49 Views no discussions Share Sharing is caring! FaithLifestyle Blind with eyes open (Jn. 9:1-41) by: – April 5, 2011 Tweet Share Share By: Father Henry Charles Ph.dPhoto credit: riverblindness.orgSomeone once asked Helen Keller, who was blind from the age of nineteen months, if blindness was the worst thing that could befall a person. She answered that the worst thing that could happen to a person was not to lose their sight but to lose their vision.The Gospel today is focused on the blindness that Jesus cured, but the blind man cured is not the only blind figure in the passage. The Pharisees who are equally central figures are blind in another sense, not simply spiritually but wilfully. They don’t see what they don’t want to see.What confronts them is a clear instance of God’s doing – someone blind now clearly able to see – but they refuse to acknowledge this. Why? Because they’re against Jesus, the one responsible for the miracle. Anybody with eyes can see what’s in front of them, the erstwhile blind man tells them; but they can’t bring themselves to do this. Why? Because it turns their presumptions upside down, and detracts from their standing in their own eyes. Rather than make the obvious admission, they choose to remain blind.This is wilful blindness, as I say, and we should all recognize something of it in ourselves. Often when we are confronted by some novel view, our reaction is not to examine the matter but to respond in a way that says in effect: I do not want to be disturbed by anything that upsets my universe. Why are you bringing up things like that? I was quite content, at peace till you started. Why can’t you keep your views to yourself?What we perceive as a threat not just to our standing (as with the Pharisees), but to our interpretation of the world, our basic view of things, makes us quick to remain blind and defend our blindness. It’s more comfortable to be wrong in thinking than to be at sea, not knowing what to think.How does someone who thinks they’re seeing clearly but are actually blind, come to acknowledge their true state? Hardly through persuasion. When the will stubbornly says no, reason can be quite powerless. When our insecurities are exposed, the most natural thing to do is not to listen to the person pointing this out, but to reject the bearer of bad news. We choose to remain blind.The clearest breakthrough in situations like that comes only through conversion. All conversion stories have one thing in common, when the person in the moment recognizes their true state: I was blind, but now I see. Which means that you couldn’t have convinced me otherwise, before I came to this point. I would have insisted that I saw. NOW I see that I was blind.What conversion does in other words is break through our defences. It forces the scales to fall from our eyes; it reveals our tendency to self-deception, to be selective and self-serving, to keeping truth at some distance from ourselves. Conversion brings us face to face with all of this. It’s a humbling moment, when we see ourselves without blinders.This will happen to many people during the course of this Lent. They will go to a mission, for instance, not thinking very much about anything, and suddenly something the preacher says, or a hymn is sung at exactly the right moment, and suddenly they’re standing with all their defences exposed. What they become aware of is what was there all the time, only they didn’t see it. They were blind with their eyes open.The next best thing to conversion is being honest in how you pray. We should keep asking for light, guidance, and wisdom. Such a prayer means that you may be in darkness, if not now, at some other time; you may need to find your way, perhaps more clearly now, and you always need the ability to discern truth from fiction in your decisions and judgements. Perseverance in praying honestly is a sure path to genuine self-discovery. It’s a form of continual presence before God, with open hands and heart.