BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE EYES ARE CLOSED.*
20. My good friends, why did you call me? Was it because you wished that I put my hands upon the unhappy sufferer that is present and cure her? Ah, what suffering, dear God! She has lost her sight and darkness envelopes her. Poor child! Let her pray and wait. I do not know how to perform miracles, if God does not wish it. All the cures that I have been able to obtain, that you have been informed about, can only be attributed to He who is our Father. In your afflictions always lift up your eyes to Heaven and say from the bottom of your hearts: "Lord, cure me, but cause my sick soul to cure itself before you cure my body; let my flesh be chastised, if this be necessary, so that my soul may rise up to Your bosom with the same whiteness it possessed when You created it." After this prayer, my friends, may the good Lord always hear you. Then you will be given strength, courage and perhaps also the cure for which you have asked, in recompense for your abnegation.
However, since I am here in this assembly which deals principally with study, I will tell you that those who are deprived of their sight should consider themselves blessed in their atonement. I would remind you that Christ said it was better to pluck out your eye if it were evil, and that it was preferable to cast it into the fire rather than allow it to become the cause of your condemnation. Ah! How many there are in this world who one day, when they are in absolute darkness, will curse the time they saw the light! Oh yes, how happy are those who through atonement find they have been struck in their sight! Then their eyes will not be the cause of offence nor of their downfall. They can live the full life of the soul. They can see more than those whose vision is clear! ... When God permits that I open the eyelids of some of these sad sufferers and restitute the light, then I say to myself: Dear soul, why do you not wish to know all the delights of the Spirit who lives by love and contemplation? Then you would not ask to see images that are less pure and gentle than those you glimpse through your blindness.!
Oh! Blessed is the blind person who wishes to live with God! More fortunate than you who are here at this moment, he feels happiness; it is tangible to him; he sees the souls of men and can rise up with them to the spiritual spheres where he can perceive what even the predestined of the Earth cannot manage to see. Our eyes, when open, are always ready to cause the downfall of the soul; whilst, when shut, they are always ready to help us rise up in the direction of God. Believe me, my good and dear friends, on many occasions blindness is the true light of the heart, whereas sight is frequently the angel of darkness which leads to death.
And now, a few words directed at you, my poor sufferer. Wait and be of good faith! If I were to say: "My child, your eyes will op en," how jubilant you would feel! But who knows if this joy would not be the cause of a great loss! Have faith then in the good Lord who gives us happiness and permits sadness. I will do everything for you that I am permitted, but on your side you must pray, and even more important, meditate on all that I have said.
Before I leave, may all who are here gathered together receive my blessing. VIANNEY, parish priest of Ars (Paris, 1863).
* This communication was given in response to an appeal of a blind person, in whose name the Spirit of J. B. Vianney, a parish priest of Ars, was evoked.
21. REMARKS: When an affliction is not a consequence of acts committed in this life, then we must look for the cause in a previous life. Everything which we call a whim of chance is nothing more than the effect of God's justice. He does not inflict wilful punishment, but desires that every penalty be in accordance with the misdeed. If in His goodness He has cast a veil over our past actions, He has also pointed out the way by saying: "Who kills by the sword shall perish by the sword." From these words we should understand that each creature is always punished according to the way in which he or she has sinned. If someone suffers the torment of losing their sight, then it is because their sight was the cause of their downfall. It might also be that this person was the cause of someone else losing their sight, perhaps in consequence of excessive work that had been imposed upon them by the one who has now lost theirs; perhaps also through ill treatment, lack of care, negligence, etc. In these cases the person responsible always undergoes the penalty caused by his own actions. On repenting, he may have chosen this very atonement, thereby applying to himself the words of Jesus: "If your eye is the motive for offence, then cast it out."