*This is part of a series of a year long journey through the book, “Franciscan Virtues Through the Year“. If you’d like more information on Old/Independent Catholicism, or would like more information on my denomination, or feel called to a vocation, click here!
“…(F)or what man is in the sight of God, so much he is and no more.”
-Saint Francis of Assis
When I was in my twenties, I went on a journey to look for myself. It was more a rebellion against what I had been told as truths in my childhood, a striking out to try and settle my soul and reconcile faith with who and what I was as a human being, a queer person.
In my thirties I began to feel a call home, a return to the more traditions way I had thought because up until that point, what I had believed to be true was more or less what other people had wanted me to believe, or had been what other people believe and I chose to believe to fit in for safety’s sake. I went through periods of extreme conservative thought and thinking, the height of what I would associate with privilege now. I experienced hardships of the heart, loneliness, grief, pain, anger, fear; in the height of my confusion and doubt, in the height of my depression, one thing rang true: God was very real, and if God was real, that meant that subsequently other things could be real as well.
Such as God’s love for me, regardless of who or what I was.
Now that’s not to say that striving for goodness doesn’t have a place in God’s love. What it means is that to best be receptive to God’s love requires being in a better place of accepting who we are as people.
Self knowledge is the lifelong process of peeling the onion of who we are, reaching into ourselves, stretching those parts of us that would rather remain dormant but are actually the gifts and strengths needed to fully engage with creation. Self knowledge is knowing when we were wrong, it’s admitting to God when we were wrong, to others, it’s the ability to make amends and to know when making direct amends would be more harmful than not.
Self knowledge is knowing that sometimes making the hard choices in life are hard for a reason, that coming out on the other side of those choices ends up being the start of a new day full of promise. It’s being able to love others without stepping into and onto their lives. It’s knowing when something is over, you accept that it’s over and not struggle to deny that it still has potency. It’s having the courage to stay, or having the courage to walk away.
Sometimes we’re married to certain things in our lives, joined to them in ways that seem beneficial to us only to discover that they have actually been limiting our potential.
Self knowledge is in many ways a connection to what faith means. It is knowing who you are in the sight of God, no more and no less–and yet unique, precious, a treasure in God’s sight.