Seeing Others as God Sees Them

May 14, 2019 | Fr. John Freund, C.M.

Vincent did not need to Google the people he served to know more about them. That was my thought when I read the introduction to “When Doctors ‘Google’ Their Patients”  A surgeon wrote:

I remember when I first looked up a patient on Google. It was my last day on the bone marrow transplant unit, back when I was an intern. As I stood before the patient, taking her history, she told me she had been a painter and suggested I look up her work on the Internet. I did, and I found her paintings fascinating. Even though our paths crossed fleetingly, she is one of the few patients I vividly remember from that time.

Google has taught me other things, too, things that don’t come up during the routine history-taking or medication checks of my usual doctor-patient interactions. I learned recently, for example, that one of my patients had been an Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder in the 1960s. Knowing more about my patients as people helps build empathy.

I suspect people in other “helping professions” might say something similar about people they encounter in their service.

Vincent Did Not Need to Google

Even if Google were available at his time, Vincent would not have needed it to remember the people he cared for.
After all he wrote…

“I shouldn’t judge poor peasants, men or women, by their surface appearance, nor by their apparent mental capacities. And this is hard to do, since very frequently they scarcely seem to have the semblance or the intelligence of reasonable beings, so gross and so offensive are they. But, turn the coin, and you will see by the light of faith that the Son of God, Whose will it was to be poor, is represented to us by just these people.” (XI Conference #19, p.32)
He was a master at seeing others as God saw them…

• Broken people who hung on their own crosses
• People who once had hopes that carried them through but now seem lifeless.

He cared for these, the least among us.

Seeing As Vincent Saw

The Scottish poet Robert Burns once wrote in his Scottish dialect:

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us!”

English translation:

Oh would some power the gift give us, To see ourselves as others see us!

I suggest we take that thought one step further

“Please God, help me to see this person was you see him or her… as your son or daughter, as my brother or sister.”

Asking For This Gift From God

• Pause and recall someone I passed by today without seeing that person as God sees them.
• If I did not see anyone today as God, their Father, sees them, perhaps I should ask myself, “why not”?

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