Man is the image and likeness of God. The greatest creature on earth. You can even say that the Earth and everything on it, created for him – is his cradle. In addition, man is a two-part being: on the one hand, he has a material body, and on the other — an immortal soul similar to the holy Angels. Man is the son of God, only, of course, small-s son.
This is our high dignity!
Therefore, we, dear brothers and sisters, are very complex, deepest beings. And often we ourselves do not know and cannot assume what is mixed in us. It is not without reason that man is sometimes called the “microspace” that is, space in miniature — within the bodily framework of one creature. Only here is one “but” …
After the fall of the holy forefathers Adam and Eve, sin multiplies in the world, which is healed only by our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of this, inside man – in the heart – his kind of second nature is formed. Often a person does not know himself. He does not perceive his real “self”, but a tangle of sins and passions, which has strongly crept into his heart and obscured the immortal human soul.
Often we don’t know our own soul, but identify our sinful-passionate rafting. Western schools of psychology and pedagogy also sin by this, which consider only the superficial “layer” of a person and cultivate indulging it. Orthodox ascetic work, on the contrary, is mainly aimed at unraveling the sinful tangle, helping people to get rid of it with God’s help, cleansing and freeing the soul. It is from here that the famous saying of the Holy Apostle Paul comes: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24).
You may ask why such a long preface?
Well, because the main method of Satan and demons is to play human passions and sins, as a musical instrument. The devil strives to be a puppeteer, pulling a person by the strings of sin, so that his soul goes to hell.
The king of darkness is himself powerless. He has no power over man. But he is a great illusionist-magician. It is from here that the name of the unclean is “sly” and “slander”. His main task – to win over man and force him to submissively do his will. The devil’s method can be compared to hair extensions: Satan’s alien intention is woven into the thought or feeling of man. Like a fisherman who has hooked a big fish on the hook of sin-passion, he pulls man’s leg until completely overcomes him.
Therefore, we must be very attentive to ourselves – to our thoughts. Indeed, around us in the invisible world there are thousands of ghosts – holy angels and demons. And the latter try to invade our souls, and the former want to protect us. We must help our holy Guardian Angels – by prayer, fast, repentance, Church Sacraments. And in no case should one take in oneself and not even consider with one’s inner mental-cordial vision enemy’s call. Satan is a very ancient and clever creature. If we focus on his tricks, he will carefully search for a way to catch us.
For example, a devil or demon may appear to a person in the form of an Angel, a saint, Christ, or a deceased relative. In such cases, the unclean skillfully plays on the feelings of a sinful human nature: pride, vanity, fear, superstition and rubbing trust in him, gradually pushing a person to the abyss.
Therefore ALL the holy fathers unanimously say that DREAMS CANNOT BE TRUSTED.
Dreams come from three sources:
1. From God.
2. From the devil.
3. From nature.
Dreams from God are dreams, visions, prophecies, admonitions, which spiritually develop a person, show him the right way of life, warn him of danger. A vivid example of such a dream is the vision by the holy patriarch James of a mysterious ladder representing the Most Holy Theotokos (Genesis 28: 10–14). But in order to see such dreams, you need to be a saint – that is, a person who has cleansed his heart by fasting, prayer, pious living, humility, confession, the communion of the Holy Body and Blood of Christ to the deepest level of seeing God. More often, we, dear brothers and sisters, are not so great ascetics and have not achieved holiness. Therefore, we are not worthy of dreams from God.
Dreams from the devil can be conditionally divided into three types: in which he tries to push us into some passion (for example, fornication, defilement in a dream); when he seeks to frighten and terrify us (his goal is to bring a person out of a state of mental equilibrium); in which he masquerades as God, saints, deceased relatives. Last dreams are the most dangerous because vanity and pride are deeply rooted in (almost every) person (like “wow I was honored to see God or saints”), or because of the feeling of grief from losing the loved one he is in an unstable psychological state and may also be subject to demon attacks.
Dreams from nature – when a person in various bizarre forms experiences those events that happened to him over the past day in a dream.
In these dreams, a person may also be subject to attack by demons.
The last two types of dreams, you and I, dear brothers and sisters, can see by our sinful nature.
But the holy fathers warn: in no case do not pay attention to dreams. We get up in the morning, make sign of cross, say morning prayers and, forgetting all the nightly, go to work.
Regarding the departed relatives …
In order for our conscience to be clear and not to rebuke us, we must do everything that the Church prescribes for the deceased: to order commemoration services, read prayers, and give alms. Go and lit a candle for them at church. Believe me, they will receive enormous grace from God and your earthly prayerful “letter of love.” For those who are not baptized, have taken their own lives or for whom for one reason or another you can’t pray at church, you can ask for priest’s blessing to pray by God’s mercy at home (for example, the prayer of St. Leo of Optina for suicides) or to give alms: feed homeless etc. The only thing – do not make people commemorate the deceased, but do it yourself at home, if there is a blessing of a priest.
For those who have doubts after reading this article and who nevertheless dare to trust dreams, I recommend reading the Paterik, in particular the Pechersk life of Saint Isaac, the Pechersk recluse, or On Delusion, the work of Saint Ignatius (Brianchaninov).
It must be remembered that in wakefulness a person is protected including by the power of his will. In a dream, when he relaxes and the will turns off, he can be attacked by demons. It is for the protection from the unclean that we read the evening prayers, during the prayer “Let God Arise…” we make the sign of the Cross over our bed and end the evening rule with the prayer “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my soul…”, when our psychological defense weakens, we voluntarily surrender our soul to the care of the Lord. And then everything will be fine …
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds