The Interior Gaze

by | Dec 5, 2016 | Society, Spirituality

The Interior Gaze

The Interior Gaze – This week I was shocked to hear of a new form of criminal sexual exploitation – “sextortion”

Sextortion is a form of blackmail. Criminals use fake identities to befriend victims online. Then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam. These webcam images are recorded by the criminals. They then threaten to share them with the victims’ friends and family unless they are paid.

On first hearing about this my initial reaction was, how can people be so gullible? and why on earth would anyone in any way feel remotely interested in exposing themselves to complete strangers.

But then on reflection I thought that this is yet another major symptom of the chronic obsession with the commodification of sex which leads to what Pope Benedict calls “the banalisation of sex” – rendering something beautiful and tender to the vulgar and ugly.

Deep down in the heart of these unfortunate victims is the natural desire to be admired, loved, cherished and wanted. In short they are looking for the right thing but in the wrong place. In the wrong way and most definitely with the wrong kind of persons.

St John Paul II once said that the“opposite of love is not hate but to use” and so with sextortion and so many other emotionally devastating assaults on human dignity we see the opposite of authentic love all too often and everywhere.

The “interior gaze” is what really counts. The disposition of the heart and soul to see first – not the sexual value of the person we encounter and see – but their true selves, their embodied self – the beauty of their soul made in the image and likeness of God.

Another word for intimacy is “in to me see” – see in to me. This is what everyone truly yearns from others, from their gaze, not the lurid, self-gratifying look of lust that can often bedevil relationships.

To be continually inspired to practice the interior gaze, we must allow ourselves to be in the gaze of Christ and his light of beauty and truth. In turn, gaze on His Holy Face, so that we see Him in others. As we gaze upon them in person, not via a screen.

– Edmund Adamus

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Edmund Adamus

Edmund and his wife Catherine have been married for almost 18 years and have been blessed with 3 children; Patrick (who awaits them in Heaven), Paul and Beatrice. After 13 years of ministry in the Salford diocese and gaining a Master's in moral theology, he served the Archdiocese of Westminster from 2003-16 as Director for Pastoral Affairs/Marriage & Family Life. He successfully established the Annual Mass of Thanksgiving for Matrimony in Westminster cathedral as well as the Annual Theology of the Body Lecture series hosting world renowned scholars such as Michael Waldstein, Janet Smith and Christopher West. Christian Meert was also among those speakers. All his work both past and present has been through the prism of the truths of Humanae vitae. Since 2019 he has been Education Consultant to the relationships and sexuality formation project 'A Fertile Heart: Receiving & Giving Creative Love'. As freelance consultant he works as Secretary to the Commission of Inquiry into Discrimination Against Christians in the UK and has just been appointed Executive Director for the UK branch of the International Voluntary Solidarity Fund

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