Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bartimaeus and Being Blind


Today's reading was the story of Blind Bartimaeus. I remember participating in an Ignatian meditation based on this reading about twelve years ago and finding it a very significant experience. This is the first time that I have preached on the reading. I based my message around a reflection I wrote putting myself in the shoes of Bartimaeus.

I think this reading speaks directly into my experience of contemplative prayer. It is when I am blind that I gain my sight. Coming into a contemplative space is about losing my sight. It is about coming before God with nothing, for it is when I have nothing that I have everything to gain. Bartimaeus knew his needs and desires. He was not going to remain quiet on the roadside. He was bold and called out his needs. Maybe, we too, need to be bold in expressing our deep desires. 


What do you want me to do for you?

Isn’t it obvious!
Can’t you see!
Dare you look in my eyes
and see what I cannot.
I know I am blind.
I have never seen the dawning day,
nor the trees swaying in the breeze,
birds soaring in the sky
or even the pity in my own parents’ eyes.

My need is great.
I need you.
I will not sit silent by the road side
hearing your footsteps pass by.
I will call out to you,
even though they muffle my cries
and demand I become dumb also.
But I will not cease calling,
crying out your name.
I need you.

And then you ask,
What do you want me to do for you?
-
I want to see.
Not just my own hands, or those who sneer at me.
Not just the bread I eat or the flowers on the wayside.
It is your face I want to see.
I need to see the love that is possible,
the compassion that is tangible.
I know I am blind.
I want to see – and then no choice I will have
but to follow.

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