Each thing is destined for its own fulfillment.
This occurred to me recently, for some reason. Seeds are destined to become plants. Children are destined to become adults. Food is destined to be eaten.
But my statement is self-evident. Of course everything tends towards its end, that’s why it is its end. The two parts of the statement are defined by each other.
Yet this only deepens its meaning, I feel. Everything contains within itself, exists according to, and tends towards its own essential principle. It is what it is. It reminds me of the meaning of the divine name, ‘I Am That I Am’ or, ‘I Will Be Who I Will Be’.
The river flows towards the ocean. The child grows into an adult. The seed becomes a tree. That is what it is, what it does, and what it will be.
In each case we can also note that the end is also the origin. It is from its origin, and so to be according to itself is to be according to its origin, and to tend to itself is to tend to its origin. It is contained by its origin, and its origin is contained within it.
‘And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.‘ – T. S. Elliot
Ultimately, God is the first origin and final end of all things. And in each thing being and becoming itself, it tends towards God Himself. The whole cosmos is heading towards its fulfillment in God. As St Paul wrote,
‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.’ [Colossians 1:15-20]
‘For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now’ [Romans 8:19-22]
‘When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who put all things in subjection under him, so that God may be all in all.’ [Corinthians 15:28]