Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

5/26/2016 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

When darkness surrounds us and our soul is blind and restless, we have to go to the Light, like Bartimaeus. Repeat, shout, cry out ever more strongly, Domine, ut videam! - Lord, that I may see. And daylight will dawn upon you, and you will be able to enjoy the brightness He grants you. (Furrow #862)

The same Jesus who passed by Bartimaeus is alive today. The Good News is that no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus walks into the dusty streets of our lives this day. We simply need the eyes of living faith to see Him and the renewed heart to follow Him on the way. Prayer is the fuel which keeps living faith alive and keeps our eyes open to see. Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him?

The healing of the Blind man

The healing of the Blind man

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/26/2016 (6 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Spiritual blindness, healing, Bartimaeus, Blind Bartimaeus, prayer, spiritual life, contemplation, Holy Spirit, lectio Divina, Bible Study, conversion, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In the last chapter of the Gospel of St John we read these intriguing words: 'There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.' (John 21:25)

They underscore the importance of the stories actually recorded in the four Gospels. The people to whom we are introduced have been selected from among many others who encountered Jesus - for a purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves, with the meaning of our own lives, and with the very purpose for our existence.

Through prayerful reflection, they can become an invitation to ongoing conversion and a portal into a deeper encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ. As we enter into the stories on the pages of the sacred text, the meaning enters into us and enlightens us. Our eyes are opened and we begin to see all of life differently.

St. Jose Maria Escriva once wrote: "I advised you to read the New Testament for some minutes every day, and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. This is so that you incarnate the Gospel, so that it is fulfilled in your life and make others fulfill it." (Furrow #672).

In the Gospel appointed for the Liturgy of this day we are introduced to St Mark's account of the healing of the Blind Man named Bartimaeus: "As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me."

Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see." Jesus told him, 'Go your way; your faith has saved you." Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:46-52)

In the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation offered by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church we read some beautiful and encouraging words on how we should approach reading the Bible, "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life." (Paragraph 21)

The insight is a key to reading the Bible fruitfully, in a way which allows us to be read by the author and changed in the encounter.. The Living Word, Jesus, speaks to us through the written word. Understanding the Bible depends upon having a living relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus, the Living Word. Everyone one of us can have that relationship through prayer.

One of my favorite definitions of a theologian is from the early Christian Monk Evagrius of Pontus, a theologian is one who "rests his head on the chest of Christ." The image calls to mind the beloved disciple, John, depicted as doing just that in early Christian art. It speaks of the indispensable prerequisite for any fruitful study of the Bible, a relationship with the Lord in the intimacy of prayer.

This way of encountering the Lord in His Word is cultivated through regular prayer. Theologians use a term, hermeneutic, which bears consideration here. A hermeneutic is a lens through which we view or interpret something of importance.  It allows us to more deeply interpret and appropriate our experience. Living faith is a hermeneutic; it opens our eyes to see life differently.

Living faith enables us to see the hand of the Lord in every circumstance and to stay on the path in our daily lives. Over years of ministry I have had the privilege of praying with many people struggling on many different fronts. I find myself beginning the prayer by thanking the Lord 'for the gift of living faith which opens our eyes to see all of life differently now because of who Jesus is - and who we can become in Him.'

We all blinded by sin. The Sacrament of Baptism was called the Sacrament of the Enlightenment in the early Church for good reason. Yet, we need to keep that light of living faith alive. The beloved disciple John instructs us in his first letter:

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth;  but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1: 5-7)

The same Jesus who passed by Bartimaeus is alive. The Good News is that no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus walks into the dusty streets of our lives this day. We simply need the eyes of living faith to see Him and the renewed heart to follow Him on the way. Prayer is the fuel which keeps living faith alive and keeps our eyes open to see.

Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? St Escriva wrote in the Furrow:

"When darkness surrounds us and our soul is blind and restless, we have to go to the Light, like Bartimaeus. Repeat, shout, cry out ever more strongly, Domine, ut videam! - Lord, that I may see... And daylight will dawn upon you, and you will be able to enjoy the brightness He grants you." (Furrow #862)

Isaac of Ninevah, an eighth century monk, Bishop and theologian, wrote:"When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he is eating or drinking or sleeping or whatever else he is doing, even in deepest sleep, the fragrance of prayer rises without effort in his heart."

"Prayer never again deserts him. At every moment of his life, even when it appears to stop, it is secretly at work in him continuously, one of the Fathers, the bearers of Christ, says that prayer is the silence of the pure. For their thoughts are divine motions. The movements of the heart and the intellect that have been purified are the voices full of sweetness with which such people never cease to sing in secret to the hidden God."

Through prayer daily life can become a classroom of communion. In that classroom we learn the truth about who we are - and who we are becoming - in Jesus. Through prayer we receive new glasses through which we see the true landscape of our daily life. Through prayer darkness is dispelled and the path of progress is illuminated.

Through prayer we begin to understand why this communion seems elusive at times; as we struggle with our own disordered appetites, and live in a manner at odds with the beauty and order of the creation within which we dwell - only to find a new beginning whenever we confess our sin and return to our first love. Prayer opens us up to Revelation, expands our capacity to comprehend truth and equips us to change as we cooperate with grace.

Through prayer we are drawn into a deepening relationship with Jesus whose loving embrace on the hill of Golgotha bridged heaven with earth; His relationship with His Father is opened now to us; the same Spirit that raised Him from the dead begins to give us new life as we are converted, transfigured and made new.

Through prayer heavenly wisdom is planted in the field of our hearts and we experience a deepening communion with the Trinitarian God. We become "partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4) Though that participation will only be fully complete when we are with Him in the fullness of His embrace, in our Resurrected Bodies and in a New Heaven and a New Earth, it begins now, in the grace of this present moment.

God holds nothing back from those whom He loves. He gives us the Holy Spirit, which is His very life and energy. He invites us to to cultivate and grow in the living faith which can transform our lives and our very characters. He enlists us in His ongoing mission. All of this progresses as we say yes and encounter Jesus Christ, in ever new and powerful ways.  Living faith mediates the mystery of God's loving plan and opens our spiritual eyes to see the Lord who is walking by in our own daily lives.

Let us cry out with Bartimaeus, Lord That I May See. The same Jesus who opened His eyes will open the eyes of our hearts. -----Deacon Keith A. Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A member of the clergy, a Roman Catholic Deacon, he is also a constitutional/ human rights lawyer and public policy advocate who served as the first and founding Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice in the nineteen nineties. He has long been active at the intersection of faith, values and culture. Deacon Fournier is also a Senior Contributing Writer for THE STREAM

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Living Faith

Why did Pope Francis offer 'a particular word of thanks' to big-league CEOs? Watch

Image of Pope Francis tells CEOs to empower the poor.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

During a two-day forum on the theme "The 21st Century Challenge: Forging a New Social Compact," inspired by Pope Francis' call to help the poor and the marginalized, Fortune 500 CEOs were faced with questions very different from the norm. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Timeless Christmas songs are recreated by wonderfully talented Benedictine nuns Watch

Image of 'Caroling at Ephesus' is the latest Christmas album from the Benedictine Nuns.

By Carl Bunderson (CNA/EWTN)

As the Christmas season approaches, the hit-making community of Benedictine nuns based in Missouri have released an album full of carols with which to greet the newborn Christ. Kansas City, MO (CNA/EWTN) - "Our greatest hope is that these songs will truly 'life up our ... continue reading


Pope Francis makes surprising appearance at beautiful young cancer patient's funeral with heartbreaking personal letter Watch

Image of Pope Francis reads a heartbreaking letter to a little girl who passed away from cancer.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis has again captured the hearts of the world, with a tear-jerking letter to a young Italian girl dying from cancer, which was read aloud at the girl's funeral once she passed away. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "Dear Paolina, your photos are on ... continue reading


Seven bishops, one abbot, and a psychiatrist dialogue with peace activists Watch

Image of During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, gathered with about 25 peace activists [not pictured].

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops' fall assembly in Baltimore, several bishops and one abbot, gathered with about 25 peace activists - myself included - to share a simple meal and consider the horrible emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds suffered by ... continue reading


Healing miracle for blind man who refused to stop praying Watch

Image of Kevin Coughlin never gave up and his tenacity was rewarded by God (pix11).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Manhattan man who went bling in 1997 kept the faith and was healed sixteen years later. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kevin Coughlin suffered a rare genetic condition called Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON).LHON symptoms begin as a sudden, painless ... continue reading


Pope Francis honors girl dying of cancer with personal letter Watch

Image of Pope Francis reads a heartbreaking letter to a little girl who passed away from cancer.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis has again captured the hearts of the world, with a tear-jerking letter to a young Italian girl dying from cancer, which was read aloud at the girl's funeral once she passed away. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "Dear Paolina, your photos are on my ... continue reading


Fr. Stanley Rother becomes first American-born martyr Watch

Image of Father Stanley Rother was proclaimed a martyr.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has recognized Father Stanley Rother as a martyr. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Fr. Rother was born in Oklahoma City, OK, making him the first martyr born in the United States.In 1986, he was sent to Santiago Atitlan from the Archdiocese of Oklahoma ... continue reading


Pope Francis announces the December prayer intention Watch

Image of Pope Francis calls us to pray for child soldiers.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis revealed his December prayer intention on Thursday, prompting millions to unite in prayer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis' prayer intention for the month of December is to end child soldiers.End to ... continue reading


What is the Catholic Church doing in Australia? Watch

Image of The Catholic Church is hard at work.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic Church in Australia has been hard at work to establish a permanent form of change in the community and, if successful, possibly the world. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Catholic Church in Australia established a new independent non-profit to ... continue reading


'We pray with Christian hope' - Pope Francis reminds us to pray for the living AND the dead Watch

Image of Pope Francis asks us to pray.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his last set of catechesis on mercy, Pope Francis focused on the works of praying for the living and the dead, as well as burying the dead, insisting that since we are all part of one family in Christ, we must remember to pray constantly for one another. Vatican ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 40:1-11
1 'Console my people, console them,' says your God.2 'Speak to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:12-14
12 'Tell me. Suppose a man has a hundred sheep and one of them strays; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 6th, 2016 Image

St. Nicholas
December 6: The great veneration with which St. Nicholas has ... Read More