St Clare, who calls herself the little plant of St. Francis, often speaks of gazing upon God and Christ. It is a fascinating way of entering into contemplation. One does not have to understand as much as appreciate what one is gazing upon. Gazing is an act of the heart, not unlike what a parent does watching a child sleep.
We must be quiet and rested in order to gaze freely and without unnecessary distractions. Gazing implies a kind of recollection, very much like what we might do late on a summer day as the sun sets. Appreciating the beauty without trying to control or stop it, we sit next to a river or in a park and enjoy the wonder of creation as another day ends.
Contemplatives like St Clare work to quiet their spirits in order to appreciate all that God is and does. They do not cling to or try to possess God. Rather, they sit in God's presence and learn to walk through life at a pace that does no harm to any creature. Like St Francis among the animals, St Clare and her sisters celebrate the beauty of God in all that is, making it possible to see with the eyes of the heart and draw others to the beauty of God's love expressed through the gift of creation.
Today, breathe deeply and gaze upon whatever is in front of you.
What helps you to quiet your spirit and gaze delightedly upon God's creation?