In one of the meeting of the formators, Fr. Mariano Sedano spoke of the image of cylopes and angels in relation to perspectives in life. It made me reflect on the theme further. The one-eyed mythological figures named Cyclops are found in ancient greek liternature and they made their way into our times through X-Men comic series. Cyclops in greek mythology are one eyed monsters who mostly lived in mountain caves and whose vision is limited because of their single perspective. They are very aggressive. They stand for those who look at things from only one perspective and are very much closed to other views. Such people can be intolerant, arrogant and abusive towards people who think differently.
On the other hand, angels have eyes all over (Rev. 4.8). “The cherubim had eyes all over their bodies, including their hands, their backs, and their wings” (Ez.10.12). .As messengers of God they have the vision of reality from all perspectives. In the ancient monastic tradition monks and religious are considered angelic because they are closer to God. In Vita Consecrata Pope John Paul refers to this idea when he says,:
“The consecrated life is at the service of the definitive manifestation of the divine glory, when all flesh will see the salvation of God (cf. Lk 3:6; Is 40:5). The Christian East emphasizes this dimension when it considers monks as angels of God on earth who proclaim the renewal of the world in Christ” (VC 27#2).
Consecrated persons too have “eyes all over”, which means they see reality from different perspectives, from the perspective of God. They are able see the goodness of God shining in the world beyond and beneath the ugly face of a crucified world and inspire hope in their brothers and sisters.
It is part of the spiritual patrimony of the religious to have wider perspectives to look at things like angels. Are you like a cyclope or like an angel?
Cyclopic mind set is a single perspective which is present when:
- Rigidity in thinking as expressed in stubbornness.
- Difficulty to respect differences of opinions.
- Inability to see things from other’s point of view.
- Easily feels hurt, rejected or slighted when someone criticizes or offers feed back
- Aggressive or hurtful towards people who have expressed differences.
You have an angel’s perspective when:
- You are able to get into the shoes of others and look at things from their perspective.
- You are able to widen your own understanding by benefitting from differences
- You See things from the perspective of heaven… in terms of how they serve the Kingdom.
- You have Patience and understanding towards people who contradict you.
You are called to have an angel’s perspective. Have eyes all over like angels to look at life from the perspective of God!
– Mathew Vattamattam
Here is a quote from Richard Rohr
“The history of spirituality tells us that we must learn to accept paradoxes, or we will never truly love anything, or see it correctly. (Normal thought would say you are either human or divine, but you can’t imagine being both until you meet Jesus!) Seeming contradictions are not impediments to the spiritual life, they are an integral part of it. They don’t encourage you to abandon your critical faculties, but to sharpen them. Please trust me on that.
Each of us must learn to live with paradox, or we cannot live peacefully or happily even a single day of our lives. In fact, we must even learn to love paradox, or we will never be wise, forgiving, or possess the patience of good relationships. “Untarnished mirrors,” as Wisdom says, receive the whole picture, which is always the darkness, the light, and the subtle shadings of light that make shape, form, color, and texture beautiful. You cannot see in total light or total darkness. You must have variances of light to see.” _Richard Rohr