A lot depends on what we say to ourselves about what we see.
I've been in a bit of a spiritual funk lately: praying distractedly, wasting time, not paying attention to grace, etc. Anyone who knows the cycles of the spiritual life knows what I'm talking about. In light of that you can imagine how I was taken aback when this happened at Mass this morning:
After the consecration my chalice caught my eye. I noticed that the inside was very dirty, as if the Sunday sacristan had neither purified nor washed it after Mass (I didn't use it yesterday). Of course I felt bad for using a dirty chalice for Mass. I was also also annoyed at the sacristan, of course.
Then a little later, when I went to communicate the server with the Precious Blood, my chalice looked clean. Examining it myself after Holy Communion but before I purified it, I saw nothing of the dirtiness that I had noticed during the post-consecratory epiclesis.
So what's up? How do I interpret my experience? Do I confess to having a vision by which I am warned that it is the sin of sacrilege to offer Mass when my life of prayer and devotion is otherwise neglected? Or do I just say, "Maybe it was the lighting." I don't know.
It's the sort of thing that makes me realize once again that how we interpret our experience makes all the difference for the life of spiritual discernment and thoughtful discretion.