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Author Topic: Evidence of neo-Protestantism in the Orthodox Study Bible  (Read 3299 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 05, 2012, 02:48:32 PM »

The question is very simple.  Is there evidence of neo-Protestant ideology in the Orthodox Study Bible or in the commentary for the Bible verses?

Oh.  The OSB is not the final authority on matters?  Sorry, don't think so.

Who said I made the OSB a final authority on matters?  The Editors of the OSB made a decision to clarify the notes and commentary which emphasizes the major themes of the Christian faith.  The notes give primary attention to:

1.  The Holy Trinity
2.  The Incarnation
3.  The Centrality of the Church
4.  The Virtues: God's call to His people to live righteous and holy lives in Christ

In fact, by citing from the OSB, Orthodox Christian beliefs are made accessible to others.

Page XII of the Orthodox Study Bible

No, neo-Protestant mumbo jumbo is foisted on Orthodox Christians.  Yes, I've read the OSB.  And I got rid of it.

I don't see anything neo-Protestant in the OSB.  What did you find lacking, other than neo-Protestantism, with the OSB?   Huh
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 06:29:40 PM »

I can't think of anything off the top of my head in the OSB. I have noticed a tendency in some Orthodox sources (possibly more on the internet than anywhere else, not really sure) to put more distance between Orthodoxy and Rome than what is really there in order to make Orthodoxy look more attractive to Protestants.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 07:51:40 PM »

I can't think of anything off the top of my head in the OSB. I have noticed a tendency in some Orthodox sources (possibly more on the internet than anywhere else, not really sure) to put more distance between Orthodoxy and Rome than what is really there in order to make Orthodoxy look more attractive to Protestants.

I see very, very little, if any mention of Roman Catholicism or anti-RC sentiment in the OSB.  The person who brought up neo-Protestantism hasn't bothered to substantiate it.

I've had the OSB since April 2008.  I've read it from cover to cover while reviewing the commentary.  No signs of neo-Protestantism.  No signs of anti-RCism.  I found a reference in the commentary on how we abort children rather than sacrificing them to the pagan God Moloch.  Regardless, I find the commentary very helpful....
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2012, 08:45:29 PM »

While I do not know the context of Punch's criticism, I have my own problems with it (you could call it 'neo-Protestantism' or modernist Orthodoxy). Some that come to mind :

Corinthians 6:19 commentary :

"Temple here refers to the individual Christian as a dwelling place of the Spirit"

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit". In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.

John 14:17 commentary :

"The Holy Spirit prayers in us and for us when we do not know how to pray"

It should be clarified, so as not to mislead, that this only refers to people who pray noetically.

John 17:20 commentary :

"Christians enjoy two kinds of unity; with God and with one another, the latter being rooted in the former."

While it could be possible (with the correct mindset) to interpret this in an accurate (and patristic) way, I believe this is very much an example of modernist Orthodoxy. The union with God that St. John the Theologian records here specifically details illumination and glorification. Once again, this only applies to people with noetic prayer (and those who have gone to further spiritual heights, seeing the Light). It is a symptom of modernism to see all baptized Orthodox Christians as praying in the Spirit and as being fully illumined vessels. Were this the case, we would all leave behind relics.

There are a few other commentaries that have irked me in the past, but overall its not bad. I would rather read the fathers, but if someone was going to use the commentary, he should read St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory the Theologian, and Fr. John Romanides to help pick out what's accurate and what falls short. Regardless of what one thinks about the commentary, it is nice to have an English translation of the Septuagint.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2012, 09:33:58 PM »

While I do not know the context of Punch's criticism, I have my own problems with it (you could call it 'neo-Protestantism' or modernist Orthodoxy). Some that come to mind :

Corinthians 6:19 commentary :

"Temple here refers to the individual Christian as a dwelling place of the Spirit"

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit". In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.
Sorry, we are not gnostics.  And that is very gnotic.

"The seal of the Holy Spirit." Yes, every baptized and chrismated Christian.

John 14:17 commentary :

"The Holy Spirit prayers in us and for us when we do not know how to pray"

It should be clarified, so as not to mislead, that this only refers to people who pray noetically.
Again, St. John was written to combat gnosticism.  Not promote it.

John 17:20 commentary :

"Christians enjoy two kinds of unity; with God and with one another, the latter being rooted in the former."

While it could be possible (with the correct mindset) to interpret this in an accurate (and patristic) way, I believe this is very much an example of modernist Orthodoxy. The union with God that St. John the Theologian records here specifically details illumination and glorification. Once again, this only applies to people with noetic prayer (and those who have gone to further spiritual heights, seeing the Light). It is a symptom of modernism to see all baptized Orthodox Christians as praying in the Spirit and as being fully illumined vessels. Were this the case, we would all leave behind relics.
We all do leave behind relics.  That's why we do not cremate.  Look at the service of burial.

There are a few other commentaries that have irked me in the past, but overall its not bad. I would rather read the fathers, but if someone was going to use the commentary, he should read St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory the Theologian, and Fr. John Romanides to help pick out what's accurate and what falls short. Regardless of what one thinks about the commentary, it is nice to have an English translation of the Septuagint.
Unfortunately, its not entirely a translation of the Septuagint, but definitely a step in the right direction.
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 09:36:10 PM »

The OSB is does show its orientation among former Protestants.  Given that we in English are surrounded by Protestantism, having some fire to fight fire is not a bad thing.
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 09:39:25 PM »

I agree with Isa on this.  Even if not explicitly gnostic, the limiting everything to those who have achieved noetic prayer argument, seems strikingly esoteric.

I would, of course, be interested to see support for your position though.

Much of the criticism towards the OSB (not speaking of yours, Ioannis) has been pretty overblown, in my opinion.  I'm not thrilled about the "love thy neighbor..." and "turn the other cheek..." bits, but I'm not sure I can blame that on neo-Protestantism.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2012, 10:25:29 PM »

Unfortunately, its not entirely a translation of the Septuagint, but definitely a step in the right direction.

A step in the right direction towards Huh Huh Huh Huh Huh

The Old Testament text presented in this volume does not claim to be a new or superior translation.  The goal was to produce a text to meet the Bible-reading needs of English speaking Orthodox Christians (Page XI of Orthodox Study Bible)

I think they were successful with the latter goal.  If one further refines the translation, we may wind up with The Message.   Undecided
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2012, 10:35:51 PM »

While I do not know the context of Punch's criticism, I have my own problems with it (you could call it 'neo-Protestantism' or modernist Orthodoxy). Some that come to mind :

Corinthians 6:19 commentary :

"Temple here refers to the individual Christian as a dwelling place of the Spirit"

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit". In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.

The commentators do not mention the requirement of noetic prayer.

John 14:17 commentary :

"The Holy Spirit prayers in us and for us when we do not know how to pray"

It should be clarified, so as not to mislead, that this only refers to people who pray noetically.

No mention from commentators about noetic prayer.

John 17:20 commentary :

"Christians enjoy two kinds of unity; with God and with one another, the latter being rooted in the former."

While it could be possible (with the correct mindset) to interpret this in an accurate (and patristic) way, I believe this is very much an example of modernist Orthodoxy. The union with God that St. John the Theologian records here specifically details illumination and glorification.

The commentators do not mention illumination and glorification as requirements as they analyze Christ's High Priestly Prayer in John 17.

Once again, this only applies to people with noetic prayer (and those who have gone to further spiritual heights, seeing the Light). It is a symptom of modernism to see all baptized Orthodox Christians as praying in the Spirit and as being fully illumined vessels. Were this the case, we would all leave behind relics.

What happens if an Orthodox Christian does not pray noetically?  Are they dead?

There are a few other commentaries that have irked me in the past, but overall its not bad. I would rather read the fathers, but if someone was going to use the commentary, he should read St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Gregory the Theologian, and Fr. John Romanides to help pick out what's accurate and what falls short. Regardless of what one thinks about the commentary, it is nice to have an English translation of the Septuagint.

Did any of these 3 prepare commentaries for both OT & NT?
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2012, 10:49:57 PM »

Unfortunately, its not entirely a translation of the Septuagint, but definitely a step in the right direction.

A step in the right direction towards Huh Huh Huh Huh Huh

The Old Testament text presented in this volume does not claim to be a new or superior translation.  The goal was to produce a text to meet the Bible-reading needs of English speaking Orthodox Christians (Page XI of Orthodox Study Bible)

I think they were successful with the latter goal.  If one further refines the translation, we may wind up with The Message.   Undecided

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2012, 10:58:52 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2012, 11:03:25 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Wasn't the 1611 KJV (which included the Apocrypha) a "good enough" translation? Why don't we all just get that?
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2012, 11:10:28 PM »

While I do not know the context of Punch's criticism, I have my own problems with it (you could call it 'neo-Protestantism' or modernist Orthodoxy). Some that come to mind :

I'm going to have to agree with Isa and SolEx01 in disagreeing with your post.

Quote
Corinthians 6:19 commentary :

"Temple here refers to the individual Christian as a dwelling place of the Spirit"

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit". In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.

This being a good example of why. Read the passage. Did the fathers teach that only those who have acheived perfect noetic prayer are to "flee sexual immorality" because they are the only ones who are temples of the Holy Spirit?
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2012, 11:12:41 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Wasn't the 1611 KJV (which included the Apocrypha) a "good enough" translation? Why don't we all just get that?

Is it expected for someone in the 21st Century to study the Bible in 17th Century English?  In most churches, some use Thy and thou; others use You and your, et al.
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2012, 11:15:38 PM »

It is very clear that having a translation of the Bible to study personally in a private setting in an intelligible language is extremely Protestant.
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2012, 11:18:44 PM »

While I do not know the context of Punch's criticism, I have my own problems with it (you could call it 'neo-Protestantism' or modernist Orthodoxy). Some that come to mind :

I'm going to have to agree with Isa and SolEx01 in disagreeing with your post.

Quote
Corinthians 6:19 commentary :

"Temple here refers to the individual Christian as a dwelling place of the Spirit"

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit". In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.

This being a good example of why. Read the passage. Did the fathers teach that only those who have acheived perfect noetic prayer are to "flee sexual immorality" because they are the only ones who are temples of the Holy Spirit?

Hmmmm...

St John Chrysostom says absolutely nothing about achieving noetic prayer in Homily XVIII. Indeed, he speaks as if he expects all his listeners to understand they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He must not have gotten the memo.
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2012, 11:21:07 PM »

It is very clear that having a translation of the Bible to study personally in a private setting in an intelligible language is extremely Protestant.

Nah.   laugh
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2012, 11:35:05 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Wasn't the 1611 KJV (which included the Apocrypha) a "good enough" translation? Why don't we all just get that?

Is it expected for someone in the 21st Century to study the Bible in 17th Century English?  In most churches, some use Thy and thou; others use You and your, et al.

Well, I think the 21st Century would be better off if most of us could get through 17th Century English (I hate reading footnoted literature from that period- I automatically look down to read footnotes when they are present, but almost always the foot-note is to explain some word that the reader should have been able to understand from the context), but that's a discussion for another thread.

Certainly the OSB is "good enough", but "good enough" doesn't mean that there is absolutely no need or use for a complete translation of the Septuagint. Especially given the nature of translation from one language into another, it wouldn't hurt and would do a lot of good to have more than one go-to translation available for the Orthodox Christian- for comparison purposes during study if nothing else.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2012, 12:09:31 AM »

Sorry, we are not gnostics.  And that is very gnotic. "The seal of the Holy Spirit." Yes, every baptized and chrismated Christian.
Receiving chrismation still does not make one a "temple". One can receive a partial form of such a grace, which is why the newly baptized are described as illumined, even though that illumination is not yet completed. St. Theoliptos writes :

"If you transcend the flow of temporal things and detach yourself from the desire for what is transient, you will not notice mundane objects or crave for the delectable things of the earth. On the contrary, supernatural visions will be disclosed to you and you will contemplate celestial beauty and the blessedness of unfading realities. To the person who hankers after material things and who steeps himself in sensual pleasure, the heavens are closed, since his spiritual eyes are shrouded; but he who scorns material things and repudiates them exalts his intellect and perceives the glory of eternal realities and the luminosity of the saints. Such a person is filled with divine love and becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit; he aspires to do God's will and is guided by the Spirit of God, being granted divine sonship, blessed by God and conforming to Him. 'For all who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons of God' (Rom 8:14)"

Emphasis mine.

Isa, do you know of any father who explicitly described all believers as "temples of the Holy Spirit"?


We all do leave behind relics.  That's why we do not cremate.  Look at the service of burial.
Then perhaps I should clarify. I mean, of course, to speak of holy relics (i.e. miracle working remains). St. John of Damascus understands "temples of the Holy Spirit" to be a reference to the saints, and thus this explains the miraculous nature of their remains :

"Further, that God dwelt even in their bodies in spiritual wise, the Apostle tells us, saying, Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?, and The Lord is that Spirit, and If any one destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy. Surely, then, we must ascribe honour to the living temples of God, the living tabernacles of God. These while they lived stood with confidence before God.

The Master Christ made the remains of the saints to be fountains of salvation to us, pouring forth manifold blessings and abounding in oil of sweet fragrance: and let no one disbelieve this... In the law every one who toucheth a dead body was considered impure, but these are not dead. For from the time when He that is Himself life and the Author of life was reckoned among the dead, we do not call those dead who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection and in faith on Him. For how could a dead body work miracles? How, therefore, are demons driven off by them, diseases dispelled, sick persons made well, the blind restored to sight, lepers purified, temptations and troubles overcome, and how does every good gift from the Father of lights come down through them to those who pray with sure faith?
"

If every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit, then why are all Orthodox remains not miraculous? The grace dwelling within would not so swiftly depart. Full illumination/noetic prayer is intrinsically connected with miraculous relics.

What happens if an Orthodox Christian does not pray noetically?  Are they dead?
Not necessarily. They (myself included) are simply of the idiotes as St. Paul says. They are untrained people - lacking spiritual discernment. They, I might add, must depend entirely on the guidance of the fathers and the illumined (one's spiritual father should be at least illumined).

Did any of these 3 prepare commentaries for both OT & NT?
Not that I have read, but if you want an accurate understanding of Orthodoxy, you need to first understand purification, illumination, and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context. Only with this understanding does anything really make sense. Those three writers should well establish someone in Orthodoxy and give him at least intellectual discernment (not to be confused with spiritual discernment).

This being a good example of why. Read the passage. Did the fathers teach that only those who have acheived perfect noetic prayer are to "flee sexual immorality" because they are the only ones who are temples of the Holy Spirit?
No, but you are reading something into the passage that is not there. Fleeing sexual immorality is not something exclusive to the fully illumined, but it is very important for them to remain praying noetically. It would be much like a bishop telling his priests to remain obedient. This does not imply that the laity are free to do whatever they please.

But the epistles and early church writings are typically directed at the fully illumined simply because almost everyone was fully illumined (and a large amount were glorified). This will not change until later centuries around the time of the Edict of Milan. The great movement of people coming into the Church will lead to large number of nominal Christians (incidentally, many of those sincerely seeking the prayer of the heart will flee to the desert).

St John Chrysostom says absolutely nothing about achieving noetic prayer in Homily XVIII. Indeed, he speaks as if he expects all his listeners to understand they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He must not have gotten the memo.
Where specifically does he say "all"? I think you are reading into St. John.

I insist, however, that this must be understood in the context of his time. Noetic prayer as the goal of all devout Orthodox was universally understood, so any listener would understand it in that framework (much like a hearer of St. Paul's epistle). Many things in the Church are this way - not being fully detailed and explained until later challenged. If you want to see the response to those later challenges, then I can only commend St. Symeon the New Theologian who will emphasize the importance of noetic prayer (and other such things).
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2012, 12:39:41 AM »

Did any of these 3 prepare commentaries for both OT & NT?
Not that I have read, but if you want an accurate understanding of Orthodoxy, you need to first understand purification, illumination, and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context. Only with this understanding does anything really make sense. Those three writers should well establish someone in Orthodoxy and give him at least intellectual discernment (not to be confused with spiritual discernment).

Does Neo-Protestantism require purification, illumination and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context?
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2012, 01:12:49 AM »

Isa, do you know of any father who explicitly described all believers as "temples of the Holy Spirit"?
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2012, 01:27:54 AM »

Receiving chrismation still does not make one a "temple". One can receive a partial form of such a grace, which is why the newly baptized are described as illumined, even though that illumination is not yet completed.

I don't understand the dichtomy here. Receiving christmation still does not make one a "saint" yet we're called as such by St. Paul. Why we are not temples of the Holy spirit by same logic?
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« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2012, 02:12:12 AM »

One can receive a partial form of such a grace,

Can you provide a Patristic source for speaking of a 'partial form of such a grace'? And how do you reconcile such language with the fact that Grace itself is fully Divine, the activity of the Holy Spirit. How does one get 10% of the Holy Spirit?

The hymnography of the Transfiguration speaks of how the Uncreated Light was revealed to the Apostles "as far as they could bear it" and again, "And Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it;" When we receive the Eucharist, whether we are a month-old babe or brand-new convert still wet from the baptismal fount or a holy elder who perpetually beholds the Uncreated Light, we do not receive a 'partial form' of Christ but each of us receives the fullness of His Divine Nature, and as the Eucharist is to the Incarnate Word, so the Holy Chrism is to the Spirit: "For as the Bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after the invocation, but the gift of Christ; and by the presence of His Godhead, it causes in us the Holy Ghost."

What you seem to be saying (and part of why so many people are reacting negatively to your words) is that the Divine Grace that exists in the sacraments is limited by our capabilities; that the Church's promises of illumination and the indwelling of the Spirit are dependent on our own accomplishments in the realm of noetic prayer. Which has it all backwards. Nothing except submission ever depends on us. God effects His Grace upon us regardless of our inability to be worthy of that Grace. But our ability to actually *perceive* the Glory of the Lord which indwells us through the sacraments and the reality of our new existence in union with Christ is limited by our ability to bear that Glory, and thus our ability to recognize our existence as temples of the Holy Spirit (to *know* in the Patristic sense of noetic knowledge) is limited by our progress on the path of the theosis (illumination, noetic prayer). The Church does not lie when it calls the newly baptized, 'newly illumined'. It is only our own incomplete submission which keeps any of us from perfect illumination and perception of the Uncreated Light from the moment God grants us union with Himself.
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« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2012, 02:17:09 AM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Really the Septuagints and their versions in English translation is overblown. While interesting to have them in better English versions. It ain't going to do much for nearly anyone in Christendom.



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« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2012, 02:18:51 AM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Wasn't the 1611 KJV (which included the Apocrypha) a "good enough" translation? Why don't we all just get that?

I am waiting for The Message version.
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« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2012, 02:40:51 AM »

John 17:20 commentary :

"Christians enjoy two kinds of unity; with God and with one another, the latter being rooted in the former."

While it could be possible (with the correct mindset) to interpret this in an accurate (and patristic) way, I believe this is very much an example of modernist Orthodoxy. The union with God that St. John the Theologian records here specifically details illumination and glorification. Once again, this only applies to people with noetic prayer (and those who have gone to further spiritual heights, seeing the Light). It is a symptom of modernism to see all baptized Orthodox Christians as praying in the Spirit and as being fully illumined vessels. Were this the case, we would all leave behind relics.

Eucharist transforms one into the Body of Christ, and by partaking of the Eucharist, you have the same Blood flowing through your veins as every other partaker of the Eucharist.  This is the reason, according to Fr. Chad Hatfield, that the early Christians referred to one another as brother and sister.  What do you think Eucharist does, exactly?  It is quite clear that it unites one to the Body of Christ, and in doing so unites all other partakers of the Eucharist.
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« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2012, 03:27:10 AM »

Did any of these 3 prepare commentaries for both OT & NT?
Not that I have read, but if you want an accurate understanding of Orthodoxy, you need to first understand purification, illumination, and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context. Only with this understanding does anything really make sense. Those three writers should well establish someone in Orthodoxy and give him at least intellectual discernment (not to be confused with spiritual discernment).

Does Neo-Protestantism require purification, illumination and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context?
No, it does not. That is the crux of neo-Protestantism/modernist Orthodoxy. Hesychasm is pushed aside in favor of moralism. At this point, Christological doctrines become esoteric metaphysical professions that some hold on to only for the sake of defending what they perceive as tradition. As far as I can tell, if one does not intend to learn noetic prayer, then it really doesn't matter if you believe Christ has one nature or fifty. The moralists miss the therapeutic aspect of our faith entirely. Theosis is not just becoming a better person. It is about illumining the nous and coming to a knowledge of Theology. It is about seeing the uncreated light.

Isa, do you know of any father who explicitly described all believers as "temples of the Holy Spirit"?
Baptismal Instructions, Issue 31 By Saint John Chrysostom
http://books.google.com/books?id=Ak7eX_8E1lkC&pg=PA232&lpg=PA232&dq=Chrysostom+Temple+Holy+Spirit&source=bl&ots=ZRLdTEP1ym&sig=dp4MKGVulB3DIX3m4ZG1yTQ85iE&hl=en#v=onepage&q=Chrysostom%20Temple%20Holy%20Spirit&f=false
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You are not only free, but also holy; not only holy, but also just; not only just, but also sons; not only sons, but also heirs; not only heirs, but also brothers of Christ; not only brothers of Christ, but also joint heirs; not only joint heirs, but also members; not only members, but also the temple; not only the temple, but also instruments of the Spirit

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I have a few thoughts on this passage of Chrysostom, but would first like to examine the full context. Would you happen to know off hand where I could find this in its entirety online (for free)?

I don't understand the dichtomy here. Receiving christmation still does not make one a "saint" yet we're called as such by St. Paul. Why we are not temples of the Holy spirit by same logic?
Because being a "temple of the Holy Spirit" is a distinct and fully realized state. That is, when you become one (i.e. pray noetically), you will know. You can feel the Spirit moving inside of you. Without effort on your part, He prayers for you and grants you clarity of mind. A "temple of the Holy Spirit" can perceive creation as God intended (rather than through the distorted lens of our fallen state).

Can you provide a Patristic source for speaking of a 'partial form of such a grace'? And how do you reconcile such language with the fact that Grace itself is fully Divine, the activity of the Holy Spirit. How does one get 10% of the Holy Spirit?
"Purify your vessels, so that you may receive more grace, for while remission of sins is given equally to everyone, communion in the Holy Spirit is only granted according to each person's faith. If you offer a small amount, you will receive a small amount; if you labor a great deal, your wages will be great."

- St. Cyril of Jerusalem (speaking to those preparing for baptism)

Grace is fully divine, but it can be received according to your zeal. Were I to have received the "fullness" of grace a baptism, I would have been caught up in a vision of the uncreated Light.

The hymnography of the Transfiguration speaks of how the Uncreated Light was revealed to the Apostles "as far as they could bear it" and again, "And Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it;" When we receive the Eucharist, whether we are a month-old babe or brand-new convert still wet from the baptismal fount or a holy elder who perpetually beholds the Uncreated Light, we do not receive a 'partial form' of Christ but each of us receives the fullness of His Divine Nature, and as the Eucharist is to the Incarnate Word, so the Holy Chrism is to the Spirit: "For as the Bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is mere bread no longer, but Body of Christ, so also this holy ointment is no more simple ointment, nor (so to say) common, after the invocation, but the gift of Christ; and by the presence of His Godhead, it causes in us the Holy Ghost."
There are different aspects to different sacraments. Take the passage I provided just above from St. Cyril. Clearly everyone receives the fullness of forgiveness of sins (at baptism). Likewise, one receives the fullness of Christ at Holy Communion. There are, however, aspects that depend on us. Zeal, devotion, humility, etc. all allow us to receive more (and benefit more) from the Holy Mysteries. Perhaps perceive is a better word that receive, but such are the short comings of human language.

What you seem to be saying (and part of why so many people are reacting negatively to your words) is that the Divine Grace that exists in the sacraments is limited by our capabilities; that the Church's promises of illumination and the indwelling of the Spirit are dependent on our own accomplishments in the realm of noetic prayer. Which has it all backwards. Nothing except submission ever depends on us. God effects His Grace upon us regardless of our inability to be worthy of that Grace. But our ability to actually *perceive* the Glory of the Lord which indwells us through the sacraments and the reality of our new existence in union with Christ is limited by our ability to bear that Glory, and thus our ability to recognize our existence as temples of the Holy Spirit (to *know* in the Patristic sense of noetic knowledge) is limited by our progress on the path of the theosis (illumination, noetic prayer). The Church does not lie when it calls the newly baptized, 'newly illumined'. It is only our own incomplete submission which keeps any of us from perfect illumination and perception of the Uncreated Light from the moment God grants us union with Himself.
No disagreement here. Your last sentence sums up my understanding. Every act we make (in pursuit of theosis) is just further submission to God. Obedience to one's spiritual father, fasting, etc. are simply steps in that ultimate submission to God (by which the passions are crushed).

Eucharist transforms one into the Body of Christ, and by partaking of the Eucharist, you have the same Blood flowing through your veins as every other partaker of the Eucharist.  This is the reason, according to Fr. Chad Hatfield, that the early Christians referred to one another as brother and sister.  What do you think Eucharist does, exactly?  It is quite clear that it unites one to the Body of Christ, and in doing so unites all other partakers of the Eucharist.
I agree, but that is not the context of John 17 which specifically talks about the mystical noetical union of the glorified (gloried individuals, for example, can communicate through nous alone). Christ does not use the masculine form of the word one (eis), but the neuter (en) which is indicative of the way in which the trinity is united in glory (energy) and essence, not persons. His prayer for them to become one (en) is for them to share in that one (en) glory (that is, for them to be glorified and become partakers of divine Light).



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« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 03:51:45 AM »

This is very unpatristic. Only people with noetic prayer can rightly be called "temples of the Holy Spirit".

"Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." -1 Corinthians 6

Any Christian who is sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Think back to our baptismal services.

Perhaps you are confusing "temple of the Holy Spirit" with the specific titles "God-Bearer" or "Spirit-Bearer".

In fact, we would be gravely mistaken to think that many of the things in St. Paul's epistles addressed every baptized Christian.
And we would be gravely mistaken to think that many other things in St. Paul's epistles do not.

Ioannis, NO FATHER taught that those sealed with the Spirit were not temples of the Holy Spirit.


"You are members of Christ,' says [Paul], 'you are a temple of the Spirit.' Become not then 'members of a harlot:' for it is not your body which is insulted; since it is not your body at all, but Christ's. And these things he spoke, both to make manifest His loving-kindness in that our body is His, and to withdraw us from all evil license. For if the body be another's, 'you have no authority,' says he, 'to insult another's body; and especially when it is the Lord's; nor yet to pollute a temple of the Spirit.' For if any one who invades a private house and makes his way revelling into it, must answer for it most severely; think what dreadful things he shall endure who makes a temple of the King a robber's lurking place." -St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Corinthians

St. John clearly sees St. Paul saying that the Corinthians ARE members of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit. THEREFORE they need to get their acts together. Their being temples of the Holy Spirit is a given that he is urging them not to defile. He's not talking to four hypothetical clairvoyant hesychasts hanging out as dendrites in some trees on Corinth.

Grace is fully divine, but it can be received according to your zeal. Were I to have received the "fullness" of grace a baptism, I would have been caught up in a vision of the uncreated Light.
I think you're confusing uncreated grace with your ability to perceive it.

Theosis is not just becoming a better person. It is about illumining the nous and coming to a knowledge of Theology. It is about seeing the uncreated light.
It's about a dead Jew hanging on a Cross.

Your version of the Uncreated Light is much too clean.
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« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2012, 04:24:37 AM »

That said, I don't like the OSB either.
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« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2012, 07:11:59 AM »

That said, I don't like the OSB either.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on why that is, maybe you have something new to add to the already existing criticism certain clergymen have against it.
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« Reply #30 on: May 06, 2012, 11:07:11 AM »

That said, I don't like the OSB either.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on why that is, maybe you have something new to add to the already existing criticism certain clergymen have against it.

For one, the prayers in the beginning of the book are incredibly awkward and unnecessarily wordy translations.
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« Reply #31 on: May 06, 2012, 06:19:12 PM »

I think the Orthodox Study Bible is very good for what it is: a missionary tool attempting to present Orthodoxy to American Protestants through a medium they're familiar and comfortable with.
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« Reply #32 on: May 06, 2012, 06:29:29 PM »

That said, I don't like the OSB either.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on why that is, maybe you have something new to add to the already existing criticism certain clergymen have against it.

For one, the prayers in the beginning of the book are incredibly awkward and unnecessarily wordy translations.

Beginning of the book? We must have different editions.
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« Reply #33 on: May 06, 2012, 10:10:26 PM »

Did any of these 3 prepare commentaries for both OT & NT?
Not that I have read, but if you want an accurate understanding of Orthodoxy, you need to first understand purification, illumination, and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context. Only with this understanding does anything really make sense. Those three writers should well establish someone in Orthodoxy and give him at least intellectual discernment (not to be confused with spiritual discernment).

Does Neo-Protestantism require purification, illumination and glorification in their appropriate hesychastic context?
No, it does not. That is the crux of neo-Protestantism/modernist Orthodoxy. Hesychasm is pushed aside in favor of moralism.

Is moralism included in Neo-Protestantism?  Does one have to be a hesychaist to be an Orthodox Christian?

At this point, Christological doctrines become esoteric metaphysical professions that some hold on to only for the sake of defending what they perceive as tradition. As far as I can tell, if one does not intend to learn noetic prayer, then it really doesn't matter if you believe Christ has one nature or fifty.

Where did you discern that noetic prayer was required to properly understand the natures (divine and human) of Christ?

The moralists miss the therapeutic aspect of our faith entirely. Theosis is not just becoming a better person. It is about illumining the nous and coming to a knowledge of Theology. It is about seeing the uncreated light.

It doesn't seem like your faith and the Orthodox faith are one in the same.
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« Reply #34 on: May 06, 2012, 10:12:37 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Really the Septuagints and their versions in English translation is overblown. While interesting to have them in better English versions. It ain't going to do much for nearly anyone in Christendom.

Overblown?  What would you like to see in an English translation of the Septuagint?

Is there an English translation of the Septuagint that is not overblown?
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« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 12:13:33 AM »

That said, I don't like the OSB either.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on why that is, maybe you have something new to add to the already existing criticism certain clergymen have against it.

For one, the prayers in the beginning of the book are incredibly awkward and unnecessarily wordy translations.

Beginning of the book? We must have different editions.
I only have the NT.
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« Reply #36 on: May 07, 2012, 12:13:47 AM »

Grace is fully divine, but it can be received according to your zeal. Were I to have received the "fullness" of grace a baptism, I would have been caught up in a vision of the uncreated Light.

sigh.
Ionnis, someday you will meet a teacher and spiritual father whose illumination you recognize (as opposed to those you have already met but failed to recognize because you don't actually understand what you are looking for--and assuming that the prelest inherent in going about teaching definitively what your own sig admits you do not yet understand does not prevent you from ever recognizing it when you see it). And when you do, you will be surprised at the extent to which you have mistaken the map for the route (much less the route for the destination). There is a reason St. Symeon is normally not recommended to neophytes. He must be read through the lens of a deep experience of the full life of the Church, and not the other way around as you insist on doing. The Gospel is not and has never been noetic prayer or even the Uncreated Light. The Gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Noetic prayer, like the Holy Mysteries and good works and the creedal definitions of Ecumenical councils, are tools and sign posts along the way--but none of them taken by themselves is the Way.

With Chrismation, you received the Holy Spirit. You received God Himself. That is repeated everytime you receive the Eucharist. If you have not perceived the full reality of that illumination, it is not because you have yet to learn the secret of noetic prayer. It is because you yourself are closing your eyes to the Glory God offers you over and over and over again.
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« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2012, 02:56:16 AM »

I shall step out of this conversation for the time being. I have final exams this week, so I must divert my attention elsewhere. I would also like a chance to read the source provided by Isa. Rest assured, I will try my best to answer all your questions in detail and to your satisfaction when I return (I will also begin a new thread). Before my temporary leave, I will point out that I am not an innovator by any means. Everything I have said can (for the most part) be found in the writings of Fr. John Romanides, a professor of dogmatic theology at Holy Cross in Brookline and later at Thessaloniki. He insists the necessity of a hesychast revival in the Church, so disagreeing with him is one thing, but accusations of gnosticism are very much off base. To answer your question SolEX01, it was Fr. John who first brought these issues to my attention. Everything I have read in the fathers (especially the Philokalia confirms this).

Until then my brothers.
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« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2012, 03:06:29 AM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Really the Septuagints and their versions in English translation is overblown. While interesting to have them in better English versions. It ain't going to do much for nearly anyone in Christendom.

Overblown?  What would you like to see in an English translation of the Septuagint?

Is there an English translation of the Septuagint that is not overblown?

Dropped a word(s).

I am saying the SeptuagintS (there is no Septuagint) don't matter. Their importance in English translation is almost nil for 99% of us.
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« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2012, 05:30:59 AM »

I am saying the SeptuagintS (there is no Septuagint) don't matter. Their importance in English translation is almost nil for 99% of us.

Partly because many English translations of the Hebrew OT have retained those LXX and Vulgate readings that do matter to 99% of us.
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« Reply #40 on: May 06, 2013, 03:00:49 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Really the Septuagints and their versions in English translation is overblown. While interesting to have them in better English versions. It ain't going to do much for nearly anyone in Christendom.

Overblown?  What would you like to see in an English translation of the Septuagint?

Is there an English translation of the Septuagint that is not overblown?

Dropped a word(s).

I am saying the SeptuagintS (there is no Septuagint) don't matter. Their importance in English translation is almost nil for 99% of us.

There is not one Hebrew Old Testament or one Greek New Testament either. So, who cares?
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« Reply #41 on: May 06, 2013, 03:11:28 PM »

I think what Isa means is that it is unfortunate that the OT itself is not translated entirely FROM the Septuagint, as opposed to what it is, a translation from the Septuagint in those areas where it differs greatly from the Masoretic. The fact that it does adhere to the Septuagint where the texts differ is a step in the right direction, the right direction being an entire translation of the Septuagint into the English language- not a further refined or superior translation (whatever that means) of the OT.

So we are waiting for a Holy Synod of an Orthodox Church on American soil to translate the Greek Septuagint to English?  Isn't the OT in the OSB a "good enough" English translation of the Septuagint?

Really the Septuagints and their versions in English translation is overblown. While interesting to have them in better English versions. It ain't going to do much for nearly anyone in Christendom.

Overblown?  What would you like to see in an English translation of the Septuagint?

Is there an English translation of the Septuagint that is not overblown?

Dropped a word(s).

I am saying the SeptuagintS (there is no Septuagint) don't matter. Their importance in English translation is almost nil for 99% of us.

There is not one Hebrew Old Testament or one Greek New Testament either. So, who cares?

Well, which version of the Septuagint should translations be based upon?
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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2013, 04:19:23 PM »

It is very clear that having a translation of the Bible to study personally in a private setting in an intelligible language is extremely Protestant.
Proof that the Protestants do get something right every once in a while. Then again, even a broken analog clock is right twice a day.
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« Reply #43 on: May 06, 2013, 04:49:42 PM »

The OSB is does show its orientation among former Protestants.  Given that we in English are surrounded by Protestantism, having some fire to fight fire is not a bad thing.

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« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2013, 04:51:06 PM »

Grace is fully divine, but it can be received according to your zeal. Were I to have received the "fullness" of grace a baptism, I would have been caught up in a vision of the uncreated Light.

sigh.
Ionnis, someday you will meet a teacher and spiritual father whose illumination you recognize (as opposed to those you have already met but failed to recognize because you don't actually understand what you are looking for--and assuming that the prelest inherent in going about teaching definitively what your own sig admits you do not yet understand does not prevent you from ever recognizing it when you see it). And when you do, you will be surprised at the extent to which you have mistaken the map for the route (much less the route for the destination). There is a reason St. Symeon is normally not recommended to neophytes. He must be read through the lens of a deep experience of the full life of the Church, and not the other way around as you insist on doing. The Gospel is not and has never been noetic prayer or even the Uncreated Light. The Gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Noetic prayer, like the Holy Mysteries and good works and the creedal definitions of Ecumenical councils, are tools and sign posts along the way--but none of them taken by themselves is the Way.

With Chrismation, you received the Holy Spirit. You received God Himself. That is repeated everytime you receive the Eucharist. If you have not perceived the full reality of that illumination, it is not because you have yet to learn the secret of noetic prayer. It is because you yourself are closing your eyes to the Glory God offers you over and over and over again.

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