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Spiritual blindness

I know of a priest whose weakness was drinking. He developed peptic ulcer; it became so bad that the ulcerous portion of his stomach was removed surgically. Unfortunately that didn’t deter him from drinking.

He developed bleeding ulcer again. He was operated on, leaving only one-fourth of his stomach.

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His doctor told him, “Father, if you still continue to drink, I’m sorry to say but that will be the end!” (It’s funny because it was now a doctor sermonizing a priest!).

The “sermon” proved effective. The priest made a resolution never to touch alcoholic drink anymore.

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He fulfilled his promise and today, he is still alive and healthy. The cleric was once blind to his weakness but the prospect of a dire consequence jolted him to wake up.

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In the gospel of this 4th Sunday of Lent, we encounter people who, like that priest, are blind (read Jn 9,1-41). They are two kinds: one who is physically blind and people who are spiritually blind; one who wants to see and people who refuse to see.

Of the latter Jesus, who’s referring to the Pharisees, says, “They have eyes but do not see.”

These self-righteous religious leaders could not see because of hubris, an extreme form of pride, which thinks it knows all the answers.

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We are in some ways like the blind Pharisees? For instance, in arguments we insist we’re right when it’s clearly the opposite; all because we think it’s weakness to yield or accept the truth. Or, there are husbands and wives who choose to remain in the dark about what’s wrong with their marriage instead of seeking help or counseling because of amor propio.

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With respect to graduations held nowadays, there are parents who cannot accept their child graduated “salutatorian only.” So they raise hell contesting over a .01% difference with the valedictorian’s grade.

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Pride is the worst of all sins. It is the sin that makes a man feel that he is better than others, and that he doesn’t need help from anyone.

The proud man also feels that God is not necessary in his life. Remember the huge British ship Titanic? Its builder claimed: “Not Even God can sink this ship!” In 1912 when it started its maiden Atlantic voyage to the USA, it struck a large piece of iceberg which sank it to its watery grave. As the biblical Proverb puts it: “Pride goes before the fall!”

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The gospel lesson, as exemplified by the blind man, is: we need self-acceptance, self-knowledge. That requires humility–humility to accept you need help and humility to COOPERATE with God’s grace. In order to grow spiritually, humility is needed.

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May the season of Lent help us to eradicate our spiritual blindness, see our limitations and accept our weaknesses so we can be cured and grow spiritually.

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INDIGENT SICK. There are some indigent sick, like Fr. Ruben Mamuad, SVD, Dante Cabansag who have renal failure, we are supporting. While medical consultations are free, they don’t have money to buy expensive medicines. How about reaching out to them as part of your Lenten act of charity?

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For inquiries, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com. (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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