This is an invitation to look at each other and into our own hearts and behaviour- an activity well-suited to Lent.
My wife Janet tells the story of a child at the local playground, where she was with our grandson. This other pre-school boy was coming down the slide towards her, but no-one else was watching him.
His mother was on her phone.
The boy was looking for someone to make eye contact and acknowledge that he’d come down successfully. At least the kind stranger was there …
And this story connected with Pope Francis’s
In Paragraphs 128 and 129 he says:
The aesthetic experience of love is expressed in that “gaze” which contemplates other persons as ends in themselves, even if they are infirm, elderly or physically unattractive. A look of appreciation has enormous importance, and to begrudge it is usually hurtful. How many things do spouses and children sometimes do in order to be noticed! Much hurt and many problems result when we stop looking at one another. This lies behind the complaints and grievances we often hear in families: “My husband does not look at me; he acts as if I were invisible”. “Please look at me when I am talking to you!”. “My wife no longer looks at me, she only has eyes for our children”. “In my own home nobody cares about me; they do not even see me; it is as if I did not exist”. Love opens our eyes and enables us to see, beyond all else, the great worth of a human being.
129. The joy of this contemplative love needs to be cultivated. Since we were made for love, we know that there is no greater joy than that of sharing good things: “Give, take, and treat yourself well” (Sir 14:16). The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven.
Joy for this little one in being seen and also in a warm brotherly embrace.