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Pondering the Night of the Senses and the Paradox That We See Farther in the Darkness

As human beings we are very visual; there is a certain demand of our flesh to see on its own terms. But of course God, who is pure spirit, will not be seen in this way.

How can the human eye perceive what is spiritual? It is not designed to do so. We cannot see God as God any more than we should expect to be able to see justice sitting down to lunch with humility. These are not physical concepts; they are metaphysical ones. We may see evidence of their existence, but we do not see them physically—so also with God. We see a lot of evidence of His existence, but we do not see Him with our earthly eyes.

There is a well-known (but inaccurate) saying, “Seeing is believing.” Actually it is not; seeing is only seeing. When we see things physically, one of two things happens, either of which eliminates the existence of any sort of faith:

  1. We see something and accept it as true, in which case faith is no longer necessary, for it is not necessary to believe what we can plainly see.
  2. We scoff or act bemused and continue to disbelieve, saying (for example when we see a magic trick), “There’s a way of doing that; it’s just an illusion.”

In either case, faith (human or supernatural) is set aside when we see something with our earthly eyes.

Therefore, as Scripture insists over and over again, faith is not a matter of seeing in a physical way.

Read more at Archdiocese of Washington. 

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