The confidence that is from God… p1


Theological confidence, ie parrhesia {ܦܪܗܣܝܐ}, like when the priest prays “make us worthy, my Lord, by that confidence that is from you, that we may all worthily call on you and pray thus” before the Our Father in the evening service, can be seen by that same prayer to be from the Lord. It implies boldness, confidence, liberty.

Before we begin, let us look at a couple of instances where this confidence is invoked during our Holy Offering {Mass}. First, near the beginning the priest prays this supplication:

O Lord, O Lord: grant us unveiled faces before you, that we may complete this holy and living Service in the confidence that comes from you, while our intentions are purified from all evil and bitterness.

The priest also invokes this aid before the Our Father:

And make us worthy, our Lord and God, to stand always before you without fault, with pure hearts and unveiled faces. And, in that confidence that you have granted us all in your mercy, we call together upon you and say thus…

In both these instances we see that the Lord is the source of the confidence, and we also see that te confidence is coupled with purity and “unveiled faces”. This is a points directly to 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6:

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside… but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit… For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

This “great boldness”, due to our having hope, is in the Greek “πολλῇ παρρησίᾳ”.* Here we see it directly coupled with veiled/unveiled faces and pure hearts, cf. our glorification into the image of the Lord, and God shining in our hearts. We see our church father’s faithfulness to Scripture and the importance of Liturgy in reflecting theological teachings and truths.

* Note: The Syriac uses “ܝܬܿܝܪܐܝܬܼ ܒܿܓܼܠܐ ܥܝܢ ܡܬܿܕܿܒܿܪܝܢܢ” which is “we behave exceedingly with open eyes.” The word “ܦܪܗܣܝܐ” is a transliteration of the Greek.


5 Responses to “The confidence that is from God… p1”

  1. antgaria Says:

    This is the first part, in multiple parts that I’m hoping to be able to write on this subject. It was a subject that was in the back of my mind for a while, and in front quite often during conversations, but I have to keep doing more research to round out what is formulated and not have any {grevious/tragic/heretical/pythonesque} errors. 🙂

  2. Ian Climacus Says:

    Interestingly there is a similar train of thought of ‘counting us worthy’ and having ‘boldness’ in the Liturgies of St John Chrysostom and St Basil before the Our Father:
    And account us worthy, O Sovereign Master, that with boldness and without condemnation we may dare to call upon Thee, the Heavenly God, as Father, and to say: …

    It was interesting to see the link to Scripture and theology; thank you. I look forward to more thoughts as time allows; though I would not mind a pythonesque error. 😀

  3. antgaria Says:

    Ian, very good point… one that I was hoping to get to in the future. 🙂

    Thanks for the quote from the Liturgies of your Tradition. St. John Chrysostom, of course, embodies the Antiochian school with which our Mesopotamian school shares so much kinship with.

    I will have to note, that as far as I know, this theme is not as prevalent in the Roman Liturgy. In the missal we see:

    “Taught by our Savior’s command and formed by the word of God, we dare to say…” {Latin: audemus dicere}

    The vernacular translations have the following options:

    “Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us…” or “Jesus taught us to call God our Father, and so we have the courage to say…”

    So even in the West West {as opposed to the Antiochian East West… ;-)… }, the concept of boldness in standing before God the Father as we pray to him is there… albeit without the emphasis placed in the other liturgies.

  4. Ian Holder Says:

    I’d say, as a dyed-in-the-wool Easterner, it means the West is not as humble.
    😀 😀 😀

    On a tangent, though related to the Our Father, I will say I do love the Roman Mass’s embolism and am moved each time I hear it: Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

    Sorry for stealing your future thunder! I look forward to your continued thoughts.

  5. The confidence that is from God… p2 | Ab Oriente Weblog Says:

    […] the previous posting on this subject, we quickly discussed confidence as seen in the prayer before the “Our […]

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