Courses: Meaning and Purpose, Faith, Fulfillment
Archbishop Fulton Sheen had a very popular TV show in the 1950s and early 1960s called Life is Worth Living. I believe that is very much true. I believe life is worth living. But the past while has thrown many challenges at people. There is the global pandemic. There is economic hardship. There is racial unrest, and the need to examine our lives and our society. And there is the growing sense that we are not able to talk about anything of substance with others without it turning into an angry argument of talking at each other, rather than talking with each other. As one of my students complained the other day, “I am just tired of everything.”
This was not said out of despair, and the person speaking was a teenager. Rather, it was spoken out of realization of a world that seems fundamentally broken. And it acknowledges a world that increasingly insults others, mocks others, and refuses to admit to any complexity in life.
And the impact of all of this is increasing unhappiness. By all objective measures, we simply are not as happy as we used to be. We are, to put it mildly, miserable. But it does not have to be this way. Life is worth living, and we can find meaning, purpose and fulfillment. We simply have to know where to look.
How does a person find purpose and meaning in their life? What does it mean to follow Jesus? How do I pray? These are the type of questions I hear a lot. Put simply, it is not that people are looking first for lots and lots of academic content, but rather that they want to know what it means to find happiness, meaning and fulfillment, so they can discover how the content may indeed fit into their life.
The intent of this section is not a “dumbed down” faith, because that, to be honest, a dumbed down faith does not benefit anyone. Rather, it is to encourage those people who are thinking, reflecting and wondering, to pursue these ideas to find something that lasts, something that fulfills, something that inspires.
It is no secret that life can be very difficult indeed. In fact, that is one of the truths of Buddhism. Life is suffering. Life is filled with an endless series of challenges. But with challenge comes opportunity. It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and indeed, I think that hardship is the beginning of the quest for meaning. And so is born the desire to share some things in my life I have found helpful both personally but also spiritually.
The purpose of these pages is not to first fill people’s heads with lots of stuff. It is, rather, to take a moment to seek what is really important. It is a time to reflect on priorities. It is a time to think carefully about how life should be lived. And it is a time to apply what others have found fulfilling to life.
Our first course concerns the question for meaning and purpose. The second course will be about how to pray. They will grow and change over time. Other courses will come in time, like learning how to pray the bible and getting more out of Mass.
They will not be added all at once. In fact, they will take time, depending upon my free time to create the content. The hope is that they will help you to find what you’re looking for, to quote a song.
The first course concern finding meaning and purpose.