Waiting in the hospital while her husband was in an important surgery, she saw him. He was walking between two armed officers, chains bound his wrists and feet. As he shuffled toward her she noticed his disheveled appearance–tattoos everywhere, long unkempt hair and his prison jumpsuit. Do not avert your eyes….she reminded herself. Last week’s prayer group resolution was to “look for the unseen person, and acknowledge them.” Naturally aware, she was inclined to scan the area for the nearest exit, but she knew–even in her own distressing circumstances–that she was intended to encounter his eyes. While she wouldn’t approach or even exchange words with this heavily guarded prisoner, she knew that God sees His own creation in each and every one of us, and we are precious in His eyes. She knew that if she could somehow communicate this by just acknowledging this man, she might be able to lift him up in some interior way. Perhaps no one had ever looked upon him as God’s creature? Perhaps not being treated humanely himself is what inclined him toward violence and lead him to these chains? She wouldn’t never know. But what she did know is that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and to experience the gaze of another engages our humanity.
To Be Gazed Upon First
In order to share God’s love we must first experience it for ourselves. As the Feast of Corpus Christi arrives this Sunday, we remember the greatest love that ever was; a Father who sacrificed His only son for the love of His creation, even the multitude of their sins across time; even for those who do not always recognize nor respond to this love. The rejection and jeering didn’t stop Jesus from entering into this sacrifice, nor should it stop us from making a sacrifice of love toward one another. We know how difficult it can be to love where love is not first received, but therein is the boundless love we witness in our Savior. In order to be able to give this extraordinary love to others, we must fill our cup by permitting God’s gaze to rest upon us. Therefore, we go forward this week determined to spend at least five minutes a day before an image of Jesus or the crucifix. We will make an act of love such as “Jesus, I love you. Increase my love for you. Teach me how to love like you,” and then spend the next five minutes just gazing upon him and being gazed upon.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light;