What prevents us from looking to Heaven

"Thus the Lord found this woman who had been bent over for eighteen years: she could not stand upright (Lk 13:11). Like her," comments St. Augustine, "are those who have their hearts on earth"; after a time they have lost the ability to look up to Heaven, to contemplate God and to see in Him the wonder of all creation. "He who is bowed down, always looks to the earth, and he who seeks what is below, does not remember at what price he was redeemed." He forgets that all created things are to lead him to Heaven and contemplates only an impoverished universe.

The devil kept the woman cured by Jesus from looking at Heaven for eighteen years. Others, unfortunately, spend their whole lives looking at the earth, bound by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life6. The concupiscence of the flesh prevents us from seeing God, for only the clean of heart will see Him; this evil tendency "is not reduced exclusively to the disorder of sensuality, but also to comfort, to the lack of vibration, which pushes us to seek the easiest, the most pleasurable, the apparently shortest way, even at the cost of yielding in fidelity to God (...).

"The other enemy (...) is the lust of the eyes, a deep-seated greed, which leads us to value only what we can touch. Eyes that remain as if glued to earthly things, but also eyes that, for this very reason, do not know how to discover supernatural realities. Therefore, we can use the expression of Sacred Scripture to refer to the greed for material goods, and also to that deformation that leads us to observe what surrounds us - others, the circumstances of our life and of our time - only with human vision.

"The eyes of the soul are dulled; reason believes itself self-sufficient to understand everything, dispensing with God (...). Our existence can thus be handed over unconditionally into the hands of the third enemy, the superbia vitae. It is not only a question of ephemeral thoughts of vanity or self-love: it is a general conceit. Let us not deceive ourselves, for this is the worst of evils, the root of all evils". None of these enemies will be able to defeat us if we have the sincerity necessary to discover their first manifestations, however small they may be, and we beseech the Lord to help us to raise our gaze towards Him again.