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  • Sarah Raad

Spectacles

“That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” (John 21:14).

Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John (Pietro Perugino)

There are eight children in my family of origin and because all eight of us wear spectacles, I think it is safe to assume that we have genetic problems with vision in our family. Thankfully the problems are not serious and are easily fixed with a cheap and cheery pair of spectacles, but the fact remains that we need glasses to see…


I discovered that I required spectacles when I was sitting in my Year 10 mathematics class and could no long read my teacher’s tiny handwriting on the blackboard. One of my younger sisters realised she needed them when she failed her vision test after obtaining her learner’s driver’s licence. Another when she developed terrible headaches, caused by eyestrain. And the list goes on…


I have been reflecting on the improvements that a simple pair of spectacles can make in life because they remind me of the improvements to be found through the Sacrament of Reconciliation…


You see, Christ shed light on this Sacrament in His instructions to Saint Faustina…


“Write, speak of My mercy. Tell souls where they are to look for solace; that is, in the Tribunal of Mercy (the Sacrament of Reconciliation). There the greatest miracles take place (and) are incessantly repeated. To avail oneself of this miracle, it is not necessary to go on a great pilgrimage or to carry out some external ceremony; it suffices to come with faith to the feet of My representative and to reveal to him one’s misery, and the miracle of Divine Mercy will be fully demonstrated. Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no (hope of) restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.” (Diary 1448).

And I have been reflecting on that “miracle of Divine Mercy” and the insights that it sheds. Many of the Saints – including Pope Saint John Paul II – received the Sacrament of Reconciliation weekly. C.K. Chesterton even went as far as to attribute his conversion to Catholicism to his desire for the Sacrament! When asked why he converted, Chesterton said, “To get rid of my sins!”

But the Sacrament of Reconciliation provides us with more than that! You see the Sacrament of Reconciliation – like a pair of spectacles – provides us with clarity…


You know, when the Resurrected Christ appeared to the apostles, it was Saint John who recognised Him first, because “He was more beloved than all the other Apostles on account of his purity.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas). And he was pure because he stayed so close to Christ and Our Blessed Mother…


“Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said to him, ‘We will go with you.’ They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, ‘Children, have you any fish?’ They answered him, ‘No.’ He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” (John 21:1-14).


And the Sacrament of Reconciliation – by purifying us – allows us to become more like Saint John… And then – we too can learn to SEE our Blessed Lord, even when others cannot…


And so, I follow the advice of Saint Josemaría who said, “How I would like – you told me – the young apostle, John, to take me into his confidence and give me advice: and encourage me to acquire purity of heart. If you really would like it, tell him so: and you will feel encouraged, and you will receive advice.”


For such advice would help me to see all spiritual things just as my spectacles help me to see the physical ones!


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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