As our 2022 theme puts it: Nothing Stands Alone. And it’s true! We are intrinsically like the Trinity, living in an absolute relatedness. We call this love. —Richard Rohr
Standing before one, accepting God literally allows us to be composed and gathered in one place. We can be in one place; we can be here, now. —Richard Rohr
When we carry our small suffering in solidarity with the one universal longing of all humanity, it helps keep us from self-pity or self-preoccupation. We know that we are all in this together, and it is just as hard for everybody else. —Richard Rohr
The very nature of our lifestyle and our church teaching must say from the beginning what the goal is—the communion of saints, a shared life together as family, the trinitarian life of God, the kingdom—here! —Richard Rohr
Whether it is our parents, our teachers, mentors, friends, churches, or neighbors, people have been pouring into us. We are standing on a foundation. It should come as an incredible relief. Our only job is to build on what we’ve been given. —Kate Bowler
We simply must open our eyes, look across the room, the street, the division, the border—and reach out to that neighbor, offering our hand, our compassion, and our heart. —Jacqui Lewis
Gazing with Love on Another
In Monday’s meditation, Father Richard wrote about finding ourselves in relationship with God by receiving God’s loving gaze. Today, we share a practice from contemplative writer and artist Christine Valters Paintner that allows us to pass that loving gaze on to others.
How often do we really see another person as the beautiful gift they are? Perhaps this happens sometimes with those we love, where we are caught in a moment of grace and see them in all their wondrousness and feel full of gratitude for their presence in our lives.
Maybe you have a moment where your eyes meet, and you hold each other’s gaze for a few breaths as an act of seeing each other with love. . . .
We can intentionally bring this gaze of love to others. You can practice this with a beloved one or a very dear and close friend. You might try setting a timer for one minute and just sit together, eyes softly receiving each other while breathing together and praying quietly in your hearts.
Breathe in: I see you with love
Breathe out: gifted, cherished.
Breathe in: Grateful
Breathe out: for who you are.
This can be a very intimate and vulnerable moment because we so rarely spend this kind of time simply looking at another person with love and care.
We can also bring this practice out into the world. How often do we really see another person beneath their role, under our expectations? What if we paused at the grocery store and for a moment brought eyes of love to the stock clerk or the cashier. They don’t have to know what you’re doing. You don’t have to stare, just take in their image, then close your eyes for a moment, breathe, and bathe them with love. Pause and see the other person as beloved and beautiful as they indeed truly are.
Christine Valters Paintner, Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everyday Sacred (Minneapolis: Broadleaf Books, 2021), 165–166.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Richard and James Finley on the mirroring gaze, and about Jesuit Gregory Boyle’s ministry creating a community of kinship.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Brian McLaren, Untitled 1-3 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States. Jenna Keiper and Leslye Colvin, 2021, triptych art, United States.
The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to Brian McLaren as part of an exploration into contemplative photography. His photos are featured here in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story.
Image Inspiration: In this triptych, we begin by seeing just one fruit. Moving to the center photo, we see the whole tree. When we look at the third photo, we bring with us the knowledge that there is more to this tree, an abundance of fruit. It’s not alone. Nothing stands alone.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.