The big $64,000 question - why are we here?
I posted this question on the DCF boards that I frequent, but I thought I'd go ahead and post it here as well, because they're thoughts that have been going through my mind.
This is one of those "I know the Mormon answer, but don't know the Catholic answer" questions, so I hope you will all bear with me.
The Mormon "Plan of Salvation" is a rather clear-cut example of why we are here, complete with fancy diagrams (see above). When I was Mormon, I knew why I was here - to see if I would pass the worthiness tests so that I could enter the Celstial Kingdom with my spouse, and we could have our own worlds with our own spirit children.
Obviously, there's nothing that clear cut for the Catholic church. The purpose of life, as far as I can tell, is to praise God and to help your fellow man. But I have yet to find a diagram.
What exactly is the point of having us be separated from God on earth? Why did God give us bodies and have us experience life, but leave our dependance on him to be faith alone? Why didn't he just create us in Heaven with bodies? Or why didn't he just create our spirits so we could all spend eternity with him? Why would he create both physical beings and spiritual beings, like angels? What good is Free Will if it just takes us away from him if we make the wrong choice?
Or why doesn't he make himself 100% available to us on earth? Why leave reason for us to doubt his existance?
I can get the whole "evil" concept, but I just don't understand why God didn't just skip the middle man and go straight to the end where we all spend Eternity singing his praises?
Like I said, I was thinking of the Mormon "Plan of Salvation", which has extremely rational lines of thoughts as to why we are going through what we are doing, and I couldn't think of a rational Catholic one, at least not one that I have been taught.
I'll do some reading in my Catechism of the Catholic Church tonight and see what I can find as well. But if anyone has any input, I'd appreciate it greatly.