Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Merciful Outlook

We have incredible power with and over one another.  I am the transportation coordinator for my Church and through that ministry am developing a relationship with a 52-year old woman who suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia (although I have not seen any symptoms).  She says she is in remission right now, her symptoms are well-controlled with medication.  Anyway, in our conversation on Friday, I asked her if she had struggled with this her whole life.  No, it started when she was 17.  I asked her if something happened.  She said Yes, but she'd rather not say in front of my 3-year-old son.  The only other thing she said was, "At the time, I thought I was the only one it ever happened to, but now I think it happens to a lot of people."

Someone, or multiple people, changed the course of her life in a single day.  How many times has this happened in the course of history?  We have incredible power and tremendous responsibility to the people whose lives we touch.  Even with our gaze.

In Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael Gaitley, it is written, "The person who receives the merciful outlook from another sees reflected in the eyes of the other the words "You are great."  However, these words are also a call to greatness.  For, while the greatness truly is there - the other person sees it! - it's not fully there.

The person who receives the merciful outlook knows that the greatness he sees reflected back at him in the eye of the other is tragically not all there in him, because he can also feel the gaze of his own "inner eye", his conscience.  This inner eye makes him tragically aware of not being who he's meant to be, which is terrible.  For, there's still the gaze of the other, at least in memory, constantly echoing the words, "You are great."  So, the person feels himself in the midst of the terrible drama of having to choose either to be the person he presently is or the person he's called to become, either the person of mediocrity or the awe-inspiring person he was destined to be from before the foundation of the world (See Mt. 25:34, Eph. 1:4)..."

Beautiful.  I hope you have and recognize the times when someone has looked at you this way.  I do.  We can (and should) do this for each other.  There is incredible power in it.  Let's use our power to elevate and add to the dignity of the other.  My prayer is that I can give the merciful outlook to everyone I meet, especially those that live under my roof.

Dear God, thank you for Your mercy.  Thank you for making all things work to the good of those who love You, especially those things that change the course of a life. Thank you for Your merciful gaze.  Please help me extend it to all of the people You place in my life.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I never could put my finger on it, but you totally just described the gaze my grandmother gave me before she died. It wasn't a look of disappointment (though I felt disappointed in myself). There's never been another gaze like it in my lifetime. She sorrowfully, yet mercifully looked into my eyes, read my soul (it was so intense I couldn't keep her gaze), and somehow imprinted on me the call to be greater than I was. It's never left me. Something stirred in me that day. I believe that that was the beginning of my own transformation-- the call to come back to the faith. Miss you Gramma!

    Love this post! You are amazing!