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Advent and Christmas – 2

Theo Gold bulb2“The Lord, the Word of God, came down to earth and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin and became man, without change becoming our equal in all things save sin, so that, traversing all that which is ours, He might re-forge and make that first man anew and, through him, all of us who were begotten and came into being from him and are like him who engendered us.  Since, because Adam who engendered us had become corruptible and mortal—and, I will add, deaf and blind – and, by reason of his transgression, both naked and insensible of his divine vesture, such being the man of dust, so as well have they all become who were born of him: of dust, corruptible, mortal, deaf, blind, naked and insensible, differing in no way from the irrational animals or, better, become even worse than the beasts as having embraced all the latter’s’ passions and taken them into themselves” (Saint Symeon the New Theologian).

 

Advent and Christmas – 1

The christmas ceremony in the orthodox Russian Church of Maria Magdalene in the foot of Mount of Olives in Jerusalem“With the God-man Christ, all that is God’s has become man’s, human, ours, so that each of us individually and all of us assembled together in the Divine-human body of Christ, the Church, might become god-men, having attained ‘to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:12-13).   Therefore Christmas, the day of the birth of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the greatest and most important day in the history of all the worlds in which man moves and lives” (Saint Nikolai Velimirovich).

 

On God the Father – 1

God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves (Saint John Chrysostom).

On truth – 1

Truth is not a thought, not a word, not a relationship between things, not a law. Truth is a Person. It is a Being which exceeds all beings and gives life to all. If you seek truth with love and for the sake of love, she will reveal the light of His face to you inasmuch as you are able to bear it without being burned (Saint Nicholas of Serbia).

On happiness – 2

The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God (Saint Isaac the Syrian).

On happiness – 1

How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! In the same thing to construct the tower of happiness outside of ourselves as it is to build a h ouse in a place that is consistently shaken by earthquakes. Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: “I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself! (Saint Nektarios of Aegina).

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Deification of Man in Christianity’ | Catholic Medical Quarterly

Deification Front CoverReview by Dr. Pravin Thevathasan, Editor of the Catholic Medical Quarterly (UK).

Saint John Paul II called the Church to breathe with “both lungs”, incorporating the spiritual traditions of both East and West. We tend to associate deification with the Christian tradition of the East. However, as the author of this very good summary of the subject shows, deification is very much part of the Western tradition as well. The tragedy of the Protestant revolt and the Lutheran understanding of man as totally depraved led to its undermining in the West. However, deification is very much in harmony with the Divine Indwelling in the soul as promoted by St Elizabeth of the Trinity and Blessed Columba Marmion. It is also entirely in keeping with the doctrine of spiritual childhood promoted by St Therese of Lisieux.

Deification, the author notes, is the transformative process whose aim is union with God. God became man so that man might become God. Not by nature, of course, as certain religions of Asia suggest: it is not possible for created beings to become God in the way that a drop of water falls into the sea. Deification is brought about by purification of mind and body and by theoria: that is, illumination with the vision of God.
For this reviewer, the importance of this subject lies in the fact that deification is not for the spiritually elite. It is for all Christians. It is effected only by human activity and God’s uncreated energies. Continue reading here.

Is the death penalty just? – Response to a question

THE DIVINE HEART OF GOD THE FATHER

The question has been repeatedly asked, “Is the death penalty just?” Here is the response from the mind of the Church.

YOU SHALL NOT KILL

Pope Blessed Paul VI

“Go out into the world and make every effort possible in every way to restore the dignity of man, and all that it implies! I stand foursquare with modern theologians who hold that prudentially and historically capital punishment does not fit into the greater contemporary theological awareness of the worth of each individual on earth” (Speech to the Bishops at closing of Vatican Council II, Vatican City, 1965).

Note: Paul VI removed capital punishment from the fundamental law of Vatican City in 1969.


Pope Saint John Paul II

“On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished…

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Can a ‘just war’ exist? – Response to a question

THE DIVINE HEART OF GOD THE FATHER

In response to the previous post on Islam, a question was raised to the effect of “Can a just war exist?” Here is a summary answer to this question from the lens of Christianity.

I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13).

‘Just war’ according to the Scholastics

Saint Augustine

Formal ‘just war’ doctrine in Western Christianity is thought to have commenced with Saint Augustine. This was based on the following passage written by the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Romans:

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (13:4).

Augustine, in his Contra Faustum Manichaeum, argued that Christians did not need to feel ashamed of protecting peace and punishing wickedness when mandated…

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