What is the meaning of Life?

Father Joseph Burke, SJ believes that the central issue faced by people who are away from the church is: What gives life meaning?  “A lot of people have lost that sense of meaning” he explains. “They begin to ask themselves, “What is my life all about? Why do I get up in the morning? Why do I do what I do?”

People who return have been grouped into four broad categories:

  1. Marriage Life Returnees: They may have a concern for their marriage or are influenced by a spouse.
  2. Family Life Returnees: They are strongly moved by concern for their children’s religious upbringing and a desire for religious unity in the family.
  3. Guilt-feeling Returnees: These people feel guilty about leaving the church and long for the good things they remember about growing up Catholic.
  4. Seeker Returnees: These people search for an answer to a spiritual need or a sense of purpose in their lives.


The return to Catholicism for these returnees is strongly associated with the person’s relationship with a sympathetic spouse, parent, sibling. priest or friend.  So the most important thing that you can do is to keep lines of communication open in a loving way even though you may disagree with them on some issues.  Remember they are on a journey to restore meaning to their lives and you can help them reconnect to their faith with your caring support.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta reminds us that “Kindness has converted more people than zeal, science, or eloquence.”  So won’t you remember to be kind to those fallen away’s in your life?


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