by the Reverend Noel E. Bordador
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" - Matthew 6:22
When I was a young man, I was vain enough that I didn’t want to wear eyeglasses. I thought they wouldn’t look good on me and people would call me “four eyes.” So for a while the world was a big blur. There was one thing that finally made me change my mind. One day, around some social event, I saw a person from afar who seemed attractive, and so I started to go towards that person to introduce myself, but soon found out that the person I was fancying wasn’t attractive at all, looking as if that person hadn’t bathe at all in years. My friend who was with me was laughing and said “You need glasses.”
The Church Fathers believed that the mind is part of the soul that this is the eye of the soul, the “nous.” Through this eye, the soul takes in all raw data and information from the world, and this eye organizes them in such a way to generate a view of reality, a view of the world, a view of self, and a view of others. This eye serves as a filter of reality and generates a set of thoughts, beliefs and perceptions about the world. In turn, these beliefs inform how one will behave or act or live in the world. Thus the eye of the soul is the generator of our behavior and way of life.
Each person has a different perception of reality because each person’s soul organizes reality in his/her own unique way. So two people could have two different behavioral responses to the same event. Let me give an example. One time, when I was in another church, I made an announcement that I wanted to meet with the parishioners individually to get to know them and treat them to coffee or lunch. Some people welcomed the invitation and thought it was great while some were suspicious, thinking that I wanted to treat them to dinner because I would somehow trap them into giving more money to the church which wasn’t my intention at all.
But this eye of the soul not only sees the physical world, but it also has the capacity to see into the spiritual world. The Fathers believe that this eye of the soul can have a glimpse of God in a spiritual manner and through this, the person could arrive at a knowledge of God. I believe you are all in this Church because the eye of your soul has caught onto some glimpse of God. The difficulty in the spiritual life is that the vision of the eye of the soul could be tainted by the filth of sin so that two things could happen: the person is blinded to the presence of God in his or her life, or the eye of the soul generates a perception of God that is not true so that the human person comes to worship an idol of its own making. Moreover, the eye of the soul could also be obscured by our selfishness, irrational passions and destructive desires so that we view others and the world from the point of view of our self-centeredness.
Our vision of God and the world has been obscured by our own sin. So the task of the spiritual life is to seek from God healing of our imperfect vision. This seeking of healing is called in English, repentance, but a rather inadequate translation of the Greek word, metanoia. We usually think of repentance as regret or remorse, but it is more than this. The root of the Greek word is noia, and is derived from the Greek word, nous, that eye of the soul so that metanoia means the transformation, the renewal of our nous, the cleansing and healing of our spiritual eyes blinded by sin. As I said before, the eyes of the soul is the generator of our behavior and way of life based on a vision of reality it has constructed. If the eye of the soul is obscured by sin, then it follows that we would do things that are contrary to justice, goodness and love. If our eyes are healed, then we turn our lives around and we follow Christ more closely.
© 2017 Noel E. Bordador
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