Perception is a funny thing. You may have heard me speak about how what we already think conditions what we see. So, yes, we are prone to seeing what we want to see in what is going on around us and prone to being blind to that which doesn't fit our existing biases.
One person sees a stranger walking through the neighborhood and thinks nothing of it. Another perceives their presence as a threat, and calls the police.
But there's another mechanism at work too. If you're a visual person like me whenever I hear someone telling about an event, I can see pictures in my head. Not like a camera feed that shows the actual events. But the word and phrases trigger my brain and new images are mysteriously formed out of the catalog of the visual memories I've collected over time.
The image posted with this blog post is the Artificial Intelligence analog to what happens in our heads. Machine learning - viewing millions of pictures from the internet - allows the program to have the raw material to create images in response to words. I typed "an alligator sitting at a bar with a cocktail, in the style of Dali," and now we can see it.
So what does this have to do with a life of faith? What we choose to take in, and that upon which we dwell becomes part of the catalog out of which we construct our sense of reality. The prayers and practices, attitudes and actions, in our life "tune" us to receive/perceive in particular ways. This is what St. Paul is talking about in Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you."
In Luke 17: 20-21 we read "Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” Sight and perception are not the same thing.
What is in us interacts with what is around us. Grace does its silent work on those who are open to being tuned, and suddenly that which was once unperceived is present and the God of peace is more fully known.
Next week we launch Advent 1, the first video for those who have purchased either a Seeker or a Companion in the Way plan. I need your help to continue to tune this site.
𝕀𝕗 𝕪𝕠𝕦 𝕔𝕒𝕟 𝕤𝕖𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕚𝕤, 𝕡𝕝𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕞𝕞𝕖𝕟𝕥 𝕓𝕖𝕝𝕠𝕨 𝕤𝕠 𝕀 𝕜𝕟𝕠𝕨 𝕪𝕠𝕦'𝕣𝕖 𝕤𝕖𝕖𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕤𝕖𝕖𝕚𝕟𝕘. 𝕋𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕜𝕤!