I live for the moments when their eyes look like they did yesterday. When I’m opening my heart because for a few moments it feels safe with a class, and their eyes are fastened on me. I want to read the stories that are written there. I want to profess my love for them even though it is all heightened and strengthened by the moment. A few seem on the verge of tears, but all appear to grasp my sincerity and my desire to impart this knowledge to them.
I’m discerning on my feet if I should tell them about that powerful prayer experience I had a couple weeks ago. And I do. I talk about spiritual direction and share what I learned from it just the day before.
Maybe some are annoyed with my long preaching session, wondering if it is going to be required knowledge for the test. But I cannot tell that those thoughts are running through their minds. I can only see their eyes. They are pools of experiences–hurt and joy. And I desire to sit down with them and hear all the stories. I don’t always feel that keen desire, sometimes I forget that their experiences are just as real as my own.
I’m trying to speak truth into situations that I do not know or understand, but I know they are in them. Because I’m in similar situations. It is part of the human condition.
The simple truth I desired to impart was this: Jesus knows. He knows what it feels like to be in their shoes and to experience the pain they feel. I spoke about how all of Jesus’ friends abandoned Him at the moment He most needed them. He knows what it is like to feel betrayed and left alone. He suffered for the sins and sufferings of the entire world, throughout all of history. And He did this so that when we come to something that seems too much, He can tell us that He already passed through this, too.
And I asked them to find Jesus in the midst of it all. How is Jesus loving you in this situation? He is present in death, in their parents’ divorce, and in the betrayal of a friend. He is loving us through every situation.
A priest pointed this out to me the other day–I told him I was seeking to see each experience as God trying to convert my heart and he included that each experience was God loving me. How quick I am to shift the focus just enough that it distorts the image. It is different to experience all as a means for my own conversion and quite another to see it as an avenue of His love.
“I don’t understand,” one student says. “How can you find Jesus loving you in your parents’ divorce?”
And I don’t have a clear answer. I can’t give them a Scripture passage or a Catechism reference to answer it nicely. Instead, I must tell them that I don’t know how Jesus is seeking to love them in their difficulties, but I know that He is doing it. That we need to open our hearts, to not pull back when we are wounded and to open them to the Healer. I am speaking to myself as much as I am speaking to them.
Reminding them that Jesus is present in all, reinforces that belief in me. All I’ve experienced He has already experienced and has thus sanctified the experience. And each experience is a new way to receive His love.
All can be seen through the eyes of Love.