WE ARE DOUBLE HAVING
TWO SETS OF EYES
ONE IS SENSIBLE THE OTHER SPIRITUAL
Having two sets of eyes means two sets of vision, the sensual one of which we are all familiar with, but the spiritual vision is active and healthy only among a small portion of people within the Church. Outside of the Church there is little spiritual vision, or a distorted vision of spiritual things. Spiritual vision’s eyes are the mind and heart and the spirit which is light derived from from God.
Men and women “are double and possess two eyes, the sensible through which we can see the physical things in the world around us and the spiritual,” through which we see spiritual things in the spiritual world within and around us. With our sensible eyes we see the sun in all its brilliance illuminating the world, enabling us to see by filling our eyes with light and lightening everything around us. Our sensible eyes reveal the beauty of the sun and moon and the stars, of the flowers, plants and trees, and the beauty of other people like ourselves. We realize that these people are important as we go to market and are served by them, or get sick and visit a doctor or dentist, and attend school learning many things. Without our sensible eyes and the sensible sun, we would be unaware of sensible things, also all life would completely cease without the sensible sun. Through science we know that the sun not only provides light and heat, but also health giving rays and vitamins which are essential to our well being.
Of all the heavenly bodies, the sun is the greatest and most essential of all, and is the center of our universe. As we have two eyes, the sensible and the spiritual, there is also the spiritual Sun that illumines our minds and hearts and reveals to us spiritual objects which are invisible to sensible eyes. Everyone with healthy sensible eyes clearly sees the sensible sun and all sensible objects as well. But not everyone sees the spiritual Sun and spiritual objects, also some argue that there exists only what their sensible eyes can see. “Such people are already half dead, for they see the sensible sun but not the spiritual Sun which is much brighter than the sensible sun. Many willingly keep their spiritual eyes shut are half dead and a corpse being without activity." For certainly, just as he who does not see physical things sensibly is someone who is `without activity, how much more is he who does not see the intelligible Light of the world, dead and worse than a dead person.
The person who is spiritually dead feels nothing of course, however his awareness will remain after he is dead, and then what great pain he will suffer. For being estranged from all good, he will continue to die for eternity in unending pain and suffering. Realizing how foolish he was for not seeking the spiritual Sun will increase his agony. But those who see the Creator, how would they not prefer only the spiritual and live outside of everything material? Indeed they live outside of everything and yet they are in the midst of everything, and they are seen by everyone, and men will see that they do not have sensation of present things, even though they are certainly in the middle of everything, yet are beyond the sensation of everything, being outside of everything, This is because they are in contact and communication with immaterial realities. For when they experience spiritual things, they do not experience any sensation of sensible or material things.
Their spiritual eyes see in with an awareness that is not visible through the sensible eyes and here is how we can understand this. When we just look at fire and see it we do not burn. This is the same way that I see without the senses. You see the sun in its nature as fire, and feel no pain but you are exterior to it and are not consumed by it, for you feel it insensibly, or else how could you express it otherwise? It is not that you burn without feeling it. And yet it is through the senses that you see it. Believe me, he experiences the same thing who sees spiritually.
When Thomas doubted Christ’s Resurrection, Christ ordered Him to probe His wounds and Thomas confessed Him, saying: “My Lord and my God,” Jesus said: “Thomas you believe because you have seen. Blessed are those who do not see yet believe.” We do not see Christ and His heavenly Kingdom with our physical senses, but we clearly see Him, brighter than the sun with our spiritual vision. An example is the statement of Luke and Cleopas: “Did not our hearts burn within us?” We clearly behold Him teaching us as we fall down and kiss His feet. We are excited seeing Him give sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, cleansing the lepers and raising the dead. We weep our hearts out seeing the abuse He underwent in His passion and our grief is heavy, seeing Him mercilessly nailed to the Cross. Then, we suffer with Him, seeing Him on the Cross, bowing His head and surrendering His spirit. Suddenly, in this moment of grief a strange thing happens! We gaze with the realization that it is impossible for them to kill God!
Through our spiritual vision and in the light of the Spirit, we see these things more clearly is possible with our sensible eyes. We are sad but not despairing, for He is the Son of God, both God and man and His death was unlike any other death. So we waited, never losing faith in our Teacher and Lord, who reminded us of Jonah and the sea monster.
Those who have spiritual vision will share this grieving and rejoicing, the sadness and the gladness. All things described in are crystal clear to those with spiritual vision, but those who have only sensual vision cannot bear these things.
After three days, at the crack of dawn, we hear the myrrbearers walking to the tomb. Then we hear them talking about seeing Him alive, and gradually as our spiritual vision becomes clearer we are caught up in joy such as never before has been felt by humans. We see the risen Christ and we enter the joy of the Resurrection by which we are strengthened. Christ is risen! The cry has been jubilantly shouted by Orthodox Christians the world over for two thousand years! We see Christ’s glorious Resurrection more clearly than we see the sun or the stars. Even more wonderful, we can readily see our own resurrection in Christ’s Resurrection. As St. Paul says: “We were buried with Him by baptism into death, so as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life. For if we have been united to Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His . . . Or we know that Christ having been risen from the dead will never die again.”
(The inspiration to write this article is from St. Symeon the New Theologian Hymns of Divine Love, using a few of his phrases (italicized) as the focal points. )