After having heard, the heart wants to see: “I shall see thy face and be sated with the vision of thy glory when I awake” (Ps 17:15). Our fidelity to the distant voice will, in the end, gain us entry into the presence of the one calling us. St. Bernard says it aptly: “You want to see; then listen first. Hearing is a step toward seeing.” Our possession of the Beloved and his possession of us progress hand in hand, from hearing to seeing. The heart longs to enter the existential arena, the dramatic juncture, where alone can take place the truly great encounters, the great passional bouts such as that of Jacob wrestling with the angel, the great illuminations or the tragic refusals of the light, the secret exchanges and the stupendous embraces between God and man. God did not save the world by sending it an intellectual message of the Gnostic sort, which needs only to be understood and interiorized. On the contrary, the salvation of the world is the event of the coming in person of the Emmanuel.

Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word: Meditations on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapters 1–25, vol. 1 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996–2012), pages 29–30.

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