Seeing Yourself In Others

Throughout Holy Week I'll be sharing some prayers from a book I've been using as a prayer guide through Lent: Prayer: Forty Days of Practice.  I hope that these prayers and the reflections that accompany them will be meaningful to you as we journey with Jesus through Holy Week.  

Prayer for Tuesday of Holy Week: 

May my awareness of faults in myself or others never open the door to spite but grant me a deep appreciation for grace. 

Like the prayer from yesterday, this prayer has a two-fold focus for the one praying: Self & Others. 

If we would enter fully into the power of this prayer, we would first need to recognize that our own faults are intimately connected to the faults we perceive in others. 

A very kind and wise spiritual guide once taught me to repeat this phrase whenever I began to explore the faults I saw in other people--the kind of faults that cut me to the core, angered me beyond belief, or otherwise got my goat. 

My spiritual mentor would say, "What I see in you, I see in me." What a profound truth! 

Because if we are being entirely honest with ourselves, the reason we often have such an adverse reaction to some of the characteristics of the people we struggle to love is that those same characteristics are ones we ourselves possess, and it fills us with fear, which leads to anger, which (according to the great Jedi Master Yoda) can lead to suffering.   

So we have a choice to make... We can either live in spite, filled with bitterness and a critical spirit that casts about the world with a jaundiced view of everything and everyone, or we can discover a new appreciation for God's grace and mercy. 

And a new understanding of inclusive love. 

The great mystic and teacher Anthony De Mello once wrote:   
God's kingdom is love.  What does it mean to love? It means to be sensitive to life, to things, to person, to feel for everything and everyone to the exclusion of nothing and no one. For exclusion can only be achieved through a hardening of oneself, through closing one's doors.  
May you discover a new way of seeing yourself and others that is steeped in grace and mercy.  May you see more clearly that the faults you see in others--the same ones you possess---are areas for God's grace to abound and teach you more tangibly about love. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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