Editor’s note: Associate Director Meghan Meros introduces FMS’ Lenten blog series, “Seeing Clearly.”
When do you know yourself best?
When do you see the saint—the one united with God—inside your soul?
When do you see the sinner in need of mercy and healing?
Perhaps your moments of clarity come when your feet hit the floor and you greet a new day. Or, maybe for you, it’s just the opposite. Maybe you see best in the dark of night, awakened not by insomnia but by something stirring in your heart.
And what about the other moments that speckle your calendar and fill your hours? Is there a taste of Heaven when your baby rests quietly in your arms? When you return home from work, utterly exhausted yet deeply satisfied, is there a taste of heavenly bliss in that? If not, then what is it that gives you your window into the divine?
Go ahead—take your time to sort that out. Take the next six weeks—all of Lent—if you need to. These are important reflections.
In the meantime, you and I and all seekers out there can probably agree on this: those who have tasted Heaven on earth know goodness both by what it is, and by what it is not. People have opportunities to see life, God, themselves, and each other more clearly in times of sorrow, times of joy, and all the times in between. Vision is not the property of prophets; it is the inheritance all humans, who God loves enough to call friends.
Though not always mentioned explicitly, seeing clearly—oneself, others, and God—is at the heart of Lent, right along with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a time to let go of the stuff that unnecessarily fills our minds, hearts, and closets. As we tumble toward spring (at least in North America), Lent is a time to thaw. With each day that brings us closer to Easter, we have the opportunity to shed the extra layers that may no longer be insulating us against the cold, but from the needs of our world, the desires of our hearts, and all God calls us to be. In this shedding of layers, new truths can emerge before our eyes. Long-held, righteous anger may suddenly seem a barrier to relationship. Giving (of time or treasure) that seemed abundant may appear restricted. The Jesus of distant history may become known as the Son of God, giver of tender compassion.
Naturally, this list is not inclusive of all possible effects of a Lenten thaw. The number of possibilities is great, even greater than the number of people in this world, for multiple truths can be revealed to any one individual at any given time. At the end of the day, all is grace, and grace is given widely, freely.
This Lent, FMS invites you to follow the reflections and artistic inspirations of missioners, volunteers, staff, and FMS supporters who have graciously agreed to share moments of clarity, stories from ordinary and extraordinary times when something shifted in their perception of self, others, and God, or from times when they really knew in their heart of hearts that they were seeing or experiencing truth.
If Lent is a journey, this series is too. We hope you enjoy the views along the way.