Perceiving the Presence of God

October 7, 2023
Saturday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Our Lady of the Rosary—Memorial

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Luke 10:23–24

Imagine seeing Jesus in person. What would that have been like? What would it have been like to see Him, listen to Him preach, witness His miracles and spend time sitting with Him quietly? The experience of being with Him as He walked the earth would have been determined by the depth of interior sight you had. There were many who saw Jesus but rejected Him, and even killed Him. Clearly, they did not have the interior eyes of faith to see Him for Who He was. Others left everything behind to follow Him. Clearly, they perceived Who He was in His divine soul through the gift of faith.

As Jesus states above, the disciples were blessed to see Him. Many prophets and kings of old desired to see the Messiah. Century after century, the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah would have left many with much anticipation and hope that they would be among those blessed to see Him. Recall, for example, Simeon the prophet who waited his whole life to see the Christ Child. Then, when Mary and Joseph brought the Child Jesus into the Temple to present Him to the Lord, Simeon took the Child into his hands and proclaimed, “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29–32). Indeed, Simeon, the disciples, and all who encountered Jesus as He walked the earth were truly blessed. They were blessed to see the Son of God with their own eyes.

Jesus proclaimed the eyes of the disciples to be blessed for seeing Him. However, if He were to speak to us today, He would proclaim us doubly blessed. We do not see Him in physical form, walking the earth. But we are able to perceive Him in a way that even Simeon did not experience in His life. Simeon saw the Savior of the World with his eyes, present in human form. But today, we are able to see Him in an even more profound way. By the gift of grace and the indwelling of God, we are able to look within our own souls and discover the true presence of God living within us.

One might argue that seeing Jesus with your eyes is preferable to seeing His divine presence within your soul. But is it? Certainly not. Again, recall that there were many who saw Jesus with their eyes but did not recognize Him as God. Today, we are privileged to perceive the presence of Christ in our world in the deepest way possible. He came to live within us. He came to possess us. He came to unite Himself with us in a union so deep that it transforms us completely, making us into His very body.

If it took faith to see the divinity of Jesus when He walked the earth, it will also take faith to see His true presence within us. Our sins cloud His presence. Our lack of faith makes it hard to see Him there. But God is alive within every soul that is in a state of grace, and it must be our ongoing duty to discover His indwelling presence and to be with Him within. In her spiritual masterpiece, “Interior Castles,” Saint Teresa of Ávila explains that the infinite God does dwell within us. It is our duty to enter into the most secret core of our being, the most interior castle, navigating through our many sins, so that we will enter the deepest center where the fullness of the great King dwells.

Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ words spoken to the disciples: “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.” Know that this statement applies even more to you. Seek to have the eyes of faith so that you can perceive the true presence of the Savior of the World living within your own soul. Seek Him out, gaze at Him with love, bask in His divine presence and allow that presence to overshadow you, transforming you into the person God wants you to be.

My indwelling Lord, I am blessed beyond belief by Your divine presence dwelling within me. Please open my eyes to see You and my ears to hear You so that I will be able to dwell with You Who have come to dwell in me. Jesus, I trust in You.