Sunday, March 04, 2012

Ignatian Life: Custody of the Eyes

I've been following the conversation at the Deacon's Bench on the prudential judgement that needs to be exercised in deciding — in the moment — who should be admitted to the Eucharist. There is a lot of slicing and dicing of canon law, Eucharistic theology and moral theology being done (who has what rights, what is a correct disposition...) as well as a great deal of Monday morning quarterbacking going on.

It's been making me think, not about Eucharistic theology per se, but rather about the decisions we make — in the moment — when we come face to face with Christ in a "distressing diguise." Those can be tough, as a young Jesuit Volunteer courageously recounts here. What happens at the altar, does not stay at the altar, but plays out on the altar of the world. It's easy to be critical of the decisions made on all sides when there is time to think and discuss, not so easy when the decision is standing in front of you, asking to be fed.

I'm struggling with how to respond in these encounters with Christ as well — as you can read in my latest reflection at This Ignatian Life.

"We issue lists of grave sins, delicta graviora. We wrangle over translations, theological nuances and liturgical praxis. We worry whether we are sufficiently reverent with the body of Christ when we receive in the hand, and all the while the body of Christ lies crumpled and abandoned on the sidewalk. And I walk past, averting my eyes.

'And what about His hunger, cold, chains, nakedness and sickness? What about His homelessness? Are these sufferings not sufficient to overcome your alienation?' challenged John Chrysostom sixteen centuries ago. How can you continue to walk through the city, pretending not to see, failing to recognize what is before you? It’s not just new perspectives in science I seek on this sabbatical. What about His homelessness? I chose to work in the city on this leave, not just because the materials I needed were here, but because I wanted to look at this horizon, to struggle with my response to these challenging questions. To face what I had walked away from two summers previously."

Read the rest here.

Photo is from rubygold, used under Creative Commons license.


  1. Julianne2:58 PM

    This made me think of this poem by GA Studdert Kennedy:

    In Lent we have to face all our indifference and failure. It is never comfortable in the desert.

  2. I started typing out spiel after spiel but I can't really do that in a comment. So my comment is "yes". I know giving love is a simple act, but I will say that at least for me, it is often confusing to know in what way to respond. Bottom line to follow: just give, just give. Love, attention, respect. Give when both asked and (very hard for me) when unasked. And please, whatever is done, DON'T LIE and say you don't have money. And I sin and I do not always do this. There is such a thing as repentance and forgiveness. (Okay, still a spiel, but I spared this space several paragraphs more.)

  3. "I don't always do this". I don't lie, but I do ignore people. Not so great either.