Spiritual Blindness

Spiritual Blindness

“They answered him, You were born in utter sin, and you would teach us? And they cast him out!”

The late neurologist and author Oliver Sacks wrote about a man born blind whose sight was restored. This miracle occurred nei­ther through prayer, nor through a concoction of dirt and divine saliva, but through a surgical correction of the patient’s eyes.

The blind man agreed eagerly to the surgery, experimental and delicate though it was. The operation went well, although the man’s eyes had to be bandaged for a time to let them heal, but at last the day came when the bandages could be removed. The surgical team, the man’s family, and others assembled as the nurses carefully unwound the dressings from the patient’s face. All were hushed, expectant.

For the first time in his life, the man opened his eyes and …

What were they expecting? What would you expect?

Jubilation! Joy! “Ah, color! Light! My wife’s sweet face, just as I’d always imagined it!”

But instead, the man turned his head from side to side to side. His expression was baffled and frightened.

“What’s wrong?” his doctor asked at last, and at the sound of his voice, the man turned in his direction.

“Oh, my God!” he said, his voice trembling. “I thought I was all alone.” And the man began to weep.

The man had been blind since birth. His brain knew only sound and touch, smell and taste; it had never received visual stimulation. It had never developed the neural pathways needed for processing visual images and had never created categories by which he might understand the data now crashing against his retinas on waves of light. Technically, his eyes worked — but he could not make sense of what he saw. Continue reading

Why Should I Go to Mass?

Why Should I Go to Mass?”

ProLifeCorner-

“He… “He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day as was His custom.”

A story from ancient Egypt tells how the god Thoth invented a new way of helping people learn and remember things, a system called writing. Thoth explained his invention to the king of Egypt; but the king was not impressed. He said the invention was liable to make people lazy in trying to remember things; that they would start to rely on written things instead of thinking for themselves. Worst of all, it would allow people to appear learned, rather than actually being learned. Written things need the help of the author to explain them, the human touch.

Although this is just an ancient myth, it still has some valid points to make. First, we learn from other people. Books are written by other people; they don’t appear out of the blue or fall out of the sky. And second, we learn better from human contact in teaching, even when books are involved – what the ancient Greek philosopher Plato called “the animated speech of a knowledgeable person.” Even then, although the person might have knowledge, they also need the gift of passing on that knowledge, of helping others become keen to learn, and setting people on fire with a love of that subject. And with the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century, some of the Egyptian king’s misgivings came true. People sometimes mistook the book for learning or wisdom itself. Sometimes they thought that simply by reading or quoting that they would become learned, and so they neglected the need for understanding, for teaching and for interpretation to bring the written word to life. Continue reading