Daily Reflection
June 23rd, 2008

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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To See More Clearly

Jesus knows us well. How we take peculiar satisfaction in delving into others’ lives. We scrutinize their weakness and prescribe remedies. Behind this well-intentioned concern is another story. Jesus says to stop judging. It’s time to go home.

Socrates locates the beginning of wisdom with the admonition to “know thyself.” Few in Plato’s dialogues move in this direction. It is humbling to peer into the dusty corners of our lives. We like to hide from ourselves. Some people blame the self. “Self” for them means selfish. “Forget yourself.” The road to virtue supposedly leads away from the self. We might dream of starting over. Find a new location; leave that pesky self behind. But like an old address, it follows me. I can’t shake it off.

Why fear going home? What will I find? An ordinary life, without striking features or great gifts. Some regrets, a few secrets. A big wooden beam blocking my view. Empty rooms. Restless nights. Memories. Gratitude. Realization. The emptiness is real. It can come alive. In emptiness, Your presence is felt.

Humans make judgments. We can’t really stop. But we can be slow to judge. Our eyes can linger over the scene, trying to take it all in and we cannot. Each self is amazingly complex and real. Even bounders and scoundrels. Finding a splinter, we remove it gently so as not to cause pain. We have known mercy. Looking into their eyes, we find Your depths.

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