We are Blind to God’s Hidden Holiness

Lent 4 Friday

John 9:39-41

“Jesus said: “I have come into this world for judgment so that those who do not see become seeing, while those who see become blind.” And some Pharisees heard this and said to him: “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them: “If you were blind, you would be without sin, but now that you say, ‘We are seeing,’ your sin remains.””


This applies to all the gifts a man may have. Those who think of themselves as learned are not learned before God. And those who do not know this will be in very bad shape in God’s judgment, as St. Paul says to the Philippians, 2:6-8. … Perceive, dear friends of Christ, how excellent these verses of St. Paul are. We are all supposed to be equal. For Paul does not say that Christ was a mere man, but that he was a man in whom is the form of God, that is, might, honor, righteousness, wisdom, goodness, chastity; who never did anything bad, who is full of all virtue, also according to the human nature; who wanted to be like us, not like God; who was unlike Lucifer who wanted to grab God’s image; who was unlike the proud who look down on their neighbor to the point of barely being able to recognize him, like the locusts. This is what Christ did not do. He set aside the form of God and was found in the form of man, in the flesh of sin, although he never sinned, being unable to sin. This is why he became a fool, a mockery, a scorn, the derision of all the people; he bore the misfortune of us all, and all the titles of our poverty are found in him. And he did that so that we would follow him freely. Now, all this means: If you find the form of God in you, that is, the title of the gifts, as was said before, do not become proud, but throw yourself to the ground and firmly believe that you are the least in the whole world. And this must take place if you are to enter heaven, no matter whether it happens willingly or unwillingly. Thus, Christ’s works are words. This is why he is correct who says: “Those who do not see God’s hidden holiness are blind;” and this is why the man in this gospel is nothing but a figure of that other blindness that takes place in the soul. Augustine explains why all this is said and how it came about: It is because of Adam’s transgression. The devil said to him, Genesis 3:5: “Your eyes will be opened and you will know evil and good as God.” O you evildoer, rogue, and traitor! See how he wants to lead them into the form of God when he says: “Your eyes will be opened,” that is, they will become blind. Before this, their eyes were closed, but after the fall, they are opened. It follows that man has two sets of eyes, his own eyes and God’s eyes. To be sure, both sets of eyes, inner and outer eyes, are God’s eyes – in fact, also all our members and all that is in us are God’s instruments and tools, and not ours, if they are ruled by God. But they are ours when we are left by God. That is the eye that offends. That eye we are to pluck out, as Christ says, and throw away. This is also why we prefer to look at things that are pretty, clean, well-formed, such as gold, silver; that we prefer a young Maggie or a young Johnny over an old wife or an old John. And this is the trap that deceives our senses, as is written in Genesis about Adam. This is how our eyes are opened, that is, we have become completely blind, so that we, as has been said, consider the appearance good, while we consider poverty, deformity, etc. bad. The devil taught this to us – and these are also his eyes.


St. Louis ed., 12:1307-1309.

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