the gaze of God

when we played outside as kids, we would often pick wild blackberries and once in a while steal blueberries and cucumbers from a neighbor’s garden. we would eat all of these without washing them with an exclamation, “God made the dirt and the dirt don’t hurt.”

i partially credit those imprudent actions as to why i have an above average immune system today!

i am a big calvin and hobbes fan and i love this one:

in light of the history of the universe and findings in astronomy, indeed we are just dust specks. compared to God’s expansive creation, humans are a not even a blink of the eye.

yet, in the heart of God, each of us are deeply loved and have our rightful place.

i recently found this wonderful quote from pope francis:

so, i am going to try my best not to give useless sermons– especially this lent!

God’s loving gaze is a powerful image. to be aware of the gaze of love that God has for us is a wonderful way to view prayer. during my novitiate, i remember our novice master saying that prayer is allowing God to love us. i believe this truth all the more today because i am more clearly aware of my selfishness that blocks this grace.

God’s loving gaze is one of the definitions of contemplative prayer: a long, loving look at the real. God contemplates our dustiness with love; we attempt to return the gaze. this is the foundation of our change of heart and action.

during lent, one of the meditations i love is to just sit in front of a crucifix. to enter into jesus’ suffering and death on the cross is to embrace and be strengthened by the crosses we carry. love is truly the giving of ourselves to the other. ultimate love is giving our lives for the other.

the covid pandemic and its consequences is our global cross.

i heard on the news yesterday that it will take years for the covid vaccine to reach people in developing countries. i wonder what untold suffering and countless deaths this coronavirus– and its new variants– will bring to our brothers and sisters. in the usa, we get impatient because of the inevitable glitches in the distribution of the vaccines that will be here soon.

as the prayer on ash wednesday says, “remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” genesis chapter 3 still applies to us…

let us pray:

God of peace, love and justice,

thank you for your loving gaze that comes to us constantly during our day. may we have the eyes of faith to notice it and respond to you according to your will. with self giving actions, may we serve you by attending to our brothers and sisters– especially those who are hurting and dying.

thank you for your call to move beyond our dusty existence and continue to become your daughters and sons– a new creation!

may your Holy Spirit lead, guide and inspire us today to act with grace in all we do. may the cross in our lives not obscure the hope that you give us in your resurrection

through Christ our Lord. amen


  1. Lulu Plurad says:

    Father Art, you are really an ideal priest, an inspiration for everyone.


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      thanks for your kind words– but really, i am just a man doing what i can


  2. lannyjlarson says:

    As you say, Lent is a season to love God back and also to contemplate ways to follow God’s example of unlimited love for all people and places and their needs. Appropriate when lent begins in the afterglow of Valentine’s Day love.


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      amen my brother! Godspeed to you


  3. beccamac2001 says:

    Love this as a fellow Calvin and Hobbes fan and straight from the garden eater (still).
    Big hugs from Ptown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      are you a member of any C&H groups on fb? they post wonderful strips


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