Tuesday of Exaudi: What Does the Holy Spirit Cause Us to See?

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He will testify of Me.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would testify of Him. That is, He’d bear witness of Him.

Sight is a remarkable sense. Is there a sense that more affirms the objective, external, material world we live in? Indeed, two eyes are given us so that we can see depth, see the world in three dimensions.

There’s a Gnostic archetype we’ve run into before, the blind sage, who is said to see with a “third eye” sight that transcends normal human seeing. The blind sage sees things we cannot, because we’re too caught up in the material, physical world. It’s a Gnostic archetype because it runs with the notion that the physical world is deficient for true sight. Those with gnosis are those with that third-eye sight.

Jesus can sometimes speak in these terms: “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.’”

But note the context. Jesus had just given sight to a blind man by using clay to rebuild his eyes, showing that He was restoring this man’s eyes, because He is the “I Am,” the Creator, the one who created man from clay in the beginning.

God gave us sight, because we are made in His image, and He Himself has sight. In fact, God’s sight comes up seven times in the creation account. After each day, we are told, God “saw” that what He had made was good.

That’s a double whammy on the Gnostics! One whammy for God using the faculty necessary for processing external, material, physical stuff – sight – something unnecessary in a non-physical realm. A second whammy for God declaring that material stuff He had just made to be good.

But lets delve into that a bit. What did God “see” that was good? Simply, His works. Even well after the Fall, the Psalmist was able to repeat this line four times in Psalm 107: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

Everything God created is good. Or as St. Paul said, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving.”

Note it says “is” good, not “was” good.

But didn’t evil enter the world? Didn’t Adam chose evil when He chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

Yes, but yet, everything God created “is” good. That remains. Whatever God did not create is not good, and that is what Adam really chose; that is what’s evil, everything that is not what God created. Again, as we’ve meditated on before, if everything God created is good, then evil – and knowledge thereof – must be everything that is not created, everything that is not seen, which is more related to human will than any material properties.

Now let’s get into some profundity. If everything God created is good, how can Job say, “My eye will never again see good.” Let’s challenge Job a bit. What was actually evil to behold? Certainly His dead children, we’d say. But what is the eye taking in that is actually evil? The flesh and blood that made up his children were materials God had created, therefore good. They may return to the dust, but isn’t that dust good? And the spirit that animated them, as the Scripture says, “will return to God who gave it.” That’s good too.

Or consider a war. Blood, gore, flashing weapons, body parts all over. Truly that’s evil, no? On one hand, there is evil going on leading to that scene, the human will again. But still, everything God created is good. Also, what is going on in that scene that would not have been replicated in slow motion, over time, later on in the lives of those dying in that war? Death, falling apart, returning to dust.

So on those terms, maybe Job’s right, “My eye will never again see good.” And maybe, in truth, no ones eyes ever really sees any good at all! How can they? All of human life is one long, slow motion war scene. I mean, consider for a moment the rise and fall of generations in a ten second sequence: a baby grows up into a strong young man, and then suddenly some force pummels his body into decrepitude until you see it turn into a skeleton and finally dust. Wow! Is that not brutally an evil?

No. For God said everything He created is good. Those old bones and flesh wrapped around that elderly person are all good, through and through.

What gives? Well, perhaps now we’re beginning to understand what Jesus means when He speaks of the blindness of those without faith. He gives sight, that is true, but also adds a faith to that sight, such that we are able to literally look at the world and see only good, just as that Psalm 107 said.

And what of evil? Isn’t evil the flip side of a fantasy of a false good? “Good is me, Job, with my many children and great wealth, enjoying the blessings of a good life.” And on those terms, evil would be what reminds Job that this is, in fact, a fantasy. Because, Job, everything you have is a slice – albeit a rather nice slice, for the moment – of that slow motion war scene.

Sure, anyone can “find the good in everything,” but isn’t that a fantasy, a delusion, given where every one of us is destined?

This is an interesting direction our meditation is going. Is what many people think is “good” simply the opposite of an evil they are forced to posit because of lack of faith? Without faith, evil is in fact real. Death is real. With Job we can’t see any good. All we see is death.

But let’s talk about faith and get back to the Gospel. Jesus said the blind are still in sin, and the Holy Spirit informs us that sin is lack of faith in Jesus. The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus. He will witness Jesus, who sits at God’s right hand, ruling in righteousness. That is good. The Holy Spirit sees the goodness of the Lord, even as the angels also witnessed God’s goodness.

Significantly for us, the Holy Spirit testifies, speaks, declares what He’s witnessing, and, being the Holy Spirit, that witness, word, and declaration has the power to create in us that similar vision, by faith. What do we see? We see Jesus at God’s right hand, even in the midst of our persecution, when our family’s body parts lay on the arena floor, mauled by lions. We see a good creation, ruled by a good God. Nothing in that scene will not be put back together, and done so in a way that amplifies God’s goodness.

And that, THAT, is truly the key! God is not some experimenter making His world and seeing what happens. “Whoa, I didn’t expect that to happen! OK, plan B…Jesus, I need you for a mission…” Nope. God is almighty, the Creator, who worked the cross of Christ into the DNA of His creation, the moment He uttered the word “evil” and man began his quest to find out what existence is like outside the realm of God’s goodness. But somehow, in God’s wisdom, this was needed so that He could work His goodness and life into the matter He had made. God’s still creating us! He’s still leading us to that “It is finished” moment at the cross. And He’s still looking at everything He is making and declaring it good!  Why?  Because everything God created is good.

And for that we give thanks, in the Eucharist, eternally, for everything, even for what the eyes may see as evil, as persecution.

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”

And of course, this: “Taste and see [see!] that the Lord is good.”

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