On meeting God

“If you have not discerned that the eye of your mind has been opened and that it has seen the light;
If you have not perceived the sweetness of the Godhead;
If you have not been personally enlightened by the Holy Spirit . . .
If you have not sensed that your heart has been cleansed and has shone with luminous reflections;
If, contrary to all expectation, you have not discovered the Christ within yourself;
If you have not been stupefied at your vision of the divine beauty and have not become oblivious of human nature when you saw yourself so totally transfigured . . .
Then tell me: how is it that you dare to make any statement at all about God?”

– Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 21.

 

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Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology

Photo: Alexei Boitsov

Some writers have defined lucidity as following fantasy and being a natural continuation of it, within the purported psychological framework of Lacan’s initial meaning of the sinthome. This was apparently done in an attempt to downplay or completely change the real significance of lucidity; willfully or otherwise. However, such an assertion by the said writers is not true because fantasy and lucidity belong to two different orders – realms, levels – of functioning, in relation both to the nature and the abilities of common man.

Fantasy, on the one hand, belongs to Lacan’s order of the Imaginary, which is one of the psychological orders. It originates from man. No true insight or understanding are present in fantasy, otherwise it would not be fantasy in the first instance. Lucidity, on the other hand, belongs to the order, the realm, of the Spirit, which is the supernatural order (not to be confused with the preternatural order). It originates from God the Holy Spirit and is a gift of grace. Lucidity carries within it both true insight – clarity of vision – and understanding.

As the supernatural order is, by its very character, a higher order than the psychological order, it can subsume the latter within it, if and when necessary, but not vice versa. One cannot, therefore, traverse fantasy qua fantasy, to reach lucidity in a natural manner. Moreover, it is well-known in the apophatic via negativa of Eastern Christianity (as opposed to the cataphatic via positiva of Western Christianity) that when lucidity is present, fantasy is absent because it is no longer needed. But how, then, does all this happen and what does it really mean?  Continue reading “Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology”

Faith and seeing God

The Son of God became man so that man might become god – Saint Athanasius (De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B).

Yes, God Is and will remain – despite the present loss of your faith.

There are two kinds of faith: faith derived from hearing and learning, and faith derived from theoria. Although not separate from each other, the two kinds of faith differ, resulting in different kinds of knowledge of God.

Faith derived from hearing and learning (simple faith) results in the natural knowledge of God. Faith derived from theoria (perfect faith) results in the spiritual knowledge of God and the healing of man. We have become very used to the former, but thoroughly unused to the latter that we seem to have forgotten it indeed exists and is part and parcel of the life of humankind.

The shift from the mere natural knowledge of God, to the spiritual knowledge of God, is what is happening right now, necessitating purification in all the dimensions of life. This shift will continue, steadily increasing, until illumination of the heart of the soul, the nous, occurs and then all humankind will know God Is.

On icons and the deification of man – 2

Iconic light becomes incarnate grace, materialized, and it must be received as such in contemplation. Contemplation is not simply passive reception but requires all the dynamism of the spirit; the light of God must therefore be assimilated in order to be transmitted to others. Man thus enters into the divine eros. The knowledge of the intelligible light becomes illumination and thereby man moves toward the brilliantly shining darkness of the absolute mystery – E. Sendler, The Icon: Image of the Invisible.

On man – 2

The man who attains illumination of the nous becomes a real, natural man, entering into his true life’s work and climbing the eternal mountain – Metropolitan Hierotheos of Vlachos.

What is Deification of Man in Christianity?

Deification Front CoverDeification is the transformation of man into god through the grace of God. Predominant in the theology of Eastern Christianity, but marginalized and obscured in contemporary interpretations of the theology of Western Christianity, Bartolo-Abela explores how it is deification, not just salvation, that was and remains the intent of God for mankind, with deification occurring not solely in patria, but in via and in patria. This is an understanding of deification which has been largely lost and needs to be recovered in the Western Church.

Examining the works of the Church Fathers on both sides of the East-West divide in Christianity, Bartolo-Abela shows that rather than being restricted to the East, deification featured consistently in many theological works popular in the West, with the most prominent being those of Aquinas, Augustine, Hilary of Poitiers, Irenaeus and Jerome. Bartolo-Abela argues that it was deification, not just salvation as commonly understood, that was also inherently referred to by Paul VI in the universal call to holiness found in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.

Deification is the process of man becoming god and attaining theoria, seeing God, after purification of the heart and illumination of the heart of the soul have ensued through baptism in the Holy Spirit, as understood throughout tradition. Deification from this life, not solely the next, is the desire of God for mankind in accord with the words of Christ and Peter, “I said you are gods” (Jn 10:34) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 P 1:4).

NEW RELEASE – The Divine Family: Experiential Narratives

The Divine FamilyIn The Divine Family: Experiential Narratives by Marcelle Bartolo-Abela, the lived experiences of the author with the Members of the Divine Family and others are presented openly in print for the first time. These experiences occurred from 2010 through 2012. Written predominantly in a dialogical narrative style suitable for believers and non-believers alike, the author chronicles first-hand some of her personal experiences with the archangels Michael and Raphael; demons and Satan, the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Continue reading “NEW RELEASE – The Divine Family: Experiential Narratives”

The Tenderness and Mercy of God the Father in the Illumination of Conscience

The immense tenderness that exudes from our Father’s Divine Heart has to be experienced to be truly known. God the Father is the most tender and intensely loving Parent: never pushing any of us beyond what we can endure in the moment, although He continually sets progressively higher targets for us to achieve, to facilitate our spiritual growth in our Continue reading “The Tenderness and Mercy of God the Father in the Illumination of Conscience”

Who is a theologian? – 3

“If you have not discerned that the eye of your mind has been opened,
And that it has seen the light;
If you have not perceived the sweetness of the Godhead;
If you have not been personally enlightened by the Holy Spirit . . .  Continue reading “Who is a theologian? – 3”

The three stages of our love for God

According to St Nikitas Stithatos, the three stages of our love for God is as follows:

  1. In the first stage we experience “contempt for visible and human things,” as part of our beginning love for God;  Continue reading “The three stages of our love for God”