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Question: What are the Eastern Orthodox Churches views on the of the work of Saint Thomas Aquinas?
Don't like his work - 8 (30.8%)
Don't like his work - 18 (69.2%)
Total Voters: 26

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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2006, 08:35:23 PM »

Who said anything about science?
I don't need to know everything, but I do need to know some things, for these I need to use reason.
When you adopt an Orthodox mind-set you don't throw reason out the door. But you don't believe that a man can reason his way to knowledge of the Divine (and only by scholastic speculation).

This is what's lead to the break-up of Western Christianity. From the point that one man believed he could 'reason' for himself (Martin Luther) apart from the teachings of the Catholic Church. All men are gifted by reason. Humanism emerged.
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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2006, 11:03:22 PM »

What is wrong with Catholics posting on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board?
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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2006, 11:07:31 PM »

What is wrong with Catholics posting on the Orthodox-Catholic discussion board?
Nothing. What's wrong is a Catholic starting up a post about "Tell us how wonderful this Catholic thinker is" and then other Catholics entering to talk about all the great things he's done.

But still, you've not noticed that I've continued dialogue?
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« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2006, 01:03:06 AM »

I don't see anything wrong with this thread. It sounded like a genuine attempt at civil discussion on a topic that hasn't been discussed on this message board. I enjoy this site, which is why I'm still here after 3 or 4 years, but it's nice to have some new topics to discuss every once in a while.
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« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2006, 01:26:21 AM »

I don't see anything wrong with this thread. It sounded like a genuine attempt at civil discussion on a topic that hasn't been discussed on this message board. I enjoy this site, which is why I'm still here after 3 or 4 years, but it's nice to have some new topics to discuss every once in a while.
I'm still discussing with the Catholics here. Orthodox aren't that willing to enter this thread to discuss the problems with scholasticism, though there are a few
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« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2006, 09:15:59 AM »

As an ex-Protestant inquirer into Orthodoxy, I've never been able to see what all the fuss is about with Aquinas.  Did he get some things wrong? Sure--but so did just about every individual father in the East.  I still see much useful in Aquinas particularly in apologetics, and I appreciate Romuald's balanced thoughts on the matter.  IMO, I think there is room in a truly Catholic Orthodoxy for Aquinas and Palamas.  (But I'm not yet Orthodox, so what do I know...)
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« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2006, 09:21:24 AM »

As an ex-Protestant inquirer into Orthodoxy, I've never been able to see what all the fuss is about with Aquinas.  Did he get some things wrong? Sure--but so did just about every individual father in the East.  I still see much useful in Aquinas particularly in apologetics, and I appreciate Romuald's balanced thoughts on the matter.  IMO, I think there is room in a truly Catholic Orthodoxy for Aquinas and Palamas.  (But I'm not yet Orthodox, so what do I know...)
It's not just that he got things wrong, his approach was wrong; scholasticism.
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« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2006, 11:52:53 AM »

Quote
his approach was wrong; scholasticism

Could you be more specific? What element is just plain wrong? Is it the question-answer format? Penetrating reason? Theological synthesis into a textbook? Subtle distinctions? Use of a pagan philosopher? Or is Aristotle wrong? Please mention which one. If it is none of these in particular but the combined weight, then St Thomas' approach is not "wrong" per se, because no element constitutes a wrong approach. Though I would agree that the combined weight of these elements creates a tedious academic textbook, rather than a catechesis into the sacred mysteries, and as such, it is irrelevant to those who are not "of the schools" (scholastics). We must keep his purpose in mind. Those questions that we see in the Summa are what students would ask him; then Thomas would respond with an "On the contrary" and "I answer that" and "Replies to objections." We must keep his work in the context of the medieval university, where all these questions have been posed, and St Thomas is attempting to offer the right answers. This was not some independent project; if it is viewed as such then it will seem offbeat.

Let us recall the scholasticism that dominated the Russian church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lol, some of those Russian theologians went further than St Thomas and, with the help of elaborate philosophical exercises, developed an enormous tradition of their own. One thing I recall off hand is that some of them, with the ideas of "form" and "matter" etc of a sacrament, said that in the sacrament of marriage, the priest dispenses grace to the two people, and thus the priest himself ratifies the marriage. This is HIGH sacramentalism. In the Roman scholastic tradition, the "sacrament" of marriage takes place between the two people, the priest is a mere witness to it, and he is not needed for the marriage to be valid. This is just an example. Of course the Russians have repented of their scholasticism of late. But it was almost as powerful in the Orthodox church as it was in the Catholic.

Most of our theologians might merit to be thrown out the window. But St Paul tells us to "hold on to the good." St Thomas was one person who stood out above the rest. So we keep him as a witness to our tradition, the expression of which varies from age to age, from place to place, whether among peasants who are satisfied with the Jesus Prayer, or among great intellectuals of the schools who want to grapple with Aristotle.

Grace and Peace,

PaulRomuald



« Last Edit: April 10, 2006, 11:55:55 AM by romuald » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2006, 03:45:02 PM »

This is an interesting thread.

I was wondering if maybe some people can share quotes from both St. Thomas and St. Gregory on harmonizing both Thomism and Palamism.

God bless.

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« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2006, 10:14:52 PM »

Could you be more specific? What element is just plain wrong?
Not that I've mentioned this already.

For anyone ELSE who's interested there's a cool link at
The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions
by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/hierotheos_difference.aspx
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« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2006, 10:16:00 PM »

Let us recall the scholasticism that dominated the Russian church in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Lol, some of those Russian theologians went further than St Thomas and, with the help of elaborate philosophical exercises, developed an enormous tradition of their own. One thing I recall off hand is that some of them, with the ideas of "form" and "matter" etc of a sacrament, said that in the sacrament of marriage, the priest dispenses grace to the two people, and thus the priest himself ratifies the marriage. This is HIGH sacramentalism. In the Roman scholastic tradition, the "sacrament" of marriage takes place between the two people, the priest is a mere witness to it, and he is not needed for the marriage to be valid. This is just an example. Of course the Russians have repented of their scholasticism of late. But it was almost as powerful in the Orthodox church as it was in the Catholic.
So you're arguing Russians used the same method and also ended up mistaken?  Huh
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« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2006, 10:26:54 PM »

Quote
So you're arguing Russians used the same method and also ended up mistaken?


Yes. The Russians were scholastics like the Romans. Both ended up in error. St Thomas was the more levelheaded. He was a man of astounding spiritual intuition, theological depth, and philosophical insight, and so he is praised for being a guide in the chaos of the schools. Again I say chaos.

Peace
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« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2006, 11:10:55 PM »



Yes. The Russians were scholastics like the Romans. Both ended up in error. St Thomas was the more levelheaded. He was a man of astounding spiritual intuition, theological depth, and philosophical insight, and so he is praised for being a guide in the chaos of the schools. Again I say chaos.

Peace
Cool. Shows the problems one can have with scholasticism. One can start at any point and reason one's way away from the traditions of the Church.
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« Reply #58 on: April 11, 2006, 12:20:50 AM »

Quote
This is what's lead to the break-up of Western Christianity. From the point that one man believed he could 'reason' for himself (Martin Luther) apart from the teachings of the Catholic Church. All men are gifted by reason. Humanism emerged.

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.
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« Reply #59 on: April 11, 2006, 01:24:06 AM »

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.
Christianity has indeed always had heresies. However it was only when they're put on a stable intellectual basis that they've flourished. Thus although many people protested against Catholic abuses prior to Luther it was only when Luther invented a whole new path to salvation that Protestantism took off. Thus although it preceeded him, it was only Luther's approach that gave it impetus.

Likewise scholasticism lead people into a framework of thinking that could also be sustatined.

Consult "Dancing Alone: The Quest for Orthodox Faith in the Age of False Religion" by Frank Schaeffer
which deals with this 'development' from an Orthodox perspective, or "Christianity on Trial: Arguements against Anti-Religious Bigotry" by Carroll, V & Shiflett D where-in the authors actually support proudly the 'development' of the modern world by progressive Christian thinkers.
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« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2006, 01:29:02 AM »

I should add that I am not trying to lay ALL the blame for this on scholasticism, or Thomas Aquinas; the move away from the Orthodox approach goes back further to Augustine, and has had many other champions.
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« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2006, 07:46:57 AM »

Quote
However it was only when they're put on a stable intellectual basis that they've flourished.

And you think that scholasticism provided a stable intellectual basis while early Christianity did not? Please, please, do not cut your other leg out from under yourself, there is no need to be so hasty! Smiley
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« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2006, 07:57:37 AM »

And you think that scholasticism provided a stable intellectual basis while early Christianity did not? Please, please, do not cut your other leg out from under yourself, there is no need to be so hasty!
That's not what I said at all. I said that there were many errors prior to scholasticism - as did you, many heresies. I said that scholasticism put this on an acceptable intellectual basis, even using Luther as a parallel, where-by he put another heresey on an acceptable intellectual basis - for the idea of salvation.

And so you don't get confused when I say 'acceptable' that does not mean that I think that it is 'acceptable', but I recognise that others do, hence it thrived.

But thanks for the attempt at straw-man.
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« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2006, 08:33:53 AM »

I'm afraid that this is purely anachronistic bunk. Ever read Against All Heresies by St. Ireneaus? How about a report on what documents were found near Nag Hammadi? Christianity was just as factured in the 2nd century Near East as it was in the 17th century Europe, if not more so. Even in the New Testament period it is clear that there are lots of splinter groups and factions.

Oh, and this ties in nicely with our discussions about evolution...
Thomas Aquinas himself does not teach, but other Medieval scholastics (William of Auxerre, Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure) did teach, the very foundation of present-day "Christian evolutionary" views of man's creation:

Man was not created in grace, but grace was bestowed on him subsequently, before sin. (See Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, 95 1)
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/evolution_frseraphim_kalomiros.aspx

Before you cry you've found a Church Father who champions evolution please note that I don't consider Aquina a "Church Father" as he's not Orthodox
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« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2006, 09:17:51 AM »

I've never quite understood the Eastern animus against Thomism. Whenever it comes down to particulars, I see Orthodox arguing for Thomistic conclusions.
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« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2006, 11:04:47 AM »

I don't think it has anything to do with evolution.  The West was actually very much against evolution, much more than we in the East were acquainted with.

In addition, that quote by St. Thomas seems to have a similar ring to the language of St. Athanasius.

God bless.

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« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2006, 09:28:48 PM »

I've never quite understood the Eastern animus against Thomism.
Probably because he uses scholasticism
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« Reply #67 on: April 12, 2006, 06:44:13 AM »

Probably because he uses scholasticism

And so do they, apparently. They are just more informal about it. Take the various trans-/cons- discussions we've had here over the years. Inevitably whoever argues for the "Orthodox" side ends up recapitulating Thomist transsubstantiation.
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« Reply #68 on: April 12, 2006, 06:51:32 AM »

And so do they, apparently. They are just more informal about it. Take the various trans-/cons- discussions we've had here over the years. Inevitably whoever argues for the "Orthodox" side ends up recapitulating Thomist transsubstantiation.

Thomist transsubstantiation? What's this mean to you?
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« Reply #69 on: April 12, 2006, 05:38:44 PM »

You will find some of the Eastern thought in the West and some of the Western thought in the East...don't get too analytical...

PAX
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« Reply #70 on: April 12, 2006, 10:00:54 PM »

In nomine Ieus I offer all you Peace,

Although I am not particularly deeply learned of St. Aquinas, I have heard that he quotes many Church Fathers who were also mystics in his works. Does anyone also believe that we tend to characterize St. Aquinas a bit more narrowly than perhaps you truly merited?

Just curious.
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« Reply #71 on: April 12, 2006, 10:43:04 PM »

Personally, I must say that romuald's posts have been some of the most refreshing and informative I have read on these boards in a long time.

He is forthright, succinct, non-defensive, polite and knowledgeable.

IMHO OC.net has been becoming too shrill of late.

Thanks for sharing with us.

Personally, I con't care, romuald, if you are RC or Protestant, OC.net readers and posters can benefit from more posters of your ilk.

thanks again!
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« Reply #72 on: April 12, 2006, 11:00:21 PM »

Whoa!

romuald, everything I said above still stands regarding this thread, but you lost me a little bit on the Assisi thread you started.

That sounds like something from "Sword of the Lord" ( a fundamentalist publication which would view the pope, any pope, past current or future as the antichrist)
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« Reply #73 on: April 12, 2006, 11:04:46 PM »

Although I am not particularly deeply learned of St. Aquinas, I have heard that he quotes many Church Fathers who were also mystics in his works. Does anyone also believe that we tend to characterize St. Aquinas a bit more narrowly than perhaps you truly merited?
It's enough for me to know that his methods were outside the norm for the Church that Jesus established.
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« Reply #74 on: April 13, 2006, 12:10:15 AM »

 
It's enough for me to know that his methods were outside the norm for the Church that Jesus established.

In nomine Ieus I offer you continued Peace,

Truly you are a person of very narrowly defined convictions, almost ‘white-knuckled’ in your lack of distinction and self identity. Truly either you are an orthodox saint or you are billboard advertising the newest thing which has been pasted onto your empty canvas. I pray that you are the former and that you pray for each of us who lack the smooth finish of such a complete conversion into the doctrines of Christ's Church.


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« Reply #75 on: April 13, 2006, 12:18:36 AM »


Truly you are a person of very narrowly defined convictions, almost ‘white-knuckled’ in your lack of distinction and self identity. Truly either you are an orthodox saint or you are billboard advertising the newest thing which has been pasted onto your empty canvas. I pray that you are the former and that you pray for each of us who lack the smooth finish of such a complete conversion into the doctrines of Christ's Church.

You mean that I accept the Church Jesus established and reject the teachings of heterodox churches, then I am guilty of that. All forms of spirtuality outside His church are suspect.
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« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2006, 02:13:02 AM »

I like a lot his "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas", which is even sung sometimes in my home parish curch, as a Communion hymn.
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« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2006, 01:55:07 PM »

Some people like to fit/confine thoughts of others inside their "box"... there clear differences between the East and the West... I try my best not to do this when reading/studying writings etc that originate from the East.

I do not want to modify their perspective...

PAX
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« Reply #78 on: May 10, 2006, 05:01:03 AM »

The Holy Fathers teach that natural and metaphysical categories do not exist but speak rather of the created and uncreated.

Can you please help me to understand the difference betwee natural and created...metaphysical and uncreated?
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« Reply #79 on: May 10, 2006, 10:27:31 AM »

You mean that I accept the Church Jesus established and reject the teachings of heterodox churches, then I am guilty of that. All forms of spirtuality outside His church are suspect.

From my beginning reading of The Path To Salvation by St. Theophan the Recluse I get the impression that 'all' paths are suspect even walking the Path of Orthodoxy.

"Whoever enters on the true path of pleasing God, or who begins with the aid of grace to strive toward God on the path of Christ's Law, will inevitably be threatened by the danger of losing his way at the crossroads, of going astray and perishing, imagining himself saved. These crossroads are unavoidable because of the sinful inclinations and disorder of one's faculties which are capable of persenting things in a false light - to deceive the destroy a man. To this is joined the flattery of satan, who is reluctant to be separated from his victims and, when someone from his domain goes to the light of Christ, pursues him and sets every manner of net in order to catch him again - and quite often he indeed catches him." - pg. 22 The Path To Salvation

Salve!
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« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2006, 12:08:48 PM »

Can you please help me to understand the difference betwee natural and created...metaphysical and uncreated?

How about if I rephrase what he said (I hope I'm not saying misinterpreting anyone):  "The Holy Fathers talk about the created and the uncreated.  They do NOT talk about the natural and metaphysical."  The point is probably that talking about natural and metaphysical introduces terminology that is either overly logical and potentially flat out wrong or even heretical (unnessarily or even dangerously speculative).  This is I think the same argument many Church Fathers have with St. Augustine's view on Orginial Sin - it is overly logical and leads to dangerous conclusions - ones that have in fact been carried into false conclusions by others later on even if unintended by Augustine.  It involves trying to take the "mystery" out of the Myteries (Sacraments)/Theology/God - something that is incomprehensible to our mortal minds and distracts us from the goal of theosis.
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« Reply #81 on: May 10, 2006, 03:10:25 PM »

How about if I rephrase what he said (I hope I'm not saying misinterpreting anyone):  "The Holy Fathers talk about the created and the uncreated.  They do NOT talk about the natural and metaphysical."  The point is probably that talking about natural and metaphysical introduces terminology that is either overly logical and potentially flat out wrong ...

Personally I very much like created and uncreated,  it seems more definitive and eleminates some terms
that sound worldly and New Age.   But for the sake of communication and understanding one another in Christ,  I would try to clarify that we might be discussing the very same dynamics, with perhaps a very slight difference so that we could proceed on common ground.

Created and uncreated is very beautiful, I think this beauty will speak to the heart of any soul who is looking for truth, and being drawn to Orthodoxy,  where accusing them of being heretics would push them away. 

I always experience God's movement in my heart through His Love.

This I recognize as the Voice of the Shepherd.
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« Reply #82 on: May 23, 2006, 01:42:11 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.
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« Reply #83 on: May 24, 2006, 04:04:00 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.

In nomine Iesu I offer you peace my Latin Brother qfnol31,

Although I am too much of a critic of Western Rationalism I can appreciate St. Thomas Aquinas' attempt at a summa for the Latin Church. Have you read any of St. John Damascene's works in the Orthodox Church?

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« Reply #84 on: May 28, 2006, 08:24:07 PM »

I am not responding to much in here (I'm lazy this early in the day... Wink).

However, I find this an appropriate place to make my first post.ÂÂ  Smiley

I'm a Latin and a Thomist by philosophy.ÂÂ  Even so, I don't hold to all he teaches myself...I think he got some wrong.

Perhaps in a couple days I will be able to answer the part about metaphysical and physical, as that is something I enjoy studying.
Zachary,

I was surprised to see you here.  I read this forum on a regular basis, but I did not know that you even knew it existed.  God bless.
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« Reply #85 on: May 28, 2006, 10:48:20 PM »

Aquinas is more of a misguided Aristotlean philosopher rather than a Christian one. Case in point, he uses twisted logic to say that Christians should worship (not venerate, but adore as we would God) the Cross. My biggest criticism would be that he quotes Aristotle as if he were a Saint and more infallible than the Pope, although this is typical of scholasticism.[/rant]
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« Reply #86 on: May 30, 2006, 12:59:46 AM »

Quote
Zachary,

I was surprised to see you here.  I read this forum on a regular basis, but I did not know that you even knew it existed.  God bless.

Actually, my best friend introduced me to it.  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 30, 2006, 01:00:25 AM by qfnol31 » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: May 30, 2006, 12:34:42 PM »

I'm more of a St. John of the Cross person...there are many perspectives to explore...some are attractive and catch the eye of the soul and mind...and some do not.

Hopefully one is led by the Holy Spirit to what is needed...

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