My thoughts (David Zier):
Seeing our own faults is not so easy. David in Psalm 19:12 says, “But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults” (NRSV). The Amplified Bible states it this way, “Who can discern [their own] lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden (and unconscious) faults.” The Contemporary English Version states it this way, “None of us know our faults. Forgive me when I sin without knowing it.”
When I read today’s parable, I don’t interpret it as saying that I am supposed to see everything perfectly. Jesus uses the image of eyesight to convey an important spiritual principle. Bad eyesight is often used as a metaphor for spiritual blindness. We all have room to grow, and God uncovers our spiritual blindness as we grow on our spiritual journey.
I see this parable as Jesus telling me that the “eye” (spiritual eye) is the window to the soul; the way light gets into the heart, mind, and inner being. How we “see” (spiritually) affects how we are inside; heart, mind, and soul. For example, self-conceit, jealousy, and prejudice destroy good judgment and blind us to the facts and their significance for us. Self-conceit makes us think we know all the answers and distorts our reality; jealousy makes us distrustful and suspicious of others and distorts our ability to examine accurately the facts; and prejudice blinds us from seeing what is and distorts our minds from seeing others clearly.
Have you ever prayed, “God, please remove spiritual blind spots so I see myself more clearly; the way you see me?” Isn’t that what David did in Psalm 19:12? If something is a blind spot, it remains hidden. But we can be like David and ask God to make known what is unknown, to clear us from hidden faults so they can be seen more clearly. How much are we willing to examine ourselves and know ourselves the way God does? Are we willing to do the hard work to understand why we act and respond the way we do? Am I willing to do the hard work to overcome the spiritual blindness I have and make self-correction?
Try this prayer: The Examen of Consciousness (From What Is Ignatian Spirituality? by David L. Fleming).
God, thank you. I thank you, God, for always being with me, but especially I am grateful that you are with me right now.
God, send your Holy Spirit upon me. God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and warm my heart that I may know where and how we have been together this day.
God, let me look at my day. God, where have I felt your presence, seen your face, heard your word this day? God, where have I ignored you, run from you, perhaps even rejected you this day? (Say what are you grateful for. Reflect on times you sensed God’s presence, times you ignored, ran, or rejected God, even unintentionally.)
God, let me be grateful and ask forgiveness and self-awareness. God, I thank you for the times this day we have been together and worked together. God, I am sorry for the ways that I have offended you by what I have done or what I did not do. (Help me to understand myself in these circumstances that happened . . . Why did I react in that way? What did I miss? Why did I not respond in love, forgiveness and kindness?)
God, stay close. God, I ask that you draw me ever closer to you this day and tomorrow. God, you are the God of my life. Thank you.
Looking inward to understand self better is something Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:28: “Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
Thought for the Day: Let us fearlessly examine ourselves so that God can help us remove blind spots in order to allow “more light” into our hearts and souls.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.