18 January 2006

Patristic Quote for the Day

Performing in Himself the sacred mystery of our re-creation, the Logos offered Himself up on our behalf through His death on the cross, and He continually offers Himself up, giving His immaculate body to us daily as a soul-nourishing banquet, so that by eating and by drinking His precious blood we may through this participation consciously grow in spiritual stature.... Thus we do not belong to ourselves, but to Him who has united us to Himself through this immortal meal and has made us by adoption what He Himself is by nature. - Nikitas Stihatos (disciple of St. Symeon, the New Theologian, Nikitas was born around the start of the 11th century)

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like how there is a difference set up between the work that Christ did for us- or, with us in Him being recreated- and our "conscious" growth in Him through our eating and drinking of the actions He has taught us to do. It seeme to strike a balance between with God does for us/in us, and what we must do to help make it our own. And all this without the blunt tally system that medieval scholasticism in the West used to try and explain the mechanism of our salvation, per Anselm.

Elsewhere, St. Maximus speaks of Christ having saved our nature (ousia), but we have to struggle and work to save our person (hypostasis).

William Weedon said...

Lossky explained it slightly differently, but along the same lines: the work of the Logos was the salvation of human nature; the work of the Divine Spirit is the salvation of human persons.

cheryl said...

A person cannot be saved apart from his nature....

right?

so to save man's nature is (by consequence) to save his person, and visa versa.

cheryl said...

but we have to struggle and work to save our person.

struggle and work to save our person....hmmmm.

how do you mean?

William Weedon said...

I suspect what Anon meant was along the lines of our Lord's admonition: STRIVE to enter by the narrow door. Or as we sing it one of our hymns "All Depends"

Many spend their lives in fretting
Over trifles and in getting
Things that have no solid ground.
I will STRIVE to win a treasure
That will bring me lasting pleasure
And that now is seldom found.

The struggle of salvation (understood in the broad sense) - the death of the old Adam, the life of repentance, struggling in prayer, reception of the Sacrament, living in the community of the Church, witnessing to the world - all of this together is the struggle I suspect that Anon was describing.

Anonymous said...

I also was referring to what in Lutheran parlance is termed sanctification, which Lutheran theology teaches is a cooperation, synergy, a mandatory working together with the Holy Spirit in showing forth the justification we have been given solely by the grace of God. This is similar to St. Maximus' more ontological take on our salvation tied up in the very person of Christ. We are one nature with Christ, but we are not one person. Our nature was saved in Him, died, rose, and ascended to the Father, but our separate Persons were not.

The Greek Fathers did not have as dilineated a defintion of the terms salvation, justification, and sanctification. To them, salvation was not only being forgiven, and not just getting back to what Adam and Eve were, but it is a re-creation of human nature in union with the divinity of Christ. We are to be fully re-formed, so simply being forgiven isn't the end of our salvation, it is the beginning. We are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in "working out our salvation in fear and trembling", as St. Paul says, to be sanctified and re-created in the likeness of Christ, the New Adam: this is the fulness of salvation.

cheryl said...

I also was referring to what in Lutheran parlance is termed sanctification, which Lutheran theology teaches is a cooperation, synergy, a mandatory working together with the Holy Spirit in showing forth the justification we have been given solely by the grace of God.

Well, sanctification, justification, synergy, ect. as distinct catagories are things which are quite foreign to me. In other words, I don't look at things as, "oh this is justification", "this is sanctification" ect.

This is similar to St. Maximus' more ontological take on our salvation tied up in the very person of Christ. We are one nature with Christ, but we are not one person. Our nature was saved in Him, died, rose, and ascended to the Father, but our separate Persons were not.

But while our person should not be confused with Christ, and nature and person can be distinguished (again, not confused), they still cannot be separated.

When Christ imparts life to our natures, saves it from sin and satan, and resurrects it on the last day, he is by consequence saving our person.

I guess too, it depends on what is meant by, "we are one nature with Christ". For me, the hypostatic union is indicative not merely of the fact that Christ shares a common nature with us, but that we have been assumed up into Him. That's how I understand the Incarnation anyways.

The Greek Fathers did not have as dilineated a defintion of the terms salvation, justification, and sanctification. To them, salvation was not only being forgiven, and not just getting back to what Adam and Eve were, but it is a re-creation of human nature in union with the divinity of Christ. We are to be fully re-formed, so simply being forgiven isn't the end of our salvation, it is the beginning. We are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in "working out our salvation in fear and trembling", as St. Paul says, to be sanctified and re-created in the likeness of Christ, the New Adam: this is the fulness of salvation.

I believe personally that salvation is both through faith alone and through works, although salvation is given on account of (or because of) neither. But solely because of grace.

As for cooperation, the paradox, is that we cooperate the most with God, when we cease our own efforts (rom 4:4-5), and take up refuge or rest, in God who is for us a perpetual Sabbath. It is only through passivity toward God, that christians are enabled to work out that salvation. Which it bears mentioning, it is not to gain salvation (ie gain something we have yet to attain), but to literally, work out what is already there...for God works in us. (I'm not saying, you differ on this, just thought it worth mentioning as I said).

cheryl said...

(This may post more than once, I don't know, blogger seems to be on the fritz).

I also was referring to what in Lutheran parlance is termed sanctification, which Lutheran theology teaches is a cooperation, synergy, a mandatory working together with the Holy Spirit in showing forth the justification we have been given solely by the grace of God.

Well, sanctification, justification, synergy, ect. as distinct catagories are things which are quite foreign to me. In other words, I don't look at things as, "oh this is justification", "this is sanctification" ect. (In other words, I don't really subscribe to any particular theological framework. These things exist simultaneously for me. (Although "synergy" in my opinion does not adequately describe our cooperation with God).

This is similar to St. Maximus' more ontological take on our salvation tied up in the very person of Christ. We are one nature with Christ, but we are not one person. Our nature was saved in Him, died, rose, and ascended to the Father, but our separate Persons were not.

But while our person should not be confused with Christ, and nature and person can be distinguished (again, not confused), they still cannot be separated.
When Christ imparts life to our natures, saves it from sin and satan, and resurrects it on the last day, he is by consequence saving our person.

I guess too, it depends on what is meant by, "we are one nature with Christ". For me, the hypostatic union is indicative not merely of the fact that Christ shares a common nature with us, but that we have been assumed up into Him. That's how I understand the Incarnation anyways.

The Greek Fathers did not have as dilineated a defintion of the terms salvation, justification, and sanctification. To them, salvation was not only being forgiven, and not just getting back to what Adam and Eve were, but it is a re-creation of human nature in union with the divinity of Christ. We are to be fully re-formed, so simply being forgiven isn't the end of our salvation, it is the beginning. We are called to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in "working out our salvation in fear and trembling", as St. Paul says, to be sanctified and re-created in the likeness of Christ, the New Adam: this is the fulness of salvation.

I believe personally that salvation is both through faith alone and through works, although salvation is given on account of (or because of) neither. But solely because of grace.
As for cooperation, the paradox, is that we cooperate the most with God, when we cease our own efforts (rom 4:4-5), and take up refuge or rest, in God who is for us a perpetual Sabbath. It is only through passivity toward God, that christians are enabled to work out that salvation. Which it bears mentioning, it is not to gain salvation (ie gain something we have yet to attain), but to literally, work out what is already there...for God works in us. (I'm not saying, you differ on this, just thought it worth mentioning as I said).