For true believers, spiritual blindness is much worse than physical blindness; it would disrupt our life in all its aspects, keep us from enjoying it fully and from bearing the fruits of the Spirit. Of course, the worst type of blindness is the self-inflicted variety, proper of those who refuse to see.
Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains. John 9:40- 41
This deadly type of blindness can be easily overcome by leading a life of humility, docility and openness to the Truth as interpreted and taught by the teaching authorities of the Church (Magisterium) entrusted by Christ himself with the task of guiding us to Life.
Yet there are other types of blindness that stifle our spiritual growth and make life harder to live in a way becoming of true disciples of Jesus Christ.
For the sake of brevity, we shall focus on three: blindness to God’s presence and care; blindness to our flaws vis-à-vis God’s perfection and majesty; and blindness to the endless Eucharist of heaven.
Blindness to God’s presence and care
It was only last Sunday when, together with the Hebrews in the desert, we wondered: “Is the Lord with us or not?” For the last 27 years or so, after a life-threatening illness, every time I feel anguished or become apprehensive about something, I have learned to regain my freedom by convincing myself that anything happening in my life is happening according to God’s mysterious yet loving plan. Consequently, I attempt to surrender my total self to him.
The result of these repeated surrenders, even several times a day, is that I find evidence of his presence everywhere. This is extremely reassuring and liberating. However, it is not easy. At times, the immediacy and the size of the problem blind me to his presence. But, with every surrender, the evidence of his caring and loving presence increases.
If you wish to do the same, do not give up walking on this uphill path. Perseverance will pay great dividends. Keep in mind that even Jesus on the cross felt, though for a moment, the absence of his Father.
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Yet, that most human, most anguished cry was followed by a total surrender: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” You might recall how I recommend this surrender to anyone I meet, here from the pulpit, in counseling, in spiritual direction, in the confessional, everywhere, every time. “Seeing,” feeling God’s presence makes all the difference in the world, and makes us bear fruit to life eternal.
Blindness to our flaws
Life can become so hectic, and we can get so wrapped up in many different things, that we wind up rearranging our priorities so much that the only way we can function is by turning a blind eye to our flaws.
What are some of the warning signs that we stopped focusing on our flaws to our spiritual harm? We would be bothered considerably by the flaws of certain people. Well, that would probably mean that their flaws are awfully like specific flaws in us; flaws which we have either ignored or are unwilling to own up to. Hence, we would be prone to prejudice, criticism, and rash judgment—and even condemnation of others. It would indicate that we have examined ourselves too hastily or too superficially and/or we have found a comfortable rationalization for our questionable choices and less-than-Christian behavior.
From time unmemorable, to regain sight of our personal flaws, the Church has recommended an honest, humble, daily examination of conscience. At the end of each day, we should go over our whole day and compare our choices, decisions and actions with what Jesus would have chosen, decided, and done.
Purgatory is the state of purification, of becoming God-like (pure love) as the result of a two-pronged process: purification by the intensity of the fire of God’s love and by our unrestrained grief over our sins and imperfections. In death, whatever blinds us to our flaws disappears. We are, then, flooded by the light of God’s infinite perfection exposing the full extent of our flaws. We cannot imagine on this earth what our embarrassment and grief will be! We will bear that purifying sight only through the prayers that are said for us by our loved ones whom we will leave behind. Therefore, it is wise to begin now, without delay, to focus at least on some of those flaws and correct them with the help of divine grace.
Blindness to the endless Eucharist of heaven
While on this earth, within the confinements of time and space, we are ordered to do Eucharist in memory of Christ. This solemn obligation is both a reminder of the extent of God’s love for us and a challenge to be broken and poured for each other the way Christ’s Body is broken and Christ’s Blood is poured for us.
Each Mass transcends time and space and links us to heaven, to the endless Eucharist, the ongoing Supper of the Lamb. What we fail to see in our churches would go a long way in helping us yearn for the Supper of the Lamb, preparing us for heaven and overcoming more effectively the inevitable hurdles of earthly life.
Even when there are empty seats, our churches are always super crowded. Myriads of angels, countless saints, along with Mary our Blessed Mother, are all here around God’s throne. May they grant us, if not 20/20 vision of the reality in which we live, at least enough eyesight to be reasonably happy, fruitful, and constantly filled with hope.