To See Clearly Close Your Eyes

Old Woman Praying

What I mean is, pray more.

These are the things that blind us: egotism. I’m blind about myself. I think I’m delightful. There’s nothing wrong with me. It’s everybody else’s fault. I’m fine. It’s a conspiracy theory. Close your eyes in prayer to see yourself more clearly.

Money. When I worry about money I can’t see other things clearly. All I can see are dollar signs. If you close your eyes in prayer you will see everything else more clearly and soon you will see the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. They do not worry about what they shall wear or eat or drink.

Lack of Love. I’m blinded by my need for love. I can’t see other people for what they really are. I see them as objects or as potential love givers. I don’t see them as they are, but as satellites around the wonderful planet that is me. Close your eyes in prayer to see others more clearly. If you could just see them as the eternal and radiant souls God created them to be you would love them rather than expect them to love you.

Prejudices. I think I’m right. No. Hold on, I know I’m right. Right? Right?? Right?? Thinking I know it all blinds me to what I don’t know. We don’t know what we don’t know. Have the courage to be wrong once in a while. Laugh at yourself you arrogant old fool! When you close your eyes in prayer you begin to see the other point of view. You begin to see that the other guy is not only wrong, but he’s right sometimes…just like you.

Religion. Sometimes your religion actually helps to keep you blind. What is your religion? A list of rules and regulations? A list of dogmas and doctrines? They’re all well and good, but they are just the means to an end. They’re the ladder you climb on–not the climb itself. They’re the map for the journey, not the journey. If you close your eyes in prayer more you will see your religion more clearly and know what it’s for.

Your idol. You probably have an idol named Jeezus. I mis spelled ‘Jesus’ because the Jeezus you worship sounds and looks a bit like the real thing, but it’s a fake. It’s a Jeezus made in your own image like all idols are. Close your eyes in prayer and contemplation and ask to see the face of the Lord.

Strive to see more clearly. Do so by closing your eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    I am blinded by unworthiness, my sin, my grief, my losses. I know the Lord love me, but I am not worthy of hs love. I never feel well, I barely hang on at my job, I try to pray. I am scared of confession, (a childhood fear still) and am a failed Catholic. I refuse to entertain any other religion… but I don’t think I am worthy of The Church either. If I cannot recieve the Eucharist, I don’t feel like I should attend Mass. I have a grand fear of those who judge me and fear I will put myself out there and everyone will see the “real” me. The Grand sinner, divorced, and flailing as a Catholic.

    • simple I

      to Anonymus:
      I’m young.. make mistakes everyday.. every day learn ho wto live and follow Jesus, not Jeezus.
      and Jesus is bringing me freedom- because I’m in prison of my blindness.. I call him like Barimaeus “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me “.. my simple daily prayer..
      I know he doesn’t want me to live in sadness and desperation. there is always light which guides my steps, but so often my eyes are simply closed.. so I don’t lose hope…

    • Lisa

      Maybe do like Fr. Says and close your eyes and pray. God will reveal himself to you as Love ans your most faithful friend. He loves YOU. nobody is perfect and he knows that. Sit in His presence and enjoy Him for He surely enjoys you. My prayers are with you. Lisa

    • Titles

      Anonymous, I’m sorry to hear you feel the way you do. Keep on trusting in the love and mercy of God. He loves each of us too much not to draw us closer to Him. “What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?” (Romans 8:31-32)

      (With respect to fear of confession, it’s something I still struggle with too. The fear is not fun to deal with, but it gets better, even if it takes a while.)

  • Anonymous, too

    No way Father will let this get through. It’s impertinent. Obviously nobody should say anything to you unless they’re somehow “qualified”, like a priest or a spiritual director, or some kind of counselor.
    Analytical sorts will tell you all sorts of things much more constructive. Here’s something different:
    You’re right. You’re absolutely right. A worthless worm (like all of us). Guess what? He loves you anyway. (It takes a melancholic to understand a melancholic. It’s not criticism we’re afraid of. We do that better than anybody anyway. It’s love, the unconditional kind–the kind we have no control over–that we run from like hell.)

  • Kelly

    To anonymous: I don’t feel I’m worthy to give advice but I do know this: YOU are exactly the person who Jesus came to earth for. You are the woman who washed the Messiah’s feet with her hair and her tears. And what was his response? To LOVE her. No matter how bad we think we are, Jesus and His (our) Father loves us. It’s just the way it is. You can’t get out from under that. So if Jesus finds that you are someone to love, you ought to take care of that person he loves, you ought to show some forgiveness and love for that person too, for yourself. :) I pray that you can feel the love of Christ and the light of Christ in you. We all are sinners but he loves us anyway. It is US who create distance from God through our own guilt and unforgiveness of ourselves. Reconciliation shouldn’t be feared but looked at as a great opportunity. Be eager for this loving way that our Church has given us to make things right with God (which usually means a way to forgive ourselves and move forward). Christ asks only that we strive to do better.

    Thank you for this wonderful article, I’m going to save it and put it somewhere to look at daily.

  • http://www.digitalorthotics.com Dr Craig Lowe

    Fr Dwight

    Vanessa and I have been following you for a while.

    You are a bright star in our dark world.

    Thank you
    Craig Lowe

  • Richard E

    Fr., great article, as for anonymous, much of what Fr. wrote here is just a echo of what we can find in the writings of the early Church Fathers and other Saints through the ages. Several of the topics that are listed Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen reflected on in his book “Virtues verses Vice.’
    On a side note remember all who have lost their lives due to Hurricane Nancy and those left homeless with only the cloths on their backs and those who are now in harms way.

  • LadyBird

    Best wishes for a successful run on Patheos. Catholic voices are needed in our world. We need every witness who is willing to be vulnerable out in cyberspace.
    The wonders in our faith continues to be revealed in so many ways. We were commenting in Bible Study of the inter-relatedness of everything Catholic: The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, The Old Testament and the New, the archetypes in both, The Liturgy of the Word, of The Eucharist, the Pslams, The Sacraments, the Music, the Cathechism, The Insence, the sanctuary, Noah’s ark in the ceiling of the sanctuary, the carvings on the side of the pews, the Saints, the devotions, etc. Everything has an element of the other. It’s like a fractal. Each part is just like the whole and we are in it and it is in us! IT is Jesus Christ!

  • English Catholic

    I realise that this is a blog and that you have a wide audiance but you do sound overly judgemental and assuming that everyone of your readers has this idol called Jeezus, have you been granted the gift to read the soul of every reader? have we all bared our souls to you? ? then please stop acting like a jumped up St Augustine (never my favorite theologian) who equates being a good Catholic with being a Masochist and laughs whilst saying “the doctor doesn’t stop cutting becasue the patiant is screaming” I’m quite supprised at your attitude given you also seem to have an affection for Chesterton (who likewise was not a fan of Augustine)

    • Joanne

      Uh, wow…. didn’t see this point of view at all, English Catholic. Maybe a reread of the paragraph on “prejudices” would be beneficial for you.

      Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees, the actual trees or the ones our minds create. Thanks, Father, it’s posts like these that help us grow.

  • Julie C.

    Anonymous – I was very moved when I read your post earlier today, but I did not have time to respond before heading to Mass this evening. I wish you could have been at Mass with me listening to Father Longenecker’s homily because I thought of you while he was speaking. One thing he said was that we are closest to God when we look in the mirror and finally admit all of our faults to ourselves. You have already done that. You are closer to God than many people in the Church because there are many, I am sure, that still cannot even recognize their own faults. I do not consider myself worthy to give you advice, but I know that confession will help. If you are not ready for that, perhaps you can send a private email to Father and discuss everything with him. He is a great listener. Also, you might read Father’s book, Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing. Take care, Julie

    Father – keep up the good work! Excellent homily tonight at OLR! As for your earlier post regarding your many communication ventures, I try to take advantage of all of them. You are a blessing to many! Thank you!

  • Dorothy

    I appreciate your blog…it is helpful, amusing, challenging and comforting (not all at the same time). As a former Episcopalian, now RC, I especially relate to your comments about the beauty of Anglican worship and the things you miss, as well as the great things we have gained by leaving it.

  • 42Oolon

    Close your eyes and pray to see more clearly? Really? I would say “open your eyes and look around you”. Look at your family, career, health and religion. Think about what is most important to you and what you want your life to be. Ask yourself why you value certain things. Consider if the repeated requests to close one’s eyes and accept and worship God is good advice, compared to open your eyes and learn.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      This post uses something called ‘paradox’.

      • 42Oolon

        I am familiar with the common usage of the word “paradox”, but I do not see it being engaged in your post or my response. Please elaborate.

  • Neil Andersen

    Never should have started reading Father Longenecker’s blog a coiple months ago. He’s got me thinking more than I’d like to….lol

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