Elder Cleopa on Spiritual blindness
(…) Let’s now turn to the word “spiritual blindness”. We all had seen blind people, either from birth or accidents or as a result of other severe illnesses. Whenever we see a blind we sense sympathy, been sometimes moved to tears; that he cannot walk alone, nor that he is able to see the sky, or the sun, or the beauty of flowers (…)
However, much heavier and more worthy of tears is the blindness of man’ mind and heart, of his will and of his consciousness. For the soul is more precious than the body. As our Savior had saith: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8, 36-37). Spiritual blindness is one of the weightiest diseases of the soul – created by God for immortality – causing its death and eternal condemnation. And so the healing of this illness is of a much grater difficulty and has more importance than the physical blindness.
And, what do we understand by spiritual blindness? What else than the darkness and enslavement of man soul through all kinds of spiritual and bodily sins; the pride of the mind, the hardness of heart, the weakening of man will and conscience, the unbelief, the doubt in the faith, the sectarianism and despair, the pride and suicide, the killing of body and soul, the killing of the unborn, the hate and the anger among people, divorce, fornication, lies, desire for wealth, stinginess, greediness, drunkenness, laziness and many others.
All sins sicken and drag the soul into blindness and apathy, and the body into heavy disease with no cure. And if we don’t renounce of those sins that enslave us, through repentance, confession and spiritual renewal, this spiritual blindness, as any disease, will lead to spiritual death and to condemnation of our soul to the torments of hell.
And so is the Christian man that renounces the faith and abandons the church founded by Christ and by His Holy Apostles and falls into all sorts of heresies – no other than a spiritually blinded man! How about the Christian who does not come to the holy churches for years, does not pray nor read holy books and postpones repentance and confession until the hour of his death; is he someone other than a sick and a blinded man?
And the man so called Christian who spends his time, his wealth and his health in earthly worries and deadly sins; what is he, if not a blind and an unfortunate soul? (…)
This earthly life is short, full of suffering and misleading, and the heavenly life is blessed and full of eternal bliss. Let us renounce the sins that blind and kill our soul and let us return to Christ. It is not enough to make the sing of the cross and say: “Lord, Lord!” For we need a spiritual and profound renewal of life. We are required to free the eyes of our soul from passions and to wash them off into the water of Siloam, through the bath of confession, and to follow Christ and His church established on this earth. Let us pray, be humble and reconciled with one another so by regularly attending church, doing charity and raise our children in the true faith and love of God, we may become good Christians and true sons of the Orthodox Church and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen. “
(Excerpts from Elder Cleopa’ Sermons, translated by EC)
Homily about the sin of those who assert that they can see
By St Nikolai Velimirovic in the Prolog from Ohrid
Motto: “If you were blind you would have no sin” (St. John 9:41).
These words were spoken to the Jews by Him Who gave them the Law through the prophets that the Law may serve them as the sight of the soul. The Jews received that sight but they closed their eyes intentionally and nefariously. That is why the Just Lord spoke these righteous words to them.
These words are true justice then, today and forever, for a blind man has no sin if he tramples someone else’s crop or if he removes someone else’s garment instead of his own. If he who has sight commits this, he will be committing a sin and will incur punishment. If he who has eyes, but intentionally closes his eyes and committed that, he also will be committing a sin and will incur punishment.
Nevertheless, what can be said about those who have received Baptism and Chrismation as the two eyes of the soul and, in spite of that, sin as those who are unbaptized? At the Last Judgment, they will not be treated as those who are born blind, rather they will be treated like transgressors who willfully disfigured and blinded themselves.
Still, what can be said about those who received the other Mysteries of Grace in the fullness of Orthodoxy and who have before them the examples of the saints and who constantly listen to the warnings and admonitions of God’s Church but, nevertheless, depart and go astray? At the Last Judgment, such will not be able to justify themselves with any type of blindness, rather they will be judged as transgressors who have disfigured themselves and others around them with blindness.
O awesome Lord, save us from sin. O merciful Lord, open our eyes to the path of salvation.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.