Knowing Christ leads us to know ourselves

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

ONE of the things that St. John the Baptist did was to testify who Christ really was—that he was “the Son of God.” (cfr. Jn 1,29-34) This detail is crucial for us because once we know who Christ really is, then we would know who we really are, since we are supposed to be patterned after Christ.

Let’s remember that we have been created by God to be his image and likeness. And Christ, being the Son of God, is the perfect image God has of his own self. We are therefore patterned after him. How he is, is also how we should be.

We, of course, are made to choose, free as we are, whether we want to be like Christ or not. That is actually the purpose and the test we are given here in our earthly sojourn. We should be very aware of this condition in our life.

That the Son of God became man in order to save us can only mean that we are so special to God that he cannot kind of “afford” to lose us, even if he loses nothing if we choose to be lost. It can mean that how God the Father treats his Son in God’s trinitarian life is also how he treats us. His love for the Son which is eternal and boundless is also lavished on us, a love that is boundless and goes all the way to offer one’s life.

We have to be clear about this point. We are meant to assume the identity of Christ. And that is not a gratuitous, baseless assertion, much less, a fiction or a fantasy. It is founded on a fundamental truth of our faith that we have been created by God in his own image and likeness.

We have to arrive at that point where we can make St. Paul’s words as our own too: “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (Gal 2,20)

We just have to learn to set aside whatever difficulty or awkwardness we may have in dealing with this basic truth of faith about ourselves. We have to try our best to know Christ and to adapt his very own mind and will, his own ways, behavior and reactions to whatever situation we may find ourselves in.

What is also clear is that Christ is actually already living with us. He is in us as the pattern and perfecter of our humanity, and the savior of our damaged humanity. We just have to learn to live with Christ. He is never far or indifferent to us. Even in our miserable and wounded condition, he continues to be with us, showing us with greater solicitude. It’s rather us who tend to ignore and contradict him.

The ideal condition to have is first to know and love God so that we may know and love ourselves and others properly. This was what St. Augustine precisely said. “Noverim te, noverim me,” Latin for “May I know God, may I know myself,” St. Augustine said. It is when we know and love Christ first that we can know who we really are and ought to be. God is our Creator and Father in whose image and likeness we have been made. How he is, who is pure love in essence, is also how we ought to be.