I have a weekly adoration hour which has been a great blessing to me as a mother. It is a space of quiet and focused time with God. This week, sitting next to the chapel window, I noticed something new – a beautiful little plant sprig pressed up against the glass. It had a green stem and several oval leaves, each tipped with bright pink. I couldn’t see much more than this, since the windows are patterned with a starburst texture. It took me several glances to realize that this sprig belonged to the roses I pass on the way to and from the chapel every week.
Outside the chapel, there is a small garden with a statue of the Blessed Mother and several rose bushes. The roses are a lovely, creamy pink and smell wonderful. They bring me joy every time I enter or leave the chapel.
The leaves of these rose bushes, however, I had always ignored. Rushing not to be late for my holy hour or to get back home, I paid attention to the flashy roses, but not to their delicate foliage. Now, however, with the sun behind them and distorted by the fancy glass of the chapel window, this ordinary branch became something exotic and interesting. It was being in the chapel, where I could look with the eyes of Christ, that allowed me to see it.
1 Samuel 16:7, the story of David being anointed king by Samuel, tells us that Man does not see as God sees. Usually, I think of this in relation to people—I shouldn’t judge someone’s appearance, because only God knows their heart. But I think the idea of hoping to see more like God stretches further: how would Jesus, true God and true man, have looked at a sparrow or a grain of wheat? How would he have looked at this rosebush?
Jesus didn’t focus his ministry on the great, or the powerful, or the beautiful. He focused on tax collectors, fishermen, and lepers. He passed by the roses to show his care for the neglected leaves.
When seen through Christ’s eyes, like looking through the textured chapel window, everything isn’t necessarily more clear, but it can become breathtaking in its strangeness. Just as uninspiring leaves become magnificent, the drudgery of housekeeping becomes a gift of care and beauty to my family; a simple meal together becomes a feast of thanksgiving to God who gifted us to one another. A child with a skinned knee doubles as an opportunity to salve the wounds of Christ.
It takes practice, this kind of seeing, and it takes prayer. Our will alone can only take us so far. It takes generous reminders like the branch in the chapel window to help us recalibrate our vision to see as he sees. My day of reading to children and folding laundry may not look like a full-blown rose to the world, but in the eyes of Christ it is bright, and full of color, and stunningly beautiful.