Friday, January 1, 2010

A Spiritual Vision for the New Year
Many of us take time at the start of a new year to reflect on our life and to set new goals for the coming year.  I propose, instead of this normal process, we take an approach outlined by Saint Theophan that involves a vision of what he calls “another world.”

St. Theophan tells us that to preserve “undying zeal” for Theosis we need to do the following:
“a. Go within, b. view the new world and c. stand in those feelings and thoughts by which he ascends as on the steps of a ladder to the footstool of the Lord’s throne.” (Path to Salvation  p. 222)
He tells us this should be a ceaseless exercise.

What is this view of the new and other world
St. Theophan says that this other world It is a world that is “uncircumscribable, invisible and indescribable.”  When we enter into this inner temple of our being, this vision is impressed into our consciousness.  It is something that we cannot forget calling us to action.  He says, “It consists in holding the entire structure of the spiritual world in the consciousness and senses.”  So what does he mean by the “entire structure of the spiritual world”?  He says its not different than if we would walk into  a room.  When we do we observe whats in the room and how things are arranged.  Similarly when we go within thin inner temple of our being we will see a “new world” and its structure will be engraved into our consciousness.  from this view we will know what we need to do.

Saint Theophan then gives us a brief description of this world which he earlier said was indescribable.

“God is One, worshiped in Trinity, the Creator and Upholder of all things,” or as the Apostle says, the Head of all things (cf. Eph 1:10) in our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, active in the Holy Church, which, having perfected the faithful, transports them to another world.  This world will continue until the fulness of time, or the end of time, when, at the resurrection and judgment all will receive according to their deeds––some will descend into hell, while others will dwell in paradise, and God will be all in all (cf. 1 Cor 15:28). (Path to Salvation  p. 227)

When we enter in to his inner temple, we will , first, experience  the Holy Trinity in the role of “upholder of all things” and a God who is “all in all”.  In addition, we will see Jesus himself working actively through the Holy Spirit in the Church. We will see that the aim of this work is to bring us from our present world to “another world.”   We will also understand how this is unending work of God.  Also, we will know clearly that there is an end of time where everyone will be judged based on their deeds.  With this judgment clearly outlined we will then grasp what it means to be in hell and in paradise.  We will see that his is the whole structure of the “new world.”  He says, “everything possible and real comes under this and is contained in this… The main subjects are: the all-mighty reigning power of God, the paradigm of salvation, and the four finalities: death, judgment, Paradise and hell.”  This is all contained in the Creed or Symbol of Faith.

Meditate on this “vision of another world” as described by Saint Theophan.

Next: Establishing a Spiritual Vision

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