Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Proper Distinction of Man

Expand Messages
  • Christopher Orr
    *Proper Distinction of Man by Ben Harju http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2009/08/proper-distinction-of-man.html* I was perusing St. John of Damascus An Exact
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 17, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      *Proper Distinction of Man

      by Ben Harju

      http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2009/08/proper-distinction-of-man.html*

      I was perusing St. John of Damascus' "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox
      Faith" the other day and I read this:

      Chapter X.—Concerning Faith.

      Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith cometh by hearing (Rom. x. 17). For
      by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy
      Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ,
      believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who
      restored us. For he that believeth not according to the tradition of the
      Catholic Church, or who hath intercourse with the devil through strange
      works, is an unbeliever.

      But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
      things not seen (Heb. xi. 1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of
      what God hath promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first,
      therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the
      Spirit.

      Further, observe that by baptism we cut (περιτεμνόμεθα, circumcise) off
      all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and
      become spiritual Israelites and God’s people.



      There's a lot in there worth mentioning, but what resonates with me
      personally at this point in my catechetical journey is that St. John of
      Damascus describes faith in a twofold manner: what belongs to our will and
      what is of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

      When I was a Lutheran, and especially in my seminary education, the first
      aspect – which St. John locates within the natural capability of man’s will
      even after the fall – was understood to be a gift of the Holy Spirit. In
      Lutheran theology man is incapable of believing or coming to faith on his
      own, because his nature – while still a good creation of God – is totally
      corrupted with sin. Or to put it more succinctly, the will of each
      individual is a direct aspect of human nature. Thus in Lutheranism the will
      is in bondage after the fall. Typical ways of explaining this or defending
      this to those who didn’t quite get it were, “How can one who is dead in sins
      believe?” or “Our wills are turned hostile against God (because our natures
      are sinful), so how can we possibly believe unless God converts our wills
      from unbelief to belief?”

      I don’t wish to brow-beat the Lutherans with their own theology here, but to
      relate my own personal history and a hurdle for me in converting to
      Orthodoxy. Grasping how the Orthodox could talk about man’s free will before
      conversion baffled me, because I thought Scripture was so clear on this
      issue. (I didn’t realize how much of Scripture I was seeing through a
      uniquely Augustinian lense.)

      Anyway, a clue to solving this issue lay in Christmas. It became clear to me
      in my study of the significance of Christ’s birth that Christ, by becoming
      true man, restored man’s nature to what it should be. He was born without
      sin and thus became what man is supposed to be, which is also what we all
      are called to become in Him. (Some Lutherans find nothing objectionable
      about this, and rightly so given the writings of Martin Luther.) So why
      didn’t Christ just close up shop and call it a job well done at that point?
      Because He needed to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil so that we
      might become partakers of that which was born on Christmas – of He who was
      born of the Virgin. (This was my thinking at the tail end of my time in
      Lutheranism; I’m not yet prepared to go back and evaluate my past thinking
      about redemption. I think I’ll stick to one issue for today.)

      I had unwittingly stumbled upon a distinction between man’s nature and man’s
      person. And even then I was still rather blind to this distinction and the
      great importance it has in theology. Luckily as catechumens we have a good
      catechist who is in tune with us and our needs. Today we heard in passing
      about the distinction that exists between man’s unique person and the nature
      he shares with all mankind (we also heard about this when learning of the
      Trinity, but I digress). Upon hearing this I made sure to not gloss over it
      but to focus heavily on it in my typical way: questions.

      I quickly came to realize that when I was a Lutheran I located man’s ability
      to believe squarely in his nature, when in fact it is a function of his
      unique person. In fact in all my theological training this distinction
      between nature and person really was never formally hit upon. Perhaps this
      stems from St. Augustine, who confuses nature and person in man (or so I’m
      told).

      So what? What’s the significance? It is the nature of man that is bound by
      sin, death, and the devil. It is the nature of man that is held under
      dominion from within by the Evil One. The unique person, though, is stuck
      with the impaired nature and is limited by it (which is why my confirmands
      used to ask why God holds them accountable, when the sinful nature is
      someone else’s fault). So the person can look at the law of God and say it
      is good, and desire to carry it out, but because of the limitations of the
      nature he cannot do this. Even those in the OT Scripture who are called
      righteous only manage an external righteousness, not the internal+external
      righteousness that stems from a nature in communion with the Trinity and the
      person exercising his will in conformity with his godly nature (or we could
      say his nature enspirited by the Holy Spirit).

      If man’s will is a function of his nature and not his person, though, then
      he can do nothing. He cannot even believe. God must prop him up and change
      him against his will, or alter the status of his will in some way. From here
      we can maybe see were the notions of predestination, bondage of the will,
      and other familiar Protestant doctrines come into play. Maybe, too, by
      juxtaposing the distinction of nature and person against the blurring of the
      same as happens in the Augustinian/Protestant traditions, we can see why
      Protestants sometimes accuse the Orthodox of having a weaker view on sin. It
      isn’t a weaker view on sin, but a more thorough grasp on the creation of man
      in the image of God.

      Getting back to the main thought: if the will (and with it the ability to
      believe) is located in each of our unique persons (Ben, Emily, etc.), then
      what St. John of Damascus says about believing and the will rings true
      indeed. A person can at best desire what is good, but his (or her) fallen
      nature limits the abilities and wills of the person. But when the nature is
      freed and redeemed from bondage to sin, death, and the devil by communion
      with Christ, the new beginning and rejuvenation of our nature, then the
      inner bondage is released and in its place is the freedom of the Spirit, in
      which the person is called to walk and grown and to attain the full measure
      of Christ in one’s person. Now the will can desire, but the Spirit is the
      One who both teaches the will and gives Energy to the desires of the will in
      so far as those desires conform to the desires of the Spirit.

      I am very thankful for our catechesis. I enjoy the deep conversations we
      have with our priest. Our topic tonight was over justification, but I
      promised him I would not post his notes on the Internet (which I certainly
      haven’t!). He should have them published. But this topic, and what I’ve
      related here, is a combination of conversation arising from my own questions
      and my own internal attempts to grasp the Orthodox experience around me. I
      don’t claim to be a master of this knowledge, but I do claim that this is
      significant for me.

      From where does this distinction between nature and person in man arise? The
      Holy Trinity, in whose image we are made, and in Christ whose image we are
      called back to. But that is a topic for another time (and maybe another
      person? Only God knows…).


      Today is the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day she died, entered
      heaven, and when her body was taken into heaven by Christ. As the songs in
      the Liturgy proclaimed, she was translated into life, because she is the the
      Mother of Life (Himself). In the freedom of her will she said Yes to God, or
      as our blessed priest said, she heard the Word and kept it - kept Him. In
      the freedom of her will she said yes and God entered into the most intimate
      and mystical communion with her, cleansing her and perfecting her,
      establishing her as the New Eve (Mother of all the Living) and thus showing
      us in this divine mystery of the Incarnation what He wills to do for all who
      will say the Yes of Faith, in daily conversion and ascesis. And today we
      have set before our eyes in iconography and our ears in the Liturgy of the
      Church what that faithful Yes to God gets: passing over from death into life
      - into Life - by the Grace and Mercy of God.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Kimberly Sparling
      Thank you so much for posting this! I was just doing some research on this last night, and did not realize the different view Orthodox have of original sin.
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 17, 2009
      • 0 Attachment
        Thank you so much for posting this! I was just doing some research on this
        last night, and did not realize the different view Orthodox have of original
        sin. It makes so much more sense.
        My dh and I are going to attend our priest's class for seekers next week. I
        think I better start writing down my questions, or I will forget all of
        them.
        Kim

        On Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 7:25 AM, Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > *Proper Distinction of Man
        >
        > by Ben Harju
        >
        > http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2009/08/proper-distinction-of-man.html*
        >
        > I was perusing St. John of Damascus' "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox
        > Faith" the other day and I read this:
        >
        > Chapter X.—Concerning Faith.
        >
        > Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith cometh by hearing (Rom. x. 17). For
        > by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy
        > Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ,
        > believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who
        > restored us. For he that believeth not according to the tradition of the
        > Catholic Church, or who hath intercourse with the devil through strange
        > works, is an unbeliever.
        >
        > But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
        > things not seen (Heb. xi. 1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of
        > what God hath promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first,
        > therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the
        > Spirit.
        >
        > Further, observe that by baptism we cut (περιτεμνόμεθα, circumcise) off
        > all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and
        > become spiritual Israelites and God’s people.
        >
        > There's a lot in there worth mentioning, but what resonates with me
        > personally at this point in my catechetical journey is that St. John of
        > Damascus describes faith in a twofold manner: what belongs to our will and
        > what is of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
        >
        > When I was a Lutheran, and especially in my seminary education, the first
        > aspect – which St. John locates within the natural capability of man’s will
        > even after the fall – was understood to be a gift of the Holy Spirit. In
        > Lutheran theology man is incapable of believing or coming to faith on his
        > own, because his nature – while still a good creation of God – is totally
        > corrupted with sin. Or to put it more succinctly, the will of each
        > individual is a direct aspect of human nature. Thus in Lutheranism the will
        > is in bondage after the fall. Typical ways of explaining this or defending
        > this to those who didn’t quite get it were, “How can one who is dead in
        > sins
        > believe?” or “Our wills are turned hostile against God (because our natures
        > are sinful), so how can we possibly believe unless God converts our wills
        > from unbelief to belief?”
        >
        > I don’t wish to brow-beat the Lutherans with their own theology here, but
        > to
        > relate my own personal history and a hurdle for me in converting to
        > Orthodoxy. Grasping how the Orthodox could talk about man’s free will
        > before
        > conversion baffled me, because I thought Scripture was so clear on this
        > issue. (I didn’t realize how much of Scripture I was seeing through a
        > uniquely Augustinian lense.)
        >
        > Anyway, a clue to solving this issue lay in Christmas. It became clear to
        > me
        > in my study of the significance of Christ’s birth that Christ, by becoming
        > true man, restored man’s nature to what it should be. He was born without
        > sin and thus became what man is supposed to be, which is also what we all
        > are called to become in Him. (Some Lutherans find nothing objectionable
        > about this, and rightly so given the writings of Martin Luther.) So why
        > didn’t Christ just close up shop and call it a job well done at that point?
        > Because He needed to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil so that we
        > might become partakers of that which was born on Christmas – of He who was
        > born of the Virgin. (This was my thinking at the tail end of my time in
        > Lutheranism; I’m not yet prepared to go back and evaluate my past thinking
        > about redemption. I think I’ll stick to one issue for today.)
        >
        > I had unwittingly stumbled upon a distinction between man’s nature and
        > man’s
        > person. And even then I was still rather blind to this distinction and the
        > great importance it has in theology. Luckily as catechumens we have a good
        > catechist who is in tune with us and our needs. Today we heard in passing
        > about the distinction that exists between man’s unique person and the
        > nature
        > he shares with all mankind (we also heard about this when learning of the
        > Trinity, but I digress). Upon hearing this I made sure to not gloss over it
        > but to focus heavily on it in my typical way: questions.
        >
        > I quickly came to realize that when I was a Lutheran I located man’s
        > ability
        > to believe squarely in his nature, when in fact it is a function of his
        > unique person. In fact in all my theological training this distinction
        > between nature and person really was never formally hit upon. Perhaps this
        > stems from St. Augustine, who confuses nature and person in man (or so I’m
        > told).
        >
        > So what? What’s the significance? It is the nature of man that is bound by
        > sin, death, and the devil. It is the nature of man that is held under
        > dominion from within by the Evil One. The unique person, though, is stuck
        > with the impaired nature and is limited by it (which is why my confirmands
        > used to ask why God holds them accountable, when the sinful nature is
        > someone else’s fault). So the person can look at the law of God and say it
        > is good, and desire to carry it out, but because of the limitations of the
        > nature he cannot do this. Even those in the OT Scripture who are called
        > righteous only manage an external righteousness, not the internal+external
        > righteousness that stems from a nature in communion with the Trinity and
        > the
        > person exercising his will in conformity with his godly nature (or we could
        > say his nature enspirited by the Holy Spirit).
        >
        > If man’s will is a function of his nature and not his person, though, then
        > he can do nothing. He cannot even believe. God must prop him up and change
        > him against his will, or alter the status of his will in some way. From
        > here
        > we can maybe see were the notions of predestination, bondage of the will,
        > and other familiar Protestant doctrines come into play. Maybe, too, by
        > juxtaposing the distinction of nature and person against the blurring of
        > the
        > same as happens in the Augustinian/Protestant traditions, we can see why
        > Protestants sometimes accuse the Orthodox of having a weaker view on sin.
        > It
        > isn’t a weaker view on sin, but a more thorough grasp on the creation of
        > man
        > in the image of God.
        >
        > Getting back to the main thought: if the will (and with it the ability to
        > believe) is located in each of our unique persons (Ben, Emily, etc.), then
        > what St. John of Damascus says about believing and the will rings true
        > indeed. A person can at best desire what is good, but his (or her) fallen
        > nature limits the abilities and wills of the person. But when the nature is
        > freed and redeemed from bondage to sin, death, and the devil by communion
        > with Christ, the new beginning and rejuvenation of our nature, then the
        > inner bondage is released and in its place is the freedom of the Spirit, in
        > which the person is called to walk and grown and to attain the full measure
        > of Christ in one’s person. Now the will can desire, but the Spirit is the
        > One who both teaches the will and gives Energy to the desires of the will
        > in
        > so far as those desires conform to the desires of the Spirit.
        >
        > I am very thankful for our catechesis. I enjoy the deep conversations we
        > have with our priest. Our topic tonight was over justification, but I
        > promised him I would not post his notes on the Internet (which I certainly
        > haven’t!). He should have them published. But this topic, and what I’ve
        > related here, is a combination of conversation arising from my own
        > questions
        > and my own internal attempts to grasp the Orthodox experience around me. I
        > don’t claim to be a master of this knowledge, but I do claim that this is
        > significant for me.
        >
        > From where does this distinction between nature and person in man arise?
        > The
        > Holy Trinity, in whose image we are made, and in Christ whose image we are
        > called back to. But that is a topic for another time (and maybe another
        > person? Only God knows…).
        >
        > Today is the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day she died,
        > entered
        > heaven, and when her body was taken into heaven by Christ. As the songs in
        > the Liturgy proclaimed, she was translated into life, because she is the
        > the
        > Mother of Life (Himself). In the freedom of her will she said Yes to God,
        > or
        > as our blessed priest said, she heard the Word and kept it - kept Him. In
        > the freedom of her will she said yes and God entered into the most intimate
        > and mystical communion with her, cleansing her and perfecting her,
        > establishing her as the New Eve (Mother of all the Living) and thus showing
        > us in this divine mystery of the Incarnation what He wills to do for all
        > who
        > will say the Yes of Faith, in daily conversion and ascesis. And today we
        > have set before our eyes in iconography and our ears in the Liturgy of the
        > Church what that faithful Yes to God gets: passing over from death into
        > life
        > - into Life - by the Grace and Mercy of God.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • AdonaiUplifts@gmail.com
        I had a similar realization in coming to Orthodoxy. I d love to do some further comparative research on this, to further my own understanding of the Gospel,
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 19, 2009
        • 0 Attachment
          I had a similar realization in coming to Orthodoxy. I'd love to do some further comparative research on this, to further my own understanding of the Gospel, and to have a resource specifically available to Lutherans who are looking East, or simply want to have a better comparative grasp of the major differences from the Orthodox view.

          There are a few major points like this (in Anthropology/Christology/Triadology) where Orthodox and Lutheran teaching seem to differ. And I'd love to work on an essay or booklet that highlights these differences in greater detail.

          Does any one have any good recommended resources, or know of some articles or books that directly deal with these things? I'd prefer to save myself some of the labor of digging through the Book of Concord and a large reading list (albeit things I want to read) on the Orthodox side.

          A month ago, I began writing an email to seek clarification on the Lutheran understanding of Justification, since for Lutherans it is the "doctrine by which the church stands or falls". However, when digging deeper, I have been finding that it is I Theanthropology and Triadology where the disparity is rooted. And until we can resolve those differences, things like Justification have to take a back seat.

          ANYway....
          I know it's a big topic and my question could be more precise, but....
          Any resource recommendations?

          Thanks,

          Jeremy
          Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Christopher Orr <xcjorr@...>

          Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2009 08:25:56
          To: <LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com>
          Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Proper Distinction of Man


          *Proper Distinction of Man

          by Ben Harju

          http://paredwka.blogspot.com/2009/08/proper-distinction-of-man.html*

          I was perusing St. John of Damascus' "An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox
          Faith" the other day and I read this:

          Chapter X.—Concerning Faith.

          Moreover, faith is twofold. For faith cometh by hearing (Rom. x. 17). For
          by hearing the divine Scriptures we believe in the teaching of the Holy
          Spirit. The same is perfected by all the things enjoined by Christ,
          believing in work, cultivating piety, and doing the commands of Him Who
          restored us. For he that believeth not according to the tradition of the
          Catholic Church, or who hath intercourse with the devil through strange
          works, is an unbeliever.

          But again, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
          things not seen (Heb. xi. 1), or undoubting and unambiguous hope alike of
          what God hath promised us and of the good issue of our prayers. The first,
          therefore, belongs to our will, while the second is of the gifts of the
          Spirit.

          Further, observe that by baptism we cut (περιτεμνόμεθα, circumcise) off
          all the covering which we have worn since birth, that is to say, sin, and
          become spiritual Israelites and God’s people.



          There's a lot in there worth mentioning, but what resonates with me
          personally at this point in my catechetical journey is that St. John of
          Damascus describes faith in a twofold manner: what belongs to our will and
          what is of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

          When I was a Lutheran, and especially in my seminary education, the first
          aspect – which St. John locates within the natural capability of man’s will
          even after the fall – was understood to be a gift of the Holy Spirit. In
          Lutheran theology man is incapable of believing or coming to faith on his
          own, because his nature – while still a good creation of God – is totally
          corrupted with sin. Or to put it more succinctly, the will of each
          individual is a direct aspect of human nature. Thus in Lutheranism the will
          is in bondage after the fall. Typical ways of explaining this or defending
          this to those who didn’t quite get it were, “How can one who is dead in sins
          believe?” or “Our wills are turned hostile against God (because our natures
          are sinful), so how can we possibly believe unless God converts our wills
          from unbelief to belief?”

          I don’t wish to brow-beat the Lutherans with their own theology here, but to
          relate my own personal history and a hurdle for me in converting to
          Orthodoxy. Grasping how the Orthodox could talk about man’s free will before
          conversion baffled me, because I thought Scripture was so clear on this
          issue. (I didn’t realize how much of Scripture I was seeing through a
          uniquely Augustinian lense.)

          Anyway, a clue to solving this issue lay in Christmas. It became clear to me
          in my study of the significance of Christ’s birth that Christ, by becoming
          true man, restored man’s nature to what it should be. He was born without
          sin and thus became what man is supposed to be, which is also what we all
          are called to become in Him. (Some Lutherans find nothing objectionable
          about this, and rightly so given the writings of Martin Luther.) So why
          didn’t Christ just close up shop and call it a job well done at that point?
          Because He needed to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil so that we
          might become partakers of that which was born on Christmas – of He who was
          born of the Virgin. (This was my thinking at the tail end of my time in
          Lutheranism; I’m not yet prepared to go back and evaluate my past thinking
          about redemption. I think I’ll stick to one issue for today.)

          I had unwittingly stumbled upon a distinction between man’s nature and man’s
          person. And even then I was still rather blind to this distinction and the
          great importance it has in theology. Luckily as catechumens we have a good
          catechist who is in tune with us and our needs. Today we heard in passing
          about the distinction that exists between man’s unique person and the nature
          he shares with all mankind (we also heard about this when learning of the
          Trinity, but I digress). Upon hearing this I made sure to not gloss over it
          but to focus heavily on it in my typical way: questions.

          I quickly came to realize that when I was a Lutheran I located man’s ability
          to believe squarely in his nature, when in fact it is a function of his
          unique person. In fact in all my theological training this distinction
          between nature and person really was never formally hit upon. Perhaps this
          stems from St. Augustine, who confuses nature and person in man (or so I’m
          told).

          So what? What’s the significance? It is the nature of man that is bound by
          sin, death, and the devil. It is the nature of man that is held under
          dominion from within by the Evil One. The unique person, though, is stuck
          with the impaired nature and is limited by it (which is why my confirmands
          used to ask why God holds them accountable, when the sinful nature is
          someone else’s fault). So the person can look at the law of God and say it
          is good, and desire to carry it out, but because of the limitations of the
          nature he cannot do this. Even those in the OT Scripture who are called
          righteous only manage an external righteousness, not the internal+external
          righteousness that stems from a nature in communion with the Trinity and the
          person exercising his will in conformity with his godly nature (or we could
          say his nature enspirited by the Holy Spirit).

          If man’s will is a function of his nature and not his person, though, then
          he can do nothing. He cannot even believe. God must prop him up and change
          him against his will, or alter the status of his will in some way. From here
          we can maybe see were the notions of predestination, bondage of the will,
          and other familiar Protestant doctrines come into play. Maybe, too, by
          juxtaposing the distinction of nature and person against the blurring of the
          same as happens in the Augustinian/Protestant traditions, we can see why
          Protestants sometimes accuse the Orthodox of having a weaker view on sin. It
          isn’t a weaker view on sin, but a more thorough grasp on the creation of man
          in the image of God.

          Getting back to the main thought: if the will (and with it the ability to
          believe) is located in each of our unique persons (Ben, Emily, etc.), then
          what St. John of Damascus says about believing and the will rings true
          indeed. A person can at best desire what is good, but his (or her) fallen
          nature limits the abilities and wills of the person. But when the nature is
          freed and redeemed from bondage to sin, death, and the devil by communion
          with Christ, the new beginning and rejuvenation of our nature, then the
          inner bondage is released and in its place is the freedom of the Spirit, in
          which the person is called to walk and grown and to attain the full measure
          of Christ in one’s person. Now the will can desire, but the Spirit is the
          One who both teaches the will and gives Energy to the desires of the will in
          so far as those desires conform to the desires of the Spirit.

          I am very thankful for our catechesis. I enjoy the deep conversations we
          have with our priest. Our topic tonight was over justification, but I
          promised him I would not post his notes on the Internet (which I certainly
          haven’t!). He should have them published. But this topic, and what I’ve
          related here, is a combination of conversation arising from my own questions
          and my own internal attempts to grasp the Orthodox experience around me. I
          don’t claim to be a master of this knowledge, but I do claim that this is
          significant for me.

          From where does this distinction between nature and person in man arise? The
          Holy Trinity, in whose image we are made, and in Christ whose image we are
          called back to. But that is a topic for another time (and maybe another
          person? Only God knows…).


          Today is the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day she died, entered
          heaven, and when her body was taken into heaven by Christ. As the songs in
          the Liturgy proclaimed, she was translated into life, because she is the the
          Mother of Life (Himself). In the freedom of her will she said Yes to God, or
          as our blessed priest said, she heard the Word and kept it - kept Him. In
          the freedom of her will she said yes and God entered into the most intimate
          and mystical communion with her, cleansing her and perfecting her,
          establishing her as the New Eve (Mother of all the Living) and thus showing
          us in this divine mystery of the Incarnation what He wills to do for all who
          will say the Yes of Faith, in daily conversion and ascesis. And today we
          have set before our eyes in iconography and our ears in the Liturgy of the
          Church what that faithful Yes to God gets: passing over from death into life
          - into Life - by the Grace and Mercy of God.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.