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Author Topic: Grace  (Read 954 times) Average Rating: 0
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Hesychios
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« on: April 21, 2005, 02:58:42 PM »

Greetings to all,

I am trying to determine the relationship between Divine Light, Uncreated Energies and Grace. Are they interchangeable terms? related at all? distinct?

Is there a definition of Grace that might be a standard acceptable Orthodox term? Can anyone recommend some reading of the Fathers or elsewhere that treats the subject?

I am trying to understand the concept of Grace from an Orthodox perspective. I think that I might understand it in the Western sense, Catholic and Protestant. I just do not want to assume anything.

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Michael
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2005, 09:26:47 AM »

Since no one else has jumped in, I'll take a stab at it (though I'm still an "inquirer" myself)

As far as I can tell "Grace" has to do with man's participation in God's Uncreated Energies. That way one has a real participation in God's nature and theosis is possible. The western (scholastic) idea is that grace is created, so God and man remain external to each other thus not allowing for true theosis.

I guess you are probably familiar with the Essence-Energy distinction in God. The former refers to His transcedence, which one can never know, and the latter refers to His imminence in the created world, allowing His creatures to experience and know God (as far as creatures can do so). (At least this is what I gathered from reading The Orthodox Way).

Regarding the "divine light", if I'm not mistaken this refers to the uncreated light seen at the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor and which is a foretaste(?) of theosis which has been experienced by some Orthodox saints in history. It is a manifestation of God's uncreated Energies, as argued by Gregory Palamas, and not a created phenomenon that certain Westerners (the names escape me) claimed it was.

I hope this helps. (And I apologize to the Orthodox here if my explanation is completely off the mark)
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2005, 11:42:27 AM »

Greetings to all,

I am trying to determine the relationship between Divine Light, Uncreated Energies and Grace. Are they interchangeable terms? related at all? distinct?

Is there a definition of Grace that might be a standard acceptable Orthodox term? Can anyone recommend some reading of the Fathers or elsewhere that treats the subject?

I am trying to understand the concept of Grace from an Orthodox perspective. I think that I might understand it in the Western sense, Catholic and Protestant. I just do not want to assume anything.

+T+
Michael

Dear Hesychios,

you may find usefull this Web site . It's about the experience of Grace in the Church through Eucharist (Holy Communion) according to St. Maximos the Confessor.

Here follows a small sample:

...When the soul, by the grace of the Holy Spirit and by its own diligence and eagerness, has been able to bring together these five unions, that is to say, when it has succeeded in uniting reason with the nous, prudence with wisdom, action with vision, virtue with knowledge and faith with enduring knowledge, without there being too little or too much of one against the other, then even the soul itself "will be united with the true and good and one and only God". Then the soul will be united with God and become by participation what God is in essence.

St. Maximos attaches great importance to this unity of the pairs, but also to the movement of the nous and reason towards the truth and the good correspondingly. There is no immobility in the spiritual life. Through the struggle which the Christian makes - strengthened, of course, by divine grace - he acquires a blessed nous, prudent wisdom, vision in action, virtuous knowledge and enduring knowledge, which is very faithful and unchangeable.

In any case, energy is also a manifestation. The manifestation of the nous is the logos, as cause, as effect of the cause. A manifestation of wisdom is prudence, of vision is action, of knowledge is virtue, of enduring knowledge is faith. From these things is created the inner relationship with truth and the good, which is God. This relationship is called divine science (that is to say perfect, sure knowledge), love and peace, and in and through them deification exists and takes place. It is called science because it offers to man, as far as possible, knowledge about God and things divine, "and a perfect embrace of the virtues". It is called knowledge, because it lays hold of the truth and offers a lasting experience of the divine. It is called love, because it shares in the full happiness of God. It is called peace, because it prepares those who are deemed worthy of this state to share in the things of God....
« Last Edit: April 22, 2005, 11:46:41 AM by lpap » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2005, 05:51:11 PM »

Thanks for the great responses!

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Michael
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2005, 03:10:45 AM »


Dear Hesychios ,

SOCRATES (ancient Greek philosopher), in Xenophon, Memorabilia, 1.6.14, 5-9 said:

“I teach them all the good I can, and recommend them to others from whom I think they will get some moral benefit. And the treasures that the wise men of old have left us in their writings I open and explore with my friends. If we come on any good thing, we extract it, and we set much store on being useful to one another.”


-------------------------------------------------------

You may find much in these links:

Uncreated and Created, Unbegotten and Begotten in the Theology of Athanasius of Alexandria
Maximos Confessor on the Infinity Of Man
On Pentecost, by GREGORY the Theologian
Partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4)
On the Holy Lights, by GREGORY the Theologian
The Teaching of Gregory Palamas on Man
The Holy Trinity and the Parousia of the Holy Spirit According to St. John Chrysostom
A brief presentation of the main points of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of contemporary people in the East
Seeing the light (Quotations from Symeon the New Theologian)
ORATION XXXVIII -- ON THE THEOPHANY, OR BIRTHDAY OF CHRIST
GRACE, KINGDOM, AND GLORY OF GOD
« Last Edit: April 23, 2005, 03:23:29 AM by lpap » Logged

Life is to live the life of others.
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