Adapted from: We Are Called to “Behold”
When we look at art, we are usually quick to judge its value according to our own preferences—based on style, color, size, location, and even country of origin! However, there is another invitation—one that goes beyond our likes and dislikes—and that is to simply “behold” it. Many of the apparitions in the Bible begin with “behold” (usually uttered as a command, an invitation, or perhaps a call to a different style of attention.) In a sense, it is a giveaway that we can “switch gears” and be ready to perceive what is about to come before us. In the past, I have sent people into the woods on a retreat and I learned from wilderness guide Bill Plotkin to ask them to draw a symbolic line in the sand and expect things on the other side to show themselves as special, invitational, or even a kind of manifestation. We could do the same thing while gazing at a painting, sculpture, or when immersed in poetry or music. Somehow it always works. On the other side of that “line in the sand,” or piece of art, we start beholding. Someone who is truly beholding is silenced with the utter gratuity of the thing. We let it give us a leap of joy in the eyes and in the heart. Once we decide to behold, we are open to awe and wonder, able to be present for what is, without falsely judging things as important or not important. A much broader and deeper field of perception opens up, becoming an alternative way of knowing and enjoying. The soul sees soul everywhere: “deep calls unto deep,” as the psalmist says (42:8). Beholding happens when we stop trying to “hold” and allow ourselves to “be held” by the other. We invite you to “behold” something today.
Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 43:19
“Behold, I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
What new thing is God doing in your life?
When are you available for “awe and wonder”?
What brings you enjoyment?
Prayer: Holy God, widen my view and make a way for me to behold a moment, then fill me with gratitude for the new thing you are doing in me. Amen.