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Feeling seen: How to find this experience and why you should

HEAD OF CHRIST,REMBRANDT

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 01/09/23

Feeling seen is one of the deepest needs of the human soul.

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

There is one striking detail in this passage of Mark’s Gospel: Jesus’ initiative. “As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen.” These men’s vocation is born from Jesus’ gaze. It is not they who see Him, but He who sees them. 

Feeling seen is one of the deepest needs of the human soul. Each of us needs to feel important in the eyes of others – to be seen by, at least, someone. We are not self-sufficient. We are constantly in need of understanding life (even our own lives) from someone else’s perspective.

In fact, we go to great lengths to feel seen – and we can harm ourselves in the process. Sometimes we are so much in need of recognition that we transform our life into a stage of sorts, trying to play all the roles that could somehow make us visible, noticeable. 

There’s no need to judge this from a moral standpoint. Instead, we need to acknowledge the profound human need – one that Jesus takes seriously. Through faith, we experience how important we are in the eyes of God. We do not simply feel like creatures participating in the great mechanism of the universe. We also feel God’s gaze caring for our lives, underlining and acknowledging our uniqueness. 

That’s the reason Jesus adds words to his gaze: “Jesus said to them: ‘Follow me, I will make you fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

The swiftness with which Simon and Andrew followed Him is inexplicable, unless we notice that He has reached something deep in them. Only when you feel truly seen are you capable of making big decisions.

~

Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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GospelLiturgyMassPrayerSpiritual Life
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