Today’s Activity: Who do I see?

Materials needed for this activity: A mirror, your eyes, lots of honesty

Look at yourself in the mirror for no more than 15 seconds.  What do you see and who do you see? (No cheating…just follow these instructions.)  Make note of your immediate thoughts, reactions and judgements.  Most of us are very, very quick to see the flaws, scars, wrinkles, facial imperfections and things that we wish weren’t there.

Now, you are going to look at yourself in the mirror again but before you do, ask yourself these two questions “WHO does God see? WHAT does God see?  Take a deep breath.  Look at yourself in the mirror again.

Are you a little more forgiving of your faults and flaws?  Did you look at yourself with your heart and not with, perhaps, your harsh image of perfection?  Does the awareness and presence of the love of Go
d, our Creator, change what you saw the second time?  My prayer for you and for me is that we can learn to skip the reactions of the “first look” and immediately be drawn to see ourselves as well as those around us with the unconditional love of God and a generosity of beauty that goes far beyond what our society defines as beautiful and perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  His love and sacrifice for us is perfect.  He is where we gain our strength and courage to persevere through this life.

This weekend was an amazing weekend for inspiration and encouragement!  On Friday evening, the world was invited to see Pope Francis in an amazing television event.  The world watched.  The photography and presentation of the Vatican and Pope Francis as well as the people who were blessed to encounter him in that very special virtual papal audience was astounding.

But beyond all of the television production, I saw and heard the message that Pope Francis cares about the people.  His desire for closeness with the people of goodwill is real and inspiring.  The stories of the people in the three audiences allowed me to take a peek at the lives of others who also live in the United States.  The stories were filled with the struggles and hardships of humanity. Tears flowed.  My heart was drawn into their lives and allowed me to feel their emotional difficulties that were a true reality of what their lives look like every day.  Pope Francis acknowledged the injustices of life, reminded us that Jesus was on the cross and encouraged us to persevere with courage and bravery.

And then to bring everything together, the readings from this past Sunday’s Mass, James says “My brothers and sisters, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” He goes on to give us a very concrete example of not judging people based on what we see on the outside, because the world is promised to those who are poor in the world but rich in faith.” So, I asked myself, “Who do I see?”  Do I not only see, but do I search and look for Christ in the hearts of people?  Do I see people for who they are on the inside and not just what I see on the outside?  Can I see the goodness of someone’s intention when they share with me the desire to change and do better?  Can I see them as God sees them?  Do others see Christ in me?  Do I see Christ in me?  Do I allow Christ to arise in me?  The next time you have a few minutes, use these questions to begin your prayer with God.  He will reveal things to you in the quiet.

A few months ago, I heard this song called Christ in Me Arise by Trevor Thomson.  Its lyrics call me to action in a way that reaches my core being.  Listen to it.  Pray with it.  Allow Christ to arise in you and dispel the darkness.  Grow in your courage and shine light of where Jesus desires to be.  Jesus desires us to hear the gospel message and to do our best to be brave in bringing that message to the people just like Pope Francis.

In our vocations, we often fall short of the perfection that we desire.  Just like when we looked in the mirror the first time, but if we acknowledge our faults and quickly realize our need to lean on Christ for the strength to do his work in building the kingdom – we will be victorious in our mission and purpose.

My prayer for you this week is to shine the light of Christ to others, see Christ in others and allow Christ to arise in you!