If we look at God without knowing that God always sees us first, and if we don’t encounter a love-filled gaze, then it is not God we meet. “Videntem videre,” says Augustine: We see the one who sees us. His gaze is prior and encompasses all. We are already known by God before we know him. We do not get to know God by looking at him, but by letting him look at us, and by enduring in his sight. One does not get to know the sun by staring right into its light, but rather by covering one’s eyes and exposing oneself to its rays. It is God’s gaze that makes us what we are. God is always first.
Every human being has a deep longing to be looked upon with love, to be known by another. Is it not part of love to hide nothing from the beloved? Everyone desires to be lovingly affirmed for being just what one is.
It is a singular joy to let oneself be beheld by God, to consciously give up all resistance against his merciful light, and thus become completely transparent. One could say that holiness is nothing but living every moment in the presence of God’s loving glance. Nothing impure can resist it. If you dare to give yourself over to it, and let God see into your innermost recesses, then you are purified without even knowing how. But it all depends on whether you truly let him see everything.
~ A meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
Before The Beauty Of God
Oh, what Beauty, you exceed
every other beauty’s features!
Wounding not, you pained indeed,
without pain destroyed and freed
my love from all worldly creatures.
Oh, knot that so joins forever
two things as unlike as we,
unknown why our bond you sever,
since when tied you strengthen ever
and draw good from injury.
Bind that without being to
Being of eternity;
without finishing, now do,
not having to love, love too,
exalt our nonentity.
~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Ávila, O.C.D.