In Three Philosophies of Life, Peter Kreeft writes about three books in the Old Testament that essentially outline three ways to live and view life: Ecclesiates, life as vanity; Job, life as suffering; and Song of Songs, life as love. These are analogous to hell, purgatory, and heaven. In regards to Job, he writes about God:
Because of what God is, he cannot show up in answer to Job’s questions, in function of Job’s needs. God will not answer Job because God is not the answer Man. He is not the Answerer, the Responder. He is the Initiator, the Questioner. He is not second but first, “in the beginning”. His name (which reveals his essence) is “I AM”, not “HE IS”. God exists in the First Person Singular. He is subject, not Object, not even object of Job’s searchings and questionings.
Everyone who has ever met God as distinct from a concept of God, all the saints and mystics, everyone, in other words, who is like Job rather like Job’s three theologian friends, has said the same thing: when you meet God, you cannot put the meeting into words, much less the God you meet. God cannot be an object of our concepts. Concepts shatter like broken eyeglasses, like broken eyes—in fact, like broken I’s. No longer am I I and God my Thou, my object; now God is I, and I am his thou, his object. Thus the mystics say such strange things about the self, as if it were an illusion or destroyed in this encounter. The illusion that is destroyed is not the self itself but its usual standpoint in which I am I, the center, and God appears on my screen somewhere. This self is illusion, and God shatters it by reversing the standpoint: we appear on his screen. We are his object, not ours.
God, You just got bigger than I ever imagined. I knew You were bigger than my imagination, and I know You are infinitely more than finite language can describe, but even the way I or we use language is incorrect when it comes to You. Being all-knowing, all-powerful, creator of the whole universe and everything else is pretty darn big in itself (or Yourself), but You cannot even be the object of any thing. You are always the subject, never the object. I say that You are my God, but that is not exactly correct in the description of our relationship. I am Yours. I am the thou to Your I in our I-thou relationship.
And the question to You is not, “What is the meaning of life?” You will not answer it. The question comes from You for me to answer, “What is the meaning of life for me?” What do I make of my life, my gift from You? How do I live it?
Oh, Father! I am not sure of the answer. I know what the books say. I know what the Church and the saints say. My purpose is to love You and to love others. My head knows what this technically means. My heart knows what it means in a wordless, lived kind of way. I think they match, but I am unsure. Currents of doubt sweep around my feet as to what it truly means to love You. The how’s, the why’s, the what’s? I know the who’s and Who. Ahh, the why’s—the question You ask—What is the meaning of life for me? To love You and to love others, is that enough? It should be; I think I know it is; but the distractions of this world say that there should be more. Forgive me for my lack of focus.
I thought I had most of it figured out, but I don’t. I never did. I have heard that it is the seeking that is much more important than the finding. Either my head or my heart believes this, but I am not sure which one. Doubt creeps in through this asynchronicity.
I trust in You. Help me to be patient and persevere in faith and hope, and especially in love.