Dear Pope Francis,
Lately, I’ve been struggling to see. My eyes get dry and irritated by the cold wind and dry winter air. I wear glasses and they get dirty, smudged with fingerprints, dust, and dried snowflakes. These things can make reading and writing for long periods of time challenging. This is problematic as a student, since I spend a good portion of everyday reading and writing, not to mention when I do it for fun. However, there are ways to fix this problem. Whenever my eyes get irritated I put in tear drops. If my glasses are dirty, I clean them.
In many ways, this has become an appropriate image for my spiritual life. My soul longs to see God, to know and understand His will for me so I can go and do it. I want to truly experience His love for me, and be able to love Him like that in return. Those are very tall orders, taller than the stack of readings to do and papers to write.
Sin, like the dry air and wind, irritates my soul, while the skewed perceptions I have of myself and the world around me are the like smudges on my glasses. On my glasses, they make it difficult to read and write for long periods of time. On my soul, sin and skewed perceptions make it even harder for me to know God and do His will, and give and receive His infinite love.
Like my eyes, there is a solution for preparing my soul. Prayer, especially intentional daily prayer, reading scripture and receiving the sacraments, especially attending Mass, help me to clear some of the grime from my soul and sooth the aches and wounds. This is an imperfect process, because I am imperfect, but it certainly helps.
For the last six weeks or so, I’ve been making excuses for not praying daily and not really opening up at Mass. I’ve been closing off bits and pieces of my soul from God, and not letting it get cleaned and healed. Last Sunday a friend told me exactly what I needed to hear: “write, it’s what you do… write to God; tell’em why life sucks and see what happens.” I did exactly what he said, I wrote in my prayer journal for the first time in almost a month, and I wrote with reckless abandon. I put it all out there for God to deal with. And, while it didn’t come right away, over the course of the last week, scripture verses popped up that brought me comfort, I had some much needed spiritual conversations with friends, I went to Mass a couple extra times, and slowly the hurt eased away and the wounds began to close. I found it easier to see God’s love coming at me from all sides. It was easier to be open to and love God. And when the time came, it was much easier to be present for others when they needed an ear to listen or to be reassured.
I couldn’t have experience this healing if I hadn’t first let God in to clean and soothe my soul, the way I need to make sure my glasses are clean and that I’ve put drops in my eyes before I sit down to work. Just like taking care of my eyes, taking care of my soul is an ongoing process. It’s a process that I work at daily, because without that daily work, cleaning the accumulated grime is really hard and very painful.