One of my favorite contemplations from the Spiritual Exercises invites one to “consider that God our Lord beholds me.” God, in God’s infinite compassion, finds someone like me worthy of God’s gaze. As Anthony deMello, S.J. puts it: “Behold God beholding me and smiling.”

Many of us have been blessed with people who have shown us great and undue kindness.  Who might you imagine repeating these words to you today — “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Today is my wife’s birthday, a woman of heroic generosity who has spoken countless words of encouragement to me, to our children, and to our community.

At the start of this new year, I wonder what it might be like for us all to let God find us and whisper those precious words of consolation. And if we have the courage to believe it, as deMello wrote, God might really smile.

—Jordan Skarr works with the Jesuits at the Midwest province office in Chicago, assisting with programming for pastoral ministries.