The Blind Man

In the Orthodox Church, the sixth Sunday of Pascha is the Sunday of the Blind Man from the Gospel according to St. John.  This year was a bit different, as the sixth Sunday landed on May 25th, which is also the celebration of the third finding of the head of John the Baptist, but we still sing and read the hymns of the man born blind.

The story is, on a factual basis, about the healing of a man born blind, the nature of sin, and the ability of Christ, as the Son of God, to forgive sins.  Although one could argue that this has impact on our lives, after all, the ability of Christ to forgive our sins is significant, there doesn’t seem to be much application of this story to our lives.  However, the hymnography of the Church once again provides us with the deeper meaning of this story, and its impact on our lives.  The kontakion for the day goes as follows:

In the eyes of soul have I become unseeing.  Unto You I come, O Christ, as did of old the man born blind, and in repentance I cry to You.  For those in darkness You are the most resplendent light.

The key to this passage is not that Christ is able to heal us physically (which he is), nor that he can forgive our sins (which he can and does), but rather that he can provide us with the ability to clearly see with the eyes of our soul.  The eye of our soul is known as the nous, and is that aspect of humanity that permits us to attain knowledge of God.  While the nous is blind, we can see either not at all or, at best, as St. Paul puts it, dimly.  However, as our nous becomes healed by our relationship with Christ, our ability to perceive God, and enter into communion with Him, grows.  That is the goal of the Christian life, to become deified via communion with God.

And that is the point of that particular Gospel story.