Letter 17: The Lens We Wear


My Son,


We all have a lens through which we perceive reality. Some lenses are better than others and some can be trusted more than others. It is important to recognize that you have a lens and that it may need some tweaking. If your lens contradicts what God has spoken already through the Scriptures and the Church, then you must change out your lens.

When it comes to Biblical interpretation, I find this idea of lenses to be particularly helpful. A lot of my Protestant friends would say things like, “I just follow what the Bible says.” While I enjoy saying that phrase myself, it unfortunately is not quite honest. People do not simply follow the Bible, but they follow a tradition of interpreting the Bible, or they follow their own interpretation of the Bible. Since we all have a lens by which we read the Bible, we need to be careful to align our lens with the lens God wants us to have. Fortunately when Jesus ascended into heaven he didn’t just leave writings for us to interpret on our own, but he left us his Church, which is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). The Church has been given the task of guarding the deposit of faith that Jesus revealed to us. For this reason, the successors of the apostles, that is, the Bishops of the Catholic Church (in particular the Magisterium), have been entrusted to give us the Holy Spirit led interpretation of our faith. Jesus gave us gifts that “some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles” (Ephesians 4:11-14). We no longer have to wonder which lens to trust, when in fact the Lord promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to guide the Church into all truth (John 16:13). As Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit to guide us as well, but when two Christians disagree over the interpretation of the same Scriptures we must ask ourselves how the Holy Spirit has spoken or is speaking through his Church.

So which lens do you wear my son? I pray that your own lens is a lens of love: that you begin to see everything in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that you check your lens with that of the Church, and that you let the Holy Spirit shape your lens to be like that of Christ. We must view all of reality through the love of Jesus Christ.




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