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The Answer to Our Most Troubling Questions

Pope John Paul II observed that “the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ Himself” (Veritatis splendor, 2).

Man finds the answer to his most troubling questions about the meaning of life, suffering, and death by clinging in faith to the person of Jesus Christ, who is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), “the refulgence of His glory” (Heb 1:3), “the way and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).   Pope John Paul II observed that “the decisive answer to every one of man’s questions, his religious and moral questions in particular, is given by Jesus Christ, or rather is Jesus Christ Himself” (Veritatis splendor, 2). By becoming “true man,” God revealed to mankind the whole truth about Himself as well as the meaning of life and the vocation of all men, for “only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light” (Gaudium et spes, 22). “Seen in any other terms, the mystery of personal existence remains an insoluble riddle. Where might the human being seek the answer to dramatic questions such as pain, the suffering of the innocent and death, if not in the light streaming from the mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection?” (Fides et ratio, 12).

Since Jesus Christ revealed the whole truth about God and the meaning of human existence, our primary task in life is to come to know this truth through systematic study and assimilation of Holy Scripture, the compendium of the Church’s teaching as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and, above all, by forming a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through constant daily prayer, reception of the holy sacraments, and living life by the moral norms and the Gospel. "The obedience of faith" (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals" (Dei verbum, 5). This act of faith, of entrusting oneself to “the God who reveals” is what determines man’s eternal happiness — his salvation. “Here, then, I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom... Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you” (Deut 30: 15; 19-20). Man is free to choose and can reject God; but in that case he suffers the most tragic drama of spiritual enslavement to sin, demonic powers, and death. The prophet Jeremiah powerfully expresses this tragedy of man’s rejection of God. “Be amazed at this, O heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the LORD. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water” (Jer 2:12-13). The decision of faith, this entrusting of oneself to God engages the entire person. It is the act by which every one of us attains freedom and imperishable happiness. John Paul II stresses that it “is not just that freedom is part of the act of faith: it is absolutely required. Indeed, it is faith that allows individuals to give consummate expression to their own freedom. Put differently, freedom is not realized in decisions made against God. For how could it be an exercise of true freedom to refuse to be open to the very reality that enables our self-realization? Men and women can accomplish no more important act in their lives than the act of faith; it is here that freedom reaches the certainty of truth and chooses to live in that truth” (Fides et ratio, 13).

The authentic life of faith expresses itself in entrusting one’s entire life on a daily basis to Christ through constant prayer and the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Living by faith also entails the labor of conforming one’s conduct to the Ten Commandments, the Gospel, and the objective moral norms. Only such a life will open up for us the way of salvation. God tells us that “into a soul that plots evil wisdom enters not, nor dwells she in a body under debt of sin” (Wis 1:4). But God does not leave us to our own devices. He constantly appeals to us, calls us to repent and convert, to accept the gift of Divine Mercy.

Forgiveness, deliverance from enslavement to the greatest sins becomes possible only through the power of Jesus Christ. With total child-like trust we must come to Jesus who is present in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and make a clean breast of our sins. This is the essence of the message of the Divine Mercy. The risen Jesus reminds us that He is “goodness and mercy” itself (St. Faustina, Diary, 1024). “Let no soul,” He urges, “fear to draw near to Me, even though her sins be as scarlet” (Diary, 699). “My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the entire world….I let my Sacred Heart be pierced with a lance, thus opening wide the source of mercy for you. Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart” (Diary, 1485).  “I have opened My heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this ocean of mercy with great trust” (Diary, 1520). “The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is trust. The more a soul trusts, the more she will receive” (Diary, 1578).

Let us, then, accept with joy the truth of God’s infinite mercy. Let us live by it every day and proclaim it to all people.

Fr. Mieczysław Piotrowski SChr

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The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in May 2016.

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