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Question 12.

Morning father I do have a question for you and need an honest answer. I am very spiritual and I believe & know that I work with angels. I do spiritual readings and have helped many people in my 6 years of developing. I know that the church is against this and many people have said that it's not our faith. But what I don't quite understand is that I work with the energies of the universe, and when we pray and come to church are we not all speaking to energies the universe. So why is it different?  


Answer to Question 12.


We know from scripture that angels have appeared to people and conversed with them. Angels do not just appear for no reason or to just say a quick hello, they are always sent by God to warn someone or give a message to humanity as when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary with the glad tidings that she was to give birth to the Saviour of the world or at Jesus' tomb to inform the Myrrh-bearers that Christ had risen from the dead.  For most people today visions of angels sound like fantasy tales, and often are received with great scepticism. But that is because they do not understand the nature of man and how God originally created man before the fall. His body was immortal, a stranger to infirmities, a stranger to its present crudeness and heaviness, a stranger to the sinful and fleshly feelings that are now natural to it. His senses were incomparably more subtle, their activity was incomparably broader and totally free. Being clothed with such a body, with such organs of sense, man was capable of the sensuous perception of spirits, to which rank he himself belonged in soul; he was capable of communion with them, and of communion with God, which is natural to holy spirits. The holy body of man before the fall did not separate him from the world of spirits. Man was capable of dwelling in paradise. After the fall man's body went through a transformation. In Genesis we read that in pronouncing sentence on Adam and Eve before banishing them from paradise, God made for them garments of skins, and clothed them. (Gen. 3:20) The garments of skins signify our coarse flesh which, at the fall, was altered: it lost its subtlety and spiritual nature and received its present crudeness. Although the original reason for this change was the fall, still the change occurred under the influence of the Almighty Creator, in His unutterable mercy towards us, and for our great good. Through the crudeness of our body we have become incapable of the sensuous perception of the spirits into whose realm we have fallen. The wisdom and goodness of God has placed an obstacle between men, cast down to earth from paradise, and the evil spirits who had been cast down to earth from heaven; this obstacle is the coarse materiality of the human body. At the General resurrection when our bodies will be reunited to our souls, a transformation will again happen and our bodies will again become spiritual and will manifest in themselves those qualities which were given them at their creation. Then we will again enter the rank of the holy spirits and will be in open communion with them. But until that time, our bodies are coarse and our bodily senses are incapable of communion with spirits, they do not see them, do not hear them, and in general do not sense them. The holy spirits avoid communion with men who are unworthy of such communion, while the fallen spirits, who have drawn us into their fall, have mingled with us and so as to hold us by reason of the fall, in captivity the more easily, strive to make both themselves and their chains unnoticeable to us. And if they do reveal themselves, they do it in order to strengthen their dominion over us. The fallen spirits act on men, bringing them sinful thoughts and feelings; but very few men attain to the sensuous perception of spirits.  Communion with holy angels is unnatural to us by reason of our estrangement from them by the fall; but for the same reason, that which is natural to us is communion with the fallen spirits, to whose rank we belong. Men who are in a state of sinfulness do not see holy angels. If they have a vision of an angel, more than likely it is a demon appearing as an angel of light. Holy angels appear only to holy men who have restored communion with God and with them by a holy life.

Demons assume the appearance of bright angels in order to deceive men more easily. Sometimes they also appear as the human souls of dead men in order to persuade men that they are the souls of loved ones. This manner of deception in our present age is in special fashion among demons, due to the particular disposition of contemporary men to believe it. They come with messages foretelling the future; and sometimes revealing mysteries, but one must not trust them in any way whatsoever. With them truth is mixed with falsehood; truth is used at times only for a more convincing deception. The Apostle Paul says: Satan is transformed into an angel of light, and his ministers as the servants of righteousness. ‘A general rule for all men is by no means to trust the spirits when they appear in sensuous form, not to enter into conversation with them, not to pay any attention to them, to acknowledge their appearance as a great and most dangerous temptation. At the time of this temptation, one should direct one’s mind and heart to God with a prayer for mercy and for deliverance from temptation. The desire to see spirits, curiosity to find out anything about them and from them, is a sign of the greatest foolishness and total ignorance of the Orthodox Church’s traditions and teachings concerning the world of spirits. Knowledge of spirits is acquired quite differently than is supposed by the inexperienced and careless experimenter. Open communion with spirits for the inexperienced is the greatest misfortune. There are two kinds of Perception; sensuous perception and spiritual perception. Sensuous Perception, means seeing spirits with the bodily sense of the eye and Spiritual Perception, means perceiving with the spiritual eyes of the soul. Only those who have trained themselves by the study of God’s law and acquired the capability to distinguish good from evil are granted the spiritual perception of spirits. Once this has been acquired, sensuous perception may also follow since delusion and deception for the spiritual ascetic are now much less dangerous and in conformity with the purposes of God, the experience and knowledge of them will be profitable to him. Men become capable of seeing spirits by a certain alteration of the senses, which is accomplished in a way that is unnoticeable and inexplicable to a man. He only notes in himself that he has suddenly begun to see what before this he had not seen and what others do not see, and to hear what before this he had not heard. For those who experience in themselves such an alteration of the senses, it is very simple and natural, even though not explainable to oneself and others; for those who have not experienced it, it is strange and not understandable. In the same way, men fall into sleep; but what kind of phenomenon sleep is, and in what way, we pass over from a condition of wakefulness to a condition of sleep and self-forgetfulness: this remains a mystery for us. The alteration of the senses by which a man enters into sensuous communion with the beings of the invisible world is called in Sacred Scripture the opening of the senses. Scripture says: Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand (Numbers 22:31). Being surrounded by enemies, the Prophet Elisha, in order to calm his frightened servant, prayed and said: Lord, open his eyes that be may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and be saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (IV Kings 6:17-18).”  From the quoted passages of Sacred Scripture it is clear that the bodily organs serve, as it were, as doors and gates into the inner chamber where the soul is, and that these gates are opened and closed at the command of God. Most wisely and mercifully, these gates remain constantly closed in fallen men, lest our sworn enemies, the fallen spirits, burst in upon us and through fear bring about our perdition. This measure is all the more essential in that we, after the fall, find ourselves in the realm of fallen spirits, surrounded by them, enslaved by them. Having no possibility to break in on us, they make themselves known to us from outside, causing various sinful thoughts and fantasies, and by them enticing the credulous soul into communion with them. It is not permitted for a man to remove the supervision of God and by his own means to open his own senses and enter into visible communion with spirits. But this does happen. It is obvious that by one’s own means one can attain communion only with fallen spirits. It is not characteristic of holy angels to take part in something not in agreement with the will of God, something not pleasing to God.

What attracts men into entering into open communion with spirits? Those who are light-minded and ignorant of Christianity are attracted by curiosity, by ignorance, by unbelief, without understanding that by entering into such communion they can cause themselves the greatest harm. Sensuous perception without spiritual perception does not provide a proper understanding of spirits; it provides only a superficial understanding of them. Very easily, it can provide the most mistaken conceptions, and this indeed is what is most often provided to the inexperienced and to those infected with vainglory and self-esteem. The spiritual perception of spirits is attained only by true Christians, whereas men who lead a depraved life are the most capable of the sensuous perception of them. A few people are capable of this by their natural constitution, or by an inheritance and to a very few the spirits appear because of some special circumstance in life. In our times many allow themselves to enter into communion with fallen spirits by means of magnetism (spiritism) in which the fallen spirits usually appear in the form of bright angels and deceive and delude by means of various interesting tales, mixing together truth with falsehood; they always cause an extreme disorder to the soul and even to the mind. Those who see spirits, even holy angels, sensuously, should not have any fancies about themselves: this perception alone, in itself, is no testimony whatever of the merit of the perceivers; not only depraved men are capable of this, but even irrational animals. One who perceives spirits sensuously can easily be deceived to his own harm and perdition. If, on perceiving spirits, he shows trust or credulity towards them, he will unfailingly be deceived, he will unfailingly be attracted, he will unfailingly be sealed with the seal of deception, not understandable to the inexperienced, it will cause a frightful injury to his spirit; and the possibility of correction and salvation is often lost. This has happened with a great many people. It has happened not only with pagans, whose priests were for the most part in open communion with demons; it has happened not only with many Christians who do not know the mysteries of Christianity and out of some circumstance or other have entered into communion with spirits; it has happened with many ascetic strugglers and monks who have perceived spirits sensuously without first acquiring spiritual perception of them. The correct, lawful entry into the world of spirits is provided only by the doctrine and practice of Christian struggle. All other means are unlawful and must be renounced as worthless and ruinous. It is God Himself Who leads the true struggler of Christ into perception of spirits. When God is guiding, the deception of falsehood is separated from truth itself; then the struggler is given, first of all, the spiritual perception of spirits, revealing to him in detail and with precision the qualities of these spirits. Only after this are certain ascetics granted the sensuous perception of spirits, by which the knowledge of them attained by spiritual perception is completed.  Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, cut off for centuries now from the Orthodox doctrine and practice of spiritual life, have lost all capability for clear discernment in the realm of spirits. The absolutely essential Christian quality of distrust of one’s “good” ideas and feelings has become totally foreign to them. As a result, “spiritual” experiences and apparitions of spirits have become perhaps commoner today than at any other time in the Christian era, and a gullible mankind is prepared to accept a theory of a “new age” of spiritual wonders, or a “new outpouring of the Holy Spirit,” in order to explain this fact. So spiritually impoverished has mankind become, imagining itself to be “Christian” even while preparing for the age of demonic “miracles” which according to the Book of Revelations, is a sign of the last times (16:14). Orthodox Christians themselves, it should be added, while theoretically being in possession of the true Christian teaching, are seldom aware of it, and often are as easily deceived as the non-Orthodox.  There are various types of Charmers and spiritual mediums who claim to have prophetic visions, healing powers and communion with the dead and even believe that these powers are a gift from God. Most are not evil people and many genuinely believe that they offer help and comfort. What they don't realize is that they can unwittingly become channels for demonic spiritual deception. There are indeed some people who are somehow more perceptive of the spiritual world than others. They claim to be able to reach the spirits of the departed and hold séances for people longing to know where their loved ones are. From scripture we know that God does not allow the dead to commune with the living unless the person has achieved sainthood and is sent by God with a message of salvation or to help someone in need. The spiritual medium is probably not lying when he/she says that he/she is in communion with the spirits, but these are not the spirits of departed humans, but demons masquerading as humans. This is not anything special or difficult for the demons since they can appear as saints and angels of light and in general can appear in any form. But in most cases their is no apparition but only a voice or mental message to the medium revealing things to him/her about the departed person and about the living person who desperately wants to hear a message from the other side. What we need to understand is that the demons know everything about us. They have been with us all our lives and have recorded, as it were, every action we have made and every word we have spoken. It is so easy for them to pretend to be the husband, wife or child of someone still living and say how wonderful life is beyond the grave, or even to disclose a secret that no one could possibly know to verify that it is telling the truth and thus make the deception more credible.  In a similar manner, mediums that foretell the future by means of hand, coffee, tea or card readings are being used by demons to channel out their deceptions to unsuspecting and naïve people. Sometimes the mediums know that the information they give comes from demons, but as already said, many believe they have a special power granted to them by the grace of God. But how do the demons use these mediums. When someone goes for a reading, the demons “enlighten” so to speak, the medium who believes that he or she receives a revelation about the person’s life. The medium accurately tells the person of things that have happened in the past and everything of the person’s present situation in life and about plans he has made for the immediate future. The person is so stunned by the accuracy of the reading that he will believe anything the medium will tell him of the future.  Many people innocently dabble with coffee readings unaware that they are leaving themselves open to a demonic danger far more dangerous than deception. Any form of dabbling with practices associated with fortune telling or the occult can spiritually harm us. That is why the Church, in order to protect her children, strongly forbids even the most innocent of coffee readings women do for a bit of fun.