Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who We Are: Consciousness and Living the Gospel

I have been reflecting over the last several weeks on the meaning of "consciousness" or "conscious," which is of course the root of the word "consciousness."  It can be secularly defined as "aware of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings or aware of oneself."  Fr. Richard Rhor in some of his lecture series, describes it as a state of being, where you are essentially in communion with God, life and love, you are living in the now, you are living out of the true self. 

So as I press my mind to understand this concept and how to make it my reality, I've started to put some thoughts together.  One, is that in order to be in communion with God we must take time to pray daily and more importantly, without words.  Two, one must reflect on the Gospel. I see no other way to truly know how to live a life of God and love (which is what we were created for) if we do not model ourselves after Christ's example in the Gospel, our life must become one with how he lived his life, hence being in communion, existing as how God made us to be.  Third, is action.  For quite sometime I sadly have to admit that I would attend Mass regularly, pray daily and heck, even went to Catholic school and was a Catholic school teacher, but I did not consciously put into action the Gospel, I was not deliberate about it.  I am realizing now that this is part of being "conscious."  We must choose and deliberately act to live out the Gospel, because this is who we are, this is our true self or what Francis called the "inner self."  The Gospel lived out deliberately each day is consciousness!  Wow!  How did I not see this? Why do I talk  the talk, but do not walk the Gospel walk! It even calls us to the present moment, which is consciousness itself, which is living in the now, which is all God guarantees (Matthew 6:25-34).  Why do I struggle to accept this?

To be conscious of who we are,  is to seek who God made us to be.  This is an act of humility for many reasons, but one especially, because it means being who we are, no more or no less, and that is completely enough for our Father, because that is truth. Truth is humility.  Once we begin to see this, we can live in a conscious state of communion with God and his creation and we can deliberately choose to connect this all to the Gospel and use it as our rule of life.  I think if we do this, we will be at peace with what we discover.  Some of us, may meet ourselves for the first time and be blown away with what God created!  With this, I would like to leave you with these words:

"From without, I may seem to be quite average and ordinary,
 but from within, through self reflection, I see myself as unique, precious, unprecedented;
I am not to be exchanged for anything else. 
Beyond the distress and anxiety and busy-ness of life
lies this most fundamental aspect of self-reflection: 
I am a great moment, I am an original, not a copy." ~ Heschel

May we reach that level of consciousness, where accepting ourselves as who God made us to be is more than enough and we can connect it directly and deliberately to the Gospel life.  This is a radical challenge in our modern day of individualism and secularism and it can cause division and force us to leave the self we thought we were behind, but if we are to be true to God's creation, we have no other choice!  We are special, we are original copies, no more, no less.  Through living the Gospel, we can begin to consciously and deliberately see this beautiful reality unfold and live it.

Peace and all good things to you!

Citation:, "Concious."  Retrieved March 26, 2011 from:

Richard, Rohr. (2003)  True Self/False Self.  St. Anthony Messenger Press.

Bodo, Murray.  St. Francis:  The Journey and The Dream.  St. Anthony Messenger Press:  October 30, 2006.


  1. Thank you - this is a thought provoking post and fits in with what I feel God has been trying to teach me about authenticity, being "real" and not trying to fit in with the modern day culture. I like what you say here about living deliberately and with purpose and to seek who God made us to be. Great quote, too!

  2. Thank you Mary333. I think we must make a personal choice day not to settle with mediocrity, in ourselves and others. I love this quote by John Paul II, it speaks to what you are saying and the message of the post:

    "Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." --JP II

    Peace and all Good Things to You,


  3. I have been reading a lot lately about our forgotten desert mothers. These acestics would go off alone to contemplate and be one with God. Their days consisted of prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures, especailly the Psalms. They contemplated simplicity in their lives, icluding simplicity of emotion...that hit me because it hadn't been phrased to me like that before.

    They sought to be mindful and intentional about their actions. And in the wilderness they found the inner strenght and resolve to become completely dependent on God.

    For me, I can see a correlation in what you have written here and what I have been reading.

    I like the quote by JPII regarding mediocrity, it is like the shade of gray for me.

    Beautiful post. Thank you..

  4. Great post. To be yourself, for sure, and also to be able to be molded and formed by God, who, as our Father, knows what is best for us. The evil one deceives us constantly, turning the world into a battle ground, one in which you are now fighting in but by your post you merely existed in before. God has a way of turning our heads as His Son calls us "Follow me." Sorry for being long, but your post got me thinking. Love that quote from JPII.

  5. @ DG--Thank you, for your comment. I love how you mentioned that the desert mothers would even seek to be simple in their emotions, that really is something for me to reflect on. The more we seek God, the more we begin to see, slowly we were are suppose to be. I love how God will reveal us to ourselves if we are open.

    @ Kam--Thank you for your comment. I have noticed that as we draw closer to God, moving from merely exisiting to communing with him more deeply we are tested, I think that is the devil, but perhaps also the "Refiner's fire" so to speak. Test strengthen us and force us to examine how we are living our lives, at least that is what I am currently experiencing. I too love the quote from JP II, it is a call to action and so very inspiring.

    Peace all Good things to You Both!

    God Bless!