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Sign of the Cross
One of the truly great secrets of Christianity is proclaimed by St. Paul in I Cor. 3:16, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you." In this simple statement St. Paul makes a supreme revelation of the Christian Mysteries, where to find God, for those who really seek him and are mature to understand.
In I. Cor. XV:44 St. St. Paul gives us a further and indirect hint about this great Quest for God, and specifically tells us in what respect we are a temple of God: "there is a natural body and a spiritual body."
Knowing that the Spirit may dwell only in a spiritual body, we are compelled to realize that the Spirit of God must dwell in us in a body other than the familiar physical one, i.e. a spiritual and, therefore, an invisible body in which we live. A body, which, like a thought, is made, up of invisible spiritual substance and has corresponding invisible spiritual organs and senses.
We know that the physical body, in order to perform its complicated work and enable us to be conscious of physical things, has various organs and senses for the perceiving of physical things, by analogy our spiritual body needs spiritual organs and senses for the perceiving of spiritual things.
The great German mystic Karl von Eckartshausen writes as follows on this all-important subject. "Absolute truth does not exist for the sensuous man; it exists only for the interior and spiritual man who possesses a suitable sensorium; or to speak more correctly, who possesses an interior organ to receive absolute truth of the transcendental worlds, a spiritual faculty which cognizes spiritual objects as objectively and naturally as the exterior senses perceive external phenomena.
"This interior faculty of the man spiritual, this sensorium for the metaphysical worlds, is unfortunately not yet known to those who cognize only on the external, for it is a mystery of the Kingdom of God.
"In order to see one must have eyes, to hear one must have ears. Every apparent object requires its appropriate senses. So also transcendental objects require their sensorium- and it is this sensorium, which is closed in most men.
"The opening of this spiritual sensorium is the mystery of the New Man -the Mystery of Regeneration, of the vital union between Man and God - it is the noblest object of religion on earth, of that religion whose sublime goal is none other than to unite Man with God in Spirit and in Truth.
"The exterior sensorium in man is composed of frail matter, whereas the interior sensorium is organized fundamentally from incorruptible, transcendental, and metaphysical substance. The first is the cause of our depravity and our morality, the second of our incorruptibility and our immortality."
It is obvious that what St. Paul refers to as the temple of God in man and the spiritual body of man, Karl von Eckartshausen calls the spiritual sensorium, and adds that at present this spiritual sensorium is closed, inactive, or dormant in most men. He further states that "the opening of this spiritual sensorium is the noblest object of religion on earth."
This is precisely what the true religion instituted by Jesus and His Apostles has been doing, unknowingly perhaps, through its ritualistic worship for nearly two thousand years. This is precisely what the true religion instituted by Jesus and His Apostles will be doing KNOWINGLY in the centuries to come. The original rituals, Ceremonials and Sacramental worship DO contain and emphasize the activity and actuality of the LIVING MYSTICAL PRINCIPLE, but THEY DO NOT EXPLAIN IT. This ability to explain, as well as to understand the INNER meaning of the Church's worship, calls for a specific maturity and ripeness of the soul. Whenever this maturity is attained, then all of the ancient Rituals of the church are found to be the repositories of the most potent spiritual exercises for the cultivation, awakening and growth of the spiritual sensorium in man, stimulating in him the awareness that he himself is the temple of the LIVING God, and that God does dwell in him.
Our Lord, all of His Apostles, Saints and Sages of His Church unanimously teach us that God dwells in us, and if it is so, our next intelligent question should be WHERE, and in what part of our spiritual body does He specifically dwell.
Let us go to the Holy Bible for our answer. In it we find great number of references to a "CROWN" and hints that the location of this "CROWN" is "on high" or above the physical body of man. St. Peter (I. Pet. V:4) speaking about the Christian attainment says: "Ye shall receive a CROWN OF GLORY (Light) that fadeth not away." The words "on high" in reference to God and His abode in us are frequently mentioned in the Scriptures. Isaiah has this to say: "Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high……….then the work of righteousness quietness and assurance forever."
Yes, the Holy Bible DOES teach in a veiled manner, so popular with the teachers of Holy Wisdom, that in the spiritual body, often described as an egg-shaped structure made of spiritual substance permeating and surrounding our physical bodies, above our head, in a spiritual center of LIGHT, likened by the Western Sages to a "CROWN" and by the Eastern Sages to a THOUSAND PETALLED LOTUS, dwells the yet "unknown" God sometimes called our Higher Self - our very own Heavenly Father.
The Prophet Isaiah (Isa. 61,10) gives a classically typical description of the spiritual body and its organs, in the symbolic language of the Sages, "My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He hath clothed me. He hath set a CROWN upon my head, like unto bridegroom, and as a bride hath He adorned me with JEWELS." Initiates know, of course, that the terms ROBE OF SALVATION and GARMENT OF JOY refer to the spiritual body in different stages of activation, and the terms CROWN and JEWELS to the spiritual organs in a state of spiritual awareness and activity.
Truly these are the great secrets of Christianity, that Christianity which has its mission bringing man to God.
If we need anything from any human being, we first discover where he dwells and then go to him with our petition. Similarly, when we truly discover that the dwelling place of God is in us, we do not hesitate to go to Him with our problem, and soon learn of His infinite love and mercy as a personal experience. We cease to address ourselves and to direct our petitions to Him in some distant nebulous heaven, for we have found Him as St. John tells us - literally "at hand." We then begin to address our prayers to him as actually present in the "CROWN of our being" invisible, spiritual (heavenly) matter, "on high," or right above our physical head.
Do you begin to understand the secret of inner prayer? Do you begin to understand the inner and secret meaning of all religious gestures, such as the Sign of the Cross, when the Christian making it actually points with his fingers to the specific parts of his spiritual anatomy containing spiritual organs? Do you begin to understand that these apparently simple gestures produce profound effects and changes in the spiritual sensorium when made with higher will, reverence and spiritual UNDERSTANDING?
This brings us to another secret of the Greater Christian Mysteries - the Sign of the Cross. When our Lord took possession of this earth and His eternal Kingdom through the instrumentality of the "holy, precious and life-giving Cross" He pointed out the true Way to every man, who, too, must enter into his eternal Kingdom (conscious immortality of life eternal) through the instrumentality of the "precious, holy and life-giving Cross."
Listen to what that true Initiate of the Greater Mysteries of Christ, St. Paul (I. Cor. I. 18) has to say on the subject of the Sign of the Cross: "For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God."
Are YOU, perchance, one of those sophisticates or prejudiced Christians who shy at the Sign of the Cross, and to whom it is superstition and foolishness, and who are therefore perishing spiritually - often without realizing it? Or, are you one of those to whom it is according to St. Paul "the power of God" and who, according to Prophet Isaiah draw upon the Spirit of God from "on high" unto themselves through it?
History tells us that when Emperor Constantine was about to wage a decisive battle with his enemies, there appeared to him in a vision the Sign of the Cross with the message "IN HOC SIGNO VINCES", meaning "By this Sign you will conquer". He vowed to become Christian, won the battle and became the first Christian ruler.
If YOU would conquer YOUR inner enemies and acquire spiritual rulership over your moral nature, which is the goal of all spiritual development, the same Sign of the Cross is this very moment above you. Its message is ever the same "BY THIS SIGN YOU WILL CONQUER." Yes, take up His Cross as more than a mere "dead" holy symbol. Make it a LIVING force in your spiritual body and in your CONSCIOUSNESS, and you will soon experience a foretaste of what St. Paul calls "the power of God". Above all drop your infantile prejudices against all holy symbols and SEEK for their meaning in Spirit and in Truth.
There are many mysteries, advanced mysteries and secrets of Holy Wisdom connected with this sacred Sign. The spiritual body of man, of his spiritual sensorium, becomes activated from the state of dormancy by synchronized physical, mental and spiritual ACTION. True spiritual development begins with the conscious exercising of spiritual organs and centers in man, and there is no greater spiritual exercise for this purpose than the Sign of the Cross, when it is made with concentration, reverence and spiritual understanding. Several spiritual organs (or centers) are positively affected and activated, and in time man's entire spiritual sensorium comes to life and consciousness -"not of this world."
When we say - "In the Name of the Father" and place out fingers on the forehead, we actually point with our fingers to an important organ in our spiritual body, and just below the space where God dwells in us "on high." The vibration set up in motion by our loving thought about our Heavenly Father activates the Divine Essence of the "CROWN" which pours into our heart center as a veritable, though unseen, "Glory" (LIGHT). St. Peter describes this activation of the "CROWN" itself: "Ye shall receive the Crown of Glory."
When we say -"And the Son" and place our fingers on our heart, we again actually point with our fingers to a space in our spiritual body where the Divine LIGHT, in the words of Prophet Isaiah, poured upon us from "on high" is activating another spiritual organ suffusing us with the divine love of the Son.
When we say -"And the Holy Spirit", touching our right and left breasts respectively, we activate those spiritual sensoria within us which manifest as the creative and vitalizing powers of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Finally, when we say, "Amen" and join our hands together, and mentally affirm the presence of Triune God within us, we actually close the spiritual currents within the periphery of our spiritual body in order to maintain this awakening to spiritual awareness as long as possible.
Every one of the sacred gestures made in the worship of truly Apostolic Christianity has similar and even more sublime and profound spiritual meaning. Every one of them is a gift of the Sacred Tradition, and is purposed for the awakening of spiritual consciousness in man and bringing man's eventual deification. It is our "free will" choice to think of these spiritual treasures in terms of either the "dead letter" or of LIVING SPIRIT OF GOD in us. Those who are awakening to things spiritual use them, in accordance with the advice of St. Paul, as THE POWER OF GOD for their salvation from death and mortality.
"OMNIA CUM DEO"
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