Deification/Theosis
#1
Why isn't this teaching stressed more in the Catholic Church?  It's clearly a central teaching, but isn't often directly addressed or taught, at least anymore. 

When I returned to the Church several years ago, I read CCC 460 and was deeply moved by the St. Athanasius quote, "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."  There's a lot packed into that one sentence.

It seems pretty clear to me that in order to be "partakers of the divine nature", to be sharers in His divinity, we must transform ourselves to be more Christ-like, to be open to the grace of God in order to share in that experience.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's pretty much the reason for the Sacraments, why we adhere to the precepts of the Church, why we need to love God and our neighbor.  Not a reward/punishment thing, but more of an eye opener to the truth that will allow us participate, through our understanding and our actions.  And it's not an individual goal, but something that entails all faithful, hence the Church. 

The most prominent Catholic who talks about deification, or at least does so online, seems to be Father David Meconi, a Jesuit.  I agree with much of what he says, but he doesn't seem to have much respect for tradition.  He has commented that Catholics became too rule based, too legalistic.  While there may be some truth in that, I think tradition is essential, and those doctrines and rules are absolutely necessary. 

Any idea why this isn't stressed in Catholicism?  I must confess, I've watched quite a few videos and read some articles from Eastern Orthodox sources on the subject.  I feel like I'm cheating or something.
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#2
(01-11-2020, 03:35 PM)jack89 Wrote: Why isn't this teaching stressed more in the Catholic Church?  It's clearly a central teaching, but isn't often directly addressed or taught, at least anymore. 

Any idea why this isn't stressed in Catholicism?  I must confess, I've watched quite a few videos and read some articles from Eastern Orthodox sources on the subject.  I feel like I'm cheating or something.

Because we are more obsessed with dialogue, dialogue, and more dialogue.
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#3
Many reasons, and I don't think it's because the West lost anything that the East kept in its theology as the Orthodox will claim. But I think it is due to a general loss of the idea of Christianity as primarily a way of life intended to bring about inner transformation. Instead, Christianity is viewed as abstract body of doctrine with seemingly arbitrary moral precepts.
"If your heart comes to feel a natural hatred for sin, it has defeated the causes of sin and freed itself from them. Keep hell’s torments in mind; but know that your Helper is at hand. Do nothing that will grieve Him, but say to Him with tears: ‘Be merciful and deliver me, O Lord, for without Thy help I cannot escape from the hands of my enemies.’ Be attentive to your heart, and He will guard you from all evil."

- St. Isaias the Solitary

"Constant action overcomes cold; being still overcomes heat. Purity
and stillness give the correct law to all under heaven."

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#4
Deification is something which continued in Western theology right up to the modern era, it was simply identified as the mystical marriage or divine union. Unfortunately, nobody seeks out Divine union these days, so theology in the Church has seemed to swept it under the rug.
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

'Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes: vanity of vanities, and all is vanity.' - Ecclesiastes 1:2
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#5
It's because the West denies the Essence/ Energies distinction and believes in created grace.  In that schema as St. Gregory Palamas points out in his dialogue with Barlaam, even the Light of Tabor is created.

Without the Essence/ Energies distinction how can there be deification? Again, the key difference between East/ West in almost every respect is the West's insistence on Absolute Divine Simplicity and its denial of the Essence/ Energies distinction.  This has radical consequences for pretty much everything from Christology to Triadology and everything in between, including whether or not deification is possible.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#6
I haven't read C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity since college but it seems to me that this is the subject of that book.

I remember that it really moved me as I thought about how I must decrease and He must increase and the drawing with the circles demonstrating that.

It's the process of my heart becoming crucified and transformed into His heart.

It's the process of rooting out my sins and becoming like Him in virtue.

It's the process of becoming like Him here on earth since nothing unclean can enter Heaven.

It's the realization that apart from Him I can do nothing.

It's understanding that the only thing I can take credit for are my sins.

It's the mystery of the Transfiguration and the knowledge that our glorified bodies will be resurrected.

I guess we don't hear about it much since we don't hear about mortal or venial sin or Purgatory or virtues anymore or why we shouldn't cremate our bodies.

I'd love to hear about it more!  

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make my heart like to Thine!   Heart
Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist. 
The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders  
The Church will be in eclipse

-Our Lady of La Salette


Like Christ, His Bride the Church will undergo its own passion, burial, and resurrection.
-unknown traditional priest

Father Ripperger said that if we are detached from all things, aren't afraid to suffer, and we accept all suffering as the will of God for our sanctity, we have nothing to fear!
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#7
Here is an article on C. S. Lewis and the doctrine of deification:

http://www.cslewis.org/journal/shine-as-.../view-all/
Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist. 
The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders  
The Church will be in eclipse

-Our Lady of La Salette


Like Christ, His Bride the Church will undergo its own passion, burial, and resurrection.
-unknown traditional priest

Father Ripperger said that if we are detached from all things, aren't afraid to suffer, and we accept all suffering as the will of God for our sanctity, we have nothing to fear!
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#8
(01-11-2020, 08:03 PM)Sacred Heart lover Wrote: Here is an article on C. S. Lewis and the doctrine of deification:

http://www.cslewis.org/journal/shine-as-.../view-all/
I read through the first part of the article.  Looks interesting.  

I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis.  I especially like Mere Christianity and The Four Loves.  To be fair though, he was Anglican and not Catholic.  I don't mean to be picky, but I am wondering why there is less emphasis in the Catholic Church.
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#9
(01-11-2020, 10:33 PM)jack89 Wrote: To be fair though, he was Anglican and not Catholic.  I don't mean to be picky, but I am wondering why there is less emphasis in the Catholic Church.

On this point, I would say he's more Catholic than most Catholics. I spent years as an Anglican, my best friends were Anglican priests, I read Anglican theology, and even considered the Anglican priesthood, and never heard the words theosis, deification, or divinisation until I became an Orthodox and then again as a Catholic, tho' you're right, we don't emphasise it as it should be.
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#10
It does seem to be the crux of the issue of the pendulum swing in the Catholic Church, at least in the perception of a large number of the laity.

So many say the "old Church" was all about "pray, pay and obey", and the "new Church" is all about lurrrrrve, but not the correct definition of love.

So rather than living out our lives in a state of crime and punishment with a scorecard, we need to grow from seeking holiness because we dread the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell, to seeking it because God is all good and deserving of all our love. 

But what is love?

It's not the "well God doesn't mind your sins because He loves you" attitude.

The Bible starts and ends with marriage and Heaven is the wedding feast and this is where I liked what I learned from the Theology of the Body in how it explained that the marital act is a symbol of the Eucharist where the two become one. 

It's because marriage is the earthly replica of Holy Communion and our Heavenly union with Him that He hates divorce and doesn't allow for remarriage.  (Not because he doesn't want us to be happy--as if marriage is any guarantee of happiness. Sticking tongue out at you)

All love is becoming like God in one way or another and joining in union with Him and allowing Him to work His grace and His virtue in our beings.

Now that sounds a lot more enthralling and motivating to me than "be good or you'll get this many years in Purgatory."

The idea of "becoming like gods" however sounds a bit like Mormonism or New Age.  Prideful.

No, if we want to become like God, we had better read the fine print and look at what He went through.  Then look at how the saints literally became like Him in body and soul and experienced all of the same trials He did.

True love is tested and demonstrated.  Sacrifice is the highest form of love.  That's the part moderns don't understand.  They can't imagine that Jesus would want you to sacrifice for Him.

I would tell my kids to be sure during Lent not to say, "I gave this thing up for Lent" but "I gave this thing up for Jesus" and it's in that way you are showing that you love Jesus more than that precious thing.

I remember the book and movie A Town Like Alice where Australian actor Bryan Brown showed his love for the lead actress by allowing himself to be crucified by Japanese soldiers to save her life.  It made me cry.

Yes, love has to be the motivating factor and we have to ask Him for the grace to love as He does so He can work through us and form us to become like Him.

I copied a prayer that Mary Reed Newland taught her children for mine:  Blessed Trinity living in my soul, I love you very much, please help me to love you more.

The retreat book, I Believe In Love, which comments on The Story of A Soul is a wonderful treatise on the theology of St. Therese where she declares that she will have no penances when she reaches Heaven, only love.

In the end, when everything else has burned away, Divine Love will be all there is...through Him, with Him and in Him.

Because God is love.
Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the antichrist. 
The demons of the air together with the Antichrist will perform great wonders  
The Church will be in eclipse

-Our Lady of La Salette


Like Christ, His Bride the Church will undergo its own passion, burial, and resurrection.
-unknown traditional priest

Father Ripperger said that if we are detached from all things, aren't afraid to suffer, and we accept all suffering as the will of God for our sanctity, we have nothing to fear!
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