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Author Topic: For Catholics: Souls in Purgatory assured of salvation?  (Read 4544 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: February 01, 2012, 06:10:35 PM »

Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #91 on: February 01, 2012, 07:18:21 PM »

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #92 on: February 02, 2012, 12:57:32 AM »

Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #93 on: February 02, 2012, 01:06:23 AM »


1) Hades is the condition of death for the soul/spirit, prior to the soul's entrance into the place of rest with Christ.  All souls pass through Hades, or for those who reject Christ, remain there with nowhere else to go until the General Resurrection.
So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?
Quote
4) The soul and spirit without the body are an incomplete person, and so the faculty of prayer is lost for those in Hades until they enter into the presence of Christ and can intercede with Him directly.

5) The Church offers prayers of repentance and alms on behalf of those souls who are struggling with their consciences during this process of death.  The absolution prayers assure the soul of God's mercy, and the offering of prayers on behalf of the dead help them by acting on their behalf.  Prayer is a sacrifice of time and effort to God.

6) God does not compel those who love Him to enter into His rest, which is why Hades is not utterly abolished until the Parousia.  So, Hades can be either a short or long experience.

7) Those in Hades are tormented by their own refusal to repent and their hatred of God.

Cool Those who do not hate God, even if they are not Orthodox prior to death, may receive God's plenteous mercy so long as they are willing to receive Him as He truly is (i.e. convert after death by accepting The Truth).  After all, a Buddhist is not going to enter into God's rest as a Buddhist.

So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
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« Reply #94 on: February 02, 2012, 01:13:56 AM »

Hades is the condition of death, the 'pit' in the Old Testament which Christ leads the 'captives' from.  All souls pass through, though the ones that become entangled with the temptations of the demons or refuse to pass through to Christ are 'stuck.'  This is the post-mortem journey of the soul after death.

To those who become entangled, it is suffering.  Others suffer for a time in grief until they are ready to pass into rest, which is why we offer prayers for the rest of those who have departed.  Their consciences need to be reconciled, but there really is no 'purification' process of 'temporal debts' which is the typical interpretation of purgatory.


Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #95 on: February 02, 2012, 02:58:24 AM »

Thanks.

Hades is the condition of death, the 'pit' in the Old Testament which Christ leads the 'captives' from.  All souls pass through, though the ones that become entangled with the temptations of the demons or refuse to pass through to Christ are 'stuck.'  This is the post-mortem journey of the soul after death.

To those who become entangled, it is suffering.  Others suffer for a time in grief until they are ready to pass into rest, which is why we offer prayers for the rest of those who have departed.  Their consciences need to be reconciled, but there really is no 'purification' process of 'temporal debts' which is the typical interpretation of purgatory.


Those who are in Hades would be those who are ultimately going to be condemned to Hell after the Final Judgment as they will be experiencing the foretaste of Hell.

Those Saints who are experiencing the foretaste of Heaven will be in Paradise, true?

What about all those sinners (us?) who have not yet made the cut to be with the Saints in Heaven or with those damned to Hell? Those souls would need the absolution of the Church and the prayers of the faithful. Would these souls then reside in Hades for a certain period of time? Could they be undergoing purification similar to that believed by Catholics in their doctrine of Purgatory? That would explain the vision of St. Xenia of St. Petersburg and others who saw people leave Hades for Heaven.

No prayer in Hades, per the Psalms:

Psalm 88

O lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee:

Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry;

For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.

I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength:

Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps.

Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah.

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.

Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.

Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off.

They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness.


It is only when Christ liberates the righteous in Hades, those who receive His salvation, that the souls of the departed may intercede with Him face-to-face.



Did I say that souls could not repent after death?  The only things I'm pretty sure we can say plainly is that souls cannot pray while in Hades and that souls do not become 'lost.'  The rest is rather confusing to clearly communicate.

If the human soul can sin after death or convert to Christ before the Final Resurrection, then couldn't it also repent?

Again, bringing to mind all the penances, prayers, and fastings that St. Xenia of St. Peterburg offered for her deceased husband, who had died in an drunken brawl and who was seen after 30 some years in a vision leaving hell, would this not indicate that a person can repent/be forgiven their sins with the funeral prayers of the Church (that includes absolution) and the prayers of the faithful?

I know of no such Orthodox teaching regarding 'confirming' a soul after death.  Remember, death is an incompleteness of the person.  This is why there is no 'purgatory' in Orthodox teaching, since human sin cannot be 'punished' apart from the body, which is part of the person.  The risk here is to elevate the importance of the soul over the body, which pushes us ever closer to Plato and the body being a 'meat cage.'

How this incomplete person exists and operates in the intermediate state is difficult to assess because the Church hasn't recognized any one theory.  However, I would say that the idea that the soul's decision-making faculties are 'unplugged' or tampered with after death seems too far of a reach, considering the descriptions of many saints about the temptations of demons at death and how the soul must battle through their assaults by using its own will, aided by the saints and angels. This means that the dead exercise their free will all through the death process.

Once they have come to the rest of Christ, the passions no longer hold sway and the will becomes more natural, thus sin no longer appeals.  However, this does not mean that the ability to sin is ever lost, but there no longer appears the need to exercise such a choice.

I hope this makes sense.



Yes, it does seem strange.

Could we say that after death, the soul is confirmed either in goodness or in evil, that it has made its choice for all eternity, much like the angels and demons have?
Souls cannot pray at all while in hades, or souls cannot pray for themselves in hades? In other words, is it possible for those in hades to pray for their family and friends who are still living? I know in our Church, the common belief is that the souls in purgatory cannot pray for themselves, but it is possible for them to offer prayers for those still on earth.
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« Reply #96 on: February 02, 2012, 11:54:30 AM »

What did I say that implies this?

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?


The operative struggle at death is with the conscience:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing. (Mt 5:25-26)

This is a spiritual teaching (since the accused is assumed guilty).  Here, there is a path where man encounters an 'accuser' (we know to be demons) on his way to the 'judge' (his conscience) which will condemn him.  The officer is 'Hades' which will hold him until his conscience is clear.

So, what is the 'payment?'  We believe that at death, there are, in addition to the demons, the saints and angels who encourage the soul and remind it of the good that it did when the demons accuse.  Those who have done little good may have a more difficult time accepting the blessings of eternal rest with Christ because they are ashamed of their conduct.

To pay this debt, we the living can offer alms and prayers on behalf of the dead, asking them to pass into rest and to intercede with Christ for us when they arrive to be with Him.  This is a type of conscience-cleansing relationship between the living and the departed that is mutually beneficial and continues the life of the community far beyond the 'natural bounds.' 

This is seen here:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (He12:1-2)

These witnesses, 'martyrs' in the original text, not only bear the role of example, but actively participate in our struggle to attain the rest as the 'end of the race.'

I hope this is clear.
 


So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
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« Reply #97 on: February 02, 2012, 01:53:02 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
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« Reply #98 on: February 02, 2012, 01:55:59 PM »

i thnk its about time i read a river of fire again...
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« Reply #99 on: February 02, 2012, 07:42:35 PM »

Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
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« Reply #100 on: February 03, 2012, 01:15:13 AM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

The angels rejected God after standing in His presence, yet those who will stand in the presence of God for all eternity will do so having endured this life's sorrows to get there.  It's an incentive not to 'turn back.'  Plus, our existence will not be fraught with the temptations and suffering we now experience.

Totally different way of existing.  Very hard to grasp.


Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
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« Reply #101 on: February 03, 2012, 02:18:09 AM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

The angels rejected God after standing in His presence, yet those who will stand in the presence of God for all eternity will do so having endured this life's sorrows to get there.  It's an incentive not to 'turn back.'  Plus, our existence will not be fraught with the temptations and suffering we now experience.

Totally different way of existing.  Very hard to grasp.


Once again, Fr. Ambrose, can a soul that is saved and in heaven, choose to sin, fall, and be comdemned to hell?

good question...
I hope it's a question that receives an answer.
I've heard people discussing this before on a Catholic forum, and someone said that it is impossible for the soul to desire sin once it has been exposed to the Beatific Vision. I'm not sure if this is grounded in Catholic doctrine, but it is an interesting thought. This would mean that, when the angels were created, there must have been a point where they chose either to go with God and experience the Beatific Vision or else rebel and go to hell.
So what would make the angels want to turn away from God after experiencing His presence? Was it the fact that they didn't experience the pain and suffering on earth that humans all have to endure, and thus didn't realize just how good they had it?
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« Reply #102 on: February 03, 2012, 11:02:37 AM »

As I learned, angels do not have the same type of 'deliberative will' that humans have.  St. Maximos calls this a gnomic will, but it is one that can choose back and forth between good and evil.  Christ displayed a 'natural will,' which only chooses good and does not deliberate because His human will existed in communion with His divinity (rather than either being unaffected or overridden by it).  He had the capacity to deliberate, but chose not to (e.g. He was tempted but did not succumb).

Angels appear to have a type of natural will, but in their case when their will breaks, it is irreparable.  Like a natural will, they appear not to deliberate once they make the decision to turn against God, but this is quite unnatural because they were intended to choose God over all else.  This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

In the Orthodox Church, this matter of the will is paramount, and I would say it is far more important than than concepts like 'redemption' or 'atonement.'  That is usually why most Orthodox get kind of stumped when encountering a Protestant who wants to talk about those things.  They are much lower on the priority scale.  For us, the free will and its healing provide the path to Christ: we are saved by being healed by Him that we may consistently choose Him over all else.  The rest are just details.  Therefore, you shouldn't worry as much about the mechanics of the atonement when you can't stop sinning and creating more things to be atoned for.

The same is true of the concept of 'purgatory': we reject it in large part because we see the concept of sin less about accruing debts (though this is true) than about healing from the Fall and its wounding of the person.  The purgatory as often described, and even how it is presently communicated, still involves the matter of 'temporal punishment' which we see as not only non-existent, but contrary to the healing of the will.  Punishment does not heal, but it is a type of wounding from which we must be healed.  We are chastened in order to open up repentance, rather than pay a debt.  For us, the only payment for sin is death, so after one dies there is no more debt.  However, what is left is much that needs to be healed if one has not repented and received that healing in order to begin with.

Just prior to Baptism, the catechumen is anointed with an oil of healing, to strengthen him for the death that he is to undergo.  It is very much like this life: we must be healed in order to die and be resurrected!  We must be healed in order to enter into the presence of Christ, which comes through repentance (i.e. the catechumen's decision to repent, which causes the Baptism, leads to this first healing).

Back to the original track: why an angel would turn his back on God is anybody's guess, I guess.  Sounds pretty crazy, but have you watched TV lately?    laugh



So what would make the angels want to turn away from God after experiencing His presence? Was it the fact that they didn't experience the pain and suffering on earth that humans all have to endure, and thus didn't realize just how good they had it?
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« Reply #103 on: February 03, 2012, 12:12:00 PM »

In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #104 on: February 03, 2012, 04:31:13 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
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« Reply #105 on: February 03, 2012, 05:13:45 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
So then, is the saved soul's will "paralyzed" as you described it?
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« Reply #106 on: February 03, 2012, 05:46:25 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
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« Reply #107 on: February 03, 2012, 05:50:18 PM »


Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil
?

It is taught by those who believe in the toll houses. They believe that during the torments of the toll houses a soul may sin and turn from a saved soul into a damned soul.  They base this on the teaching found in Saint Basil the New's writing (a pre-schism Saint) where he is recounting the journey of Saint Theodora through the Aerial Toll Houses.  He acquired this knowledge from a young servant of his who had himself acquired it from Saint Theodora in a dream.  She, in the dream, claims that she acquired it by divine revelation from the angels helping her through the toll houses.

The rest of the Church has no interest in these "divine revelations" and I would say that the faith of the Church it that after death a saved soul acts only for its betterment and not for its harm. 
So then, is the saved soul's will "paralyzed" as you described it?

Not even Catholics really believe that the will cannot be exercised after death.  Catholics consider the prayers of the Holy Souls as one of the greatest benefits available to men on earth.

If the Holy Souls could not exercise their will, they would be unable to make a decision to pray.
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« Reply #108 on: February 03, 2012, 05:50:58 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?
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« Reply #109 on: February 03, 2012, 06:08:00 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?

I think there are some fuzzy minded modern Orthodox and particularly among converts.  They can tend, in some peripheral areas to transfer what they were taught in Catholicism or Protestantism.

Some of them will say that there is no repentance after death but all the same they believe that a man may be saved from Hell/Hades.  What they are unwittingly saying is that he cannot choose repentance but it can be forced upon him through the prayers of those still on earth.  It appears a nonsensical denial of the possibility of repentance after death.
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« Reply #110 on: February 03, 2012, 06:23:11 PM »

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?

I think there are some fuzzy minded modern Orthodox and particularly among converts.  They can tend, in some peripheral areas to transfer what they were taught in Catholicism or Protestantism.

Some of them will say that there is no repentance after death but all the same they believe that a man may be saved from Hell/Hades.  What they are unwittingly saying is that he cannot choose repentance but it can be forced upon him through the prayers of those still on earth.  It appears a nonsensical denial of the possibility of repentance after death.


Well, he *was* a convert.  And an Antiochian, to boot  Grin!

What you write doesn't say much for the training/catechesis of modern American Orthodox priests.  But then, on the whole, my experience of them hasn't been that great, either  Sad.
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« Reply #111 on: February 03, 2012, 06:29:18 PM »

[What you write doesn't say much for the training/catechesis of modern American Orthodox priests.  But then, on the whole, my experience of them hasn't been that great, either  Sad.

The Church is aware of the problem in America where clergy from other traditions are ordained as priests without much, if any, Orthodox formation.  Mary and I could both tell you tales of that in a battle we undertook over "body, blood, soul and divinity" with a few such clergy many years ago.   laugh
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« Reply #112 on: February 03, 2012, 06:51:15 PM »

No, Mary, you are getting Orthodoxy wrong.  It is not about an inclination to evil, but rather the inspiration of goodness that the souls of the righteous experience after death.  It is the healing of the passions which free man from the temptation to sin, not the cauterizing of his will.

You can read more about this in N. Vassiliades' The Mystery of Death, pp. 405-407.  He pulls this from Homily 7 of St. gregory the Theologian and several other patristic sources.



In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #113 on: February 03, 2012, 06:52:15 PM »

None of us are infallible!!!   Cheesy

Is there “willing” after death?  Is there repentance?

The rather awful opinion that there is neither probably prevails in the Catholic Church today, although I do not know if it is just a modern opinion from which one may dissent or if it has been officially magisterialised?

But in days gone by there were older and truer beliefs in the Western Church, and we see Saint Martin of Tours conversing with the Devil and assuring him that if he repents (exercising an act of his will) he will be saved.

Please see message 80
at
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37255.msg589910.html#msg589910

An Orthodox priest once told me, "There is no repentance after death".  Was he right or wrong, according to (universal?) Orthodox teaching?
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« Reply #114 on: February 03, 2012, 11:29:44 PM »

OK!!...Thanks for the clarification!

There's nothing at all that causes consternation in what you say here.

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...but is certainly does seem to be the teaching among the Slavic Churches with heavy Russian influence.  That is how I have encountered it over the years.

It's an interesting bit of theology.  I tend to think there are good arguments on both sides, depending on how one understands "willing" or "inclining" or "being inspired"...willing and freedom, body and soul...

So many mysteries: So little time  Smiley

Always we can agree that all things are possible with grace.

M.


No, Mary, you are getting Orthodoxy wrong.  It is not about an inclination to evil, but rather the inspiration of goodness that the souls of the righteous experience after death.  It is the healing of the passions which free man from the temptation to sin, not the cauterizing of his will.

You can read more about this in N. Vassiliades' The Mystery of Death, pp. 405-407.  He pulls this from Homily 7 of St. gregory the Theologian and several other patristic sources.



In Orthodoxy, the stress is on the intact free will.  A person never loses his free will, though he may be in circumstances that impede its exercise.

Can you show the folks here the teachings of a selection of the Holy Fathers or a contemporary Orthodox doctrine that teaches that after death the soul is still inclined to sin and open to temptations toward evil?

If it is so easy for me to make my points by finding direct and clear and precise citations then it must be as easy for you to do so on the Orthodox side, particularly since I am not adding anything to what you said above.

Also I would like some definition of freedom from the Orthodox perspective, particularly in light of scripture that tells us that choosing evil makes us slaves to sin, and the only true freedom for the human soul is the Light and Word of Jesus the Christ.

Mary
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« Reply #115 on: February 04, 2012, 12:45:51 AM »

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?
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« Reply #116 on: February 04, 2012, 12:58:13 AM »

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...

How then does a Holy Soul in Purgatory make a decision to pray for people on earth when asked?

How do the Saints in Heaven make decisions and respond to our prayers  if they cannot exercise their will?  Is the Mother of God with her glorified body, and Elijah the Prophet with his body, the only people in Heaven able to exercise any will?

Any magisterial statements to back up these strange teachings?  Who has taught you that souls after death are "not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life"?
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« Reply #117 on: February 04, 2012, 01:14:29 AM »

Always we can agree that all things are possible with grace.

So you would say that now and again if she chooses the Mother of God, the compasssionate Mediator of All Grace, may supply a dead soul with a certain amount of grace which will temporarily allow its noramally inert will to jerk into action?
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« Reply #118 on: February 04, 2012, 01:50:12 AM »

What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?
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« Reply #119 on: February 04, 2012, 01:55:38 AM »

What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.
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« Reply #120 on: February 04, 2012, 02:04:37 AM »

Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.
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« Reply #121 on: February 04, 2012, 02:20:19 AM »

Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.
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« Reply #122 on: February 04, 2012, 02:48:27 AM »

I'm often asked to pray for the healing of people with terminal diseases.  Should I stop?

Spiritual exercises are less about outcomes and more about growth for the one doing the work.


Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story. 


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.
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« Reply #123 on: February 04, 2012, 03:13:53 AM »

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Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.

But do we know this is the true story?  Who was there when God created the angelic powers and their natures?

Who has dogmatised that they were created with free will but only to be exercised once in their life?  When they used it to decide wrongly God removed it from them and decreed they can never exercise free will again and never repent?  Is this consistent with the way God has acted with us?

Did He not create Lucifer, the Angel of Light,  as the strongest and most beautiful of all the angels?  Did He not love him? Like the father of the prodigal son  His heart is sorrowing until Lucifer returns to His embrace.

I am always fearful of man-made beliefs and decisions which restrict God and in areas of which we have almost zero knowledge. 
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« Reply #124 on: February 04, 2012, 03:37:54 AM »

I'm often asked to pray for the healing of people with terminal diseases.  Should I stop?

Spiritual exercises are less about outcomes and more about growth for the one doing the work.


Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.  St. Martin's statement is an indication of God's love being greater than even all the evil of the devil.

St. Isaac as well advises that we should pray for everyone, even those who hate and wrong us.  Good spiritual teaching.

The matter of a Patericon is that it just means 'Book of the Fathers' and there are numerous versions with different editors.  There are no 'critical editions' or versions that are universally recognized.  Most versions were assembled in local monasteries and added to over time.  No one doth make a dogma from one story.  It is a nice story, but just a story.  


What about them?  Could you be more precise?

This is why it is universally accepted that angels cannot repent: you can only repent if you can deliberate.

What about St. Martin of Tours, the Patericon, the apocastasis, etc., Father?

St. Martin told the devil he could be saved if he repented, the Patericon has a story about a demon being restored to the angelic ranks through the efforts of a human ascetic, the apocastasis would entail the restoration of demons, St. Isaac said we should pray for the demons, etc.

Why exactly have some holy men, including glorified saints, prayed for the demons if the demons can't repent (I'm thinking of St. Isaac and Elder Paisios, at the moment)?  I'm legitimately asking a question, not asking a question just to say "AHA!" or something.

But Father, people with terminal diseases sometimes do get better, there is hope when one prays for them.  Also, such prayers might help them to spiritually prepare for death.  But, if the demons have no chance of ever repenting, then I don't understand the need to pray for them.  It would be as though God revealed to someone "John X is never entering paradise, he's going to Hell.  He will be there for all of eternity." and yet that man continued to pray for John X, what would be the point?

EDIT: I guess I'm just not sure what the point of praying, in order to obtain spiritual growth, a pray that you know cannot be answered with a yes, is?  I mean, why not exert your energy in a direction your prayer might impact?
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« Reply #125 on: February 04, 2012, 03:40:45 AM »

What did I say that implies this?

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?
Well, you talk about souls going from Hell to the presence of Christ, which would go against the idea that Hell is an experience of Christ's presence. I could be misinterpreting you here though.
Quote
The operative struggle at death is with the conscience:

Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing. (Mt 5:25-26)

This is a spiritual teaching (since the accused is assumed guilty).  Here, there is a path where man encounters an 'accuser' (we know to be demons) on his way to the 'judge' (his conscience) which will condemn him.  The officer is 'Hades' which will hold him until his conscience is clear.

So, what is the 'payment?'  We believe that at death, there are, in addition to the demons, the saints and angels who encourage the soul and remind it of the good that it did when the demons accuse.  Those who have done little good may have a more difficult time accepting the blessings of eternal rest with Christ because they are ashamed of their conduct.

To pay this debt, we the living can offer alms and prayers on behalf of the dead, asking them to pass into rest and to intercede with Christ for us when they arrive to be with Him.  This is a type of conscience-cleansing relationship between the living and the departed that is mutually beneficial and continues the life of the community far beyond the 'natural bounds.' 

This is seen here:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (He12:1-2)

These witnesses, 'martyrs' in the original text, not only bear the role of example, but actively participate in our struggle to attain the rest as the 'end of the race.'

I hope this is clear.
 


So how can they come to full repentant and reception of God if they lack the capacity to pray?
I think I get you here.
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« Reply #126 on: February 04, 2012, 05:32:15 AM »

So you reject a "River of Fire" concept of Hell?

May I chip in?

It is a case of three times bitten, four times shy.

1) I remember when I was a young man in the 1960s how enamoured many of us were with Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky's teaching "The Dogma of Redemption."   We saw it as the last and best explanation of how redemption took place.

We were fooled.  As the years went by more and more bishops told us that his work was heretical.  Ooops!

2) Then came Fr Seraphim Rose's "Life after Death" in the late 1970s and again many of us bowed down before him and said, yes! yes!  this is the teaching of the Fathers.   It wasn't.  We were fooled.

3) Then came Kalomiros and "The River of Fire" in 1980 and again we were exited and said:  This is wonderful, finally we can explain how the torments of hell are inflicted on mankind without attributing it to God and His justice.  Again, we were fooled.  While "The River of Fire" is a very attractive theologoumenon it is not Orthodox doctrine.

Now we have a succession of modern theologians still dealing with the theme of the afterlife, all of them putting together their clever pastiche of patristic quotes, as others have done before them in the last century.

Treat them very very carefully.  Treat them as hypotheses only.   As for this old man, he is going to stay with what he learnt years ago and he is not going to get enthusiastic over new theologians with theories which may claim to be patristic doctrine but which were not known to my generation.  Once bitten, twice shy!  Given my generation's disillusionment with Met Khrapovitsky, hieromonk Seraphim Rose and Kalomiros you will understand our cautious scepticism with these new writings.
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« Reply #127 on: February 04, 2012, 11:28:12 AM »

Where is Christ's presence not felt?  I did not say that.  In the afterlife this experience is more acute because there is no ignoring the truth of one's self and Christ.

Hades, however, is not 'hell' as we commonly express the term.  It is the condition of death through which all souls were once held captive, and now the righteous may pass through on their way to Christ.

The torment of experiencing Christ for the unwilling goes in in Hades, and so Hades becomes 'hell' for them that have nowhere else to go until the General Resurrection, thus they are the 'dead in Christ' mentioned by St. Paul.  They experience Christ, but in a 'dead' way rather than as the righteous experience Him in a living way.


Well, you talk about souls going from Hell to the presence of Christ, which would go against the idea that Hell is an experience of Christ's presence. I could be misinterpreting you here though.
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« Reply #128 on: February 04, 2012, 11:33:03 AM »

As an American, this concept sound ludicrous.  But, let me ask you this:

Why do people run on a treadmill that goes nowhere?

The monks encounter the demons frequently, and the advice of the Fathers has to do with how monks are to deal with demons.  Here, you will see a divergence of opinions, but all are designed to keep the monks from pathologically fearing the demons but rather use their assaults for spiritual development.

Just like martial arts, there are a number of ways on how to deal with an attacker.  The monks have different strategies.


But Father, people with terminal diseases sometimes do get better, there is hope when one prays for them.  Also, such prayers might help them to spiritually prepare for death.  But, if the demons have no chance of ever repenting, then I don't understand the need to pray for them.  It would be as though God revealed to someone "John X is never entering paradise, he's going to Hell.  He will be there for all of eternity." and yet that man continued to pray for John X, what would be the point?

EDIT: I guess I'm just not sure what the point of praying, in order to obtain spiritual growth, a pray that you know cannot be answered with a yes, is?  I mean, why not exert your energy in a direction your prayer might impact?
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« Reply #129 on: February 04, 2012, 11:39:22 AM »

While Fr. Ambrose cannot respond, I can say this regarding his important warning:

I've based my observation not upon universally-recognized teachings on the topic (there are none), but rather simple observations.  Here is a simple question: has a demon, or the devil for that matter, ever been depicted as doing anything good?

Are demons ever described in patristic literature as having compassion or even deliberating over their actions, whether to do good or evil?

No matter where you look, demons seek only evil and do so without deliberation.  Thus, their wills are different from ours.  They do not appear to deliberate.  One of the great mysteries is that the devil and his followers made this switch.  Christ speaks of an eternal preparation made for them.  Will they all go into it?  It would seem so, though perhaps there is a way that they can repent.

In the end, I don't know as much as God, and so I prostrate myself before Him and ask for His will to be done in all things.


Quote
Of course, the devil could be saved if he repented.  The problem is that he won't due to the nature of his decision and his nature itself.

But do we know this is the true story?  Who was there when God created the angelic powers and their natures?

Who has dogmatised that they were created with free will but only to be exercised once in their life?  When they used it to decide wrongly God removed it from them and decreed they can never exercise free will again and never repent?  Is this consistent with the way God has acted with us?

Did He not create Lucifer, the Angel of Light,  as the strongest and most beautiful of all the angels?  Did He not love him? Like the father of the prodigal son  His heart is sorrowing until Lucifer returns to His embrace.

I am always fearful of man-made beliefs and decisions which restrict God and in areas of which we have almost zero knowledge. 

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« Reply #130 on: February 04, 2012, 01:12:44 PM »

Father George contradicts this for the Greeks and Greek and Catholic teaching seem to be in accord that the soul, until it is reunited with its glorified body, is not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life...

How then does a Holy Soul in Purgatory make a decision to pray for people on earth when asked?

How do the Saints in Heaven make decisions and respond to our prayers  if they cannot exercise their will?  Is the Mother of God with her glorified body, and Elijah the Prophet with his body, the only people in Heaven able to exercise any will?

Any magisterial statements to back up these strange teachings?  Who has taught you that souls after death are "not able to will in any sense that we know it here in this life"?

All kinds of statements that are judged to be true.  It is a logical system of thought.  What you are getting here are the conclusions.  It would take a chapter to give you the whole thing and its history.

Apparently the Greeks "get it"...In fact the west "gets it" because of the Greeks.  I don't think the Slavs missed the memo quite as profoundly as you have.  In ANY event...it seems that there is an Orthodox teaching that you don't understand or that goes against your own personal logic.  That does not mean that it cannot possibly be Orthodox.  Father George is not talking out of thin air.

When I say that we will not be able to will IN ANY SENSE that we know it here in this life, I mean that when we will in this life, we will against concupiscence.  That is quite different from the action of the will in life of the soul after it leaves the corruptible corpus behind.

Saints in Heaven can will only toward the good.  If that were not the case they would not be saints in Heaven.  Father Gyrus seems to have a handle on the freedom of the will and slavery to sin.  Maybe you should ask him to talk about it here.  Also nothing that is not perfectly good can exist in heaven.  So there is not choice between good and evil in heaven.

People in hell would not be in hell had they not fully and firmly hardened their heart against the good.  So theirs is another story.

People in purgation need only to endure the purgation in life after death, a purgation they refused to endure, or had not the opportunity to endure in this life.

We baptize babies who cannot fully accept grace on the promise of adults to assist the child later in the full acceptance of their baptismal grace.  So why could then that not work the same way for a soul in purgation?

We don't presume that would indeed happen for a soul in hell...but we can hope.

When I listen to you in this particular discussion, I wonder at your peerless Catholic education.  Somewhere you missed something...that other Orthodox confessions not one received but initiated in terms of their theology, and we continued in that tradition in terms of understanding life after death in those terms.

M.
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« Reply #131 on: February 04, 2012, 01:46:43 PM »

ooooooooooops

Being on moderation keeps one from being able to edit.

I butchered Father Giryus's name and hit send before I corrected it.

Most apologetic member,

M.
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