Psychological Revelations

July 31, 2017 § Leave a comment

people may be helped by being able to express their feelings (sensa animi), which usually does them good, see 1701, 1931. (AC 2693)
This is clear from the meaning of ‘do not be afraid’ as not despairing, for once fear is removed hope is at hand; (AC 2694)
for the thought receives its conviction and its life from the affection. (AC 2694.3)
Those who experience such vastation or desolation are brought to the point of despair, and when in that state they receive comfort and help from the Lord, and at length are taken away out of that state into heaven, where in the presence of angels they are taught so to speak anew the goods and truths of faith. The primary reason why they undergo vastation or desolation is so that the things of which they are firmly persuaded, originating in what is properly their own, may crumble, see 2682, and also that they may receive the perception of good and truth, which perception they are not able to receive until those false persuasions originating in what is their own are so to speak softened. And it is the state of distress and grief even to the point of despair that effects this change. What good is, and indeed what blessedness and happiness are, nobody with even the sharpest mind is able to perceive unless he has experienced the state of being deprived of good, blessedness, and happiness. (2694.2)

The Four Gospels, like a Heavenly Choir

July 27, 2017 § Leave a comment

Some people get disturbed because the four Gospels tell slightly different stories and have different sequences. They feel, surely if the Gospels were true, they would speak in one voice. But singing in unison is as rich as harmonic polyphonic singing.

Angelic choirs were once praising the Lord and doing so with heartfelt joy. Their praises were heard sometimes as sweet singing, for to one another spirits and angels have resounding voices and they hear one another as well as men hear one another. But no human singing, however heavenly its sweetness and harmony, can compare with that of those angelic choirs. (AC 3893)

As we have seen, the Gospels offer us four distinctive voices; they do not speak in unison as some interpreters of the Old Testament. Rather, we should hear their testimonies as four distinctive voices singing in polyphony. If that is correct, the art of reading the Gospels is like the art listening to choral singing. Each section in a choir must learn to hear and sing its own part. The choir director does not want everyone gravitating to singing the melody in unison; if that happens, the polyphony and the harmonic texture will be lost. So it is with the fourfold Gospel witness of the New Testament canon. To be sure, in a complex choral work, there may be moments of dissonance between the different parts. Discerning hearers do not want to eliminate the dissonances; rather, the task of appreciation is to develop a nuanced ability to hear how the dissonances belong to a larger artistic design. With that metaphor in mind, then, let us review each of the four parts, each of the four Gospel witnesses, and ask whether they finally cohere in their polyphonic evocations of Israel’s Scripture. (ECHOES OF SCRIPTURE IN THE GOSPELS, Richard B. Hays, Baylor University Press, copyright 2016, page 349.)





The Well Connected Person

July 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

A successful person is usually a well connected person, having a large network of friends and business relationships.  A spiritual person is also a well connected person, but in a totally different way:

‘Also she is truly my sister’ means that rational truth possessed such a relationship. This is clear from the representation of ‘Sarah when a sister’ as rational truth, dealt with in 2508, and also from what follows next where the subject is the birth of the rational and its consequent relationship. In general it should be kept in mind that all things which exist with a truly rational, that is, regenerate, person – all that constitutes his affections, his perceptions, and his thoughts – are interconnected as in blood-relationships and relationships by marriage; for those things have been arranged in such a way that they mutually regard one another as families do which make up one house, and this in a most clear and distinct manner. Consequently when they reappear they do so in accordance with the relationships in which they exist. This ordered relationship with one another they receive from heaven – that is, from the Lord by way of heaven – flowing into them. With a person who is truly rational, that is, regenerate, everything has been arranged into order such as exists in heaven; and this ordered arrangement of everything within him comes as a result of heaven flowing into him. From that ordered arrangement within him a person possesses a power of thought, deduction, judgement, and reflection, which is so marvelous that it surpasses all human knowledge and wisdom, infinitely surpassing the conclusions which by analysis human effort draws from these sources. The reason these facts have not been known up to now is that people have not believed that all the things which constitute their affections, perceptions, and thoughts flow in – evil ones from hell, decent ones from heaven. Thus these have a connection with the things that are outside of them; yet the fact of the matter is that man, as regards his spirit, is joined to those outside of him in such a way that if he were deprived of that connection he would not remain alive for a single instant. This may also be recognized from the consideration that anything unconnected cannot possibly exist, and that anything unconnected perishes in an instant. (AC 2556; Elliot)

The Wisdom of Angels and Men

July 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

The reason why the perception which the Lord had when He was in the Human, and why His thought concerning that which was rational with the doctrine of faith, are dealt with so extensively in the internal sense is that stated above. A further reason is that it is angel-like to think in a distinct manner about the various aspects of the Lord’s life in the world, and about how He cast off the human rational and by His own power made it Divine, and at the same time to think about the nature of the doctrine of charity and faith when the rational mixes with it, besides many more things dependent on these, which are interior features of the Church and of man. To anyone whose heart and mind are set on worldly and bodily interests, such matters seem of little importance, and perhaps of no advantage to him; whereas to angels whose hearts and minds are set on celestial and spiritual interests, those same matters are precious. Their ideas and perceptions regarding them are beyond description. From this it is evident that very many matters which to man are of little importance because they are above and beyond his grasp of things are to angels of the highest worth since those matters come within the light of their wisdom; and conversely, the matters of highest worth to man, because they are worldly and so come within his grasp of things, are to angels of little importance since those matters go on away from the light of angels’ wisdom. This difference between angels and men with regard to the internal sense of the Word occurs in many places. (AC 2540.2; Elliot)

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