Recently, I was on retreat and the theme was Mercy. The symbol used was the one for Pope Francis’s call for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The image of a father carrying the son, or is it a brother, stranger, Samaritan? There are two faces looking out at us and they are so close together, you see only three eyes. One eye is shared and it looks right at you, it is larger. The caption reads “Merciful Like the Father.” This shared eye is the eye of God. Mercy is looking out at our world with God’s eye.
Spending time reflecting on the image has said a lot to me. I invite you to spend some time praying with the image and let it speak to you in the words you need to hear.
I see the world as I experience it with my eye and I look at this same world with the “God” eye and my vision changes. Clear sharp lines get softened, a little blurred, not quite so clear. This vision calls for a different response.
One of my gifts as well as one of my liabilities is that I look at situations and form definite opinions. This is truly both gift and liability. The image reminds me to slow down a bit or maybe be a little less absolute in how I express my opinion because it can shut down dialogue. In the image, when both figures see “eye to eye” mercy follows. I feel invited to see the world with softer eyes. It invites me to preface what I want to say with, “It seems to me that….” Instead of, “well, you know, I think….” Less dogmatic, more dialogical.
Another message of the God eye for me is to remember not to get so over-focused on tasks or projects that I miss seeing the folks around me. It is so easy to set aside a “random act of kindness” because I am too busy right now. You know the things I mean – like taking time to listen, dropping someone a quick line, making a phone call when you think of someone, signing a petition, calling a representative about a vote. Softer, slower, more aware, more willing to allow the moment to dictate my response.
The most powerful image that has emerged for me is You and I are the two people in the picture. We carry each other along the way and when we pray together and openly dialogue and share an eye, the eye of God can happen in us. I want and need to spend a lot more time with this image.
I invite you to take some time reflecting with this image and see the different places it takes you.