What Is Your “Essence”?

What is your “essence”?

Some years back, I took my school staff through a short exercise. It went something like this:

When you squeeze an orange, what comes out? Orange juice… yes. And how about a lemon? Lemon juice… yes, that’s right. With this reality, we can basically say then that the juice is the “essence” of the orange and of the lemon. When they are squeezed the juice that comes out of them is their “essence”.

So what comes out of you when life’s trials and tribulations squeeze you?


I’ve marveled at the way that God is stripping us of our idols during this pandemic crisis. Sports, money, entertainment, food, comfort, the basic freedom to do what we want when we want to do it are all being stripped away… and it makes folks uncomfortable. You can tell what your idol is by what makes you the most uncomfortable when you lose it.

God has the most wonderful way of bringing a greater good out of evil. It’s a gift to discover our idols and have them stripped away—uncomfortable, but good. If we don’t know we have an idol, we can’t purge it out of our lives. God’s granted us a huge gift—a world-wide examination of conscience as it were, a gift of self-knowledge so that we can return to Him in humility and be reconciled.

What is your ‘essence’ then? Have your figured it out? What’s been coming out of you lately through this world wide squeezing of humanity?

It comes in the form of how you respond during this time of crisis as God reveals your idols and squeezes you.  Are you lashing out at others? Condemning? Panicking? Hoarding? Losing your peace in some form or fashion? Spending hours scrolling the news and social media out of fear or curiosity? If so, God’s granted you a great gift of self-knowledge, an opportunity to take this to Him in one of those drive through reconciliation lines and surrender at His feet.

All is grace. God is in this difficult time and never leaves us orphaned. He’s bringing good out of this terrible situation both collectively and individually.  Let us not miss the opportunity to see the greater good He is calling His people to. Nothing is accidental. Don’t miss what God is doing.  Embrace it in humility and be reconciled to Him.

This article originally appeared on SpiritualDirection.com and appears here with kind permission.

Stephanie Burke


Stephanie Burke serves as the Director of the Avila Foundation and the Academic Director of the High Calling Program for Seminarians. Stephanie is co-host, along with her husband Dan, of EWTN’s Divine Intimacy Radio. Having completed her graduate studies in Educational Administration at Texas A&M University, she has successfully served in school administration for over 25 years in both Catholic and secular institutions. Stephanie has committed her life to the study, formation and promotion of authentic Catholic spirituality. She is grateful to serve alongside her husband, Dan, in the important work of the Avila Institute and Apostoli Viae. They are parents of four amazing adult children, one grandchild and spend their leisure time serving the Church.

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