What does it mean to see? We are all limited to the quality of our eye sight, the surroundings and the amount of light available. Then there is another level of 'seeing', this has to do with how we interpret what we see. We have to attach meaning and name the things that we see, this ability is being developed from infancy as the child recognises they have fingers and toes, then distinguishes their mother and father. These things become clear and liberate the child to run in the garden and to cry out to their mother when they fall, to play in the sand pit and reach out for the biscuit tin. We begin to 'see' the nature of things, of right and wrong.
So how did we, as an intelligent society get into a situation where in the UK alone 200,000 of our most vulnerable lives are being legally and systematically ended each year? I do not intend to give a sociological evaluation here, I will leave that to academics, but I do offer one theme of most importance: the spiritual battle.
"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts." Jn 12:40
We learn from scripture that we have fallen from perfection. We do things we don't want to do and we struggle to do the things we want to do. We are made good but also inclined to selfishness and attracted to sin. Extremes can kick in at this point. We can either live in a state of guilt and self loathing or we rationalise and justify our behaviour. Rationalisation is even more powerful when done within a group of people. How often do we hear people justify something because 'everyone is doing it.' Does the fact that 'everyone is doing it' make something less wrong?
Rationalisation is so embedded in our human sinfulness, both personally and socially. It can be dressed up in wordy philosophies and learned moral ideologies. Significant philosophers such as William of Ockham declared that the will is superior to the intellect and David Hume stated that morality is determined by how we feel. Belittling the role of our intellect in determining what is right or wrong and making our feelings all important opens us up to blindly following our passions and avoiding self sacrifice and self giving at all costs. The advertising industry has long been aware of our passions. We desire security, love, intimacy, prestige and we are hooked in by slick advertising. We are restless and quickly bored and personal success is insatiable.
Being caught up in the rat race makes prayer unimportant for many, boring for some and nauseating at worse. How often those determined to perfect their appearance will exercise early in the morning before work, would the same people rise early to pray and 'waste time ' with God? Being cut off from the light of the world, the gentle inspiration and spiritual nourishment we all need, we are starving spiritually, unable to see the truth. As St Paul tells us we are "darkened in our intellect" our faith conviction can fade, we may question the fundamentals and lose sight of the clarity we had for God. When we are relying on our own power we inevitably encounter fear and projection. Following our striving for material success, emotional security and sexual "freedom" we must rationalise the consequences; greed, dishonesty, lust, broken families and the right for people to choose abortion. The abortion industry uses euphemisms and rhetoric and bolsters our rationalisation - the result is men and women allow and support the killing of innocent and vulnerable human beings.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Mt 5:8
What is the antidote for this blindness? We need to clear the smoke screen blinding our brothers and sisters. Ultimately we need to be people of truth and witness to what the world cannot give. We need to immerse ourselves in truth and goodness and detach from the pull of the world, particularly in the media with its attractive lull underpinned with gross falsity. We need to be aware of the spiritual battle and the devil's wiles. We need to speak the truth in love, present people with the reality of abortion, uncover the lies and let people see what happens to our little ones.
"He made some mud with his spittle, and put it on the man's eyes." Jn 9:6
And prayer. Bringing our poverty to the Lord, crying out to the Lord with sorrow, making reparation and beg for the healing of ourselves and our brothers and sisters. In all this we surrender our poverty to God, for in all this sorrow we have a good father who will do mighty things with our trust.