How many times have we heard or read about persons seeking “the meaning of life?” How often have we contemplated it ourselves? Whatever givesmeaning seems important. Whatever is meaningless is unimportant. It would therefore seem of some consequence that we look upon, meditate upon, and pursue the things that give meaning to our lives while trying to delete, or at least minimize, those things that lack meaning.
A panoramic way of perceiving this is in the broad and general brush strokes of a person’s entire lifetime –looking back and singling out those elements that contained the most powerful meaning;but that may be putting the cart way out in front of the horse. It strikes me that what should come first is taking a thoughtful look at what seems most meaningful to us on a day-to-day basis. What, in a normal day, is most meaningful for me? I would say morning prayers, Mass, and my time alone with You gives the most meaning to my life each day. I would say eating meals, watching TV, doing crossword puzzles, or having a cigar is pretty meaningless. Willingly doing something I would not choose, for the sake of another (and forgetting my “self) gives meaning to my life. Giving up personal time or personal plans for the time or plans of another also gives it meaning. Exercising, listening to music, or surfing the internet is pretty much meaningless. I could go on, but there seems to be a definite pattern here.
The things that seem to give the most meaning to my life are the day-to-day things I might do that involve forgetting my self and remembering You or others. The things that are most meaningless are those that are centered on myself. Giving of oneself without condition is LOVE. What gives meaning to life is the opportunity to love – to love You and to love others. The time I devote to myself or to the things I want to do seems meaningless because it lacks love. Thus, what I should be pursuing on a day-to-day basis is opportunities to love. This is what gives meaning to life!