Three years ago, I went for a routine eye exam. When asked to cover my left eye and read the chart only with the right, I was stunned to find that I couldn’t see the giant E at the top. I was almost blind in my right eye. I didn’t realize because my left eye did a great job compensating for the deficit.
Isn’t that what happens with our faith journey sometimes? We think that we are seeing clearly, but fail to recognize spiritual blind spots. We are “blind guides” when we are legalistic and lack compassion. We can’t see because wooden beam in our eyes, yet we criticize someone with only a splinter. Matthew 7:3
Throughout the gospels, our Lord uses sight as a metaphor for faith. In Mark 10:52, after curing a blind man, Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.
Simply put, faith is seeing the truth of Jesus, and acting on it by following him.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in paragraph 1814: Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.”
I left the Catholic Church for more 30 years. Relativism and sin distorted my vision of the truth. As a poorly catechized product of the 1960s and 70s, the Church seemed out of step with modern times. I never had real faith; just a sentimental loyalty to cultural Catholicism to please my mother.
Mom’s death planted seeds that led to my unlikely reversion to Catholicism, less than a year later. She collapsed at her 75th birthday party following a lovely dinner in an upscale restaurant with the whole family. Doctors brought her body back, but her brain had died. The next day, my dad and sisters surrounded her deathbed, where we prayed and watched for hours as the monitors slowed and finally stopped.
I was angry at God for taking my mother so suddenly and in such a traumatic way. In the months that followed, I gradually came to see mercy in the details although I still couldn’t see God’s providence at work.
- After dinner, my brother-in-law took the children outside for a walk. They didn’t see how scared she was or our panic and helplessness.
- Mom regained consciousness just long enough to tell her oldest granddaughter, “I love you.” Those were her last words.
- Being on life support gave us time to make sure that Mom received Anointing of the Sick. She did not die alone.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28