Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vision of Another World

As we enter into this realm within our heart we are able to see the heavenly temple.


"Strive to enter the temple within yourself, and you will see the heavenly temple," Saint Isaac the Syrian


This vision is one that is indescribable and it impresses itself on the consciousness.  It with this vision that we are left to our free will to act and live "on earth as in heaven," as the Lord taught us in the Lord's Prayer.


When one enters within, the entire structure of the spiritual realm is revealed.  Here is how Saint Theophan describes it:
"God is One, worshiped in Trinity, the Creator and Upholder of all things," or as 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 fullness 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" (1Cor 15:28).


This is the vision that we should all impress on our mind.  St. Theophan asks us to establish ourselves in this paradigm.  He says,
It is the same as viewing oneself as being in an acknowledged peaceful co-relationship with everything around.  This means establishing oneself within the reign of the Almighty God at His right hand, the feeling of being upheld by Him, absorbed in Him and observed by Him...


Seeking salvation as a member of His Church Saint John Chrysostom advises us to develop a feeling that you are a warrior for Christ and a citizen of His city, remembering that you are established in death and judgment, with your eye turned toward either heaven or hell.


St. Theophan tells us that establishing this vision in our minds takes some effort.  Here is how.
It consists entirely in simply straining the mind's eye to see these subjects.  See yourself upheld by the right hand of God and as seen by God's eye, saved in the Lord, standing after death before the judgment which will determine whether you will be received into Paradise or swallowed up by hell.  Apply all you labor to first just see this.  Once this vision has been achieved the first time, it becomes easier and more frequent.  Whoever will do this forcefully and without distraction will quickly attain an unceasing vision, or, what is the same, he will stand in the spiritual world, in the presence of God, in the church, at the hour of death and judgment, at the threshold of hell or Paradise.


Once this vision is established in the mind the the last effort is feeling that you are there.  He says,
It is feeling yourself upheld in the almighty reigning power of God as a child in its mother's arms; to be in the presence of God's all-seeing power as one presented before a King; to fit yourself into the paradigm of salvation as a soldier in formation, or a son in his father's house, or an expert at his work, or a comrade in his circle of friends, or amongst your own family members; to relate death and judgment as a criminal each minute awaits a sentence; to look at heaven and hell as one standing on the narrowest plank––on onside is the abyss, roiling with flames, on the other side is a lovely garden.


Remember that the Lord told us, "The kingdom of God is within you (Lk 17:21).  The transition from this world into the other is your goal and the object of all your seeking.


"The vision of the other world can hold ad enkindle the spirit of zeal..."  St.Theophan


"You do not belong here but to another world... " St. John Chrysostom


Ref: Path to Salvation pp 226-232

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