The Sacred Eyes of the Beloved

John 1:18

No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Written by
Josiah Andrews
Jul 19, 2021
Josiah Andrews

“At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!” - Luke 10:22-23

No eye can see God--no mind’s eye can behold Him--but the sacred eyes of the Beloved Son. That is to say: God cannot be known or seen from “outside”. He is not available to the scrutiny of our theological concepts or the investigation of our scientific instruments. God, the Triune God, is the shared gaze of love between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. There is no other knowledge of the Divine; to know God you must be IN God. To see God and know God, and thus to come alive, a man must dissolve into the Beloved Son; ‘put him on’; be ‘clothed with Him’; and ‘be baptized into Him’--this takes place in us by faith. 

St Gregory of Nyssa says in his sixth homily on the Song of Songs’: “No sooner had I left behind every conceptual approach, than I found the Beloved by faith, and holding on by faith’s grasp to the one I have found, I will not let go until he is within the chamber of my heart”. In order to know God, he says, we must abandon the conceptual knowledge that “puffs up” and become little children of God by faith, yielding to the love of the Father who adopts us in His Son. 

Thus, Christ does not merely come to us as a man to teach us about God but He comes to us as the God-Man to proclaim the good news of our union to God in His body, bathing us in Divine splendor and betrothing Himself to humanity. And in His ascension He carries humanity up into the shared gaze of the Trinity. The Son has thus taken human eyes into the Radiant Darkness of Divinity, into the Mysterious cloud of Divine communion and gazed face-to-face into the Father’s Love. 

The Beloved Son, then, is God’s gift to the world, the gateway into Mystery. When we “receive” the Gift we are “given power to become sons of God” (Jn1:12). To look through the sacred eyes of the Beloved. As St. Irenaeus of Lyons says:

“It was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that we might receive the adoption of sons?” (Against Heresies 3.19.1)

We could not have mounted up and seen God of our own will; but He descended into our form, taking our flesh-- our eyes-- as His own, thus sanctifying it, and deifying it. He gives us this new flesh and blood to take as our own. He gives us His very eyes saying “if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out”, that is, so that you may receive Mine as your own. He says to us “abide in Me” (Jn15:4), meaning that we are not to seek a knowledge of God through our false-self, as ‘sinners’, or as ‘outsiders’, but to be in Him, trusting in God’s faithfulness to “conform us to the image of His Son”, knowing that “those whom He has justified He also glorified” (Rom8:30). Having received Christ by faith, we are to believe that we share in His identity as God’s Beloved Son, and thus “partake in the Divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). We, like the blind man in John’s gospel, are called to wash our eyes in the One Whom God sent, and look to the Father with Jesus’ eyes. The Spirit of the Son dwelling in us by faith, that is by trust, and allowing us to cry to God “Abba, Father!”. 

Jesus not only gives us the ability to know God’s love; He gives us access to His very own knowledge of God. He beckons us to come to Him, take His name upon our foreheads and melt into the flaming warmth of the Father’s embrace. This is what He means by saying to the Father “you have hidden this from the wise and intelligent, and revealed it to the infants”--if we are to come to the Father we must come as His innocent, pure and undefiled children. We do not assert our innocence to God--God asserts our innocence to us, in Christ. That is good news. 

“No one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!”. Christ thus blesses us, His disciples, with His sacred eyes. He says ‘no one gets to see this but Me and My Father, but I bless you with my eyes. Take them as your own’. This, surely, is what it means to pray ‘in Jesus’ name’, and what it means to say Jesus ‘ever lives to make intercession for us’. When we pray, we pray with Jesus’ lips. 

This sacred gospel is the fragrant stream that flows in every believer and mystic through the ages, the sweet perfume of mysterious union. A sharing of identity with Christ, making us sons in the Son, graced with His sacred eyes. As Meister Eckhart said “The eye by which I see God is the same as the eye by which God sees me. My eye and God's eye are one and the same-one in seeing, one in knowing, and one in loving”. And St John of Ruysbroek says “In the stillness of our spirit, we receive the Incomprehensible Light, which enwraps us and penetrates us, as the air is penetrated by the light of the sun. And this Light is nothing else than a fathomless seeing and staring. What we are, that we behold; and what we behold, that we are: for our thought, our life, and our being are uplifted in simplicity, and made one with the Truth which is God. And therefore in this simple staring we are one life and one spirit with God: and this I call a contemplative life”. The flemish mystic has found the gospel of union with God, where we share in one simple staring with God. We see God with God’s own eyes, for the Son of God has carried our eyes into God’s presnce for us. He continues into the realm of identity saying: “The voice of the Father is heard by all who follow our Lord Jesus Christ, for He says of them all: “these are my chosen sons, in whom I am well pleased“. And, through this good pleasure each one receives grace, according to the measure in the way in which God is pleasing unto him. And therefrom, between our pleasure in God, and God‘s pleasure in us, there arises the practice of true love”

This putting on by faith of the Sacred Eyes of the Beloved Son, is an ever flowing fountain of wonder and surprise. To choose to receive God’s gift of righteous identity, and look to Him with a conscience not stained by sin and obsessed with our unworthiness, never fails to wound our hearts with the revelation of Divine humility and love. The most precious St. Gertrude of Helfta tells her story of seeking to prepare herself for union with God when she is “surprised” by a God whose love covers a multitude of sins. She says: “At that time I became deeply aware of so much in my heart that might offend the perfection of your purity, and all the rest in such disorder and confusion that it was no fitting dwelling for you if you wish to make your abode in it. Nevertheless, my most loving Jesus, neither this condition nor any wretchedness of mine prevented you from favoring me very often with your visible presence on the days when I approached the life-giving food of your body and blood; although it was like seeing you in the dim light of dawn. With this loving courtesy you drew my soul toward you, to the touch of a more intimate union, and more discerning contemplation, and a freer enjoyment of your gifts. I was intent on preparing myself for this task [of intimate union] on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord to holy Mary, the day of your espousals with human nature in the virgins womb, You who, before we call upon you say “Lo, I am here.“. You anticipated the feast; you surprised me, all unworthy, with the sweetest blessing on the vigil of the feast, during the Chapter of which, because of the Sunday, was being held after Matins. No words of mine, O Dayspring on high can express the affectionate way in which you visited me, in the warmth and sweetness of your life.” Elsewhere she longingly says “May I breathe my last breath in the protection of your close embrace, With your all powerful kiss! May my soul find herself without delay there where you are whom no place circumscribes, indivisible, living and exulting in the full flowering of eternity, with the father and the Holy Spirit, true God, everlasting, world without end!”. She has passed beyond the realm of the pithy scribblings of theologians and philosophers and found herself in Him, innocent and undefiled, she sees with Sacred Eyes. All the frantic concern of her own unworthiness is hushed by the resplendent majesty of Divine Love in Christ.

I implore you reader, to receive Christ. Clothe yourself in His belovedness. Be baptized into His righteousness. Let Him purify your heart, cleanse your motives, dethrone your self-seeking, and conquer you with love. Go to Him in prayer, shedding off the shame of your own unworthiness. Come to Him by faith as innocent, and undefiled. Feel the weight of His pleasure resting on you. Be consumed in the glowing furnace of His pleasure over you. Be smitten by His Holy Desire. Do not be afraid of the light. He will supply in you whatever you are lacking… ‘in Him, you are perfect and complete’, ‘not of yourselves lest any should boast.’ 

“You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,

    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed “Forsaken”,

    and your land shall no more be termed “Desolate”;

but you shall be called “My Delight Is in Her”,

    and your land “Married”; for the Lord delights in you,

    and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a young woman,

    so shall your builder marry you,

and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,

    so shall your God rejoice over you.” 


Josiah Andrews is on Pastoral Staff at Life Church in Columbus, MS. He is married to his lovely wife Destiny, and together they have 2 beautiful children Wonder and Wilder.