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1299Re: Communing Infants

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  • nrinne
    Aug 4, 2009
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      oruaseht, Randall,

      I am wondering if I might have permission to post this question and answer on my weblog.

      Thanks,
      Nathan



      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, randall hay <stortford@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'd tossed out some rambling thoughts on that post; I've fleshed them out now and made them more cogent:
      >
      > Adults are stained by sinful "passions" (Gk pathe, ingrained evil habits) in a way that infants are not....hence, we require catechesis.
      >
      > While the biblical/patristic concept of the passions seems lost in the modern West, it explains a lot. For example, this is why adolescents can be so obnoxious (I'm thinking of my own teen years here): as they mature, the passions have more of a chance to become rooted in them....pride, anger, envy, selfishness, etc. This is why middle-aged people so commonly desert their spouses, have affairs, turn gay, leave family behind to "find themselves"....another new set of demonic passions have become established in their hearts.
      >
      > The fathers say that Jesus began His ministry at age 30 because that's the stage where we've had a chance to fall into the major passions: envy, gluttony, pride, vanity, self-absorption, covetousness, carnal lusts, alchoholism, boredom, etc etc. While He didn't fall into any of them, He faced every temptation we do. In fact, as Luke points out, His maturing into young adolescence went the way it's supposed to: He grew in favor with God and man, not in favor with the Devil.
      >
      > But getting back to your question, the Church recognizes the human capabilities and states as they are, and its practices are aimed appropriately. Adults, being so rooted in the passions, have to shake off the world a lot (or more accurately, get into the spiritual mode aimed at that). Our prayer life, nous, heart, soul, jobs, physical existence, family life etc all need to be re-configured as we begin to combat the passions. Reason is a prime mover at this. Reason directs where we are "pointing" our nous, our thoughts; when and how we pray, what we say to other people, how we treat them; how we react to the evil suggestions constantly being put into our minds by demons.
      >
      > This process is one of a lifetime; catechesis is crucial in getting it started. We have to learn a lot about ourselves, God, others, the angels, the Incarnation etc to understand the lifelong spiritual warfare to which are committing ourselves.
      >
      > Without catechesis, we tend to let our passions rule the roost unchecked...to let our old life go on pretty much as before. The Old Man parties it up, happy in his own little self-created hell.
      >
      > With an infant this is isn't so. While they may sin, they aren’t so immersed in the fallen world.
      >
      > As they grow older, of course, they do need teaching to as not to mature in evil....we’re supposed to be involved with learning till we die.
      >
      > â€"I might point out that our understanding of this “learning” is not academic. Patristic texts and discourses do not read like textbooks; they have a unique blend of simplicity and depth that is unlike anything I’d ever come across. Once I found this myself I could never stop reading it. It's like I'd found clear water when I was used to a muddy pool.
      >
      > The paradigm for the Orthodox teacher is an elder. This is not someone with a PhD; we don’t have “Doctors of the Church” like RC. An elder is a man of prayer who has applied himself to the spiritual life, the Scriptures and Fathers and attained this astonishing depth of teaching with the grace of God (not a PhD committee).
      >
      > R.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: oruaseht <oruaseht@...>
      > To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Sunday, August 2, 2009 1:25:27 AM
      > Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: Communing Infants
      >
      >
      > I would really appreciate hearing an Orthodox opinion on this post. Any takers?
      >
      > --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, "kreutz003" <emmluth@ > wrote:
      > >
      > > From some of the conversation in this area so far I see the Orthodox have a similar conundrum as do Lutherans to some extent when dealing with when to allow people to participate in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.
      > > If infants are baptized and confirmed and thus given the Sacrament when very young it shows the grace operative in the Mystery rather than a rationalistic instruction that is needed to participate in the Body of Christ. HOWEVER it would seem that a family coming into the Orthodox Church needs catechesis before Baptism and communing. Why the difference? Does this not impact "grace"? If infants do not need to rationally examine themselves, why do converts? We do the same thing in a Lutheran context with baptism. We baptize infants but instruct adults before baptism. WHY? What is the role of the nous vs the mind when it comes to communion and baptism?
      > >
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      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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