What is a vision?
A vision is something which is seen other than by ordinary sight, it is supernatural or prophetic sight experienced in sleep or ecstasy, especially one that conveys a revelation.
There are many different types of vision e.g. corporeal, imaginative, intellectual, group etc...
Types of vision.
group visions- Seen by more than one person. For example, the Angel of Mons was a vision that a group of soldiers had during the first world war, they claimed that an angel threw a protective curtain around their troops that warded of the Kaiser's troops, saving them from disaster.
individual visions- Seen by only one person. For example, Bernadette of Lourdes claimed to have been instructed ban apparition of the virgin Mary to dig a hole and a healng spring would appear.
imaginative- The image is produced in the persons imagination and has no existence external to the person, such as John's vision of strange creatures in the book of revelations. Dreans are also sometimes considered to be visions and can be categorised under this type; For example, the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.
Types of visions cont.
Corporeal- The object is external but only visible to certain people, such as appearances of Angels, it is of a material nature (physical).
Intellectual- This type of vision brings about a knowledge of God e.g. Julian of Norwhich.
Different forms of vision.
- An image or event where there is a message e.g. Peter's vision of the sheet descending which contained all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds, when he refused to eat them a voice told him he should not call anything impure that God has made clean, to which Peter realised he could eat with a Gentile (non-Jew).
- Religious figures, For example, St Teresa of Avila saw a vision of an Angel which was holding a spear at the end of which something was on fire, this seemed to pierce her heart several times and when it was taken out she felt afire with a great love for God.
- Places, For example, Guru Nanak's vision of Gods court in which he was escorted into God's prescence and commanded to drink a cup of nectar.
- Fantastic/Creatures, For example Ezekiel's vision of four living creatures. Each had the face of a man, on the right of the face a lion, on the left a face of an ox and each had the face of an eagle.
- The final judgement/ end of the world, For example, John's visons of final judgement in the book of revelation. It describes the dead being judged according to what they've done. Anyones name that had not been found in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
An example of a vision.
Julian of Norwhich.
A 30 year old woman whjo was very ill and on her death bed when a priest came to give her her last rites, she miraculously felt all the pain leave her body and she began having revelations of God's love and had visions of Jesus' crucifixion and of the Virgin Mary. She decided eventually to live a life of near solitude in a cell which only had three windows to reflect on her life and experinces. She eventually wrote a book about them.
St Teresa of Avila.
A young teenager who ran away from home to become a nun when she was twenty as she was afraid of eternal damnation. She lived in the carmite convent but she was afraid this was not the best way to serve God as they were a relaxed convent who lived a life of luxury and idle chatter. She began having visions of Jesus and had converstaions wih him. Even though the church was sceptical of womens visions they declared her experience as the work of God.