HomedotMagisReflectionsWhat We Don’t See

What We Don’t See

Sometimes we are blind to what is right in front of us. Recently at our parish, we watched two altar servers who had fun all through Mass. It may have been the first time they had served Mass. Or maybe they had just gotten really comfortable.

They talked. They laughed. They slapped their legs with the cords of their server garments. They pointed to their friends. At one remarkable moment, one of them half stood and shot a wave over his head to a pal he spotted in the back of the church.

They thought that because they sat behind the priest, he couldn’t see them, which is true. Our presider had no idea. But they were blind to the fact that the entire congregation was facing them—including their parents. That is a particular kind of blindness, but I suspect the kind you only have once.

All of us are blind to things from time to time, but I suspect the biggest thing we don’t see and can’t always feel is how God delights in us. Fr. Greg Boyle, SJ, quotes Anthony de Mello, who wrote about how we might meditate on how much God loves us: “Behold the one beholding you, and smiling.” Fr. Greg adds, “It is precisely because we have such overactive disapproval glands ourselves, that we tend to create God in our own image. It is truly hard for us to see the truth that disapproval does not seem to be any part of God’s DNA. God is just too busy loving us to have any time for disappointment.”

And, God may be still chuckling about the altar servers at Mass last week.

Image by Lee Carson under Creative Commons License.
Maureen McCann Waldron
Maureen McCann Waldron
Maureen McCann Waldron graduated from Creighton University with a degree in journalism and then spent 22 years in corporate public relations. After receiving her master’s degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton, she joined Andy Alexander, SJ, in Creighton’s Collaborative Ministry Office.


  1. Oh, I so needed to hear this! I need (for reasons of my own right now, and as part of my lenten intention to pray for removal of all self-disparagement) to be reminded on a daily basis that I am loved, not loathed. And the antics! Reminding me of some of my most treasured childhood memories, even though there were “consequences” to pay. I will remind readers that age does not necessarily bring maturity. I was in a choir for a number of years and there could be great tension in the air, and little skirmishes breaking out right there on the altar of God. Nonetheless: thanks for making my day with this wonderful piece.

  2. As a lector, I have “enjoyed” the altar servers’ occasional antics at my parish over the years. Most of the stuff can be written off to youth. I do remember tho, way back when there were only altar boys that most of that would never have happened or been tolerated. I do like the idea of all of us being at home in God’s house, but I also like a little reserve. Balance is good. I like to see the servers happy, I like to see all of us there happy. It is as it should be. God was probably laughing too.

  3. I love this post — can see in my mind’s eye exactly what was going on. I was on parish staff where the choir was at floor level and they had NO clue what everyone could see. This was both charming and infuriating. Of course many saw it as disrespectful; others did not.
    Thank you for this wisdom from Fr. Greg Boyle, “It is truly hard for us to see the truth that disapproval does not seem to be any part of God’s DNA. God is just too busy loving us to have any time for disappointment.”


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