Posted 11 April 2016 - 09:35 PM
I do not have a thesis or any opinion: I am basing what I post on the Fathers as explained by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) in his 'The Person in the Orthodox Tradition'. As to free will and love of God, this is dealt with at p 277 et seq. The freedom of the saints (those who have attained to deification) is the direction of their freedom towards God. The authentic person is one who has used his freedom to subject his freedom to God out of love for God (cf Elder Sophrony).
Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:19 PM
'The likeness belongs to the saints who have mortified their passions and subjected their freedom to God through love.' The subjection of our freedom to God comes about through love for 'it is only then that freedom moves and functions naturally'. 'True freedom cannot be expressed without love or else 'it loses its ontological context'. Love and freedom 'co-exist'. (Quotations from Metropolitan Hierotheos.)
Posted 17 April 2016 - 08:02 AM
Is there anyone else besides the Mother of God who we believe committed no personal sin?
Many... We do not believe infants can commit personal sin. St Gregory of Nyssa in his treatise "On infants early death" speaks of this. There may have been hermits and other people we will never know about that have committed no personal sins.
Posted 17 April 2016 - 12:12 PM
'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' - 1 John 1:18. ' . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' - Romans 3:23.
True enough, for those who have reached a certain age.
It is instructive to look at the text of the funeral service for infants and very young children - those whom the Church regards as not old enough to go to confession. The service is peppered with references to the child being pure, innocent and undefiled, there is an assurance that the little one will indeed be in heaven, and, most strikingly, no petitioning for the forgiveness of sins at all.
Some typical selections from this service;
Death is a release for babes; for they are not accounted sharers in life's evil, and have attained rest and heavenly gladness; and in Abraham's bosom they rejoice, and now with divine choirs of children they make glad, and faithfully exult: because they have escaped pure from sin's corruption.
O Lord, who guards little children in this present life, and has prepared for them a mansion in the life which is to come, even Abraham's bosom, and angelic abodes brightly radiant which befit their purity, where the souls of the righteous dwell: Receive the soul of Your servant, the child, N., with peace. For You have said: Suffer the little children to come to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
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