Sunday, April 12, 2009

In The Beginning, There Was Me

If you pause to look back in the most ancient recesses of your memory, to find the earliest memory you have, you will be struck, as have I, by one singular fact.

I am all I know.

Despite my intricate intimacy with my wife, my profound knowledge of the character of my children, my participation through childhood with my siblings, and even my knowledge of the three persons of the Trinity, formed through decades of reading Scripture, the teachings of the Catholic Church, the writings of the saints, and the various smatterings of wisdom from my brethren in Christ over the years... in the beginning, I am all I know.

And yet as well as I know myself, the knowledge that God has of me is far deeper. Even the great Saint Paul wondered why he did the things he didn't want to do; I too am continually puzzled by my impulses. What makes me tick?

God knows.

Literally, God knows.

For in the beginning - the REAL beginning - God was. If I believe the words of Scripture, he formed me from my beginning. For some reason, he deemed it appropriate that my originating sperm cell, among millions (yay Dad!) should unite with the ovum, and here I am.

The mystery of Christ's suffering and death on a cross makes this truth all the more powerful. For if God knows me better than reality lets me know myself, and if he should suffer and die to free me from my sins and to welcome me into everlasting bliss, does this not elevate my (or reveal my elevated) status as a human being?

An old hymn says:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

The paradox of Christianity is that I can acknowledge fully that I am a worm of a man: sinful, lost, careless, hopeless, loveless... and yet once I accept the warm embrace of Christ, restoring me to the love of God Almighty, I am a king and a priest; a heavenly nobleman. My worth comes from the fact that in the beginning (my beginning), I was spawned into existence because God willed it.

This thought occurred to me after receiving Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. When it all comes down to it, it's just me and God. Everything else fades to black when I ponder his love for me. Everything else in my life could vanish - my wife and kids, my job, my blog - and if I am left with nothing but my knowledge that God specifically called me into existence out of nothingness, I will still be blown away by his love.

For I know that my redeemer lives.

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