When I was a child, I first learned about God through a little book called the “Penny Catechism”. It started with the question:
WHO MADE YOU? (answer: “God made me.”)
The next question was
WHY DID GOD MAKE YOU? (answer: “God made me to know him, to love him and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him for ever in the next.”)
Those two simple questions and answers tell us much about the meaning and purpose of our human existence.
Life is God’s gift. We are not here by accident. Life is not a meaningless succession of experiences, good and bad, between coming to consciousness and the oblivion of death. On the contrary, every human life has meaning and purpose. We are all here with a purpose.
St. Francis of Assisi spent his whole life reflecting upon this. “My God, who are you?” he used to pray, “and who am I?”
Our Catholic Faith helps us to ask the same questions, and to find answers to them.
God calls us to know him. It is not easy to know God because God is a great mystery. His existence can be deduced from looking around us and asking if such a beautiful and vast universe could have come to be without a creator. Beyond that, however, we cannot go. We can only know of God what God himself reveals to us. Through the Bible, both Old and New Testament, God speaks to us of himself, and of our relationship with him. Over its long history, the Catholic Church has reflected upon God’s self-revelation and has expressed truths about God in its own Doctrine. In the Catholic Church, we come to know God in both Scripture and Tradition.
God calls us to love him. Loving and being loved are the most important things in life. We may survive without love, but we will never thrive. Loneliness causes great suffering. So we spend a lot of our lives trying to find friends we can rely on. Friendship begins when one person is attracted to another, and wants to be with that person. This is especially true of marriage, which is the deepest expression of friendship and love we can see on earth.
The Catholic Faith is about God and ourselves becoming friends. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, told his disciples: “I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I learned from my Father.” He also told them “You did not choose me, no I chose you.”
St. Augustine, a fifth century African Bishop, wrote “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” Without God, we are never truly at peace, never truly ourselves.
God calls us to serve him. Jesus also said to his disciples “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” We will never get to know God if we don’t spend time with him. We do this through worship and prayer, especially in the Mass. The Creator God makes the rules, and expects us to live up to them. The Catholic Church has very clear moral standards which help us to avoid situations and patterns of behaviour which will damage us and other people. Jesus said “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me”. As well as avoiding evil, we also have a positive duty to do good, and especially to look after those in greatest need.
We are all wayfarers through life. The Catholic Church provides us with a route map, travelling companions and food for the journey.
If you would like to know more about the Catholic Faith, there are links provided to some sites that will help you.
If you live locally, you would be most welcome to visit either of our churches. Please introduce yourself to Father Greg or any one of the parishioners. We would be delighted to meet you. If you live further away, please feel free to contact us by email.
God bless you and yours,
(Mgr. Canon Jonathan Moore was the Parish Priest of All Saints & St. Mary’s Glossop until 2010.)
 St. John’s Gospel Chapter 15, verse 15
 St. John’s Gospel Chapter 15, verse 16
 The Confessions of St. Augustine, Chapter 1
 St. John’s Gospel Chapter 15, verse 14
 St. Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 25, verse 40