Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gazing requires a space within the heart - St Clare spirituality

The gaze on the crucified Christ is like an embrace, a desire to allow the otherness of God's love into our lives. Therefore it can never be an immediate vision; rather, it is a daily encounter with a God of humble love who is hidden in fragile humanity. Gazing is not simply physical sight like other physical senses that help situate oneself in an environment. Rather, gazing is of the heart by which the heart "opens its arms" so to speak to allow the Spirit of God's love to enter. 
Gazing requires a space within the heart to receive what we see and to embrace what we see. Poverty helps create this space because when we are free of things that possess us or that we possess we are able to see more clearly and to receive what we see within us. 
The type of prayer that Clare directs us to - 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 gazes or, we might say, who "embraces" the God of humble love. - Ilia Delio, chapter from Franciscan at Prayer, p 46.

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