“You shall love your crooked neighbour, with your crooked heart.” W. H. Auden
Saint Francis “… honored all men; that is, he not only loved but respected them all. What gave him extraordinary personal power was this: that from the Pope to the beggar, from the sultan of Syria in his pavilion to the ragged robbers crawling out of the wood, there was never a man who looked into those brown burning eyes without being certain Francis Bernardone was really interested in him, in his own inner individual life from cradle to grave; that he himself was being valued and taken seriously… He treated the whole mob of men as a mob of kings.” G. K. Chesterton
“If we are to love our neighbors,
before doing anything else
we must see our neighbors.
With our imagination as well as our eyes,
that is to say like artists,
we must see not just their faces
but the life behind and within their faces.
Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.”
“The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: ‘How will this affect me?’ …This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live ‘undefended’, can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes a lot of practice.” Richard Rohr
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd [a mob of men],
he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Does the fact of your “own crooked heart” inform your loving?
- Who is “the other” for you? neighbor? spouse? family member? stranger? competitor? anyone who is not you?
- Are you aware of the problem of “feeling your feelings” before you relate to the situation of the Other?
- How can you practice a “first gaze” where “love is the frame” in which you see anyone who is the Other?
Abba, help me learn a compassionate first gaze so that I honor, love and respect others. Disarm me, undefend me, unpreoccupy me with myself.
For More: Saint Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”