St. Gregory of Sinai said: "If we do not know what we were like when God made us, we shall not realize what sin has turned us into".
One need not believe as we Catholics do that grace perfects nature to believe as Christians and Jews always have, that creation is the Creator's first act of self-disclosure. And that precisely human nature bears the stamp of its Creator … (I)n as much as we are made in the image and likeness of God we receive our existence from God and the existence we receive is not that of a blank slate. On the contrary, it is highly specified and though it is indeed endowed with freedom, there are real limits to its ability to remake itself in its own image, the tendency at work in the modern project and the predominate theme of the post-modern one. We are made in the image and likeness of another - which means we are made to imitate another. We could only become who we are by becoming like someone else. And the closer that someone else is to God the better; and the question is, how close can we get? Christianity is the answer to that question.
"Desire,” Rene Girard tells us, “is always the desire to be another.” Whether one's desire is being mediated by the latest popular TV personality or the reigning National League batting champion or by Christ our deepest and defining impulse is to adopt as our own the attributes of another. "Choice always involves choosing a model," Girard writes, "and true freedom lies in the basic choice between a human and a divine model." We have to have a human model and we are made in the image and likeness of God. St. Paul said that Christ is the image of the invisible God. Jesus says, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14: 9)
By the way, the Gospel reading today, May 3rd, happens to include this last statement from Jesus.