Faith cures our blindness

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S what the story of the blind man, Bartimaeus, teaches us. (cfr. Mk 10,46-52) As the gospel narrates, when he heard that Christ was passing by, he immediately called for Christ. In spite of being told by Christ’s disciples not to disturb Christ, he just went on calling for Christ.

And that was when Christ asked the disciples to bring Bartimaeus to him. When Christ asked the blind man what he wanted, he unhesitatingly said, “Master, I want to see.” And that was when he gained his sight, with Christ telling him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Like Bartimaeus, we have to acknowledge our blindness and humbly beg Christ for a cure by repeating Bartimaeus’ words, “Master, I want to see” (ut videam). (Mk 10,51) That’s because even though we may enjoy good vision at the moment, we have to realize that to be able to see things properly and completely, we simply do not rely on our eyes nor any of our senses.

Our eyes and senses can only capture a little part of the whole reality that governs us. They can only perceive what are called the sensible realities, still light-years away from the intelligible, not to mention the spiritual and supernatural aspects of reality.

Still, what they get and gather are very useful and in fact are indispensable, since the data they give are like the raw material that will be processed by our more powerful faculties of intelligence and will. In this sense we can already consider ourselves as suffering from some kind of blindness.

We need to be more aware that nowadays there is a strong tendency to base our knowledge of things mainly on the material and sensible realities alone. That’s why we have these disturbing phenomena of materialism and commercialism comprising our mainstream world of knowledge and understanding. We miss the more important spiritual and supernatural realities.

And so, we should just go to Christ to gain our proper vision of things. Regardless of how others may restrain us from getting the attention of Christ, as what happened to that blind man, we should just insist, fearlessly and shamelessly, in asking Christ for a cure. Christ will always attend to us, no matter how disturbing we may appear to him according to our human standards.

But first of all, we should be like that blind man, acknowledging our own blindness. Yes, we are all blind, even if we may be gifted already with immense knowledge of things because of our studies and experiences.

In fact, we can say that we are more blind the more knowledge of things we seem to accumulate, because this latter status usually sheds some light that blinds us rather than clarifies things for us. It tends to take us away from God rather than lead us to him.

Let’s hope that we can echo what is attributed to Socrates, i.e., that “the more I know, the more I realize that I know nothing.” These Socratic words somehow also find basis on some words of St. Paul who said: “The one who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Cor 8,2).

And that’s because a knowledge that is not guided or enlightened by faith is a knowledge that does not lead to charity. It leads to pride, vanity and arrogance instead. Again, St. Paul in this regard said: “Knowledge puffs up, but charity builds up.” (1 Cor 8,1) It’s a blindness that prides itself of seeing things perfectly.