Occupying a unique place in creation
I’m basing my reflection today on verses 355 and 356 from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which highlight the belief that human beings are unique in all of visible creation in that we were created for relationship with God.
355 Man occupies a unique place in creation: …
- (IV) God established him in his friendship.
356 of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”.219 … and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created.
From God’s perspective, he created each of us because he wanted a relationship, a friendship with us. He didn’t just want worshippers of followers, he wanted friendship with us.
I don’t know how you feel about that but if I’m honest, there is a big part of me that feels uncomfortable with this idea. A lot of the time I don’t feel like I’m a very good friend of God, and I can feel unworthy, not up to scratch, not knowledgable enough
But if the Catechism is correct in its distillation of all that has been revealed over thousands of years of God’s revelation to his people, this is what we were made for. This is the particular role which we as human beings play that no other visible creature can play.
A tree is meant to grow and provide shade and kindling, a river is supposed to flow and provide life giving water and human beings are supposed to ‘know and love our creator’, to the live “in friendship’ with God” and to “share in God’s own life”. It’s not something we chose. It’s just the way things are.
It’s not dissimilar to the situation we find ourselves in in our families. I didn’t choose to be born the daughter of my parents or this sister of my siblings, that was just a fact of the existence I was born into. Over time though, thanks to growing up in a functional enough family I grew to understand the meaning and significance of those relationships. I learnt what it means to be a daughter and a sister and I’m still learning. But one thing I’ve come to understand is that if I want to optimise my quality of life I shouldn’t take these relationships for granted. I should invest in them intentionally. I need to ‘choose them”. I need not just to be a daughter and a sister but try to be a friend to my family members.
It’s not dissimilar with God. We didn’t choose to be born in relationship with him we just were. That’s how he made us, with a capacity to know and love him and to share in his inner life in a way that no other creature can.
If we were lucky enough to have a reasonably functional relationship with God’s family, the Church, we might have developed over time a mature understanding of the meaning and significance of our relationship with God and maybe we have learnt to invest intentionally in that relationship. Maybe yu have had a go at trying to develop a friendship with God.
But if you haven’t it’s never too late.
If like me you feel inadequate at times my advice is to put it back on God and make it his problem.
Be honest with him. Let him know you feel uncomfortable, inadequate, not up to scratch. Let him know if you find it hard to believe that he actually wants you to know him and share intimately in his inner life as close friends and lovers share in each other’s inner life.
Ask him to show you how to grow in relationship with him.
All he needs from you is permission to get to know you. His Holy Spirit can do the rest.
Catherine of Sienna gave God permission and this is what she discovered:
“You are taken with love for your children; for by love indeed you created them and by love you have given them a being capable of tasting your eternal Good”.221