Friday, October 12, 2018

The Young Monk Who Was Cast Out of His Grave After His Burial

By St. Gregory the Dialogist

(The Dialogues, "Life of Saint Benedict", Bk. 2, Ch. 24)

On a certain day, a young boy that was a monk, loving his parents more than reason would allow, went from the Abbey to their house, without asking the holy father Benedict's blessing beforehand. The same day that he came home to them, he departed this life. Being buried, the next day after, his body was found cast out of the grave. They caused it to be put back in, but again, the day following, they found it as before.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Filmmaker Scott Derrickson Interviewed on Horror and his Christian Faith

By Steven D. Greydanus

Scott Derrickson is a very nice guy who makes movies about things that aren’t very nice.

Articulate, thoughtful and disarmingly frank, Derrickson is a rare outspoken Christian in Hollywood. He’s also a horror filmmaker and aficionado probably been best known for the 2005 supernatural thriller The Exorcism of Emily Rose — though his recent deal with Marvel to bring the comic-book character Doctor Strange to the big screen changes that in a big way.

I recently caught up with Derrickson in Manhattan, where he held forth at length on horror, faith, art and Catholicism. (Our sprawling 45-minute interview covered more ground than I can do justice to in this article; you can watch the full video review on my blog.)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

No Sympathy for the Devil: The Significance of Demons in John Chrysostom's Soteriology

No Sympathy for the Devil:
The Significance of Demons in John Chrysostom's Soteriology

By Samantha Lynn Miller

Marquette University
Spring 2016


This dissertation is a study of John Chrysostom’s demonology as it relates to his theological anthropology and soteriology. Demons run rampant in Chrysostom's thought, though few scholars have taken note of this. Studies of Chrysostom often focus on his exegetical practices, his asceticism, or his social vision and morality. Indeed, many scholars dismiss Chrysostom as unsophisticated and therefore of little value in the landscape of fourth-century theology. In analyzing Chrysostom’s demonology, we see that Chrysostom’s thought is complex and worth further consideration. One cannot treat demons in Chrysostom’s work without treating other theological topics as well. When Chrysostom discusses demons he does so for the sake of bringing his congregation to salvation. Drawing on Stoic categories for discussing “true” versus “apparent” harm, Chrysostom uses rhetoric about demons to highlight humanity’s freedom and self-determination. Each person has a προαίρεσις, which is free and is the locus of moral responsibility, a faculty demons cannot compel. The προαίρεσις is what enables a person to be virtuous. Chrysostom then argues that because each person is able to be virtuous, God expects each person to be virtuous, and this virtue is a necessary aspect of salvation. Though God reconciles humanity to God’s self in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and though Christ continues to help a person be virtuous, the responsibility for virtue, and thus salvation, lies with the human being. In short, Chrysostom's demonology and account of self-determination exert a mutual influence on one another, self-determination is necessary for virtue, and virtue is integral to salvation. Therefore, in order to have a fully developed account of Chrysostom's theological anthropology and soteriology, one must also understand Chrysostom’s demonology. Chrysostom's soteriology is better understood when the role of demonology in his theology is taken into account because Chrysostom's engagements with demonology are an entrance to his soteriology and highlight the depth to which Chrysostom believes humans are responsible for their own salvation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Dead Girl Who Seized a Grave-Robber and Would Not Let Him Go

By St. John Moschos

The Spiritual Meadow
Ch. 78

The Astonishing Miracle of a Dead Girl, Who Seized a Grave-Robber and 
Would Not Let Him Go Until He Had Promised to Become a Monk

When we visited Abba John, the abbot of the Monastery of the Giants, he told us a similar story from the time when he had been at Theopolis:

It is not so long ago that I had a visit from a certain young man.

"Help me, for the love of God," he said, with many tears and convulsive sighs. "I need to repent."

I could see that he was deeply troubled and perplexed.

"Tell me the reason why you are so filled with compunction," I said. "Don't hold anything back, for God is surely able to help you."

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (6 of 6)

...continued from part five.

6. Confronting the Devil

Throughout the biblical and patristic tradition two views of the devil can be discerned. The first is that the devil is not merely a personification of evil or something abstract, but a specific being who works to prevent human beings from being saved. The second is that the devil’s authority, power and energy are of limited strength since the Incarnation of Christ. God’s supremacy over the strength of the evil one is obvious throughout our Tradition.

Christ, as mentioned already, came to defeat the devil and to free man from his tyranny. This is clear from the miracles when people possessed with demons were healed. The demons themselves understood this, because at one point they said, “What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?” The healings of demoniacs are an expression of the eschatological destruction of the devil’s power. This destruction of satanic power was achieved through the Cross, as the Apostle Paul tells us: “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He [Christ] made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it [the Cross]” (Col. 2:15).