The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44
Years ago not thinking too clearly, I took the bus down to Toronto; a thanksgiving weekend. It didn’t occur to me that everyone else would be doing the same thing. A friend of mine lived in downtown Toronto, about 3-5 blocks away from the Rogers Centre. When her parents arrived for dinner that Friday evening around 8:30 p.m., I started questioning my reasoning for coming this weekend of all weekends in the year. I felt a quick pang of homesickness; as I watched them eat with chopsticks like the rest of eat with fork and knives. It was not until Sunday afternoon when my friend suggested we take the ferry over to Ward Island, that the Lord began unpacking some of his graces for me.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon when we got on the ferry. A moderately sized group of middle-aged adults had also boarded the ferry with us. The majority of them were dressed as one might dress for a night out at the theatre and perhaps dinner afterwards, however, it was thanksgiving Sunday, and I didn’t think that was their intentions.
At first, one doesn’t see the beauty or the treasure that is hidden on the island. It began as my friend and I started to explore the island. I love those houses that you’ll see in the older sections of any city in North America. Each one having its own personality, non one is the same. It’s character built on red brick, stone, or any building material of high quality, and familiar architectural style that is missing in the home being built today. The cottage houses that make up this small but flourishing community reminded me of the houses that inhabited the neighbourhood where I grew up.
As I continue to soak in the picture perfect houses with their gardens out front, and flowers pots hanging from verandahs, I heard singing, and immediately spotted ahead of me a parade of people walking up and down the streets. Accompanying them is a man playing an accordion, and a woman playing an instrument that I don’t remember. I do remember that they are singing, and I recognized some of the people from the ferry ride over to the island. All of them are in some way wearing colours like magenta, mustard yellow, and dark leafy green very much in tune with the colours of the seasons. It is also reminiscent of a Bohemian theme that largely comes from an Eastern Europe culture. I am half Ukrainian, and everything about this part of this world is incredibly interesting to me. I am unquenchable to find anything to find anything that connects me to my family of the past. As I get closer to this group, I can see it in the features of their faces and hear it in the music, that they represent a world that is unique to its time and place.
If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.
St. Catherine of Siena
Self-knowledge comes when we brave the cold water that intersects as we walk into the unknown with Jesus as our guide. It is taking off the old skin and courageously stepping out.
Learning who I am has resulted in a journey that leads me to delve under the layers of what only my eyes see physically. I thought I was weird and misplaced, but while I maybe in a minority, it’s no less important than anyone else is. In fact, I have no doubt that God thinks I am special because he has consistently placed so much of me in the hard to find section of life. Everything about my personality and character is veiled in the marginal side of things. Maybe that’s why is was so important and still is crucial that I continue to dig inside of myself. Its aids me in general to be able to step back and understand why I react the way I do to the situations in my life.
Through prayer, I have become familiar to learning about my failings and sins because as much as I would like to focus on all the good stuff, God wants me to have a fuller understanding of myself instead of running away from him. He wants us to ask for his help and mercy. Gaining self-knowledge is not about lack of vanity if you seek through humility. Even before my initial conversion to Catholicism, I had an insatiable curiosity of who I was, but it was one-sided because it didn’t help deal with my imperfections.
Knowing ourselves is something so important that I wouldn’t want any relaxation ever in this regard, however high you may have climbed to the heavens… So I repeat that it is good, indeed very good, to try to enter first into the room where self-knowledge is dealt with rather than to fly off to other rooms… Rather, let’s strive to make more progress in our self-knowledge. In my opinion we shall never completely know ourselves if we don’t strive to know God. By gazing at His grandeur, we get in touch with our own lowliness; by looking at His purity, we shall see our won filth; by pondering His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble. St. Teresa of Avila
As a child, I gathered some items and then I dug a hole near some bushes, and placing these items in the hole, I covered it up. It was my intention to go back when I was older and re-discover these items. I never got the chance to dig it back up, and whoever finds it probably won’t know what to make of their discovery. Let God provide the tools necessary to navigating the spiritual life when you do find spiritual treasures. Wise, discerning and loving people have always surrounding me, but I find that as I continue on my path, the best person to divulge the progress of my journey has been my spiritual director.
To be able to discover the actual will of the Lord in our lives always involves the following: receptive listening to the Word of God and the Church, fervent and constant prayer, recourse to a wise and loving spiritual guide, and a faithful discernment of the gifts and talents given by God. St. John Paul II