Monday, October 6, 2014

When the blind can see

ALSO vice versa, when those who claim they see become blind. There’s an intriguing passage in the gospel about the cure of the man born blind. I believe it’s worth going through it again, and slowly, to highlight a particular point we need to understand well and live better.

The passage is in St. John’s chapter 9, in that part when Christ sought the blind man who was cast out of the synagogue for attributing his cure to Christ, even if he did not know yet who Christ really was. The passage goes this way:

“Jesus heard that they had cast him (the blind man with restored sight) out, and when he found him, he said to him: Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?

“And Jesus said to him: You have both seen him, and it is he that talks with you. And he (the blind man) said: Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. Jesus said: For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

This is classic divine logic, paradoxical in character, similar to Christ’s other statements about exalting the humble and humbling the proud, the last will be first and the first last, etc.

It is a logic that corresponds to our wounded human condition that many times leads us to think, judge, reason, speak and behave in ways we consider as proper to us when in reality they are contrary to our dignity as God himself, our creator, intended for us. Christ’s paradoxical statements seek to undo this problem of ours.

We need to be more aware of this predicament of ours and start to develop and use the appropriate means to correct, if not avoid, that delicate situation. We need to be humble and always feeling the need to be with God even in our most intimate thoughts, let alone, our words, deeds and public interventions.

There is actually no other way to correctly and properly understand and react to things and events in our life. We have to be wary of our tendency to rely solely on our human estimations of things, quite independent, if not contrary to the way God understands them.

In fact, not only should we be guarded against this tendency. Rather, we should also actively fight it, converting it into what is our proper way of thinking, judging and reasoning. And that is to do all these spiritual operations with God as the main guide and inspiration.

The story of the man born blind does not end there. The coup de grace still had to come. It continues: “Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, Are we also blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but now that you say, We see, your guilt remains.”

We have to be most careful when because perhaps of our education, our experience, our position, among other reasons, we feel that we would already have enough reason to make ourselves our own standard of what is true, good and beautiful.

We always need to be like the man born blind, and resist the attitude of the Pharisees mentioned in the gospel. That’s simply because it’s when we acknowledge our blindness, deficiency and inadequacy to tackle our temporal affairs that we attract God’s grace, God’s light, his wisdom, his strength.

That’s when we would know how to live by the ideal of pursuing the truth in charity. Especially in our contentious issues, like in politics, we need to see to it that our views and opinions, no matter how strongly we feel about them, should always be given with utmost delicacy.

We would be quick to understand others in their opposing positions, and would know how to derive some good and benefits from them. We would know how to be open-minded and tolerant even as we express our opinions too.

To be like the Pharisees mentioned in the gospel is to make ourselves and no one and nothing else the standard of truth and fairness. We become rigid and closed-minded, prone to dogmatizing opinions, absolutizing what only have relative value.

No matter how strongly we feel we are correct in our views, we cannot help but sooner or later fall into the subtle traps of pride, vanity, envy, greed, lust, avarice.

It’s always good to acknowledge our blindness so we can see things clearly through God’s grace.

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