State of the Person Address
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

I just attended a political event of the province. I listened to the Provincial Governor give his State of the Province Address. The two Congressmen also delivered their Report to the Province. The provincial board members and the town mayors were in attendance. I was there as a representative of the religious sector. We were treated to four hours of “speechifying.” I persevered until the end for the sake of my obligations as a college president. I am not a politically-inclined person. I would rather read some good book or visit a friend.

Speeches like these are something to live with, some kind of necessary evil. There is something good though, about Executive Summary addresses. It gives us a sense of where we are. It gives a sense of direction. Of course it is also a time to give honor to whom honor is due. It is a time to tell everybody of one’s accomplishments – modesty aside. It is a time to give challenges or accept them. It is a time of renewing one’s commitment to one’s constituents. Honestly, I prefer to be in the giving end rather than the receiving end of these speeches. But as I said, I am not a politician. I belong to the academic and religious sector – so I listened.

Action starter: Know yourself, then do something about it.

January is the time for giving the State of the Nation address in the U.S.A. , just as our public officials give their state of the province speech in the Philippines. It can be a good time to make our “State of the Person” review. We do not have to make a speech and tell the immediate neighborhood or tell the whole world about it. This we are able to do now by posting our reflections in our ‘blog’ as some people do.

How do we review our life? One obvious way is to look at activities. Behaviors are very evident and measurable. However, if we take the adage that action follows being, “agere sequitur esse”, that what we do follows from whom we are, then we have to look at some area more basic than our activities. We can call this as our soul or deeper self or authentic self. Activities spring from this deeper reality.

How then do we come into contact with this deeper part of ourselves and what do we look for?

The consolidated wisdom of the ages tells us that there are certain exercises that can help us be in contact with this deeper reality. We can set aside some quiet time for just thinking and meditation. We can keep a journal or write our insights in our diary. Some write poems or paint and draw. Others may wish to express their deepest thoughts in song. Others gain insight about themselves by reading inspirational books and holy scriptures.

What answers do we look for? The main question is, “Who am I?” The next question that engages us is, “What kind of person am I becoming?” From a Christian perspective, these questions confront the issue of our Christian identity and vocation. If indeed Christ is in us, shouldn’t the Lord be manifested in our life?

The Gospel today tells the story of John and Jesus. The Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29). John knew who he was. He was not the Messiah. His role was to point out the Messiah, “This is God’s Chosen One” (v. 34). John knew his own identity and that of Jesus of Nazareth. Knowing who they were, they were both able to accomplish their life’s mission.

As we begin this year and examine the state of our soul, we pray for clarity of vision, “Lord, that I may know myself and know You.” We also pray for renewed zeal and energy to fulfill the obligations that spring from our self-identity.

As our congressman said, “I am your leader. You voted me into office to lead you and so I will.” Here is a man who has no doubts about who he is and what he intends to do.