There was a beautiful story recently on NBC about Trevor Thomas, a man who lost his eyesight 10 years ago but has since hiked thousands of miles on paths as daunting as the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails. It said he seems to have “a sixth sense for beauty and grandeur.”
In 1524, St. Angela accompanied her cousin on a trip to the Holy Land, a pretty hazardous trip in those days. Imagine her disappointment when she became blind along the way! Yet she continued her journey, trusting God to help her see with the eyes of her soul the places where Jesus had lived. She later recovered her physical sight and went on to do amazing things.
I asked Sr. Mary Jacqueline Pratt, an Ursuline who is almost totally blind, about her own experience of being able to “see” even though blind. She said she related to what Trevor had said about listening. Because of the greater fine-tuning of other senses, listening helps the blind know and see what is around them, and helps them see deeper than physical vision. They learn to see with the heart and be conscious of sound in order to see the beauty in surroundings. “A positive attitude toward where life takes us helps us see beauty in people and in things,” she said. “As St. Paul says: ‘Willingly I glory in my infirmities that the healing power of Christ may dwell in me.'”