A Christian Identity

by Fr. John Parks  |  05/12/2024  |  Weekly Reflection

Everyone wants to know “who they are.” It’s the reason why children who have been adopted, when they get older, have often a deep desire to meet their birth parents. They may love their adopted parents and be grateful that their biological parents chose life and had the courage to put them up for adoption—but still, they want to meet their biological parents to know who they come from, and the insight that gives them to who they are today.

Some years ago, I was in a Christian Spirituality formation program, and I was taught something about identity that changed my paradigm for thinking about it. The teacher drew three circles that that grew progressively bigger. In the center circle was an “R”, the next circle had an “I”, and the last circle had an “M” written in it. He informed us that they stood for “relationship, identity, mission” respectively. He said that we are meant to be in relationship with God, by which we receive our identity as beloved children of God and from that we live mission. He said the great temptation in life is to live in an inverted fashion, i.e. that I live my mission in the world, I let that tell me who I am, and at my core I hope that external action is “good enough” to be worthy of love. The problem with that strategy is, “he who wins the rat race is still a rat.” Which is to say, we will always wonder if we have done enough to be worthy of the love we desire.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has set us free from that burden. We don’t come to God trying to impress him an be worthy enough, we simply come to him as we are knowing that his loves goes before us and through our relationship with Him, we discover “who we are”, because we discover “whose we are.”

Friends, all of us are invited by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to be known and loved. It is the adventure of a lifetime and the key to discovering our true identity.