Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and, like me, several of my Facebook friends posted as their status some or all of the prayer known as St. Patrick’s “Breastplate Prayer.” The part I posted included the lines:
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I sat reflecting on the words yesterday afternoon (sitting outside on my deck on the beautifully warm and sunny day we had).
Being Christ to others is important, but not enough. That is, the motivation to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world is a beautiful and wonderful one, but it is not less important that we see Christ in everyone else that we come in contact with, that we see Christ in everyone we encounter.
I think that is the part we forget sometimes. That Christ is in the person who just said something that irritated me. That Christ is in the person who ignored me while I was trying to ask her a question. That Christ is in the person who wouldn’t let me get into the lane I needed to be in on the highway.
Remembering that Christ is in every person we encounter, invites us to look at others with a greater generosity of spirit, with more open and loving eyes. I think particularly when someone does something that might generate a harsh or critical reaction on our part, if we can be mindful enough to remind ourselves, “Christ is in this person,” then perhaps our own reactions will be less harsh or less critical. If we can remember “Christ is in this person,” I think it could make an enormous difference in how we respond.