Eyes Open, Watching
BY JACKIE BOVA | December 4, 2017
Every morning, I sit down at the kitchen table and glance through news articles updating me on injustices around the world, and my heart breaks. There are so many big issues that touch my heart, and I feel incapable of making a difference in the ways that I would like to. Too often, I let myself be so overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world that I do not take any action at all. In my waiting for Jesus to come redeem the suffering, I forget that I am called to play a part in the healing, even if it is only in a small way.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that while we are waiting for equality and justice, we are also working for it—“each with our own work”.
I am called to care deeply, to pray earnestly, to identify with the marginalized. But when it comes to the specifics of how to do this, I have been given my own work. It is in my own small context that my work to achieve justice must begin.
As I go about the specific work that God has given me today, I must keep my eyes open, heeding the words of Jesus to “watch!” —to be present to my own work—to see God there.
This is where the Examen becomes an important part of my life. When I focus on seeing and serving the face of Jesus in my daily life, and when I watch daily in my prayer, I can see that God is truly in each moment with me.
I won’t let the magnitude of injustices in the world become an excuse stopping me from doing my own work toward love and justice.
I can show more love and patience in conversations with my family members or coworkers.
Instead of avoiding eye contact with the man on the street corner asking for money, I can acknowledge him, look him in the eye, ask his name.
I can make a plan to limit my water use and environmental waste at home.
I can call or write to my elected officials to express my concerns about policies.
This Advent, as we wait for Jesus’ coming anew into our hearts, may we watch daily for his presence—his face, his hands, his heart—in all those around us as we tend to our work and bring justice in our own contexts.
Jesus, who can I love today with my life? How can I be your peace and justice in the world around me? Help me to do the work you have given me today with eyes open, watching for your presence all around me.
Jackie Bova is a graduate of Saint Louis University, a former campus minister, and a fan of Cleveland sports. She is passionate about ending stigmas surrounding homelessness and disability. Jackie is currently seeking God in all things, including triathlons, business classes, and ice cream.
Jackie, I just wanted to thank you for sharing these words. The stories you share about coming to grips with the overwhelming reality of pervasive injustice in our world resonated strongly with me, and where I am currently at in my own spiritual journey. These words and reminders of how we are called to respond struck a cord, and gave me a much needed sense of perspective. Thank you, and best of luck continuing to work for justice and equality “in your own work”–I pray that we all might serve as sources of encouragement and inspiration to one another in these challenging times.
Advent has arrived. Now is the time to discern, examine and act. Ignatius is relevant for all seasons and all times.