6 - 9 minutes readSermon of St. Augustine for Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent: Spiritual Blindness

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Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

44th Tract on John

Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith: We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Eph. ii. 3. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem. Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John.
Cap. IX. Ch. IX.
In illo tempore: Præteriens Jesus vidit hominem cæcum a nativitate: et interrogaverunt eum discipuli ejus: Rabbi quis peccavit, hic, aut parentes ejus, ut cæcus nasceretur? Respondit Jesus: Neque hic peccavit, neque parentes ejus: sed ut manifestentur opera Dei in illo. Me oportet operari opera ejus, qui misit me, donec dies est: venit nox, quando nemo potest operari. Quamdiu sum in mundo, lux sum mundi. Hæc cum dixisset, exspuit in terram, et fecit lutum ex sputo, et linivit lutum super oculos ejus, et dixit ei: Vade, lava in natatoria Siloe (quod interpretatur Missus). Abiit ergo, et lavit, et venit videns. Itaque vicini, et qui viderant eum prius, quia mendicus erat, dicebant: Nonne hic est, qui sedebat, et mendicabat? Alii dicebant: Quia hic est; alii autem: Nequaquam, sed similis est ei. Ille vero dicebat: Quia ego sum. Dicebant ergo ei: Quomodo aperti sunt tibi oculi? Respondit: Ille homo, qui dicitur Jesus, lutum fecit et unxit oculos meos, et dixit mihi: Vade at natatoria Siloe, et lava. Et abii, lavi, et video. Et dixerunt ei: Ubi est ille? Ait: Nescio. Adducunt eum ad Pharisæos, qui cæcus fuerat. Erat autem Sabbatum quando lutum fecit Jesus, et aperuit oculos ejus. Iterum ergo interrogabant eum Pharisæi quomodo vidisset. Ille autem dixit eis: Lutum mihi posuit super oculos, et lavi, et video. Dicebant ergo ex Pharisæis quidam: Non est hic homo a Deo, qui Sabbatum non custodit. Alii autem dicebant: Quomodo potest homo peccator hæc signa facere? Et schisma erat inter eos. Dicunt ergo cæco iterum: Tu quid dicis de illo, qui aperuit oculos tuos? Ille autem dixit: Quia propheta est. Non crediderunt ergo Judæi de illo, quia cæcus fuisset et vidisset, donec vocaverunt parentes ejus, qui viderat: et interrogaverunt eos, dicentes: Hic est filius vester, quem vos dicitis quia cæcus natus est? Quomodo ergo nunc videt? Responderunt eis parentes ejus, et dixerunt: Scimus quia hic est filius noster, et quia cæcus natus est: quomodo autem nunc videat, nescimus: aut quis ejus aperuit oculos, nescimus, ipsum interrogate: ætatem habet; ipse de se loquatur. Hæc dixerunt parentes ejus, quoniam timebant Judæos: jam enim conspiraverant Judæi, ut si quis eum confiteretur esse Christum, extra synagogam fieret: propterea parentes ejus dixerunt: Quia ætatem habet, ipsum interrogate. Vocaverunt ergo rursum hominem, qui fuerat cæcus, et dixerunt ei: Da glaoriam Deo. Nos scimus quia hic homo peccator est. Dixit ergo eis ille: Si peccator est, nescio: unum scio, quia cæcus cum essem, modo video. Dixerunt ergo illi: Quid fecit tibi? quomodo aperuit tibi oculos? Respondit eis: Dixi vobis jam, et audistis: quid iterum vultis audire? numquid et vos vultis discipuli ejus fieri? Maledixerunt ergo ei, et dixerunt: Tu discipulus illius sis: nos autem Moysi discipuli sumus. Nos scimus quia Moysi locutus est Deus: hunc autem nescimus unde sit. Respondit ille homo, et dixit eis: In hoc enim mirabile est, quia vos nescitis unde sit, et aperuit meos oculos: scimus autem quia peccatores Deus non audit: sed si quis Dei cultor est, et voluntatem ejus facit, hunc exaudit. A sæculo non est auditum, quia quis aperuit oculos cæci nati. Nisi esset hic a Deo, non poterat facere quidquam. Responderunt, et dixerunt ei: In peccatis natus es totus, et tu doces nos? Et ejecerunt eum foras. Audivit Jesus quia ejecerunt eum foras; et cum invenisset eum, dixit ei: Tu credis in Filium Dei? Respondit ille, et dixit: Quis est, Domine, ut credam in eum? Et dixit ei Jesus: Et vidisti eum: et qui loquitur tecum, ipse est. At ille ait: Credo, Domine. (Here, all kneel.) Et procidens, adoravit eum. At that time: Jesus passing by, saw a man that was blind from his birth; and his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went his way therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors, therefore, and they who had seen him before, that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he; but others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he. They said therefore to him: How were thine eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him: Where is he? He saith: I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath, when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him, how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God who keepeth not the sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, and asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind, but how he now seeth we know not, or who hath opened his eyes we know not; ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say: He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God, we know that this man is a sinner. He saith then to them: If he be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. Then they said to him: What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes? He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard, why would you hear it again; will you also become his disciples? They reviled him, therefore, and said: Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as to this man, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said to them: Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth his will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, he could not do anything. They answered and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said to him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said: I believe, Lord. (Here, all kneel) And falling down, he adored him.

One thought on “Sermon of St. Augustine for Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent: Spiritual Blindness

  1. Hello,
    I’m trying to access the link to St. Alphonsus Meditations for 4th week of Lent and am getting a “404 Not Found” error. Is there something wrong with the site as any links I click for St. Alphonsus give same error? Thank you for providing this website and St. Alphonsus meditations; I read these every day as they are so helpful in my spiritual life. Yvonne P.S. I noticed there’s a message stating site is under construction-is this why I can’t access links and when will they be back?

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