Friday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” Luke 6:41
Saint Teresa of Ávila, one of the greatest spiritual writers and doctors of the Church, explains in her spiritual masterpiece “Interior Castles,” that one of the first steps on the path to holiness is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge produces humility, because humility is simply having a true opinion about yourself. When a person fails to know themself from the true perspective of the mind of God, then they open themselves up to many errors of judgment. One such error is that they can easily become fixated upon their perceived sins of others.
The Gospel passage quoted above depicts a person who gravely lacks self-knowledge. Why? Because they “do not perceive the wooden beam” in their own eye, meaning, they do not see their own sin. As a result, Jesus explains that this person also becomes fixated upon the “splinter” in their brother’s eye.
When you consider your own thoughts, what do you dwell upon the most all day long? Do you honestly look inward, seeking to know yourself as God knows you? Or do you spend excessive time thinking about others, analyzing and judging their actions? This is an important question to ask yourself and to answer with honesty.
The best way to know yourself is to gaze upon Jesus. When He becomes the focus of your attention throughout the day, you will not only come to know Him, but you will also come to know yourself more honestly. Gazing at the beauty and perfection of our Lord will have the double effect of knowing Him and knowing yourself through His eyes. It will also help you to know others as He sees them.
How does Jesus look at those around you? He looks at them with perpetual mercy. True, at the end of every life, when we pass from this world to the next, we will encounter our particular judgment from our Lord. But while here on earth, God continually gazes upon us with mercy. For that reason, mercy must become our daily mission, and we must build a habit of gazing upon everyone in our life with the eyes of mercy.
Reflect, today, upon our Lord. Look at Him, gaze upon Him, seek to know Him and make Him the focus of your attention. As you do, try to dismiss from your thinking process your own perceived judgments of others. Allow your gaze upon our Lord to help you to not only see Him but to also see others through His eyes. Build this habit and you will be on the fast track to the path to holiness.
My merciful Jesus, may I build a humble and true habit of gazing upon You in Your splendor and beauty. As I see You, day in and day out, please also help me to see myself through Your eyes of mercy so that I will also grow in humility. Please remove all judgment from my heart so that I will be free to know and love all people as You know and love them. Jesus, I trust in You.