By failing to learn to know, love, and serve God, Linda Kracht asserts that we're settling for less than we were created for.
There are endless references to the word settling. Many of the references pertain to personal relationships. This lends the notion that a lot of people fear they have or are settling in terms of their social and personal relationships. But that’s not the direction this article tries to address. Let’s think of settling in terms of what, who, and why we were created. In other words: what is our purpose in life? What were you or I created to become? Have we settled for less than we were created for? Or what we are capable of becoming?
Both the Baltimore Catechism* and the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teach that we are created to know, love, and serve God in this life and the next. The two are simpatico with regard to our true purpose in life. Just the other day, I was struck by the profundity of what appears to be a rather simple instruction! I finally realized why knowing God is paramount to loving and/or serving Him.
St. John Paul ll once said that we can’t love who we don’t know. Little did I realize its link back to the Catechism’s instruction on the ultimate purpose and meaning of life. “At every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scatted and divided by sin into the unity of his family the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior In his Son and through Him, he invites me to become, in the Holy Spirit his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.” (CCC 1.1) The Baltimore Catechism teaches similarly with less words.
We can easily understand the need to first know someone before being able to fall in love with him or her; however, have you ever considered its application to your supernatural relationships? Clearly, it’s applicable on the human level; but, the Catechism is simply yet profoundly teaching us that it applies to our relationship with God; any of His angels; our own guardian angel; and even His saints.
We simply can’t love who we don’t know! And, if we don’t know God, we certainly will not serve Him in all the right ways! Now, consider this. If we fail to love the person whose image we are made, will it even be possible to ever get to know and love ourselves — in all the right ways? I think that where the problem of settling occurs.
All too often we throw up our hands and say that God’s too remote, too majestic, too philosophical, too imaginary, too hard to understand, too irrelevant, too uncaring, too detached, too intellectual, too difficult to understand, too unbelievable; and the list goes on and on. And so we give up trying to know Him!
Each of these excuses for not getting to know Him are actually symptoms of settling! For settling for much less that what we were created for! Settling convinces us that it’s OK to give up on learning more about God! But ultimately, this means also giving up on knowing Him, loving Him and serving Him — in all the right ways that reveal our original purpose. All too readily, we throw up our hands and settle for much less than we were designed to become. We settle for mediocrity in our lives, in our way of living, and in our beliefs. We settle for what can be easily grasped and known rather than seeking the best that life has to offer us — faith, hope and love; fellowship that is holy and good; good and fruitful relationships and marriages; fulfilling jobs, happy, stable family life; and the keys to the Kingdom of God, our heavenly Father.
Have you ever wondered why people have such intense hatred and/or antipathy against anything related to faith, morals and religious principles? It’s because they don’t know God. Then it follows that they don’t love Him, so why would they serve Him? It is next to impossible to willingly serve someone we don’t love or know. Any acts of servitude — in this case — ends up occurring when someone is enslaved or indentured.
The consequences of not knowing who we are made in the image and likeness of, means we don’t really know who we are either. And so, many people look for love and happiness in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. Think about the problems that society can’t seem to cure: a materialistic mentality; drug dependencies; sex trafficking, pornography, riots and mayhem; people hurting other people! These are all symptomatic of people having settled for less than they were created for. They lack genuine happiness and inner peace. They settled — for so much less than they were designed for.
Consider some of the results of the 2019 Pew Research Report on Marriage and Cohabitation. Just 17% of the women and 16% of the men polled feel that marriage is essential to have a fulfilling life. But isn’t the family the cornerstone of society? And marriages build families — far more effectively and protectively than other actions. Many of the participants also felt that a job or career is essential to living/having a fulfilling life — but not marriage! Talk about settling! Who is going to help care for and love these people now or when they are old, retired, unmarried, and childless? The poll also revealed that just 22% of the women, and 16% of men polled felt that having children is essential for fulfilling lives. Neither did they feel that having committed romantic relationships was important or necessary to have fulfilling lives (26% of men and 30% of women).
These emerging values demonstrate that we are fast becoming a culture that fails to know, love, and serve God and His people. We are self-reliant and in need of good jobs and careers for our own selves. The less we need other people and relationships, the less we will care about other people in general. And we certainly will not learn to love people we don’t bother to know first. The lack of empathy and love is already infecting all peoples of all races, ages, genders and classes. They blame others rather than bothering to get to know them — that’s called settling! These people don’t want to engage with someone who thinks differently than they do.
The good news is that none of us have to settle — for anything! The solution is to get to know God first. Attend Bible studies; go to Church regularly; receive her Sacraments regularly; get actively involved in helping others; listen and study His Words. And then you will learn to love God and be willing to serve Him in this life. And then you will inherit the keys to your heavenly mansion. Settling — in all areas of life — will diminish slowly but surely. We’re worth it, right?
*Baltimore Catechism No. 1: LESSON FIRST: ON THE END OF MAN
Q: Who made the world?
A: God made the world.
Q: Who is God?
A: God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things.
Q: What is man?
A: Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.
Copyright 2020 Linda Kracht
Image: Pexels (2020)
About the Author
Linda Kracht is wife to David, mother to seven very special children and grandmother to 17 little ones [presently]. Linda enjoys speaking and writing and has developed field guides for families in English and Spanish about parenting, marriage, faith, morals, and family life. Kracht founded Fortifying Families of Faith  to help parents honor their role as primary teacher of their children in matters that matter.