By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou
Homily for the Seventh Sunday of Matthew (9:27-35)
Diseases of the Eye of the Soul
Man is the most perfect creation of God. His body has been created by God in such a way that man has many possibilities to communicate with the world around him. At the same time man has a soul with its many energies, which through the body sees, hears, feels, thinks, but mainly communicates with God.
A great blessing from God is the eyes, with which we see creation, people, admire the beauties of nature and can move comfortably. The eyes have an important role in our lives, and we understand their value when we meet people who are deprived of the great good of vision. At the same time, if we study various books that describe how the eyes work, then we can understand their value, since they work much better than the most perfect cameras.
Today's Gospel reading refers to two blind men who followed Christ, begging Him to have mercy on them and to give them the sight of their eyes: "Have mercy on us, son of David" (Matt. 7:27). Seeing the faith of these people, Christ healed them.
There are many diseases of the eyes, that is, it is not just blindness. Among them is myopia, when the eye does not clearly see objects that are relatively far away. There is presbyopia, when the eye cannot accurately see objects at close range. Also, there is color blindness, which is the inability to distinguish one or more basic colors. There are various other diseases. In all these cases it is necessary to visit an ophthalmologist to cure or treat some disease or some incapacity of the eyes.
But, apart from the diseases of the eyes of the body, there are also the diseases of the eye of the soul, which is the nous. When we speak of the nous, we do not mean our reason, but meticulous attention, that is, some other energy that is called noetic and is distinguished from the rational energy. Disease can happen to the eye of the soul as it does to the eye of the body.
First there is spiritual blindness, when the nous is sick and cannot see the glory of God, the Light of God. This is called the darkening of the nous, and in fact in this category includes atheists who deny God. There are also other noetic illnesses, such as when people do not deny God, but misinterpret Him, do not see clearly, resulting in a change in their whole noetic state; sometimes there is spiritual myopia and they cannot see the great glory of God, and sometimes spiritual presbyopia and they do not see the Providence of God that benefits people in various ways.
These noetic illnesses of the eye of the soul refer not only to our relationship with God, but also to our communication with other people and the way we deal with the situations in our lives. Sometimes we overestimate ourselves and judge others harshly, and other times we judge ourselves harshly resulting in frustration.
Nicholas Cabasilas says that during the Second Coming of Christ, Christ will appear in His glory, but He will be seen only by those who took care to obtain healthy eyes from this life. Therefore, the purpose of Christians is to heal the spiritual eye, the nous. This is done in the Church by the Grace of God and our struggle, and, in fact, as long as we are in this life. So, we must understand that we are spiritually sick, that we have spiritual blindness and various other diseases of the nous, and we must look for the real ophthalmologist where Christ can heal us through His Clergy. He is the Light, He is the eye and He is the visual energy with which we see. Let us pray for that of which David writes: "In your light shall we see light" (Psalm 10:10).
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.