There are many how-to books that we can buy in the bookshops or borrow from the library. They seek to give examples of how the author has adopted a certain method which they wish to apply to how we should live, how this will be successful for another. The temptation to swallow another person’s life whole is alluring especially when a person appears on talk shows and appears on radio slots which promote what they have to sell. Yet like all advice, it has to be tested in the marketplace and pondered in our prayer. While we can turn to the wisdom of others we need to see what moves us to become who we truly are. We have to discover what sets our lives on fire with faith, hope and love. This cannot just be kindled by another’s insight but only through our own willingness to engage with the relationship which will lead us closer to God and the mission entrusted to us. The goal of our life is not so much a task to be completed but a relationship which is to be sustained. It is in this relationship that we discover our own unique calling which will help others to discover who they are called to be.
In our own age, there is an increasing recognition that the call to live a life which is faithful to God and to others is becoming more complex. This is not just about living private lives which see our faith as being only about our own self-improvement. Our faith calls us to give witness that at the heart of all life God creates us for a good purpose. This is why we seek to create a culture of life which sustains people from conception to birth into eternal life. In a culture which increasingly seeks to treat human life as a commodity rather than a gift, we can lose a sense of hospitality which welcomes life. When we start to see life as disposable or consumable then our sense of values change. We measure people by their usefulness and convenience rather than by their fundamental dignity and worth. By realising that Christ calls us to an incarnate way of living we see that each person is both body and spirit. This changes how we live and what we stand for in caring for others. This is especially important when we seek to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. Our culture and our society are shaped by how we give a voice to those who have no voice of their own.
Fr. John Armstrong