Sunday, February 1, 2015

Grace in return for grace

Window to the Soul, by Carnegriff
What if, when we looked at people, we saw souls, not bodies?
Actually... this is possible, even in this life. In fact, for the follower of Christ, who does what He sees Jesus doing, this becomes a facet of his Christian personality. How to begin?

Easy! (Maybe not so easy...) You look at every person as if he or she were Christ coming to you, and you treat them the way you would treat Christ. You let yourself fall in love with each one, as Christ falls in love with you, and you begin to see through their skin, if not through their clothes. In fact, the clothes they wear gradually disappear without exposing their nakedness, only their souls become more and more clear to you.

Yes, the eyes. Then the eyes really do become the windows of their souls. And by the mercy and grace of God, because your heart burns with love (as St Isaac of Syria says) for not only all people, but even all creatures, all creation, it becomes second nature to you, to see souls instead of bodies, even to see destinations, to see what is to come, in the world around you.

Train yourself spiritually. Start small. Fulfill all the commandments in one shot, by fulfilling the great commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Then, you begin to know him as you know yourself, and in that knowledge, faith becomes not only possible, but spontaneous and, as John writes in his gospel, ‘grace in return for grace’ opens the gates of Paradise.

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