Return to God’s word for the purpose of “hearing and seeing” Christ in the text. Fix your gaze on the illumination. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart and enable you to see what God wants you to see.
As I fix my gaze upon the illumination with the eyes of faith, I am initially drawn to Mary’s face, quite clear and distinct in appearance. Mary is softly and attentively gazing down, as she treasures and ponders all these things in her heart. But where is the child Jesus? I look again for the child, and my eyes behold the brilliant gold beaming down from heaven to the trapezoid-shaped manger with the angels singing above, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” But where is the child Jesus? I look again with the eyes of faith and discern warmth in the trapezoid manger.
Since moving to Collegeville this past summer, I have discovered a new appreciation and fondness for the geometrical shape of the trapezoid. The Altar here in the Abbey Church of Saint John the Baptist is trapezoid. As one enters the main doors of the Abbey Church, walking past the Font and then through the inner doors into the nave, one senses the trapezoid shape of the building with its clean architectural lines and openness. One’s eyes are immediately drawn by the subtly converging walls to the trapezoid Altar raised on a platform or pavement – the place where God meets humanity in worship. It is in this simple, yet powerfully shape, that I find joy and peace and thanksgiving each and every day in community and in silent meditation. It is in this trapezoid shape that Mary’s eyes are lovingly fixed in this illumination, as she looks upon the face of God. The reflection of the brilliance in the gold, the color used to represent God in The Saint John’s Bible, shines back on Mary’s face, softly and attentively, magnifying the Lord.
Where are the eyes of your heart drawn?
“A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.”
– Fr Kirtley Yearwood
© Birth of Christ, Donald Jackson, 2002. The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.