.... Gaze upon him, consider him, contemplate him, as you desire to imitate him.From Franciscan Prayer Ilia Delio, OSF wrote:
"The type of prayer that Clare and Francis hold out to us – this prayer of gazing – requires openness to grace. To gaze is to be open to the Spirit of the Lord, for;
it is the Spirit within us who really gazesor, we might say, who “embraces” the God of humble love. The Spirit who searches the depths of God reaches out for God who humbly bends low in the crucified flesh of Jesus. It is the Spirit who joins us to Christ and leads us into the embrace of the humble love of God. Gazing is a matter of the Spirit." (Page 79) [My italicizing for emphasis]
It is not we, ourselves, gazing upon the crucified flesh, but it is the Spirit within us who really gazes on and embraces the God of humble love. How does that happen?
In his message for Lent 2006 Pope BenedictXVI wrote: "In turning to the Divine Master, in being converted to Him, in experiencing His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation,
we will discover a “gaze” that searches us profoundly and gives new life
to the crowds and to each one of us. It restores trust to those who do not succumb to skepticism, opening up before them the perspective of eternal beatitude. Throughout history, even when hate seems to prevail, the luminous testimony of His love is never lacking. To Mary, “the living fount of hope” (Dante Alighieri, Paradiso, XXXIII, 12), we entrust our Lenten journey, so that she may lead us to her Son."
So let us remember as we pray the Stations of the Cross
that the prayer of gazing is actually a gift from God
that we receive as we step away from the noise of this world
allowing ourselves to be open to the gaze of Christ.