19 March, 3rd Sunday of Lent
The anguish felt by the patriarch Joseph when he was sold into slavery by his own brethren, the distress of the heart of our Blessed Lord pursued by the malice of the elders of his own people, the dark fear of those who are still under the power of the prince of darkness, all present in today’s liturgy, are softened by this verse from psalm 24 which Holy Mother Church intones triumphantly today at the beginning of Mass with all the solidity of a seventh mode antiphon: “Oculi mei semper ad Dominum” — My eyes are always turned towards the Lord, for He it is who will deliver my feet from the snare. The same thought is given in todays tractus which has us recite almost the entirety of psalm 122, “Ad te levavi oculos meos” — To Thee I lift up my eyes, Thou who dwellest in the heavens.
What a tremendous comfort to know that whatever trials or persecution we may be going through, we always have at our disposal one of the simplest and yet most powerful means of obtaining divine favour and grace: the turning of our eyes, the eyes of our soul, to God. That affectionate plea of the servant to his loving master, of the humble handmaid to her mistress, of the daughter or son to a loving parent is here given us as a cherished example of how simple our spiritual life should be. It is as simple as casting a loving gaze frequently at the One we love and to whom we have entrusted our life.
If we do this, we know that we shall be like the strong man who stands armed to protect his domain from the enemy, for we shall be armed with the infallible and almighty weapon of continual prayer. Then we shall taste the sweetness of being always with the Lord, and then taking part in the conversion of all those who are now against Him, scattered abroad in the far away regions of separation from God, of spiritual hunger and thirst which kills the soul. We shall, by turning our eyes frequently towards our Beloved Saviour, obtain the grace to dwell always in His holy sanctuary and to draw there all those who have gone astray.