what he told the man.

So all day, I've pondered that question (just in case I'm ever asked, "What is the meaning of life?").

The first thing I'd do is affirm the question and questioner.  This question has been asked by everybody, throughout history, at some point in their lives.  Next, I'd tell him about my experiences volunteering in prison.  Now, if anybody had a good reason to ask, "What is the meaning of life?", it would be someone serving a life sentence behind bars.  Yet, the population I deal with, see a meaning to life.

Some of them have had money, beautiful families, beautiful homes, flashy cars, big boats, great jobs, professions, and even owned businesses.  All of it is gone.  Hence, they have experienced that these things weren't enough.  You would think that having a purpose in life, would give it meaning.  It didn't satisfy.  You always want more.  The more money you have, the more you spend.

What they have found is religion.  Don't scoff.  It's the one thing that has given meaning to their lives.  It teaches that you have a purpose.  Religion offers community and that means support.  Religion teaches you to love and serve others.  You love God and He wants you to love and serve others.

In fact, religion may be a factor, in not only happiness and well-being, but health also.  Is that meaningful enough for you?  There are three locations where people live the longest: Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy, and Loma Linda, California.  What do they all have in common?  They have religion, yes, but each place has a different religion.  But each religion stresses community--love one another, love God, serve each other.

Okinawa is an island.  Most of the residents are Buddhists.  However, the residents all practice a custom called moais - love one another and serve each other.  Sounds like the Christian Golden Rule doesn't it?  Sardinians are Catholic and love God and He wants us to serve one another.  The people in Loma Linda are Seventh-Day Adventist and practice the Golden Rule.

Hence, I assert that the meaning of life is to find God.  Religion is the path to Him.  And if you don't believe me, I know as a fact, someday you will.  Try religion, what have you got to lose?

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