• Michael Haldas

Perception

“…faith has two elements involving the whole person: an inner choice to obey and a tangible follow-through…To grasp the essence of faith, it is necessary to look within and realize that choice comes before we put our hands to action. An action is of faith when it arises freely from what we will – when it is done by choice. In faith, the will is preface to action.” (Dynamis 7/18/2019) “He who is united to God by faith and recognizes Him by action is indeed enabled to see Him in contemplation…the perception of Christ as God is called illumination. Seeing is therefore essential.” (St. Symeon the New Theologian, Dynamis 5/7/2020) “Just as Christ does “not judge by reputation nor convict by common talk,” [Isaiah 11:3] but sees with godly acuity, so also through the Spirit others are able to see with an insight that defies our expectations of normal human perception.” (Dynamis 12/27/2019) “Human beings have an ability to perceive truth, goodness, and beauty, and, arguably, are drawn to them, sometimes at the expense of all else. The notion of such things existing as abstractions is, itself, an abstraction and an invention of modern philosophies. It is part of an alienation of the human being from all that is obvious, including what it is to be human. The unique claim of Christianity is that Goodness, Truth, and Beauty became flesh and dwelt among us as the God/Man, Jesus Christ. We say that if you come to know these things in the world around you, and reflected within yourself, you will recognize them as well in Him.” (Father Stephen Freeman) “The spirit of Christianity is a spirit of contemplation. It teaches us to look at what is invisible to the senses (see 2 Corinthians 4:18) and promises us that those who are pure in heart, who live in holiness, will see God face to face.” (Ivan Ilyin)

“…here is a distinction here between God’s active will and His permissive will. God does not blind us with the active intent of preventing our right perception…However, He does permit us to resist Him – to say no to His will. In such a case, we blind ourselves.” (OCPM 5/24/2017)

“The greatest consequence of blindness toward God is a profound confusion about our own identity. This confusion ripples out, impacting every relationship we have and guaranteeing that we’ll not be at peace.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

“So long as self-deception lies at the source of a person’s perception of things, he or she cannot mature into the fullness of being human or lead a successful course through life.” (Vigen Guroian)

“Our perception of God is like being in a dark room with a tiny bit of light coming through a window. At first, we only see a little part of the room. But as the light grows stronger, we see more and more of the room and everything in it. As we grow more and more spiritually, we perceive more and more of God’s presence surrounding us. “(Sacramental Living Blog)

“The soul is created for the awareness of God and its attention is properly directed towards Him, not towards itself. We become more clearly aware of the nous (the soul’s faculty of perception) when we enter into true prayer, when we are aware of God. Self-awareness in the nous is found in repentance, when we “return to ourselves.” True repentance is not a matter of feeling bad over something we have done, a sorrow that may simply be confined to our emotions. It is instead a profound awareness that apart from God we are nothing.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Our culture thinks in terms of “thinking” (ratio). However, Christian faith is not a subset or a mode of discursive reason. It is, however, a mode of perception, just as is seeing, smelling, hearing, or touch. Faith is the mode of the heart’s perception, and since everyone, even a modern person, actually has a heart, everyone is capable of faith. It is, however, something that takes practice and patience.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“God is unknowable without His divine revelation, and only the nous [heart] can perceive this knowledge. Science has its place, but only the heart can know God.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Again, he who does not limit his perception of the nature of visible things to what his senses alone can observe, but wisely with his intellect [heart] searches after the essence which lies within every creature, also finds God; for from the manifest magnificence of created beings he learns who is the Cause of their being.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“When we contrast the eyesight of men with God’s vision, we see that our perception is imperfect. Without His illumination, human vision remains undiscerning.” (OCPM 7/27/2016)

“...the experience or perception of God and His uncreated beauty can take place on many different levels and to varying degrees.” (Archimandrite Sergius)

“In the famous movie, Silence of the Lambs, the evil Hannibal Lecter chided the young FBI agent Clarice Starling telling her, ‘you look but you do not see.’ Despite being evil, he spoke truth. She was staring at a file that revealed the truth about the killer yet did not perceive it. Our challenge in Christianity is often the same because we look but don’t see, using our physical sense of sight and gift of rationale to try to divine understanding, but not our hearts. Christ told the Pharisees as much when He told them they searched the Scriptures for eternal life but missed that they revealed Christ (John 5:39) who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“Seeing with your eyes doesn’t guarantee seeing with your heart…As part of our inner renewal in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6) we gain the gift of seeing the unseen…” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 20:30, Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:18)

“Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This is not a statement that declares that good people will go to heaven. It is a statement about the nature of spiritual sight and spiritual knowledge: it is directly related to the heart. Plenty of people had an objective experience of Christ. His miracles occurred in the presence of crowds. But Christ did not come to give this form of knowledge. Judas saw all of the miracles, and, doubtless, performed his share along with the rest of the Apostles.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

"...the things of God are not known by the rational mind alone, but rather they are experienced in the heart of man." (Archimandrite Sergius)

“For God is united with all men according to the underlying quality of their inner state; and, at the creation of each person, He provides each person with the capacity to perceive and sense Him when He is united in one way or another with all men at the end of the ages.” (St. Maximos the Confessor)


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