What good vision and blindness really are
Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
That gospel episode where two blind men approached Christ asking for a cure of their condition (cfr. Mt 9,27-31) somehow reminds us of what really is to have a good vision and what true blindness is. I believe that our common understanding of these two realities in our life does not go far enough to enter into the question of what they really are.
We usually say that we can consider ourselves as having good vision when we can see things clearly, as in having what some eye specialists term as 20/20 visual acuity. And blindness is understood as when we do not see things at all or clearly enough. Obviously, these are correct descriptions. But they are not enough.
Let us remember that all our human powers and faculties—our intelligence, will, all our senses, emotions, memory, imagination, etc.—are given to us by our Creator so that we can be what he wants us to be—his image and likeness, sharers of his divine life. They are all meant for us to be able to be with God, since our life is not meant only to be a natural life, but is also meant to be a supernatural life with God.
In other words, the proper object of all our faculties and powers, including our sense of sight, is God himself. If we only use them to engage ourselves with earthly and temporal things but failing to relate ourselves to God, then we would actually be misusing them. That is when, in the case of our sense of sight, we can be regarded as blind, even if we can see things clearly. Unless we see God through our sense of sight, we can consider ourselves as somehow blind.
Obviously, our sense of sight would need a higher faculty to put it in its proper condition. That is where our intelligence and will have to do their part in connecting themselves with God’s gift of faith so they can train our senses, including our eyes, to discern the presence of God whom they have to see, hear, taste, etc. Our senses just cannot be on their own. They need to be guided by our intelligence and will that in turn should be enlightened by faith.
When one has faith, even if it is just little, we can actually see the marvels of God taking place all around us everyday. Our eyes can see God everywhere. It is faith that lets us enter into the spiritual and supernatural world. It brings us to share in God’s wisdom and power. Remember those stirring words of Christ: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from there, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you.” ((Mt 17,20)
It is faith that tells us that God is present everywhere, and more than that, he is actually and abidingly intervening in our lives, since he is still creating and redeeming us through the ordinary events and circumstances of our life. In other words, God speaks and shows his will to us through the all the things that comprise our day. It’s when we fail to realize this truth that we truly become blind.
This is a truth of faith that we should be constantly aware of, so we can do our part in corresponding to God’s actions on us. We need to train all our faculties and powers, including our senses, especially our eyes, to capture that basic reality of our life.