People who think and reflect deeply upon the human condition have articulated five realms of desire that are common to human beings, regardless of their nationality, religion, or any other societal factor. These realms of desire, or longing, exert tremendous influence over every individual, and give rise to a seemingly endless variety of attempts to meet these longings within the framework of natural experience. These attempts invariably fall short of the goal of satisfaction, because the reality is that, no matter what we experience in relation to these realms of desire, we instinctively know that there is yet more to be had. In the inner reaches of our souls, we know that we have not fully met the longing we feel, and so we often give in to the temptation of repeating strategies that have failed us, time and time again.

These five realms of desire, or longing, may be summarized in these concepts, often called “the transcendentals.” They are: the longing for Truth, the longing for Love, the longing for Goodness (sometimes called Justice), the longing for Beauty, and the longing for Home. Even a brief reflection on each of these transcendentals awakens that sense of desire, or longing in the human heart. When one takes the time and effort to reflect more deeply, one begins to realize that our repeated attempts to come to satisfaction and fulfillment invariably fall short, and we come to the end of that attempt with the vague and aching knowledge that there is still more, something beyond what we have touched. The awareness of this failure to realize what we seek either drives us to despair and a crippling disillusionment, or it can propel us to deeper seeking, to a positive disillusionment that may lead to the awakening of vision and hope.

In this series of articles, we will explore this reality of desire, or longing, as well as reflecting on each of the five transcendentals that are common to each of us in our own experience. Then, as we consider the reality of the transcendentals, we will also explore the conclusion that the fullness that we seek is found only in the God of the Bible, the Father of the Lord Jesus, and the Giver of the Holy Spirit. There is a familiar quote from the writings of St. Augustine that expresses this journey so well:

“For Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

I hope you’ll follow along on this little journey from week to week. Blessings on you!
Gary Wiens

Gary Wiens, 1/22/2018