The world around us is in a constant state of turmoil and unrest. Every day we are bombarded with graphic details of some gruesome crimes and atrocities committed around us and around the world. Thousands of innocent people are killed every year in the name of ethnic cleansing and terrorist attacks. What is happening to us? What is happening to this world? Is there a light at the end of this dark tunnel? These burning questions make me look back at the scriptures and early fathers to find a reasonable answer. One of the rational explanations that jump to my mind is that people have lost touch with reality and with God. The concept of religion and faith has undergone a drastic transformation and this in turn has negatively impacted man’s thought patterns and his attitude towards his fellow human beings.
Two Questions always come to our mind. Who is God? Who is man?
It is therefore vital to go back to our basic concept of the relation ship between God and man. In this context two important questions come to my mind. “Who is God?”, “Who Is man?” Right from the Creation man is bonded to his creator. It is similar to the bond a mother has for her baby. It is steadfast and everlasting. The role of religion in perpetuating this relationship is paramount.
Through religion man is searching for God, and through the Gospel, God is searching for man. Now let us take a minute to ponder over my basic question. “Who is man?” This will take us back to the Creation. There are two levels of creations. The first level of creation is called “noetic,” “Spiritual” or intellectual level, and the second level is called the material or bodily level. On the first level God formed the angels, who have no material body, on the second level; he formed physical universe, the galaxies, stars and planets, with various types of minerals, vegetations and animal life. What level does Mankind belong? Mankind alone exists on both levels at the same time. Through his spirit, or spiritual intellect man has connections with angels through his body. And with his soul he moves, feels, thinks, eats and drinks.
Body, Soul and Spirit are the three elements of life.
First of all let me talk about the body. You read in the book of Genesis that the body came from the dust, and it goes back to the dust. The body is the physical or material aspect of man’s nature. Think about how much money Americans spend every year to beautify their body. It has grown to a billion dollar industry today. We nourish our bodies with lots of good food and spend a great deal of time for the wellness of it. I am not finding any fault with that. Let’s look at the soul.
Secondly, there is the Soul, the life force that vivifies and animates the body .For instance soul is something that moves, feels, and perceives. Animals also posses a soul, but on a lower level. Without the soul we are a lump of matter or meat. When we see all the vicious things that are happening in our modern world, we wonder how can man do such evil deeds. Man has always been categorized as the super creation, gifted with super intelligence. How did he fall to such a low level? Man seems to have lost any kind of feelings whatsoever at the destruction created by his fellow human beings. Are we losing or souls? Or are we deteriorating to the level of animals?
Let me try to explain the soul in a different way just to understand a little better the concept of the soul using a computer analogy. Take a blank computer disc and weigh it. It might weigh approximately one gram. Copy a database program like Oracle and weigh the disc again. There won’t be any change in weight of the disc. But when I load this software program to a computer, I could virtually run a web mall from my site. Software programs enable people to buy and sell things from all over the world. You can see clearly how a software can be manipulated to do unimaginable things. It is done by human programmers who digitally code the software with the programming language.
A computer software program can be compared to our soul. Our soul is designed by God, genetically coded and installed in us. One of the most important problems facing a computer user is the constant threat of viruses invading our cyber space. Some times we get virus attack from skilled hackers. Whenever we find ourselves troubled by these viruses, we find out the problem and fix our program. Some times these viruses are capable of destroying the entire software program itself. In such an event we reformat the hard drive and load a fresh program and start all over again.
In the Garden of Eden, a skilled hacker once attacked our souls, and he still continues to attack our souls. He fills our mind with evil programs, and manipulates our thought processes. The rampant evilness we see around us is evidences of Satan’s manipulation of human souls. He fills our souls with evil thoughts and desires, and this in turn transform this world into living hell. How can we attempt to fix this virus? Who is capable of reformatting our souls and fixing our lives? It is a question that is haunting humanity. I can assure with all surety that there is only one fix and that is through Jesus Christ.
Saint Moses of Optina once said “Nourish your soul daily with the words of life and with prayer and with every good work” –Just as we nourish our body with various kinds of food and drinks we can nourish our soul by good deeds and kindness. Then we can hope to regain our exhausted strength and preserve our life “. When Israelites were in the wilderness, they became hungry, and God gave them Manna to eat. When they became thirsty, God gave them water from the rock. For our hungry souls, God gives his Word (Son) from heaven. That Word become flesh and dwelled amongst us. When our soul becomes thirsty, God give us his Spirit. The Word become flesh that’s the Holy Eucharist, we receive on Sundays. Loving one another, doing charity work, and attending worship services are some of the ways we can try to nourish our souls.
Thirdly there is spirit, the breath from God something that animals lack? This spirit with small “s” is not the Holy Spirit of God. The created spirit (the breath of God) and the uncreated Holy Spirit the God (third person of the Trinity) are intimately connected. Through spirit man understands God and blissfully communicates with him.
In conclusion, all the three elements must act together in a perfect union and then only we can experience fullness of life. Unity of body, soul, and spirit will have to be in communion, as in the pattern of the Trinity, and that is the reality.