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The Commemoration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary Major
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Feeling like your life is pointless, and you’re adrift?


Elizabeth Scalia - published on 03/18/17

Read what John Henry Newman said about that. God didn't make you for nothing.

There are times in all of our lives when we feel like we are coasting and drifting through it all with no sense of purpose. Others around us seem to know what it is they are about, at least on the surface, but deep down everyone experiences that feeling — that moment — when they look around at their lives and their work and think, “Why am I doing this? Is it all pointless? Did God really create me just so I can do this?”

And yet, we are all cogs in a great wheel. We look at things that seem like great accomplishments — the creation of skyscrapers designed by fabled architects; breathtaking works of art that leave us slack-jawed and we think, “Well, those people found their purposes, and they probably had help discovering it, but I never had that help, or I was misdirected. I don’t have a purpose. I am not important.”

But if you look at the Empire State Building, you have to stop to think that it could not stand without the simple rivets that anonymous men drove in, one after another, floor after floor. If you look at Rome’s magnificent Gesu church, you must stop to think of the hundreds of unknown artisans — some with very specific and rather mundane jobs — who contributed to this place where heaven seems to come alive on earth.

We cannot all be created for a purpose that is large in the eyes of the great big world. The truth is most of us are created to be large in the eyes of God alone, and in the eyes and lives of the people who are in our rather smallish world: in our families, our communities.

Ask most people who their heroes are, or who has loomed large in their lives, and you’ll be surprised at the answers. It will be the teacher whose encouragement forged an interest; a coach who didn’t keep them on the bench; a person at church who showed them the face of God.

When you are feeling adrift, remember what Blessed John Henry Newman said:

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him; whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.” ― John Henry Newman
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