As I reflected on chapter 9 in John's Gospel I was more alert this year to the once-blind man's growth in understanding who Jesus is. He not only goes from blindness to sight, he goes from spiritual blindness to enlightenment. He first identifies Jesus simply as a man, then as a prophet, then as someone from God, and finally he says to Jesus, "I do believe, Lord," and he worships Jesus.
That development got me thinking of my own growth in understanding God and Jesus and religion. As a young teenager I saw religion mainly in terms of laws and regulations. If I obeyed them, Jesus would love me. As an older teen I saw religion mostly as the Church and the Pope. As I moved through my college years Jesus began to show me that religion had more to do with my relationship with him. As a young adult Jesus showed me that his love for me is gracious, unearned. This enlightenment was life-changing. I came to see that Jesus first loves me and I respond in love.
As I grew older Jesus helped me to understand that he lives in me always. He brought me to a deeper and deeper awareness that God is in me and in everyone and everything around me. This continues to blossom into a kind of mystic experience of God inside me and God outside of me as One.
Jesus has brought me from darkness into light. "I once was blind, but now I see." In Paul's letter to the Ephesians he says, "You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." (5:8)
(I am frustrated by not being able to transfer my pictures onto this blog. Today I found a place online where I could check it out and found 22 other people with the same problem. The employee is looking into it.)