“Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him’” (John 9:3).
Just as spiritual blindness can be far more devastating than the loss of physical sight, so having our vision of God’s grace restored can bring healing far beyond the physical. We see hope where once we knew only despair, and more than that we see new ways to communicate that hope to others. We see light instead of darkness, and in that light we discover a side of ourselves that we thought we had lost. We look with new eyes on the people around us and see how they, too, are children of God.
One of Francis’s greatest works is his “Canticle of the Creatures.” Francis wrote it late in his life. He was nearly blind from an eye disease acquired on his missionary travels. He could no longer see any of the natural delights that he had enjoyed throughout his life. In the midst of darkness and suffering, he praised light and joy. The paradox of our Christian life will always be that only through death do we obtain eternal life. If we begin with that belief as our firm foundation, we can follow Christ and his saints in turning the sadness and struggles of our lives into a means of praising God in our hearts, even if our minds take a little longer to understand.
—from the book Lent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections
by Diane M. Houdek
1 thought on “Learning to See”
One can say that if only St. Francis didn’t travel so much, then he never would have gone blind. But then, St. Francis was never one to live in fear, either. Nevertheless, St. Francis continued to live with the physical blindness that befell him. I would think such blindness to be worse than death. But he had his network of friends to sustain him, so in that respect it was bearable, I guess, until he eventually died. He died young.