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Made Partakers of Jesus’ Divine Nature

Palermo Christmas mosaic
Mosaic – Palatine Chapel, Palermo, 1150AD

Cyril of Alexandria said, “We are also made partakers of [Jesus’] divine nature, and gain him to dwell within us by having the communion of the Holy Spirit.”

Jesus the cute newborn may be a nice, emotional hook – but notice the great liturgical texts for Christmas (for example) make less mention of that, and more of God’s purpose in the incarnation, and our being drawn into the divine life through that.

If we stay at the level of emotional reaction to a cute baby, then we have, once again, confused the means and the goal.

My e-friend, Fr Scott Gunn says it well:

While it is tempting to reduce our encounters with Jesus Christ to their therapeutic or emotional benefits, this is a mistake. Cyril of Alexandria nicely lays out some of the reasons we might find ourselves completely changed. We have to get over the idea that church is about feelings. It’s much bigger than that. If we dwell in the world of feelings, the church is doomed, because, frankly, it probably feels better to go to the beach or the coffee shop on Sunday mornings. And a church which offers something other than the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ is not really a church at all. It is instead a club for current members, or maybe an architectural preservation society.

…To the extent we are focused on anything other than complete transformation, we are focused on the wrong things.

Read his whole post here.

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2 Responses to Made Partakers of Jesus’ Divine Nature

  1. Congratulations, Bosco, on drawing our attention to God’s basic purpose in the Incarnation of Christ – which is to enable humanity to share in the divine nature. However, I do take issue with Scott Gunn’s thesis that : ” We have to get over the idea that church is about feelings. It’s much bigger than that. If we dwell in the world of feelings, the church is doomed….”.

    Humanity is very much about feelings. Without them, life would hardly be open to the allurement of the 5 senses. ‘Feelings’ are what often motivate people into belief in God and Jesus in the first place. Don’t let us become so cerebral that we are unable to get in touch with our feelings. This can lead to the sort of inhumanity that leads to inter-necine warfare – on the basis of ISIS-type ideology.

    Happy New Year to you!

    • Thanks, Fr Ron.

      I totally agree with you, and I’m sure that Fr Scott would also [you could take up your point on his site]. I read the point as – don’t be limited to feelings. I think your point – don’t be limited to reason – is very important. I have been thinking of this very point over the last few days as I see people putting their whole faith in reason in a way that is inhuman. I may yet think through to a blog post about that. New Year blessings to you also.




About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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