Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bishop Mefody on the Sunday of the Blind Man


Here follows my translation of two brief sermons by Bishop Mefody of Campanie
I.
Christ is Risen! Let us imagine that a speck fell into the eye of one of us. The eye is sore, secretes tears, sees badly. If left unattended it could cause blindness. Normally, just how we would strive to remove this speck, washing the eye, asking for the help of others – only in order to see better. And if one happens to go blind, just how much effort and means we would use only in order to see. And if it were possible, we would be treated not only for months, but for years.

The same feeling makes someone who feels that he is going blind spiritually, and wants to see. He does not regret either time or money for this.

What contributes to our spiritual sight?

Prayer - simple, from the heart, at least in one’s own words.

Visiting the church of God, where if one does not oneself, at least others pray for you.

The reading of the Word of God and spiritual books, especially Lives [of saints], where we meet not with theological arguments, but with actual examples of Christian life.

Talking to people of a spiritual life.

Virtuous action.

The grace of the Holy Spirit, abiding everywhere and especially conveyed to us in the Mysteries.

A careful attitude towards life, to people, and to nature.

Patience and humility especially contribute to spiritual vision.

All this brings us closer to God, renews, cleanses; but it all requires of us some work and effort. But if the eyes of our soul are sick or if we are blind, do not be afraid of this work and attention, so that if you do not get better, at least you will not go blind. After all, these efforts will bring us closer to the Light of Truth.

II.
These days, when a terrible spiritual confusion and distrust of spiritual authority more frequently is greater than ever, one should resort to the Word of God. It must be our unshakeable rock, authority, guide. And one should read it with simplicity, confidence, and attention.

What, for example, does the Gospel about the healing of the blind man teach us? What are some questions from our contemporary life that are answered here?

All of us, from time to time, grow confused over the issue of the causes of human misery and unhappiness. We can still agree and can understand them when they are a means to correct a sinner. But why do they sometimes fall on the head of a man of God, a good man, perhaps even a righteous man?

And the Word of God gives the answer to this. There was a man blind from birth: why did this disaster befell him? Why did this man suffer? Is it possible to be a sinner before one’s birth? And the Lord answers: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of Gd should be made manifest in him." [Jn 9:3] And the Lord, spitting on the ground, made clay and anointed the eyes of the blind man, and healed him. This means that there are cases when grief comes to us not to harm us, not for our sins of our parents, but to glorify the Lord and, consequently, for our enlightenment from the Light of Christ on us sinners.

But we find more than an answer concerning afflictions and suffering in the narrative of this miracle. It often comes to mind to wonder why we have all these external things in our spiritual life. Is it not a late and unnecessary accumulation for the spiritual life of man? Is not it better to turn away from all the external forms? And the Word of God answers this with the Lord’s example. Why did God make the clay, why did he anointed the eyes of the blind man, why did he send the unfortunate one to wash in the pool of Siloam? Could it be that He was unable to do this by His word alone? And if he did not do this, then, obviously, because He condescended to the weakness of man, to the weakness of our faith, and gave us the image of the external order, united with spiritual grace.

A careful reader of God's Word will always open it to more and more new gems that serve to embellish and explain our lives. We are all blind spiritual, and the Word of God enlightens us. So let us not only to have it, but read it and use it as it sends us divine guidance from on high. Amen.

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