Saturday, May 28, 2022

Our blindness.
Saint Sophrony the Athonite.


The Old Rectory

7th July 1968


 “As Jesus passed by, He saw a man which
 was blind from his birth” (Jn. 9:1)

Yes, I too have come to the conclusion that the mys­tery of man's inter-relationships will remain unsolved for me to the end of my days - an end which is already near. The consciousness that all of us, all people, are to one degree or another blind, has grown stronger in me. We see a certain part of the world's life and we base our judgment on this partial vision. This partial, individual vision so strongly controls man that he cannot judge anything otherwise than according to his perception of things, or as I said before, his vision. As a con­sequence of the blindness characteristic of all of us, we all, without exception, are not aware when we wound others, when we wreck their lives, when we judge them by the very reactions which are perhaps consequences of certain actions of ours. We know that at the basis of our personal conscious­ness lies the wish for what is good, the quest for perfection, and by virtue of our confidence in the rightness of our quest we have an incurable tendency to JUSTIFY ourselves. And this is a common sickness of all of us. Hence the insoluble conflicts all over the world, insoluble because each one justi­fies himself, repudiating the rightness of the other, who stands opposed to him.

I am not writing this to accuse you yet again of anything.

I do not know which one of us it was who by some visible or invisible movement of the soul first caused a wound to the other's soul. I only know that it is possible to save the world in no other way than this: 'and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us'. And this power of forgiveness for the wounds inflicted on us comes down from the Holy Spirit. It was natural to man before his Fall, but now it is supra-natural for us. We cannot by our own power forgive the pain we have experienced.

I think I have already written to you that ages and ages ago I began to look upon everything that 'comes upon' me not merely as my personal drama or tragedy, but as a revelation of what is happening in the ocean of humanity, in the bound­less life of the cosmos which passes through me, like the sea through some strait. This strait is not the sea itself, but the water in it is the same water as in the sea. And this is the way towards a deepened understanding of Christ's words: 'Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you' . This, then, is our academy, our school; this is the way towards knowledge of universal life, the way towards the assimilation of Christ's teaching, uncomprehended until now, deformed by our passions, our blindness.

So, my dear Maria, may peace be with you and grace from on High. And don't be afraid, I will not be troubling you any further about anything like this, which could remind you of your wound. I myself am blind, and I have no recollection whatsoever of that first gesture of mine, which you took in the way you wrote about. Forgive me, and give me your love. [ ... ]

 Reference:Letters to his family. Archimandrite Sophrony(Sakharov).2015.