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11 - DISCIPLINE OF THE MEMORY AND IMAGINATION

DISCIPLINE OF THE MEMORY AND IMAGINATION

God endowed us with the ability to store information in our memory and to retrieve this information at will. God gave us memory in order to remember His commandments to us, “Remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them.” (Num 15:39-40) Through memory, the disciples remembered the words of the Lord Jesus when he was with them and later wrote them in the Gospels and the Epistles. The Gospels were recorded in the memory of the believers as an oral tradition long before they were written.

Another reason we were given memory is to remember all the good things that the Lord has done to us, “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this.” (Exod 13:3)

Imagination, on the other hand, was not a gift from God. Theophan the Recluse tells us that rational creatures (angels and humans) were created by God without imagination. Satan’s fall from grace started when he developed an imagination, and imagined that he could be equal to God. Satan introduced imagination into the minds of Adam and Eve, when he told them that if they eat of the forbidden fruit they can become like God.

Satan can use both imagination and memory to tempt us to sin. Any object we perceive by our senses, leaves an impression in our memory that can be recalled, for good or for bad.

Sins of memory and imagination are even more dangerous than sins of the senses for these following reasons.

Sins of the senses are brought out by encountering an object that stimulates the senses, the sight of someone or something, a sound or a smell, etc.. That means that sins of the senses are brought about by external objects. On the other hand, through memory, one can instantly recall the same sensations he/she encountered through the senses, and dwell on them even in their absence.

Imagination can even add “special effects” to sensory objects stored in the memory making them more appealing and more exciting than they originally were.

Finally, senses go to sleep, but sins of memory and imagination can attack us even while we sleep, through dreams.


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