In today's Gospel passage, we read about the blind beggar at the roadside (Luke 18: 35 - 41). His faith opened his eyes to Christ, and he called out to Him - against the rebukes of the world. The people who led the way told him to be quiet. "To whom are you crying? He will not hear you!" - they said to him.
We often feel like this blind beggar when we pray, and after some time, we begin to doubt if the Lord hears us at all. If He does, why is He not responding? But we should not entertain such thoughts. They are wrong. We should continue to cry out to the Lord like the blind beggar did, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" How long? For one or five years, or maybe even for a decade. We should continue to call out without stopping; we should not believe the world that tries to make us think that our prayer will make no difference. It will. One day, the Lord will come to us and say, "You were saved by your faith."
Like the man born blind, we, too, are suffering from blindness. Man saw God in paradise. But he disobeyed God, and he was afraid. He sinned, disappeared from God's view, and went blind that moment on. Only children, perhaps, have kept some limited vision. Often, they have a better understanding of the world than many adults, who engage in deep philosophising and have the habit of dividing, distorting and ultimately, defiling everything that comes their way.
The proverbial blind man sits at the roadside. People who claim they can see pass him by. The blind man calls out to Christ, and others think he is mad. Blind people who believe they have normal vision and the sick who deny their sickness say that it is the blind man who is sick. They take for mad those who give up their private gain and live for another. They are convinced that the blind man has a problem, some unresolved psychological trauma, some personal tragedy. For example, it is widely believed that people who join a monastery do so because of some drama in their lives – an unhappy romance or some other trouble. Supposedly, people forsake the world when they have lost the taste for life. The extent of people's blindness can be amazing. Has not it ever occurred to them that the Lord may have touched His sick, reckless and unfortunate child and opened His eyes and that he, like the blind man in the Gospel, has followed Jesus praising the Lord?
The Lord is knocking on everybody's door; all we need to do is bow and embrace Him into our lives. He calls on us to humble ourselves and become the last. He wants to follow Him to save our immortal soul, not to advance ourselves among the mortals. We do not need worldly glory. It is all a chasing after the wind - for we already have our precious title - right-believing Christians.
How many are we in this whole wide world? There is only a handful of us who go to church and worship. A bitter struggle is underway for every human being and their immortal soul. People can start bitter fights over land or some article of wealth - all ultimately worthless. Imagine then how intense the war for our souls must be! Our enemy will go to any length to outwit and misguide us.
In this harsh struggle, we all need help, and we receive it in the Holy Church. We give thanks to our Lord for letting us partake of His love. Love is a gift of God, not our personal achievement. When we are on our own, it takes us a whole life to learn to love our neighbour, but we still cannot do it. We cannot emulate Christ who prayed for His killers, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34). But the Christian saints could. Saint Athanasius of Brest, martyred for his faith by the Uniats, prayed for his killers. Now, there is an example of a Christian attitude.
The love of God should live in our hearts. Do not change it for any worldly trifle. Place it in the centre of your life, seek the peace within, and thousands of people will be saved around you. It is time to make the journey from living according to the laws of the world to living by God's grace. No worldly law is perfect, as it was written by imperfect people. But the law of His grace is straightforward: love Love Love the Lord your God with all your heart and, love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Luke 10:27). So let us pass on to our loved ones the love that we all received today.
May God save and protect us. O, Lord! Glory to You!
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