Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a blind man. The Lord asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replies, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus tells him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
Taking this story as their inspiration, many of the Fathers of the Church said that it is through Christ’s power and presence that we are able to see the world aright. The problem is that we pretend we are not sinners; we become blind to our blindness. Often the most important step in one’s spiritual development is an awakening to just how lost one is.
Dante’s Divine Comedy opens with the line: “Midway on the journey of our life I awoke to find myself alone and lost in a dark wood, having wandered from the straight path.” Dante’s adventure of the spirit, which will take him from hell to purgatory to heaven, can begin only when he wakes from a slumber of complacency and self-righteousness, only when he comes to the painful realization that he stands in need of grace.
The breakthrough of God’s grace is sometimes a harsh and dreadful thing, especially when it cracks open the defensive shell of our self-righteousness.