Many have kept on asking the question: “Is God really my father?” The answer is strongly in the affirmative. God the first Person of the Holy Trinity is your Father because He made you – He created you by willing that you be born. He, therefore, loves you with an intensity and profundity of love you cannot begin to imagine. He cares about you, even though you may think otherwise, and wants to be a central part of your life so He can bless you in this life and beyond.
Isaiah (49:14-16) said, “Zion was saying, ‘Yahweh has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ Does a woman forget her baby at the breast or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you. See, I have branded you on the palms of My hands.”
If only you knew the unparalleled love God the Father has for you, no matter what you have done in your life! If only you knew.
Since many keep asking about this topic, below is my original post on a basic level of discernment of the origin of dreams.
Discernment of dreams
According to Saint John Climacus, a simple method exists of discerning the origin of dreams we can have – from where they come: “If we wake up from sleep peaceful, this shows that we have been comforted by the angels unawares. If, on the other hand, we wake up troubled, we are suffering as a result of evil dreams and visions. A dream’s origin is indicated by whether it disturbs us or brings peace” (Met. Hierotheos . The science of spiritual medicine, p. 184).
Dreams from the devil or demons
According to Diadochos of Photiki, dreams originating from the devil or demons “do not keep the same shape, but change from one form to another, alarm the senses, resound with laughter or suddenly become threatening. The figures that appear . . . shout and menace, transform themselves into soldiers and sometimes screech at the soul” (ibid.). These dreams are characterized by color and change. They bring despair, which is always a sign of demonic deception.
Dreams from God
Dreams originating from God “do not . . . [generally] change shape or provoke fear and horror, but bring inexpressible joy and gladness . . . [These dreams are unchanging, with no or minimal color; they lead to] intense prayer, repentance, and a willingness to change” (ibid.).
The light of the first day and the light of the eighth day meet in the icon – Paul Evdokimov
On the Western side of the Church, Benedict XVI (2000, The Spirit of the Liturgy) has emphasized five fundamental principles regarding both the need and the function of images in the universal Church, particularly holy icons. These principles are that:
- Icons are, “Images of beauty, in which the mystery of the invisible God becomes visible, are an essential part of Christian worship” (p. 131);
- “Sacred art finds its subjects . . . beginning with creation and continuing all the way from the first day to the eighth day” (p. 132);
- “Images point to a presence, they are essentially connected with what happens in the liturgy” (p. 132);
- “Their whole point [of images] is to lead us beyond what can be apprehended at the merely material level, to awaken new senses in us, and to teach us a new kind of seeing, which perceived the Invisible in the visible . . . It comes from an interior vision and thus leads us to such an interior vision. It must be a fruit of contemplation . . . a prayer and seeing undertaken in communion with the seeing faith of the Church. The ecclesial dimension is essential . . . [providing] an essential connection with the history of the faith, with Scripture and Tradition” (p. 133);
- “The Church in the West . . . must achieve a real reception of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II, which affirmed the fundamental importance and theological status of the image in the Church. The Western Church does not need to subject herself to all the individual norms concerning images that were developed at the councils and synods of the East . . . There must, of course, be no rigid norms. Freshly received intuitions and the ever-new experiences of piety must find a place in the Church . . . [Furthermore] art cannot be “produced” . . . it is always a gift . . . it has to be received, otherwise it is not there (pp. 134-135).
On this the feast day of the Assumption of the Holy Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, here is a relic of a small part of Her belt as it can be found at Mount Athos. This reliquary was sealed by the Augustinians. Second class relic.
The Gallery at Holy Relics – The Deification of Man
Since there are a lot, I set up a new site for the relics, titled Holy Relics – The Deification of Man. Like that, the relics can be easily viewed and found without interference from other posts. So head over there to see over 60 first and second class relics and reliquaries that have been posted to date.
On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, above is a reliquary with a small piece of the purple robe of Our Lord Jesus Christ (De Purpurae), a very rare relic. Christ was forced to wear this robe after His scourging at the pillar, when the soldiers crowned Him with thorns and mocked Him, acclaiming, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (Mk 15:17). The small piece of the robe shown above is a second class relic and the reliquary was sealed by the Augustinians.
“Although very concise, this small book offers a very good introduction to the Deification/Theosis of man, the very purpose of all our lives, particularly from the Eastern Orthodox perspective. It is replete with credible references, both biblical and from respected Eastern Orthodox saints, that together provide a sound basis for the postulation of the author, who here in this book attempts to represent the overarching view of the Eastern church to those less familiar or completely unacquainted. The book is readable within a couple of hours . . . [it] is recommended for those that would like a better understanding of Theosis but without having to encounter all the accompanying extraneous theological baggage.”
Above is a reliquary showing a very small piece of the Holy Shroud of Jesus Christ (De Sindone), one of the most famous relics in history. You can read more about the Shroud here. The small piece shown above constitutes a second class relic and the reliquary was sealed by the Augustinians.