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18. St. Gregory of Nyssa: The Lord's Prayer, The Beatitudes (Ancient Christian Writers) Hardcover – January 1, 1978

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Christian Writers (Book 18)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press (January 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809102552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809102556
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #676,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This work contains two of St. Gregory of Nyssa's collections of homilies, the first on the Lord's Prayer and the second on the Beatitudes. They are classic works on the nature of the spiritual life by one of the most important Church Fathers of the late 4th century and one whose popularity has increased in the 20th century.

"The effect of prayer is union with God..." (The Lord's Prayer, Sermon 1). In his five sermons on the Lord's Prayer, Gregory invites the reader - the listener! - to embark upon the pursuit of the infinite God in praying the prayer that Jesus taught to the disciples. Each point in the prayer is like a kernel that contains profound spiritual truth, and the ultimate purpose in prayer is attaining likeness unto God. "The pure in heart shall see God." This simple statement is at the very heart of Gregory's understanding of the Beatitudes. Commenting upon a different Beatitude in each sermon, he posits that the they are like a series of steps ascending to God. This ascent is a becoming a son of God, sharing intimately in God's own life.

Many readers may be surprised at the way that Gregory approaches Scripture. He is rather disinterested in getting into the socio-historical context in which each of the above emerged and far more interesting in discussing the application of them to the Christian life. This is no merely "practical application", however. St. Gregory teaches that God is dynamically active. It is, in many ways, a playful image: the God who incites our desire for Him is infinite and incapable of being exhausted by us. "It seems to me that what we desire is nothing else but the Lord Himself" (The Beatitudes, Sermon 8) and this holy desire is a striving forward for God, with God, into God. As unending pursuit, it is unending union.
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A return to the early Church Fathers reminds all of us to their respective nearness to Christ. St Gregory's work on the Beatitudes takes us back to a more Christ like approach in our spiritual lives through its simplistic approach to improving our lives. Returning us to a similar time to Christ, and out of our daily grind, St Gregory's views of forgiveness remind us to be like "a child." While we can philosophically think about forgiveness the approach St Gregory takes reminds us how can we be forgiven with out ourselves forgiving? This simplistically approach reminds us in our current world it is just that simple. While St Gregory is not as well known as his more noted Cappadocians, his increasingly spiritual approach to the Beatitudes truly make him one of the greats that must be studied. As a graduate student in theology this was one of the finest spiritual guides I found from both an intellectual and theological persepective.
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A comprehensive analysis of the Prayer Christ taught to his own disciples. Small wonder that it was incorporated by the Early Church in the Catholic Mass in both Eastern and Western liturgies. Gregory of Nyssa was not only an early saint but also recognised as a Doctor of the Church. He is a great spiritual master of the Fourth Century, acclaimed as the founder of Mystical Theology in the Church. He was born in an era when the general persecution of Christians was ending throughout the Roman Empire...
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A great insight and discussion on both the Our Father and the Beatitudes. It definitely broadens one's perspective of prayer and
shows the Beatitudes as the counter to doing wrong.
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