On Faith as an Eye.

    St. Peter the Damascene once wrote that “God created the sun and the eye. Man is free to receive the sun's light or not. The same is true here. God sends the light of knowledge like rays to all, but He also gave us faith like an eye. The one who wants to receive knowledge through faith, keeps it by his works, and so God gives him more willingness, knowledge, and power.”  Just as Pope Francis wrote in the Lumen Fidei, faith is a light for our path; our means of seeing the uncreated light.  
I have the dual blessing and curse of being a cynical romantic in my inner views of life.  I have always found it difficult to take good things at face value: I have always searched for a pragmatic, base, natural explanation for the good and beautiful things I encounter in the world.  At the same time, however, I am an unashamed romantic, who actively seeks out what it true, beautiful, and good, and finds ways of appreciating and loving these things.  The two views would seem nearly irreconcilable, however, even to me, if it were not for the God-given eye of faith.  Without this faith, without belief in ultimate Goodness and Truth, the romantic within me would surely die a slow death of disappointment, pain, and cynicism.  Indeed, faith, I believe, is in part the illumination of the image of God within fellow human beings.  It is only through knowing the Living God that we can truly know humanity, who are icons of His image.  To me, then, faith is not only absolutely critical in the knowledge of truth and beauty, but in humanity itself.  What is faith in humanity if it is not rooted in faith in its creator?  
    Faith for me is also a context through which to understand life.  As humans, we have imponderably vast souls contained within us.  Since we are hardly capable of fathoming the depths of our own soul, that seemingly infinite universe within us, we find it difficult to imagine that every human being has the same kind of infinite soul within them.  When we commune with other humans in any of the myriad of ways humans commune, be it through music or poetry, we come to the realization of others’ souls.  Communion is the point at which souls cross paths.  But in the light of faith, at Holy Communion, not only do our souls cross paths with those of the people within the church, but they cross paths with the cloud of witnesses from ages of ages before us, and most especially our souls cross paths with God.  We have a focal point of coincidence with the Creator of the outside universe and the universes within each one of us.  Faith gives us the context with which to understand and cherish humanity, and to me, this has been an illumination I could not live without.  
Our means of perceiving the light God sends down upon us all is also the lens through which we see order in the created world.  Faith has not only proved to be a light that illumines my way of life, it is literally the reason human existence cosmically makes sense in any way.  Without the eye of faith to see the light of God, what means have we of seeing and understanding anything of our own existence?  We would be left to flail about in our own souls, uncomprehending and oblivious to the universe outside of ourselves.  
    Faith also compels us to “keep our works,” as St. Peter of Damascus wrote.  By this faith, we are pulled into the participation of God’s energies, and we strive for synergy and oneness of spirit and mind with the Father of Creation.  By the light of faith we realize that even our ability to do good works is a gift to be appreciated!  By these works of faith we are pulled into a greater unity with God, with all of humanity, and are able to better understand and appreciate life and our own existences.
My faith has indeed been a light to my path in the journey of life: a light from the end of the tunnel that shines regardless of how often the tunnel takes unexpected and frightening turns.  A light by which I can see the world and understand it, a light which exposes my own faults for better correction, and a light that draws me nearer to the Father of Creation.  


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