Saturday, April 12, 2008

La Cañada Valley Sun: Around Town Dominant eye colors views:

There’s only nine more shopping days until Passover. I came to this epiphany at a Rotary lunch in Pasadena. Why? Because I was seated next to Msgr. Clement J. Connolly.

In 1991, Monsignor Connolly took a nine-month sabbatical from his duties at pastor of Holy Family Church in South Pasadena. He did not pack a suitcase. He did not pack a trunk. Msgr. Connolly took a backpack and set off to see the Third World. He witnessed the devastation caused by AIDS in Africa. He ended up in Calcutta, India, where he began to conduct Mass for Mother Teresa and her order.

There’s something special about traveling light. My ancestors did it, 3500 years ago, during the Exodus. My grandparents traveled light, 100 years ago, when they came to America.

Msgr. Connolly traveled light when he journeyed to Africa and Calcutta.

Msgr. Connolly talked about the “dominant eye.” Most people have one eye that is more dominant than the other. This is called “ocular dominance.” It means that the brain, most of the time, seems to prefer visual input from one eye as opposed to the other. In most people, one eye is dominant, but in some people neither eye is dominant. advertisement

Our dominant eye colors everything we see. If our dominant eye is angry, it filters the way we see our family, our business and life in general. If our dominant eye is greed, it will color the way we see the world and so forth. But if our dominant eye is love, or wisdom, or patience, or understanding, this too will color the way we see those around us.

Msgr. Connolly’s remarks reminded me of similar comments by the rabbis at Adat Ari El synagogue. Scholars have struggled with text in the Book of Exodus, specifically where Pharaoh hardens his heart and refuses to set the slaves free. This happens during the first five plagues. Pharoah hardens his own heart. After that, “God hardened Pharoah’s heart.”

Pharoah had free will in the beginning, but became bound by his original choices. Like Pharoah, we can go through life with a hard heart, but after a while, our heart becomes so hardened that we lose our ability to choose. The hard heart becomes dominant, like the dominant eye. Like Pharoah, we can lose our freedom to soften our hearts.

One message of Passover, the festival of freedom, is that we must soften our hearts.


ANITA SUSAN BRENNER wishes readers a happy holiday. You may e-mail her at">anitasusan.brenner@

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