Faith on Friday: The True Self

I just finished listening to a twelve-minute talk by Father Stephen Freeman on Ancient Faith Radio:

“The True Self and the Story of Me.”

(Fr. Stephen Freeman is the priest at St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I’ve been reading his blog, “Glory to God For All Things,” for some time now.)

He talks about what makes us persons, even when we lose “the narrative construct of the mind” through dementia, Alzheimer’s or other issues. He says it’s the heart that’s the seat of who we really are. I’m going to try to remember this as I drive to Jackson (Mississippi) today to visit my mother at the nursing home. I’m taking her some new clothes (and yes, some more M & M’s), which I hope will make her heart happy, even if she doesn’t remember who I am.

“True Self” by Michael Leunig

Father Stephen also talks about shame—the sense we have of ourselves being damaged or worthless. He differentiates this from guilt—which we feel when we have done something wrong.

And then he talks about how we develop masks to hide behind, which cover the true self. Good stuff.

If you’ve got twelve minutes, just CLICK ON THIS LINK and give him a listen. And then leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “Faith on Friday: The True Self”

  1. Very intriguing words… love the words that when sinking into dementia, “dignity and worth remain.” Speaks to me, all these words. Like his ‘perfectionist’ phrases …. describes me, sadly. So many women are “shamed” just because we are women. And it takes our entire lifetime to recover, if in fact we ever really do. It’s a continuing struggle. The good news is that when we become aware of these issues, we become (hopefully) less defensive and more who we were created to be. To me, the “work of purification” is the work of the soul, of listening to our true self. Thanks, Susan!

    1. Thanks (again) for your thoughtful reflections, Emma. I love what you say about how the work of the work is listening to our true self. And I agree that women struggle with these issues more than men, although some of this isn’t gender-specific. I also love your honesty that we often don’t really recover from shame. I think some of us just have to learn to live with it, like making peace with physical ailments that don’t go away.

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