Gaze at God, gazing at you, lovingly and humbly. – St. Teresa of Avila
I sat in a chair placed at an angle to the crèche scene. I moved it to the center to be better able to view Mary looking at Baby Jesus, and Baby Jesus looking at Mary. When I returned to the crèche hours later, the chair was at an angle once more rather than in the center where I placed it. Sitting in the chair at its angular position, my gaze fell squarely in line with that of Baby Jesus. No longer was He looking at His mama. Now He was looking at me.
The presence of God in the Infant Savior breaks through the artificial woodenness of our lives: “I am borne anew in your heart every day. Seek me! Search for me! Look at me!”
In the Eucharistic Chapel was the crucified Jesus. How profound it all seemed – the Baby Jesus in the Gathering Place of the Chapel, and the suffering Jesus in the Eucharistic Chapel, the heart of all worship, the True Presence in the tabernacle. In the midst of pain and suffering written all over His face, Jesus turned his gaze upward to His Abba in heaven, just as in the crèche scene Baby Jesus had His gaze on His mama. My gaze turned from my own struggles and myself to that of Christ, again I sensed Him looking at me.The presence of God breaks through the material, the touchable, the sensible aspects of our lives: “In the midst of your pain, seek me! Search for me! Look at me!”One of the finest definitions of prayer I have ever read described prayer as sitting silently before God and letting God look at me. I believe that is what God does when we are truly praying. And this is how we truly pray: when we allow God to breaks into our hurting, troubled world and individual lives; when we let God look at us, love us, heal us.The mystery of God’s love for us lies in God uniting God-Self with our humanity. Prayer is our lived expression of God’s own desire to glance lovingly, humbly at us, so that we might one day be able to gaze upon the goodness of God.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.