When they saw a man who was blind from birth, Jesus` disciples ask him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.”
The Kingdom of God and life itself is a mystery. Some people are born handicapped, some live their entire lives in poverty, while others seem to experience the best that this world has to offer. How do these extremes and everything in between, manifest the works of God?
For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, and hearts that are willing to be converted, the grace of God can bring transformation and sometimes healing to the most extreme circumstances. No matter who we are, or what our life experiences have been, there will always be someone who has had it more difficult than us, and were yet able to be witnesses of the transforming power of God’s grace.
In a certain way we can say that we were all born blind. We all need the cleansing waters of baptism to wash over us so that we can receive the light of Christ and to become a member of his body, which is the Church. In baptism we all receive the theological gifts of faith, hope and charity as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we must personally choose to believe, and then to act on what we believe.
Christ is present in his Church; in his Word, in the sacraments, in his teachings, and in his witnesses. Through the Church, Jesus gives us what we need for the circumstances of our lives.
At the beginning of Lent, when ashes were placed on our foreheads, we heard the words, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.” The ashes are an outward sign that we know we need to make some changes; that we need to repent of our sins so that we can enter more deeply into a personal relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for us. We need the season of Lent to remind us that once again we must make an effort to break free from the things that distract us from God’s plan for us.
It is natural for us to want to hold on to unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, envy, hatred, etc., but all these cause spiritual blindness and destroy relationships, and can even lead to poor health.
When we refuse to give in to all of these things which cause spiritual blindness and we seek Christ’s help through the sacraments; then the works of God are made manifest.
At first it may seem that living this life close to God is too difficult, but what are the other options? I guess most of us have tried the other options and experienced their emptiness.
Many of the saints that we are familiar with, such as St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis and St. Augustin went down this path as well in the beginning. Some had everything that the world has to offer, but were only able to find their fulfillment in their relationship with Christ. Their example has been an inspiration for countless others to turn to Christ.
It is amazing how many people wait until they reach the point of desperation before they call out to God for help. It would be better for us and the people we love and for the whole Body of Christ if we would call out to Him now instead of waiting because He wants to make a difference in our lives right now. There is no convenient time to surrender our lives to the Lord. We all must at some time say, “Jesus, I want you to be the Lord of my life, please give me the grace to be faithful to you.” We are not going to be able to enter into heaven until we surrender our lives to the Lord, and the sooner we make that decision, the sooner we begin experiencing the peace and joy that is the fruit of an intimate relationship with the Lord.
It was St. Augustine who once said, “Our hearts are restless O`Lord, until they rest in you.”
Truly, Jesus longs to transform our lives with his healing presence, but we must have eyes that are willing to see; ears that are willing to hear; and hearts that are willing to be converted. It is the only way we can reach our potential for happiness in this life and for all eternity.