Saint Michael the Archangel: Leo XIII and Consecration Prayers to the Great Defender contains within it Pope Leo XIII’s prayer to the Archangel Michael as originally released in the Raccolta (1930) by Benzinger Bros., with the approved (1902) supplement. Included in the book is also the English translation of the long-form consecration prayer to Saint Michael as said at the Celestial Basilica of Monte Gargano, Italy.
“You shall not have strange gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. You shall not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord your God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me: And showing mercy unto thousands to them that love Me and keep My commandments” (Ex. 20:1-2).
The question was asked, “Is Hell just for demons?” The brief answer is a definitive “no.” Hell is not just for the Devil and his demons, but also for people who die in unrepentant mortal sin. Hell is not a metaphor as so many like to make it out to be in our present times, neither is ‘hell on earth’ the real Hell.
The question has been asked, “What is spiritual inheritance?” Here is a brief and uncomplicated response.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (Jn 1:12-13).
As human beings, we were made by God, for God. The Father is the Creator. He owns everything that exists in the universe. Riches and graces are His that are unimaginable to the human mind. Chief among these are everlasting order, peace, love, joy and happiness, the quality and quantity of which cannot be conceived.
When we decide to become His children, a choice made freely through the exercise of our free will, we become heirs to everything God has. Just as His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, possesses everything the Almighty Father has, so do we enrich ourselves even from this earthly life when we decide to accept the Creator as our own Father. We receive His protection and blessings in ways beyond comprehension or worldly explanation, and upon our passing, we come to enjoy the infinitely loving Father Himself in all His glory.
The Heart of God the Father in Christianity is indicated by 27 specific references in Sacred Scripture (Bartolo-Abela, 2012), with 26 of these references being in the Old Testament, whereas one of the references is in the New Testament (Bovenmars, 1991). Many of these references exist in all three major sources of Scripture including the Septuagint (LXX), the Masoretic text and the Latin Vulgate. A few of the references could be considered doubtful because of their presence in only one of the aforementioned sources.
The 27 references in Scripture which speak about the Heart of the Father are:
- Gn 6:6-7 (Vulgate, LXX);
- Gn 8:21 (Masoretic);
- Jb 7:17 (Vulgate, Masoretic);
- Jb 9:4 (Vulgate, Masoretic);
- Jb 10:11-13 (Vulgate, Masoretic);
- Ps 32:11 (Vulgate) / 33:11 (LXX, Masoretic);
- Ps 77:70-72 (Vulgate, Masoretic) / 78:70-72 (LXX);
- Is 63:4 (Vulgate, Masoretic);
- Jer 3:14-15 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- Jer 7:30-31 (Vulgate, LXX);
- Jer 19:5 (LXX);
- Jer 23:20 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- Jer 30:24 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- Jer 32:35 (Vulgate);
- Jer 32:41 (Vulgate, Masoretic) / 39:41 (LXX);
- Jer 44:21 (Vulgate) / 51:21 (LXX);
- Lam 3:33 (LXX);
- Ez 28:2 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- Hos 11:8-9 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 1 Chr 17:19 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 2 Chr 7:16 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 1 Kgs 2:35 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 1 Kgs 13:14 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 2 Kgs 7:21 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 3 Kgs 9:3 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- 4 Kgs 10:30 (Vulgate, LXX, Masoretic);
- Acts 13:22 (Vulgate).
- Bartolo-Abela, M. (2012). The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Apologia and Canon. East Longmeadow, MA: Apostolate of the Divine Heart.
- Bovenmars, J. G. (1991). Biblical spirituality of the heart. New York: Alba House.
Consecrate people who have lost their faith to the Heavenly Father. He will take care of things in His own time and according to their readiness to welcome Him back into their hearts. He always intervenes even though you may remain unaware about it.
“Even if your sins were as repulsive as mud, your confidence and your love will make Me forget them, so you will not be judged! I am just, it is true, but love pays for everything! . . . I make you a promise which will have an eternal effect. It is this: call Me by the name of Father, with confidence and love, and you will receive everything from this Father, with love and mercy . . . If you love Me and call Me by the sweet name of Father, you will begin to live, here and now, in the love and the trust which will make you happy in eternity and which you will sing in heaven in the company of the elect…..
“I would like to make My home in every family, as in My domain, so that all can say with absolute assurance: ‘We have a Father Who is infinitely good, infinitely rich and greatly merciful. He thinks about us and is close to us. He looks after us, supports us. He will give us everything we need if we ask Him. All his riches are ours, we will have everything we need.’ I am there precisely in order that you should ask Me for what you need. ‘Ask and you will receive.’ In My fatherly goodness I will give you everything provided that all regard Me as a true Father, living among His family as I indeed do…..
Father, I love You, I adore You, I worship You.
“You who especially need someone to take care of you in life, so that you can avoid evil, come to Me! I am the Father Who loves you more than any other creature will ever be able to do! Take refuge close, very close to Me, confide in Me your thoughts and your desires. I will love you tenderly. I will give you graces for the present and bless your future. You can be sure I will not forget you after fifteen or twenty-five or thirty years, having created you. Come! I see that you greatly need a sweet and infinitely good Father like Me…..
“I have just opened up a fountain of living water, which will never dry up from now until the end of time. I am coming to you, My creatures, to open My paternal Breast filled with love for you, My children. I want you to be witnesses of My infinite and merciful love. It is not enough for Me to have shown you My love; I also want to open up My Heart to you, whence a refreshing spring will issue and where all men will quench their thirst. They will then experience joys they have never known until now through being so weighed down by the exaggerated fear they had of Me, their tender Father…..
“Since the time when I promised men a Savior, I have let this spring gush forth. I made it pass through My Son’s Heart to reach you. But My immense love for you makes Me do even more, opening My Breast from which this water of salvation will gush for My children and I permit them to draw freely whatever they need for time and for eternity.
“But, you will say to Me, how can we come to You? Oh, come by the path of confidence, call Me your Father, love Me in spirit and truth, and this will be enough to make this refreshing and powerful water quench your thirst. But if you really want this water to give you all you need to know and love Me, and if you feel cold and indifferent, call Me by the sweet name of Father and I will come to you. My spring will give you love, confidence and everything you need to be loved forever by your Father and Creator. As I desire most to be known by all of you, so that you can all enjoy, even here on earth, My goodness and My tenderness, make yourselves apostles to those who still do not know Me and I will bless your toil and efforts, preparing great glory for you with Me in eternity…..
We love You, Father. We give ourselves to You.
“As for My children who do not follow the truth, I wish all the more to enfold them in My fatherly predilection, so that they may open their eyes to the light which now shines more clearly than ever. This is the time of graces, foreseen and awaited since the beginning of time! I am here personally to talk to you. I come as the most tender and loving of fathers. I stoop down, forgetful of Myself, to raise you up to Me and ensure your salvation. All of you who are now living and you too who are in the void, but who will live century after century until the end of the world, remember that you are not alone: a Father thinks of you and offers you a share in the unfathomable privileges of His love. Approach the spring which will gush forever from My fatherly Breast. Taste the sweetness of this health-giving water and when you have felt all its delicious power in your souls satisfying all your needs, come and cast yourselves into the ocean of My charity so as to live only in Me, to die to yourselves and to live eternally in Me…..
“Some of you, examining this work of love I am carrying out among men, will find cause for criticism and will say: ‘But don’t the missionaries, after arriving in those distant countries, talk to the non-believers about God, His goodness and His mercy? What more could they say about God, since they speak of Him all the time?’ The missionaries have spoken and still speak of God as far as they know Him, but I assure you, you do not know Me as I am because I am coming to proclaim Myself the Father of all and the most tender of fathers, in order to transform your love which has become distorted by fear. I come to make Myself similar to My creatures, to correct the idea you have of a terrifyingly just God, as I see men spending their whole lives without confiding in their only Father, Whose only wish is to make their earthly life easier and then give them a divine life in heaven. This is a proof that souls do not know Me any more than you do, not having overcome the idea you have about Me. But now I am giving you this light. Remain in the light and bring it to everybody and it will be a powerful means both to obtain conversions and to shut, if possible, the gates of hell, for I now repeat My promise, which will last forever:
“ALL THOSE WHO CALL ME BY THE NAME OF FATHER, EVEN IF ONLY ONCE, WILL NOT PERISH, BUT WILL BE SURE OF THEIR ETERNAL LIFE AMONG THE CHOSEN ONES” (The Father Speaks to His Children).
America, you have forgotten the most basic rule of order that underpins all humanity: Do Not Kill. The 5th Commandment of God. You are now reaping the wages of what you have sown without mercy in the heart and soul of your nation for over 250 years.
Stop killing with your words and actions, and the slaughter of your people will cease. Keep sowing hatred and division in your hearts and minds out of lust for power, for purported omnipotence, purported supremacy, and the slaughter of your own, by your very own, will increase not decrease.
RETURN TO SANITY, STOP KILLING!
ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND THE GRACE OF ILLUMINATION
STOP THE SLAUGHTER!
The Immaculate Conception
According to Pius IX (1854), “From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so love her that truly in her was the Father well-pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints, so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.
“It was wholly fitting that so wonderful a mother should be ever-resplendent with the glory of most sublime holiness and so completely free from all taint of original sin that she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent. To her did the Father will to give his only-begotten Son — the Son who, equal to the Father and begotten by Him, the Father loves from His Heart — and to give this Son in such a way that He would be the one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was she whom the Son Himself chose to make His Mother and it was from her that the Holy Spirit willed and brought it about that He should be conceived and born from whom He Himself proceeds” (Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, para. 1-2).
This is the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church, a dogma also held originally by the Fathers of the Orthodox Church, the Byzantine Fathers.
The Virgin Mary
As shown, the Virgin Mary is deified, was deified at the instance of her conception, and has always been deified. In other words, Mary was granted the grace of perpetual deification by the Holy Trinity, in addition to the graces of immaculate conception and perpetual virginity, otherwise she would not have been worthy of being the Theotokos; the bearer of the sinless Word. The Eternal Father, the First Person of the Trinity, proclaimed Mary’s deification to the heavens at the commencement of time when He told Satan, who had possessed the serpent to entice Adam and Eve to sin: “I will put enmity between you and the Woman, and between your seed and her seed. They shall bruise your head and you will bruise their heel” (Gn 3:15). If Mary had not been deified, she would have been unable to remain victorious over the Evil One throughout her entire life in relation to sin, because after Eve had disobeyed God (Gn 3:6), she lost that state of deification with which she was originally created and that would have been confirmed in her and in her offspring had she not sinned.
Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, attested publicly to the Virgin’s perpetual deification during the wedding at Cana when He explicitly addressed Mary with the Father’s preferred term, after she had asked Him to take care of the issue with the wine: “Woman, what is that to Me and to you?” (Jn 2:4). Woman. The woman who not only had been proclaimed deified by the Father (Gn 3:15), but who was also proclaimed thus by the Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, through the Apostle John: “And a great sign appeared in heaven. A Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rv 12:1). The Archangel Gabriel further attested to Mary’s perpetual deification at the Annunciation when he addressed her as “full of grace” (Lk 1:28).
The Virgin Mary is the epitome of deification (Palamas, 2005), a god by grace (Jn 10:34) though not God, as she has always been the incorrupt partaker of the divine nature (2 P 1:4). This because deification is “God’s perfect and full penetration of man” (Staniloae, 2002, p. 362), with “all who share in this [being] referred to as deified . . . above nature and virtue and knowledge . . . [as] this grace effects this ineffable union” (Gregory Palamas, 1338/1982).
The Church Fathers on Deification
Below are more statements by the Church Fathers and early Christian writers on deification. Both on their own and taken as a whole, these statements illustrate how it is deification, not mere salvation, that has always been the aim of God for humankind, regardless of the stripping of any semblance of divinity and language sanitization that have occurred throughout the more recent centuries:
Ambrosius of Milan:
He makes us partakers of the divine nature in His power (On Christ. Faith 5.14).
Athanasius of Alexandria:
He Himself has made us sons of the Father and deified men by becoming Himself man . . . He was God and then became man, and that to deify us (Cont. Arian 1.11.38,39).
The work is perfected because men, redeemed from sin, no longer remain dead, but being deified, have in each other by looking at Me the bond of charity (Cont. Arian 3.25.23).
The Word was made flesh in order to offer up this body for all and that we, partaking of His Spirit, might be deified (De Decret 3.14).
He has become Man that He might deify us in Himself and He has been born of a woman and begotten of a Virgin in order to transfer to Himself our erring generation, and that we may become henceforth a holy race and ‘partakers of the Divine Nature’ as blessed Peter wrote (Lett 60).
Augustine of Hippo:
If the word of God came to men, that they might be called gods, how can the very Word of God, who is with God, be otherwise than God? If by the word of God men become gods, if by fellowship they become gods, can He by whom they have fellowship not be God? If lights which are lit are gods, is the light which enlighteneth not God? If through being warmed in a way by saving fire they are constituted gods, is He who gives them the warmth other than God? (On the Gospel of John, Trac 48.9).
It is evident then that He hath called men gods that are deified of His grace, not born of His substance . . . If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods: but this is the effect of grace adopting, not of nature generating . . . The rest that are made gods, are made by His own grace, are not born of His substance, that they should be the same as He, but that by favor they should come to Him and be fellow-heirs with Christ (On the Psalms 50.2).
The Son of God hath been made partaker of mortality in order that mortal man may be made partaker of divinity (On the Psalms 53.5).
That Godhead equal to the Father was made partaker of our mortal nature not of His own store, but of ours, that we too might be made partakers of His Divine Nature, not of our store, but of His (On the Psalms 139.1).
God wishes not only to vivify us, but also to deify us. When would human infirmity ever have dared to hope for this unless divine truth had promised it? . . . Our God, the true God, the one God has stood up in the synagogue of gods, many of them of course, and gods not by nature but by adoption, by grace. There is a great difference between God who exists, god who is always God, true God, not only God but also deifying God; that is if I may so put it, god-making God, God not made making gods, and gods who were made, but not by a craftsman (Sermon 23B).
You are already gods (Sermon 81).
Basil of Caesarea
Hence comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of what is hidden, distribution of good gifts, the heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, the highest of all, the being made God (De Spir Sanc 9.23).
Clement of Alexandria
I desire to restore you according to the original model that ye may become also like Me (Exhortation 12).
They are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior (Stromateis 7.10).
Cyprian of Carthage
What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man may be what Christ is (Treat 6.11).
Freedom made hateful the beauty of Adam that he might be god . . . But grace adorned its flaws and God came to be human. Divinity flew down to rescue and lift up humanity. Behold the Son adorned the servant’s flaw so that he became god as he had desired (Hymns on Virginity 48.14-18).
Gregory of Nazianzus
Who can mold, as clay-figures are modeled in a single day, the defender of the truth . . . be God and make others to be god? (Orat 2).
His inferior nature, the humanity, became God . . . in order that I too might be made god (Third Theol Orat).
What greater destiny can befall man’s humanity than that he should be intermingled with God and by this intermingling should be deified . . . that thou mayest become a god, ascending from below (Fourth Theol Orat).
Gregory of Nyssa
He was transfused throughout our nature in order that our nature might by this transfusion of the Divine become itself divine (The Great Cat 25).
The God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be defied (The Great Cat 38).
Gregory of Thessalonica
He who participates in the divine energy . . . becomes himself, in a sense, Light; he is united to the Light and with the Light he sees in full consciousness all that remains hidden for those who have not this grace. He thus surpasses not only the corporeal senses, but also all that can be known . . . for the pure of heart see God . . . who, being the Light, abides in them and reveals Himself to those who love Him (Serm Feast of Pres Bl Virgin).
Hilary of Aries
Just as God stepped out of his nature to become a partaker of our humanity, so we are called to step out of our nature to become partakers of his divinity (Intro Comm 2 P).
Hilary of Poitiers
The object to be gained was that man might become God (De Trinitate 9.38).
When God was born to be man, the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost, but that the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be God (De Trinitate 10.7).
Hippolytus of Rome
Thou hast become God: for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee because thou hast been deified and begotten unto immortality (Ref Her 5.30).
Ignatius of Antioch
It is therefore good for you to be in perfect unity that you may at all times be partakers of God (Eph 4.2).
Irenaeus of Lyons
God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods (Adversus Haereses 3.6.1).
To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: ‘I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest and gods; but ye shall die like men’ . . . it was for this end that the Word of God was made man and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God (ibid. 3.19.1).
Man does not see God by his own powers; but when He pleases He is seen by men, by whom He wills and when He wills, and as He wills . . . those who see the light are within the light and partake of its brilliancy; even so, those who see God are in God and receive of His splendor . . . Men therefore shall see God that they may live, being made immortal by that sight and attaining even unto God (ibid. 4.20.5, 6a).
The Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did through His transcendent love become what we are that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself” (ibid. 5.Pref).
As the opinions of certain [persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature (ibid. 5.32.1).
Jerome of Stridon
We are gods, not so by nature, but by grace: ‘But as many as received him he gave power of becoming sons of God.’ I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods: ‘I said, You are gods, all of you sons of the most High’ (Homily 14).
He Himself is God and He hath called me god; with Him is the essential nature as an actual fact, with me only the honor of the name: ‘I have said ye are gods, and ye are all children of the most highest.’ Here are words, but in the other case there is the actual reality. He hath called me god for by that name I have received honor (Homily 2).
Man can become God and a child of God. For we read, ‘I have said, Ye are gods, all of you are the children of the Most High’ (Ps. lxxxii. 6).
And what is greater, the power to become both God and angel and child of God is put into his own hands (Hom Acts 32).
All men are deemed worthy of becoming ‘gods’ and of having power to become sons of the Highest (Dial 124).
The Word exercises an influence which does not make poets . . . by its instruction it makes mortals immortal, mortals gods (Discourse to the Greeks 5).
The man will triumph over the earth. He will be exactly similar to God (hic erit consimilis Deo) who has embraced the virtue of God (Div Inst 6.23).
Mark the Ascetic
The Logos became man, so that man might become Logos (Let Nic).
Origen of Alexandria
It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty (Comm J 2.2,3).
From Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature in order that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine (Adv Cel 3.28).
Tertullianus of Carthage
We shall be even gods, if we shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, ‘I have said, Ye are gods,’ and ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods.’ But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods (Adv Herm 5).
Although Adam was by reason of his condition under law subject to death, yet was hope preserved to him by the Lord’s saying, ‘Behold, Adam is become as one of us;’ that is, in consequence of the future taking of the man into the divine nature [hominis in divinitatem] (Adv Marc II.25).
But how does deification apply to the Virgin Mary, since she has always been a creature and not the Creator?
(continued in Part 3)
The Deification of the Virgin Mary in Christianity
Many tend to claim that the Virgin Mary is not deified, was not deified at the moment of her conception, and has never been deified. This claim seems to originate from the deep-seated fear, likely Protestant in origin, that the Holy Virgin is being worshipped with that kind of worship reserved for God alone, instead of being honored as the Mother of God. This fear, however, is unfounded. What seems to be happening is the perpetuation of a misunderstanding and lack of sufficient comprehension (and use) of the terms deification and worship.
What is Worship?
Two kinds of worship exist: the worship of latreia and the worship of proskynesis (Bartolo-Abela, 2017). Latreia is the kind of worship reserved for God alone, while proskynesis is the relative worship that can be legitimately given to any saints. Proskynesis is more commonly understood by people as veneration. However, it is still worship in a technical sense, although not the kind of worship that needs to be reserved for God. What is deification and what kind of worship is employed towards those human beings who have become deified?
Deification – Brief Overview
Have I not said that you are gods? (Jn 10:34).
God, you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature, of course, like the One whom He begot but by His gift and by adoption (Augustine of Hippo, Sermon 166.4).
Through Christ, the Word made flesh, man has access to the Father in the Holy Spirit and comes to share in the divine nature (Paul VI, Dei Verbum, 1965).
The Most High knew that Adam wanted to become a god, so He sent His Son who put him on in order to grant him his desire (Ephraim the Syrian, Nisb. Hymns LXIX.12).
He became human so that he might make us gods (Athanasius of Alexandria, De Incarnatione 54.3).
According to Dionysus the Aeropagite, deification is defined as “the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible” (EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a) both in this life and the next. Maximus the Confessor called deification “the invocation of the great God and Father, the symbol of the authentic and real adoption, according to the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, thanks to the bestowal of which the saints become and will remain the sons of God” (Ad Thalas 61, PG 90, 636C; Scholia 6, ibid. 644C). Thomas Aquinas stated that deification allowed “this name God [to be] communicable not in its whole signification, but in some part of it by way of similitude so that those are called gods who share in divinity by likeness, according to the text I have said, ‘You are gods (Ps 82:6)’ (Summa Theologica, Resp. to I.13,9).
Gross (1938/2002) elaborated that deification, [the] “divinization of the Christian is not an identification with God [but] an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness [where one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature . . . [Throughout the process of deification], the Spirit transforms the soul to the image of the Logos, the natural Son of God, thus making the Christian an adoptive child of God. Affecting, it seems, the very essence of the soul, this mysterious conformation is not of a moral nature only, but of a physical nature. It is a veritable partaking of the divine nature and of the divine life” (p. 272). Aquinas added that in deification “the gift of grace surpasses every capability of created nature, since it is nothing short of a partaking of the Divine Nature, which exceeds every other nature . . . God alone should deify, bestowing a partaking of the Divine Nature by a participated likeness” (Summa Theologica, 2.1:112.1).
Irenaeus of Lyons explained that God had “become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself” (Adversus Haereses, Preface). He added, “Do we cast blame on Him because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, He declares, ‘I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High’ . . . It was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality” (ibid., 4.38). Clement of Alexandria declared, “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god” (Exhortation to the Greeks 1). He stated, “If one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God . . . His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God and that man becomes a god since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, ‘Men are gods and gods are men’” (Stromateis 23). Clement added, “He who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through Him . . . becomes a god while still moving about in the flesh” (Stromata 716,101,4). Augustine of Hippo stated, “He Himself that justifies also deifies for by justifying He makes sons of God: ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [Jn 1:12]. If then we have been made sons of god, we have also been made gods” (On the Psalms 50.2.).
Deification is the process of fulfillment, starting from this earthly life, of the words of the Apostle Peter, “He [Christ] has given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature, flying the corruption of that concupiscence which is in the world” (2 P 1:4). Deification as a term was common in the writings of the Greek Fathers and other Early Church Fathers until it was supplanted by the sterile and ‘safe’ language of the Reformation (Kharlamov, 2010).
(continued in Part 2)
“The chorus of the Church Triumphant and those of the Church Militant are united to our Lord in the divine action so that with Him, in Him and through Him, they may ravish the Heart of God the Father and make His mercy all our own” ~ St. Francis de Sales.