In these confusing times no doubt most of us would like to find a key to the meaning of life, a magic solution to life's problems, a "philosopher's stone" that would change our daily struggle into moments of gold. Surely there must be some "elixir of life" that will raise us to a new level of experience, if we could only find it. You can actually go to St. Augustine, Florida, where you can drink from Ponce de Leon's "fountain of youth," or so they will tell you, although he himself never claimed to have found it. Too bad! There is no way to reverse the effects of aging, for "it is appointed for man to die once and after this comes the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
But why is life so difficult for us humans? Every bluebird knows how to sing; every dog knows how to bark; every tree bears its fruit in due season according to its kind. But man alone out of all God's creatures seems unable to discern his true destiny, and our race is now heading straight for the cliff over which it will plunge to its destruction.
There are still voices of hope raised: The U.N. is man's last and best hope for peace, according to Paul VI. But the Church should run as fast as possible from any kind of peace sponsored by the U.N., which would be the peace prophesied in the Apocalypse presided over by the Antichrist, resulting in hell for Christians. That modern Tower of Babel, the U.N., champions a new world order in which there will be no place for Christianity, or even for God Himself.
Ironically, words like those which should have come from the lips of a Paul VI, a John Paul II, or a Benedict XVI, were uttered by that most unpopular of world leaders, the President of Iran, who has shown in his address to the U.N. and in interviews with the news media that he is not the madman he is made out to be by Western leaders and the media under their control. His words mock the U.N. in its arrogance and pride:
"Today, humanity passionately craves commitment to the Truth, devotion to God, quest for Justice and respect for the dignity of human beings. Rejection of domination and aggression, defense of the oppressed, and longing for peace constitute the legitimate demand of the peoples of the world…
"I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet. (Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Address to the U.N., 9/19/2006).
Unfortunately, words about God and "the perfect human being" are not yet words of faith, and the "perfect human being" is not Jesus Christ, without Whom there will be no peace. If the Muslim world perceives itself as being pushed to the limit, we will see Jihad declared and a huge army of Muslim warriors setting out from Mecca, heading for Jerusalem and Rome.
The words of Jesus Christ after His Resurrection to the two men on the road to Emmaus express God's exasperation at the dullness and stubbornness of human beings. Why do they not believe what God has revealed through the prophets, and His Divine Son, Jesus Christ?
"'O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" says Our Lord. "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things before entering into His glory?' And beginning then with Moses and with all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things referring to Himself" (St. Luke 24:25-27).
Here we have it, from the mouth of the God-Man Himself, Jesus Christ, the one and only key to peace and happiness of which the world is in need. Jesus Christ is the only hope of the world, the true philosopher's stone, the fountain of eternal youth. Those who have faith in Him have all they need for their security and happiness here and hereafter. Perhaps no one has ever said it better than St. Paul:
"Have Christ dwelling through faith in your hearts: so that, being rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge, in order that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).
Those who have Christ dwelling through faith in their hearts have that "fullness". They have everything they need for their life in this world and in the next. They have the Church Christ founded as the Ark of their salvation. They have His Holy Gospel to enlighten their minds with truth. They have the holy Sacraments to nourish and strengthen their souls. They have the wonderful Communion of Saints, and enjoy the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints. They have St. Michael and the angelic hosts to protect them from the devil and his demonic hordes. And during their pilgrimage through the persecutions of this world on their way to Heaven, they have the gifts and the consolations of the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.
"All you that thirst, come to the waters," says the Lord, "and you that have no money, make haste, buy and eat. Come ye: buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me and eat that which is good: and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me. Hear and your soul shall live. And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David" (Isaias 55:1-3).
God has first loved us, says St. John: "In this has the love of God been shown in our case, that God has sent His only-begotten Son into the world that we may live through Him. In this is the love, not that we have loved God, but that He has first loved us, and sent His Son a propitiation for our sins" (1Jn.4:9-10).
St. Augustine speaks for all of us: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee" (Confessions, I, 1).