A Heartwarming Encounter
I recently had the opportunity to hold and delight in a little 5-month-old baby. She was standing on my lap facing me. As she wasn’t strong enough to stand on her own, my hands were under Ellie’s arms supporting her. She was all eyes. Her focus wandered as she took in her surroundings and the new acquaintance in front of her.
Then, a little game evolved which touched me profoundly.
Her general happy and smiley demeanor turned into an intentional rejoicing as her wandering eyes found mine in a gaze. She then threw herself towards me putting her face into my shoulder or cheek. I changed my position to accommodate the snuggle only to find her immediately pushing away again wanting to find my eyes, rejoicing again with a newness of delight and then coming towards me to put her cheek on mine.
This happened over and over in quick succession, feeling much like a beautiful game of see–touch–see–touch. At first, I thought she was simply being indecisive, but it was her game, and she was teaching me how to play.
Learning from Baby Ellie’s Game
Children, especially very little children, have often brought to me a prophecy of the Father’s tender love and the revelation of my own innate desire to find His gaze and be delighted in. It is part of our human nature to want not just general contentment, but communion with pure joy.
It wasn’t good enough for Ellie to delight in a loving gaze, she wanted to touch that gaze and feel it with her face. She wanted the gaze to come back again when it had to yield to the touch she sprang into.
What a profound profession teaching is.
Whether you have 8-year-old children or 18-year-old children in your classroom, Ellie’s game is one that we need to learn how to play again. See–touch–see–touch can be played by making eye contact and then touching a student’s shoulder or desk. It can be giving an object to a student, like a piece of graded work that you deliver personally, a holy card, a note of affirmation or promised prayer, with a deliberate smile or gaze on them.
Embracing Christ’s Endless Love
Our Father in heaven knows this game very well. It is the game each person of the Trinity plays without ceasing. In order to bring us into the game, the Father sent His Son, Jesus the Christ child, to teach us how to play.
In the Eucharist, Jesus gazes upon you from the monstrance. Find an adoration chapel and allow Jesus to see you and delight in you. Enter into that gaze.
And yet, even Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is not enough; Jesus wants to touch you in Holy Communion. The Communion of Pure Joy came for you. Lean into Him at Mass and let Him come into you, touching you with His Body and Blood, and then gaze upon Him again in Adoration. Play it over and over again.
Sr. Immaculata, O.P. has held teaching positions in the past, but is currently part of the Openlight Media Customer Service Team.