“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
This is one of my favorite quotes by Antoine de Saint-Exupery from Chapter 21 of his book, The Little Prince.
The story talks about a young boy whom the narrator calls ‘The Little Prince’ as he recounts his life from an asteroid and his visits to six other asteroids while the narrator repairs his plane. The story develops on his love for a certain rose that mysteriously grew on the surface of his home asteroid and the significance of it to him on a more personal level.
During one of the little prince’s adventures, he met a geographer who asked him to describe his asteroid and the prince mentioned the rose which he thought was the only flower of its species in the universe. The geographer then explained that it is an ephemeral thing, hence he would not record it. The prince was then astounded and hurt by this revelation, and the geographer then suggested that he visit planet Earth.
During the little prince’s visit to planet Earth, he saw a rose and was upset that his rose was not the one and only rose in the universe. Thereafter, the little prince met a fox and asked the fox to play with him. The fox tells him he cannot play with the little prince due to his untamed nature. He explains that they must first become friends and instructed the little prince how to tame him, and their relationship grew very strong. Through this friendship, the little prince later learns that his rose was after all unique in its own essence.
“You are not at all like my rose,” he said. “As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world.”
“You are beautiful, but you are empty,” he went on. “One could not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passer-by would think that my rose looked just like you–the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies); because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.
Perhaps, we, too, sometimes feel like we are nobody, insignificant, indifferent, and too small to play any role in the world’s never ending and overwhelming social problems. But we could all think of ourselves as the little prince’s rose and ponder upon what the little prince said to the thousands of roses in the garden and how he described his rose which mattered so much to him on a personal level.
Perhaps, this is how God looks at us as individuals too–that we may be the same species as the billions of other human beings in the world, but the fact that we have our very own personal walk and our very own story in our very own journey with Him, that sets us apart as His child, His very special and personal child of much significance.
…Before the prince and the fox parted, the fox told the little prince his secret:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Indeed, it is only with our heart can we see rightly that what is essential to us is often times invisible to the eye. The fox introduced the prince to the revelation that it is the amount of time and care the prince has invested in the rose which can only be felt with his heart that makes the rose become of such significance to the prince in such a personal level that no one else but him can feel it.
Likewise, it is Jesus who bridged our relationship with God which is ‘invisible’ and can only be felt with our own heart/experience that makes Him and our relationship with Him an essential part of our life. The question though is, where is your heart and what is your priority?