Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Seeing and Not Seeing

Peace! Happy Feast of St. John the Evangelist. The readings today talk about seeing. The First Letter of John talks about what "our eyes have seen." The Word of Life made visible. Yet, the Gospel says that the beloved disciple "saw and believed." But he believed because of what he didn't see: no body, no visible presence of the Lord Jesus, only a few pieces of cloth lying around. The Lord tells us through John that the Word was God, from all eternity, yet in time became visible. That dynamic of seeing and not seeing is part of our spiritual journey. There are times when God's presence is clearly visible, clearly discernible. Then, there are times when God seems hidden, obscure, or even completely absent. Faith calls us to believe even when we do not see; to love even when we do not feel love.
This was the secret of St. Francis, to believe in God's presence even in those places where it does not seem to be, or even be possible. He learned that from his encounter with the leper. He never would have imagined that God could be present in a diseased and shunned leper. Yet, in a leper he encountered a "sweetness of body and soul" which could only come from God.
We ask St. John to help us to believe in the Word of Life made visible, that with him, with Our Lady and Francis and all the saints, we may continue to walk by faith and believe He is with us.

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