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Reflections on John 3:14-15 Part 3


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"whoever believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:15)



REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 3:14-15 Part 3


What is there in a gaze?

What is there in a look or a gaze? Nothing, or everything. It all depends on our inner disposition and on whether that look is reciprocated. I can look at someone in the street. I can see a shape; that person is tall or short, he is thin or obese, he has fine manners or is rude, he is rich or poor. I look at him but he does not look at me. As long as I analyse him and as long as that look is not reciprocated we do not establish a personal dynamic relationship. Nothing happens; we each go our different ways. We are not enriched by that one-way look.

I look at another person, I look steadily at that person, that person looks at me, I am well-disposed to that person and so is he / she to me, our eyes meet, we still gaze at each, I absorb the gaze of the other, we absorb each other’s gaze, there is spiritual contact, something is generated, I do not analyse that person nor does he / she analyse me, I smile, that smile is reciprocated. There is non-verbal communication; a dynamic relationship is generated. A person with a secular materialistic mindset would say there is ‘chemistry’ between us. A person that is able to go beyond the material would say there is spiritual communication. Whatever you call it we are no longer the same, we have established a personal relationship, we talk and laugh and are well in each other’s company, the relationship develops and matures. He or she is no longer a person to be analysed but loved. We lose ourselves, one in the other. We speak the language of love.

It is the same with the look we direct towards the cross, the meeting place of an amorous encounter. It is the proof of the love of someone for me: “God so love the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). The cross is the place of giving and it is the place of receiving, the place of reciprocation. It is where loving eyes meet. I do not analyse that person, he does not analyse me. We simply gaze at each other. We lose ourselves in each other “abide in me as I abide in you” (John 15:4). I am no longer the same. My gaze has been reciprocated, I trust, I love and I feel loved. Never aspire to be loved without first loving, it only works with God who first loved us. And when we love others with that same non-discriminating divine love we discover that the world around us changes: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Pope Francis once Tweeted:
How beautiful it is to stand before the Crucifix, simply to be under the Lord’s gaze, so full of love. (EG 264, April 12th 2014)
The episode that St Jean Vianney, Curé d’Ars, relates of a peasant who used to spend time in church before and after his day’s work is well-known. When the peasant was asked what he was doing. The reply was “I say nothing to Him and He says nothing to me, but I look at Him, and He looks at me”. 1 It is that prayerful gaze, that reciprocal look of trust and love, that heals and that generates dynamic life.



Application

The stirrings of the Holy Spirit cannot be heard in the midst of the storms and earthquakes of daily life. The voice of God is heard in moments of deep silence. If we want to be guided by the Holy Spirit we must carve out time to listen to the gentle breeze of God’s presence just like Elijah did:
Then the Lord said, ‘Go up and stand on the mount, waiting for the Lord. The Lord is about to pass by.’ There was a great and powerful windstorm which rent the mountains and broke the rocks into pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the storm, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, the whisper of a gentle breeze. When Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak, went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then he heard a voice addressing him again. (1 Kings 19:11-13)

Why don’t you try that trusting gaze yourself to become aware of the presence of God as he passes by? Do it for as long as you can, as often as you can, make a habit of it. These steps and accompanying biblical texts might help you.

Try it now, whether you are a Christian or not, whether you believe or do not believe. Belief will come; it is a free gift that is denied no one: “When I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32). That includes you.

“anyone who comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37)
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:28, 29)
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1)
my peace I give to you” (John 14:27)
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11)
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6, 7)
NOTES


1 http://archive.org/stream/blessedjohnviann00vianiala/blessedjohnviann00vianiala_djvu.txt




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