Do you SEE this
“The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How does my self-image demand that I react to this?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads to an implosion of self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended” can we immediately (or at least more quickly) stand with and for the other, and for the moment.” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditations, 1/1/21)
When I read that, I am reminded of Jesus at Simon’s house. Simon was a Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner. When Jesus was at the table, a woman of the street came in and anointed Him and washed His feet. Simon had not offered this common courtesy to Jesus.
“Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” (Lk. 7:44)
Simon saw a sinner and immediately went to judgment about her and Jesus.
Jesus saw a sinner and immediately went with compassion.
All too often I find my identity with Simon rather than with Jesus.
Maybe. But it is not intentional nor practiced. It is the result of decades of believing that pleasing God meant that I must protect my personal sanctity and defend God’s name. That became my default mode.
I am learning a new methodology—that of grace.
Father Rohr continues–
“In the second gaze, critical thinking and compassion are finally coming together. It is well worth waiting for, because only the second gaze sees fully and truthfully. It sees itself, the other, and even God with God’s own eyes, the eyes of compassion, which always move us to act for peace and justice. But it does not reject the necessary clarity of critical thinking, either. Normally, we start with dualistic thinking, and then move toward nondual for an enlightened response. As always, both/and!”
May I learn to not stop with the first gaze, but to take time to really see.