There is an emptiness in the world, a void that lay within the soul of every individual. This is not a feeling. It is real it is present it is the now of every person who is searching for a sense of belonging but to what exactly?
Those who run terror organizations and street gangs know this void exists and try to seduce our youth with a fake sense of belonging. They appeal to the loneliness felt by our youth who's lives are interspersed with a sense of hopelessness and pessimism.
There is also the emptiness of knowledge, especially when many use knowledge as a replacement for meaning. Many psychopaths are geniuses with brilliant intellects yet their hearts are devoid of all love and respect for others. A good education is no substitute for a life full of meaningfulness. Yet many families spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in order that their children will succeed in life, but how exactly do we measure success? Do we measure success by how much money we earn in a year or what titles come after our name whether it be PHD or a BA? If this is the case then how superficial have we made life as if accruements and financial assets were the only thing that matters. No wonder our society is sick.
Our youth do not join violent gangs because they wish to do evil to another person. They join these street gangs because they lack a sense of belonging, they are lost in a multitude of faceless people, in a sea of empty values. No wonder they swim towards that which offers them a home a feeling of being wanted and a longing to be validated. Of course we know that this is a false sense of belonging but our children do not have the maturity to understand this, they simply want to be loved and to love in return. When a childs life is full of emptiness then it is a case that any love will do.
It is also the case that those families who are more prosperous should not feel to safe either when it comes to their children, money is no substitute for parental love. As those youth who were born into more prosperous families wonder into the land of aimless and faceless sexual encounters and become addicted to illicit drugs in an attempt to capture what is missing from their inner lives.
When one teenage mother was asked why she had given birth at such a young age, her response was that she wanted to be loved for herself. As she explained she knew that the boys that she had slept with had failed her. This young girl realized that the boys were simply using her body as an instrument of pleasure and then had discarded her as yesterdays rubbish. Her longing was to be wanted, the best way that she could fulfill this was to have a baby of her own, who she could love unconditionally.
We need only look at who and what is perceived as today's role models. Where the superficial is accepted over and above substance. Our youth esteem the latest Hollywood trends where couples are having children out of wedlock and this is seen as acceptable. Where the gay lifestyle is promoted as normal and sexual experimentation is encouraged by all sectors of the media. Our homes are inundated with TV shows that promotes casual sex with no responsibility or accountability. In these TV shows no-one catches AIDS, or STD's there are no unwanted pregnancies. Adultery is seen as a viable choice as both partners betray the other once again there is no sense of right and wrong only what feels good is important. As that great Saint of the Church, Augustine teaches us with these wise words, "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." This great Saint knew all about pleasuring the senses while remaining spiritually empty.
This emptiness also follows us into maturity as many look to outside sources to fill this void that only God can fill. We will never truly understand what love is until we have accepted God into our hearts. Once again St. Augustine wrote, "You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace." We learn here that outside things and transitory pleasures are no replacement for what we truly need and that is God at the centre and core of our lives.
We belong solely to God and when we realise this we also acknowledge the fundamental dignity of the other person. We no longer use other people to gain things for ourselves at the expense of another. When we reach this knowledge we can understand that the only love worth having is the love that we give to others. For the love that we give away was never ours to begin with but has as its source the Triune Spirit. A love that was ready to suffer and die so that we may live.
This is love this is belonging.
Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.