The purpose of seeing is to “take aim.” To aim we have to see the target. To “take aim” in life, we have to see what we are aiming at in life, what our goal is. What we call “repentance” is a recognition that our aim is off, that we are “missing” the target. To “convert” is to correct our aim. That involves correcting attitudes and priorities.
God’s word is the lens through which we focus on the target. Like a telescopic sight, it brings the far away near. Wisdom is to see everything in the light of our ultimate end: to see clearly what is most distant in order to get in focus what is right in front of us: our present choices and actions. Without the lens of God’s word everything gets distorted. Our “culture” blinds us.
To focus on Church rules; — even on God’s laws! — can blind us, unless we see the rules in the light of their goal and God’s laws in the light of his mind and heart, which they are intended to reveal. The goal is always God; never good behavior. “Good behavior” that does not lead to God has “missed the mark,” which is the Scriptural definition of “sin.” That is why Jesus says many will be surprised at the Final Judgment. We will see what we were really aiming at in life, as opposed to what we thought we were. So our basic choice in life is whether to look at what God says we are and aim at being that, or not to look and just be lost.
The Our Father teaches us what to aim at by listing what Jesus lived for: his priorities, the purpose for which he came. Praying it daily helps us refocus every day. We need to pray it consciously, aware that we are “taking aim.”
In our prayer we “say what we see.” We ask for what we see as good for us. And we can only see what is good for us in the light of faith. Faith tells us what we are, what our real goal is, what we should aim at. What enlightens our faith is God’s word.
To be ourselves we have to see ourselves. Baptism, the “sacrament of faith,” gives us divine light to see we have “become Christ.” and that “in him,” the “only Son of God,” we are sons and daughters of the Father. The only authentic “self” we have is our self as the risen Jesus, the body of Christ. That is why “following Christ” means being Christ. We don’t follow abstract teachings and rules; we look at Christ as he reveals himself in Scripture through words and actions. To be a Christian is to be what we see. “Disciples” are those who keep looking.
As Church we look together. And we say together what we see together. That is why our communal prayer, especially the Mass, is dependent on our communal faith. We can only say together what we see together. That is why we need to be “disciples — students — of the Mass.” We need to understand what we are saying and doing when we pray together as Christ.
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