Men Like Trees

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida,
people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village.
Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked,
“Do you see anything?”
Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”
Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly;
his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.
Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

Mark 8:22-26

Fr. Walter preached about the ability to “see through” someone. You can see through them in cynicism or in malice. But you can also see through them to their human neediness and longing. It is the latter sort of seeing through that grows as an effect of the Christianization of our lives. A few words about this:

1) It does not reduce or patronize the other, for in recognizing the other’s neediness we also admit our own needs and weaknesses.

2) It applies to our enemies and our friends alike. It is not used to simplify problems but rather to treat others with the respect they deserve. In order to respect someone properly, you may need to insist that that person stay out of your life. You may only be able to interact with that person in prayer. This is a humble and honest reaction to a destructive relationship.

3) This requires infinite patience, which we honestly just don’t have. It’s a stretching of the soul toward greatness. It’s a predisposition to kindness. Sometimes it can feel difficult, if not impossible, to go back to this “square one” of human dignity in a relationship. Yet it’s worth attempting, even if you receive no tangible satisfaction.


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