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).
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.
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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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
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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The question was asked, “According to Catholicism, is Islam a religion or a sect?” The answer is that Islam is a religion. It is by no means a sect – to claim this is to go directly against the mind of the Church. It is a slur that emanates from prejudice and hatred, not from true knowledge which is wisdom or from a genuine Christian spirit.
Islam is one of the three monotheistic religions in which the worship of the One, Indivisible God prevails, together with Christianity and Judaism. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God of Jesus Christ (His only-begotten and divine Son), Mary and Joseph – is also the God of Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael. To claim otherwise is a lie, no matter from where that claim may originate. Yes, God the Father is Allah and Allah is God the Father. Nowhere can this be…
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The Mystical Body of Christ – the Church
A lot of questions, contentions and assertions, often contradictory, have arisen lately about the matter of who is, or is not, part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Some have been correct. However, by far, the larger part of the contentions and assertions have all been either just partially correct or flat-out wrong. Some have been fueled by inadequate knowledge; others have been fueled by partisan denominational agendas. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations abound. Let us look, therefore, at who and what constitutes the Church.
The Church is made up of three parts: the (1) Church Triumphant, which consists of all those persons who are now in Heaven, enjoying the Divine Family in a direct manner. The (2) Church Suffering, which consists of all those souls who are still being purified in Purgatory, but who have now attained the assurance of reaching…
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God the Almighty Father leads us to Jesus Christ in the same manner that Christ leads us to the Father. The Savior said, “Everyone whom the Father gives Me will come to Me” (Jn 6:37) and “No one can come to Me unless drawn by the Father who sent Me” (Jn 6:44). Thus, not only does Christ lead us without fail to the Almighty Father, but for those who might go directly to the Father Himself, they will inevitably be led back by the Father to His Son so that they can be raised up: “Those whom You took from the world to give Me. They were Yours and You gave them to Me” (Jn 17:6) and “No one can come to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6).
This process of return occurs because we cannot be in the Divine Heart of the Father without being at the same time in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The core of the Father’s Divine Heart is one with the Son’s Sacred Heart in and through the unity of the Holy Spirit: “The Father and I are one,” said Christ (Jn 10:30), and “the Father is in Me and I am in the Father” (Jn 10:38, 14:11); “Father, You are in Me and I am in You” (Jn 17:21). It is precisely to reconcile us with the Heavenly Father and reopen up the path to deification that Christ became man over 2000 years ago. This is illustrated in the Gospel of John, whereby Christ points us toward and shows us the Face and Will of the Eternal Father (Jn 12:44-50).
He will crush your heart so that you can learn to love His people as He desires them to be loved; indeed, as He has loved them Himself. For without a heart that is crushed, it would remain closed or insufficiently open to His people and they would remain unable to enter into His Heart. He will crush your heart so that you become more and more like His Son, taking on not just the image that was imprinted on our souls at conception, but also His beautiful likeness; the likeness of the Lamb and the Lion of Judah.
He will crush your heart so that you will never be better off than your Master and Savior; your Brother. He shall afflict you with some of the same trials, part of the same Chalice, that He bestowed upon His Son for our salvation and deification. In the process you will meet the postmodern-day Judas Iscariot face to face – as traitorous, as hate-filled, as vicious, and no less vengeful than was the original Judas. Even more, He will crush your heart with the same sorrows that were endured by the Mother so that you will know what the salvation of your soul entailed.
Above all, He will crush your heart so that you become the means through which His people, His long-lost and ever-stubborn children, can return to Him in safety. He shall crush your heart so that His children can all finally call out to Him, with the entirety of their beings, the sweet name of Father.
“If you have not discerned that the eye of your mind has been opened and that it has seen the light;
If you have not perceived the sweetness of the Godhead;
If you have not been personally enlightened by the Holy Spirit . . .
If you have not sensed that your heart has been cleansed and has shone with luminous reflections;
If, contrary to all expectation, you have not discovered the Christ within yourself;
If you have not been stupefied at your vision of the divine beauty and have not become oblivious of human nature when you saw yourself so totally transfigured . . .
Then tell me: how is it that you dare to make any statement at all about God?”
– Symeon the New Theologian, Hymn 21.