Lowcountry Catholic

Reflections on the Catholic faith and prayer, with a Southern flair.

My mother was nearsighted and the condition of her eyes worsened over time. By her death, she was legally blind. I began wearing glasses as a teenager after a year of struggling to see the blackboard at school. Annually, I go to the optometrist to get my eyes checked.

Eyesight is one of those things people take for granted until something disrupts it. Then, we’ll wear glasses and contact lenses. We’ll even undergo medical procedures. We’ll do everything we can to go back to normal or as close as we can make it.

Spiritual Sight

Physical eyesight, though, is not the only kind. There is also spiritual eyesight. Spiritual eyesight allows us to see God’s will and to see His light. We can do His work and grow in His love. However, whenever we sin, our eyesight dims. Mortal sin blinds us altogether.

Instead of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, we have priests. Through the sacrament of Confession, our sight is restored. Through prayer and fasting, we can keep our eyesight strong. Prayer isn’t a long monologue at the ceiling but a sincere lifting of the heart to God. Fasting isn’t just going without food (that’s dieting) but saying to God, “You are more important than a meal or this television show or that luxury.” Another excellent practice is reading saints lives and spiritual works.

For example, St. Therese of Lisieux prized The Imitation of Christ. St. Ignatius was converted and began developing his rules of spiritual discernment after reading saints lives while convalescing from a severe leg injury sustained in battle. Reading The Third Spiritual Alphabet was a turning-point in the life of St. Teresa of Avila The point is, never discount the power of a book written under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

So, don’t just take care of your eyes. Take care of your soul. Don’t let Confession be a yearly, before-Easter visit, but a monthly trip. Your fasting shouldn’t be an arbitrary “giving up chocolate” during Lent. Don’t confine your spiritual reading to browsing your parish bulletin. Drink deep from the fountain of grace. Let God open your eyes and grant you clarity of sight.

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