Hello my brothers and sisters in the Lord! I pray your eyes find these words with a peaceful heart, and please know that if you have some turmoil/trial/struggle going on in your life that God is always faithful! Faith is like a muscle, it gets stronger when we USE it and times of turmoil/trial/struggle provide the opportunity to really strengthen the muscle. You continue to be in my prayers and I thank you for yours, we are stronger together and when we hold each other up in prayer!
Lately I have been thinking and praying with the idea of how God looks at us. I’ve heard it said before that the first step in prayer is to look to God, and then seek to have an awareness of how God sees you, how God looks at you. At the age of 30, with two years completed in the seminary, I was given a gift on a retreat in the summer of 2009. On that retreat our heavenly Father began to show me and teach me more about how He sees me. I was amazed and filled with love and joy in His gaze of love upon me. He showed me in prayer an image of when I was a child and let me experience that He was gazing on me with perfect love long ago, and that I’d always been in His gaze of love.
With this revelation came an awareness that God really did forgive my sins (the many serious sins of my past prior to conversion) that I had confessed. Even though I’d confessed my sins and definitely had a good experience when coming back to confession after 20 years away, a sense of still being irreparably damaged/corrupted goods stuck with me in a quiet, hidden, but very real way. On this retreat God was working to show me that He didn’t look at me like that, that He held me in His perfect love and truly had forgiven me and wanted me to move forward confident of His love & perfect plan for my life (even if I don’t always understand the plan or the suffering that may accompany it at various times).
I’ve come to see that how God gazes on us is the best way to look at one another as well. I think about Jesus saying “love one another as I have loved you,” and translate that also into “look at one another as I look at you.” A smile, a kind look, a gentle gaze, a patient face…lead us to be the face of God’s love to another. Last Sunday I took the picture above at St. Moses the Black of a wonderful father named Lawrence gazing at His son Lance. That little boy will learn about God the Father’s love for him first through the loving gaze of His Papa Lawrence. What a joy for Lawrence to hear the call to be God’s love to His wife and children too! And what a joy for you and me today to realize…we are the face of God’s love to one another. God bless you!