Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stereograms and the Relationship Between Love and Lust

I have always had a difficult time seeing the image behind a stereogram. You know those pictures that at the surface look like colored static, but “behind” all the seemingly chaotic colors lay a concrete image? I attempted to get behind this grand mystery of the allusive image through a little research. I learned that I was engaging the picture too actively. Instead of staring at the picture intently, I was suppose to relax my eyes and see “through” the picture. With this new information in place, I approached the picture again under full expectation that I would see this hidden treasure. Low and behold, I saw nothing yet once again. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed at my ability to see beyond the surface of these seeming entertaining stereograms.

All this being said, I am quite surprised how closely the human body reflects a stereogram. In the same way the seemingly random colors on a stereogram actually reflect a concrete image to those who have eyes to see, so to does the human body reflect the person beautifully to those who have the eyes to see! Unfortunately, sin has twisted and darkened our ability to see the person reflected in the body perfectly. Instead of relaxing the eyes and seeing “through” the body, we may catch ourselves starring intently at another person with the desire to take that person to ourselves. In other words, we find ourselves starring for the sole reason to feed a passion that has arisen in our own body.

This is the distinction between love and lust. Lust is simply love turned inward. With respect to the stereogram, if we look at the picture too intensely with the purpose to “grasp” the image behind the picture we will never see it; we will simply have to do with looking at random colors. However, if we can train ourselves to relax the eyes so as to receive the picture, thus freeing us to see through the picture, we will find the hidden treasure which is reflected in the seemingly random colors. This is love!

Each of us is called to see through the body so that we may behold what the body is reflecting: a unique person worthy of love! Unfortunately, due to sin, our eyes gravitate toward viewing another through the lens of “grasping” rather than “gifting.” Similar to what I have to do with the stereogram I long to view properly, we must retrain ourselves to see beauty in its entirety. The road to this freedom to love may be long for some, but it is certainly worth it.

Jesus Christ has given His life for us so that we may live life abundantly (cf. Jn. 10.10). He wants was to be able to fulfill our deepest desires to love and to be loved. Christ continually gives Himself to the Church through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass so that those who cling to the Church may love as Christ loved: a passion­-filled love overflowing with a love that is stronger than death. We are called to love greatly, and we have the ability only because we are greatly loved by Jesus Christ. If it hasn’t been considered already, maybe try daily Mass as a way to see the Lord “behind” things that seem like bread and wine.

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