Esse est percipi #1


Esse est percipi:

The following excerpt comes from pages 67-68 in my book (above). Perhaps these observations will speak to some readers on this Holy Thursday in preparing for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.

“The eighteenth century British philosopher, Bishop Berkeley, bequeathed to us this tidy little saying, esse est percipi, “to be is to be perceived.” It may not explain existence very convincingly to a twenty-first century audience, yet it does offer a valuable spiritual insight: Individuals or communities are “real” insofar as they are willing and able to be seen honestly and completely by an Other. I take its converse to be equally true: To be unseen, to remain hidden, means to be unreal: To the extent that anyone hides from self or conceals portions of his life from God and others, he remains unreal. He skulks in the shadows. He pretends.

“We become “real” with Christ when we let him truly see us – when we are truly vulnerable before him and before others. This requires transparency, mutuality, and reciprocity. Liturgy can be a powerful vehicle for drawing us towards greater authenticity with God, self, and others.”


I find it more interesting and helpful to consider how I have (and still do) resist having my feet washed at the Holy Thursday liturgy. My reactions reveal how I protect my vulnerable inner self. “Back off, Jesus!” Or, “You won’t like what you see anyway, so you’d better just stay away.” When these strategies surface, I discover the very place where God’s grace needs to go.



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