The Lord is ever looking down from heaven

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Christ Pantocrator painted by Fr. Andreas Göser in 1911 in the apse of the abbatial church of Maria Laach, Andernach, Germany.

CHAPTER VII. Of Humility

29 Jan. 30 May. 29 Sept.
Let us be on our guard, then, against evil desires, since death hath its seat close to the entrance of delight; wherefore the Scripture commandeth us, saying: ""Go not after thy concupiscences." Since, therefore, "The eyes of the Lord behold the good and the evil," and "The Lord is ever looking down from heaven upon the children of men, to see who hath understanding or is seeking God, and since the works of our hands are reported to Him day and night by the angels appointed to watch over us; we must be always on the watch, brethren, lest, as the prophet saith in the psalm, God should see us at any time declining to evil and become unprofitable; and lest, though He spare us now, because He is merciful and expecteth our conversion, He should say to us hereafter: "These things thou didst and I held my peace."

God in Search of Man

There is a sentence in this portion of Chapter VII that I find particularly consoling: "The eyes of the Lord behold the good and the evil," and "The Lord is ever looking down from heaven upon the children of men, to see who hath understanding or is seeking God." The Father is, at every moment, searching the face of the earth to see who hath understanding or is seeking God. The Father seeks those who seek Him. So passionate is the Father's search for souls who search for Him that He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to reveal to them His Face and His Heart. So tender is the Father's search for souls who search for Him that He sends his angels to watch over them and guide them in the way.

My Eyes Will Be Upon You

This sentence of Chapter VII can be related to what we read in the Prologue: "And when you have done these things, My eyes will be upon you, and My ears will be open to your prayers; and before you call upon Me, I will say unto you, "Behold, I am here." Men seek God because God has first sought them. A man who discovers the gaze of God fixed upon him -- a gaze of infinite love -- searches for God even more. He never tires of saying: "It is Thy Face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not Thy Face from me. Thou hast sought me that I might seek Thee. Thou hast found Me that I might find Thee."

Truly Seeking God

The monk is simply a man who has understood that, apart from God, nothing makes sense; he forsakes all else to become a seeker of God. In Chapter LVIII Saint Benedict makes a true seeking after God the first of the criteria by which one discerns a monastic vocation: "Let a senior, one who is skilled in gaining souls, be appointed over him to watch him with the utmost care, and to see whether he is truly seeking God, and is fervent in the Work of God, in obedience and in humiliations."

The Tabernacle

Not only does the Lord look out from heaven in search of one who seeks Him; He looks out also from the tabernacle of every Church where, though hidden and silent, He is present in the Sacrament of His Love. The monk's search for God -- or that of any Christian -- need not engage him in pilgrimages to far-off places and in wearying journeys across the desert. He need only approach the tabernacle, the tent of the Divine Humility pitched in the midst of men. In the adorable Sacrament of the Altar, God has made Himself close and, not only close, but utterly humble, totally available, and ready at every moment to draw us into His divine friendship. "Neither is there any other nation so great, that hath gods so nigh them, as our God is present to all our petitions" (Deuteronomy 4:7).


Dom Mark,
I love the imagery here of Our Lord pitching His tent in every sanctuary...such a welcoming image vis-a-vis Abraham's hospitality. For more on the Blessed Sacrament and humility, Vultus Christi readers may wish to read the article in the following link:


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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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