Tuesday, July 7, 2020

"Seeing as God Sees" from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan SFCC and Regina Madonna Oliver SFCC

Note: This reflection was written by Sister Regina Madonna Oliver. It was published by ACTA in our book, A Promise of Presence.  Bridget Mary 

"I give you a new commandment,  that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another."
John 13:34 (NRSV)

Nathan McBride: Unspalsh

In the four-act  drama  Shadow and Substance by Paul Vincent Carl, Brigid is a servant girl to Canon Skerrit. She is also a visionary who has ecstasies in which she sees and talks with St. Brigid. In the play, Brigid says to the schoolmaster, who loathes the pompous Canon Skerrit: "St. Brigid says that if we could all see each other all the time in big hangin' mirrors, the whole hate of the world would turn into dust. Oh, I know you have a dagger for him because he can hurt and say killin' words . . . you see him when he's proud, but I see him when he's prayin' in his little place and the tears on his cheeks; you see him when he dines, but I see him when he fasts; you see him when his head is up and fiery like a lion, but I see his head when it's down low and his words won't come.... It's because of that that you hate him and I love him!"

Ponder St. Brigid's image of the world: If everyone in the world could see everyone else in the world as in a great mirror, there would be no hate.

DAY  1
Step over the threshold of your present surroundings and enter the brilliance of God's abiding presence. Enjoy the light, airy and comforting presence of God. Make this your prayer today:

Dear God, this week's reflection tells me that there is more than one way to see. You, my God, see the human  heart and all mitigating circumstances. When you see our foibles, it is with a heart more loving than the fondest of human  mothers. The trouble is, I see only with my limited human  vision. I perceive the surface of things alone and am quick to judge others by my limited view. Give me your vision, I pray, so that I may be gentler and less
judgmental toward my brothers and sisters.

With God's help, recall a time when your hasty judgment about someone proved to have no substance. As you experience shame for having done this, give it-as your change of heart-to God,
who can transform even grievous errors into great good. Rejoice, as you allow God time to minister to your inner need for transforma­tion. Note that the advice of St. Brigid is similar to a Native Ameri­can proverb: "Don't judge another until you have walked a day in his moccasins." Make this your prayer today:

How ready I am, God, to assume an attitude toward another, particularly one I instinctively dislike, assigning to her or him the worst of motives. This is so foreign, loving God, to the way you deal with me. Give me tolerance of others and great forbearance in forming judgments about them.

As you rest in God, who is reconstructing your attitudes, recall a time when you sought to gain an ally in a friend against a presumed enemy. As a lover ofJesus, you are not content to allow this tendency in yourself to go unchecked. Ask Jesus to forgive and heal this flaw in your nature. Make this your prayer today:

My first impulse, dear God, when I decide another is guilty of some base motive, is to blurt out my anger and accusation to a close friend. In doing this, I feel I am securing an ally who will see the trespasser and the trespass as I do. Sometimes, after the damage has been done, I find out how wrong I was. Help me to distrust my impulsive feelings, God. Teach me how fickle my own human emotions can be.

With Jesus, reflect on how those who hurt you are often victims themselves of their own inner insecurity or of learned protective responses of which they are unaware. Ask Jesus to help you see their weaknesses and to have a sense of compassion for them. Pray for those who despitefully use you. Make this your prayer today:

When  someone has hurt me, Jesus, real or imagined,  my instinc­tive response is to fight back, to defend myself- or at least to get even. But you did not respond that way. The Bible says that as they were nailing you  to the cross you kept saying, "Abba, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." Do the people whose actions hurt me really know what they are doing? Am I compas­sionate enough to see them as people who are acting out of impulse and who do not realize the painful outcome of their vicious actions?

With Jesus, reflect on the brokenness of those persons who have hurt you. See how injured they must be to inflict injury on others without perceiving the evil of what they do. Ask Jesus to touch them in the depths of their spirits and to heal them of their frag­ mentations. Make this your prayer today:
What a big thing it would be, my God, if I could begin to deal with others, to think about others, to speak to others with gentle compassion. More and more, I am faced with my own brokenness, my vacillating will, my compulsive nature. Help me to get in

touch with the reality that we are, all of us, human  beings, broken wings in a broken world. The why of this situation is mystery. One day, in your eternity, you will enable me to fathom this mystery. But help me, today, to see and accept the reality of my own brokenness and the brokenness of everyone else in this beautiful, but as yet imperfect, world.

Make this your prayer today:

God, you put people together in families so that we might grow together in love and commitment.  Help me to see, in my own family, where there is a lack of understanding and tolerance. If I am the cause, wholly or partially, show me. If I am merely the witness of an ongoing alienation of family members, show me what I can do to heal the situation. If I am helpless to intervene, accept my prayer and convince me-by your faithfulness to your promises-that my prayer can and will bring resolution and healing.

Enjoy a quiet space of being with a loving God who does not condemn you, but who affirms you, heals you, renews you. Make this your prayer today:

Dear Jesus, help me to see others as you see them. You penetrate beneath the veneer to see the unbridled emotions that drive
people. You see our inclinations  that have been ingrained over the years by our fears of losing security, esteem, affection and control of the forces that affect our very lives. We have devised techniques to secure what we perceive as essential to survival. Thank you for your compassion toward me. Thank you for seeing beneath the surface of my actions to those driving forces within me and for praying for me: "Abba, forgive (name  of a person you want to forgive), for (she/he)  does not know what (she/he)  is doing." Let me begin to see others with this kind of clarity of vision.

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