Christ Child Awakening

Just as when He awoke in swaddling clothes in a manger, Christ can awaken in our hearts in prayer. In that mysterious moment, His eyes communicate the same invincible joy that they did when they gazed into the eyes of His virgin mother. We know in that single instant what she knew — that He has given Himself to us and for us, and that we are the object of His delight.  If we allow ourselves to be captivated by His gaze of love, we will soon find that we cannot but give ourselves to Him in return.

Just as He opened His eyes and saw the world for the first time, when we allow Him to open His eyes in our prayer, it is as if we have been seen for the first time. When we rest with Him in silent prayer, the Word who made the world opens His eyes anew and sees us and the whole world again through our own human eyes.  It is so silent and subtle — so easy to miss. The delight that He first took at the first moment of creation is suddenly renewed. It is a profound but secret moment of recognition and affirmation that both Christ and the soul share together.

When Christ awakens as we pray, His gaze imparts a delicate blessing. The moment of recognition and the delight that He takes in seeing us causes a mysterious movement in the deepest part of our own being.  All of creation is taken up in its wake.  We are recognized and in that loving recognition, something is etched in the very substance of our being, and as he snuggles back to sleep, all of creation awakens to new life.

Image credit: Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

This article originally appeared on SpiritualDirection.com and is republished here with kind permission.

Anthony Lilles

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Anthony Lilles is co-founder and Academic Dean of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and also serves as the Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Theology at St. John’s Seminary. He is a founding faculty member of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary where he was Academic Dean for nine years. Dr. Lilles has provided graduate level courses on a variety of topics including the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Healing, Church History, Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Direction and on various classics of Catholic Spirituality.

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