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Re: Trinity in East and West #105563
08/08/02 01:55 PM
08/08/02 01:55 PM
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Dear Gerard,

Thanks for the refresher course on Uncreated Grace 101! smile

(As an aside, did you know that Peter Lombard is a local saint in Italy, having been beatified by a bishop there before the decree of Urban VIII? I have his icon!).

The moral tradition of Aquinas was very welcomingly accepted in the East, and Meyendorff quotes a private prayer of an Orthodox Christian to Aquinas that tries to exonerate him for teaching the "Filioque heresy" of the West!

Patriarch Joseph Slipyj had an Eastern Icon of Aquinas written for his St Sophia Church in Rome as well.

Aquinas had an intimate familiarity with the Eastern Church and grasped the nuances of Eastern Triadology much better than Augustine (Augustine, as you will recall, submitted that he may not grasp all that the Cappadocian school taught and asked to be corrected when his understanding failed in this regard - for this reason the East continues to venerate him despite disagreements over his ideas on Original Sin).

Aquinas also interpreted the Filioque in terms that would have been familiar to St John of Damascus and St Maximos the Confessor or "Through the Son." (St John of Damascus in his "De Fide Orthodoxa" actually denies that it can be said that the Son proceeds "from the Father").

Aquinas' views on created grace need not concern Eastern theologians at all as he was writing from within his own legitimate Particular Latin theological tradition.

Aquinas also answered in the negative on the issue of the Immaculate Conception, again speaking against the backdrop of the Augustinian notions surrounding Original Sin that also are no concern for Eastern Christians who were, thankfully, spared that controversy.

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105564
08/08/02 02:38 PM
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Alex writes:

In terms of ... the Charismatic movement - ... a de-emphasis of the Cross over the emotional enthusiasm for the Spirit and the "Gifts" as they defined them... I was told to let go, let go, Alex etc.

Not all that glistens is gold. The Eastern Church monastic Fathers know a lot more than anyone about sobriety and spiritual states.

There is little sobriety in that movement. I know the sites you list.

But more than that, I've been in that movement.

It taught me a lot. The number one thing it taught me is to get out of it before my Catholic faith suffered.

Eastern Catholic and Orthodox theology have a much more Patristically and Scripturally defined idea of the Role of the Holy Spirit that is also liturgically based.

I need no more than this treasure.

______________________________

Awesome witness, Alex, and a common one coming out of that movement. I read Seraphim Rose's "Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future", and he describes prelest - communion with demons - very elegantly and graphically, and shows by examples, some from the Charismatic movement, a little of how the deceptions work. [The real master in a book is Bp. Brianchaninov in "The Arena"]. The Charismatic movement, being an emotionally based indulgence in "spiritual pleasure" - pleasurable ecstatic states outside the Church among large gatherings of people - is quite simply demon worship. You did well to "get outta Dodge!" This "Painless Christianity" that indulges "spiritually pleasurable" states, indeed SEEKS them, is really very easy demonic pickings... They are hard enough to dig out of prayer and fasting!!

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: Trinity in East and West #105565
08/08/02 02:52 PM
08/08/02 02:52 PM
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Dear George,

Right you are again, Sir!

(You seem to make me want to call you "Sir" and so I just do it! smile )

I think the Roman Catholic Church can learn much from the Eastern monastic tradition of spiritual guidance and ascesis.

There can be no real Life in Christ and Theosis in the Spirit without ascesis, and I think Western Christianity in general seems to have largely forgotten this.

Discernment of spirits by trained spiritual Fathers is another area.

The idea of some of the charismatics that I knew jumping up and down and experiencing all kinds of "Gifts" at a single bound is not only questionable at best (and I'm really trying to be charitable) but is really not the picture of spiritual progress and struggle that we get from the Bible and the Fathers.

When the Spirit comes to us, He comes on HIS own terms. And St Seraphim's conversation with Motovilov is an excellent eye-witness account of a truly Charismatic Christian for our times.

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105566
08/08/02 03:05 PM
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From Gerard Serafin

George writes:

>Besides, what do you do with John's: "God IS Love." All Three Persons ARE Love... Yes? Love is not just something They DO, is it?

>>>I would speak very similiarily to Father Alexander Schmemman who puts it:

"We believe in one God, but not a God in solitude, not in God-self-love. God is love, teaches Christian faith. Yet love is openness to the other, and at its greatest the offering of oneself to the other. The Father... loves the Son and gives everything to him. The Son loves the Father and gives himself to him. Finally, the very gift of love, this very love.... is the Holy Spirit...

"If God is the lover and the Son the beloved, then the Holy Spirit is the love that joins them together.... Such is the Mystery of God-the Trinity, the God of love." (Voskresnye besedy , Sunday Sermons, Moscow 1993, p.81)

...the Most Blessed Trinity is the Lover, the Beloved, and Their holy Love (and the "love-mysticism" posits the need for a Third Person to complete the "isness" of Love as in God "is" Love - not just that God loves....<<<

And in a similar way we could say that God is Being, Christ is Truth, and the Holy Spirit of Truth is the RELATIONSHIP of Being and Truth, except PERSONIFIED... And indeed, the Very Spirit of Truth!!!

>>>I may not be expressing it too well but I do think lovers might understand to some degree...<<<

The cognitive challenge is not hard - I love you, and you love me, and between us and surrounding us is our Love, and it is greater than either of us, or even both of us together outside It... And this is how the Father and the Son commune... In the Person of the Holy Spirit, Who is greater than both together. [Or not, depending on one's thoughts about it.]

The Eastern Church, of course, has the Holy Spirit IN communion with the Father and the Son, and not AS the communion itself, except personified.

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: Trinity in East and West #105567
08/08/02 03:13 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Alex writes:

Aquinas had an intimate familiarity with the Eastern Church and grasped the nuances of Eastern Triadology much better than Augustine (Augustine, as you will recall, submitted that he may not grasp all that the Cappadocian school taught and asked to be corrected when his understanding failed in this regard - for this reason the East continues to venerate him despite disagreements over his ideas on Original Sin).

Aquinas also interpreted the Filioque in terms that would have been familiar to St John of Damascus and St Maximos the Confessor or "Through the Son." (St John of Damascus in his "De Fide Orthodoxa" actually denies that it can be said that the Son proceeds "from the Father").


Hi Alex,

Of course, you know that Aquinas explicitly disagrees with the Damascene only once (and Thomas quotes him many times): on the issue of the procession of the Holy Spirit and he even (wrongly) accuses the Damascene of following "the Nestorians" here....

On my own Filioque Page I have a fine article, originally published by the Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly comparing the way Thomas and John deal with the procession of the Holy Spirit. It can be found and read at:

http://praiseofglory.com/torre.htm

Thanks for your reply. Glad to hear Peter Lombard is a local saint. His Sentences had tremendous influence!

Re: Trinity in East and West #105568
08/08/02 03:14 PM
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Alex:

"Right you are again, Sir!

"(You seem to make me want to call you "Sir" and so I just do it!)"

Doubtless because I am old, smelly, in pain all the time, have a crappy attitude, and am uncharitable!

But enough about my virtues! :rolleyes:

"And St Seraphim's conversation with Motovilov is an excellent eye-witness account of a truly Charismatic Christian for our times."

Where do I find it?

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: Trinity in East and West #105569
08/08/02 03:20 PM
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Dear George,

Here is an excellent on-line version:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/wonderful.htm

God bless!

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105570
08/08/02 03:21 PM
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Dear Gerard,

Yes, that is an excellent article.

Forgive me for asking, but where did you pick up your astuteness with Orthodoxy?

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105571
08/08/02 03:31 PM
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Dear George,

Here is an excellent on-line version:

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/wonderful.htm

God bless!

Alex

Allrightythen! It IS the same one I thought it was. Great story - Took me to the autobiography of St. Patrick, where he said that 'by now I no longer needed blankets to sleep out on the ground in winter' [as I recall]... As he described his spiritual development and its consequences in ascesis...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: Trinity in East and West #105572
08/08/02 03:35 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

George writes:

The Eastern Church, of course, has the Holy Spirit IN communion with the Father and the Son, and not AS the communion itself, except personified.

The western Catholic Church, too, fully honors the Unique Person of the Holy Spirit, who is not a quality or a "thing" but a Person in relationship.

The traditional conclusion to almost all liturgical prayer in the Roman tradition has been, and still is:

Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus per omnia sęcula sęculorum. Amen.

Literally: Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ages of ages. Amen.

So the Father and Son are one in the communion of the Person of the Holy Spirit - and I wonder how this differs from what you say about the view of the Eastern Church.

[ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: Trinity in East and West #105573
08/08/02 03:38 PM
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Dear Geore, er, Sir,

Yes, love those Celtic Saints!

The Celi De monks would get up, as you know, at 3:00 am to begin their Office and to read the entire Psalter by 3:00 pm in the afternoon. The Celtic Rite was also the only Western one to actually do prostrations.

Much of it was influenced throught the writings of St John Cassian following his sojourn through Coptic Egypt and the Thebaid.

I visited the Isle of St Honorat, Lerine in France and one may still see the seven small eremitic communities that surrounded the main coenobitic monastery there, again from the influence and writings of St John Cassian.

Since he opposed Augustine on original sin, Cassian's cult is only local to Marseilles!

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105574
08/08/02 03:44 PM
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Dear Gerard,

An interesting point in terms of the way East and West understands God.

God in the West is liturgically celebrated as "One" in terms of the one God the Father or the one Lord Jesus Christ.

In a sense, that is natural to the West since the oneness of God can be attained through the use of reason.

The East on the other hand celebrates the mystical revelation of the Trinity and the entire Trinity is invoked constantly, something that Jungmann, I believe, discussed at several points.

There was even a council in the West that decreed that only God the Father was to be invoked at the altar - I don't remember the source or the council, could you help me out here?

Eastern Spirituality is much more focused on the Trinity of Persons, even though it does share the dynamic Ecnonomic view of the Trinity e.g. to the Father through the Son by means of the Spirit.

As John Hardon (see, the old brain hasn't lost its memory yet) once wrote in his Catholic Catechism, I believe, the East has a "social conception" of the Divinity. It is that term of his that has kept me fascinated with Eastern theology ever since.

(I heard that there is a movement afoot to prepare the way for the introduction of a Cause for Fr. Hardon at Rome - do you know anything about that?)

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105575
08/08/02 04:26 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Alex writes:

God in the West is liturgically celebrated as "One" in terms of the one God the Father or the one Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, and here the "arche" of the Father, as source and root of the entire Trinity, is honored in her prayer: lex orandi, lex credendi. It is interesting that the Roman Rite retains even to this day the oldest tradition here: prayer to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.

The later tradition of invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as "God" can be found more in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. But it seems to me some of the older prayers, especially in the Liturgy of St Basil, reflect the more ancient tradition and address the Father "through your Beloved Son" or "through the Only-Begotten Son" or simply "through your Christ" (I quote here by memory only!).

In a sense, that is natural to the West since the oneness of God can be attained through the use of reason.

The liturgical address is to *the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ* and has nothing to do with any One God available to reason. NADA! (I'm surprised to read these words from you especially).

The East on the other hand celebrates the mystical revelation of the Trinity and the entire Trinity is invoked constantly, something that Jungmann, I believe, discussed at several points.

As I recall Jungman he claimed the Roman Rite retained the more ancient tradition of prayer to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit, while the east, in reaction to Arianism, began to invoke the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as the One God.

This fact (as I believe is verifiable) can overturn actually some quite popular "myths" about differences between east and west. From my perspective, the Latin Liturgy remains more "economic" in its formulations and gives more expression to the "arche" of the Father as well! Huh? Some may say. Check it out, I reply.

There was even a council in the West that decreed that only God the Father was to be invoked at the altar - I don't remember the source or the council, could you help me out here?

Yes, a local Council of either Orange or Carthage decreed that all prayer be directed to the Father. Remember, though, this is the "Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ". As a rule, all liturgical prayer of the Roman Rite follows this decree (with some exceptions of course, thank God!).

Eastern Spirituality is much more focused on the Trinity of Persons, even though it does share the dynamic Ecnonomic view of the Trinity e.g. to the Father through the Son by means of the Spirit.

There is, I suspect, some truth in what you suggest. However, I would nuance it too. For example, I know no spirituality more explicitly Trinitarian than that of the early Cistercian Fathers. Even John of the Cross is explicitly Trinitarian in a remarkable way, especially as he faltingly describes the state of the deified soul.

On the contrary, many of the eastern Fathers, while completely affirming the dogma of the Trinity, when they enter the "holy of holies" so to speak, begin, it seems to me, to leave much Trinitarianism behind, and speak almost in terms of a platonic One. My favorite, by far, theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar, makes this claim powerfully in several places (some of which are on my website and if some are interested I could give the URLs).

I have found often enough that assumptions and sometimes commonly made assertions do not necessarily hold up under closer scrutiny. I have this to be the case, often, regarding statements about eastern versus western Trinitarian understandings and praxis.

And I am always learning more...

Now, God willing, to plunge into a restful siesta where the Lord can give to his beloved while they sleep....

Blessings on all!

[ 08-08-2002: Message edited by: Gerard Serafin ]

Re: Trinity in East and West #105576
08/08/02 05:21 PM
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Dear Gerard,

Don't let me disturb your siesta - it is a most civilized thing!

I don't know why you were perturbed at my generalization about the One God. Of course, this is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

The West is more rationalistic than the East, do you not agree? That is a generalization which I think reflects well on the actual state of affairs.

My comment about the one God comes from a series of articles published by Eugene Ivankiw in the "Visnyk" or "Herald" published by St Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago. These were quite a while ago and I happen to agree with him. There is nothing wrong with that approach either, just that the East is generally more attuned to the mystical, revelatory perspective. Again, it doesn't come from me but from another and I happen to agree with it.

Yes, the Roman Rite certainly has focused on the Economic Trinity in its liturgy and prayer.

But the Byzantine tradition was never constrained by it, even though it does certainly reflect it in its own prayers. The Coptic Church ends every Our Father with the "Through our Lord Jesus Christ" following Origen's admonition.

We begin, as you know, all our prayers with the prayer to the Holy Spirit directly. There are prayers directly to Christ and to the Mother of God. Perhaps it's me, but does the Roman Rite Liturgy, old or new, every directly address the Mother of God at the altar? I don't believe it does, but I stand corrected if you can indicate to me otherwise.

It was not only the East that began to emphasize direct prayer to all Three Persons in response to Arianism and then as part of its theological emphasis in general - St Benedict was the one who likewise prescribed the Glory be . . . for after every Psalm for the same reason.

Both approaches to the Trinity are needed and the East, as you've shown, does indeed have a strong devotion to the economic Trinity, for which reason in part it reacted to the West's "Filioque" when it did (although this bad theological expression that was placed in the Creed against the admonitions of the Councils that proclaimed it was only used in some Western locales at first - the Pope John of St Photios' time who reconciled with the Patriarch actually called it 'heretical.')

I think devotion to all three Persons of the Trinity is wonderful wink and I love the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches for having such a rich liturgical expression of it.

Regardless of how the Western Fathers expressed themselves theologically on this, it didn't make its way into the Liturgy in quite the same, full way and that, I think, is sad.

Alex

Re: Trinity in East and West #105577
08/08/02 05:48 PM
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Come, Holy Spirit!

Alex writes:

Both approaches to the Trinity are needed and the East, as you've shown, does indeed have a strong devotion to the economic Trinity, for which reason in part it reacted to the West's "Filioque" when it did (although this bad theological expression that was placed in the Creed against the admonitions of the Councils that proclaimed it was only used in some Western locales at first - the Pope John of St Photios' time who reconciled with the Patriarch actually called it 'heretical.')

Here, too, Alex, I would ask a reference, that is verifiable. I have read pretty much everything I could get my hands on about the Filioque and have never come across a statement asserting a Pope called this - what you refer to as - "a bad theological expression" - "heretical."

I realize there was a spurious letter attributed to Pope John that critiqued the insertion of the filioque into the Creed (the great historian Msgr Francis Dvornak demonstrates its spuriousness), but even here I do not recall the use of the term "heretical."

Either I know even less than I thought or you know infinitely more than I do. Either case is quite possible.

Just give a verifiable reference, please.

Thank you (and I believe such comments as you make here should be able to be "backed up" and not just "spouted off" - don't be offended by my bluntness, please).

I hope to reply to more of your post in a bit. But now to make a cup of coffee to start my second day in one day - everyday!!! God is good!!!

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