Finding our true self

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By Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

Saturday, February 8, 2014


POPE Francis in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium says: “We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.”

Francis is referring here to the power of modern technology and social networking. People today, especially the young people, are busy with their mobile phone 24 hours a day. So much information and knowledge is given to them through the mobile phone and the Internet.

Personally, I cannot handle a cell phone and for my communication I don’t use the Internet or Facebook but only the email on my computer. People get confused and, what psychologists call, the Fear of Missing Out dominates their behavior. Easy access to pornography fosters paranoia, offering a distorted image of human bodies and relationships. This is one example of this “fear of missing out.” This leads to a losing of your identity, your true self.

Another example is the use of drugs. A growing number of businessmen and women who are competing with colleagues and rivals are taking “smart” drugs to keep their unbalanced ambition. All this can lead to depression and even to thoughts of suicide.

Essentially we are dealing here with questions of a spiritual order – a sense of one’s identity, of one’s origin and destiny.

The question is: ‘In the deepest part of me, who really am I?’ There is no easy answer. But if we go back to our belief in God who through his Son became incarnate in this world, incarnate in each one of us, then we will get to the mystery we call God.

Despite fearful compulsions and desperate drives that block our awareness of God’s presence, God still remains inside us and there we will find our true identity, our true self. The world with all its idolatry won’t tell us that we are already chosen and cherished into existence by a primal and loving Being; that long before we were born, our names were already written in Heaven.

Christians believe in each one’s individual worthiness and inner dignity. Desires for popularity, prestige and success belong to the new idolatry, the old self and all that is lesser than God. God should no longer be perceived as “someone out there.” He is intrinsically in us and not a separate identity outside us. Not important is popularity, success, profit and unreal self-image. What matters is who we are before ourselves and before God. There we will find our true self.

[Email: nolvanvugt@gmail.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 09, 2014.

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