This is how usually a ‘bad day’ of mine begins. I have some ill-feeling because of a disagreement over something, which has managed to slip over from yesterday into this morning. It was traveling with me through the night. Then, something at the beginning of the new day, let’s say, a minor mistake by others, triggers out this resentment. It becomes like ‘spectacles’ though which I see the upcoming events of the day. It is, however, like tinted diving googles. I see everything what happens through these hijacked colours. Then, small conflicts trigger out over-sensitivity, and, this, prompts over-reactions. Like a domino-effect, the whole day can end up in ruins.
This morning, at the beginning of the Morning Prayer, I was aware of my googles. I felt, I could not remove it just by a thought. Something else was needed. Then the idea occurred that yep, we are praying, right now, the morning prayer to God, and, together with God. This is not only us, who are starting this day, but God, too. So, I continued this quiet unexpected inner conversation. Well, this is how I am starting my day. But what about God? He also has to start this very day, as this is his Creation. He can’t afford the human luxury of having the day with grudges. He simply cannot get out of the bed on the wrong side (his Creation, sic!). That thought has instantaneously removed my tinted googles. God starts the day in peace and mercy, and with a positive curiosity. So why not imitate Him?
While singing the psalms set for the morning prayer, I managed to look at the icon of the full-figured Christ Pantocrator. The icon itself, as one can see it in our chapel, is just a cheap copy. No particular artistic value. But the icon works as it should. Jesus is sitting on his throne. In the background, intense gold. This golden background, with the Judging God, journeying with us into this new day, summed up the moral of what I understood of how God was starting the day. No remorse, no complaints, no fights and inner-courts over events from yesterday. Only free-flowing pure positivity. The magma of divine nature, which is capable of melting everything into herself…and transforming them. Giving things, thoughts and events the shape, they should have.
If we let our hearts be transformed and directed by these positive energies - the whole day will be, literally, different. You become master of the moment: you can start an encounter with a smile, with a positive twist to the moment. Let us see, how the day, when we begin it as God does, is unfolding. I am sure there are many surprises - just by following the threads, hidden in the day, of His positivity. So, my fallen dominoes, are now being played backwards, the fallen pieces of a ruined day are being set up, one by one. Waiting for God’s touch, not of mine.
In the Bible, these are often those who are in exile, or on the move, who have dreams. When there is an existential crisis, there is an eruption of dreams. No wonder that Jewish people (Abraham, Joseph in Egypt, prophet Daniel, Saint Joseph, the three Kings, etc.) became ‘experts’ of dream interpretation. Culture itself can go through cataclysmic changes, like Europe did at the time when Freud and Jung laid the foundations for interpreting dreams.
In these ‘exile situations’, identity becomes fluid. The old belonging is lost, the present is unsettled, the future is yet out of grasp. Undefined. We Christians, today (again!) live with the sense of Biblical exile. It is part of scrutinising the signs of the times. The apocalyptic mood of the readings before advent highlights this instability around, but also in, us. And just like our Old Testament predecessors, we can attain the ability to decipher dreams, and understand the meaning of the signs surrounding us. Like Proust in Search of Lost Times, we can tell a very different story from that of our age. However, instead of a psychological past, we can ‘arrive at a separate world, a descent into the abyss of the self, in which the ego’s boundaries dissolve and are lost. Like a hallucination empty of objects and people, enveloping the sleeper as he floats in a state of phychic quasi-death.’ Here we arrive to ‘the edge of the unsayable.’ (The Philosophy of Julia Kristeva, Open Court Puplishing Company, Chicago, Illinois 2020, p.99)
As mentioned, for the members of the Covenant (old and new), it is not a retreat into the past, but an insight into the Kingdom of God, the World to come. Our dream eruptions - reveal a depth. Though things are fragmentary and can fall apart, as ‘the centers no longer hold’, but not in this under-surface realm. Our church buildings, icons, and doctrine, the Creed - with their order, and contra-movement to the ephemeral nature of the age - have never spoken so eloquently of the firm roots which we have or can develop. These roots are the guarantees that we can become interpreters of dreams instead of being entrapped in a dream-like state, without a real voice to awaken ourselves.
So, this ability to ‘root’, to understand, and interpret is the moment equal to the Catholic sacrament of transubstantiation of the Eucharist. When we celebrate the mass and receive in the communion Christ himself and his story, we can freely access the Kingdom of God, its life-giving depths. The sings of the bread and wine, which belong to this world, as the Body and Blood of Christ, also belong to the world to come! (The world, in, and beyond our world.) In the communion, we understand that our age, with its powers, is not rock-solid at all. Actually, it is in a fluid state, regardless of the empires that are being built at the moment. The transubstantiation, the miracle of change and the manifestation of divine Presence, is our hidden and joyful ability to break free from the constraints (the mindset) of this world. Christians are free; our daily transubstantiation makes us free. The ability to read all the changes around us en Christo, in the freedom of the risen Lord. So, dear king Nebuchadnezzar (Zuckenberg-Musk), it is not the Lord, which is a dream like message. On the contrary, his resurrection is the real. And compared with him, everything what we judge to be real and rock-solid, your ‘meta-verses’ and extra-terrestrial expeditions, are put into question.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..