Cultivating the look of love

José Miguel Granados recommends reading Little Dorritas an example of the cultivation of a look of love, as an attitude that "magnifies the person, always right in his actions and spreads the eternal beauty around him".

José Miguel Granados-April 28, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
little dorrit

Amy is the young protagonist who gives the title to one of Charles Dickens' great stories: Little Dorrit. Born in the painful prison for debtors, where she lives with her father, she is always helpful, kind and smiling.

Amy's look of affection

He constantly puts a brushstroke of bright color in a gray environment, a note of generosity and joy in a dirty, selfish and sad world. Her brother and sister, frivolous and profiteering, are imbued with a superficial and worldly vision. She, on the other hand, possesses the wisdom of the heart, the clairvoyance of one who loves and transmits to all the beauty of living. 


TitleThe Little Dorrit
AuthorCharles Dickens
Pages: 840

Amy always looks fondly at her father who, in his condition of miserable poverty, maintains his ridiculous pride of caste: he likes to receive the nickname of prison father (Father of the Marshelsea), and accepts handouts as "acknowledgements". Amy also takes care of Maggy, a handicapped woman with the mind of a child, who calls her her "little mother". To support her father, she goes out every day to work as a seamstress in the house of Mrs. Clenam, a woman haunted by her past, due to her strict and anguished conscience. 

Educating the gaze

Educating the gaze is an essential task in life. Especially for the conjugal and family vocation and mission. When, at the beginning of falling in love, the burning affectivity prevails, it is spontaneous and easy to look at the loved one with enthusiasm. But feelings fluctuate, moods soon tend to lose their intensity, and the fervor of passion tends to fade gradually. Over time, the perception of the other person's faults will come to the surface, to the point that living together becomes arduous and, at times, unbearable. 

For this reason, it is necessary to work wisely and tenaciously on inner attitudes, through the cultivation of human virtues: courageous patience to endure the difficulties of coexistence and character; smiling kindness to love with disinterested affection; simplicity and good humor that foster an environment of affection; humility and serenity to overcome arrogance and fits of anger; kindness and understanding that avoid condemnatory judgment; eagerness to serve that does not seek reward; a positive sense to overcome discouragement and renew enthusiasm.

Gift of grace: the gaze of Christ

This gaze of love is obtained in a special way when we have recourse with perseverance to the sources of divine grace, such as prayerful listening to the word of God, frequent recourse to the sacraments, spiritual accompaniment or participation in the life of the Christian community. The Holy Spirit then grants us the gift of a look of mercy towards the faults of others or our own: a look of forgiveness, according to the model of Christ, who always welcomed sinners; a look of charity, which "rejoices in the truth, forgives all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor 13:6-7); a look of hope that always believes in people's capacity for conversion and improvement. 

Blessed with the requited love of Arthur, Mrs. Clenam's son, Amy continues her existence pouring out tenderness. Descending the stairs of the chapel where they were married, they "descended into a simple, useful and happy life". They shower affection on everyone, and especially on their brothers, whose superficial attitude led them down disastrous paths. 

For, in the final analysis, the gaze of love-acquired as a stable disposition, through the proper education of the heart-constitutes the proper attitude that ennobles the person, is always right in his actions and spreads eternal beauty all around him.

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