Day 38 of our 40 Days of Mercy Fast
‘To see the image of God in every sister—all love of neighbor must flow from this motive.’ (861)
How we see others must be anchored in how God sees them. ‘To love a person means to see him as God intends him to be,’ in the words of Dostoevsky.
Above all else, God wants us to walk in the dignity of bearing His image and likeness. That means all men and women represent Him in their humanity; such a high call distinguishes us from the rest of creation. Sin may have struck down the apparent dignity of that image, but cannot destroy it. Our true sight of others summons that dignity!
All we know from a purely biblical perspective is that ‘image-bearing’ involves men and woman together ( Genesis 1:26, 27 ). That radical duality of male and female is the essence of ‘image-bearing’ and the foundation of all humanity. In order to be true to God’s call, each ‘image-bearer’ must mature into whole-enough heterosexual relating. By whole-enough, I mean the freedom to offer oneself as a good gift to the opposite gender, thus honoring the difference and creating harmony at such an essential level of relating.
In today’s gender-bending age, the goal of whole heterosexuality is viewed as unjust to all who have constructed an identity along the continuum of gender brokenness: from asexuality to bisexuality to homosexuality to transgender identity and beyond. As never before in history, we have created multiple gender options on which broken, rebellious people fashion a ‘self.’
But personhood has its source in God, not in human wishes and desires. And we as God’s people must see this as He does. Otherwise, we become worldly in our sight, agreeing with those who operate in deception, not under truth but under the enemy of God’s image in humanity.
In order to break his schemes in the lives of loved ones, we must ask God to give us eyes to see the authentic man or woman before us. We can view him/her according to God’s true intentions. Our love and prayers, anchored in the truth of what it means to bear His image, must never lose sight of the true man and woman waiting to emerge from the shadows of gender brokenness.
These are the eyes of Mercy, through which Christ saw a generation ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ ( Matthew 9:36 ) Such are a people who celebrate the gay and transgender self, not realizing the death that confirms upon the true man or woman.
In Mercy we see that true humanity and its captive state; in Mercy we prayerfully call them to Jesus for His redemption of that true image.
St. Paul helps us here. He viewed true personhood solely through the lens of Christ Crucified and Resurrected. So powerful was his understanding of what the Cross had accomplished to redeem fallen humanity that he implores us: ‘From now on, we regard no-one from a worldly point of view…If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ ( 2 Cor. 5:16, 17 )
We need to see broken loved ones who are estranged from God’s will through the Cross. That is the grid of grace, the lens of Mercy. We see at once the beauty of God’s best for him/her and the brokenness. Our hope is sure. What He accomplished at Calvary to set the beloved free is ever before us.
We cast down every worldly tradition that raises itself above God’s will, and we rest, trusting Him to reclaim His image in humanity.
‘May I never boast except in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…what counts is a new creation. Peace and Mercy to all who follow this rule.’ (Gal. 6:14-16)
‘Jesus, grant us merciful sight for the lost and deeply loved. Anchor our sight in the truth of Your good will and intention for every man and woman. Grant us a cross-shaped lens: compassion for the brokenness of that image, faith in Your power to raise the true person up from the false.’
Author’s note – Each day’s entry is based a passage from St Faustina’s diary. The passage entry is the number in parentheses at the end of each opening quote or simply a page number in parenthesis. Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska – Divine Mercy in My Soul (Association of Marion Helpers, Stockbridge, MA 01263) is available through the publisher or Amazon.com.