Patristics

What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

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“Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to attribute His operations to the opposite spirit, as says Basil the Great. How does one do this? Whenever one sees miracles brought about by the Holy Spirit or any of the other divine gifts in any of his brethren – that is compunction or tears, or humility, or divine knowledge, or a word of wisdom from on high, or anything else that is bestowed by the Holy Spirit on those who love God – and says that this comes from the deceit of the devil. But he also blasphemes against the Holy Spirit who works in them, who says that those who as sons of God are led by the divine Spirit, and perform the commandments of their God and Father, are being deceived by demons. This is what the Jews of old said against the Son of God.

“Like unbelievers and those completely uninitiated into the divine mysteries when they hear anything about divine illumination, or of the enlightenment of soul and mind, or of contemplation and freedom from passion, or of humility and tears that are poured out by the working and grace of the Holy Spirit, the eyes of their hearts are darkened rather than enlightened . . . They audaciously aver that these things come from the deceit of demons . . . To deny that at this present time there are some who love God and that they have been granted the Holy Spirit . . . that they have become gods by knowledge . . . and contemplation, that wholly subverts the Incarnation of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ! It denies the renewal of the image that had been corrupted and put to death, and its return to incorruption and immortality” (Saint Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses).

Can a person become evil? Correcting the inadequate catechesis of some Christians in the United States

Michael (3)A tendency has arisen and seems to be increasing these days among some Christians, Catholics included, in the United States to regard human persons and their personalities as evil in themselves. Discourses and language such as, for instance, a “distorted and evil soul” or “becoming evil” is being used more and more often to describe “evil people,” or “evil personalities,” who are regarded as “lost souls.” Apart from the fact – obvious even to children – that no Christian, no Catholic, should ever use such language these days in relation to other persons, to consider an individual or a group of individuals as evil per se does not reflect the teachings of the Church.

To give a succint example that is easily understood by the many, not even in the case of a person who is perfectly possessed by evil spirits does the Church consider that individual 100% “evil,” despite the actions he or she may have carried out while under the influence of personified evil. Let alone in the case of people who are not possessed in such a manner, or even harassed by evil or obsessed.

Hence for some Christians and Catholics to consider and describe their fellow human persons in terms of the language referenced above is to manifest inadequate catechesis in the teachings of the universal Church, including Patristics, at best. And to manifest unexpunged self-righteousness – spiritual pride – at worst. The use of such language, therefore, in relation to fellow man does not bring people closer to God. It just calls down His judgment upon oneself, since the judgment of human persons is arrogated to God alone.

What is deification? – Response to a question

Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with Him so far as is possible (Dionysus the Aeropagite, EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a).

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).

Deification or the “divinization of the Christian is not an identification with God [but] an assimilation, a very eminent restoration of the original divine likeness [through a process where one] participates by grace in the perfections that God possesses by nature” (Gross, 1936/2003). Deification results (more…)

The reference point for God’s existence is His Fatherhood not His essence – 3

“The Father derives from Himself His being, nor does He derive a single quality from another. Rather He is Himself the beginning and cause of the existence of all things both as to their nature and mode of being. All then that the Son and the Spirit have is from the Father, even their very being: and unless the Father is, neither the Son nor the Spirit is. And unless the Father possesses a (more…)

The reference point for God’s existence is His Fatherhood not His essence – 2

For in worshiping ‘God of God’ we both confess the distinction of Persons and abide by the Monarchy (Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 18; PG 32).

The source of power is the Father; the power is the Son; the spirit of power is the Holy Spirit (Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratione 23, 11; PG 35).

“In Greek patristic literature, one often finds the idea of causality applied to the person of the Father. The Father is called the cause of the hypostases of the Son and the Holy Spirit, or even the ‘Godhead-source.’ Sometimes He is designated simply as ‘God’ . . . the Father is the personal principle of unity (more…)

The goodness and power of God the Father – Patristics

“What is good is always present with God who is over all, and . . . it is good to be the Father of such a Son . . . so what is good was never absent from Him, nor was it the Father’s Will to be without the Son, and when He willed He did not lack the power, but having the power and the will to be in the mode in which it seemed good to Him, He also always possessed the Son by reason of His (more…)

The true meaning of living in the Era of Peace

How shall we be living in the era of peace, after the great Chastisement has been fulfilled? Unlike for many, if not most, of us living presently in the era of the flesh, during the era of peace we will be living thoroughly spiritualized lives – lives we cannot even begin to conceive of, right now – because the said era will, in effect, be the era of the Reign of the Father, in the intensely Eucharistic  (more…)

How Our Father manifests Himself – Patristics

“God permits Himself to be seen face-to-face, not in enigmas . . . He becomes attached to those worthy as is a soul to its body, to its own members; that He unites Himself to them to the extent of dwelling completely in them, so that they too dwell entirely in Him, that ‘through the Son, the Spirit is poured out in abundance on us’ . . . [Thus] God allows Himself to be seen according to (more…)

Meeting God the Father in Spirit and in Truth – Patristics

The following is an accurate description of what it is like to meet the Beauty and Majesty of God our Almighty Father on His Throne, in Spirit and in Truth. This description was written by Gregory Palamas, the saint-theologian of the Divine Light:

The Divine Light “is not the essence of God, for that is inaccessible and incommunicable . . . (more…)