Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The prayer of gazing

I decided to look up the word "gaze" and found this definition: "to look steadily and intently, as with great curiosity, interest, pleasure, or wonder." I also found that the word "gaze is often indicative of wonder, fascination, awe, or admiration."

Gazing at icons and the created world, seeing others and being seen through the eyes of Christ are all forms of prayer. Praying by gaze can be practiced in community as in the Eastern Orthodox tradition where icons fill churches and are part of the liturgy. We can also pray alone in front of a painting or by gazing at the created world in the midst of our busy lives. Gazing helps us attend to the holy that surrounds us in art, nature, and other people. Like other methods of prayer, gazing brings us into a deeper and more intimate relationship with God and opens the possibility of union with our Maker, the ultimate goal of the Christian spiritual life.

I do urge you to click through on the writer's name here. Not only does the link take you to a brief biogarphy but also to an interview with Jane Vennard that is quite marvelous.

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