March 2014

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Christ is in our midst! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The Least of the Brethren is Me. The Holy Spirit is in all places, filling all things.

All of this, we believe, is true, so why then do we not see?

Perhaps we suffer from a fundamental form of blindness that causes us to create realities with our hopes, dreams and desires that do not actually exist. We see what we want to see and so we miss all those things we don't.

And sometimes "we don't want to see" the very things it would be best to see. It is the surprises in life that are often the most meaningful and beautiful. They may also be the most terrifying. Seeing demands the courage to accept everything that comes into view, even those things that we do not like, and perhaps that is why we are so easily acceptance ofblindness. We would rather not, thank you!

As Jesus said to the man at the Gate of Bethsaida, "Do you want to be healed?"

It is like when you discover that little item on the menu you had long overlooked, or the tiny church as you tum a comer in Rome that is hidden from plain site and didn't make a splash in the tourist brochures, or the house on the street where you live that was always there and you had never seen, or you run into someone you had tried forever to ignore, or the pain within that buried itself away in some "safe place" in the unconscious you hope would never surface and yet, it does.

Carl Jung had something to say about the importance ofbeing able to see.

"With a truly tragic delusion, these theologians fail to see that it is not a matter ofproving the existence ofthe light, but ofblind people who do not know that their eyes could see. It is high time that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to teach people the art of seeing." .

If we do nothing but foster the ability to see clearly during our journey to Pascha, then we will have moved mountains. Allowing the blinders to come off and the fog to lift. All ascetic work is about this. But beware! What we see when we are able to see is not what we think we will see. It will be what it is, nothing less and nothing more.

+Fr. Antony