Quote for the Day

In this, more than any other, we need the divine boldness to affirm that Christianity is not a matter of being good but of becoming God. It is only by the whole-hearted acceptance of the truth that God’s son fully shared our humanity that we can be emboldened to find in him our way towards an intense and transforming relationship with the God who exists beyond human experience.

— Michael Casey, OCSO, Fully Human Fully Divine

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  • judith collier

    Carl, I looked at the 3 reviews on Amazon but they were of no help. Could you just say a little something on this particular statement, it sounds like my guide led, not quite Christian , new age step sister in Cal. I am not disagreeing, just curious as I don’t know more. Thanks

  • http://mikecrowlsscribblepad.blogspot.com/ Mike Crowl

    Is there something missing from this sentence? ‘towards an intense and transforming with the God who exists beyond human experience.’
    Sounds as though there should be another word in there.
    And ‘becoming God?’ – do Christians ever become God? Sounds more like Mormonism!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

    Oops! I left out the word “relationship” which as you can see I’ve fixed now.

    I seriously doubt if Michael Casey, who is a Trappist monk, could ever be mistaken for a new ager or a Mormon. But I do know that this admittedly provocative statement is a nice summation of the doctrine of deification, which is an important part of early Christian doctrine (and which remains a central part of eastern orthodox spirituality, even though it has become overshadowed in the west by Augustine’s emphasis on original sin, a trammel from which we western Christians still have not freed ourselves). The book is published by a very moderate-to-conservative Catholic publisher.

    Incidentally, while deification uses provocative language such as “becoming God,” in orthodox Christian terms it is always clear that the final distinction between creator and creature is never erased: however more deeply we creatures partake of the Divine Nature, there is endlessly more that remains eternally beyond our reach. In other words, we’ll never get bored with God.

  • judith collier

    Thanks Carl. Something hit me when I read your explanation. I do think of myself as an ugly human, sinful from the beginning and always will be. Thanks so much Augustine! Well, that’s going to stop, I have decided to think of myself as unremittingly advancing to the Divine. Worthy because God blesses the path and has called me. One is negative and the latter is more positive. I did give up stewing over my sins a long time ago but it was never defined in my mind and they sort of lingered there, ignored but subtly reminding me of my core sinfulness.

  • Sarah

    This quote led me to bookmark your website and order Spirituality, Carl. As a Byzantine-rite Christian it was refreshing to read such a lucid call for modern Christians to enter into the process we, in the Eastern Church, call theosis.

    I think one of the easiest ways to understand what theosis is all about is to understand that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant. The very essence of blood covenant is this: “Whatever I am willing to do for you, you must be willing to do for me.” When Abraham lifted his hand to sacrifice Isaac for God, he activated terms of the covenant which obligated God the Father to sacrifice Jesus for us. In other words the terms of a blood covenant are always reciprocal.

    When Jesus fulfilled the old covenant, he established a new covenant in His Blood with us, his body on earth. To borrow, then, the terminology of our Evangelical brethren, when we invite Jesus to come into our hearts (as we do every time we receive Holy Communion), then Jesus immediately invites us to come into His Heart. Our true lives, therefore, are hidden in Christ, and as we live them out in His Heart, we become more and more like him until, if we persevere to the end, we become indistinguishable from him, alter Christos, other Christs.

    Note, however, I used the plural, “invites us,” not the singular. For our Protestant brothers and sisters, this reciprocal relationship in covenant with Jesus is understood as an entirely individual process. For those of us of the Catholic Faith, the individual enters into the process, but the process itself is corporate. It must be accomplished within a community of faith.

    Sarah

  • http://peter-petersrants.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Yeah, it’s kind of an all-or-nothing process, I guess…

    I mean, as the quote says, it’s not just about “becoming good”–a step that most of us Augustinian/Calvinist/Protestant believers have not even taken yet, as attested in John Eldredge’s call to acknowledge that He has made our hearts good–but about going all the way in to ultimate union with the One Who alone is good.

    Our goodness is solely in Him, in our communion with Him–but this is enough, and abundantly more than enough (again as the quote says) to quicken our “intense and transforming relationship” in all areas of our humanity, the process of sanctification–and thereby to fulfill the purpose for which He fully shared our humanity. It is submitting to His reign, His claim over all that He has purchased.

    For me this perspective takes the “fully human fully divine” concept out of the mean-spirited, narrow-minded, dusty corner I have all too often found it coming from, a doctrine which is little understood but fiercely defended, into a living relational truth that awakens and empowers my spirit and encourages me to move forward with the challenges of my day. And to join with others in the faith community who are moving in the same direction, led by the same Spirit.

    Peace to all,
    Peter


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