Today is the Sunday of the blind man and the gospel passage refers to the event of the curing of the blind man, as the content of the troparia also refer to this event.
If we gather all our thought, all our self, our heart to this day, the Sunday of the blind man, and especially now that we are inside the church, inside the worship, inside the mystery of the Divine Eucharist, I think that a miracle will take place in our soul and we will leave not as we came, but changed.
Of course, we say this often. It may become a habit and a habit is the worst thing. One may hear the most stunning things, the most shaking things, fearful things may be occurring around him, being pushed together, if we can speak thus, many things may enter his soul, and a person on account of habit may not be understanding anything, not taking notice. And it would be a shame, if once more we remain simply in our usual action. We came up to the church, there, to be liturgized, and to leave. It would be a shame if that which is able to occur doesn’t occur in our soul, which must occur and which the Lord wants to occur.
The Lord is Light and gives light. As he says here to his disciples “When I am in the world, I am light of the world”. Now that I am in the world here, I am the light of the world.
We are in the church at this time, we are in this great mystery. The Lord is with us. The Lord is our doctor, he is light and wants to give us this light, he wants to cure us. The Lord is not darkness. He is light and he gives light. He is a doctor and he gives the cure.
We see here, as always this is customary, the disciples ask the Lord who sinned. “Did his parents sin and this person was born blind or did he himself sin?” and the Lord categorically says neither he nor his parents, “but that the works of God may be revealed in him”. It is a circumstance, an event, God allowed it thus, so that at this time the work of God may be revealed, all the power of God may appear, that the Lord can cure a man born blind, furthermore, so simply.
He spits down on the ground, he makes a little mud and anoints the eyes with the mud. Are eyes cured with mud?
At this time how much we understand it of course, how much we don’t understand it, is another matter. At this time here inside the church, inside the mystery we are meeting with the Lord. The matter is not so much: did we sin, did we not sin, who is to blame, who is not to blame and each one of us are whatever we are. That which matters is that the Lord is present, the Lord is Light, the Lord is a doctor, he can give to each one precisely that which he is missing. To cure, in other words, our soul, to enlighten our soul, for us to feel, to sense, live that which neither can we conceive, nor can we express, because we don’t have experience of what it means to be delivered of sin, what it means to be cured from sin, what it means for God to enlighten you, for the darknesses which man has to leave and for the light of God to come. However the Lord is able to do it and he wants to do it. We see here the Lord decides to do something like that to the blind man and he does it. The only thing we have from the viewpoint of the blind man is that he accepts. He accepts for the Lord to anoint his eyes with the clay. He tells him: “Go to wash at the pool of Siloam”. He goes without protesting. Here the matter seems very simple – and it is from one viewpoint – it seems also to be an easy thing, yes. But let man not be overcome by stubbornness, let him not be overcome by reaction, neither does he do this. He doesn’t accept some certain intervention of the Lord, as here when He anoints his eyes with mud. He doesn’t accept to go up to somewhere. “Go to the pool of Siloam and be cured,”, and the blind man goes here. That which ruins the whole matter is man’s stubbornness, man’s reaction. And naturally one doesn’t react by chance and doesn’t become stubborn by chance.
One feels that, if he accepts the Lord to heal him, he must now become the Lord’s, to belong to the Lord and one does not want this, he prefers his autonomy and so man remains unfortunately uncured. So he doesn’t ask from the blind man not even this faith this time, as in other cases. In other cases we know that the Lord’s sought faith to give his Grace, to give his blessing, to give the cure. Here he doesn’t even ask for this. Of course, as God he knows that these things exist. And precisely as he said, neither did he sin nor his parents and everything happened for the works of God to be revealed, and the Lord intervenes based simply on the receptivity. Just as we baptize the little children and this miracle occurs which the baptism does, even though they are not seeking anything, nor saying anything, nor do they know anything, based simply on the receptivity which they have, they don’t react, in other words. I suppose that you know this, that there isn’t a reaction in the soul of the child, and since there isn’t a reaction, the Church baptizes the child without demanding his condescension, since he is not able.
The stubborn reaction chases God away. This is the big topic. The Lord will not examine how sinful we are, how much we aren’t, if this occurred, if that occurred. Behold we are before him, he is before us, he meets us inside the church, he meets us inside the mystery he wants to cure our eyes and he is able to cure us. What happens however from the viewpoint of man? Does he accept or react? I from what I know, confess, witness if you wish, repeatedly I saw that wherever there isn’t a reaction and thus simply and humbly one accepts, without quirks and peculiarities, he hands himself over to God, accepts God’s intervention, yes, God intervenes and does a miracle in this soul.
Thus not simply do we suppose it happens thus, I personally saw it many times happening thus or if you wish, as many times as there wasn’t a reaction, thus it happened. So for this reason also taking cause from this event of the blind man, the Lord associates this whole matter with those words which he says and which are at the end of this passage (John 9:39). So the Lord says “Unto judgment I came to this world, so that those not seeing may see and those seeing may become blind”. So simple, so simple are matters. That which I was previously saying, it is one such thing. When, in other words, one is humbled and takes inside him such an attitude before God: “I don’t know anything, my God, I don’t know anything”. And it is not so much a matter of words, for one to say it with words. It is to feel this inside him. It is a work which God again prepares. It is not something which one can make on his own, to feel, in other words, thus simply – simply that “my God, I am nothing, if you do not have mercy on me”. Just as the Lord found this blind man, whereas the Lord knows his heart, he approaches him and without asking for anything, he cures him. So the Lord knows which souls are simple, which souls accept him to help them to be humbled, they accept him to help them to repent, they accept him to help them to feel that “what am I, my Lord? What am I? If you have mercy on me I will be whatever you will do with me. If you won’t have mercy on me…”
The Lord knows which souls accept and, if we are allowed to say, make this preparation and the miracle follows. Truly, in other words, truly the person is made graceful who doesn’t project resistance, who does not have haughtiness, does not have egotism, who humbles himself before God, takes matters simply, truly he is graced. He has the Grace of God, he has the light of God.
Truly man is cured, he becomes – only he who wants to live it knows – the miracle occurs inside his soul.
By Archimandrite Symeon Krayiopoulos
Translated by Fr. Nicholas Palis from Πειραϊκή Ἑκκλησία.