“We must not rely too much upon ourselves, for grace and understanding are often lacking in us. We have but little inborn light, and this we quickly lose through negligence. Often we are not aware that we are so blind in heart.” - Thomas à Kempis.
(Gospel Text: LK 9:7-9)
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, "John has been raised from the dead"; others were saying, "Elijah has appeared"; still others, "One of the ancient prophets has arisen." But Herod said, "John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?" And he kept trying to see him.
Rumors were flying. Speculation was high. Who was this Jesus of Nazareth?
For Herod, this was an especially perplexing predicament. He had already taken care of John the Baptist and it seemed that Jesus’ presence pricked his conscience on the matter. Maybe he wanted to see Jesus not only physically but spiritually. Was God really trying to speak to him through Jesus and even John? Still, Herod’s vision was clouded, and he couldn’t break through the fog to come to faith.
Ask yourself, why was Herod’s vision clouded?
Deep in our hearts, we all want to “see” the Lord. But like Herod, we too could be hampered by blurred vision. Unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, anxiety all of these and more can keep us in the dark. But nothing is more capable of holding us back than sin. John the Baptist brought Herod’s sin to light by criticizing Herod’s marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herod could have repented. He could have found a way out of his immoral union. But he chose to silence John’s voice instead.
You don’t have to follow in Herod’s footsteps!
The Holy Spirit can clear away any clouds that are obscuring your vision of the Lord. And through the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you can cooperate with him in this work. In fact, begin by getting into the habit of repenting every night before you go to bed. This is probably one of the best ways to sharpen your vision over time.
Every evening, look over your day and ask the Spirit to help you identify anything that you may have said or done or thought that was displeasing to the Lord. Then simply ask for forgiveness and for the Spirit’s help to do better tomorrow. Over time, your vision will become clearer and clearer, simply because you are giving the Holy Spirit room to work in your heart.