Friday, June 17, 2005

That I May See

When Jesus asked the blind man what he would like Jesus to do for him, he replied: "Lord, that I may see." This ought to be our request as well, though we all too often don't even realize that we are spiritually blind. It has been said that the worst form of blindness is blindness to one's own blindness.

What is it, though, that we need to see? Before we set our sights too high, we need to see our own shortcomings and sins, so that we can repent of them--removing the plank from our own eye so that we can help others with the specks in theirs. To see our own faults clearly is not necessarily to become blind to those of others, but it will enable us to know where to direct our focus.

There is still much more that we need to see, and much of this can only be seen with eyes of faith. How much do we want to see? I wrote about this yesterday. Those who have already left this world and entered eternity see clearly what we can only "see through a glass, darkly." Do we want to see what they see, know what they know? But if people knew that, it would ruin everything! Their ambitions, desires, pleasures, and mistreatment of others would all have to be thoroughly modified or done away with altogether! For some, this knowledge would be received as a saving grace; for others, in their blindness, as an irksome obstacle to their present fulfillment.

I would think that the saints and angels who live in the unmediated presence of God could tell us more about God, man, and life than the most brilliant scientist, philosopher, or theologian. Yet we don't even look to them for understanding, nor do we seek to deepen our faith, but rather we turn to secular journalists, talk-show hosts, and TV personalities! What can they possibly know about the most profound and essential realities of life?

What is it that you want to see? As for me, I want to see into the hidden mysteries (at least a little more than I do now!). I want to see more of the depth and beauty of the human soul; I want to perceive more fully the mystery of Christ present in the Holy Eucharist; I want to see something of what goes on "behind the scenes" in the drama of spiritual warfare in high places (though I don't think I want to see too much of this!). I want to know more of the mystery of the afterlife and of the hidden, providential way God is at work in the processes of nature and in the sufferings and strivings of human beings. In short, I want to see God everywhere, be always aware of his presence, having my feet on the ground but my heart and soul in heaven, for that is where truth and love and beauty reside in all their fullness and glory. I also want to see God breaking into the "world without God" that mankind is feverishly trying to build, as He decisively confounds all their silly or harmful designs, refusing to be excluded from the universe He created.

I don't think this is all vain curiosity, and I'm aware that there are limits to what we can know in this life. But the saints perceived a lot more of the spiritual realm than most of us do, and living in that heavenly awareness enabled them to be more faithful and loving human beings on earth. When you know what is superfluous you can focus on what is essential. When you discover the Source of true joy you can set aside all counterfeits.

So, your life is all clouded over with anxieties, responsibilities, distractions, and even with the darkness of misguided passions and desires? Stand with the blind man and cry out: "Lord, that I may see!" When you begin to look for the Truth behind the appearances, the loving hand of God in the midst of trials; when you purify your heart and long for the revelation of the mysteries of the Spirit, you just might be ready for a little message or two from heaven, a perception, an awareness, a lifting of the veil--and little by little you will come to see. Yes, you will see.