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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

652 We’re waiting for a gaze that will fixate on us, tell us that we’re good, we’re special

Day 652 Tuesday, December 28, 2021

We’re waiting for a gaze that will fixate on us, tell us that we’re good, we’re special, we’re enough, we’re beloved.

Dear Sisters and Brothers: Here are links to the videos we made at our celebration last Sunday, the 26th of December 2021. The Christmas stories are wonderful and the liturgy, especially the readings and final blessing, are thought-provoking. I edited the liturgy briefly to add in a better soundtrack for the video used during communion. If you want a stand-alone version of the video by itself, take a look at "Some Children" backed by a James Taylor Christmas carol. It's a four-minute commitment and the children's photos are well worth a visit.

Emmaus Christmas Stories from December 26, 2021

Emmaus Liturgy for December 26, 2021

Christmas Carol used during communion “Some Children” on December 26, 2021

Reflection for today: "God the Nourisher" by Richard Rohr

The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing and one love. —Meister Eckhart, Sermon on Sirach 24:30

Without exaggerating I think we can say that all of us live in the mirror of others’ eyes. We’re told that the first time a child can focus their eyes it’s almost exactly the number of inches between the mother’s breast and the child’s eyes, and that’s why the child becomes fixated on the mother. In fact, they become fixated on one another.

Science tells us that what’s happening on the neural level is that there’s a huge release of oxytocin, the big joy hormone. It’s like “Wow, this is good!” Neither of them wants to leave. [2] This is apparently the creation of “mirror neurons” in both mother and child, which makes them capable of attachment, intimacy, and basic relationship.

When we’re sitting in prayer, we’re waiting for a gaze like that—one we can trust will not change, a gaze that is utterly reliable. We’re waiting for a gaze that will fixate on us, tell us that we’re good, we’re special, we’re enough, we’re beloved.

Choose your good word because it’s always a good word! I’d go so far as to say this is the beginning of the inner journey of transformation. We spend the rest of our lives, through friends and partners and even our own children, searching for a repeat of that gaze that matters.

This gaze is our entrance into the trinitarian flow and once we’re there, we’re there. Now we have to keep re-choosing it, being reminded of it, allowing it. That’s what we’re doing when we sit in contemplative prayer.

Just sitting, allowing the gaze, choosing the gaze, enjoying the divine gaze. Eventually, we do have to come out of the eternal gaze as our prayer sit ends, but not really.

Stay in the trinitarian flow, which isn’t mere theology, but the very shape of the universe.

In Christian metaphysics we gave each entity of the Trinity a placeholder name, but I want to offer some new names so that we can really hang on to the feeling of it.

The Mother is ironically the one we call “Father.” She’s inaugurating the gaze toward the child, whom we call the “Son” (“Daughter” would work just as well, except that Jesus was male).

The Child then returns the gaze that was given and received. It’s a bounce-back of identity, and thus we have this eternal delighting, loving, admiring, allowing between two—God and Creation.

What then is the third element which keeps the dynamic moving? It is rather perfectly symbolized by the “Divine breast” that feeds and nurtures the Child and is thus being handed over to feed and nurture everything else.

It’s not risky theology at all. In fact, it’s almost too perfect, and I hope it helps us to stay in that loving gaze and flow all day long, even as we change places. Are we the giver, the receiver, the enjoyer, the feeder, the nurturer, the source? It doesn’t matter which role we’re momentarily in. Just stay in for the ride! Sometimes you are Lover, sometimes you are Beloved, and sometimes you are the “act” of Loving itself.

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

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