Seeing What We Expect to See

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 — Week of Proper 25, Year 2

John Wyclif, Priest and Prophetic Witness, 1384

[Go to for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

(Book of Common Prayer, p. 991)

Psalms 45 (morning) 47, 48 (evening)

Ecclesiasticus 24:1-12 (found in the Apocrypha; also called Sirach)

Revelation 11:14-19

Luke 11:27-36

Most of the time we see what we expect to see.

The goal of the spiritual journey is to be in constant conscious awareness and union with God. If you expect to see God, you probably will.

Today Luke’s gospel tells us, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness.”

This time of year it is easy for the eye to be grasped by the beauty of the colors. The landscape seems to shout “Look!” And in that moment when the leaves or the panorama catches our attention, we are filled with gratefulness and joy. It only takes a second. But that second is a clue to the possibility of a constant state of awareness.

It only takes a little turn of the attention to become aware of the leaves. It only takes a little turn of the attention to be aware of the light that surrounds each moment. To be awake is to be looking constantly for the Presence. It is an open and grateful heart that is constantly aware of the wonder of the moment.

But so much of our consciousness is preoccupied by other things — worries and anxieties, the next task, resentments and frustrations. We literally are pre-occupied. Our mind and heart is already occupied by worrisome stuff and so there is no openness for the presence of wonder. When we are preoccupied with anxious matters, we are blind to everything but our anxieties. During ordinary times — ordinary weather — we become blinded by our ordinary anxieties. During extraordinary times — as many in the northeast are experiencing an apocalyptic storm today — we can become blinded by our extraordinary anxieties.

Jesus has a lot to say to the crowds who ask for a sign but fail to see him for who he is. They wanted to be entertained, but not changed. So they were blind to what was present before their very eyes. Have you ever thought how lucky it must have been for those people in Capernaum? Have you ever thought, “I wish I would have been alive then to see Jesus in person during his earthly life”? Well, we probably would have been as asleep and unaware as the people he talks to in today’s story from Capernaum.

Wonder is all around us. Joy is in the air. God is no more present and real somewhere else or at some other time than God is present and real right here, right now. If God is to be present and real for me, that will have to happen right here, right now.

All it takes to be conscious is a little turn of the attention, just a touch of discipline and awareness.

It’s like intending to notice the leaves. Just as you go outside, you remind yourself it is fall. Look around. Just as you enter the next moment, you remind yourself, God is present. Everything is amazing. Look around. Wake up.

Whatever you expect to see is probably what you will see.

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