One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

October 13, 2006

For Friday of the Twenty-Seventh Ordinary Week of the Church Year

Dear Visitors!
I have an ongoing dialogue with a particular person in the comments box of this homily. You may read everything, but I will not allow any comments besides my own and those of the person with whom I am conducting the dialogue.
-- Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Luke 11:15-26

The Gospel upholds that evil spirits, demons, and Satan exist.
Furthermore, since evil spirits exist, Jesus tells us it is necessary to oppose them explicitly, and it is necessary to take the side of Jesus explicitly.
Today in his Gospel, the Lord tells us that to oppose him is to be on the side of Satan.
Furthermore, today our Lord gives us a disturbing warning.
There is no neutral ground, no “diplomatic immunity,” no “demilitarized zone” and NO AGNOSTICISM between the kingdom of God and the sway of Satan.
An agnostic or neutral zone is only an empty house, liable to invasion by an army of the devil.
God respects our freedom.
The devil does not.
However, the Good News in the midst of all this is that Jesus is God, and is stronger than all the evil in the world.
He is God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God.
Through him all things were made.
He is the judge of the living and the dead.
HIS KINGDOM WILL HAVE NO END.

Though he suffered and died for the sins of the world, nonetheless he is love stronger than death.
He rose from the dead— his risen flesh and blood giving off the breath of the Holy Spirit.
Christ and the Holy Spirit have forever marked us for the Father.
They do that in baptism and all the sacraments.
God recognizes in us the eternal sacraments of his Word and his Spirit.
We ourselves must testify to this with our lives and all our choices, or else we make of ourselves mere empty houses liable to invasion.
Today and always, let the Lord in his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood be our dwelling, and let us ourselves always be dwellings for him.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







37 Comments:

Blogger Demensira said...

While I don't agree entirely with your definition of God or Satan, care to explain why not Satan?

I am still waiting for someone to convince me but I haven't had much luck thus far.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Here is the Church’s teaching about the fallen angels. It is published in the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”


THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391. Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil". The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."

392. Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God." The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".

393. It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."

394. Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

395. The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries— of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature— to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him."

8:44 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

While I appreciate the response, Father, I have read both the bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Even if it was a very long time ago.

I did so out of curiosity, because I really have never understood what draws people to worship God.

I have been a theistic Satanist for roughly 20 years. I would like someone - anyone - to present a strong argument as to why I ought not worship Satan.

Preferably in a tone for those of us who do not see what appears to be blatantly obvious to the the rest of the world.

If not I understand.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

To All My Readers:

I wish to communicate with Demensira respectfully, and in my own way. So, for the time being, I will not permit other persons than myself to have their comments on this topic to appear.


- - - -


Dear Demensira:


By saying "theistic Satanist" and "worship Satan", I take it that you worship Satan as a god ("theistic" from the Greek the theos). Is that the case?

As a start, I would say that the debate hinges on how you see Satan versus how Christianity sees Satan. If you do not accept how Christianity sees Satan, then Christian arguments against the worship of Satan will be pointless.

From your initial question on this blogpost, I would take it that you do not agree with how Christianity sees Satan. Is that correct?

A first step in the Christian argument against the worship of Satan is that Christianity holds that Satan is not divine, not a god, but is someone whom God created. Christians acknowledge God as the Creator. This first step is the foundation of all else in the question you and I are presently discussing.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

To clarify my position and beliefs I have two major points of contention with Christian theology.

First, I do not believe God is infallible. Second I am not convinced that, as you say, God is the Creator of all things.

That being said - I do not reject the possibility that I might be wrong. But it wouldn't matter to me whether Satan is a god, or just an angel. I would worship Him either way.

By the way when I say worship, I mean revere and admire but not love. I doubt love would be much use to Satan.

In any case, for lack of a better term I consider him Master. I doubt that's how a Christian would view him.

{Yes, I'm aware even among theistic Satanists my beliefs aren't the norm. The majority reject most if not all of Christian ideology.}

I hope that helps. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


Since our discussion here is on the topic of a post that I published more than a year ago, it is unlikely that much of the public would come across this. I am willing to continue with you on this discussion. Since you remain relatively anonymous, with none of your personal contact information appearing here, I'll continue our discussion here, unless you prefer otherwise. I have already deleted the other comment in which you wrote your e-mail (and so it never for a moment appeared here on the blog).

Continuing the discussion.

I respect that our discussion will be qualified by our respective beliefs. The following, however, is about the literal meaning of the crucial word.

The word “satan” is from Biblical Hebrew,
being both a noun and a verb.

As a noun,
it means “enemy,”
“adversary,”
“accuser.”

As a verb,
it means
“to be adverse,”
“to plot against,”
or “to accuse.”

As a proper name,
“Satan” is literally the “enemy” of humanity;
he literally “is adverse” to the human person,
literally “plots against” the human person,
and then “accuses” or denounces the human person to God.

So to use the Biblical Hebrew word “Satan”
is to name the one who is bent on humanity’s harm,
not welfare.

To call on the Biblical Hebrew name of Satan
is to summon one’s literal enemy.
It is to invoke harm upon oneself.
That is inevitable, because
because “satan” literally is “enemy.”

You have already affirmed that you do not agree with Biblical theology.

However, the literal meaning and literal ramifications of using the Biblical Hebrew "satan" still stand, no matter what one's belief system might be.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father,

I am not sure how to respond to that other then yes, that seems like an accurate description.

However, I would like to know what literal ramifications you seem to think there are. Other then hell of course.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


Since the Hebrew word "satan" literally means "enemy," the literal ramifications of your addressing "enemy" are those of having an enemy, someone inimical to you, not benevolent towards you, inviting the enemy's enmity toward yourself.

It would be similar to my addressing my messages to you as "Detestable Demensira," rather than "Dear Demensira."

I did not mention hell because that would involve a discussion dependent on belief systems.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

Just to expand a little on a previous post of yours:

To call on the Biblical Hebrew name of Satan
is to summon one’s literal enemy. (and yours)
It is to invoke harm upon oneself. (and others)
That is inevitable, because
because “satan” literally is “enemy.”
---------------

I encourage you to include the things that may depend on your belief system. The fact that I was raised Catholic has heavily influenced my perception of Satan and the relationship he has with God and us. That is why I posted on this blogspot rather then a Protestant or non-Denominational one.

That being said, my initial question "Why shouldn't I worship Satan" has not been answered. But - as I sit here and think, perhaps my question should have been, "Why should I desire salvation". Further, "Why should I want salvation for others".

I could probably give a laundry list of reasons for the first question. But I can't seem to answer those last two.

4:41 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

I admire your candor.
I included from my belief system the teaching in the Catechism concerning the fallen angels.

However, I also chose to respect that you disagree with what my belief system proposes. You also communicated that you have already read the Catechism.

I'll begin answering from my Catholic faith.

You have three questions now.
+ "Why shouldn't I worship Satan?" (However, you now add that your question perhaps should be the following two?)
+ "Why should I desire salvation?"
+ "Why should I want salvation for others?"

Implicit in the last two questions is a reply to the first. "You should not worship Satan (enemy)because doing so will prevent your salvation."

"Salvation" is from the Latin root, "salus." It means health, safety, salvation. In the Greek language of the Bible, the word for salvation would "soteria." The Greek word for savior is "soter." The Biblical Hebrew word for salvation the Biblical Hebrew name of God provide the roots of the Hebrew name Y'shua (Jesus), meaning "God the Savior" or "God is salvation."

What is the object of salvation? It is to ultimately:
+ to bring human nature into harmony or peace with itself (body, emotion, intellect, will-- in other words, body and soul);
+ to bring human persons into peace with each other;
+ to bring human persons into peace with God.

That peace or glory of salvation is ultimately to be joy, goodness, truth, beauty, unity.

For that reason, the holy angels sang at the birth of Jesus ("God is salvation"):
"GLORY to God in the highest...
and on earth PEACE to men on whom good will rests.

The stumbling block is that we do not see glory and peace happening well, consistently, permanently or perfectly.

Jesus, precisely as God incarnate, chose to commune with the present state of human existence: he was born as a man, lived as a man, died as a man. He committed truly to being "Emmanuel"-- Hebrew for "God-with-us"-- with us even to share the conditions of earthly human life.

Faith that he also rose as a man, and ascended as a man, is also faith in his promise that we will rise with our humanity restored and glorified.

We strive towards salvation despite finding that we still suffer, and that the glory of resurrection is not yet.

The ultimate alternative is to believe that all we have (and all that is really real) is what we see, feel, know and experience right now on the earth-- nothing more either now or later; and if that be the case, then suicide is a valid, logical option if one finds the present unacceptable.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father,

On your comment: "The stumbling block is that we do not see glory and peace happening well, consistently, permanently or perfectly."

I don't stumble on this point at all. I am willing to accept that as part of what it means to be human. That is - one of the side effects of having the freedom to choose, is that we can be positively or negatively affected/effected by the choices of other people.

My particular distaste of God does not stem from a perceived disconnect between the will of God, and the consequence of choices made by others.

But, please continue. Unfortunately I think this may be one of those, you should want it because it's right and good arguments. I'm afraid that those aren't qualities that provoke me into action.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


You are correct. That was one of those “it’s-right-and-good-arguments.” However, the potential action-provocative power of it depends on choosing to believe and choosing to act on what is believed.

I can understand that “right and good” are not qualities that provoke you into action in terms of faith and salvation. However, I presume that you do take action regarding what is “right and good” for your physical health and safety. If my presumption is correct, then your “non-action” about “right and good” is relative, not absolute.

You have affirmed what your particular distaste for God does not stem from. However, you have not said what it does stem from. You have also not told me what the worship of Satan does for you such that you choose it. If some form of “salvation” is not your goal, what ultimately is? That question is relative to your overall view of reality and history.

- - - -

I want to pursue two lines of thought.

- - - -

Here’s the first.

You said you willingly accept that with the freedom to choose comes the fact “that we can be positively or negatively affected/effected by the choices of other people.”

We can also be affected by the physical world, where no one’s choice plays a direct role in what happens to us, as is the case with, for example, earthquakes.

Why do negative (injurious, deadly, etc.) things happen to people, whether by the choices of other persons or by no one’s choice?

Actually, Christian faith sees that the primordial origin for “natural” disasters and human crimes goes back to the results of an original human choice.

(What follows is from my “belief system.”)

In the unfolding of creation in the Book of Genesis, the first thing created is light— immaterial energy. Then, in the following order:
+ inanimate physical elements (sky or heaven, water, land);
+ plants;
+ animals;
+ humanity.

(Catholicism does not look at the Book of Genesis as a literal “movie script” of how things happened. Nonetheless the “movie script” communicates certain underlying truths and realities.)

The distinguishing factor in the creation of humanity is God “breathing” into the fashioned-from-earth body of humanity. In Hebrew, “breath” and “spirit” and “wind” are one and the same word. No other physical creature has a share in spirit.

(Genesis speaks of God forming man’s body from the earth. I see that image as not irreconcilable with evolution, with the physical human reality evolving from the physical, animal world— but with one, distinguishing, non-evolutionary, intervention: at some point God finally created the first human soul— as the Hebrew account puts it, God breathed/spirited into the physical human reality.)

While the ancients did not share our particular understanding of physics, the ancient text still communicates the order of the creation of the universe as summed up— but also transcended— in man:
+ “light” energy or electrical impulses in man’s atoms, cells, and throughout his body;
+ elements, minerals, chemicals;
+ functions in common with plant life;
+ functions in common with animal life;
+ spirit.

(Except for spirit, there is, thus, even in the Genesis account, the hierarchy of complexity of the human body according to physics.)

In short, man is the summary of creation, but is also the spiritual communion between creation and the Creator.

The choice to disbelieve God, the “Original Sin,” is also a fundamental choice to disbelieve our humanity, own true nature, and this choice primordially wounded the summary of all creation: man. Paradise was lost, not just for man, but, since man is the summary of the created universe, the entire universe is no longer paradisiacal. Death can happen. Natural disasters can happen. Manmade disasters are perpetrated.

If there were no “Original Sin” that wounded and distorted human nature, then one would be led to conclude that man’s harmful and destructive choices arise because man is evil by nature, not by accident.

Classical Protestantism does not hold to that conclusion, but close to it: that following original sin man is totally depraved. However, then one must ultimately hold that a totally depraved humanity is not to be held responsible for depraved choices, since it is totally unable to do otherwise. Catholicism, on the other hand, holds that the “depravity” due to original sin is not total: a measure of freedom (and thus responsibility) remains.

The big question of theodicy also arises here. Simplistically put: “How can “God”— all-powerful and perfectly good— allegedly exist, if there is suffering?”

The honest Christian answer to that question is “I don’t know.” Jesus didn’t really tell us the solution either. However, human suffering can be an instrument and an occasion for spiritual growth— depending on one’s approach to it. By the way, Pope John Paul II wrote a long letter whose title in English is “The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering” (“Meaning of,” not “Answer to”). It’s a dense text. If you wish, you could read it online at the Vatican website, www.vatican.va.

- - - -

The second line of thought.

I wonder what you think or believe concerning material reality, spirituality, and the afterlife.

As I see it, there are three possible types of “belief system”:
+ Pure Materiality;
+ Pure Spirituality;
+ Materiality plus Spirituality;

Pure Materiality. No spirit and no afterlife. “Salvation” is getting what we can materially now and here

Pure Spirituality. The material world is an illusion. Ultimately, “salvation” is to escape material existence.

Materiality plus Spirituality. Humans are both physical and spiritual. (Angels are purely spiritual, but created. God is pure spirit, uncreated, the creator.) In Christianity, the final salvation will involve the restoration, eternal harmonization and glorification of man’s physical and spiritual being— and consequently, since man is the summary of the created universe, the “salvation” of the universe. (Rather than speak of the “salvation of the universe” the Scriptural expression would “the new heavens and the new earth,” or, the final “recapitulation of all things in Christ.”)

From what you’ve written me so far, I would say you are not a “Pure Materialist,” but I cannot say where you might fit in relationship to the other two categories.

- - - -

Reviewing what I’ve written, I wonder what questions I’m supposedly trying to answer.

I’d say I’m attempting to answer “Why salvation?” (beyond my earlier and shorter “right and good” argument).

10:31 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Events that provoke me into action are subject to what part of my life it affects. Typically, as long as it does not affect the spiritual well-being of me or others what’s ‘right and good’ makes sense. The water gets murky only after you pass that threshold.

Your questions.

What does my dislike of God stem from?
What does my worship of Satan do for me?
If some form of salvation is not my goal, what is?

I have not said what it stems from because I don’t know. It’s been long enough that if there ever was a catalyst, I’ve long since forgotten what it was. It is possible that my dislike of God comes from sermons similar in tone to the original post I responded to. It’s not that I disagree with the content, but since I have always felt an affinity for Satan one can’t help but be offended on some level.

Also, it is not a matter of what I get out of my devotion to Satan, Father. There is no particular goal, other then maybe directing people to take deliberate steps away from God. Or even abandoning their beliefs all together. Satan can’t give me anything I don’t already have. That’s not saying I don’t get a significant amount of satisfaction out of it.

Your first line of thought:

I understand that Genesis isn’t to be taken literally. On that note, I’m not sure if the wording of that approach is entirely of your own crafting but it is certainly one of the better descriptions of the Catholic understanding I’ve ever read.

As for your second thought.

I fall into the third category. I believe humans to be both physical and spiritual. I’m afraid what I believe about spirituality and the afterlife might take several pages. But as I said, Catholicism has strongly influenced my religious beliefs. I know that’s probably not the type of response you’re looking for, but I’m no theologian. Words have a way of escaping me.

In any event back on topic. The question was, “Why should I want salvation for myself and others?” The operative word is ‘want’. What makes you want it?

My hope in posting was that if someone could grasp the simple concept that there is no middle ground, maybe this person could also explain what it is I’m missing. It seems simple I know, even to the point of being common sense, but something I struggle with non-the-less. I seem to lack some type of fundamental understanding that makes people turn toward God rather then away from.

It drives me up the wall that I seem to be the only one who doesn’t get it.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

You have asked me what makes me want salvation. I’ll respond towards the end of what I’m writing now.

Be assured that your “type of response” regarding what you believe about spirituality and the afterlife was what I was looking for: you “believe humans to be both physical and spiritual.” The “fine-tuning” of that for me would be whether or not you believe humans will be both physical and spiritual in eternity.

Please understand that what I’m going to write here is with the intention of not being flippant or simplistic. I want to be sincere. Your words, particularly towards the end of what you’ve written now, reveal that you also “grasp the simple concept that there is no middle ground,” so that in the end things are simple, black and white— in the end (though, along the way there they may show themselves to be complex and shaded by degrees).

You write of yourself:
I have always felt an affinity for Satan.
Is that affinity “pre-rational” (I don’t mean “irrational”), an intuition, a feeling, an emotion?
Or is it an affinity arrived at by some intellective path of consideration, reflection?
If it is both, did one occur in your life before the other, and, if so, which?
Is your “always” literal, or “as long as you can remember,” or from an early date that you actually recall?

Behind those questions is my belief in the Biblical affirmation that Satan’s first intervention in human history was that of proposing a rational distortion to humanity’s perception of both God and humanity. I believe that an affinity for Satan is not natural to our human nature; but one of the results of original sin is that such an affinity could arise. It could occur as the result of one or more mistakes somewhere within the landscape of one’s own fallible, human reasoning and intellect; it could come as the gradual or sudden result of one’s choices; finally, such an “affinity” can be the outcome of Satanic “advances,” that is, possession. (I want to use that word without evoking Hollywood special effects and tabloid-style hyper-drama. Possession is subjection to the presence, power, and mastery of Satan)

You say you don’t know or have long forgotten what your dislike of God stems from. It is possible your dislike of God comes from Satan. Another possible source, which I am in no position to ascertain or assess, could be some psychological event of your past. It could also come, as I wrote in the previous paragraph, “as the result of one or more mistakes somewhere within the landscape of one’s own fallible, human reasoning and intellect.”

You write of yourself:
There is no particular goal, other than maybe directing people to take deliberate steps away from God. Or even abandoning their beliefs all together.
In my belief, what you describe here matches Satan’s primordial intervention in human history and experience. It seems likely to me that you are not acting alone, and, if that be the case, then your motive is not your own, and your goal is not your own.

Towards the end of your message:
My hope in posting this was that if someone could grasp the simple concept that there is no middle ground, maybe this person could also explain what it is I’m missing. It seems simple I know, even to the point of being common sense, but something I struggle with non-the-less. I seem to lack some type of fundamental understanding that makes people turn toward God rather than away from.
It drives me up the wall that I seem to be the only one who doesn’t get it.


Perhaps you do not lack “the fundamental understanding that makes people turn toward God rather than away from.” It may merely be that Satan has deceived you, blocked you. That is also a “simple concept.”

At the beginning of your message:
Typically, as long as it does not affect the spiritual well-being of me or others what’s ‘right and good’ makes sense. The water gets murky only after you pass that threshold.
I say again: making the water of reason murky matches Satan’s primordial “modus operandi.”

Since “right and good” arguments are permitted to affect your decisions about physical well-being, but not spiritual well-being, I believe that to be a lack of integration (from the Latin integer, meaning “the whole” or “the entire”), a lack of wholeness. Murky would be a good word for that situation.

You have asked me what makes me want salvation.

I believe it is in our nature to want salvation, because God has fashioned us, and his spirit breathes in us. We are made for eternal satisfaction, not merely satisfaction with the temporary. That would be the objective source of my desire for salvation.
(Turning aside for what is temporary is sometimes good and necessary. However, if that turning aside contradicts or halts our movement towards the eternal and authentically best, then that turning aside is what Biblical Greek calls “hamartía”— literally “being off target”— that English renders by the word “sinful.”)

I also have my own subjective impetus for wanting salvation. I grew up “culturally Catholic.” At some point in my teenage years (which ended thirty years ago) I began to strongly want and ask God to fix things in my family and personal life. Things didn’t happen as I would have preferred. However, I began to look for comprehensive meaning, understanding of the universe, the world, and my life; I looked for purpose, and for joy deeper than and independent of my private preferences. I began to find all that through my Catholic faith, through the Church, in Christ, in his teaching.

I wanted and I want ... and wanting is impetus to faith, to believing.

I believe, and that is impetus to further wanting.

That’s a circle. It’s also a line that doesn’t end. It is the impetus of eternity in me, in all of us.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Dear Father Stephanos,

First I’ll answer your questions. Then I’d like to make a few comments.

My affinity for Satan has been there ‘as long as I can remember’. I can’t comment on whether or not it was ‘always’ there because I cannot remember what I was always thinking. It started as intuition; a feeling of affection. There was no reflection, meditation or consideration. But that did come a few years later.

As always, I can tell you what it did not evolve from. It did not spawn from anger, abuse, rebellion or rejection. It was never about wanting more then I could have or being different. It did not come from the mentality “if you can’t beat them, join them” or “God is just trying to take all the fun out of life”.

I believe that most are naturally called to God, but there are also those of us who are called to worship and submit to Satan. Needless to say Father I don’t expect you to agree with me.

Your assertion -
Behind those questions is my belief in the Biblical affirmation that Satan’s first intervention in human history was that of proposing a rational distortion to humanity’s perception of both God and humanity.

While that may be the case I feel that sometimes (most of the time actually) this is used in attempt to deflect responsibility, much like the concept of possession. People are all too eager to shrug off responsibility for their own actions. I am extremely reluctant to even entertain that idea. Though I believe Satan is active I think He has better things to do and we are responsible for the majority of our own suffering.

At this point whether I am being ignorant, arrogant, deceived or otherwise stopped is moot. I have never viewed Satan as a benevolent, loyal, trustworthy ‘spirit’. I don’t believe there are any favors to be gained. He caters to the principle dominate aspect of my personality and that’s it. I am responsible for my own actions.

You also said “Making the water of reason murky matches Satan’s primordial ‘modus operandi.’” That is true, one only needs to read the Bible to come to that conclusion.

None of that changes the fact that I have a lot of questions. I am curious by nature I suppose. I wonder why you worship God, why you want salvation and a slue of other things of a similar nature. Is it a thought? A feeling? Was it always that way? You say it’s natural, but I’ve never experienced any of this. I don’t expect you to answer these questions, just give you an idea of where some of these things are coming from.

Frankly, I wish I knew what it was like so I knew if I was missing anything.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

Despite your saying you don’t expect me to agree with the following, I actually do agree with it.
“I believe that most are naturally called to God, but there are also those of us who are called to worship and submit to Satan. Needless to say Father I don’t expect you to agree with me.”

The nuance I would add is that God calls all, not merely most, human persons into being, into a share in his existence (and into ultimate communion, life, and final joy with him).
Satan also calls, but perhaps not to each person in the same way or degree.
Even when God the Eternal Son came to unite himself personally to human nature— human body and human soul (emotion, intellect, will)— Satan “came calling,” asking Jesus to submit to him and worship him.

Then, I agree entirely, unqualifiedly, with you, that: “People are all too eager to shrug off responsibility for their own actions.”

When someone does what I believe to be an objective wrong, I believe that one or more factors may be involved.

+ Some internal psychological (emotional) impetus.
+ A mistake in intellectual perception, in reasoning, such that the person concluded something was apparently good or correct to do.
+ Finally, there is choice, whether or not the choice “agrees” with the person’s psychological situation, and whether or not the choice agrees with the person’s own reasoning.

Throughout all of that, I believe Satan may sometimes be an influence, and sometimes not.

If the person’s psychological dynamics are too forceful, then the person’s freedom or responsibility for choices might be compromised to some degree.

If the person has had a mistake in reasoning or intellectual perception, then the commission of the “wrong” may be partially or entirely due to that intellectual mistake, rather than to choosing to do something despite knowing full well it was not good.

Sometimes persons with psychological normality, without pressure from personal history, from other persons, or from environment, and with full knowing that something is not good, still choose to do it. In such a case the personal responsibility— culpability— is maximal.

On the other hand, some persons with gross psychopathologies still choose occasionally or habitually to do what is good.

Generally, my “last resort” would be to ascribe a person’s wrongdoing to temptation from Satan, though I hold that to be a constant possibility. Furthermore, even if Satan were the definite agent of a temptation, the human person is still free to say “No” or “Yes.”

Possession— no matter what degree of possession be the case— can result from choices a person has made, or that associates of that person have made. The Church excludes possession as the possible cause of a person’s condition until other factors are first investigated and excluded: physiological conditions, and psychological conditions.

You say of Satan:
“I don’t believe there are any favors to be gained. He caters to the principle dominate aspect of my personality and that’s it.”

Sincerely, I don’t understand how you’re using “caters to.” Dictionary meanings:
+ provides
+ supplies
+ outfits
+ furnishes
+ accommodates
+ gratifies

Possible remote meanings:
+ is compatible with
+ corresponds to
+ sympathizes with
+ harmonizes with
+ is an image of
+ is an image for

What is your meaning?

Though I understand the words “principle dominate [dominant?] aspect of my personality,” you haven’t told me what that aspect is (and I acknowledge I have no right to know it).

By the way, I have all along presumed you are a woman, based on how “Demensira” sounds to me.

I am intensely intrigued by our correspondence, by your curiosity.

I’ve already told you I was born and raised “culturally Catholic.” No unusual religious fervor in my family (at least not for a family of Filipino background). We went to church every Sunday. It was just “normal.”

I’ve given you previously a very brief summary of the trajectory of my awakening to and growing into my personal, conscious religiosity.

It engages my emotions. It involves much use of my intellect (including years of formal academic study, and ongoing reading). It involves choosing to pray and worship regularly, to practice certain cultural and ascetical disciplines. Imagination. Reflection. Formal Catholic worship (especially in a monastery) calls into play one’s physical senses, intellect, emotions, choices.

I find over the years that my Christianity has been an integrating force for my personality (though that work is never over, and I have not been consistently willing in it).

Your last sentence, about salvation.
“Frankly, I wish I knew what it was like so I knew if I was missing anything.”

I believe that wish is from your nature, and is a sign that the Spirit of God is with you.

(And if you “knew what it was like” and that you were indeed missing something, would you go after it?)

Faith is two movements, each with its own agent.

There is faith as a human action: a human person’s assent of intellect and will to what God proposes.
However, faith is also an ability that God gives.

Would you ever consider asking God to reveal somehow to you what you might be missing? (I do not yet invite you to ask him for faith.)

You believe Satan is active.

I believe you know God is also active.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

Would you mind defining what you mean by objective wrong? Also, I’m not sure what you mean by, “psychological dynamics that are too forceful”.

I realize that there are some cases in which someone may not be fully culpable for their actions. But I wholeheartedly believe that those instances are far and few between. There is always an excuse as to why people do not do what is good and right, and it is almost always a matter of convenience.

When I said that Satan caters to the principle dominant aspect of my personality I meant ‘is compatible with’. Maybe ‘caters to’ was a poor choice of words.

I am a woman, I am also a wife and mother. The next question is bound to be, “Does your husband know?” Yes he does. He is one of two people who know. While I have known him for eight years I only told him two months ago. Yes, it was an awkward conversation. He is Christian after all.

My curiosity is spawned by the same thing everyone’s is. Not knowing.

“The nuance I would add is that God calls all, not merely most, human persons into being, into a share in his existence (and into ultimate communion, life, and final joy with him).”

For instance, I’ve heard the above comment many times. What exactly do you mean by this? I don’t share this particular call, so I’ll have to respectfully disagree.

You asked two other questions:

1. If you “knew what it was like” and that you were indeed missing something, would you go after it?
2. Would you ever consider asking God to reveal somehow to you what you might be missing?

Those are two very disturbing questions. The honest answer to the first question is, I don’t know. The answer to the second question is, I will not ask God for anything.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

I forgot to ask this in my last post.

"I do not yet invite you to ask him for faith."

Please also define what you mean by faith in this context.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

Faith is one of the three "theological virtues":
powers, strengths, or abilities that come directly from God, and that outfit us for a relationship with him directly.
Though they come from God, they are not active without our willing. The other two theological virtues are hope and love.

Faith believes what God proposes.
Hope desires what God proposes.
Love worships and glorifies him.

Since you have affirmed a distaste for God, it would not make sense to suggest that you ask him for faith.

By “objective wrong” I mean something that is wrong whether or not the one carrying it out believes it to be a wrong. A few examples.
+ Gossip— such as two men talking about a third man in a destructive manner, without seeking— by discussion— either how to understand that third man, or how to interact, help, or speak constructively with that third man. “Venting” to/with somebody about a third person is often merely a rehearsal of/for one’s own dislike of that person or that person’s actions.
+ Stealing just for the sake of having. People sometimes steal out of desperation or difficulty, but that is still not good. However, people sometimes steal just to have something they want, without need for it.
+ Adultery.
+ Rape.

By “psychological dynamics that are too forceful” I mean things like:
+ gross psychopathologies
+ obsessive-compulsive disorders
+ certain psychological traumas

Even with dynamics like those, people may still at times be responsible for their actions.

I wonder what led to your telling your husband you are a Satanist.

Does he know you are corresponding with me— a Catholic monk and priest?

Have you asked your husband the kind of questions you ask me?

Though you do not believe God is the creator, I, nonetheless, believe God created you, called you into being, not generically, but specifically, personally, “into a share in his existence (and into ultimate communion, life, and final joy with him).”
I believe that, but I also accept your respectful disagreement.

Regarding that particular object of my belief, you ask me, “What exactly do you mean by this?”

A few messages ago I gave a meaning that applies here. The “ultimate communion, life, and final joy” with God constitutes salvation whose object is ultimately not only “to bring human persons into peace with God,” but also:
“+ to bring human nature into harmony or peace with itself (body, emotion, intellect, will— in other words, body and soul);”
“+ to bring human persons into peace with each other.”
(By the way, the united triad of “communion, joy, and life” are also components and goals— both physical and spiritual— of authentic marital sexuality:
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily communion,
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily joy,
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily life.
For that reason authentic marital sexuality is able to be a sacrament— sign and instrument— of God and salvation, since communion, joy, and life are qualities of God and salvation.
)

Regarding the two questions I asked, and that you found “very disturbing.”
You say you “will not ask God for anything.”
You have also said the following concerning your devotion to Satan:
“There is no particular goal”
“Satan can’t give me anything I don’t already have.”

As for me, as a Christian, I have goals in my devotion to God.
God can give what I don’t have on my own (including and ultimately salvation).
I pray to him, first of all simply because prayer is offering myself to him— whether I “feel” his presence or not. However, I also pray for things I find necessary or good to receive.

I have been asking God to guide me, to give me wisdom, and to accompany me in corresponding with you.
I have been asking him to help you with insight and answers to your questions.
I have been asking him on my behalf and on yours by offering Mass for you nearly everyday since we began corresponding.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

"I wonder what led to your telling your husband you are a Satanist."

I take issue with irreverent Christians. It irks me to watch them meander through life without putting forth any effort. For example you said, "I pray to him, first of all simply because prayer is offering myself to him— whether I “feel” his presence or not."

That is how it ought to be and that is how I approach prayer, with one obvious deviation. Worship does not happen once a week. You do not get to abandon certain tenets because it is incompatible with your life at that moment. My husband falls into this category.

At some point he proclaimed some Christian ideal and in the same breath contradicted it - hypocrisy. Frustrated, the next words that came out of my mouth were something to the effect of, “Do you know who your Master is? You might as well renounce God.” I then proceeded to lecture him so there was no more feigning ignorance.

Yes, there is a reason I was more frustrated then usual. But that Father, is a long story.

- “Does he know you are corresponding with me— a Catholic monk and priest?”
- “Have you asked your husband the kind of questions you ask me?”

No he does not. No I have not. There would be no reason; he would not provide any useful insight.

“Though you do not believe God is the creator” – Correction, I said I was not convinced.

You said:
A few messages ago I gave a meaning that applies here. The “ultimate communion, life, and final joy” with God constitutes salvation whose object is ultimately not only “to bring human persons into peace with God,” but also:
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily communion,
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily joy,
+ expressing and giving spiritual and bodily life.

Again, I do not understand what these things are supposed to mean.

The reason I said I found those questions disturbing is I never expected them nor do I know how to answer.

Finally - You say you have goals in your devotion to God and that he can give you something you cannot obtain on your own, namely salvation. Is that the reason you worship God?

9:24 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


For your taking “issue with irreverent Christians,” irked as you are “to watch them meander through life without putting forth any effort”...
... for your denouncing worship that happens only once a week...
... for your opposing anyone who abandons certain (of his own religious) tenets that happen to be incompatible with his life at the moment...
for your lecturing your husband who in one breath both proclaimed some Christian ideal and contradicted it...
I wholeheartedly say:
“AMEN, SISTER! PREACH IT!”
It’s about 5:30 in the evening, Thursday, November 15, as I write this sentence. Twelve hours ago, during our 5:30 A.M. prayers today, we listened to a two-page excerpt from a Christian sermon of the second century. The excerpt lectured Christians for exactly the same things you have now pointed out:
... we say one thing and do another. When they hear the words of God on our lips, unbelievers are amazed at their beauty and power, but when they see that those words have no effect in our lives, their admiration turns to scorn, and they dismiss such words as myths and fairy tales.

- - -

I stand corrected. It is not that you “do not believe God is the creator.” Rather, you are “not convinced” God is the creator.

- - -

Regarding my words about marital sexuality as expressing and giving spiritual and bodily
communion,
joy,
and life.

I’ll start from the “bodily.”

COMMUNION. Male and female bodies are sexually complementary. Penetrable female interiority is a match for penetrating male exteriority. The woman contributes the viable ovum, holding it (interiorly) until it has the opportunity to be penetrated by— and be in communion with— a spermatozoon. The man contributes a viable spermatozoon, ejaculating (literally, from the Latin, “throwing out”) the spermatozoon so that it can itself penetrate— and be in communion with— an ovum. Normally, an ovum is alive for penetration once only by only one spermatozoon. A spermatozoon is alive to penetrate an ovum only once. There is a double communion here: that between a man and a woman, and that between a spermatozoon and an ovum. There is a less intense, but no less natural bodily communion of man and woman: the sharing of a home, of food, possessions, etc.

JOY. Bodily pleasure in the act of sexual intercourse, expanded to the other bodily pleasures and joys of a shared life.

LIFE. The procreating of new children is the natural result of the physical joy and physical communion of man and woman.

Now the spiritual.

COMMUNION. As both a basis for and an expression of their physical sexual communion, man and woman enter into spiritual communion— shared emotions, shared thoughts, shared choices and values.

JOY. As they take joy physically in each other, each matures also spiritually (emotionally, rationally, and by choices) in giving joy to the other, even when that gift might occasionally involve some degree of greater or lesser self-denial. Furthermore, though each is grateful to receive the other as a gift, a mature man and woman do not reduce each other to MINE possessively; they “outgrow” (if necessary) any childish or selfish reduction of the other to “instrument/slave/guarantee” of my personal pleasure/joy/happiness. Rather a maturing man or a maturing woman grows in appreciating (enJOYing) the other AS a sheer gift, recognizing and thanking the other as a free person who has graciously chosen to commit to be in communion with me.

LIFE. From the bodily procreation of children, to the spiritual procreation of (pardon now another circular statement): living growth in spiritual Communion and spiritual Joy. As a growing basis for marriage, and as a growing fruit of marriage, one’s own personhood is lived consciously and intentionally as more than the physical, so as to include also intentional reasoning and intentional choosing. (I’m grasping for an analogy. Please accept my suggestion here that your lecture to your husband touches on his possibly not being “fully alive” spiritually.)

(In all of the above, I use “spiritual” to refer to those things inside the human experience that are not merely physical: emotions, thinking, choosing. Notice that I have used the word “spiritual” so far without yet relating it to God.)

(And I hope I have not clouded things further by adding more ideas to other ideas that were already less than comprehensible.)

Now... as for God and all of the above....

The united triad of Communion, Joy, and Life that I have described serves in Catholic faith as “a sign and instrument” of relationship with God. As the Gospel says, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.” In Catholic faith, the spousal relationship is one sign-instrument of relationship with God.

All of this relates to the answer to your final question about the reason I worship God.

There are several reasons to worship God.

In the first place: because he is God.

Secondly: because he gave me to myself (he created me), by giving me a share in being/existence, a share in what is his, a share in himself. God is Being; God is Existence; those phrases being another way of expressing the Biblical testimony concerning God’s naming of himself: “I AM WHO AM” (I am he who is). Having received myself from God, the gracious response is “I give thanks”— I worship.

Third, etc. Repeating the following from above: “a maturing man or a maturing woman grows in appreciating (enJOYing) the other AS a sheer gift, recognizing and thanking the other as a free person who has graciously chosen to commit to be in communion with me.”
God is the greatest “Other.”

5:44 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

I find it odd that we seem to agree on as many things as we do.

As to your excerpt: “but when they see that those words have no effect in our lives, their admiration turns to scorn,” I think serious attention should be paid to this statement.

I appreciate your explanation on bodily expression, but I was more interested in the spiritual aspect. Also, I wasn’t particularly interested in the marital point of view but it was an interesting read non-the-less.

This was the statement I was interested in:
- “ultimate communion, life, and final joy” with God constitutes salvation whose object is ultimately not only “to bring human persons into peace with God,”

I believe you covered that near the end. As well as your reason for worship. Still - I can't seem to relate to your attraction to him.

I am not sure why you would encourage me to “preach it”. My intention is usually, as you said in a previous post, to maximize culpability.

I will think about what you have said so far.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


I wrote an extended explanation of bodily expression because I was not sure which part of my previous explanation was the one that was not understandable. Also, I thought that the intimacy of communion-joy-life in marriage, since it is a powerful human interpersonal reality, could serve as tool for discussing the God-and-human interpersonal reality.

When you “preach it” with the intention to “maximize culpability,” you implicitly insist on the presence and reality of human freedom. Persons are accountable (“culpable”) for their actions to the degree that they exercise consciously their freedom.

Animals act on instincts that drive them; they do not make free choices. Persons also act on instinct, but, unlike animals, they also act after thinking things through and going beyond animal instinct.

An example. I may be hungry, and I may have food ready to eat in the refrigerator right in front of me. My animal body instincts would just eat right then and there. However, my thinking mind and my memory might be aware that there is a lecture across town that provides information I need to advance my level of employment and salary, and if I want to hear the lecture I must leave right now. So I make the choice to remain hungry, and I leave for the lecture. I make a choice for what my thinking mind judges to be a greater good, and by doing so I defy my immediate animal instinct.

The (sick? stupid? bad?) thing about free human persons is that they are able to recognize and spout ideals (Christian, Buddhist, democratic, secularist, humanitarian, environmentalist, republican, feminist, you-name-it), but still act on lesser, unconscious, self-limiting instincts, even ones that are sick, stupid, bad.

In a situation like the one you briefly described about your husband, you appealed to what is essential to his humanity (reason and free will)— as well as his manhood— to wake up to itself, to be spiritually alive. Paraphrasing your scenario: “CHOOSE God, or REJECT him, but please stop pretending according to convenience’s sake!”

Even the Son of God (Revelation 3:15-16) says:
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

To “maximize culpability” is part of the dynamic of maximizing one’s authentic humanity.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

I think I may have picked your brain enough about those topics for now.

But if you're still up to explaining a few more things I do have another question.

Some years ago I was talking with an acquaintance, although I can't remember the circumstances, and they said something I found peculiar.

Luckily, with the advent of the internet and the anonymity it affords I can ask this question without having to endure the raised eyebrows this question would inevitably get.

What is 'love' supposed to be exactly? Feeling? Action? Inaction? Purely emotional? Or is there some intellectual or spiritual component?

9:50 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

Perhaps your question, “What is ‘love’ supposed to be exactly?” would not raise eyebrows.

Now ... Ask the question of a monk: one eyebrow raised

Have a Satanist ask a Catholic monk: two eyebrows raised.

Whatever the setting, I think it’s a very good question.

In English we make the word “love” serve all sorts of purposes, some of them mutually contradictory.

Objects of the English word “love”?
One’s dog
Ice cream
Books
One’s Deity
One’s spouse
One’s country
One’s friend
Skiing, football
Jerry Springer Show
One’s neighbor

Biblical Greek does not do the same thing, but has entirely different words (both nouns and verbs) for the different types of “love” for each of the things above and some other types as well.

However, back to English for the moment.

“LIKE” OR “AFFECTION”: LOVE AS AN EMOTION
Think of this simply as emotional affection. It can be deep. It can be shallow. It can be temporary. It can be long-lasting. It can come and go.
Emotional love (affection) and the intellect.
Normally we have love as an emotion because our intellects judge that something is worth liking. Furthermore, the intensity (low or high) of our emotion may be qualified by other judgments/assessments of our intellects.
Love and the will.
Simply and briefly, we choose what we like, and we act on what we like.

HOWEVER....
We are also able to choose what we don’t personally like, and to act on such a choice. This also can be love, even love in its fullest and highest sense.

THE GREEK WORD AGÁPE
(Three syllables, with the accent on the second.)
All good parents make some choices they do not necessarily find pleasant (choices about things they don’t “love”) because such choices are for the authentic good of their children.
Furthermore, sometimes the choices parents make for the authentic good of their children are choices that the children don’t “love” (“like” would be the better word).
A choice sincerely and willingly made for the authentic good of another is LOVE, in Greek, agápe, independent of the emotional preferences of those involved.
Dying to save the life of another person is agápe.
Simply put, this LOVE is to choose and act for the good of another.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Thank you for answering my questions and for your patience Father Stephanos.

I think for the moment I'm all out of questions. If I can think of anymore I know where to come.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Readers!
Except for Demensira and myself, I won't allow anyone to post comments here. If you want to make comments, click HERE.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos you said on another part of your blog:

I think of Satanism as opposed to Unity (which in Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit), Satanism as opposed to Truth (Christ is The Truth, and Satan is the primordial distorter of the Truth), Satanism as opposed to Beauty (created beauty is a reflection of the Glory of God), and Satanism as opposed to Goodness (Demensira even excludes the application of that category in decisions about spiritual well-being)

-------------------

Do you think you could clarify this a little more? Just looking for you to expand on your opinion here.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

By this time you may have read Astrophel’s honest, tormented message to me, and my response. Please read those before continuing, if you have not already done so. They are under the separate blogpost that I have devoted to my correspondence with Astrophel. He and I both have mentioned Unity, Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. In what I wrote to him, you may find some of the clarifying that you now request.

Nonetheless, I’ll add some here.

My “opinion”— as in “I think of Satanism as opposed to....”
I should rather say, “I believe,” since this is a matter of the Catholic faith, rather than my mere opinion. I hold to Catholic faith that Satan and Satanism are in ultimate opposition to the attributes of God, such as Unity, Truth, Beauty, Goodness.

Goodness and the Well-Being of the Whole Person: Psychological, Rational, and Spiritual.
Demensira, you already understand and accept the notion of doing what is “right and good” for one’s own psychological well-being and one’s rational or intellectual well-being, but you have another stance when it comes to spiritual well-being. Earlier in our correspondence you wrote:
Typically, as long as it does not affect the spiritual well-being of me or others what’s ‘right and good’ makes sense. The water gets murky only after you pass that threshold.

As a Catholic, I believe choices always have spiritual consequences. The Church and the Word of God teach that the choice to be a Satanist has bad spiritual consequences now and in eternity. Now: one falls prey to possession to a minor or a major degree. Eternally: hell.

What is hell?
A reality that even Satan suffers, that Jesus the Son of God describes as “fire” in Matthew 25:41: “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
From the Glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church—
“HELL: The state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed reserved for those who refuse by their own free choice to believe and be converted from sin, even to the end of their lives.”

The expanded explanation of that topic is in the Catechism’s paragraphs 1033 through 1037 (click HERE to read that section).

1:45 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos -

I am not sure what you expected me to get from your response to Astrophel's comment. What was supposed to apply here?

Possession? I've already made my opinion known in regards to that.

I'm also aware of the spiritual consequences. And I don't have much of a problem with the idea of of hell or "The state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God". To me, that would seem like heaven.

In any case, 'grace' keeps being mentioned. I'm aware of of what the Catechism says about both kinds. But I think I prefer your explanations.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

Yes, what indeed was I intending to apply there?

First, a bit of a confession.

I was surprised to read Astrophel’s agreement with me “that truth, goodness, and beauty are godlike attributes.” I had expected him, a Satanist, to disagree with that. My expectation reveals an assumption of mine and a question of mine.

My assumption: that a Satanist would not see the attributes of truth, goodness, and beauty in God. My question: “If Astrophel’s Satanism sees those attributes as godlike, then does Astrophel see in Satan the opposite of those attributes or the absence of those attributes?”

Then, lo and behold, you singled out my earlier words about those attributes, the same words that Astrophel agrees with.

You asked the following.
“Do you think you could clarify this a little more? Just looking for you to expand on your opinion there.”

I would have done better to ask you which of the concepts in what I wrote did you want me to further clarify.
Clarify what I mean by thinking of Satanism as opposed to those attributes?
Clarify specifically one of those attributes, and which one?
Clarify all three of those attributes?
Clarify “gift of the Holy Spirit?”
Clarify “Glory of God”?
Clarify “spiritual well-being”?

Yes, you had already commented about possession. However, the topic of possession had to be part of my answer about spiritual well-being in the context of a discussion about Satanism.

I think (or even, I would just guess) Astrophel’s agreement “that truth, goodness, and beauty are godlike attributes” would be in conflict with your statement that the “state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God”— hell— “would seem like heaven” to you. Astrophel, a Satanist, appears to recognize that self-exclusion from communion with God is “self-exclusion from truth, goodness, and beauty.” I’m having trouble understanding how you (or IF you) would welcome exclusion from truth, goodness, and beauty. Perhaps you don’t see truth, goodness, and beauty in God, but you see them in Satan, although I tend to doubt that because you wrote that you don’t “love” Satan, because you doubt love would be much use to him.

You’ve noted that the word “grace” keeps appearing. It appears in Astrophel’s message. The word “grace” does not actually appear in my most recent response to Astrophel, but it appears in at least one of the Biblical citations I referred to, and it appears in the Catechism.

Demensira, here is a reworking of some elements of a homily I wrote about grace.

- - - -

In Luke 11:1-13, the Son of God says the Father is always ready to give his “good gifts” and his best gift— his HOLY SPIRIT— to those who ask him”.
God gives us himself in his Spirit of goodness.
Yet, we are likely to pray for many other things, rather than pray to receive what is the best, the holiest, the everlasting: God, the Spirit of God.
Also, we are likely to speak of asking for and receiving grace, or graces, rather than speak of receiving the HOLY SPIRIT.
There is only one place in all four Gospels that says we receive grace from God.
Only one time— and it is not Jesus who says it.
The Gospels— and Jesus— have another way of speaking of the same reality.
In his Gospels, Jesus speaks not of receiving grace, but of receiving the SPIRIT, the giver of life.
We often speak of grace as a “something”— a “something to have.”
To speak of grace that way does not make clear that grace is first of all the openness and availability of God himself.
To “receive” grace is to gratefully and gracefully welcome God himself— to give ourselves back to God who gives himself to us in his Spirit.
The Holy Spirit draws us to unity with God.
That is why the Church carefully closes her classical prayers with the words “in the unity of the Holy Spirit”— as in:
“[Father,] We ask [you] this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you IN THE UNITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
The meaning of that can be validly expressed as “in the unity that is the Holy Spirit” ... also, the Holy Spirit as being both the contextual matrix for the unity of the Father and the Son, as well as the fruit or result that proceeds from the unity of the Father and the Son. [Demensira, I am delving here into some of the formal depths of Trinitarian theology. You may find it helpful to read a homily I wrote specifically about the Trinity. I’ll add that text down below this one.]
Even Christ offers up his redeeming self-sacrifice THROUGH THE SPIRIT— for his New Testament [Hebrews 9:14] speaks of “the blood of Christ, who THROUGH THE ETERNAL SPIRIT offered himself without blemish to God.”
It was by the Holy Spirit that the Son of the Father became flesh and blood.
In giving himself to us, Christ gives us the Spirit IN and FROM his own flesh and blood.
As the Gospel [John 20:19-22] tells us:

On the first day of the week
Jesus came and stood among them
showed them his [body]
breathed on them,
and said to them,
“Receive the Holy Spirit.”

In the gift of his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood, the risen Christ still fulfills that lone place in the Gospel [John 1:14,16-17] that speaks of receiving grace.

the Word became FLESH
full of grace and truth
from his fullness we all have received GRACE UPON GRACE
GRACE and truth came through Jesus Christ.

That is the only time the four Gospels speak of receiving “grace.”
Grace comes to us through Jesus Christ because God the Spirit is at work.
Grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
So, Jesus himself, rather than speak of grace coming to us and at work in us, speaks instead of the Holy Spirit coming to us, being in us, working in us, working with us.
In the fullness of the Spirit, Christ offered himself up to the Father for US and to save US.
In order to receive this saving grace and saving truth in the unity of the Holy Spirit, we need to join Christ in offering ourselves up in all the details of daily living— we need to join Christ in offering ourselves up for the glory of our Father in heaven.
We need to do that, because the Father’s goal for us is our own eternal happiness and glory at his side.
God the Father wants to give us eternal happiness and glory through his Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit
We need to know that, believe that, want that, live and work for that.

- - - -

Now here is the Trinity homily.

- - - -

A “father” is someone who gives his very self as a fountain of life.
In the LIFE of God— in God’s own LIFE— there is a person who is the FATHER, someone who GIVES, someone whose GIVING is so total, so absolute that it is alive: the SON.
The Gospels show that, when it comes to the heavenly Father, the personality of Jesus is total gratitude, absolute gratitude to the Father.
To speak of “God the Son” is to say that GRATITUDE for the Father’s self giving— GRATITUDE in God— is also an absolute, a living person: THE SON— Gratitude in Person.
The Father and the Son— the GIVER and the THANKSGIVER— the Father and the Son live for each other.
However, their embrace, their love for each other is not closed in on itself.
Their shared giving is absolutely open-ended.
Both of them give.
None of them needs or takes anything back.
Their communion of surrender for each other is a living absolute: THE SPIRIT.
If there is not a Trinity— if there is not God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit— then there can be no one and nothing worth recognizing as God, for such a one could not be absolute in anything.
Not absolute in SELF-GIVING.
Not absolute in THANKSGIVING.
Not absolute in the COMMUNION of giving and gratitude.
The truth is that God is Father and Son and Spirit.
The Father: absolute self-giving.
The Son: absolute thanksgiving.
The Spirit: absolute communion of self-giving and thanksgiving.
This is the truth of the living God, absolute love BEFORE and WITHOUT the created universe.
God is Love— before and without the created universe... before and without us.
Nonetheless, what does the Trinity of God have to do with us?
We are baptized into the Trinity, baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The saving Trinity is what the Son of God was born on earth to reveal and make present in the Flesh and Blood of our humanity.
The Trinity is the saving truth that Christ lived.
It is the saving truth in which he suffered and died.
The saving truth in which he rose from the dead!
The Father and Son and Spirit are revealed, present and at work in the Flesh and Blood of our humanity, for us men and for our salvation— and for the glory of God.
The man born in a stable and risen from the dead in a garden is the Way of God, the Truth of God, and the Life of God in human Flesh and Blood.
He is the Flesh and Blood of the heavenly Father’s self-giving love for his children.
Christ is gratitude to the Father, gratitude in Flesh and Blood.
Christ is Flesh and Blood communion with the Father in one Spirit.
We call this Flesh and Blood “Eucharist”, a Greek word meaning “thankfulness, gratefulness, gratitude.”
The Son of God is “Eucharist”— “gratefulness” in person, eternal gratefulness to the Father.
We also call this Flesh and Blood “Holy COMMUNION,” because the Father and the Son are TOGETHER, bringing us into their COMMUNION of one Spirit of Life and Thanksgiving.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Demensira said...

As I type this I might be using the wrong words to describe what it is you were trying to convey in your response. But I am going to try and respond. When I said I read the bible, I meant just that. I read it I did not study it; not to mention that was 15 years ago. It seems to me that we read two entirely different books. I certainly didn’t get any of that out of it.

At the bottom of your last response you broke God down into three different aspects of the same thing. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Self-giving, thanksgiving and communion. That I understand, sort of. There is a similar way of describing different aspects of Satan. Satan, Lucifer, Behemoth as well as a few others. Unimportant, but I’m attempting to draw a parallel in my own head.

I have taken snippets of your homilies and tried to order them in a way that might help me ask questions. If the answer is in one of them (the homilies), then I missed it entirely.

So to my questions.

You said:
1) To “receive” grace is to gratefully and gracefully welcome God himself— to give ourselves back to God who gives himself to us in his Spirit.
2) Also, we are likely to speak of asking for and receiving grace, or graces, rather than speak of receiving the HOLY SPIRIT.


So grace is welcoming God?
It sounds like you’re saying the Holy Spirit is entirely different then [something?].

If the Holy Spirit and the Father are one and the same, why does it matter which one you are praying to [or for?]? Are you trying to explain different semantics that are essentially describing the same thing? Are you trying to say grace and the Holy Spirit are the same thing?

I’m not sure my questions make any sense.

3) The Gospels— and Jesus— have another way of speaking of the same reality.
4) In his Gospels, Jesus speaks not of receiving grace, but of receiving the SPIRIT, the giver of life.


In your second homily you describe this as God the Father – giver of life. Yes or no?
Spirit (giver of life) in this case is equivalent to grace? Yes or no?

Hrm. I feel dirty even typing that.

You mention “in the unity that is the holy spirit" several times, I don’t know what that means. You mention it also here:

5) The meaning of that can be validly expressed as “in the unity that is the Holy Spirit” ... also, the Holy Spirit as being both the contextual matrix for the unity of the Father and the Son, as well as the fruit or result that proceeds from the unity of the Father and the Son.

You say matrix and I think mathematics. It is a construct used to describe a system of linear equations or linear transformations. Obviously this isn’t what you’re talking about. Contains the other two elements maybe?

6) The Trinity is the saving truth that Christ lived.
7) It is the saving truth in which he suffered and died.
8) The saving truth in which he rose from the dead!


Saving truth?

9) So, Jesus himself, rather than speak of grace coming to us and at work in us, speaks
10) instead of the Holy Spirit coming to us, being in us, working in us, working with us.


(9) and (10) say the same thing. At least that’s how it reads to me. What is it you were trying to expand on here?

------------------

Now to your questions.

Clarify “Glory of God”? – Yes
Clarify “gift of the Holy Spirit?” - Yes
Clarify what I mean by thinking of Satanism as opposed to those attributes? – Yes

I will try and word my questions to be a little more specific. Seems I have a habit of not being very clear.

You said:
I was surprised to read Astrophel’s agreement with me “that truth, goodness, and beauty are godlike attributes.” I had expected him, a Satanist, to disagree with that.

I find this curious. You are the second person to make this assumption. Why is it Christians think that we are incapable of recognizing or even appreciating these things? We are human you know. They are not simply godlike attributes, but things every person possesses. You know - being made in the image/likeness of God and all that.

You say:
My assumption: that a Satanist would not see the attributes of truth, goodness, and beauty in God.

I can only speak for myself, not Astrophel. As I said in an earlier post, there are as many ways to worship Satan as there are people who worship him. There are different thoughts, dogmas, morals and ethics. You can not relate one person’s Satanism to another’s.

It’s not that I don’t -see- those as attributes in God it is that I do not -care-. You see, I don’t particularly like God. Hate would be a better word. I assumed you understood what I was implying initially, but maybe not?

I’m having trouble understanding how you would welcome exclusion from truth, goodness, and beauty.

Because Father Stephanos, I despise God.
If God is in Heaven, I would rather be in Hell.
If God is pleasure, I would rather be in pain.
If God is Life, then I would prefer Death.

I’ll qualify these statements further by saying – in eternity. I like my life.

So why do I ask you all these questions or bother with any of this? Because none of that makes any sense to me anymore. Now someone can be as confused as I am, hurray!

9:23 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,

Guess what? More assumptions of mine! When composing my homilies I assume my hearers are Catholics. I don’t assume they have a formal academic education in theology, but I do assume that their Catholic faith over time has already adapted their thinking and accustomed them to certain concepts such that I don’t need to re-explain those concepts at the moment. I must stay aware against the mistake of making even unconsciously the same assumption with you.

What might be logical within the minds of those who have Christian faith may be illogical to those who do not have Christian faith.

When I sent you my previous message containing the homily excerpts I thought it likely that it would elicit more questions.

Trinitarian theology or affirmations, while present in the teachings of Jesus, make for a “tough subject” for a Christian to explain to himself, to other Christians, and to non-Christians. Your questions are very good questions. Don’t be concerned about whether they make sense or not.

A preliminary that I failed to mention previously: “three persons in one God (one Divinity)— three persons, no more, no less.”
An analogy of that: “many persons in one humanity.”

Now, here are some other “preliminaries” to set the context for my going into your individual questions. Some of these preliminaries may contain answers or clarifications for your individual questions and observations. Nonetheless, I will subsequently go through your numbered points.

You’ve noted that I described the person (even the “personality”) of God the Father as “Self-Giving,” that of God the Son as “Thanksgiving,” and that of God the Holy Spirit as “Communion.” (“Communion” may be used interchangeably with “Unity.”)

The Trinity homily actually had two halves. The first half was about the relations “inside” the Divine Trinity, the relations between or among the persons of the Trinity (regardless of the relations between God and creation). Then the second half was about the respective “roles” that each of the three Divine Persons have in relation to us, to creation.

Relations “inside” the Trinity.
So, the Father’s “self-giving” is in relation to the Son.
The Son’s “thanksgiving” is in relation/response to the Father.
The Spirit is BOTH the “contextual matrix” (“context” would have been somewhat sufficient) of the Communion of Father and Son with each other, AND the Spirit is the result or fruit that proceeds from the Communion of the Father and the Son.

[Regarding “matrix”: an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure. The challenge in speaking of the relations among the ETERNAL (timeless, no beginning, no end) persons of the Trinity is that there is no CHRONOLOGICAL “before” or “after” among them. So, my use of the word “matrix”— or “contextual matrix” or simply “context”— does not imply a chronological priority. Neither does my use of the words “result,” “fruit,” or “proceeds from.” The same lack of chronological priority applies to the Son’s “thanksgiving”: it is not chronologically “after” the Father’s “self-giving.” Finally, while a human father is alive chronologically before he ever begets a son, the Divine Father and Son are without chronology in their relationship to each other.]

The word “grace.”
It is from the Latin “gratia.” It has various connotations: gift, favor, kindness, etc. It is the root of several words: graceful, gracious, grateful, gratitude, gratuitous, gratify, gratifying.

Preliminaries aside. (But have I added to the confusion?)

Now, to your numbered points.

- - - -
IN REFERENCE TO 1 AND 2

To RECEIVE grace is to willingly welcome God.

I see now another assumption I have been working under. We Christians go back and forth— as if interchangeably— between, on the one hand, ascribing something simply to God without specifying which Person in God the ascription might more actually “belong to,” and, on the other hand, ascribing something specifically to one of the Divine Persons.

To willingly (graciously, grace-ously) welcome God is to choose to be available to him, and thus to give ourselves back to him in return, in gratitude (grace again). He gave to us first: making the body and giving it Spiritual life (life with conscious intellect and free will). Some messages ago I referred to God forming the human body from the elements, but then breathing/spiriting spiritual life into humanity. The fact that we humans have conscious intellect and free will is what makes us the image and likeness of God, CAPABLE of consciously knowing him (“him” is singular as is Divinity, though in Divinity there are the three Persons), and consciously, freely willing to say yes to him, to be in Communion with him (in the Spirit of Communion/Unity with him). This fact and CAPABILITY have been breathed/Spirited into us. The Spirit, the Unity of the Spirit, then, is both the prior “contextual matrix” (enough of that ... simply “context”) as well as the resultant fruit of Communion/Unity with God.

I’ve used the words CAPABLE and CAPABILITY to designate a reality that is breathed/Spirited into us. Here, the capability/power is due to receiving from God the gift/grace/Spirit-Breath of God.

So, yes, grace is a “something” (capability, power, gift)— but is a working of the Divine Spirit in us.

Properly speaking, the Father primarily— but with the Son in union with the Father— the Father and the Son send/give the Holy Spirit to/in us.

And finally, yes, grace and the Holy Spirit may be said to be the same. The Catechism, paragraph 2003, says:
“Grace is first and foremost the gift of the Spirit....”
I would suggest the following angle of understanding:
the gift that IS the Spirit.

- - - -
IN REFERENCE TO 3, 4, AND 5

Inasmuch as the Father gives us his life-giving Spirit, yes the Father is the giver of life. However, since the Father gives us life (human, spiritual life) by giving us the Spirit, we use the title “Giver of Life” for the Holy Spirit.

Up to now, in several of my messages, I have referred to the creation of humanity as the moment of God breathing/Spiriting into our physical existence. That is described in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. However, the creation of man is the conclusion of the creation account. The beginning of the creation also mentions the Spirit (... the Giver of Life).
Genesis 1:1-2. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.”
In the understanding of the Church, this affirms a sending of the Spirit from the Father and the Son, thus initiating the Creation. At the culmination, the summation of creation, man, the Spirit is given to man. Thus, quoting one of my earliest messages to you, “man is the summary of creation, but is also the spiritual communion between creation and the Creator.”
The words “communion” and “unity” are interchangeable. The Spirit is communion/unity within the interpersonal life of the Divine Trinity. The Spirit is also communion/unity between the Divine Trinity and creation’s summary— man.

Regarding 5 about “matrix,” I’ve addressed that above, in reference to 1 and 2.

- - - -
IN REFERENCE TO 6 THROUGH 10.

“Saving truth.” The reality, the truth, that saves us is the Divine Trinity.

9 and 10: as if I were saying, “grace versus the Holy Spirit.”
In the homily I pointed out that the teaching of Jesus himself in the Gospels speaks of the Spirit, rather than of grace. In the New Testament teachings after Jesus, the putting-into-words of the influence/work/power of the Spirit moves towards speaking of it as a gift (“charis” in Greek is something freely given, and is the Greek word for “gift” and for “grace.”)

- - - -
Now to my questions about your possible questions. (We’re really murking things up now.) I believe I’ve answered the one about “gift of the Holy Spirit.”

“Glory of God.” His life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty.

“Clarify what I mean by thinking of Satanism as opposed to those attributes.”
Since my Christian beliefs (my assumptions) recognize those attributes as the Glory of God, I would conclude that Satanism would be opposed to them. However, I must add that another assumption— or guess— would be that at least some Satanists might see those attributes in Satan rather than in God.

I as a Christian do not think you “are incapable of recognizing or even appreciating” those attributes. However, since I see those attributes in God, I then conclude, I believe (not merely assume), that they are not in Satan. Then, since human beings (including Satanist ones) are indeed capable of recognizing and appreciating “life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty,” I am surprised to find a Satanist “appreciating,” or at least recognizing, those attributes in God. If Astrophel sees those attributes in God, and Astrophel is a human being, and human beings are capable of appreciating those attributes, does Astrophel appreciate God? No, he seems instead to hate God. Then, does Astrophel, despite being human, hate those attributes? (It goes without saying that those are questions for Astrophel to answer.)

- - - -
It has been several years since I have tried to formally teach or explain so much Trinitarian theology to anyone. Oh, I do bits and pieces of it throughout the collective fabric of my homilies, but never as much in one place as in what I have now written to you. The last time I did it formally was for a group of monks-in-training in my monastery. From monks to Satanists! I do get around. After all, my non-homily blog is entitled, “Me Monk. Me Meander.” Meandering is something monks are not supposed to do, at least not in the hard-copy world. We even pronounce a vow of stability: one monastery, for life. I wonder what our sixth-century founder, St. Benedict, would have thought of the internet. We produced and copied manuscripts through the Middle Ages. Maybe blogging could be considered a modern relative of quill and parchment.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

Father Stephanos,

Preliminaries aside. (But have I added to the confusion?)

Not at all.

“Saving truth.” The reality, the truth, that saves us is the Divine Trinity.

Is there another way of wording this?

“Glory of God.” His life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty.

Alright. Now would be a good time to clarify/define those attributes.

I realize I keep asking the same questions over and over. Sorry about that.

It has been several years since I have tried to formally teach or explain so much Trinitarian theology to anyone.

Well several years or not, you were very thorough. I believe you've answered all of my questions except for the two I've re-asked. I'm going to have to take your word on all of this. So if you have anything to add or something you would like to expand on now would be a good time.

Some of your other comments:

However, I must add that another assumption— or guess— would be that at least some Satanists might see those attributes in Satan rather than in God.

This is true.

Since my Christian beliefs (my assumptions) recognize those attributes as the Glory of God, I would conclude that Satanism would be opposed to them.

There is that reference to 'Glory of God' and those attributes again. In what way do you think Satanism would be opposed to them?

I believe (not merely assume), that they are not in Satan.

Alright, what do you believe.

Maybe blogging could be considered a modern relative of quill and parchment.

Well this is my first experience with this 'blogging' thing. I suppose depending on what the contents of those manuscripts were, blogging might be similar.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


“‘Saving truth.’ The reality, the truth, that saves us is the Divine Trinity.”
You ask for another way of wording that. I’ll start by breaking it down into its components (to see where I might be cramming things together by way of my own assumptions) then reassemble the words in a different way.
DIVINE TRINITY
REALITY/TRUTH
SAVES US
God AS TRINITY was not known before the teaching of Jesus.
“Crammed” onto that by me: that the Divine Trinity is a TRUTH/REALITY affirmed in the teaching of Jesus.
So, another way of wording:
“The truth is that the Divine Trinity saves us.”
- - - -

“‘Glory of God.’ His life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty.”
You ask me to clarify, define, those attributes.

This may be one of those situations of “I believe so that I may understand” (words of St. Augustine), and I don’t expect I’ll make myself sound logical or clear for you. I might even just sound absurd.

I know that you already understand the words “life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty” from your experiences of those qualities in life and the natural world.

So, how do I apply them to God?

First, a few affirmations from the Catechism.
“the perfections of creatures— their truth, their goodness, their beauty— all reflect the infinite perfection of God”
“God is... undying life”
“God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness, and beauty— this is the glory for which God created them.”
“The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator... to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.”

And from the Book of Wisdom:
“the beauty of... things... how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them. ... their power and working... how much more powerful is he who formed them. For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.”

According to Biblical faith, all that we can naturally experience on earth as surpassingly majestic, beautiful, beautifying, joyful, joygiving, unifying, lively, lifegiving, true, good, is a mere indistinct shadow or reflection of God’s glory.
To see him “face to face” in heaven is to be perfectly and eternally fulfilled— emotionally and intellectually; that experience will also entail the perfect and eternal fulfillment of our physical nature as well— resurrection from the dead, receiving/ having within ourselves a share in God’s glory.

How would I know that?
[A] From believing the testimony of the Gospels, the Bible, and the testimony of the Church’s teaching— and from my study and reflection on both. From believing the testimony of saints who’ve “seen into the mystery” in ecstatic mystical experiences. From my own experiences in prayer. From my own experience of profound beauty in the world, and from that concluding/ recognizing/ believing that the beauty of the world had to have come from a “Divine Artist.”
[B] From my exposure to all of [A], I have a growing, deepening, comprehensive sense/ intuition/ understanding/ knowledge that: “This all fits together... it all makes sense... it all leads in one direction, to one unifying center.” It is attractive to my intellect, and thus also attractive to my feelings.
- - - -

In what way do I think Satanism would be opposed to the “Glory of God” (life, truth, goodness, unity, joy, beauty)?
Also, I said previously: “since I see those attributes in God, I then conclude, I believe (not merely assume), that they are not in Satan.”
In response to that, you ask me what I believe.

You can look back at the beginning of our correspondence where I cited the “fallen angels” section of the Catechism. Without myself looking up that section again, here’s what I have to say.

God created all that is, even Satan. Satan is not the simple polar “opposite” of “creator”— Satan does not and cannot “uncreate.” Rather than polar opposite of God, I would say Satan is “opposer” of God. “Opposer” is in line with the meaning of the Hebrew satan: “enemy.”

[What would be the polar opposite of God? Nothingness.]

God draws persons to salvation, leaving them free to choose to be saved and to cooperate in having God save them. However, again, Satan is not the polar opposite: Satan does not have power to “unsave” anyone; he cannot take away the salvation of anyone. Satan may tempt persons away from God— but persons are relatively free to choose to follow or to reject temptations.

Satan may deceptively appear to have the “glory attributes” of truth, goodness, joy, and beauty. Indeed, Scripture even observes Satan may disguise himself as an angel of light (“light-bearer” literally in Latin is “lucifer”). The appearance of “glory attributes” in Satan is merely that, merely an appearance, for the sake of drawing men away from God.
- - - -

By now, I’m constantly saying to myself, “Some Satanists might agree, and some might disagree.” I’m even finding that some who call themselves “Satanists” simply reject the existence of God, gods, angels, Satan, demons, the afterlife, thus putting themselves in the direction or position of “Pure Materialists.”

10:35 AM  
Blogger Demensira said...

I don’t expect I’ll make myself sound logical or clear for you. I might even just sound absurd.

That mindset I understand. I've walked around my whole life thinking that same thing about 'my Satanism'.

You managed to answer my questions, in fact you even managed to answer a question I asked you a few times earlier in our discussion; Why do you worship God?

I suppose I understand.

God created all that is, even Satan. Satan is not the simple polar “opposite” of “creator”— Satan does not and cannot “uncreate.” Rather than polar opposite of God, I would say Satan is “opposer” of God.

[What would be the polar opposite of God? Nothingness.]


Yes I would agree, except for the following:
Satan may deceptively appear to have the “glory attributes” of truth, goodness, joy, and beauty. The appearance of “glory attributes” in Satan is merely that, merely an appearance, for the sake of drawing men away from God.

You say 'merely an appearance'. This statement seems to imply that they are absent. If they were absent, then it would follow that was how he was created. If this was your implication, then I would have to say I disagree.

I would say he does possess those attributes, but in opposing God rejects them. Gives the 'appearance' of them for the sake of drawing men away from God.

Otherwise God would be responsible for creating evil.

Now that I've written that, that seems to be what you were saying. Was it?

---------

By now, I’m constantly saying to myself, “Some Satanists might agree, and some might disagree.”

That is essentially what you have to say about any belief when referring to Satanists or about 'satanic' beliefs. Whether they believe in nothing (Atheism) or worship Satan (Diabolism).

There is always an exception.

For a long time I refused to call myself a Satanist because I had never found anyone who shared beliefs similar to my own. Then I had an appifany and decided that as well as being a Diabolist, I am also a Satanist.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

Dear Demensira,


Satan originally had an authentic share in these attributes of glory as an angel of God.

Catechism, "391. .... The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."

Demensira, we've come full circle. That citation was in the first of my responses to you in our correspondence.

7:03 PM  

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