Monday, January 2, 2017

Discernment and Personal Identity

Discernment:  In today’s Gospel, John 1: 19-28, Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to John to find out who he was and why he was baptizing; in other words, to give an account of himself.  When asked “Who are you,” John the Baptist replied: ‘I am not the Christ.’ So they asked him, ‘What are you then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?’ He said: ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.’”

In order to develop the skill of discerning God’s will, it is essential to be able to answer the questions about yourself that were posed to John the Baptist: Who are you? If not such and such, or so and so,  then what or who? What do you have to say for yourself?

If I answer those questions by saying: I am  Mary, I’m Elizabeth, I’m Mary Magdalen, I’m  Peter, I’m Paul; or I’m Joe Biden, I’m Mitch McConnell, I’m  Brett Favre, I’m Aaron Rogers, I’m Marilyn Monroe, I’m Carrie Fisher, I’m Warren Buffet, that defines someone who is not me. God’s will for anyone of these individuals is not God’s will for me.  I am not anyone else but my unique self. The purpose for which God created me is also unique, containing a mission given to no one else.

So who am I? Who am I not?  What am I and what am I not?  Who are you and who are you not? What are you and what are you not?

 St. John the Baptist found the answer to his identity in the book of Isaiah? In which book of the Bible will you find, or have you found, the answer to who you are?

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