A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, February 27, 2006

What are you looking at?

Why do some priests have big egos?

Perhaps it is because whenever they say Mass, most of the congregation looks at them and says, "...the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory are yours now and forever!"

("That's a joke, son.")


Seriously, there is important symbolic value in where people focus their eyes.

God, of course, is omnipresent, but we reaffirm his transcendence by lifting our eyes upward during at least part of the time we address him in prayer (something to be remembered by celebrants and congregants alike).

Also, when we lift up our eyes in prayer, we reaffirm our being open and directed toward our transcendent God (our God who chooses to be also intimately close to us by his grace).

Of course, when we lift up our eyes in prayer, it is very rare for any person to have any actual vision of God. Yet when we pray, by God's grace, we grow closer to him and his love.

Today's readings in different ways speak eloquently of this experience. St. Peter expresses it wonderfully (1 Peter 1:3-9):

Although you have not seen him you love him;
even though you do not see him now

yet you believe in him,
you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
as you attain the goal of faith, the salvation of your souls.

And why do we love him? Because as we look to the Lord in faith and prayer, we have the same wonderful opportunity that the man in today's Gospel had (Mark 10:17-27):

Jesus, looking at him, loved him....

It is the most wonderful aspect of prayer: by faith and grace I look at the Lord Jesus and he looks at me in love.

It is an infinitely comforting gaze and yet also deeply challenging.

The man in today's Gospel looked away: his eyes were set on earthly riches.

We need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and follow him wherever he may lead.