|"The Corporal Acts of Mercy window ,|
The Church of All Saints, North Street, York"
Thursday, December 15, 2011
7. OUR CALL
IMAGE OF GOD
God has created every human being different from others; and at the same time all in his own image and likeness. God said:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; ....” (Gen 1:26).
About a few at least, people say, ‘he is a true replica of his Father’, ‘she looks like Indira Gandhi’, and so on.
“All men come from God; they have to reach him definitely.”
Mar Toma Nazranees, in their Holy Qurbana just after the Institution Narrative, declare:
“As You have commanded, O Lord, we, Your weak, frail and miserable servants, are gathered together because You have done us great favours which cannot be repaid. You, O Lord, put on our humanity in order to give it life by Your Divinity, and have lifted up our low estate, raised us who are fallen, brought new life to our mortality, forgiven our debts, justified us in our sinfulness, and enlightened our understanding. O our Lord and our God, You have conquered our enemies and granted victory to our weak and frail nature in the overflowing mercies of Your grace” (Order of the Raza).
In Jesus Christ, God gave us his divinity and took to himself our humanity. Accepting our mortality, he gave us his immortality. On the one hand, God took upon himself all our weaknesses; and on the other, he gave us everything necessary for life and salvation.
TO BECOME LIKE GOD
Every faithful, bearing witness to Jesus Christ, is called to be like God.
When St. Peter, the head of the Apostles’ College, wrote to the faithful of Asia Minor that we are called to be Partakers of the Divine Nature, he meant exactly the same:
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness ... that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:34).
It is a call to be transformed into Jesus Christ and thus become God-like. A believer must always bear witness to Jesus Christ and thus share the glory, which is to come.
LOVE FOR OTHERS
The believers are also called to love one another. Those who are like God cannot but love his neighbours as he loves himself. A Mar Toma Nazranee must be a fountain of virtues such as sympathy, mercy, gentleness, obedience, and so on; he should be a man of prayer and one who deals with others in nobility, justice and dignity. Those who make progress along the Mar Toma Margam must wish good in return for evil and pray for those who insult them.
The Holy Bible and the tradition of the Church provide us guidelines for living according to our own special call. One reads in St. Matthew (5, 3-10) as follows:
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
8. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Fathers of the Church and Saints teach about the various theological and moral virtues, which should shine forth in every faithful. The theological virtues are: (1) Faith (2) Hope (3) Charity
(1) Prudence (2) Justice (3) Fortitude (4) Temperance
ACTS OF MERCY
There are also certain acts of mercy (Mt 25, 35-46), which we should necessarily do:
1. Give food to the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Give cloth to the naked
4. Give shelter to the homeless
5. Give welcome to the strangers
6. Visit the sick and prisoners
7. Help the poor and needy
8. Bury the dead
9. Teach the ignorant
10. Console the sad
11. Guide the doubting
12. Forgive the harms done
13. Correct those who do wrong
14. Bear patiently the limitations of others
15. Pray for the living and the dead.
CAPITAL SINS AND THE CORRESPONDING VIRTUES
Being children of God, we are called to become like God. Hence it is natural that we avoid all capital sins and practise the corresponding virtues.
2. Avarice............. Generosity
3. Lust.................. Modesty
4. Anger............... Patience
5. Gluttony.......... Temperance
6. Jealousy........... Charity
7. Sloth................ Promptness
8. Discontent....... Satisfaction
GOD THE FATHER
God the Father is all holy and the giver of holiness; He has no beginning and no end; He is Omnipotent and “Creator of all things, visible and invisible.”
GOD THE SON
God the Son is the second person of the Holy Trinity, born from the Father in eternity. The mystery of this birth is beyond the power of human intelligence. In the Symbol of faith we declare:
“and (we believe) in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only, Begotten Son of God, the first born of all creatures, born of the Father before all ages, and not made, true God from true God, consubstantial with his Father. Through him the worlds were formed and all things were created.”
The Creed continues to proclaim the mysteries of incarnation, Jesus’ historical life, passion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, second coming and so on.
God the Son became man “for the sake of us men and for our salvation”, in order to restore to humanity the divine image and likeness, which man has willingly deformed.
GOD THE RUHA DA-QUDSA
God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and proceeds from the Father in eternity. This procession too is beyond the grasp of human intelligence. We proclaim it thus in the Symbol of faith:
“And we believe in one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, the life-giving Spirit.”
God the Ruha da-Qudsa transforms us into the person of Jesus Christ by divinization in the Holy Communion, where we become really united to the risen body of Jesus.
Every human being is created in the image and likeness of the Triune God. Ipso facto, everyone is called to the holiness of this Triune God.
In the sacraments of Initiation, we are specially sealed as the Icons of Jesus Christ. Are we conscious of this our loftiness and nobility?
“God’s people will not hurt anybody; they do only good to others; they will bless those who do harm to them and will pray for those who make calumny.”
JESUS TEACHES US:
“Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you” (Mt 5, 38-42).
“Mar Toma Nazranees, the children of God, must always overcome evil by good. That is their call.”