Crosses at the Crossroads: Internal Blindness

Week of March 26, 2017

For the last few weeks we have been invited to the desert, the mountain and the well.  Now Lent invites us to visit an even deeper place—-the blindness within ourselves.  For the next two weeks we are challenged to visit the interior places of our spiritual life.  We begin with blindness.  Most of us are acutely aware of changes in vision and the great advances in medicine and technology with regards to our eyes and the ability to see.  The challenge is to go far within ourselves to the nature of what we think we see and admit to the things that keep us blind.  In this Gospel the disciples are blind even though they can physically see.  They ask about sin and who owns the sin for the man being born blind.  They truly do not understand.  The parents and some who did not believe the miracle are blinded by fear, even though they can physically see.  They are willing, because of their fear, to even deny knowing their own son.

Jesus invites us to explore blindness.  In this week we must ask ourselves the deep questions about jealousy and fear.  We must ask ourselves about the foundation of our ability to believe.  When we say we believe and we trust, we know we are spiritually blind.  Spiritual blindness allows for what St. Augustine would call divine illumination.  We must sit in the silence of unknowing.  We must get comfortable with not having control.  We must leave the desire to measure ourselves against others.  This is the root of jealousy.  Eyes see and then want.  They want and then compare with what others have.  There is never enough when we see.  Blindness knows that nothing can be owned, all is a gift.  Divine illumination is when the soul controls the mind and not the other way around.  The soul knows when there is enough, so to be filled is never a question.  The soul knows of the reliance on God and that the body is not necessary to function deeply.  Transcendence occurs as blindness overpowers one’s very need to be in control.  Jesus works with the man born blind and encourages his belief.  The man asks for help and Jesus responds.  Blindness leads us to admit we need help.

At this point in my journey I am very much aware of what eyesight is and what I would like it to look like.  I am blessed to be recovering from a fantastic gift, a corneal transplant.  The joy and hope of better vision, the being lifted up in prayer by everyone, the success of the surgery so far is a blessing.  But I try so hard to speed up the process.  I look at what hasn’t healed yet and I try to make it heal faster.  Every time I do this, I disrespect the gift and do not embrace the blindness of the time given in the healing process.  My impatience can be so strong that I forget to pray for the family of the one who offered the transplant.  My longing to get the healing process over quickly steals the time God has given for me to embrace the gift of the eye healing.  My impatience leads me away from what God is inviting me to deeply embrace, internal blindness.  I am trying to make myself whole so I may do more things.  In reality, God is not asking me to do more things; He is inviting me to rely on Him.

This is a messy week for me. I must go to the place of illumination where God is in complete control and I must surrender completely.  It is week four. God expects us to get to the deep realities of His love.  We can’t find it by looking. We can only experience it in our blindness.

Reverend John J. Ouper