What, How, and Who

Sometimes the best part of my day is the commute.

The trip to work is spent in eager anticipation, not for the work that awaits me when I get to the office, but for what I will encounter along the way. What will I hear or see that will inspire me? I spend my time observing the world as it moves around me, wondering what I will learn about it and myself.

My trip home is a time of relaxation. I might meditate, praying some version of the Examen or the Rosary. If I'm able to stay awake, I will observe the day that was and pay attention to the movements within my heart, noticing how I was drawn closer to God, and how I was drawn away from her.

I realize that these two actions--looking for things that inspire me and observing the movements of my heart--will lead me to discover what makes me feel alive and what doesn't. Most of the time this is not the set of discrete tasks for which I receive payment (that is, my job) or things that I achieved or accomplished within the course of the day. Rather, what gives me life and inspiration are the relationships I form with people. The shared laughter, wisdom, and intimacy is what helps me be the person I want to be; I am able to discover who I am.

I'm tempted to think that what I do defines how I am and, consequently, who I am. But I'm not defined by what I do. Rather, I exist in a web of relationships, the quality of which define how I am. To discover who I am is to discern the how, that is, to recognize where the Holy Spirit is working in my life, whatever it is I might be doing. The what simply provides the context for the how and the who. And the who I am is the person I am in God--it is the I in the sacred I AM. (Exodus 3:14)

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
— John 6:35

This sacred I is the bread of God that Jesus promised: "For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:33) We are all called to be that bread, to be people who give life to others.

To pray, "give us this day our daily bread" is an invitation to discern what it is that truly gives us life and allows us to give life to others. It allows us to discover the indwelling Spirit who alone gives us life and meaning, who alone defines who we truly are. It allows us to discover joy, freedom, and happiness which can only come from God.

If we know what gives us true and perfect joy, if we can recognize how we are when we are free, and when we can allow simple intimacy with God, then we will never hunger or thirst for anything. We will have all that we need because we know who we truly are, which is nothing less than divine.