Translated from the original by Ana Giménez.
We´ll keep on talking about meditation prayer started on the 14th and 16th of November. We are trying to understand the meaning of “looking upon Him Who is looking at us” last step of Teresian´s meditation.
2- The look in the Old and New Testament
The Prophets do the same as we do. God makes Ezekiel open his mouth and eat a scroll with the Word of God. He ate it and it tasted him “as sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 1-2). As they savour the Word of God they begin to understand reality as their eyes are opened. The prophets continuously berate their people for their closed nature about the idea of the idols, false gods, “who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear”. They also harshly criticize closed nature towards their neighbours. They don´t want to see, they look the other way, they are not supportive to others. By dint of tasting The Word of God, they unmask and denounce the injustice of the powerful, they support the orphan and the widow, they look for righteousness and justice. In brief, they are free. They have a clean look. Everybody has, in theory, that capacity, because God has chosen his people able to see (Numbers 14, 14) with “perfect eyes”, “opened eyes” (Numbers 24 : 4). God observes every one of us (Psalm 11: 4), and we ask Him to open our eyes, which is the contrary to death in which they are closed (Psalm 13: 4; 19: 9) ”for with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36 : 10)
Jesus spent most of His life working in silence. The greatest among prophets acquired knowledge of the Word of God, inherited from them a look at reality. He introduces Himself as the light of the world and takes upon Himself the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”(Matthew 13:13-17)
Jesus- following the prophet Elijah- healed the blind people in its double sense, blindness of the body and of the soul. He gives birth to life.
3- The look in modern metaphysics
The look to others is not something dull, it is the beginning of a relationship. The personalist philosophy confirmed the relational state of the human being (Martin Buber) and the neopersonalist philosophy added the idea that the relationship I-You is impossible without a third one, another I (Emmanuel Lévinas) In the face of the other, the third one, especially the weakest one, we can discover the remnants of transcendence and the birth of ethics as a responsible answer to His look. In this way it can be confirmed from modern philosophy what was discovered in the Bible. The dialogue with God through the word resends us to the discovery of our neighbour.
4- The look in theology
The New Testament explains salvation provided by Jesus Christ in 10 different languages which complement each other. One of them, of our interest at the moment, explains salvation as the revelation of God. Christ Master makes known to us the secret of life, He “enlightens” us .Old Simeon, taking Jesus into his arms says in a thanks offering: ”With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people…: light for all nations, and it will bring honour to your people Israel.” We have received this capacity in our baptism, sacrament that was early discovered by Christians to be the entrance door to enlightenment and remained symbolised with the rite of the light taken from the Paschal candle.
5- Eyes opened in Edith Stein and in J.B. Metz
Edith Stein was a Jewish intellectual who converted to Christianity after having read the book of Life by Saint Teresa in one sitting. She sent a letter to the Pope in April 1933 denouncing with open eyes the tragedy that were about to suffer the Jews and the whole Europe asking for active intervention from papacy to avoid it. She died in Auschwitz. I copy a paragraph:
“We all, who are faithful children of the Church and who see the conditions in Germany with open eyes, fear the worst for the prestige of the Church, if the silence continues any longer. We are convinced that this silence will not be able in the long run to purchase peace with the present German government. For the time being, the fight against Catholicism will be conducted quietly and less brutally than against Jewry, but no less systematically. It won’t take long before no Catholic will be able to hold office in Germany unless he dedicates himself unconditionally to the new course of action.”
It is worth reading the whole letter:
For a general presentation of Edith Stein:
Metz is a theologian who has reflected on Christian spirituality in his book “Por una mística de ojos abiertos” (“Mysticism of Open Eyes”)
A paragraph from the book:
“Christian faith is, no doubt, a faith which seeks justice. Christians, indeed, have to be mystic, but not exclusively in the sense of an individual spiritual experience, but in the sense of an experience of spiritual solidarity. They must be “mystic people of open eyes”. (…) The open eyes (…) which take us back to suffer for other people´s pains: the ones which urge us to revolt against the nonsensical of the innocent and unfair sorrow; the ones which arouse in us hunger and thirst for righteousness, a kind of justice for all”.