Sunday, September 13, 2009

A "little reflection" on today's gospel



Although I wish Brother Patrick would post more often, it's certainly well worth the wait in between his posts when a new one goes up.

It seems that the priest at the Catholic Center at Syracuse University (where BP is a doctoral student) asked him to "do a little reflection" at Masses there this weekend. Taking Jesus' question, "Who do people say that I am?" as his starting point, he offers at least a week's worth of wisdom to ponder.

Here's just a snip and I hope it will lead you to read the rest:
I suspect we all want to maintain a certain psychic integrity, to think well of ourselves and to present an image to other people that we want them to think about us. It’s easy enough to pooh-pooh the obviously superficial stuff as a way of cobbling together an identity – how expensive your clothes are, how perfect your body is, so on. Jesus goes further, though, to root out any places where our egos try to hide: even ostensibly good stuff like getting an education, being religious, can be one more way of convincing ourselves that we have got it together. In fact, it’s insidious, because although I believe religion can be the best thing in the world, it can also be the worst thing when it gives divine legitimacy to inflating our egos. Everything you need is already here – it’s just hard to live out of that because it doesn’t feel like much, because our egos can’t hang onto anything for themselves.

Who you truly are is who you are in God, and nothing more. That sounds hokey, but at least in my own neurotic self, I constantly feel like I have to prove something, earn something, accomplish something, so I can think well of myself, so others will think well of me, so God will think well of me. That’s hard at a place like this and at the age most of you are, because there are so many talented people that it’s easy to covet all the talents and successes you see in other people. But no matter how many books I read, how many degrees I earn, how many good deeds I do or churchy things I attend, none of that can create an identity for me. That’s the bad news: I can’t cobble together an identity like that. The good news is, I don’t have to.

Who I am is who I am in God, and nothing more – there is nothing to prove, no need to deny what a mess I am, no good self-image to project for other people, no need to make it look like I’ve got it all together so that God will love me or so that I can love myself...

Read the whole reflection...

"Who you truly are is who you are in God and nothing more..."

Well, there's my mantra for prayer in the coming week.

Image:
Milltown Institute


-ConcordPastor

7 comments:

Anne said...

beautiful...thank you for sharing it!

michelle said...

Between Brother Patrick's reflection and your homily, ConcordPastor, well...
there's just SO MUCH...
my head is very full...
(I'm going to need more time with these... )

thank you.

(I'd like to make "who you truly are is who you are in God and nothing more..." my mantra for prayer this week too)

michelle said...

...do you know how many times today I said to myself, "who I am is who I am in God and nothing more"?
well, I don't know exactly, but A LOT.

Hopefully I will do it again tomorrow...

thank you.

ConcordPastor said...

Same with me, Michelle - and I printed out that line and carry it in my pocket notebook just so I won't forget it!

Fran said...

The addition of Brother Patrick's blog to my reading has been a real gift. This was a great reflection.

Br. Patrick said...

Thank you, Father, and thank you friends for listening past my poor words to the deep silence that somehow finds us while we go crazy trying to find it...Mutual prayers...bp

Annamarie said...

Hi, i'm annamarie, a high school student doing a prayer service project just on this gospel reading and this helps so much!! This commentary helps me reflect on how i can hide nothing from God and he still loves me, the whole package. :)
It seems that the things that are most inciteful are the hardest to articulate and interpret for reflection.