Some Greek Words Worth Knowing

The traditional developmental map for the contemplative life, as put forth in the earliest centuries of the Christian era by mystics like Clement and Origen, consisted of three stages: Purification, Illumination, and Union. The aspiring contemplative mystic began his or her journey with a rigorous program of repentance and renunciation, "purifying" one's self in order to become a worthy self-offering to God. One of the happy consequences of such asceticism would be the eventual experience of … [Read more...]

Theosis and Kenosis

What is the relationship between "participation in the Divine Nature" (II Peter 1:4) and the self-humbling of Christ (Philippians 2:7)? Part of the splendor of Christ, as described by Paul in his letter to the Philippians, is that Christ, "being found in appearance as a man, humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death." Humility and obedience: self-emptying. Christ divested himself of the privilege of his Divinity, taking human form, entering so fully into the human experience to … [Read more...]

C.S. Lewis and Deification

I haven't read this yet, but it sure looks tasty... and I wanted to go ahead and post a link here, since I know some of my readers are interested in C. S. Lewis and some are interested in the doctrine of deification (in the Greek, theosis). So here's a chance to ponder how this Orthodox doctrine figures in the thought of the most popular of Anglican authors...Shine as the Sun: C. S. Lewis and the Doctrine of DeificationWhich is actually part two of a two part essay; here is part one: The … [Read more...]

The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition

The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition By Normal Russell Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004 Review by Carl McColmanDeification, or theosis, is one of the least known and most misunderstood of ancient Christian teachings. Still a part of Orthodox theology to this day, in the west it evolved into what we now call “sanctification” or “sanctifying grace,” replacing the radical idea of “participation in God” with the much safer concept of merely “becoming holy.” This scholar … [Read more...]

The Feast of St. Benedict: Ad Deificum Lumen

Today is the feast of St. Benedict.This morning at mass, Fr. Tom Francis (who works with me at the Abbey Store) preached on the Rule and on his life experience as a Trappist monk for over 50 years now. During the sermon, he mentioned a conversation that he and I and another Lay-Cistercian had a while back about a phrase in the prologue to the Holy Rule of St. Benedict: et apertis oculis nostris ad deificum lumen, which is often translated as "Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

It is well known that the category of the personal is vital to Christian thinking, both in relation to God who is understood to be three-personed and to humanity which is seen as made in God's image and likeness. Often in common usage what is personal is thought to be identical with what is individual. But the reverse is the case. For whereas when we speak of the individual we speak of each one in his separateness in competition with all others, when we speak of the person we speak of each one … [Read more...]


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