“I look at Jesus, and Jesus looks at me,” said the priest about Eucharistic adoration.
When I was young in my adult faith life, I frequently looked to Jesus for guidance and direction. I read about Jesus in the Bible every day and attended weekly Bible study sessions. I wanted to know everything I could about him. My passion was looking at Jesus, knowing Jesus and following Jesus.
Twenty-five years ago, at the beginning of a cross-country road trip, my friend and I stopped for coffee and donuts. About an hour into the trip, I realized she was still eating her donut, and I commented on the fact that mine was long gone. “We eat our donuts the same way we relate to men,” she said. “You devour yours, and I pick at mine.”
She was right. My insecurities were most evident in new relationships when I was fearful that I was not measuring up and would be abandoned. I tended to cling and needed constant reassurance. As my trust grew, my insecurities lessened, and I could let go a bit. By then, though, all that usually remained of those relationships were crumbs.
Her comment invited me to look at all of my relationships, including Jesus. Had my early passion toward Jesus, my deep desire to know him intimately, been motivated, at least in part, by my insecurities? Had I clung to Jesus, devoured him, in the same way I did other men?
It was around this same time that I became acquainted with Simon Weil’s writings, and this passage from Waiting for God resonated with me:
“The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth. The unwary individual who on entering takes a few steps is soon unable to find the opening. Worn out, with nothing to eat or drink, in the dark, separated from his dear ones, and from everything he loves and is accustomed to, he walks on without knowing anything or hoping anything, incapable even of discovering whether he is really going forward or merely turning round on the same spot. But this affliction is as nothing compared with the danger threatening him. For if he does not lose courage, if he goes on walking, it is absolutely certain that he will finally arrive at the center of the labyrinth. And there God is waiting to eat him. Later he will go out again, but he will be changed, he will have become different, after being eaten and digested by God. Afterward he will stay near the entrance so that he can gently push all those who come near into the opening.”
Eucharist encompasses looking at and being looked at, as well as consuming and being consumed. This intimacy transforms my fears into trust. I need only to move toward my center. There, I meet God. There, I look at Jesus, and Jesus looks at me.