Seeing Through the Eyes of Faith by Rev. Joe Landi

It was in Robert Kincade’s Bistro in Carmel that I first noticed a definite change for the better in my vision. I could read the dessert menu without glasses! His desserts are heavenly and measure up to the restaurant’s four diamond award. Not only is the food remarkable, but so are Kincade and his employees. Kincade’s is a Christian establishment. They all pray together before opening the doors—not that business will be good, but that they might be good servants of the Lord in the ministry of hospitality—as St. Benedict suggested, to welcome each guest as if he were Christ himself.

The world is filled with people who see what is going on but never quite understand what is happening. It’s not that they are slow-gifted; it is because they do not see through the eyes of faith. Many of the employees at Kincade’s are active in the Charismatic Renewal--people who see through the eyes of faith. Diana, the hostess, is a member of a local prayer group. Michael, the host and bookkeeper, is a music minister on Sundays at the Presidio Chapel Catholic Mass and St. Angela’s Church in Pacific Grove. Therefore, it is only fitting that this great gift of my improved sight should occur to me where I could share it with fellow Christians.

Perhaps my improved vision is not as miraculous as that of restored vision recounted in Matthew 9:27-31 or Mark 8:22-26. It is nonetheless God’s gift. All good things come from God. For me, restored eyesight falls in his domain and I share in the enthusiasm of the blind man who could not keep quiet about being able to see for the first time. Being able to see well again, after many years of wearing eye glasses and contact lenes, is for me joyous and miraculous.

This is how it happened. The supplier of my contact lenses informed me of a clinical trial at Stanford Laser Vision Center under the direction of Edward E. Manche, M.D. It involved subjects with mild to moderate levels of hyperopia (far-sightedness), i.e, me. A device similar to the one being used in this clinical investigation has been approved by the FDA for the correction of myopic (near-sightedness) with astigmatism—also me. This particular clinical investigation is to evaluate the use of the excimer laser to correct hyperopia using a procedure called excimer laser hyperopic photorefractive keratectomy—or PRK, for obvious reasons. I immediately called, got an appointment for an evaluation, and was one of the nine people selected for the pilot program.

"Life Begins at 40" was a popular movie and perhaps, an axiom. The movie was a love story—not a word about failing vision which begins about then, too. Failing eyesight may be helpful by not allowing us to see our wrinkles, but for what else? True, we can use crutches for the eyes—glasses or contact lenses to offset our vision loss. They are still crutches. Contact lenses require a far sturdier finger to insert them than I usually have early in the morning. Of course, there is also the need for the glasses in the first place if only to find the contacts. It seemed that I was always looking for my glasses. Sometimes I would find them by sitting on them. It was not a pretty sight.

The first time, PRK gave me the ability to read with one eye without glasses or contacts. The second, three months later, corrected the far-sightedness in the other eye. The PRK was quick and painless. I expect that one day it will be as common a procedure as being fitted for glasses.

During the second "surgery," a TV crew filmed for a program on the Sci/Fi Network, "The New Edge." The segment producer, Christopher Bauer, who interviewed me before and after the procedure, was a graduate of St. Cecilia’s School. Small world. When Christopher asked me what I thought of this technological breakthrough, I replied without hesitation, "It is a gift from God."

Those who see through the eyes of faith see the disciplines of science, technology, and religion fitting together without conflict. They provide answers to different questions in different modes. Moreover, when we develop sight through the eyes of faith, we see that our heavenly Father knows what we need. Those needs, in their right time and place, are funneled to us through his gifts of science, technology, and religion. However, Jesus reminds us in the Scriptures to keep our priorities right. So do not worry about the things we need for today or tomorrow. "But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness," he promised, "and all these things will be given you besides (Matt 6:33)." Yes, including the gift of improved sight.

Copyright 1998 The San Francisco Charismatics

Fr. Joe Landi is a Parochial Vicar at St. Cecilia's Parish, San Francisco, the Archbishop’s Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal, the Editor of The San Francisco Charismatics, and the Board Chair of Sierra Point Credit Union, South San Francisco which serves the Charismatic Renewal membership. You can contact Fr. Landi by E-Mail at sfccr@slip.net