Author Topic: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception  (Read 66207 times)

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Offline theistgal

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #135 on: September 03, 2010, 11:19:11 AM »
Question:  if God could removethe stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?
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Offline John Larocque

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #136 on: September 03, 2010, 11:57:52 AM »
The problem goes back to the Old Latin/Vulgate mistranslation of a key passage in Romans 5:12.

"one man... in whom all sinned." - "in quo omnes peccaverunt"

http://biblestudies.suite101.com/article.cfm/original_sin_and_scripture

Quote
For example, Augustine was influenced by Romans 5:12, which the Vulgate (translated into English) translates as “sin came into the world through one man… in whom all men sinned”; the original Greek, however, (translated into English) reads “sin came into the world through one man… because all men sinned” (Williams 802).

The Wittenberg Vulgate (and the Nova Vulgata) corrects this ("eo quod omnes peccaverunt. "), but the mistranslation is a linchpin to the teaching that original sin is physically passed along from parents to their children, like blond hair and blue eyes, going back to Adam.

The infallible teaching of the RCC, backed up as late as a few years ago by an address by John Paul II, re-iterates the doctrine that original sin is passed on through physical generation.

The ironic thing is that there really was no theological necessity to declare Mary free from original sin. Some of the early fathers stated that Jesus was free from the ancestral sin/original sin/"the old sin" simply because he lacked a human father. Even in the Augustininan framework there really was no need to go where they did. Oddly enough, in the debate between Erasmus and Luther on this passage, Luther wsa standing up for Augustine and the teaching of the Catholic church, and Erasmus departing from the Latin tradition. (Erasmus claimed that the sin was not passed through generation, but by example)

Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #137 on: September 03, 2010, 12:15:49 PM »
Question:  if God could remove the stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?

This is a non-theologian western opinion.  

Genesis 3:21-24 [DR]
Quote
[21] And the Lord God made for Adam and his wife, garments of skins, and clothed them. [22] And he said: Behold Adam  is become as one of us, knowing good and evil: now, therefore, lest perhaps he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever. [23] And the Lord God sent him out of the paradise of pleasure, to till the earth from which he was taken. [24]  And he cast out Adam; and placed before the paradise of pleasure Cherubims, and a flaming sword, turning every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Quote
[22] "Behold Adam"... This was spoken by way of reproaching him with his pride, in affecting a knowledge that might make him like to God.

The presence of concupiscence is, in effect, a knowledge that we can feel like a god. By removing this from Mary, she was free to choose God fully without doubt and without desire to "be her own god".

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Offline theistgal

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #138 on: September 03, 2010, 12:58:29 PM »
Well, again, why did He wait thousands of years to do this, instead of fixing the problem right then and there?  (Assuming that was a problem that could only be fixed by removing said stain at the moment of conception.)
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Offline Aindriú

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #139 on: September 03, 2010, 01:19:31 PM »
Well, again, why did He wait thousands of years to do this, instead of fixing the problem right then and there?  (Assuming that was a problem that could only be fixed by removing said stain at the moment of conception.)

Why does God do anything? Why does God sometimes wait to answer prayers? I trust He has His reasons.

Mary was immaculate to be a fitting vessel for God:

Wisdom 1:4-5 [DR]
[4] For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins. [5]  For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he shall not abide when iniquity cometh in.

Edit to add:
I thought this was interesting.

"[T]he report concerning the child was noised abroad in Bethlehem. Some said, ‘The Virgin Mary has given birth before she was married two months.’ And many said, ‘She has not given birth; the midwife has not gone up to her, and we heard no cries of pain’" (Ascension of Isaiah 11 [A.D. 70]).

Isn't a painful birth a consequence of the fall?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 01:23:09 PM by Azurestone »

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Offline Azul

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #140 on: September 03, 2010, 01:38:07 PM »
Azul, may I suggest that the best way to try to understand any Church dogma is to ask what mystery is the dogma, perhaps however inadequately, seeking to protect or what problem is it seeking to solve.  

With regard to the IC, it seems to me that several considerations are involved:

1) First and foremost, the doctrine protects the special veneration that is offered by the faithful to the Blessed Virgin.  While all the saints are holy and thus properly venerated and invoked by believers, the Theotokos enjoys a special place in their hearts.  She is the Mother of God and Mother of the Church.

2) Second, the doctrine seeks to protect and explain how it was possible for the Theotokos to offer a full and perfectly free assent to the angelic announcement that she had been chosen to bear the incarnate Savior.  A half-hearted "yes" would have been insufficient.  As the New Eve, she needed to possess the same measure of freedom as enjoyed by the original Eve.  Only thus could Eve's disobedience be undone.  Does every sinner possess this same degree of freedom?  If yes, why has Mary, and apparently she alone, exercised this freedom to offer her self to God so perfectly and wholeheartedly?  

3) Third, the doctrine seeks to protect, and explain, the personal sinlessness of the Theotokos.  All have sinned, the Apostle says, yet most Christians down through the ages have confessed her immaculate purity and holiness.  In the words of St Augustine:  "Now with the exception of the holy Virgin Mary in regard to whom, out of respect for the Lord, I do not propose to have a single question raised on the subject of sin -- after all, how do we know what greater degree of grace for a complete victory over sin was conferred on her who merited to conceive and bring forth Him who all admit was without sin -- to repeat then:  with the exception of this Virgin, if we could bring together into one place all those holy men and women, while they lived here, and ask them whether they were without sin, what are we to suppose that they would have replied?"  If Mary's sinlessness can only be explained by a "greater act of grace," when did she receive this grace and why?

I'm sure that other considerations might be advanced, but these are the three that immediately come to mind.

Within the history of 2nd millennium Latin Christianity, original sin became understood as the privation of sanctifying grace--which is simply another way of saying that every individual is born into a state of spiritual death, into a state of alienation from God: the Holy Spirit does not indwell their souls in the way originally intended by God.  The IC doctrine asserts that by a special act of grace, the Holy Spirit was given to Mary at the very moment of her conception, thus providing her with the freedom that Eve originally possessed, and lost.  

I know that in Orthodox eyes the IC doctrine has problems, not least of which is the fact that Eastern Christians do not think of original sin in quite the say way as Latin Christians.  The category of sanctifying grace does not exist in Eastern theological thought, and without this category it is difficult for Eastern Christians to make sense of the doctrine.  This is why I suggest that we need to get behind the doctrine itself and ask the question "What mystery does the doctrine seek to protect?"   If we approach the matter in this way, we may find that Catholics and Orthodox are closer than they think.      

 



Sounds good but does that make it true?

"What mystery does the doctrine of IC seek to protect?"
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 01:47:55 PM by Azul »
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Offline Azul

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #141 on: September 03, 2010, 01:52:10 PM »
The Holy Virgin was conceived with the potential to sin, but she did not sin. Not that she did not commit mistakes or that she did not have limits.

We must remember what the fathers say about the levels of sins: that one thing is the thought that comes to our mind, our dialogue with it, our acceptance of it, our practicing of it and finally our enslavement under it. They clearly say that the first two phases do *not* constitute sin and that the "mental sins" Jesus talks about is the acceptance of sin. The Holy Virgin certainly was tempted, not unlike Jesus Who, too, had to face those two first phases as seen in the desert.

Mary was sinless in acts, while Jesus was sinless even in the possibility of sin. Because His human will was in perfect obedience with His Divine will the very potentiality of sin was inexistant, while in Mary, the possibility was always a possibility.

If Mary were sinless in the sense the Immaculate Conception expresses, our salvation would have been impossible. To understand why, we must comprehand not the inner mistery, but at least the outter form of our salvation. In the divine person of Jesus Christ human fallen nature and the eternal perfect nature were united forever. With His death, the fallen nature of man died, and with His resurrection human nature was glorified. This is very important. Our nature was *once* broken and fallen, but it has already been saved in Jesus Christ. We are fallen and broken persons, but death has already been destroyed, our nature is in the Glory of God because, united in the Son, like a seed it was buried and was reborn full of Life.

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

She was sinless in the sense that although having the possibility, she did not commit any sin. She was magnified after her Son's birth and strengthened for sure and *maybe*, then, although keeping the original potentiality to sin, she grew past it, like a person who has become an extreme expert in area might commit a mistake but it's so unlike it's virtually impossible.

But that her sinlessness is not the same of Jesus is a must if we are to believe that Jesus was the only innocent one, the only one without sin in any sense.

The immaculate conception, then, is a misreading of Church tradition.


Good post.. How are the catholics responding to this:

"Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature."

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.
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Offline Papist

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #142 on: September 03, 2010, 01:55:12 PM »
The Holy Virgin was conceived with the potential to sin, but she did not sin. Not that she did not commit mistakes or that she did not have limits.

We must remember what the fathers say about the levels of sins: that one thing is the thought that comes to our mind, our dialogue with it, our acceptance of it, our practicing of it and finally our enslavement under it. They clearly say that the first two phases do *not* constitute sin and that the "mental sins" Jesus talks about is the acceptance of sin. The Holy Virgin certainly was tempted, not unlike Jesus Who, too, had to face those two first phases as seen in the desert.

Mary was sinless in acts, while Jesus was sinless even in the possibility of sin. Because His human will was in perfect obedience with His Divine will the very potentiality of sin was inexistant, while in Mary, the possibility was always a possibility.

If Mary were sinless in the sense the Immaculate Conception expresses, our salvation would have been impossible. To understand why, we must comprehand not the inner mistery, but at least the outter form of our salvation. In the divine person of Jesus Christ human fallen nature and the eternal perfect nature were united forever. With His death, the fallen nature of man died, and with His resurrection human nature was glorified. This is very important. Our nature was *once* broken and fallen, but it has already been saved in Jesus Christ. We are fallen and broken persons, but death has already been destroyed, our nature is in the Glory of God because, united in the Son, like a seed it was buried and was reborn full of Life.

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

She was sinless in the sense that although having the possibility, she did not commit any sin. She was magnified after her Son's birth and strengthened for sure and *maybe*, then, although keeping the original potentiality to sin, she grew past it, like a person who has become an extreme expert in area might commit a mistake but it's so unlike it's virtually impossible.

But that her sinlessness is not the same of Jesus is a must if we are to believe that Jesus was the only innocent one, the only one without sin in any sense.

The immaculate conception, then, is a misreading of Church tradition.


Good post.. How are the catholics responding to this:

"Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature."


I have always found this argument strange, this idea that God wants to save our corruption. I see it rather as cleansing us from the filth of our sin. That filth doesn't need to be saved. It needs to be washed away. Thus, this argument against the Immaculate Conception, always has seemed weak to me.
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Offline akimel

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #143 on: September 03, 2010, 03:52:37 PM »

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

A question for theologians to ponder and address:  What does it mean when we speak of fallen human nature?  Clearly we need to be clear that humanity did not become a different species when Adam fell.  Catholicism has always insisted, especially against the Reformers, that the Fall did not essentially change human nature; and on this point Orthodoxy would agree, does it not?  Moreover, Orthodoxy also agrees with Catholicism, contra Pelagianism, that grace is not intrinsic to nature.  Why is this important?  Because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not assert that the Theotokos receives a new nature at her conception; rather, it asserts that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in her in such a way as to empower her for faith and obedience. 


Offline minasoliman

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #144 on: September 03, 2010, 04:30:52 PM »

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

A question for theologians to ponder and address:  What does it mean when we speak of fallen human nature?  Clearly we need to be clear that humanity did not become a different species when Adam fell.  Catholicism has always insisted, especially against the Reformers, that the Fall did not essentially change human nature; and on this point Orthodoxy would agree, does it not?  Moreover, Orthodoxy also agrees with Catholicism, contra Pelagianism, that grace is not intrinsic to nature.  Why is this important?  Because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not assert that the Theotokos receives a new nature at her conception; rather, it asserts that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in her in such a way as to empower her for faith and obedience. 

What does Pelagianism mean to Catholics here?  For me, I always viewed Pelagianism as free will that can primarily achieve salvation, decreasing the importance of the Church sacraments and of God's grace.  But as Orthodox, we also seem to understand that St. Augustine took an extreme to fight against Pelagianism, i.e. that grace alone can primarily achieve salvation, implying that man's free will is marred completely.  I believe it was St. John Cassian who sought a balance between the two in his writings, free will and grace, where both are equally important.

Months ago, it came to my surprise when a Coptic Catholic thought I was professing Pelagianism, and it sort of made me wonder and realize exactly how different we both really were in the language and concept of grace, which required me just to stop having discussion and look at the bigger picture, something that the Eastern Orthodox realized long before Oriental Orthodox are realizing themselves.  I told him that it's possible for someone with free will to not sin.  But that doesn't mean one has achieved salvation.  Salvation does not comprise of avoidance of sin, but also a unity with God.  Mahatma Ghandi, one of the most righteous men in this contemporary world still needs the Church, still needs Christ, even though he is probably better than 99% of Christians in his life and example.  Therefore, in my argument, in my thought, the Church fathers who confessed the Theotokos as pure, undefiled, etc., were describing her righteous life, not necessarily her "state of grace" so to speak.

What I felt Pelagianism lead to was that Baptism, Chrismation, the Eucharist were not necessary for out salvation.  If we were to describe salvation as PURELY salvation from our sins, we don't stand a chance to stand out against other world religions, who also profess the same.  Islam cannot claim unity with God like we do, Hinduism cannot claim integrity of creation's existence and human free will like we do,  and Buddhism, where their ascetism is noteworthy and helpful, cheapens the importance of God in our ever-existence for some self-mindful paradise, and no religion cannot claim a God Who instead of taking away suffering to tell us to endure this world for a more paradisical one, lived among us and suffered like we do, teaching us to start planting the seeds of paradise here and to rejoice in suffering.

So, I don't think it's Pelagianist to say that St. Mary didn't do any sin and lived a righteous and perfect life all the way up to her accepting freely to become the Mother of the world's One and True Salvation.  If Ghandi can do it, then practically, my views are not wrong.  And I think this may be the crux of the issue.  Way back then, when we were comparing the writings of St. Jacob of Serugh on the Theotokos, the Coptic Catholic Mardukm read it differently because of his different view on grace and salvation, that it is impossible for someone to avoid sin without grace.  While I agree it's hard, it's not impossible, given the right environment (she was after all also poor, which can explain her humility, and she is believed to grow up in the temple, which can explain her religiousness, eventually her purity), the right parents, the perfect life of prayer.  Can we say Enoch was immaculately conceived, or Elijah or Jeremiah, or St. John the Forerunner?  The Coptic Catholic, Mardukm, to maintain consistency in his personal beliefs said YES, they too were immaculately conceived, so that the Theotokos was not the only one.

Then, in that case, I really don't know what to say.  Perhaps, one can say there's a anointing by the Holy Spirit in some sort, like the anointing of Saul, so long as one can agree that as Saul didn't become what God wanted a righteous king to be, so should we give the possibility that St. Mary might have said, "No" to being the Theotokos.  Free will, in its essence of course is not taken away, but what if an IC'ed St. Mary said "No," especially since the IC was for that specific purpose, to be the Theotokos?  But can we really say God allowed St. Mary to exercise her free will when her will was driven and programmed to accept being the Theotokos because of the IC, not because of the environment she grew up in, the Temple, the holy parents, the humble background, etc.  That's like saying, Nazir Gayyid was given "the grace of celibacy" from his childhood because he was destined to be a Coptic Pope.
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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #145 on: September 03, 2010, 04:38:01 PM »
I'm sorry...I didn't fully answer your question.  Fallen nature is not an essence, but a state.  Fallen state, I suppose.  That is, our loss of unity with God, thus loss of Paradise, and thus living in the natural world with its influences.

Christ came, elevated the natural world, and our nature, and we are no longer to influenced by the world itself, no long influenced by our own natural tendencies, but by the Divine Nature to create our Paradise here, and by renewal of our spirit and intellect, that which aids in transcending ourselves in a natural way.

That's another thing, I never considered spirits and angels as supernatural.  All creation is natural, and only God is supernatural.  What exactly does it mean when we transcend our nature, our creation, is that we transcend the ability of our creation to be brought back to nothingness, as this is exactly what creation is by nature, made from non-existence, propensity to non-existence.  When united with God, we avoid this propensity.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 04:41:50 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #146 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
Father John was a good man.  It may be very likely that he was a holy man.  But Father John came from the old school who thought that the intricacies of faith were not for ordinary people.  You gave them what makes sense to them and you leave the more detailed nuanced teachings to the monks and bishops and SOME of the priests...not all.

Now that approach should not come as a shock to anyone who has read deeply in the Fathers because St. Symeon the Theologian was a much the same mind.  He even included any bishop who was not a monk in his assertions that certain of the spiritual heights were inaccessible to the secular world and thus many of the nuances of the truths of the faith.   The Creed and simple prayers were the food of the ordinary Christian, the secular Christian.  They could not digest more.

So what he teaches here is not sufficient to understand the teaching of the justifying grace of Baptism or what the state of the Virgin was at her conception according to the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.  He is not teaching Catholics so they can defend the faith.  He is teaching Catholics so they can have some rudimentary understanding of what they are doing as Catholics and why.

Is there really such a thing as "created" grace, in the ordinary terms presented here?  No.  

Father Hardon's teachings are bound by his own training and his times and the Church's attitude to the ordinary person in the pew.

Father Hardon's teaching is NOT meant for theological apologetics in any way, and for you to present it out of context like this is wrong, and when you have been told over and over again it is wrong....then what you do here is false witness....I don't expect you take that to your confessor, but rather are happy to do over and over again.

Mary


. I was taught when I was "Eastern Orthodox" that the state of ancestral sin was the privation of sanctifying grace, though not involving the concept of "stain of original sin", and furthermore that Mary herself was deprived of sanctifying grace until she was "overshadowed by the Most High".

Sanctifying grace?

Phew! but you have suffered at the hands of some incompetent teachers!  

Here is what "sanctifying grace" is, explained by the well known Catholic theologian, Vatican II peritus and now candidate for beatification, Fr John Hardon....  You will see how remote "sanctifying grace" is from an Orthodox understanding.

As Fr. John Hardon (S.J.) explains:  

Nature of Sanctifying Grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It has been called the "masterpiece of God's handicraft in this world . . . far more glorious than anything we can behold in the heavens above us or on the earth at our feet." Is it just God's favor toward us, as Luther wanted? No, it is much more.

Is it God's life or nature or God's love, as some have called it? No, for God's life and love and nature are uncreated, are God Himself.

Sanctifying grace is not God, it is not the Holy Spirit, it is not just God's favor. It is something created, given to us by God out of love and mercy, which gives us a created likeness of God's nature and life. It is a supernatural gift infused into our souls by God, a positive reality, spiritual, supernatural, and invisible.

The quotation is taken from:  http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Grace/Grace_003.htm


Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #147 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »

Agreed. The understanding of Grace is different between the east and west. To respond I'll steal a post from byzcath:

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/75583/2
Quote
The question isn't whether or not Latins use the term "created grace", but rather what it means.

It does not mean that Latins believe grace is a creature, nor that Latins believe that we are not operating with the Divine Energies. The entire point of the Thomistic expression of "created" and "uncreated" grace is for the purpose of expressing that we participate, and utilize, the Divine Energies.

The Thomistic expression is explained by St. Thomas Aquinas, which is that men are created with reference to Grace, in other words, men start to use the Divine Energies, unlike God who never starts to use them but rather always uses them from Eternity. Our energies after deification are uncreated, they are God's own Divine Energies, but we must come to have them, they are not a part of us from birth. We come to have them by becoming "new creations in Christ", and this is what is called "created Grace". This new creation has the uncreated Divine Energies as opposed to its own created energies, but it is still a creation that has the Divine Energies.

To use an example, let's take the Divine Energy of Love (or Charity, in Latin terms). God's Love is uncreated because it is God, and God's Loving is uncreated because God has Love for all Eternity without beginning; God never "starts" Loving. Humans who have Charity have God's Love, there is no substantial difference between the Love that humans in Grace have, and the Love that God has. When we Love, we are Loving with the Divine Energy. We must "start" Loving, however, as we do not have Eternal existance without beginning. We "start" by becoming "new creatures in Christ".

This is what is meant by "created Grace", namely that people must start doing what God has never had to start doing. What we are doing is God's Energy, His Love, His Wisdom, His Life, ect. How we do it is by becoming new creatures that do an uncreated action, and this much is straight from the writings of St. Paul. When we are Loving, we are not doing a "created energy", as in merely human affection, we are doing an uncreated, Divine Energy. When we are Living with God's Life, we are Living an eternal Life, the Divine Energy of Life, but we must start Living it, whereas God never has to start.

I have no problem with the Byzantine language and terms being used, but I have a strong disagreement with mischarictarization of Thomistic beliefs to make them appear to say heretical things when in fact they do not.

Peace and God bless!

Thank you!!

Mary

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #148 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
The problem goes back to the Old Latin/Vulgate mistranslation of a key passage in Romans 5:12.

"one man... in whom all sinned." - "in quo omnes peccaverunt"

http://biblestudies.suite101.com/article.cfm/original_sin_and_scripture


The following is from Archbishop Hilarion, John.  Do you suppose he just never got the memo?  Or do you suppose he knows something others do not?

Mary

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

Quote
CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.
[/size]

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #149 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »

. I was taught when I was "Eastern Orthodox" that the state of ancestral sin was the privation of sanctifying grace, though not involving the concept of "stain of original sin", and furthermore that Mary herself was deprived of sanctifying grace until she was "overshadowed by the Most High".

Sanctifying grace?

Phew! but you have suffered at the hands of some incompetent teachers!  

Here is what "sanctifying grace" is, explained by the well known Catholic theologian, Vatican II peritus and now candidate for beatification, Fr John Hardon....  You will see how remote "sanctifying grace" is from an Orthodox understanding.

As Fr. John Hardon (S.J.) explains:  

Nature of Sanctifying Grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It has been called the "masterpiece of God's handicraft in this world . . . far more glorious than anything we can behold in the heavens above us or on the earth at our feet." Is it just God's favor toward us, as Luther wanted? No, it is much more.

Is it God's life or nature or God's love, as some have called it? No, for God's life and love and nature are uncreated, are God Himself.

Sanctifying grace is not God, it is not the Holy Spirit, it is not just God's favor. It is something created, given to us by God out of love and mercy, which gives us a created likeness of God's nature and life. It is a supernatural gift infused into our souls by God, a positive reality, spiritual, supernatural, and invisible.

The quotation is taken from:  http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Grace/Grace_003.htm


That's not how it was explained to me. What is said there can easily be stripped of error and be translated into Palamite theology, if we just phrase it in a different way, i.e. a particular relationship to God (the indwelling of the Holy Spirit) or a particular form of God's Energies.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #150 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »

. I was taught when I was "Eastern Orthodox" that the state of ancestral sin was the privation of sanctifying grace, though not involving the concept of "stain of original sin", and furthermore that Mary herself was deprived of sanctifying grace until she was "overshadowed by the Most High".

Sanctifying grace?

Phew! but you have suffered at the hand of some incompetent teachers!  

Here is what "sanctifying grace" is, explained by the well known Catholic theologian, Vatican II peritus and now candidate for beatification, Fr John Hardon....  You will see how remote "sanctifying grace" is from an Orthodox understanding.

As Fr. John Hardon (S.J.) explains:  

Nature of Sanctifying Grace.

What is sanctifying grace?

It has been called the "masterpiece of God's handicraft in this world . . . far more glorious than anything we can behold in the heavens above us or on the earth at our feet." Is it just God's favor toward us, as Luther wanted? No, it is much more.

Is it God's life or nature or God's love, as some have called it? No, for God's life and love and nature are uncreated, are God Himself.

Sanctifying grace is not God, it is not the Holy Spirit, it is not just God's favor. It is something created, given to us by God out of love and mercy, which gives us a created likeness of God's nature and life. It is a supernatural gift infused into our souls by God, a positive reality, spiritual, supernatural, and invisible.

The quotation is taken from:  http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Grace/Grace_003.htm
]

Agreed. The understanding of Grace is different between the east and west. To respond I'll steal a post from byzcath:

http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/75583/2
Quote
The question isn't whether or not Latins use the term "created grace", but rather what it means.

It does not mean that Latins believe grace is a creature, nor that Latins believe that we are not operating with the Divine Energies. The entire point of the Thomistic expression of "created" and "uncreated" grace is for the purpose of expressing that we participate, and utilize, the Divine Energies.

The Thomistic expression is explained by St. Thomas Aquinas, which is that men are created with reference to Grace, in other words, men start to use the Divine Energies, unlike God who never starts to use them but rather always uses them from Eternity. Our energies after deification are uncreated, they are God's own Divine Energies, but we must come to have them, they are not a part of us from birth. We come to have them by becoming "new creations in Christ", and this is what is called "created Grace". This new creation has the uncreated Divine Energies as opposed to its own created energies, but it is still a creation that has the Divine Energies.

To use an example, let's take the Divine Energy of Love (or Charity, in Latin terms). God's Love is uncreated because it is God, and God's Loving is uncreated because God has Love for all Eternity without beginning; God never "starts" Loving. Humans who have Charity have God's Love, there is no substantial difference between the Love that humans in Grace have, and the Love that God has. When we Love, we are Loving with the Divine Energy. We must "start" Loving, however, as we do not have Eternal existance without beginning. We "start" by becoming "new creatures in Christ".

This is what is meant by "created Grace", namely that people must start doing what God has never had to start doing. What we are doing is God's Energy, His Love, His Wisdom, His Life, ect. How we do it is by becoming new creatures that do an uncreated action, and this much is straight from the writings of St. Paul. When we are Loving, we are not doing a "created energy", as in merely human affection, we are doing an uncreated, Divine Energy. When we are Living with God's Life, we are Living an eternal Life, the Divine Energy of Life, but we must start Living it, whereas God never has to start.

I have no problem with the Byzantine language and terms being used, but I have a strong disagreement with mischarictarization of Thomistic beliefs to make them appear to say heretical things when in fact they do not.

Peace and God bless!

That is entirely illogical. It's basically saying that the grace is referred to as created because those who participate in it are created and have a beginning to their participation in it; essentially not describing the grace itself.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #151 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
Question:  if God could remove the stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?

He could have.

(As to the IC, He didn't exactly "remove" it from her as if she ever had it; rather He prevented her from ever having it.)

BTW, in my denial of the IC, I would not say that God couldn't have prevented Mary from inheriting the ancestral curse, just that it seems ridiculous to imagine that He would have wanted to.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #152 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
The ironic thing is that there really was no theological necessity to declare Mary free from original sin. Some of the early fathers stated that Jesus was free from the ancestral sin/original sin/"the old sin" simply because he lacked a human father.

Perhaps some in your tradition did not find that argument all that convincing. If a human woman somehow managed to naturally generate a clone of herself with her own DNA (as has been observed recently to happen in certain other species), I think it would be safe to say that that individual would still inherit the ancestral curse.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #153 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
Well, again, why did He wait thousands of years to do this, instead of fixing the problem right then and there?  (Assuming that was a problem that could only be fixed by removing said stain at the moment of conception.)

Why does God do anything? Why does God sometimes wait to answer prayers? I trust He has His reasons.

Mary was immaculate to be a fitting vessel for God:

Wisdom 1:4-5 [DR]
[4] For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins. [5]  For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he shall not abide when iniquity cometh in.

Edit to add:
I thought this was interesting.

"[T]he report concerning the child was noised abroad in Bethlehem. Some said, ‘The Virgin Mary has given birth before she was married two months.’ And many said, ‘She has not given birth; the midwife has not gone up to her, and we heard no cries of pain’" (Ascension of Isaiah 11 [A.D. 70]).

Isn't a painful birth a consequence of the fall?

Mary had already been restored from the ancestral curse by the time she was giving birth to Jesus. While some of the consequences of the Fall persisted in Mary and Jesus after His conception, it wouldn't be hard to believe that some could be superseded already according to His will.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #154 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

A question for theologians to ponder and address:  What does it mean when we speak of fallen human nature?  Clearly we need to be clear that humanity did not become a different species when Adam fell.  Catholicism has always insisted, especially against the Reformers, that the Fall did not essentially change human nature; and on this point Orthodoxy would agree, does it not?  Moreover, Orthodoxy also agrees with Catholicism, contra Pelagianism, that grace is not intrinsic to nature.  Why is this important?  Because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not assert that the Theotokos receives a new nature at her conception; rather, it asserts that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in her in such a way as to empower her for faith and obedience. 



Agreed. As I may have already said in this thread, I think the idea that the IC essentially turns Mary into a something not consubstantial with us is one of the weaker arguments against the doctrine.

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #155 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »

Now, Jesus' human nature was inherited from His human mother. If the Holy Virgin was herself literally a new creation, a sinless new Eve, it would not be human fallen nature that would have been united to God, but that second new nature. Using a biological metaphor, Mary would be an entirely new species and Jesus' human nature would be *her* new species nature instead of our old fallen nature. Instead of being the open door for the coming of the Messiah, Mary would be a gate shut and locked to the previous old fallen nature.

A question for theologians to ponder and address:  What does it mean when we speak of fallen human nature?  Clearly we need to be clear that humanity did not become a different species when Adam fell.  Catholicism has always insisted, especially against the Reformers, that the Fall did not essentially change human nature; and on this point Orthodoxy would agree, does it not?  Moreover, Orthodoxy also agrees with Catholicism, contra Pelagianism, that grace is not intrinsic to nature.  Why is this important?  Because the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not assert that the Theotokos receives a new nature at her conception; rather, it asserts that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in her in such a way as to empower her for faith and obedience. 

What does Pelagianism mean to Catholics here?  For me, I always viewed Pelagianism as free will that can primarily achieve salvation, decreasing the importance of the Church sacraments and of God's grace.  But as Orthodox, we also seem to understand that St. Augustine took an extreme to fight against Pelagianism, i.e. that grace alone can primarily achieve salvation, implying that man's free will is marred completely.  I believe it was St. John Cassian who sought a balance between the two in his writings, free will and grace, where both are equally important.

Months ago, it came to my surprise when a Coptic Catholic thought I was professing Pelagianism, and it sort of made me wonder and realize exactly how different we both really were in the language and concept of grace, which required me just to stop having discussion and look at the bigger picture, something that the Eastern Orthodox realized long before Oriental Orthodox are realizing themselves.  I told him that it's possible for someone with free will to not sin.  But that doesn't mean one has achieved salvation.  Salvation does not comprise of avoidance of sin, but also a unity with God.  Mahatma Ghandi, one of the most righteous men in this contemporary world still needs the Church, still needs Christ, even though he is probably better than 99% of Christians in his life and example.  Therefore, in my argument, in my thought, the Church fathers who confessed the Theotokos as pure, undefiled, etc., were describing her righteous life, not necessarily her "state of grace" so to speak.

What I felt Pelagianism lead to was that Baptism, Chrismation, the Eucharist were not necessary for out salvation.  If we were to describe salvation as PURELY salvation from our sins, we don't stand a chance to stand out against other world religions, who also profess the same.  Islam cannot claim unity with God like we do, Hinduism cannot claim integrity of creation's existence and human free will like we do,  and Buddhism, where their ascetism is noteworthy and helpful, cheapens the importance of God in our ever-existence for some self-mindful paradise, and no religion cannot claim a God Who instead of taking away suffering to tell us to endure this world for a more paradisical one, lived among us and suffered like we do, teaching us to start planting the seeds of paradise here and to rejoice in suffering.

So, I don't think it's Pelagianist to say that St. Mary didn't do any sin and lived a righteous and perfect life all the way up to her accepting freely to become the Mother of the world's One and True Salvation.  If Ghandi can do it, then practically, my views are not wrong.  And I think this may be the crux of the issue.  Way back then, when we were comparing the writings of St. Jacob of Serugh on the Theotokos, the Coptic Catholic Mardukm read it differently because of his different view on grace and salvation, that it is impossible for someone to avoid sin without grace.  While I agree it's hard, it's not impossible, given the right environment (she was after all also poor, which can explain her humility, and she is believed to grow up in the temple, which can explain her religiousness, eventually her purity), the right parents, the perfect life of prayer.  Can we say Enoch was immaculately conceived, or Elijah or Jeremiah, or St. John the Forerunner?  The Coptic Catholic, Mardukm, to maintain consistency in his personal beliefs said YES, they too were immaculately conceived, so that the Theotokos was not the only one.

Then, in that case, I really don't know what to say.  Perhaps, one can say there's a anointing by the Holy Spirit in some sort, like the anointing of Saul, so long as one can agree that as Saul didn't become what God wanted a righteous king to be, so should we give the possibility that St. Mary might have said, "No" to being the Theotokos.  Free will, in its essence of course is not taken away, but what if an IC'ed St. Mary said "No," especially since the IC was for that specific purpose, to be the Theotokos?  But can we really say God allowed St. Mary to exercise her free will when her will was driven and programmed to accept being the Theotokos because of the IC, not because of the environment she grew up in, the Temple, the holy parents, the humble background, etc.  That's like saying, Nazir Gayyid was given "the grace of celibacy" from his childhood because he was destined to be a Coptic Pope.

This sounds like very good theology you're talking here, Mina.  ;D

Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #156 on: September 03, 2010, 07:03:34 PM »
I'm sorry...I didn't fully answer your question.  Fallen nature is not an essence, but a state.  Fallen state, I suppose.  That is, our loss of unity with God, thus loss of Paradise, and thus living in the natural world with its influences.

Christ came, elevated the natural world, and our nature, and we are no longer to influenced by the world itself, no long influenced by our own natural tendencies, but by the Divine Nature to create our Paradise here, and by renewal of our spirit and intellect, that which aids in transcending ourselves in a natural way.

That's another thing, I never considered spirits and angels as supernatural.  All creation is natural, and only God is supernatural.  What exactly does it mean when we transcend our nature, our creation, is that we transcend the ability of our creation to be brought back to nothingness, as this is exactly what creation is by nature, made from non-existence, propensity to non-existence.  When united with God, we avoid this propensity.

 ;D

Offline Papist

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #157 on: September 03, 2010, 08:13:45 PM »
Question:  if God could removethe stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?
Question, if God could have redeemed us by the death and resurrection of his Son, why did he wait so long to do it?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Wyatt

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #158 on: September 03, 2010, 08:28:56 PM »
Question:  if God could removethe stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?
I think this is one of those questions that is impossible to answer and must simply be accepted as a mystery. You could also ask yourself why God came to earth and died on the cross for the remission of our sins whenever He could have simply willed us to be saved and we would have been since, you know, He's God and all can do whatever He wishes. Why did Jesus have to die? Why was this the way God chose to redeem humanity? I'm totally fine with not having the complete answer about such mysteries right now. It does make me look forward to heaven and having all of the answers to these questions at last revealed.

For whatever reason, God wanted to save the majority of mankind the way He did. He chose to preserve Mother Mary from sin from the moment of her conception so He would have a perfect vessel in which to enter the world. This was accomplished in much the same way as any of us are being saved. The part where it is different is because He applied the grace He was to win on Calvary (which transcends time and space) to her from the very beginning and filled her with grace. Mary still needed a Savior because it was only through the sacrifice of Christ that she was immaculately conceived and remained sinless throughout her life. Christ, who indeed loves His Mother very much, gave her bountifully what the rest of us only get a foretaste of here on earth.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #159 on: September 03, 2010, 09:22:11 PM »
Question:  if God could removethe stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?
Question, if God could have redeemed us by the death and resurrection of his Son, why did he wait so long to do it?

The REAL question is SINCE God didn't need to toss us out of the Garden in the FIRST place why did this loving God push us out of the Garden, allow death and the loss of initial integrity of our human natue loose in the world, THEN make us wait thousands of years for Jesus to come along and die like a dog, THEN make us wait God-only-knows how long till we have our bodies back once the ones we have rot.

BTW It is the loss of the integrity of our bodies and souls that disrupts the original unity of the two.

That is why the Virgin dies eventually, even though she was never touched by the stain of any sin.

And that is why Jesus was able to choose to die and actually die on the Cross.  He bore his mother's flesh.

The Immaculate Conception speaks of healing the spiritual side of the ancestral curse which is what is referred to as the "stain."

And that is why after our Baptism heals us from what the Virgin was preserved from, we go on and die and rot anyway...AND our souls live on in animation, somehow without our bodies...why?...because of that ancestral loss of integrity....loss of the initial perfect integration of body and soul.  That we do not get back fully till after the final judgment.

M.

Offline Melodist

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #160 on: September 03, 2010, 11:29:26 PM »
BTW It is the loss of the integrity of our bodies and souls that disrupts the original unity of the two.

Would this be considered an effect of the fall that is continually passed down?
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #161 on: September 04, 2010, 12:51:21 AM »

Is there really such a thing as "created" grace, in the ordinary terms presented here?  No. 

Father Hardon's teachings are bound by his own training and his times and the Church's attitude to the ordinary person in the pew.


Alway the excuses.  Always the claim to know more and to be more initiated than the avergae Catholic!   Mary, it's high time that you learnt something of basic Catholic teaching.  Catholics were taught all over the world by the Magisterium, by the priests, by the brothers, by the nuns, that grace is CREATED!

Are you telling us that the Magisterium and the clergy simply LIED to the Catholic people for generation upon generation and the TRUE teaching was whispered only in the ears of savants such as yourself who could appreciate it?

Quote
Father Hardon's teaching is NOT meant for theological apologetics in any way, and for you to present it out of context like this is wrong, and when you have been told over and over again it is wrong....then what you do here is false witness....I don't expect you take that to your confessor, but rather are happy to do over and over again.

The constantly repeated accusations against me are becoming tedious and even malevolent.

If there are two levels of Catholic teaching - one for the stupid people in the parishes and another for clever people like you, then supply evidence of this dual level of teaching in the Roman Catholic Church.  It really is a case of, prove it or stop being silly.


Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #162 on: September 04, 2010, 02:26:20 AM »
BTW It is the loss of the integrity of our bodies and souls that disrupts the original unity of the two.

Would this be considered an effect of the fall that is continually passed down?

Yes.  Additionally, the loss of integrity does not mean that there is a total rupture in the unity of body and soul, but it manifests in the doctrinal reality that we are Baptized and yet we still die, that Christ tramples death by death and yet we still die, and then when we do die, we do not teach soul-sleep but teach that our sentient soul finds a place in heaven or hell...or heaven, hell and purgation if you are on my side of the aisle.  So there is plenty of evidence that there's been a dis-integration of that profound unity of body and soul.

So that and the loss of original justice...said another way the darkening of the intellect and weakening of the will...and the loss of original integrity are the effects that are passed on through generation.

It is the loss of original justice that is addressed in the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

M.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #163 on: September 04, 2010, 02:26:20 AM »

Is there really such a thing as "created" grace, in the ordinary terms presented here?  No. 

Father Hardon's teachings are bound by his own training and his times and the Church's attitude to the ordinary person in the pew.


Alway the excuses.  Always the claim to know more and to be more initiated than the avergae Catholic!   Mary, it's high time that you learnt something of basic Catholic teaching.  Catholics were taught all over the world by the Magisterium, by the priests, by the brothers, by the nuns, that grace is CREATED!

Are you telling us that the Magisterium and the clergy simply LIED to the Catholic people for generation upon generation and the TRUE teaching was whispered only in the ears of savants such as yourself who could appreciate it?

Quote
Father Hardon's teaching is NOT meant for theological apologetics in any way, and for you to present it out of context like this is wrong, and when you have been told over and over again it is wrong....then what you do here is false witness....I don't expect you take that to your confessor, but rather are happy to do over and over again.

The constantly repeated accusations against me are becoming tedious and even malevolent.

If there are two levels of Catholic teaching - one for the stupid people in the parishes and another for clever people like you, then supply evidence of this dual level of teaching in the Roman Catholic Church.  It really is a case of, prove it or stop being silly.

Pardon me Father, but your presentation of Father Hardon as some especial representative of "the Magisterium" is much more than silly.  It is false and irresponsible.  You've been corrected over the years by any number of Catholic clergy who have told you essentially what I just told you.  My spiritual father is one of them.

It is probably time for you to write him another letter telling him how I am out of line again.  He's reading here in this thread so he'll know just what you are talking about this time.

Yes.  The laity are often treated like sheep in the worst sense of stupid.  It happens in Orthodoxy too.  I've heard it with my own shell pink ears.

It is good to see that you did not fall into a great fissure and disappear from us!

Mary

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #164 on: September 04, 2010, 02:29:49 AM »
Question:  if God could removethe stain of "Original Sin" from Mary, even though her parents had it, then why couldn't He simply have removed it from Adam and Eve's children, right there at the beginning?
I think this is one of those questions that is impossible to answer and must simply be accepted as a mystery. You could also ask yourself why God came to earth and died on the cross for the remission of our sins whenever He could have simply willed us to be saved and we would have been since, you know, He's God and all can do whatever He wishes. Why did Jesus have to die? Why was this the way God chose to redeem humanity? I'm totally fine with not having the complete answer about such mysteries right now. It does make me look forward to heaven and having all of the answers to these questions at last revealed.

For whatever reason, God wanted to save the majority of mankind the way He did. He chose to preserve Mother Mary from sin from the moment of her conception so He would have a perfect vessel in which to enter the world. This was accomplished in much the same way as any of us are being saved. The part where it is different is because He applied the grace He was to win on Calvary (which transcends time and space) to her from the very beginning and filled her with grace. Mary still needed a Savior because it was only through the sacrifice of Christ that she was immaculately conceived and remained sinless throughout her life. Christ, who indeed loves His Mother very much, gave her bountifully what the rest of us only get a foretaste of here on earth.
My point exactly
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #165 on: September 04, 2010, 02:54:21 AM »

[cize=10pt]Pardon me Father, but your presentation of Father Hardon as some especial representative of "the Magisterium" is much more than silly.  It is false and irresponsible.  You've been corrected over the years by any number of Catholic clergy who have told you essentially what I just told you.  My spiritual father is one of them. [/size]

One of us has selective memory because I do not recall any "corrections" received from "any number of Catholic clergy" and yet you do.  Who on earth were they?

Quote
It is probably time for you to write him another letter telling him how I am out of line again.  He's reading here in this thread so he'll know just what you are talking about this time.

If he is reading this thread then  he can confirm that you are not telling the truth when you claim that I have written to him about you.  Mary, why do you do this??

All this personal nastiness against me because you want to destroy the credibility of Father Hardon and what he wrote.  :(

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #166 on: September 04, 2010, 04:00:17 AM »

[cize=10pt]Pardon me Father, but your presentation of Father Hardon as some especial representative of "the Magisterium" is much more than silly.  It is false and irresponsible.  You've been corrected over the years by any number of Catholic clergy who have told you essentially what I just told you.  My spiritual father is one of them. [/size]

One of us has selective memory because I do not recall any "corrections" received from "any number of Catholic clergy" and yet you do.  Who on earth were they?

Quote
It is probably time for you to write him another letter telling him how I am out of line again.  He's reading here in this thread so he'll know just what you are talking about this time.

If he is reading this thread then  he can confirm that you are not telling the truth when you claim that I have written to him about you.  Mary, why do you do this??

All this personal nastiness against me because you want to destroy the credibility of Father Hardon and what he wrote.  :(
Would you care to take your dispute with elijahmaria offline, please?  Some people here would actually like to discuss the OP.
Not all who wander are lost.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #167 on: September 04, 2010, 04:03:17 AM »

[cize=10pt]Pardon me Father, but your presentation of Father Hardon as some especial representative of "the Magisterium" is much more than silly.  It is false and irresponsible.  You've been corrected over the years by any number of Catholic clergy who have told you essentially what I just told you.  My spiritual father is one of them. [/size]

One of us has selective memory because I do not recall any "corrections" received from "any number of Catholic clergy" and yet you do.  Who on earth were they?

Quote
It is probably time for you to write him another letter telling him how I am out of line again.  He's reading here in this thread so he'll know just what you are talking about this time.

If he is reading this thread then  he can confirm that you are not telling the truth when you claim that I have written to him about you.  Mary, why do you do this??

All this personal nastiness against me because you want to destroy the credibility of Father Hardon and what he wrote.  :(
Would you care to take your dispute with elijahmaria offline, please?  Some people here would actually like to discuss the OP.

Indeed.  Include me in their number.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #168 on: September 04, 2010, 04:19:35 AM »

What is "sanctifying grace" for an Oriental Orthodox?  I know what it is for Roman Catholics.

It's the grace that accomplishes redemption that we receive in the Sacraments.


The Orthodox View of Grace

The Orthodox view of Grace is quite distinct from that of the West, especially as
developed by the Scholastics from seeds in the theology of the Blessed Augustine. As
the Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky explains:

[The] theology of the Eastern Church distinguishes in God the three hypostases, the
nature or essence, and the energies. The Son and the Holy Spirit are, so to say, personal
processions, the energies, natural processions. The energies are inseparable from the
nature, and the nature is inseparable from the three Persons. These distinctions are of
great importance for the Eastern Church’s conception of mystical life:…

 The distinction between the essence and the energies, which is fundamental for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called is neither hypostatic—as in the case of the human nature of Christ—nor
substantial, as in that of the three divine Persons: it is union with God in His energies,
or union by grace making us participate in the divine nature, without our essence
becoming thereby the essence of God. In deification [theosis] we are by grace (that is to
say, in the divine energies), all that God is by nature, save only identity of nature . . .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.

Eastern tradition knows no such supernatural order between God and the created
world, adding, as it were, to the latter a new creation. It recognizes no distinction, or
rather division, save that between the created and the uncreated. For [the] eastern
tradition the created supernatural has no existence. That which western theology calls
by the name of the supernatural signifies for the East the uncreated—the divine energies
ineffably distinct from the essence of God. . . . The act of creation established a
relationship between the divine energies and that which is not God. . . . [However,] the
divine energies in themselves are not the relationship of God to created being, but they
do enter into relationship with that which is not God [i.e., His creation], and draw the
world into existence by the will of God.

In short, the Orthodox understanding of the nature of Grace is that it is the very
energies of God Himself. Through the Trinitarian ministry of the Holy Spirit—a
ministry involving both general and special activities—these energies are mediated to
mankind. This stands in contrast to the Latin view flowing mainly from the anti-
Pelagian writings of Saint Augustine. For Roman Catholics, Grace is a created
intermediary between God and man.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #169 on: September 04, 2010, 11:52:03 AM »
Fr. Ambrose, from what I have read from Catholic saints, including the likes of St. John of the Cross and St. Thomas Aquians, we do become deified through gift of Grace and our souls are made into God's likeness by participating in his Divine Nature and indewlling of the Holy Trinity in the Souls of the Just. For this reason, I don't see how Fr. Hardon's teaching on the matter can be accurate. In fact, I think he flat out wrong, unless of course, he talking about the State of Grace, and not the substance of Grace.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 12:07:43 PM by Papist »
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #170 on: September 04, 2010, 11:58:27 AM »
Fr. Ambrose,
Take a look at this:

From the Catechism of the Council of Trent:
For the blessed always see God present and by this greatest and most exalted of gifts, being made partakers of the divine nature, they enjoy true and solid happiness.

In the Roman Rite the prayer during the Mass for the mixing of the water and wine:

O God, Who in creating the human nature didst marvelously enoble it, and hast still more marvelously renewed it: grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His Divinity Who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #171 on: September 04, 2010, 12:02:14 PM »
Fr. A,
Thomas Aquinas gives the reason for the Incarnation as
"the full participation of the Divinity, which is the true bliss of man and end of human life; and this is bestowed upon us by Christ's humanity; for Augustine says in a sermon (xiii de Temp): 'God was made man, that man might be made God' " (ST III, q. 1 a. 2).

And the big one from St. Thomas Aquinas:
"Now the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature. And thus it is impossible that any creature should cause grace. For it is as necessary that God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness, as it is impossible that anything save fire should enkindle." (Summa Theologiae I-II.112.1
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #172 on: September 04, 2010, 12:03:58 PM »
"God was made man and man was made God." -St. Catherine of Sienna
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #173 on: September 04, 2010, 12:10:17 PM »
Father Ambrose,
Grace is big word in Catholic theology and analogously applied to many things. When you combine this with the fact that we adopt both Eastern and Western theoloy, then you can see that the word is very richly charged with meaning for Catholics. Do we believe in uncreated Grace and theosis? If you read the quotes above, I think that you will see that even from a werstern perspective, the answer is a resounding "yes!".
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #174 on: September 04, 2010, 12:11:23 PM »

What is "sanctifying grace" for an Oriental Orthodox?  I know what it is for Roman Catholics.

It's the grace that accomplishes redemption that we receive in the Sacraments.


The Orthodox View of Grace

The Orthodox view of Grace is quite distinct from that of the West, especially as
developed by the Scholastics from seeds in the theology of the Blessed Augustine. As
the Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky explains:

[The] theology of the Eastern Church distinguishes in God the three hypostases, the
nature or essence, and the energies. The Son and the Holy Spirit are, so to say, personal
processions, the energies, natural processions. The energies are inseparable from the
nature, and the nature is inseparable from the three Persons. These distinctions are of
great importance for the Eastern Church’s conception of mystical life:…

 The distinction between the essence and the energies, which is fundamental for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called is neither hypostatic—as in the case of the human nature of Christ—nor
substantial, as in that of the three divine Persons: it is union with God in His energies,
or union by grace making us participate in the divine nature, without our essence
becoming thereby the essence of God. In deification [theosis] we are by grace (that is to
say, in the divine energies), all that God is by nature, save only identity of nature . . .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.

Eastern tradition knows no such supernatural order between God and the created
world, adding, as it were, to the latter a new creation. It recognizes no distinction, or
rather division, save that between the created and the uncreated. For [the] eastern
tradition the created supernatural has no existence. That which western theology calls
by the name of the supernatural signifies for the East the uncreated—the divine energies
ineffably distinct from the essence of God. . . . The act of creation established a
relationship between the divine energies and that which is not God. . . . [However,] the
divine energies in themselves are not the relationship of God to created being, but they
do enter into relationship with that which is not God [i.e., His creation], and draw the
world into existence by the will of God.

In short, the Orthodox understanding of the nature of Grace is that it is the very
energies of God Himself. Through the Trinitarian ministry of the Holy Spirit—a
ministry involving both general and special activities—these energies are mediated to
mankind. This stands in contrast to the Latin view flowing mainly from the anti-
Pelagian writings of Saint Augustine. For Roman Catholics, Grace is a created
intermediary between God and man.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf
Fr. Ambrose. What is the differnce between nature and essence?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #175 on: September 04, 2010, 01:12:43 PM »

Quote
The Orthodox View of Grace

The Orthodox view of Grace is quite distinct from that of the West, especially as
developed by the Scholastics from seeds in the theology of the Blessed Augustine. As
the Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky explains:

.... For Roman Catholics, Grace is a created
intermediary between God and man.
[/size]

This assertion by V. Lossky is false on the face of it.  There is no intermediary between God and man in terms of the grace of the Indwelling Trinity which we receive at our Baptism.  The Indwelling remains with us through this life and everlasting life.  That is what sanctifying or justifying or baptismal grace is and does.

St. Teresa of Avila describes the Indwelling like a great river flowing through our souls and we can partake of the waters of that river and our soul becomes like a grotto where we can commune with the grace of that mighty river in a measure that we can endure without being swept away.

Another more contemporary Catholic teacher on the Indwelling is Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.  She is called "Sabeth" by those who love and follow her teachings and promote her cause for sainthood. 

The difference between Catholic and Orthodox teaching is not what it is made out to be by some.

http://www.helpfellowship.org/Blessed_Elizabeth_of_the_Trinity.htm

Quote
In a letter written just a few weeks before her death in the year 1906, a young Carmelite nun declared to a friend: "My beloved Antoinette, I leave you my faith in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls. I confide to you: it is this intimacy with Him 'within' that has been the beautiful sun illuminating my life, making it already an anticipated Heaven: it is what sustains me today in my suffering.' This young nun, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, has since been given such titles as "the prophet of the presence of God,""the saint of the divine indwelling," or "the saint of one idea," because of her strong experience of the indwelling of God in her soul. Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites a prayer that she composed and addressed to the Trinity whom she knew dwelled in her soul. The Catechism cites Blessed Elizabeth's prayer to illustrate the truth that "Even' now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity": 'If a man loves me,"says the Lord, "he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him." (Jn 14,23)"
[/size]

I can provide more if anyone wishes.  Simply write to me privately.

Mary

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #176 on: September 04, 2010, 01:12:44 PM »
Fr. Ambrose, from what I have read from Catholic saints, including the likes of St. John of the Cross and St. Thomas Aquians, we do become deified through gift of Grace and our souls are made into God's likeness by participating in his Divine Nature and indewlling of the Holy Trinity in the Souls of the Just. For this reason, I don't see how Fr. Hardon's teaching on the matter can be accurate. In fact, I think he flat out wrong, unless of course, he talking about the State of Grace, and not the substance of Grace.

Dear Papist,

There is a history of Catholic Spirituality written by Father Jordan Aumann, OP that talks about a change in the common teaching concerning grace and the spiritual life that got a strong toehold of the Benedictine monastics in England and Ireland an starting in about the middle of the 1700's.  His remarks are brief but if you can trace that history then you will better understand the Baltimore Catechism and men like Father John Hardon.  

The Irish and French Jansenists worked very hard to remove any trace of the idea of the Indwelling Trinity as a gift that belonged to all of us and was a very personal participatory communion between God and his human creation.  That is principally why it is a heresy.  It destroys the fundamental truth of our relationship with God.  

The history of Jansen and the Jansenists is intimately tied to the history of the Cathars or Albigensians of southern France, or the Bogomils as they are known in the east.  Start following some of those leads as your library allows and many things will fall into place when it comes to what seem to be divergent threads in Church teaching over the past 300 years or so.  There is no one history that will just give you all this.  I have picked it up book by book for almost twenty years.  So the closest immediate corroboration of what I am saying here is the Father Jordan Aumann book.  It is available on the Internet.

The Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church were the Church's attempt to cut a path through the confusion that was straight and true.

There is a book called Surnaturel that does not give the history that I've indicated above but does outline the theological background for the 20th century work of Father Henri de Lubac whose work brought the discussion of nature and grace to the forefront of Catholic theology in the 20th century.  That is not an easy read but you've got to start somewhere and since that is a synthesis of the various streams of thought, it is a good place to begin, if you are genuinely interested in the discussion of nature and grace.

There is no "created" supernatural in Catholic teaching.  None.  Father Hardon was offering a formula that presumed an understanding of St. Thomas that had been gradually eroded since at least the Council of Trent.  What he teaches, to the uninitiated, serves to cloud far more than it serves to illumine.

Also it is silly to say that God is supernatural.  God IS.  God is divinity.  The divine nature is natural to God.  The experience of man's participation in the divine Indwelling Trinity elevates man's lived experience above his own created nature and that is where the idea of supernatural finds its meaning.

M.


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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #177 on: September 04, 2010, 02:50:42 PM »

There is no "created" supernatural in Catholic teaching.  None.  Father Hardon was offering a formula that presumed an understanding of St. Thomas that had been gradually eroded since at least the Council of Trent.  What he teaches, to the uninitiated, serves to cloud far more than it serves to illumine.

Also it is silly to say that God is supernatural.  God IS.  God is divinity.  The divine nature is natural to God.  The experience of man's participation in the divine Indwelling Trinity elevates man's lived experience above his own created nature and that is where the idea of supernatural finds its meaning.


From what I understand from the Coptic Catholic MardukM, supernatural means spiritual, not an experience:

Quote
When I speak of “stain,” I have strictly and consistently stated that it refers to the SPIRITUAL consequences of original sin.  Now the SPIRITUAL consequences (the “stain”) of Original Sin refer not only to the state of sinfulness, but also to the act of sinning, as well as lack of original holiness, lack of original justice, and spiritual death (which is separation from God).  These are exactly what are referred to in the dogma as “all stain of original sin.”

Now considering this Athanasian understanding of original sin, can we indeed distinguish between the spiritual death and the physical death?  I truly believe so. Why?  Because it is clear that physical death is a NATURAL consequence of the Fall, whereas spiritual death is a SUPERNATURAL consequence of the Fall. Likewise, it is evident that the Grace of physical immortality is distinguished from the Grace of Spiritual Life (i.e., the opposite of Spiritual Death, which is separation from God).  In other words, the natural corollary of the belief that there can be no actual, ontological distinction between physical death and spiritual death is that there is no actual, ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality.  One cannot be taken without the other. But since there is indeed an ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality- hence, there must also be a distinction between spiritual death and physical death.

This distinction between natural and supernatural is everywhere evident in Christian anthropology.  The body of man is created by NATURAL means, whereas the soul of man is created by SUPERNATURAL means.  Further, if the physical and spiritual are so drastically linked, then why is it that after Baptism, we are still liable to death?  When a Christian dies a physical death, his soul and body are not linked so drastically that one could possibly imagine that his soul dies the spiritual death as well.  The reason for this is a lot simpler than claiming that “Christ came and killed death, separating the two.” The reason was alluded to earlier – it is the simple fact that the Grace of Spiritual Life (one of the Graces we receive at Baptism, and likewise one of the Graces Mary received at her IC) is different from the Grace of Physical immortality.  Mary, though she received the Grace of Spiritual Life at the IC (among other Graces), did not receive this particular Grace of Physical immortality until her Dormition.  Likewise, that it is a separate Grace from the Grace of Spiritual Life is proven by the fact that we ourselves, who were baptized and received the Grace of Spiritual Life, will not receive the Grace of Physical immortality until the Endtime (i.e., we still die).  This proves that the distinction between physical and spiritual death is not merely “in thought alone,” but is a truly ontological reality – to repeat, the Grace of Spiritual Life can be acquired without necessarily acquiring the Grace of Physical immortality (at least, immediately).
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg316859.html#msg316859

Thus, I read this, and I thought to myself.  Supernatural is considered to describe something spiritual, or to be synonymous with spiritual, i.e. the human spirit, the created spirit, that which is common among the angels.  Therefore, it can be said that God is not supernatural because He's not a created spirit like human spirits or angels, but beyond that.  But from what I understand, we are binatured creatures, a physical nature and a super nature.

I think this borders on the line of semantics.  When I use the word "supernatural," I don't mean a different nature, but one that which is beyond nature, transcends nature, not even nature in and of itself, but incomprehensibly transcendent.  When MardukM used the word "supernatural" it described a different ousia, so to speak, that of the spiritual realm.

Now, I'm reading that it's not an ousia, it's an experience, when the human is mingling with the Divine, that's considered "supernatural."  Please help me then.  I'm utterly confused, since I'm perceiving two different meanings of nature within the Catholic Church, let alone interchurch relations.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 02:51:10 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #178 on: September 04, 2010, 04:50:10 PM »

There is no "created" supernatural in Catholic teaching.  None.  Father Hardon was offering a formula that presumed an understanding of St. Thomas that had been gradually eroded since at least the Council of Trent.  What he teaches, to the uninitiated, serves to cloud far more than it serves to illumine.

Also it is silly to say that God is supernatural.  God IS.  God is divinity.  The divine nature is natural to God.  The experience of man's participation in the divine Indwelling Trinity elevates man's lived experience above his own created nature and that is where the idea of supernatural finds its meaning.


From what I understand from the Coptic Catholic MardukM, supernatural means spiritual, not an experience:

Quote
When I speak of “stain,” I have strictly and consistently stated that it refers to the SPIRITUAL consequences of original sin.  Now the SPIRITUAL consequences (the “stain”) of Original Sin refer not only to the state of sinfulness, but also to the act of sinning, as well as lack of original holiness, lack of original justice, and spiritual death (which is separation from God).  These are exactly what are referred to in the dogma as “all stain of original sin.”

Now considering this Athanasian understanding of original sin, can we indeed distinguish between the spiritual death and the physical death?  I truly believe so. Why?  Because it is clear that physical death is a NATURAL consequence of the Fall, whereas spiritual death is a SUPERNATURAL consequence of the Fall. Likewise, it is evident that the Grace of physical immortality is distinguished from the Grace of Spiritual Life (i.e., the opposite of Spiritual Death, which is separation from God).  In other words, the natural corollary of the belief that there can be no actual, ontological distinction between physical death and spiritual death is that there is no actual, ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality.  One cannot be taken without the other. But since there is indeed an ontological distinction between the Grace of Spiritual Life and the Grace of physical immortality- hence, there must also be a distinction between spiritual death and physical death.

This distinction between natural and supernatural is everywhere evident in Christian anthropology.  The body of man is created by NATURAL means, whereas the soul of man is created by SUPERNATURAL means.  Further, if the physical and spiritual are so drastically linked, then why is it that after Baptism, we are still liable to death?  When a Christian dies a physical death, his soul and body are not linked so drastically that one could possibly imagine that his soul dies the spiritual death as well.  The reason for this is a lot simpler than claiming that “Christ came and killed death, separating the two.” The reason was alluded to earlier – it is the simple fact that the Grace of Spiritual Life (one of the Graces we receive at Baptism, and likewise one of the Graces Mary received at her IC) is different from the Grace of Physical immortality.  Mary, though she received the Grace of Spiritual Life at the IC (among other Graces), did not receive this particular Grace of Physical immortality until her Dormition.  Likewise, that it is a separate Grace from the Grace of Spiritual Life is proven by the fact that we ourselves, who were baptized and received the Grace of Spiritual Life, will not receive the Grace of Physical immortality until the Endtime (i.e., we still die).  This proves that the distinction between physical and spiritual death is not merely “in thought alone,” but is a truly ontological reality – to repeat, the Grace of Spiritual Life can be acquired without necessarily acquiring the Grace of Physical immortality (at least, immediately).
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg316859.html#msg316859

Thus, I read this, and I thought to myself.  Supernatural is considered to describe something spiritual, or to be synonymous with spiritual, i.e. the human spirit, the created spirit, that which is common among the angels.  Therefore, it can be said that God is not supernatural because He's not a created spirit like human spirits or angels, but beyond that.  But from what I understand, we are binatured creatures, a physical nature and a super nature.

I think this borders on the line of semantics.  When I use the word "supernatural," I don't mean a different nature, but one that which is beyond nature, transcends nature, not even nature in and of itself, but incomprehensibly transcendent.  When MardukM used the word "supernatural" it described a different ousia, so to speak, that of the spiritual realm. 

Now, I'm reading that it's not an ousia, it's an experience, when the human is mingling with the Divine, that's considered "supernatural."  Please help me then.  I'm utterly confused, since I'm perceiving two different meanings of nature within the Catholic Church, let alone interchurch relations.

Sorry to say that I have no way of engaging MardukM in any comparative way without his being here.  Some of what he says makes sense in terms of physical and spiritual death being observably separable, but the manner in which he is expressing it is somewhat foreign to me and I cannot presume to compare what I know with the unfamiliar. 

There is a great deal that is left out of what he is saying: perhaps most importantly the reality that spiritual corruption ultimately leads to physical sickness, death and corruption, and that spiritual health does lead to longer healthier life under ordinary circumstances, so that the interaction between body and soul can still be observed experientially.

I can simply go back and repeat that the spiritual life of prayer and union with God is experiential in body and soul, as a first principle.  I mean that it is axiomatic that kenosis and the process of reaching theosis is real and experiential.  It requires grace to reach the prayer of quiet and the prayer of union.  Union with the Indwelling is not natural to human nature.  We cannot achieve that very real existential state without grace or without a gift that takes us beyond our nature, while allowing us to remain created beings.

And then the ancestral sin resulted in a loss of original justice and integrity, and as a result of the loss of original integrity the once perfect unity between a human body and soul as definitive of human nature before the fall is damaged and will not be fully re-formed until the resurrection of the body at the final judgment.

But it would be absolutely impossible for me to try to compare these elements of the points I was making,  to what Marduk says in that quote without Marduk being here to talk to about it.  I am very sorry.

Mary


Offline deusveritasest

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Re: Mary Theotokos and the Immaculate Conception
« Reply #179 on: September 04, 2010, 10:35:52 PM »

What is "sanctifying grace" for an Oriental Orthodox?  I know what it is for Roman Catholics.

It's the grace that accomplishes redemption that we receive in the Sacraments.


The Orthodox View of Grace

The Orthodox view of Grace is quite distinct from that of the West, especially as
developed by the Scholastics from seeds in the theology of the Blessed Augustine. As
the Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky explains:

[The] theology of the Eastern Church distinguishes in God the three hypostases, the
nature or essence, and the energies. The Son and the Holy Spirit are, so to say, personal
processions, the energies, natural processions. The energies are inseparable from the
nature, and the nature is inseparable from the three Persons. These distinctions are of
great importance for the Eastern Church’s conception of mystical life:…

 The distinction between the essence and the energies, which is fundamental for
the Orthodox doctrine of grace, makes it possible to preserve the real meaning of Saint
Peter’s words “partakers of the divine nature” [2 Peter 1:4]. The union to which we are
called is neither hypostatic—as in the case of the human nature of Christ—nor
substantial, as in that of the three divine Persons: it is union with God in His energies,
or union by grace making us participate in the divine nature, without our essence
becoming thereby the essence of God. In deification [theosis] we are by grace (that is to
say, in the divine energies), all that God is by nature, save only identity of nature . . .
according to the teaching of Saint Maximus. We remain creatures while becoming God
by grace, as Christ remained God in becoming man by the Incarnation.

Eastern tradition knows no such supernatural order between God and the created
world, adding, as it were, to the latter a new creation. It recognizes no distinction, or
rather division, save that between the created and the uncreated. For [the] eastern
tradition the created supernatural has no existence. That which western theology calls
by the name of the supernatural signifies for the East the uncreated—the divine energies
ineffably distinct from the essence of God. . . . The act of creation established a
relationship between the divine energies and that which is not God. . . . [However,] the
divine energies in themselves are not the relationship of God to created being, but they
do enter into relationship with that which is not God [i.e., His creation], and draw the
world into existence by the will of God.

In short, the Orthodox understanding of the nature of Grace is that it is the very
energies of God Himself. Through the Trinitarian ministry of the Holy Spirit—a
ministry involving both general and special activities—these energies are mediated to
mankind. This stands in contrast to the Latin view flowing mainly from the anti-
Pelagian writings of Saint Augustine. For Roman Catholics, Grace is a created
intermediary between God and man.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/non-orthodox_ch2.pdf

Why do you keep assuming that I don't already know about and believe in this?