Blinded By Christ For Our Own Spiritual Benefit

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Saint Paul was an enemy of Christ who went from house to house arresting Christians. He held the clothes of those who stoned Saint Stephen to death. He was 100% committed to routing out Christians and either driving them out or exterminating them.

What happened? On his travels the Lord appears to him inquiring as to why Paul was persecuting him. For when we persecute Christians we persecute Christ Himself and the gifts He has laid upon them if any. Saul (for he was not yet called Paul) becomes blinded by the light of the Lord after the experience and cannot see for three days. It is not until he meets with anaias is his sight once restored under command of the Lord.

All of us may not have had the exact experience Paul had, but we can be sure that similar happens to us. When we become converted by the Lord sometimes we are already blind. At other times the conversion blinds us throwing us into a sort of darkness because until we get for ourselves a spiritual guide, we remain blinded. In Pauls blindness he had all those three days in the darkness of which he contemplates the light he saw, the voice he heard and to meditate upon his own weakness and need for a cure.

Saint Pauls conversion is similar to our own for when we approach Christ we experience our very own three days of darkness. It may not be literally three days but many days are spent in this sort of darkness where we feel our way through the streets of our own sinfulness and ignorance. Once the Lord has seen we’ve had enough of this, he calls upon the Church (our spiritual guide) or Holy member thereof to come and lay their hands upon our eyes that we may see ourselves and Christ with a form of clarity.

When a spiritual father has been established and an Orthodox Christian begins to lay aside his own Will, then his darkness is over. And many of us, lacking the appropriate guidance will endure this darkness (which is not altogether a bad thing as I will soon explain) until such a discovery is made. The problem with the darkness is that we may feel our way and bump into the wrong thing, then the right thing, then again we fall down a hole. Why? Because there’s no real guidance during this period.

At times we do not always have the Holy Spirit telling us where to go, and so through our experiences, especially the bad ones, we ourselves begin to seek out someone who can cure us of this darkness. Christ himself is the illuminating source of this transition from Darkness to light and His Church and members the arms and legs through whom he uses to perform this action.

Not that he needs them and can accomplish this without them but because it gives him great joy to use the Church he established and her members to accomplish His will. And that is the good thing about the Darkness is that in the midst of this confusion we are eventually brought to the light so long as we persevere and don’t despair. Yes, the darkness is for our own benefit provided we struggle through it. For just as external silence helps prepare us for an appropriate disposition through prayer, so too does the Grace of Gods Divine Darkness prepare us to receive the light.

Then like Saul transitioned to “Paul” we too have such a conversion that it not only radically changes our being but even our name that is how strong it becomes. The metanoia (Greek for change of heart) must be so extreme that even the Church members, clergy and laity must find us a hindrance. We must be hated by everyone and if we are not, then it signifies we remain the dark and have not yet been exposed to the light of who we are nor have we laid aside our own Will and adopted the Will of God.

Yes, Many people open their eyes in the morning to the darkness. Many people get married in the dark, go to work in the dark, watch T.V in the dark. Many priests say Mass in the dark, bless peoples houses in the dark without every waking up. Lets be like Saint Paul and accept our own weakness. Lets listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to find ourselves a guide, either personally or in the writings of the fathers. Then, once awakened by the light of the Lord and our intellects have been cleansed from all stain of ignorance, we can take the Gospel message to the world as Saint Paul did and do so standing in the light where it makes more sense.

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