There’s an obscure moment in an equally obscure musical during which two women, both in love with the same man, sing a duet titled I Know Him So Well. Oddly enough, this is the song that’s been running through my head as I read today’s lessons—though with slightly changed lyrics. Not “I know him so well,” but, rather, “He knows me so well.”
I seem to spend a lot of time trying to do the right thing, and a lot more time, frankly, falling flat on my face. Every morning I start out with lofty resolutions about how I am going to move through my day in God’s presence, and every evening I do a brief Examen and find how many of those resolutions came to nothing. Do some spiritual reading? Um, nope, didn’t find time for that today. Follow through on my offer to help someone and actually, well, help them? Oops, that will have to be for tomorrow. Not think unkind thoughts about people with whom I disagree, but who are also children of God? Not even close.
I despair, sometimes, of ever getting it right. And I wonder how it all seems to God, who started the day with me in my resolutions and promises and plans, and to whom I have to admit how much I failed. Failed, yet again, to be the “only Gospel my neighbor ever reads,” as St. Francis urges me. Failed, yet again, to put God first and myself second. Failed, failed, failed.
One of my favorite theologians, Frederich Buechner, writes, “To confess your sins to God is not to tell him anything he doesn’t already know. Until you confess them, however, they are the abyss between you. When you confess them, they become the bridge.” I think about that as I do my nightly Examen: he already knows everything I’m going to say to him. He already knows my failures.
And, as today’s readings assure me, knowing all that, he loves me anyway. St. Paul tells the Hebrews that “No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed (…) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses.” And St. Mark reminds us of Jesus sitting with people who are despised, with tax collectors, with sinners, and replies to objections: “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
And there it is. He knows me so well. He knows my weaknesses. He knows how often I fail—but he also knows how often I try. He has come to eat with me, to walk with me, to offer me love and friendship, even though he knows me so well. That is precisely why he is here. And why I need to keep trying. Keep resolving to walk more closely with him every morning; keep examining where I fell short and working out how to progress every evening. Keep doing the best I can. Understand in all the trying and failing and trying again that I am a beloved child of God.
And that he knows me so well.
Jeannette de Beauvoir is a writer and editor with the digital department of Pauline Books & Media, working on projects as disparate as newsletters, book clubs, ebooks, and retreats that support the apostolate of the Daughters of St. Paul at http://www.pauline.org.
Feature Image Credit: Fortorech, https://pixabay.com/photos/sky-freedom-happiness-relieved-2667455/