Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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BE…To be means first of all to accept the gift of existence, to accept life from the womb to the tomb. This is not easy. As we grow older the “intimations of mortality” become more frequent and much more impressive. Many people ask themselves every day. “Is it really worthwhile to go on?” Suicide and euthanasia are serious national problems today.

To be means also to accept the human condition with its “transcendental neediness” and personal interdependence.

I am not absolutely self-autonomous. As an effect of original sin I do not have the gift of integrity. I do not have perfect control over all of my faculties. What control I do have is gained only with a lot of discipline. And discipline is what I need most and want least. I have a free will which is my greatest dignity but also my most awesome responsibility. “I must think for myself, take the initiative and assume responsibility for my personal actions.” (John XXIII) I must accept the fact that I am a sinner, actually in the past, potentially in the future and always carrying this treasure in a very fragile vessel.

BE ME… means to accept my particular, unique, unrepeatable and indispensable edition of the human condition. There is not now, there never has been, and there never will be another me. Since I am one of a kind, I am not inferior or superior to anyone. I give God a praise, honor, love and service that no one else can give. Therefore, I am indispensable. It is very important to have this positive self-image because psychologists tell us that the most vicious disease of normal people is a negative self-image, an inferiority complex.

But it is not easy to be me. There are powerful forces, both interior and exterior, that are trying to make me someone else. The exterior forces are from the media that are beamed at us 24/7 telling us that if we wish to be accepted we should wear this type of clothing, drink this beverage, drive this car and act and believe as they do. They tempt us to buy what we don’t need, with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like. It is not easy to be counter-cultural. And if we depend on the acceptance and approval of others what happens if they do not give us their stamp of approval?

Then there are the interior forces within us, envy, jealousy, the desire to be popular, to be like someone else. We are social beings who live together in society so it is natural for us to compare ourselves with others. Unfortunately we compare our total self only to their exterior self, the self that we see. Since we do not know their total self we foolishly think that they are superior.

BE HAPPY TO BE ME. This is the will of God for me. I am happy to be me because God loves me not as I could be or should be but as I am with all of the physical warts, psychological quirks and spiritual infidelities. And he loves me unconditionally with a love I cannot earn or ever be worthy of.

Iam happy to be me because this is the greatest prescription ever given for physical, mental and spiritual happiness here as well as hereafter. I am happy to be me because this is the greatest way that I can express my gratitude to God for the gift of myself. The greatest honor and praise I can give God is to be happy to be me.

I am happy to be me because this is the greatest weapon I have in the apostolate. Everyone is seeking happiness. So when they do meet someone who is genuinely happy they want to know what makes him happy. And when they discover that it is Jesus they want to be a Christian. This is the only Gospel that some will read, the Gospel according to me.


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