Fantasy & Reality

February 16, 2010

Religions and philosophies have tried, in vain, to define nature itself by reducing the practice of spirituality into a purely mental experience. The Christian faith teaches the opposite. It is precisely mental imagery, the realm of fantasy or imagination, that is the most dangerous to the spiritual life. Pure prayer and communion with God is not primarily a mental exercise, in the narrow sense of the cognitive process, but is rather an experience of God Himself, directly to the nous, unrelated to one’s own thoughts and imagination. It is by putting aside fantasies and thoughts, the raw material for demonic activity, and clinging to the image of God, both within and without, that we may receive true spiritual revelation. So profound is this human need for the image of God, that we’re constantly moving toward one of two poles. Either we recognize the true God and His image in us or we construct our own God or gods in our own image. – Fr. Michael Shanbour


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