From a Book of Hours
Flemish (Liege), c. 1250-1300
The Hague, Koninklijk Bibliotheek
MS KB 76 G 17, fol. 20v
We are all familiar with the difference between seeing and perceiving. Two people stand in front of a famous painting. But although both see the same painting with their healthy eyes, one may perceive it as a glorious work of art, while the other may perceive it as a hideous spectacle.
The key issue here is that although both persons have no choice but to see what their healthy vision permits, what they each perceive involves their personal choices. Certainly, the perception of hope is a vital personal choice, particularly during Advent at this chaotic time in our history. In hope, Isaiah foresees the coming fruitfulness of Lebanon and the salvation of the house of Jacob, just as Abraham was redeemed. In hope, the Psalmist believes: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
In hope and faith, as Matthew recounts, the two blind men receive sight as Jesus touches their eyes. Similarly in hope and faith, do we choose to permit the touch of Jesus on our eyes? Like the Psalmist, do we ask, “to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in (the Lord’s) temple”? As we move forward on our Advent path, may we be richly blessed with renewed hope and the consolation of spiritual sight.