When a human being turns his attention and gaze upon the Lamb of God present in the consecrated bread, part of the evil contained in him is carried into that perfect purity and undergoes destruction....
When we have learned to turn our gaze upon perfect purity, only the limited duration of human life prevents us from being sure we can reach perfection here below, unless we sell out. For we are finite beings and the evil in us is also finite. The purity offered to our eyes is infinite. No matter how little evil we destroy with each look, if we would repeat that operation often enough, one day all evil would be destroyed....
One of the capital truths of Christianity, almost unknown to anyone today, is that the look is what saves. The bronze serpent was lifted up so that people lying mutilated in the depths of degradation would look upon it and be saved.
In these moments when we are in a bad mood (lit. disposed to evil) as they say, when we sense ourselves incapable of the elevation of the soul fitting to sacred things, it is then that the look turned toward perfect purity is most effective. For it is then that evil, or rather, mediocrity comes to the surface of the soul — the best position for being burned by contact with the fire....
There are those people who try to elevate their souls like someone who continually jumps from a standing position in the hope that forcing oneself to jump all day — and higher every day — they would no longer fall back down, but rise to heaven. Thus occupied, they no longer look to heaven. We cannot even take one step toward heaven. The vertical direction is forbidden to us. But if we look to heaven long-term, God descends and lifts us up.
Simone Weil "Just as Moses lifted up the serpent…." Awaiting God (Abbotsford, BC: Fresh Wind Press, 2012).
Published under fair usage.
Simone Weil (1909-1943) was a French philosopher and political activist. As her life progressed she became more religious and inclined towards mysticism. In the 1950s and 1960s, her work became famous in continental Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Albert Camus described her as "the only great spirit of our times". Simone Weil is the author of Waiting for God, Gravity and Grace, The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind, and Love in the Void: Where God Finds Us.Copyright © 2012 Fresh Wind Press
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