Through Your eyes

In a world of confusion, bitterness and hatred, we hear Jesus telling His disciples “Ask and it shall be given, knock and it shall be opened” (Lk 11). Yet, we wonder why is all this still happening all around us? Why does so much evil still prevail? We often feel as if all has been abandoned. 

God is ever present: we are not abandoned or forsaken, but we are human and imperfect, and God in His infinite wisdom and mercy, granted us free choice. It is this element of choice that allows for so much of what is happening in our world today. 

Working as I do with so many individuals who are hurting, the very question of why and how could God let this happen to us, our family, communities, etc., echoes repeatedly, time after time. Often the feeling that our prayers go unheard and unanswered leave us feeling alone and adrift. It is in these times of darkness that God is ever more present. It is in those times of harried prayer and frantic hurriedness, that God is closer. He is hearing our prayers; He is opening the doors we are knocking on; He is answering our pleas. When we look at our own lives and the world around us, we see the people who come into our lives, seemingly out of nowhere to comfort and be there for us. 

In all the tragedies that so blatantly play out in the media, small glimpses of God’s care and love are very evident. In the child reaching out to comfort an adult; the mother using her own body to shield her children; total strangers stopping everything to aide a neighbor; individuals putting their personal beliefs and biases aside to come to others’ assistance. These are glimpses of God’s Holy Spirit working through us, for us, answering our prayers. 

It is through the eyes of faith, that we see the answers to our prayers, it is in those moments of despair that we can see His mercy and love, as the Holy Spirit works among God’s people. This is what Jesus is reminding us of in Luke’s Gospel, “If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” 

When we choose to start counting the blessings in our lives, we begin to see how God has been present to us in those difficult and trying times. We begin to see how prayers and knocks have been answered, how the Holy Spirit has been working in our lives. 

Just a few weeks ago I had the joy of working with youth from throughout our diocese at Christian Leadership Institute. Along with the leadership skills they acquired, they experienced different forms of prayer. One such prayer, the Examen, gives us the opportunity to reflect on our day in the presence of God. A simple prayerful practice that allows us through prayer to recognize the ways God moves through our daily lives. It is a simple yet profound way to finding the good in all that is evil around us. 

In the midst of all the turmoil in our lives and world, taking the time to look for God in our lives, reassures us that we are not alone. The five steps to the Examen are very simple: 1.) Ask God for light. Let me see the world through God’s eyes, removing my filter. 2.) Give thanks. This day is a gift from God, how am I thankful for this gift. 3.) Review your day. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me, I look back at my day. 4.) Face any shortcomings. I face up to what is wrong — in my life and in me. 5.) Look toward the day to come. I ask God to be with me where I may need Him in the day to come (www.ignationspirituality.com).

This may not change the world around us, but it has a profound change on us, as we begin to recognize the presence of God in every corner our lives. In time, our perspective changes and becomes noticeable to others. So even though we may not realize its effect, there is a ripple that is far reaching. That is how the Holy Spirit works with us and through us to effect change. It is the person walking among the protesters bearing a sign saying “free hugs” in the midst of the violence. It is the individual who sees a brother or sister in need, not a race, color or creed. 

We have the ability to make a difference, but that difference begins in the changes we make in ourselves. When we dare to find God in every nuance of our lives, we begin to find a joy that is contagious. And even in the midst of our own personal pain, we find peace and love, understanding and compassion, if we dare to look at this world through God’s eyes. If we dare to ask God to let me see the world through Your eyes today, Lord. Amen. 

Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva lives in Fall River and is a parishioner of St. Michael’s Parish, and she is the Events Coordinator and Bereavement Ministry for the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. She is married with three children and two grandchildren. rsaraiva@dfrcs.com.


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