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5. Touching the eyes of our hearts


With the eyes of our heart enlightened


 

Mark 8:22-26 Amy and Sandra Ephesians 1:17-19[1]
. . . . "Can you see anything?" And the man looked up and said, "I can see people, but they look like trees, walking." Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly . . .   . . . that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened . . . to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do.

What occurs as the eyes of our hearts are touched and enlightened? What is the Holy Spirit awakening us to now that Sandra’s story thread, with its golden of the Spirit’s grace, has become more deeply personal for us? Can we, as guides and companions, see more clearly what Jesus is calling us to do? As we consider what is happening to pilgrims like Sandra, can we hold the alternative imagination of Jesus’ kingdom of God?

What might be some of the differences?

  • An invitation to bring our enlivened spiritual intuition to the rhythms and flow which runs beneath the spoken words and gestures.
  • To hear in the gentle song of your soul, a whisper—an echo—of the freedom offered by the One who is always searching for us to welcome us and pilgrims into the oneness that is our true home? 
  • To be touched by Fire—by the Living Flame of Love—offering to you and to pilgrims Jesus’ redemption and freedom from entanglements? 
  • To experience your inner eye of love being awakened to encounter this loving Relational Presence in the midst of pilgrim’s narratives of woundedness.
  • To be in touch with your own your poverty; that poverty of spirit which is close to the perimeter of the inner‐most centre of your soul.
  • To notice your new found freedom for entering into personal solidarity with pilgrims and into unity with the Divine Presence?   

Encountering darkness

And yet, when we enter into Sandra’s lived experience we also encounter much darkness! Sandra experienced falling into a dark, black hole. When, as guides and companions, we move into places which are unknown to us, or which appear to be beyond the reach of our conscious awareness, it can be akin to walking in the dark; walking via a path we know not! The dark shadow and chill of “fear” may seek to block our path, overjealous in its sentry duties at the doorways to our wounding, our pain and our suffering. It is in the place of Jesus’ “rest,” within the Divine Embrace, that we can take courage even if we appear to be walking blindly and naked. Indeed, we are always within the Divine Embrace. So often we only acknowledge this in retrospect! 

The encounters between Amy and Sandra, as with the encounter between other guides and pilgrims in my books, Reflected Love and Guiding Gideon, reveal that the pathway towards the inner‐most centre of our souls will invariably wind through our estrangements, our sufferings, our woundings and our pains which, as suggested above appear to be close to the perimeter of the centre of our soul. The journey towards sharing in the life of God is not away from, but rather towards our deepest humanity. It was Sandra’s encounter with Jesus right in the midst of her suffering heart where she was invited into oneness with Jesus and with the community of the Trinity.  

What might we experience?

If we were to take our own inner journey on a pathway similar to the one Sandra and Amy took, what might we expect? Indeed, what have we noticed as we reflected on our own resonance with her story and on the personal theme which emerged for us?

 

What might I expect?

(The following observations are presented in the first person).

I can identify with this.

I cannot identify with this.

I am uncertain about this.

A period of change and destabilisation, which seems to estrange me from the inner-most centre of my soul, from others, from the beauty of creation, and from God.

It is hard to remember God is ever present.

 

 

 

                                                                     cont . . .

There can be a sadness which, when prayerfully attended to, becomes a deeper grief. To move towards the grief seems to take me into darkness where I can feel afraid, even naked and appear to grope blindly.

It is difficult to accept that God might be leading me into the desert to speak tenderly to me.[2]

         

 

 

In this darkness I am brought face-to-face with my poverty of spirit.  I no longer seem to be in full control of my afflictive emotions.

In this place it is so hard to remember that the poor in spirit are called blessed, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.[3]

 

 

 

In some mysterious way my emotions of grief and even anger seem to become envoys or guides that lead me deeper into this place of darkness (unknown) where my fear and shame are unmasked.

I realise that, in their bid to protect me from my wounding and pain, they have kept me small, in unfreedom, and living on the narrow rim of my existence.

 

 

 

Can it be that the Spirit of truth can also free me from fatally accepting my inner judgements, commentaries and afflictive emotions as being the total of who I am? Is there really a Living Flame of Love that can —“Burn that is for my healing! / Wound of delight past feeling!”[4]

I can experience freedom from my entanglements!

 

 

 

What first appeared as a dark black hole from which there was no escape seems to have become instead a womb for my transformation.

It is as if solitude has built within me her nest and, “In solitude he gives (me) guidance, love and rest, / wounded, like me, in solitary quest.”[5]

 

 

 

Within this dark womb of transformation, grief (now as the envoy of the Spirit) guides me through the dark inner labyrinth to the site; to the loci of my deepest wounding. 

I am also invited to step across time.

 

 

 

When it seemed my heart would break all over again and that fear had been right to stand guard at the door of this deep wounding, I felt a, “. . . gentle hand whose touch is a caress, / foretaste of heaven conveying / and every debt repaying: / killing, you give me life for death's distress.”[6]

 

 

 

There was a dying of part of me! Any yet, there is also a rising to fuller life!

 

 

 

It is this new awakening in the light of the resurrection that offers me freedom for coming into the fullness of my personhood and most fruitful purpose in the one boundless love of the Trinity.[7]

 

 

 

There is a place in which I can experience rest for my soul.

 

 

 

 

 

Stepping across time

It is in the dark and unknown reaches of this womb of transformation that we may be invited to step across time and to re-experience something of our childhood. Sandra, in a subsequent conversation, speaks of this strange occurrence. And yet, it is not unusual in companioning.

“When the little girl reached out for my hand she drew me back right inside of an almost forgotten memory. She did not speak, but rather guided me through it as if to invite my return to a particular scene. This scene played out in front of me as if I was an invisible witness. It was a jolt when she let go of my hand and I realized that the little girl was me. I had been here before, but this time I was seeing things and re-experiencing them with my adult eyes open.” (Sandra paused as if to take in the strangeness of what she had just said).

 

Touched by Fire and by Presence

The inner fire is rekindled by the Living Flame of Love; the flame that burns away estrangement, and yet does not consume the soul.  Is this the first touch—touched by Fire—on the eyes of our heart, offering us freedom from our entanglements? The deepest of wounds are then transformed into a window deep into our soul; into the place of oneness with Christ. Is this the second touch—touched by Presence—on the eyes of our heart? Through the grace of God the Holy Spirit Grace is offering us freedom for entering into this oneness with Christ. It is in the company of Fire (the Spirit) and Presence (Jesus) that we journey into the unknown and through the darkness. It is in this womb of transformation that the eyes of our heart are touched. We are now able to see with greater clarity, and to feel with our whole being, the Presence of God, the Trinity in the very depths of our soul.

The golden thread of grace of the Holy Spirit offers us the freedom for entering into oneness with Christ, along with the freedom for loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[8]


My prayer response

Thanking God for this gift of freedom, for the oneness we can enjoy with Christ, and for the opportunity to participate in his purposes in guiding and companioning pilgrims like Sandra.


Notes:

[1] Joining both NRSV & The Message.
[2] Hosea 2: 14, NIV.  
[3] Matthew 5: 3, NSRV.
[4] John of the Cross, “The Living Flame of Love,” 2nd stanza. In Flower, Centred on Love, 22. 
[5] John of the Cross, “The Spiritual Canticle.” Translated by Flower, Centred on Love, 20.
[6] Ibid.  
[7] Hide, Silence Enflamed, Australian eJournal of Theology, 2010, 23.
[8] Luke 10:27.