Monday, June 14, 2010

Reading Group, 5b

Juridical Vengeance or Co-Suffering Love
A More Positive Exposition of the Moral Content of the Dogma of Redemption

a. To provide an Orthodox interpretation of the dogma of the redemption it is necessary to produce a feasible work in which the interpretation of the dogma is the central thesis. The treatise will proceed by observing what constantly occurs in life.

b. The assimilation of redemption by faith is regeneration. The example of Zacchaeus provides a better example of regeneration than the parable of the prodigal son.

c. There are three types of influence leading to regeneration: admonition, example, and something greater.

d. A person who is not deeply corrupted is sometimes brought to reason by exhortation and good example. Sometimes this is accomplished by a power placed into them, and this power is the force of regeneration, and by this power Christ has redeemed us.

e. By grace, people, and especially priests, are granted a certain portion of this power of regeneration.

f. The main question is: by what means does the Lord redeem and regenerate us?

g. The third force of regeneration is the power of co-suffering love, which sets regeneration in motion.

h. The co-suffering love of one who perceives the fall of a neighbor with as much grief as if he himself were the sinner is a powerful force of regeneration.

i. Only the first glimmer of such a manifestation of God’s regenerating grace is encountered.

j. Dostoevsky, in his earlier works, focused attention not upon those who serve in the mystery of regeneration, but upon those upon whom it was bestowed.

k. In The Brothers Karamazov he portrayed the characters of two such examples of brotherly love. The Prologue provides similar examples.

l. The influence of grace-bearing co-suffering love lies in its leading the soul out of a condition of moral indifference toward a definite decision, to be with God or against God.

m. Contact with regenerating grace does not destroy one’s freedom.

n. The Elder Jerome attracted about 2,000 monks to Mt Athos by his meekness and compassion, and his spirit blocked the way of sinners and brought people to repentance.

o. Dostoevsky portrays this action of co-suffering love, which divides people into those being regenerated and those being condemned.

p. One ought not to be disturbed by the use of secular literature in explaining dogma.

q. The principle of strength of moral regeneration is the power of co-suffering love.

r. The earnest of this gift is imparted in the mystery of ordination.
  1. How can it be said that Christ has redeemed us by the power of regeneration? How does the regeneration that comes through Christ differ from that which comes through people?
  2. What is the connection between the power of regeneration and the exercise of free will?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Schaeffer's L'Abri community combined hospitality with honest intellectual inquiry. By the warmth of a crackling fire, Schaeffer chiseled away at the foundations of Enlightenment rationalism one moment and fanned the flame of Classic Christianity the next. He treated each pilgrim with respect and dignity, listening patiently to stories of struggle, confusion and heartache. Often with tears streaming down his face, Schaeffer compassionately exposed the futility of any lifestyle or worldview that shrouded the Christian vision of reality.

Matthew

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the above mistake. I should read before I hit enter.

1. A. It can be said that Christ has redeemed us by the power of regeneration because it is Christ who places the power of regeneration into a person. “This power is the force of regeneration, and by this power Christ has redeemed us.”

The Metropolitan is citing from the Scriptures, life experience and secular literature to show that regeneration comes through people in three ways: i) by a word of instruction; ii) an edifying example; and iii) co-suffering love, the last of which is the greatest. All of these examples show how one become spiritually regenerated and it is mediated by another person. Met. Antony makes sure to point out that the regeneration is “wrought by Christ and the Holy Spirit” but that it does (though not always) come through others.

B. I cannot find the answer to this question: ”How does the regeneration that comes through Christ differ from that which comes through people?” I see Met. Anthony stating that regeneration always is a result of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Two conditions that he adds to this are that: i) it can be mediated by human means; and ii) its lasting effects are dependent on the recipient to nurture what was place in him. In all cases, regeneration comes through Christ.

2. The connection between the power of regeneration and the exercise of free will is that although the power of regeneration can be placed in oneself we still have the choice to nurture it or not, to travel the path of good or the path of evil.

This chapter resonates with me and makes me want to read more about Metropolitan Antony because of his co-suffering love. It elicits two strong and unshakeable memories that I have. The first is regarding an earlier hero that I had from bygone days. I devoured all of his works though not only for intellectual and spiritual benefit but because of the balance of the heart and mind. Of him was said: “Schaeffer's L'Abri community combined hospitality with honest intellectual inquiry. By the warmth of a crackling fire, Schaeffer chiseled away at the foundations of Enlightenment rationalism one moment and fanned the flame of Classic Christianity the next. He treated each pilgrim with respect and dignity, listening patiently to stories of struggle, confusion and heartache. Often with tears streaming down his face, Schaeffer compassionately exposed the futility of any lifestyle or worldview that shrouded the Christian vision of reality.” This was no ivory tower.

In happening upon Orthodoxy I was exposed to the same theme of intelligence and co-suffering love when advised by the then Fr. Alexey (Young) to read the chapters in Fr. Seraphim (Rose’s) biography that deal with the same balancing act (Ch. 85+86, 2nd ed.)

Matthew

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