National Catholic Reporter
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Starting Point
Issue Date:  May 14, 2004

Starting Point


Tom Francis was the celebrant of our Mass a few weeks ago. I enjoy it when he is our weekly celebrant. He puts a lot of love, care and passion into his sharing of the Eucharist, and his homilies are thoughtful.

After Communion, I noticed that his glasses were left on the altar, resting on the big prayer book. He had already gone back down to his place in the choir stalls. I rose to get the book but another monk got it first and brought it down to the lectern, from where Tom would soon read the closing prayer.

Tom got up and I could tell by the look on his face that he was dismayed that he had no glasses. He looked about but of course could not see too well. He walked toward the altar and I mentioned to Matt, the monk next to me, that Tom was looking for his glasses and that they were right where he would need them to be -- on the lectern. Matt got up to help and by the time he reached the lectern Tom had spotted the glasses, more by a process of elimination than by sight.

I thought about the above later. How does one see what one needs to see when one does not have what one needs to see with?

The Eucharist, with or without glasses, is a way of seeing. There is then such a thing as sacramental sight. We all know blindness and the loss of seeing what we need to see. How can we recover sight?

With the help of friends.

How do we find God when we normally stumble through life without spiritual glasses and do not know where to find them?

With the help of friends.

Where does Jesus come from when we cannot seem to find him or see him or hear him?

He arrives. He is the eternal arrival who always comes.

With the help of friends.

Seeing is communal.

So is love.

So is God.

So are we.

So we see.

Trappist Fr. James Stephen Behrens lives at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Ga.

National Catholic Reporter, May 14, 2004

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