What our desires tell us about God
Some desires are so strong and deep that people will give up everything to keep seeking them out —things like love and beauty. Why do we have these deeper desires?
Hey there! That painting wasn’t that beautiful. So I want to tell you the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. But first, what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? Come with me.
So think about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. Fortunately, I have the internet here, so I’ve Googled for the most beautiful thing other people have seen. Here’s one people of Reddit. What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life? And people in the comments say really interesting things.
Someone says the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is my son being born. Someone else says the Milky way on a very clear night. It’s interesting a lot of them are the birth of a child or like nature. This person answered the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen are ducks and their spouse. A peacock Pegasus.
What’s a peacock Pegasus? Wait, wait. Let’s search. Okay. A peacock Pegasus is a mythical creature. So I don’t know if that counts, but it does look beautiful. So I’m going to tell you about one of mine, a story of the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
When I was in college, I had this opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad in another country. That country was Austria. All the students lived in this old monastery on the edge of the Swiss Alps in a little town called Gaming. So this one time I found myself hiking up, what I thought was this massive mountain, and we get to a part where the trees kind of clear out and I turn around. And for the first time I look out from the mountain, cause there was no trees I could finally see. And when I look out, I realize that the mountain quote unquote that we were on was just a foothill. And there was this massive, massive mountain right in front of me that made everything else seems so tiny.
And I could see down into the city and it was so big. And I remember it pushing me literally back onto my butt and looking at all of it and just going, God! And it just, it just came out of my soul. Like, God! I just remember feeling like this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced, but as I look back on that moment, as beautiful as it was, the weird thing is it was fleeting.
Like it went by in a second and we hiked back down the mountain. And now I have this memory, but it’s not the same thing. That moment was suspended in time and didn’t carry on with me in the same way. All of the best experiences in our lives, they’re fleeting. They just last a few moments and then they’re a memory. It’s like I have these unending desires for things that can never fully be satisfied
and that’s interesting. So we have a lot of these desires and we have what’s called natural desires. For natural desires, every desire has an object that can satisfy that desire. So when you’re hungry. Man, I’m so hungry. There’s food. When you’re thirsty. I’m so thirsty. There’s water. When you’re tired and sleepy.
So tired, you can take a sleepy time. Is that not good? So we have those natural desires, but what about these deeper desires? Things like happiness, truth, beauty, goodness.
Ah, that’s a straight line. So let’s talk about happiness. I had something that made me really happy the other day. I had an ice cream sandwich that made me pretty happy. It was pretty good. I like ice cream sandwiches. Like how often do you have an ice cream sandwich? It’s like as an adult, I don’t really have ice cream sandwiches that often, but it made me pretty happy. But that couldn’t compare with, actually, my 30th birthday. It didn’t compare to that ice cream sandwich. I mean my 30th birthday was, was pretty awesome. And then even that didn’t compare to this family vacation that our family took. That was really great. Like every year I think we should go on a vacation like that again. And as happy as I was during a birthday party or an ice cream sandwich, that family vacation, like couldn’t compare a top to them.
So these were all different experiences that had different levels of happiness. So we have all these different experiences of happiness, or we could talk about beauty or truth or love, but they’re all fleeting. You know, we experienced these here on earth, but they never fully satisfied. We’re always restless.
We’re always seeking more and more of this happiness or truth or beauty. There does exist something outside of our experience that is infinite beauty, love, and truth that can fully satisfy our restless heart. Even the atheist, Jean-Paul Sarte admitted that “There comes a time when one asks even if Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, is that all there is?” CS Lewis, the great Christian author, said “If I find in myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” So we’ve explored a lot of these different experiences and desires that we have, and those desires are good. Like we have desires for things that are good, like truth and beauty and goodness and ice cream sandwiches.
We have these natural desires that have an object that answer those desires. And then we have these deeper desires that can be experienced here on earth, but they’re never fully satisfied. These deeper desires make us restless. There exists something that can satisfy those deeper desires and that’s something is God.
And the truth is that the desire for these deeper things is written on our hearts because the desire for God is written on our hearts and our hearts will be restless until they rest in Him. Only He can truly satisfy those deep desires we have.
U.12 — CCC 988-1065
Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can look forward to our own body’s being raised at the end of time. Pretty cool, right?Watch
U.11 — CCC 976-987
Forgiving others allows us to lay down the weight we would otherwise hold onto. Forgiveness frees our hearts.Watch
U.10 — CCC 946-962
Your life matters. Your decisions matter. Your actions matter. Each of us is called to a life of holiness; you’re called to be a saint.Watch
U.9 — CCC 748-975
The “Church” is more than a building! It’s the family of God — and you belong in the Church.Watch