Please join us Monday 10/122/21 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT) Please ask for technical assistance BEFORE we begin, as the silent reflection is a critical element in the spiritual exercise. Thank you so much.
Meeting ID: 4537185699
Opening Prayer: The Memorare
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
The Desire to be Seen
Drawing attention to ourselves is not often viewed favorably. And yet, it is such a prevalent human activity that it moves one to reflect on the deeper things at play. There is something fundamentally necessary about being seen. Many people today suffer because they feel unseen, invisible, unwanted, unable to belong anywhere. Unfortunately, even when others do see us, it is only superficially satisfying because we are not seen in the depth of the mystery of who we are in God. Often, we’re put into a box, associated with some stereotype, and dismissed.
If we go back to the beginning, we see that before the Fall, Adam and Eve experienced joy in seeing and being seen by God. As their relationship unfolded He revealed many things to them. One can imagine what they must have learned about creation, themselves, their work, God Himself, and His dreams for them. But in betraying that relationship, shame compelled Adam and Eve to hide not only from God but from themselves. In an anguished and tragic way, they became incapable of recognizing themselves as they once knew themselves. Thus began man’s struggle to reclaim things that were now hidden from him.
An essential reason we need to be seen is because we are now mysteries to ourselves. We need someone outside ourselves to tell us about ourselves. The Church often reminds us that it is Christ who reveals us to ourselves. The monumental mistake we make today is to let other people tell us who we are, others who themselves don’t know who they are.
Jesus shows us that we don’t want to look to others to tell us who we are. He asks the disciples who people say He is. They respond with a variety of answers. “But you, who do you say I am?” When Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus points to a powerful truth! “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in heaven has.” Who can reveal us to ourselves, tell us who we are and why we have the attractions, reactions, desires, and destiny we do? God, our Father, and Creator. We can only find ourselves in Him.
St Joseph and Our Blessed Mother are a beautiful example. They appear quiet, and one may think, almost so holy as to be abnormal according to the way most of us live. Yet they know and live this secret to true happiness! They live in the presence of God at all times. When you live this way, you come to know not only God but yourself as well. You have the strength to go through all things and even to experience joy in doing so. St. Paul says a cloud of witnesses surrounds us. Chief among them is God Himself! This is Who we want and need to be seen by. This is what we had in the beginning. The Father is the one who takes our shame away in Christ, sweetens our existence with His presence, His affirmations, His revelations, His directions, and protection. He shows us who we really are.
To strive to live in the presence of God at all times is one of the most radical and fruitful things we can do for ourselves and the world! If we all aspired to be seen by God and not by man, the holes in our hearts would be healed, stretched, and made capable of loving the whole of the cosmos and everything in it. Seeing God and being seen by Him pulls us out of hiding and restores our hearts to their original integrity. That is what we honestly long for: to see and to be seen as God intended.
Please relax in silence for 5-10 minutes, awaiting the Holy Spirit’s guidance. In group, please allow each person to share their reflection without interruption. Afterwards we will enjoy a group conversation.
Questions For Reflection
- In what ways have you experienced being a mystery to yourself?
- Self-knowledge is essential in the spiritual life bur we often resist it and like to settle for superficial flatteries. What do you think we are afraid of when it comes to self-knowledge?
- Living in the Presence of God at all times is not easy. But the idea is that we should always be oriented to God, always be aware of when we are drifting away or hiding from God or ourselves. We were not created to live in the bushes but rather to be engaged with God in life.
- In what ways does God draw you out of hiding? How does He reassure you and strengthen you to open yourself and to surrender without fear.
Our next spititual exercise will take place Monday November 8, 2021. We pray that you have a Blessed All Saints Day and All Souls Day.