The conversion of St. Paul, as it comes to us in the version of Acts 9 in the first reading for Mass today, had me thinking about conversion. The play of light and darkness, of seeing and blindness, it really resonates with me.
The light and the voice aren't overwhelming for Saul in the midst of the experience; he is able to converse with the Lord. But afterwards he finds himself blinded. He must be helped to get where the Lord had told him to go, he has to pray and be prayed over, and only then do the scales fall from his eyes, leaving him free for the mission of Jesus Christ.
I think that this process is going on all the time in the spiritual life. Many times we see the light and hear the voice. At the same time, however, we are always being struck blind by the brightness that has found us. In our own prayer and in the prayer of others for us, ever deeper and harder scalings fall from our eyes. Indeed, the new vision that comes from such scales falling is often itself the occasion for a new blinding by the Light.
It is one of the ways the communion of saints operates in this life; we are always Paul who needs to be led by the hand and prayed over, and we are always Ananais who prays over others that they may see to embrace the mission to which God calls them. Each of us is praying Ananias for each of us who is blinded Paul.