29 December 2008

Spiritual Blindness

Just as the darkness of night can make it difficult for us to see where we are going on an unlit road, so the spiritual darkness of hatred, anger or jealousy can blind us to the places where the Lord wishes to lead our hearts. In today's first reading, St. John tells us that "whoever hates his brother is in darkness." Harboring feelings of hate, revisiting memories which provoke us to feel angry or enviously resenting the good fortune of others are all recipes for a spiritual fender-bender -- or worse! Negative energy blinds us to the presence of the Lord in our hearts. It turns our thoughts and concerns in on ourselves and, as a result, we become insensitive to the needs of those around us. Today's Gospel gives us an example of what can happen when we resist the temptation toward negativity. We learn that it had been revealed to Simeon "by the Holy Spirit" that he would not die before he saw the Messiah. Only one who is not caught in the snares of spiritual blindness can be poised to receive such good news from the Holy Spirit.

Certainly we are not in the same position as Simeon, awaiting the birth of Israel's Messiah. But we, too, must keep ourselves open to the Lord's message in our lives. The Lord continues to speak to the hearts of those who seek Him. In the little everyday matters which might tempt us to cultivate negative thoughts, let us ask the Lord for the grace to put aside all that is negative and all that will impede our ability to be open to the Lord's voice in our hearts.

"If I am beset with pride or anger, I must above all else strive to cultivate humility and gentleness, and I must turn all my religious exercises,—prayer, sacraments, prudence, constancy, moderation, to the same object."
St. Francis de Sales

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