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Revista Studii Teologice

REVISTA FACULTĂŢILOR DE TEOLOGIE DIN PATRIARHIA ROMÂNĂ



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"Du Sacrement du Baptême au Sacrement du Mariage: notre vie entre Dieu et le monde"

"From the Sacrament of Baptism to the Sacrament of Matrimony: our life between God and the world"

Autor(i): †Emilian LOVISTEANUL
In the present paper, we propose a reflection on the significance, spiritual im-portance and role played by the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony in the life of Christians, especially Orthodox Christians. Indeed, the time span between the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Matrimony comprises a person’s development to reach maturity.
The Baptism is administered and received for the remission of sins, of the ancestral sin and, in the case of adults, of the sins committed until the respective moment. However, the Baptism marks not only the remission of sins, but it is also a Sacrament of adoption, according to St. Basil the Great. This is manifest during Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan, when the Holy Spirit descends from heaven upon Him, like a dove, and the Father’s voice is heard saying: « This is My Son whom I love ; with Him I am well-pleased» (Matthew 3, 17). The phrase « My Son whom I love » here designates not only the Son of God, but also the Son of Man incarnate of the Virgin Mary.
This adoption of the human nature, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, is the highest consequence of Baptism. Baptism washes sins away and transforms man from a servant into a child; by it, we are adopted and become children and friends of God, sons and daughters in Christ the Saviour ; several times in the Gospels, the Lord calls the disciples believing in Him and His words, his friends and sons of God (cf. John 15, 12-16).
This spiritual filiation constitutes the beginning of our resurrection. St. Gregory the Theologian speaks of the threefold birth of the one who accepts Christ as Lord and Emperor. The first one is the natural, or biological, birth – the birth according to the flesh. The second one is the baptismal, or spiritual, birth through the Baptism, also called theological birth, and constitutes the beginning of spiritual adoption. Our third birth, the most complete one, is the Paschal birth, that of the final Resurrection, when our bodies, and not only our souls, will be transfigured and saved. Through Baptism only the soul is saved, whereas the body goes towards death and decay, since what is corrupted cannot enter the incorrupt life in the Kingdom of God. Upon the final Resurrection, the body is resurrected as well and becomes incorruptible. This incorruptible body will enter God’s Kingdom together with the immortal soul. Then we will be fully adopted by God.
While Baptism helps us reach communion with the Holy Trinity as well as the Christians sharing the same faith, the Sacrament of Matrimony represents the communion of love and commitment, of self-giving with the blessing of God. The theology of Christian marriage is based on the words of Apostle Paul addressed to the Ephesians: « Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church » (5, 25), since the marriage between Christ and the Church provides the model for the marriage between man and woman. Father Dumitru Stăniloae defines marriage as a sacred act, with divine origin, by which the grace of the Holy Spirit is bestowed through the priest upon the man and the woman who freely engage in marriage and sanctify and elevate their natural union to epitomize the spiritual union between Christ and the Church. It is a highly spiritual analogy, very important as Father Stăniloae (just like the Holy Apostle Paul) associates this union between man and woman with the union between Christ and the Church, since Christ established the Church out of his lovingkindness and will be present within it unto ages of ages. Similarly, the union between man and woman must be consecrated through marriage, for eternity not for a matter of months or years.
The present paper also addresses certain problems challenging the Christian family in contemporary Romanian society, just like other modern societies, and emphasizes the necessity of Church commitment to the spiritual guidance of its faithful along the path leading them to the Kingdom of God.
It has been often said that every historical period has its own manner of crucifying or glorifying God. Our century is no exception: it glorifies Him through its best aspects, and crucifies Him through its wrongs. We hear much about secularization, a secular world and the contemporary secularized man, reflecting his time and age. This man does not necessarily deny the existence of God ; to him, God is somewhere in heaven, and has nothing to do with the life that unfolds on earth. The secularized man is the man who no longer prays; when one feels no need to pray, one has a secularized mindset.
As long as modern man does not forget that Christ is the « Tree of life », and « the Light of the world », he will seek His guidance along the path of life, and in the family. And Christ the Saviour will help him live in agreement with his fellow people and his neighbours and will teach him how to serve the Truth for spiritual awakening and the knowledge of God.

In the present paper, we propose a reflection on the significance, spiritual im-portance and role played by the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony in the life of Christians, especially Orthodox Christians. Indeed, the time span between the Sacrament of Baptism and the Sacrament of Matrimony comprises a person’s development to reach maturity.
The Baptism is administered and received for the remission of sins, of the ancestral sin and, in the case of adults, of the sins committed until the respective moment. However, the Baptism marks not only the remission of sins, but it is also a Sacrament of adoption, according to St. Basil the Great. This is manifest during Christ’s baptism in the river Jordan, when the Holy Spirit descends from heaven upon Him, like a dove, and the Father’s voice is heard saying: « This is My Son whom I love ; with Him I am well-pleased» (Matthew 3, 17). The phrase « My Son whom I love » here designates not only the Son of God, but also the Son of Man incarnate of the Virgin Mary.
This adoption of the human nature, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, is the highest consequence of Baptism. Baptism washes sins away and transforms man from a servant into a child; by it, we are adopted and become children and friends of God, sons and daughters in Christ the Saviour ; several times in the Gospels, the Lord calls the disciples believing in Him and His words, his friends and sons of God (cf. John 15, 12-16).
This spiritual filiation constitutes the beginning of our resurrection. St. Gregory the Theologian speaks of the threefold birth of the one who accepts Christ as Lord and Emperor. The first one is the natural, or biological, birth – the birth according to the flesh. The second one is the baptismal, or spiritual, birth through the Baptism, also called theological birth, and constitutes the beginning of spiritual adoption. Our third birth, the most complete one, is the Paschal birth, that of the final Resurrection, when our bodies, and not only our souls, will be transfigured and saved. Through Baptism only the soul is saved, whereas the body goes towards death and decay, since what is corrupted cannot enter the incorrupt life in the Kingdom of God. Upon the final Resurrection, the body is resurrected as well and becomes incorruptible. This incorruptible body will enter God’s Kingdom together with the immortal soul. Then we will be fully adopted by God.
While Baptism helps us reach communion with the Holy Trinity as well as the Christians sharing the same faith, the Sacrament of Matrimony represents the communion of love and commitment, of self-giving with the blessing of God. The theology of Christian marriage is based on the words of Apostle Paul addressed to the Ephesians: « Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church » (5, 25), since the marriage between Christ and the Church provides the model for the marriage between man and woman. Father Dumitru Stăniloae defines marriage as a sacred act, with divine origin, by which the grace of the Holy Spirit is bestowed through the priest upon the man and the woman who freely engage in marriage and sanctify and elevate their natural union to epitomize the spiritual union between Christ and the Church. It is a highly spiritual analogy, very important as Father Stăniloae (just like the Holy Apostle Paul) associates this union between man and woman with the union between Christ and the Church, since Christ established the Church out of his lovingkindness and will be present within it unto ages of ages. Similarly, the union between man and woman must be consecrated through marriage, for eternity not for a matter of months or years.
The present paper also addresses certain problems challenging the Christian family in contemporary Romanian society, just like other modern societies, and emphasizes the necessity of Church commitment to the spiritual guidance of its faithful along the path leading them to the Kingdom of God.
It has been often said that every historical period has its own manner of crucifying or glorifying God. Our century is no exception: it glorifies Him through its best aspects, and crucifies Him through its wrongs. We hear much about secularization, a secular world and the contemporary secularized man, reflecting his time and age. This man does not necessarily deny the existence of God ; to him, God is somewhere in heaven, and has nothing to do with the life that unfolds on earth. The secularized man is the man who no longer prays; when one feels no need to pray, one has a secularized mindset.
As long as modern man does not forget that Christ is the « Tree of life », and « the Light of the world », he will seek His guidance along the path of life, and in the family. And Christ the Saviour will help him live in agreement with his fellow people and his neighbours and will teach him how to serve the Truth for spiritual awakening and the knowledge of God.

Taguri:
Studiu
Pagini: 7-20