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Author Topic: Early Western Spirituality  (Read 1548 times) Average Rating: 0
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militantsparrow
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« on: February 07, 2011, 08:51:48 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 09:07:28 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 09:13:03 PM »

I think it was much closer than it is now, but perhaps mostly due to the fact that there were fewer people that made up "the Church" and the fact that we were still in communion with each other meant that there was a lot of cross-pollinization, if you will. I'd say most of the marked differences are post-Schism developments.

However, I think it's quite obvious, due to the blossoming of the many different liturgies in the early Church that what one could classify as a "spirituality" was largely due to the cultures and dispositions of the people who received the Gospel. So I think no matter what, you'll always get unique expressions of the Faith.

It's just conjecture on my part, but I think if communion had been maintained, the distinctive qualities of East and West would've still come to fruition, but by that I certainly don't mean the differences we see now. In fact, this is, in large part, what the Western Rite is all about; bringing that distinctive ethos and quality of pre-Schism Western spirituality back to its rightful home within Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 09:13:16 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 09:22:50 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.

I think it depends on what you have in mind when you think of Eastern spirituality. One distinctive in regards to Eastern spirituality would definitely be Hesychasm, but this arguably didn't come to a full understanding and fruition until the 14th century in the writings of Gregory Palamas.
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 09:30:02 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.

I think St. Jerome more than St. Augustine-St. Jerome entertaiing no doubts in his own "scholarship" and opinions, St. Augustine more prone to admit than he had made some errors, and correct them in line with the Church. Johannes Scotus Eriugena's putting philosophy on a par with theology (something that appears in the East, but never succeeded) in the 9th century laid the Scholastics roots. Rather ironic, as he also was one of the last from the West to know Greek and to translate major works into Latin.
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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2011, 09:36:04 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.

Having the same place/documents/tradition of origin, it's natural that some of the practices would be similar, I think. Also, since monasticism and some spiritual practices originated in the East, and got transplanted into western spiritual soil by people who traveled in the east and then went back to the west, it's only natural that there would be some similarities. I think it's also natural that, with the divisions in culture, language, etc., that eventually practices would split further apart. The differences stayed minor for a time, but when division reared it's ugly head (e.g. in the battle for Bulgaria) these minor issues could be used as evidence that the other side had departed from the ancient Church.
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2011, 11:01:58 PM »

This is great. Thanks. Was the spirituality of the early Western churches more like that of the current Eastern churches then it is to the current Western spirituality?


There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.

Having the same place/documents/tradition of origin, it's natural that some of the practices would be similar, I think. Also, since monasticism and some spiritual practices originated in the East, and got transplanted into western spiritual soil by people who traveled in the east and then went back to the west, it's only natural that there would be some similarities. I think it's also natural that, with the divisions in culture, language, etc., that eventually practices would split further apart. The differences stayed minor for a time, but when division reared it's ugly head (e.g. in the battle for Bulgaria) these minor issues could be used as evidence that the other side had departed from the ancient Church.
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2011, 11:07:54 PM »

^ Unfortunately I really don't know enough about modern western (Catholic) spirituality to say. I have seen things that seem like developments in both Churches, but I've never tried to look deep into the history of this or that custom/tradition.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2011, 11:48:14 PM »

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

One glaring difference is the sentimentality that developed in Western devotion, which seems to be absent in the first millennium, and is still foreign to Orthodoxy. About as close as we get is that Christ is called our Sweetest Jesus in akathists.
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 12:19:08 AM »

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

One glaring difference is the sentimentality that developed in Western devotion, which seems to be absent in the first millennium, and is still foreign to Orthodoxy. About as close as we get is that Christ is called our Sweetest Jesus in akathists.

Could you elaborate on "sentimentality?" Are you speaking of the "personal relationship with Jesus?"
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 12:35:42 AM »

Could you elaborate on "sentimentality?"



Theresa in Ecstasy

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying."
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 08:07:07 AM »

Oh! That sentimentality.
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 10:33:38 AM »

Could you elaborate on "sentimentality?"


Theresa in Ecstasy

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying."

Do you think this is simply a Western culture thing (i.e. Western culture has evolved such that this kind of spirituality is more fitting) or do you feel this is a distorted spirituality improperly tainted by Western culture?
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 10:42:16 AM »

I'm having a hunch that there really wasn't any distinct Western spirituality in the Early Western Church. They might have used different monastic rules and have a little different liturgy but was about it. I think it was Roman Catholic Fr. Yves Congar OP who said that the West underwent rather extensive change a little after the Schism. That's how distinctly Western spirituality was born.

On the other hand I believe that even our present differences between the Byzantine East and the RC West are little exaggerated. We might have differing opinions of papacy and Filioque etc. but that doesn't make us that different after all. Modern Orthodoxy has exaggerated our differences a bit too much. But that's just me. If one subscribes to the theory about Western Captivity of Orthodoxy etc. he probably also deems early Western Church more grimly than I.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2011, 11:48:09 AM »

Do you think this is simply a Western culture thing (i.e. Western culture has evolved such that this kind of spirituality is more fitting) or do you feel this is a distorted spirituality improperly tainted by Western culture?

I'll answer your question with two questions:

Do you think there was something in the West's spirituality in the first millennium which required modification? Was there some defect in the faith once delivered?
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2011, 11:53:03 AM »

St. Gregory of Tours' Vita Patrum gives a nice picture of early western spirituality. def more eastern in my opinion. also, the Venerable Bede's History of the English Church
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2011, 12:15:36 PM »

I do not think spirituality is Eastern or Western. Rather, it is Orthodox or it is not.
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2011, 12:29:16 PM »

Good questions.

Do you think there was something in the West's spirituality in the first millennium which required modification?

I see a difference between natural growth as opposed to modification. I'm trying to figure out which is the case for Western spirituality.  But obviously some growth is normal. For example, and maybe I'm wrong, I don't think the Jesus prayer and the prayer rope were there right from the beginning. But I'm sure the same sort of approach to prayer was. I don't mind if the Western Church's spirituality has grown over time as a result of being lived out by Westerners, but I worry if Western spirituality changed as sort of an artificial "Latinization" (from pagan Rome or Scholasticism). I hope I'm making sense. I'm having a hard time putting it into words.

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Was there some defect in the faith once delivered?

No. I certainly don't think there were any defects in the faith once delivered.
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2011, 12:30:28 PM »

I do not think spirituality is Eastern or Western. Rather, it is Orthodox or it is not.

I think you are correct. In your opinion, is Western spirituality orthodox and has it ever been?
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2011, 12:34:12 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.
Some believe that St. John of Damascus (venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint, and great theologian) was the first to use the scholastic method, that became widespread in the Middle Ages.
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2011, 01:05:52 PM »

I do not think spirituality is Eastern or Western. Rather, it is Orthodox or it is not.

I think you are correct. In your opinion, is Western spirituality orthodox and has it ever been?

With the departure of the West from Orthodox dogma came a departure from Orthodox spirituality.
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2011, 01:30:43 PM »

I do not think spirituality is Eastern or Western. Rather, it is Orthodox or it is not.
Exactly. Smiley I hate it when people try to make distinctions. It matters whether it is Orthodox or not.

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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2011, 01:33:00 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.
Some believe that St. John of Damascus (venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint, and great theologian) was the first to use the scholastic method, that became widespread in the Middle Ages.
Perhaps this was the beginning of the "Latin Captivity". LOL
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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2011, 01:50:55 PM »

There seems to be a pretty clear difference in the spirituality of Western Catholics and Eastern Orthodox today. But my question is, has it always been this way?

In the pre-schism Church, was the West's spirituality closer to the East's?

Thank you.
St John Cassian knew both, and doesn't seem to have noticed any deep difference in substance. Culture, temperment, history yes, substance, no.

Thank you, Ialmisry.
Is it safe to assume that the early church (both East and West) was more similar to the Eastern Churches of today? I am making this assumption because it would seem that Sts. Augustine and Aquinas were the first to scholasticize the West.
Some believe that St. John of Damascus (venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint, and great theologian) was the first to use the scholastic method, that became widespread in the Middle Ages.
Perhaps this was the beginning of the "Latin Captivity". LOL
It's good that you can laugh at yourself.  That way we all have something in common.

St. John has nothing in common with the scholastics. Even his philosophical chapters don't read the same.

The seeds of Scholasticism were sown by Johannes Scotus, and nurtured by Anselm's " Nor do I seek to understand so that I can believe, but rather I believe so that I can understand. For I believe this too, that "unless I believe I shall not understand" [Is. vii.9]"
http://bearspace.baylor.edu/Scott_Moore/www/Anselm/Proslogion.html
Bassackwards.
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« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2011, 01:55:17 PM »

Some believe that St. John of Damascus (venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint, and great theologian) was the first to use the scholastic method, that became widespread in the Middle Ages.

Some people say that Papist isn't credible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYA9ufivbDw
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« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2011, 01:56:12 PM »

Some believe that St. John of Damascus (venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as a saint, and great theologian) was the first to use the scholastic method, that became widespread in the Middle Ages.

Some people say that Papist isn't credible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYA9ufivbDw
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« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2011, 02:02:16 PM »

Could you elaborate on "sentimentality?"



Theresa in Ecstasy

"I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying."

http://www.sage.edu/faculty/salomd/nyssa/

Saint Gregory of Nyssa: First Homily on the Song of Songs
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Your breasts are better than wine, and the scent of your perfumes is beyond all ointments. [SoS 1:1- 2]



Canticle 2
What is signified by these words is, in our opinion, neither trivial nor unimportant. Through the comparison of milk from the divine breasts with the enjoyment obtained from wine we learn, I think, that all human wisdom, science, power of observation and comprehension of imagination cannot match the simple nourishment of the divine teaching. Milk, the food of infants, comes from the breasts. On the other hand, wine, with its strength and warming capacity, is enjoyment for the perfect [mature]. However, the perfection of the wisdom of the world is less than the childlike teaching of the divine world. Hence the divine breasts are better than human wine, and the scent of divine perfumes is lovelier than any fragrance.
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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2011, 02:02:16 PM »

http://www.sage.edu/faculty/salomd/nyssa/

On the Kiss
Bernard of Clairvaux: Second Sermon on the Song of Songs[1]
(Sermon series delivered between 1135 and 1153)
   

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. [SoS 1:2]



    I do not presume to think that I shall be kissed by his mouth. That is the unique felicity and singular prerogative of the humanity he assumed. But, more humbly, I ask to be kissed by the kiss of his mouth, which is shared by many, those who can say, "Indeed from his fullness we have all received". [John 1:16]

    Listen carefully here. The mouth which kisses signifies the Word who assumes human nature; the flesh which is assumed is the recipient of the kiss; the kiss, which is both giver and receiver, is the Person which is of both, the Mediator between god and man, the Man Christ Jesus [1 Tim. 2:5].

    For this reason, none of the saints presumed to say, "Let him kiss me with his mouth," but "with the kiss of his mouth," thus acknowledging that prerogative of him on whom uniquely once and for all the Mouth of the word was pressed, when the whole fullness of the divinity gave itself to him in the body [Col. 2:9].

    O happy kiss, and wonder of amazing self-humbling which is not a mere meeting of lips, but the union of God with man. The touching of lips signifies the bringing together of souls. But this conjoining of natures unites the human with the divine and makes peace between earth and heaven. For he himself is our peace, who made the two one [Eph. 2:14].
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« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2011, 02:02:17 PM »

http://www.sage.edu/faculty/salomd/nyssa/

Second Section: The Three Song Commentaries by Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Bernard of Clairvaux


Origen:


"And the soul is moved by heavenly love and longing when, having clearly beheld the beauty (pulchritudine et decore Verbi Dei speciem) and the fairness of the Word Himself and receives a certain dart and wound of love. Prol 2.17" Note the use of cupiditas for "longing," the equivalent of eros in Greek which means erotic love; furthermore, Origen associates it with "love," amor. Here Origen identifies cupiditas with "heavenly" love or caelesti, its opposite quality. It seems that such cupiditas and amor impel the soul to seek God to behold "the fairness of the Word (Verbi)" followed by a reception of that "dart" (telum) and "wound" (vulnus) of amor. In the next sentence Origen augments this by a quote from Col 1.15-16: "He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation, for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth." He implies that cupiditas and amor apply to those "all things" "in heaven and on earth."


"So that, having beheld the beauty of the Word of God (perspecta pulchritudine Verbi Dei), we may be kindled with a saving love for Him, and He Himself may deign to love the soul whose longing for Himself He has perceived. Prol 3.23" Here the beholding (perspecta) of that beauty proper to God's Verbum or Jesus Christ results in salutari in eum amore; note use of amor as opposed to cupiditas.


"His beauty (pulchritudinem quoque eius) also they described, His charm and gentleness, that I might be inflamed beyond all bearing with the love of Him by all these things. Bk 1.1.6" Origen has the prophets speaking here; the primary function of their vision consists in a beholding of God's pulchritudo together with his charm (speciem) and gentleness (mansuetudinem). These latter two qualities necessarily following pulchritudo result in an inflammation (inflammarer) of the bride with the bridegroom's amor. Note that such burning is intensified by the adjective intolerabiliter.
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« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2011, 08:54:40 PM »

http://www.sage.edu/faculty/salomd/nyssa/

Second Section: The Three Song Commentaries by Origen, Gregory of Nyssa and Bernard of Clairvaux


Origen:


"And the soul is moved by heavenly love and longing when, having clearly beheld the beauty (pulchritudine et decore Verbi Dei speciem) and the fairness of the Word Himself and receives a certain dart and wound of love. Prol 2.17" Note the use of cupiditas for "longing," the equivalent of eros in Greek which means erotic love; furthermore, Origen associates it with "love," amor. Here Origen identifies cupiditas with "heavenly" love or caelesti, its opposite quality. It seems that such cupiditas and amor impel the soul to seek God to behold "the fairness of the Word (Verbi)" followed by a reception of that "dart" (telum) and "wound" (vulnus) of amor. In the next sentence Origen augments this by a quote from Col 1.15-16: "He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation, for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth." He implies that cupiditas and amor apply to those "all things" "in heaven and on earth."


"So that, having beheld the beauty of the Word of God (perspecta pulchritudine Verbi Dei), we may be kindled with a saving love for Him, and He Himself may deign to love the soul whose longing for Himself He has perceived. Prol 3.23" Here the beholding (perspecta) of that beauty proper to God's Verbum or Jesus Christ results in salutari in eum amore; note use of amor as opposed to cupiditas.


"His beauty (pulchritudinem quoque eius) also they described, His charm and gentleness, that I might be inflamed beyond all bearing with the love of Him by all these things. Bk 1.1.6" Origen has the prophets speaking here; the primary function of their vision consists in a beholding of God's pulchritudo together with his charm (speciem) and gentleness (mansuetudinem). These latter two qualities necessarily following pulchritudo result in an inflammation (inflammarer) of the bride with the bridegroom's amor. Note that such burning is intensified by the adjective intolerabiliter.
I note a problem, as Origin and St. Gregory of Nyssa neither spoke nor wrote in Latin.
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