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  • Matt

    Father:  Thought you might like this wonderful document, just released by the Canadian Catholic bishops:
    http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/ministry-ssa_en.pdf

  • BrotherCraig

    When GKC what asked which of his works he considered the greatest. His reply. “I do no not think any of my works are great.” An editor sent a question to various writers expecting an essay for his publication (it might have been the London Times) in reply. The editor’s had written the question, “What is world with the world?” GKC responded. “Dear Sir, I am.
     G.K Chesterton.

  • papou paul

    I always enjoy your posts. And you reminded me to introduce my younger children to Lyle Lovett’s western Swing – ‘That’s Right You’re Not From Texas’ is priceless.

  • Papoupaul

    That is exactly what I think of ‘Downtown’. My uncle had the 45, and it is one of the first I remember too. Great song.

  • Silvest37

    good morning fr. gregory, re: self love.  your article has reminded me that all is god’s gift; all that is godly, i.e. so in loving what is of god in me and others, i need immediatly to turn to god in thanksgiving.  my soul is restless, till it rests in thee.  be content then to offer thanks for all that is from our all loving God.  thanks, jim silvestri

  • Paul Cringasu

    God Bess! I am an orthodox deacon from Romania, seeking information regarding orthodox opinions related to the new evangelisation that the romano-catholic church has started. I have seen that you quote the archbishop of cantebury in an article about that, saying this is a good orthodox view. Can you please give me, father, your contact info, so that I may ask for some help? Thank you and God Bless!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrielotte Gabriel Otte

    Dear Father. The Orthodox PrayerBook has been updated to fix the bug. Please review again!

  • John

    Fr Jensen, I would love to hear your recommendations for a good parish. I currently live in St Louis near Forest Park, which is really near the center of the metro area. Do you feel I should share my situation with a priest here. I am technically Antiochian but would feel comfortable going to whichever church you recommend. Thank you for your help

  • Yuri Rimsky

    Father, Could you address the “gnomic will” and the “natural will” in more detail? I’m referring,obviously, to St Maximos the Confessor theology of the “gnomic will”.

    I have had some discussion on the topic, about if the Holy Father was referring to the existence of two real different wills; or like i argued, the “gnomic will” it’s the use of our will according ,not to our nature, but to our own understanding of the objects and events, that we come across in our life. That is ,through our mental faculties directed not to God, the Uncreated, but to the surrounding world, the created.

    Another doubt that i have, in this respect, is if the energies of our will, when working through the mind receive the name of “gnomic will”, and if when working through the heart (nous) are called “natural will”.

    Thanks for your time. Best regards and Godspeed.

    • Fr Michael B

      Mr Rimsky,

      The blessing of the Lord.

      Fr Gregory asked me to respond to your questions about the gnomic will in St Maximus. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

      St Maximus says that the capacity to will is implanted in us by nature. This is easy to understand: since everybody is capable of willing, the faculty of will is natural to us, part of our human nature. HOW each person individually expresses that natural will is part of what we are dealing with when we speak of “gnomic” will. For it is the personal/hypostatic expression of our natural will that is characterized as being “gnomic.”

      (Because of this, your second doubt above, is incorrect: the will is not gnomic when working through the mind and natural when working through the heart. All of us have natural will, all of us express the natural will in a personal way, and in every person’s case, the personal expression of our natural will is colored by a gnomic quality.)

      (Also, if you know the technical vocabulary, the natural will belongs to the logos physeos, the “logos of nature,” while our personal expression of it belongs to our tropos hyparxeos, “the mode of existence.”)

      Gnomie is a a tendency or disposition of the fallen mind. Because we have not attained perfect theosis/deification, and because our minds are darkened by the Fall and are turned toward the things of the world, our minds are subject to uncertainty, to mutability and change, and this forms in us certain tendencies or dispositions to see and do things in particular ways, ways that are not informed by divine illumination. As a result, given the multiplicity of the world, we stumble around a lot and misunderstand things. We are given several different options and have to decide which one is best, and we hesitate. We would not hesitate if we KNEW what was best thing to choose, but since we cannot know perfectly, we must make a choice among possible goods, and our choice is characterized by hesitancy, ignorance, indecision and changeability. It is this hesitant, indecisive quality of the will that Maximus means when he says that the will is “gnomic.”

      There are Christological implications, too: since Christ was the Logos incarnate and had perfect knowledge, Maximus denied that Christ had a gnomic will. He did not hesitate or weigh alternatives, but He simply willed the good because it was clear to Him.

      I hope my explanation has been clear to you.

      May Paradise consume us.

      (V Rev) Michael Butler
      frmichaelb.com

  • matt860

    Hi Father Gregory: Love reading your blog, although I don’t check it that often.

    I’d like you to take a look at a document “The Power of Grace” by Archbishop Gerhard Müller, head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was published at the end of Oct 2013.

    Müller specifically addresses “pastoral leniency” that Orthdox churches give to cases of re-marriage.

    excerpt:
    “In the Orthodox Churches today, there are a great many grounds for divorce, which are
    mostly justified in terms of ‘oikonomia,’ or pastoral leniency in difficult individual cases, and they open the path to a second or third marriage marked by a penitential character. This practice cannot be reconciled with God’s will, as expressed unambiguously in Jesus’ sayings about the indissolubility of marriage. [. . .] Sometimes it is maintained that the Church de facto tolerated the Eastern practice. But this is not correct.” …

    “The teaching on ‘epikeia, too’ – according to which a law may be generally valid, but does not always apply to concrete human situations – may not be invoked here, because in the case of the indissolubility of sacramental marriage we are dealing with a divine norm that is not at the disposal of the Church.” …

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/muller/rc_con_cfaith_20131023_divorziati-risposati-sacramenti_en.html
    —-

    I’m a Catholic, Father, so this is really the first time I’ve read about this practice in the Orthodox Churches. Is this a widespread practice?

    Without explicitly saying so, it seems Pope Francis is hinting that the Church may approve more annulments, instead of fewer annulments. Müller also hints at this in this document.

    Anyway, I’d love to read your thoughts about all of this.

    In Christ,
    Matthew

    • http://palamas.info/ Fr Gregory Jensen

      Dear Matthew,

      The Lord bless you!

      Thank you for your kind words and your questions!

      The short answer is, yes, it is the practice of the Orthodox Church to allow for a second, and in some cases even a third, marriage. These subsequent unions are also not sacramental but (as was pointed out in the document to which you linked) are allowed as an expression of ‘oikonomia,’ or pastoral leniency.

      Though I am not a canon lawyer, I would respectful disagree with Archbishop Müller that the practice of the Orthodox Church is an abuse. It is rather a practice accepted by the Church since prior to the Great Schism.

      As for how common a second or third marriage is among Orthodox Christians–I suspect that they are more common in the US and the countries of the former Soviet Union than say Greece but I don’t have any hard data on that. It is, however, the historical practice of the Eastern Church since the Byzantine era.

      While I accept the Orthodox Church’s teaching, I do have some reservations about how it is put into practice especially in the US. I do worry that oikonomia is sometimes foster moral indifference and even is used to excuse immorality. That said, I think this is something that we must always guard against–it is too easy to confuse mercy and forgiveness with approval.

      If Pope Francis is thinking of increasing or losing the standards for annulment that would be, I think, an interesting development and one that would be of hopefully positive interest to the Orthodox. But we’ll have to await and see!

      Anyway, hope this answers your question. If you have more questions let me know either here or privately: frgregoryjgmailcom.

      In Christ,

      +FrG

  • FrJeffrey

    Father Gregory, thank you for the article “Reclaiming Psychology?” in
    Logos (Vol 54 1-2, 2013). In the article you ask who will read books by
    Christian psychologists and “in what context?” My experience is as a
    priest on one of the teams of Rachel’s Vineyard, a retreat for spiritual
    and psychological healing after abortion (www.rachelsvineyard.org).
    While secular psychologists are discouraged when they see our brochures
    because the program is “faith-based”, the combination of faith and
    science, treating the person the way you describe Pope Pius XII
    envisioning, as body and soul, results in tangible and powerful healing.
    We are even aware of the “ascetical demands” on us, including great
    humility before the work of the Holy Spirit. Thanks again.