Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Eyes of Love

I chose this reflection from Simone Weil because she captures once again something that often escapes us about our interactions with others.  We can serve others, reach out to others in their pain and affliction, but never really draw close to them or open our hearts to them - never really love them.  How difficult it can be for those in affliction to know that compassion is listening to them.  God submerges Himself into the misery of the other; something we cannot do or in our pride think we can do without His agency.  We must allow ourselves by grace to be brought into the affliction of the other - for they will see in our eyes not only if we are there but if God is present.

“God alone has this power, the power really to think into being that which does not exist. Only God, present in us, can really think the human quality into the victims of affliction, can really look at them with a look differing from that we give to things, can listen to their voice as we listen to spoken words. Then they become aware that they have a voice, otherwise they would not have occasion to notice it.

Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.

The love of our neighbour is the love which comes down from God to man. It precedes that which rises from men to God. God is longing to come down to those in affliction. As soon as a soul is disposed to consent, though it were the last, the most miserable, the most deformed of souls, God will precipitate himself into it in order, through it, to look at and listen to the afflicted. Only as time passes does the soul become aware that he is there. But, though it finds no name for him, wherever the afflicted are loved for themselves alone, it is God who is present.

God is not present, even if we invoke him, where the afflicted are merely regarded as an occasion for doing good. They may even be loved on this account, but then they are in their natural rôle, the rôle of matter and of things. We have to bring to them a personal love. In true love it is not we who love the afflicted in God, it is God in us who loves them. When we are in affliction, it is God in us who loves those who wish us well. Compassion and gratitude come down from God, and when they are exchanged in a glance, God is present at the point where the eyes of those who give and those who receive meet. 

Excerpt From: Weil, Simone. “Waiting on God" 

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