Thursday, January 13, 2011

Covering of the Soul

Saint Theophan has an interesting article on the covering of the soul.  He begins his disucssion with the following story.
And during the life of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ, there was a hieromonk who was a faster, a solitary and a man of prayer. Everyone honored him, that is, they held him in reverence. But when St. Andrew met him, he saw that he was arrayed in some sort of dark fog, and then around his neck was a curled a snake with the inscription “snake of avarice.” Such was the soul that he had! However, no one could see it. The enlightened spiritual eyes of St. Andrew saw. But the eyes of the heavenly inhabitants are even more enlightened. Thus while we think that no one sees what we are, we are seen by a countless number of eyes.
We may see ourselves in a certain way but what do we look like to spiritual eyes? The sould has a covering which gives a presence that can be seen wby those with spiritual eyes.

 Saint Basil the Great says, 
“The body is ours; besides this body, will we have, beginning with our clothing, is that which surrounds us. But what are we? We are soul (with the spirit)."
Saint Theophan tells us,
When the conscience is pure, the fear of God fills the soul and keeps it inviolable. Then the Lord Himself, Who is everywhere and fills all things, visits that soul, and it becomes a white and shines like a small star. 
Our spiritual efforts must be directed within, to purify our conscience and to seek the Holy Spirit which will bring us spiritual light.  This brings a bright presence, a covering that is more powerful than our clothing, that can be seen with spiritual eyes. This is the covering of our soul.

May your soul shine brightly.

Reference: The Spiritual Life, p 81 - 84

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