In the name of the Father…
Know thyself – words often attributed to Socrates. Self knowledge from the very beginning of time even before Christ was important. Who are you? This is an interesting question and one that if we have not asked ourselves, others have asked us certainly. And one place this question is often asked of us is during our search for jobs and when we apply for college. The daunting task of applying for either is filled with hours of paperwork, resumes, application forms, and recommendation letters. For me personally, talking about my strengths and weaknesses is one difficulty, but asking friends, family, acquaintances, and other people who know me to write a letter of recommendation is far more difficult. We naturally want to ask those who know us well but also those with whom we have a good relationship. Often times I remember when asking for a letter of recommendation, I was asked what do I want to be written. We want to show others the positive side of us, highlighting our strengths. Yet, a danger lies in if we become arrogant when we focus to much on our strengths.
The danger lies in when we do not know ourselves. We each have an image in our minds of who we are. Some of us truly believe we are perfect. Some of us believe we are worthless. To some a few extra pounds can be justified as muscle. To another it can cause a serious eating disorder. Knowledge of oneself is important especially for us here today. Because regardless of what we “may think” about ourselves. What the world sees can be very-very different.
Now some of us may say, well who cares what others say about us. In fact today’s society very much stresses this point, be who you want to be, be it how ever you want to be it, and don’t listen to those around you. However, my dear brothers and sisters, this kind of mindset can lead to only 2 possibilities, arrogance and an indifference or fear. And arrogance and fear are both debilitating in that they keep us from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all. It’s not about you.
We do not live alone in this world, and as Christians we are called to understand firstly its not about us. For if it was about the self God would not have created free willed creatures. But love demands a rejection of self-fulfillment for the greater good. Love – drives a parent to sacrifice hours of sleep in order to take care of their child. Love – gives strength to a soldier who goes out to make the ultimate sacrifice. Love demands a sacrifice, a rejection of self. Now does that mean, we need to throw away our health, or stop taking care of ourselves and conform to the ideas of everyone else? No of course not. That is why self-knowledge is important. Who are you?
St. Paul asks us, who will people say we are? In 2 Corinthians St. Paul asks us, are we becoming arrogant, are we becoming prideful? My dear brothers and sisters, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts, to be known and read by all men; and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us” We began today by speaking about asking for letters of recommendations from those around us. And here we read that we ourselves are a letter of recommendation, written on our hearts. A recommendation of what and of whom? Of each other to each other, of God.
We each here, have gathered in faith and have gathered for the love we have for God and desire we have to be in communion with Him. But how many of us reject that same love, and desire and communion the moment we walk out the Church doors and live our lifestyles? How many of us can, if we are being honest, can say that when people look at us, our actions, our relationships, how many people would see the love of God and presence of Christ Jesus? Yet, arrogance and fear keep us from the truth. A desire for self truth rather than an eternal truth keeps us from our true potential. Because who we are is a child of God, created in His loving image, freed from sin through the blood of Christ because of God’s Divine Love which teaches us, its not about you or me, it’s about us.
That is why to find God, Christ does not say sing 1000 Der Voghormyas nor does he say write a check to the Church. No! To find God we must humble ourselves, pick up our cross, follow Him in everyway, which means we must love each other, treat each other with respect, care, dignity. Because if we accept who we are, which is a child of God, then we will know that everyone around us is likewise a child of God meaning our brothers and sisters. Therefore, who will people say we are?
Who are we? Know thy self, know thy brother – know God. Love thyself, love thy brother – love God. May the Grace of the Holy Spirit reveal to us our image, not of flesh and blood but of Divine Will and Love. Who are we?