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Mary's Musings: Who Will You Be?

By Mary Bridges, Chaplain

John O’Donohue was an Irish poet, priest and philosopher. He was a proponent of a specific kind of Celtic spirituality, which informed his philosophy. In Celtic, “anam cara” translates to “soul friend.” In the early Celtic church, this could be a person who acted as a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. In his book Anam Cara, O’Donohue writes, “It is a startling truth that how you see and what you see determines how and who you will be.”

O’Donohue encourages his readers “to explore your own particular style of seeing. Ask yourself: in what way do I behold the world?” O’Donohue then describes particular styles of vision: “To the fearful eye, all is threatening. To the judgmental eye, everything is closed in definitive frames. To the resentful eye, everything is begrudged. To the indifferent eye, nothing calls or awakens. To the inferior eye, everyone else is greater, more beautiful, brilliant and gifted than you. To the loving eye, everything is real. Love is the light in which we see light. If we could look at the world in a loving way, then the world would rise before us full of invitation, possibility and depth. To recognize how you see things can bring you self-knowledge and enable you to glimpse the treasures your life secretly holds.”

I challenge each of you to spend some time sitting in nature and reflecting on these questions from Sister Joyce Rupp, O.S.M., a Roman Catholic author and speaker: “What kind of ‘eye’ do you have? How do you see others? Are you looking in a fixed manner? Are you open to surprise? If you focused on looking for the presence of the Risen Christ, would that change your perception? What might you discover?”

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