Daniel Fachting

From a Christian perspective, union with God is our highest potential and purpose. After committing ourselves and lives to Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit, our lives are molded and shaped by the people, events, and circumstances of our lives to become the creatures that God created us to be. Our lives are also shaped by prayer, participating in liturgies, reading the Bible and other spiritual readings, and receiving the sacraments. Some people would try to convince us that the highest level and purpose of life is self-actualization. How sad!  

When I think of self-actualization, I think of people who reach their goal of self-fulfillment according to what they imagine will make them happy. It reminds me of Jesus being tempted in the desert after he was baptized. He is promised power, wealth, and security. He rejects these things knowing that in the end they amount to nothing. Power, wealth, and security will never bring everlasting fulfillment. Neither will good health, education, other people, human relationships, social clubs, or work.

When I was a child, we memorized questions and answers. One of the questions was, “Why did God make you?” The answer was a one liner, “God made you to know him, love him, and serve him and to be happy with him forever.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. God’s design for each human being is happiness. I interpret that to mean he desires that each of us reach full potential, and then gives us the way to do that.  

There are those who teach that the way to fulfillment is to have the most toys, property, most money, or a higher organizational position. We are concerned about so many things of this world that we forget that ultimate happiness and fulfillment and our greatest potential lies in having a deep personal relationship with God. It is interesting that the New Testament is bookended with Mary’s “Let it be done to me according to your will.” And Jesus praying, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

True happiness and fulfillment lie not in self-actualization, but in God-actualization. We will never experience our true potential having things our way, but his way. We don’t have to be our-selves, we need to be his. Not even excellent health will lead to ultimate fulfillment. The highest human potential and purpose is union with God.  

“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you and give you his peace.”

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