In Lewis Carroll’s, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice is wandering in an unfamiliar forest when she meets the Cheshire Cat.
“Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” she asked.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.
Christians who do not know their purpose in life are like that. They do not realize their purpose and so they wander through life looking for one.
Philosopher Thomas Carlyle once said, “A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder–a waif, a nothing, a no man. Have a purpose in life, and, having it, throw such strength of mind and muscle into your work as God has given you.
As we mature, we begin to look for meaning in our lives. We spend our youth learning about the world and about ourselves. We discover our interests, talents and abilities, and sharpen them to a high degree. And then, we grow restless. We look for our purpose. We question why we are here and what we are meant to be doing. If we do not find the answer we can become frustrated and anxious. Saint Augustine realized the answer to our restlessness, is God. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
When Jesus ascended to the Father, His disciples had every reason to feel frustrated and anxious. They had just lost their beloved leader for the second time. And yet Saint Luke tells us they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They were joyful because Christ revealed to them their mission, their purpose in life. Their lives now had meaning.
It is the same mission that God has given to each of us, to be His witnesses, to carry the message of the Gospel to all the nations of the world. How we accomplish this mission will be different for each one of us, according to those interests, talents, and abilities we have discovered within ourselves.
We may all have the same purpose in life, But God has given each of us a different set gifts to accomplish that purpose. We are all charged to spread the Gospel throughout the world but we do so in many different ways. We may be writers, or artists, or singers, or we may just enjoy talking to people and getting to know them.
Each of these is way to spread the Word. And it may be that we have each been given a particular combination of gifts in order to reach just one other person. If we fail in our purpose, the result may be a soul lost to the darkness for all of eternity.
This is the core of the Gospel message. The salvation of mankind is offered to the entire world through the witness of His followers, the witness of the Church.
At the end of every mass Christ blesses us, through His priest, and renews our mission.