“Father Founder’s eyes”

It happens quite often to me that someone’s very ordinary, unknowingly thrown sentence becomes the reason for deeper reflection. It was no different in the case that I will describe. And it was a simple, simple dialogue with an older Sister in my Community, whose memory is sometimes flawed. Looking at the picture with the image of our Founder, she asked me this: “Sister, did our Founder have glasses? Because I can’t see. I replied that he hadn’t. After a moment’s thought, the sister says: “Aha… well, he had good eyes. This is why he is our Founder. Because he had good eyes. I had to reflect on this for several weeks. I made three conclusions for myself.

First of all: Father Founder had good eyesight (I mean not physically good eyesight, of course), ie he saw a lot. Certainly more than me. He saw the enormity of the needs and poverty (not necessarily material) of his contemporaries. I ask myself the question: do I strain my eyes to see something more than my little, safe world (my proverbial “tip of the nose”)? Do I see the changing needs, problems and “poverty” of my contemporaries? Do I not wonder about the empty eyes of people on the tram and their ears stuffed with headphones? Is it not worrying that many young people are lulled of reason? Are you not worried about the very distinct divisions in society, in families and communities? Do I see anything more in such everyday pictures? Am I looking for reasons? Father John saw more, wider, deeper. That is why he responded adequately to the needs of the situation… and innovative for the 19th century. And I? I regret to say that most of the time it is easier for me to follow my well-established, proven patterns and not ask Jesus: “What would you do?”

Second: Father Schneider literally had “good eyes”. Do I also have a good eye, “God’s eye”? Do I try to see other people with God’s eyes? Do I see in it the beauty and goodness of God’s child? After all, everything that God created was good. Am I helping people to dig out the light they were born with? After all, this light fights so hard in each of us not to go out completely… Am I shielding this smoldering wick? Not only in the other person, but also in myself?

Third: he had “enlightened eyes of the heart” and knew “what is the hope to which God calls, what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints, and what is his overwhelming power for us believers – based on the action of his power and strength.” (Eph 1: 18-19). He gave others what he had, that is, strong faith, hope and love – the inner certainty of God’s Mercy … free, for everyone without exception. This reminds me of a simple rule: you give what you have in you. What am I giving to others? If I have no light in me, how can I light the way to God for others?

Each child adopts some of his parents’ qualities and learns from them by example. Am I a real spiritual daughter of Fr. Schneider? Have I taken over his legacy? I am still far from that. I think my eyesight is poor, so I need treatment at the DIVINE OPHTHALIST …


Sr. Franciska Jarnot