Weekly Bulletin

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Orthodox Church

www.stcyril.us   (281) 298-3232

July 15, 2018

7thSunday after Pentecost

 

Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir, Enlightener of the Russian Lands (+1015)

The Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils

 

BUILDING FUND MATCH– An anonymous donor has pledged to match contributions to the building fund, up to a total of $5,000. The offer is good until November 1, 2018.

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On Dreams and Superstitions

By Archimandrite Vasilios Bakoyiannis

A Greek proverb says “The devil has lots of legs.” He can walk many paths, some of them very torturous. So he is perfectly capable of trapping you at any time.Mediums, the occult, astrology and so on, are paths that the devil treads. Just exactly how and why, we will begin to examine here.

DREAMS– Should we believe in dreams? If you have a dream that suggests something bad is going to happen to you, should you take it seriously or not pay any attention to it? There are human, diabolical and God-sentdreams. The only ones that are valid are those sent by God.

Human Dreams– “The poor man dreams of crumbs,” says a Greek proverb. Now what does that mean? Well, it means that what the poor man has on his mind (food, in this case), is what he sees in his dreams. In other words, whatever we’ve got on our minds, whatever is bothering us in our subconscious, might come out as a dream. As Karen Horney, the internationally famous psychiatrist, says in her book Self-Analysis, dreams are the voice of our aspirations.

Diabolical Dreams– The devil sows all sorts of thoughts in our brains. The Evil One doesn’t confine himself to this task only when we’re awake, but continues when we’re asleep. So it’s perfectly possible for us to see things in our dreams that actually come from our enemy. And naturally, through our dreams, our enemy will try to do us harm, to terrify us, to threaten us and so on. This is why we ask the Lord every evening to “preserve us from every Satanic fantasy.”

Divine Dreams– God, too, can speak to people through dreams. There are plenty of examples of this in the Scriptures, such as the dreams of the Pharaoh that Joseph interpreted (Gen. 41).

How To Tell Them Apart– Saint John of the Ladder advises and urges us: “Believe ONLY those dreams that have to do with Hell and the Judgment, but if they lead you to despair then they, too, are from the devil.” Therefore, diabolical dreams terrify us and make us despair. Divine dreams (the only ones which are valid) show us Hell and the Judgment and lead us to repentance. We awake from them concerned, concerned in a good way, about the salvation of our souls. Human dreams neither terrify us, nor cause us to despair, nor bring us to repentance and the salvation of our souls.

SUPERSTITIONS  – In the old days superstitions were rife, especially in country districts. Now that life in general has changed so much, many of these superstitions are dying out. Some are still common, though.

New Year – Everybody hopes that the New Year will get off to a good start and continue in the same vein. Indeed, we pray for this. Some people, however, take a superstitious view and resort to “charms”. They bring in the New Year by eating, drinking and having a good time. They’d think it bad luck not to welcome the New Year with feasting and revelry. They’d be worried that the whole year would be spoiled. They play cards or gamble for the same reason: if they’re lucky at New Year, the whole year will be lucky. They go to church on New Year’s day for luck (not out of due piety). They even take communion for luck (not “for the remission of sins and life everlasting”).

However, a New Year enters our lives every moment. Every minute that we live begins a new year. So what happens at New Year also happens every minute of the day. Every moment is New Year’s day. If you want the New Year to go well,  use this everyday continuous New Year to the best advantage. Do good “here and now.”

Unlucky Encounters– If you’re on your way to work first thing in the morning and you happen to meet a cripple, a blind person – or, in Greece, a priest! – you take it as a bad sign. In fact, the “bad sign” isn’t the meeting at all. It’s your own superstitiousness, which is a sure sign that you’re deeply deluded. St John Chrysostom says that the way your day goes doesn’t depend on whom you meet first thing in the morning. Your day goes badly when you live in sin. So when you leave your house, beware of an encounter with sin.

At Weddings – When the superstitious are about to marry, the first thing they make sure of is that the wedding does not take place on an “unlucky” day, such as Friday 13th. This, according to St John Chrysostom, is not only stupid thinking, it’s actually diabolical. Happiness for them depends on dates and not on their personal struggle. A Greek proverb says “Every day is God’s” and this is the way to look at it.

Some people ask: “Is it all right for two siblings to get married at the same time?”What matters here is what the Church says, and the Church doesn’t forbid it. “Is it all right” they ask, “for the same family to have a memorial service and a wedding in the same month (or six months)?” The Church doesn’t forbid it because it’s not bad.

After Childbirth– There are all sorts of superstitions regarding women after childbirth. For example: a) it doesn’t do for new mothers to travel before the fortieth day, b) It doesn’t do for new mothers to go out at night, and so on. The only thing the Church does recommend is that the woman not come to church or  take communion, before the service on the fortieth day, primarily out of concern for her  physical healing.

At Funerals– Superstitions associated with funerals include: a) Some think it is a bad sign to look back when a dead person is being brought out of a house, b) Some will break an object, often a plate, to drive away bad luck (as if death would be afraid of the odd broken plate!), c) Others will stay away from church for a year – again, as if cutting yourself off from the Church for a year is going to avert evil. And that’s how evil does, in fact, come. Evil brings evil. By not going to Church, you make an enemy of God and His saints.