"Brothers and sisters:
I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want . . ." Romans 7: 18-25A
St. Paul, like the blind person in this picture, was blind, as I am often blind. I am not talking about physical blindness right now, but about the inner blindness that acknowledges that I do have temptations in my life which take hold of me and lead me away from the good I know I am created to do. I can be interiorly blind for my entire life, if I am not sensitive to God's grace working in me and around me. St. Augustine said this another way in his Confessions:
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
It is a great grace from God to know that I am blind and need God's help to see. It is a gift from God to know myself so well that I stop denying that I am sinful. This does not mean that I am not good. It means that I am human and like the greatest of saints, Paul, Augustine, John Paul II, and saints-on-the-way, Blessed Celine, Blessed Alice and Venerable Mother Hedwig, I need to let God brake through my deafness and help me to see. When God does this I am moved to say "Thanks be to God!"
I will try not to be discouraged when I sin or give in to temptations that seem to plague me. This is my road to holiness. This is my way of carrying my personal cross. My temptations and sins are mine and not yours and vice-versa. Isn't that what Pope Francis is saying when he calls us to the coming Year of Mercy? Perhaps we can all learn the true meaning of his often quoted "Who am I to judge?" and grow in mercy towards ourselves and others. Lord, may our eyes be opened more and more as you continue to draw us to Yourself.