Saturday, January 15, 2011

What is Our Purpose?

What is the purpose of our life?  There is only one way to answer this important question.   We know that there is life beyond death so our purpose has to be about this future life.  We need to have conviction that our activities here on earth are only a means to this other life.  We need to make sure we are using these means to guide us toward this purpose.  We should look towards heaven in every action we take in this life to make sure it is a step towards it.

So what does this mean we should do?  Does this mean we need to do something great?

Here is how Saint Theophan answers this,
It is a great error to think that you must undertake important and great labors, whether for heaven, or, as the progressives think, in order to make one's contribution to humanity. That is not necessary at all. It is necessary only to do everything in accordance with the Lord's commandments. Just exactly what is to be done? Nothing in particular, just that which presents itself to each one according to the circumstances of his life, and which is demanded by the individual events which each of us meets.
Is someone seeking help? Help them. Has someone offended you? Forgive him. Have you offended somebody? Rush to ask forgiveness and make peace. Did somebody praise you? Don't be proud. Did somebody scold you? Do not be angry. Is it time to pray? Pray. Is it time to work? Work. Etc., etc., etc. If, after all of this has been explained, you set about to act in this way in every instance so that your works will be pleasing to God, having carried them out according to the commandments without any deviation, then all the problems of your life will be solved completely and satisfactorily. The purpose is the blessed life beyond the grave; the means are the works according to the commandments, the execution of which is required by each instance of life. 
This is worthy of some reflection. We tend to make life more complicated than it needs to be. Remember our purpose and the commandments. With simplicity we are called to do our best to meet them each step we take. No more and no less.

More on an Orthodox Way of Life

Reference: The Spiritual Life, pp 87-89


  1. Isn't it strange how wisdom is always so simple? And I miss it so often by making things (and my life) complicated. Thanks for this help today.

  2. Thanks for sharing Dennis. I can attest from my personal experience that complexity does not help you come closer to God but in fact distances you from Him. It all a path where we are learning based on the degree we are willing to let God into our lives.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. This particular quote from St. Theophan had a great impact on me almost a decade ago when I was on my journey to Orthodoxy, so much so that I can recall typing it up and e-mailing it to many of my friends, as if to say "A-ha, I just discovered the meaning of life!" How providential it to have it placed before me again, at this point in my life, all these years later. Thank you again.


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