Dorotheus of Gaza, a sixth century desert abbot, asks us to imagine a circle with God in the center and us and our neighbors around the rim. When we and our neighbors move closer to each other, the circle gets smaller so that we also move closer to God. And when we move closer to God, we move closer to our neighbors. Thus love for God and love for neighbor naturally go together. As Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).So before asking how we can perceive our neighbors, we will ask how we can perceive God. If we see something of God,, we will be able to recognize his image in our neighbors.
-From Nonna Harrison’s book God’s Many Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 49.