The attempt to fill the chasm of who I am with anything, even anything good - books read or published, good works accomplished, income donated, degrees earned - is itself an indication of just how alienated from myself I have in fact become. The measure of that for me is when I find myself in the company of different groups of people: around my students I could feel confident in my knowledge base, while among my classmates I feel somehow more ephemeral, like I am less real around people who know more than I. That may be one way of reading "the Fall" in Genesis 3: the immediacy of my knowledge of my relationship and identity with God gets disrupted with the rise of self-consciousness, of shame and pride, so I feel the need to cover my nakedness with the fig leaves of what I can pat myself on the back for.
...I am no Mother Teresa, which is ok - I'm not called to be her, but to be me, genuinely me, which is harder than it sounds. This mimesis or creation of desires based on other people tells me what I am supposed to desire, what I am supposed to want to be, and it will jerk me around as long as I play the game of trying to produce a mask that is so real that I will forget that it is simply a mask.
And there's more - but you'll need to link over to BP's place for the rest of his All Saints Day reflection.
Image by Ricky Romain: click on the image for a larger version
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