What We Believe

Who Am I?

As human beings, we have a distinct place in creation. We are made in the image and likeness of God, created to think, to choose, to love and be loved in return. That sets us apart from even the most intelligent creature in the rest of the animal kingdom. The fulfilment of human existence is not found in what we can achieve, but in God. As creatures made in God’s image and likeness, we have a lofty destiny – eternal life with him.

Deep within us, we sense that all is not as it should be. Even the most happy occasions can leave us not quite satisfied. We can easily feel isolated, even among a crowd of friends.

That is because we have an inbuilt yearning for eternity. Through prayer and reflection, we begin to recognise this thirst, and come to realise that we achieve true greatness not through success in the ordinary sense of the term, but through the gift of ourselves. That is because God, in whose image and likeness we are made, is himself in relation. He does not exist ‘for himself’. We too are like that: we are created to look beyond our immediate concerns and towards the needs of others. That is what love is. The more we are aware of this, the more our lives will make sense and in fact become fulfilled.

Life is not aimless. It has a purpose. God sent his Son into the world to die for me. I have an infinite value and am loved unconditionally by God. The task is to recognise that and do something about it! How?

The Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman said, “Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather that it shall never have a beginning”. And therein lies the task – to make something of our lives. For a Christian, that ‘making something of our lives’ has an extra flavour, a greater impulse than the drive for mere ‘success’ understood in conventual terms. The call is to offer ourselves back to God who created us and loves us, in a way which he desires for our greatest happiness. He has a great plan for each one of us.

A mission for me

Cardinal Newman also wrote the following, which underlines the point:

God knows me and calls me by my name.…?

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 never may know it in this life,?but I shall be told it in the next.

Somehow I am necessary for His purposes…?

I have a part in this great work;?

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?and serve Him in my calling.

Therefore I will trust Him.?

Whatever, wherever 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.?

My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be

necessary causes of some great end,

which is quite beyond us.

He does nothing in vain; He may prolong my life,?

He may shorten it;?

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 the future from me

—?still He knows what He is about.…

Let me be Thy blind instrument.

I ask not to see—?I ask not to know—I ask simply to be used.?

from Meditations and Devotions,?”Meditations on Christian Doctrine,” “Hope in God—Creator”, March 7th 1848

That just about sums up who I am.

(Photo: mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)