During revelations, emotional processes, dreaming, mental diseases, and intoxications visual and auditory sensations arise in human being. In particular we can list the following ones:

Hallucination (mirage) – sensation without the correspondent external stimulus. Who perceives is convinced that the perceived thing really exists, but in fact it does not. Other people does not have the same sensation. This kind of sensations is related to mental diseases, intoxications and acute febrile illnesses that seriously fatigue the human body.

Imagination (vision, image, idea) – it is caused by an external affection of visible or invisible world (real world, God, Virgin Mary, positive and negative angels, souls in purgatory).
The concept of imagination is characterized by the image of invisible things which we believe real (real world, God, Virgin Mary, Devil). It is not actually correct to call these images imaginary, because an imaginary image or sensation describes an invented, unreal thing.

Fantasy (fiction, a work without an original model) – it is the creation of new sensations based on previous sensations.

Illusion (wrong, false idea) – it is a distorted perception of reality which is created on the basis of certain laws of perception (for example bright objects seem bigger than dark objects of the same size).

To evaluate the perceptions it is necessary to classify them in the proper categories. Since people generally do not know even the basic characteristics of sensations, they blithely express wrong opinions and they even promote them with arrogance. So it might happen that a believer does not dare to criticize, let us say, the revelation to Moses at the burning bush, or the revelation of the risen Christ to the disciples going to Emmaus, because it is in the Bible, but he or she blithely and in a prejudiced way criticize the revelation of Virgin Mary to Bernadette in Lourdes. Without any evidence he or she firmly declares that that is just hallucination or fantasy.

It is part of the true revelations, and even of some wrong ones containing harmful information, certain significant imaginative perceptions, when the recipient has an idea or an image based on an external affection. That is therefore not an illusion, hallucination or invention of someone’s fantasy. In true revelations these perceptions are caused directly by God, or indirectly through Virgin Mary, angels or souls in purgatory.

God gives the true revelation for the good of the Church, of the visionary and of the people in general. Through the visionary a channel apt to transmit information is created, and the visionary cannot keep those information for himself or herself, unless it is not a case of a particular public revelation, but a case of a private revelation destined exclusively for the visionary himself or herself.

God uses the imagination, the ideas and the images, because these things allow the human beings to understand many spiritual things. Through imagination a person can penetrate deeper inside the mysteries of God. An inexperienced person who is a visionary can have the impression that he or she is facing just a hallucination, a mirage or an illusion. But the imaginative vision is neither hallucination nor illusion. It is important that this knowledge through imaginative perceptions, allowed by God, is not distorted and modified by human ingenuity.

Imaginative visions are only means that the Lord gave to the human soul, because he wants us to understand better what can be understood. God infuses to the mind his light and the soul penetrates into that light like in an intellectual vision. However, the soul is often unable to express or communicate in any way, so that other souls cannot perceive it as a annunciation or even as a teaching. The Lord wants to give this light, infused in the mind and soul and perceived as an intellectual vision, the opportunity to be understood and accepted. This is why he projects it into the imaginative images, transforming it in such a way into perceivable elements which can be seen and described by the human soul. This process is therefore in no way a fiction.

The angels do not have a body, so we cannot see how they look like in reality. This is why those spiritual beings appear as images perceivable by our inner sense. The images that represent them reveal in a certain way their presence in front of us. In such a way also saints and souls from the purgatory appear. Our eyes cannot see them, but they still exist!

When the Lord wants them to reveal themselves in our mind, he evokes a deep reality of their presence in front of us and he expresses that presence in a perceivable way so that their image is imprinted in our imagination.

But the imagination is a vagabond and it often becomes the collaborator in the memory selection process. The memory, in its turn, willingly devours everything that the imagination gathers in a random way and presents to it. These two forces are very instable and they always work independently from the will and the reason. They must be therefore controlled!

If someone has such visions, he or she should take into account only those that illuminates the person, making clearer what God gives us in the intellectual vision.

However, we should never consider only the imaginative visions, unless they are the immediate continuation of the intellectual illumination. God grants many graces in order to make the souls grow in knowledge and love. The imaginative vision should not be overestimated, but it would be presumptuous to disdain it, because it is God’s gift. We should always follow the Donor. The gift that God gives us in his mercy is always designated to bring the human beings closer to him.


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