June 14, 2006

Personality Tests

Today Don has a link to an interesting personality test. Be warned, it's a little more thoughtful and involved than your typical web quiz. I took it and was labeled a "reserved experiencer," for whatever that's worth.

In religious life one takes a lot of personality tests. I've taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator many times. I'm an INTJ, though I used to be an INFJ, the most common type for catholic religious. On the Enneagram, I'm a five. These tests are supposed to promote self-awareness. Thus we supposedly become better able to understand why we act the (crazy) ways we do with the people around us.

We can't take this too far, though. The so-called psychologizing of religious life has already produced a significant backlash. If we want to know who we really are, let's read the Scriptures.

The Scriptures teach us that we, like all creatures, were created through the Word that God speaks at the beginning of time. "God said....and it happened." Through God's Word we are created to the image and likeness of God.

In the fullness of time this same Word takes on a human life in Jesus of Nazareth. Thus Jesus is the Incarnation of the Word through which we were created in the first place. So if you want to know who you really are, study Jesus. Read about him in the Scriptures. Contemplate his Spirit in the poor. Study his presence in the Blessed Sacrament. This is who you really are.


Deacon Harry said...

Amen. So often we want to give precedent to the popular, trendy, expressions of human wisdom and insight. Yet it is in the Light of Christ, the Light of His Word that we truly can start to see and grow in His freedom (John 8).

Jeff said...


I own a copy of a book called 'Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personlaity Types', by Chester P. Micahel and Marie C. Norrisey. Are you familiar with it? I actually thought it was pretty good. I think the Myers-Briggs pretty well descibed how I see myself, and the meditations and prayer suggestions using scripture were terrific.

As an INFP, I was a bit surprised to learn that Augustinian Prayer and scripture reading technique was best suited for me, in their opinion...

Here is how they broke it down for suggestions on prayer types and spirituality, by temperament:

SJ Temperament - Ignatian
NF Temperament - Augustinian
SP Temperament - Franciscan
NT Temperament - Thomistic