Personhood

From Br. Joseph —

What is a person?

Classical Christian theology and philosophy defines a person as one who has the ability to know, to love, and to choose (to will). This is the image of God in which we are made. (The angels, our spiritual kinsmen, are also persons made in the image of God.)

Saint Richard of Chichester (1197-1253, English bishop) wrote a prayer that fits beautifully into what it means to be a person.

Thanks be to you, my Lord, Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits that you have given me,
For all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know you more clearly,
Love you more dearly,
Follow you more nearly,
Day by day.

The end of this prayer may sound familiar to some. It is the basis for the lyrics to the song “Day by Day” from the 1970s musical “Godspell”.

Through this prayer, we call upon God and grace to help make us a full person like Jesus—to know God and others, to love God and others, and to choose good for God and others, day by day.

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us…