The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eyes and God’s eyes are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.

Meister Eckhart

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In this quote you might come to see and understand the Centurion and yourself.

How did the Centurion come to see Jesus as Lord?  The short answer is that he received his life experience with an open heart.

This Roman military officer was stationed far from home in a distant outpost of the Roman Empire, far from family and friends and his native culture.  Yet, he saw and received the local population of Jews, loved them, befriended them, and aided them.

Growth is life experience taken inside.  This is how we mature, gain wisdom and compassion, insight, acquire patience, self-control.

Close yourself to experience and there is no growth, no maturity, little joy or happiness, and ultimately no depth, no character, no faith – only life wasted.

The Centurion accepted life and lived it with an open heart.  He saw its danger, its bitterness, brightness, its extravagance.  He saw with the eye of God.  In this, he saw Jesus as Lord.

Look Friends, it is not complicated.

By the grace of God my life was the Centurion’s life.  I accepted my life and lived it just as my extended family, friends and their families did.

I accepted my father’s abandonment when I was an infant.  I accepted my wonderful Irish Catholic neighbors, their great wit and loyalty, their remarkable strength, their faith and how it ordered their life.

I accepted the dignity of those in my working class community.  I accepted our modest incomes, and our need to work, our competitiveness and our toughness.

I accepted the untimely death of grandparents with whom my mother and I lived when I was a child.  Our poverty.  My mother’s extraordinary dedication to me, her resilience, strength, courage, her unselfishness, her wisdom, her quiet faith.

I accepted God’s gift of wonderful friends who became my brothers and sisters, their families who made me one of them.

I accepted my struggle to learn, to earn a dollar where and when I could at a time when a quarter of the population in Boston lived below the poverty level, just as I did.

I accepted the loss of a family home and our quarantine to public housing and its greater challenges.

I accepted the death of my Jewish wife when she was not yet thirty.  Despite learning disabilities I journeyed to college, to law school, to two additional graduate degrees, work in the Congress, private practice – and unemployment along the way.

I accepted life’s snubs, injustice, its setbacks and its gratuitous gifts.

I accepted my journey as one God willed for me.

With faith, uncertainty was familiar but not fatal.  I became a Catholic.  I served in religious life for a decade.  I came closer to God.

I was, in a way God desired for me, a Centurion of sorts.  You are too, if you dare to recognize this.

” … one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”


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