[In this blog series, we'll be on a journey that will help us understand the deepest meaning of our life and our existence, a journey that will help us answer some of the most fundamental questions of the human heart: Who am I? Why am I here? How does life make sense? Our journey will lead us to the only one who can satisfy every question, every desire, and every thirst the human heart experiences.
The first question in this series explores the most important question: Why was I created?]
Justin Bieber’s song “As Long as You Love Me” sold 2,240,000 copies in one year; Justin Timberlake’s song “My Love” came in a close second at 2,208,000 copies. The one thing that every human being can agree on is we want to be loved. It is the reason for all our actions. For example:
- It is why I worked out for hours every week to be popular in high school.
- It is why I avoided the people who picked on me in middle school.
- It is why I hated being one of the last ones chosen for teams in gym class.
Are you similar? We all crave love, and that is a good thing. Because we have been created for it.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (CCC 221, emphasis added).
We have literally been created for love. Do you know what this means? It means every fiber of our being and of the human person—heart, mind, body, and soul—has been created for and destined to experience never-ending, ultimate, satisfying love.
But how do we get it? Only God can satisfy the ache, craving, hunger, and desire we have for love, intimacy, and communion. We have a big hole in our hearts that only God can fill.
As Pope St. John Paul II told the audience at the 2000 World Youth Day prayer vigil in Rome, “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”
Sex, alcohol, drugs, popularity—these things will never satisfy us. It’s like trying to cram an old vinyl record into a CD player: It just won't fit, and even if we did somehow cram it into the machine, it would only wind up broken.
I know. Until I was 20 years old, girls were my treasure. My first kiss was when I was six in the “romantic setting” of my sister’s playhouse. In the third grade, two of the best-looking girls had crushes on me. In fifth grade, I was already dating an older woman—a sixth grader.
In high school I dated a gorgeous girl for two years. I lived for the weekend. I worked out like crazy during the week. When Friday night came, all I cared about was partying, drinking, smoking, and going to bars.
My whole life was directed toward this. My desire for love and for a girl was intense.
Then in the sophomore year of college, I started to lose my hair. Ten trips to the mirror every day confirmed it. My whole world was shattered. For nineteen years, I thought I had to look a certain way to receive the love I wanted. And now, I was thinking, I’m done. Nobody is going to date me now. I was plunged into deep darkness, fear, anxiety, depression, and real despair. I was convinced because of this physical detriment I was not going to receive the love I so powerfully desired.
I was deathly afraid to be single and alone.
Then something unexpected happened: I began to pray more. And God brought me the most beautiful woman ever created to rock my world.
Later I found a book in my mother’s room about the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. One night, I was reading about the apparitions of our Lady at Fatima.
All of a sudden, I felt our Lady pour her love and Jesus’ into my whole body, filling my heart. I felt an overwhelming, amazing, incredible sense of love, warmth, and satisfaction. The love I received was real and powerful. Shortly after this, I experienced similar feelings in front of the Eucharist. Jesus allowed me to taste his love. Everything I was ever looked for in partying, drinking, smoking, and hooking up was being fulfilled in my encounter with God.
For the first time, I experienced satisfaction in my heart.
Why had I turned to partying, drinking, smoking, and trying to hook up for all those years? Why does the college scene encourage us to “get drunk and get laid”? Why did I do anything to get a girlfriend and popularity? My actions were directly linked to what every human heart desires, but they were twisted.
God showed me that he is the only one who can fulfill my heart’s hunger for love. I couldn’t truly love anyone until I realized that I had to love God and choose him first. He had to be my foundation. It was in that moment that I realized the Catholic Church’s truth about why we are created: we are made for love, and God alone can satisfy.
Next time, we will take a closer look at what the Catholic Church teaches to examine why sex, drugs, and alcohol are society’s “go-to’s” and see how they are connected to the only One who can quench our thirst and satisfy our deepest desire to be loved.