The Interaction Between Body and Soul

 Icon of the Mother of God of Kasperov

Icon of the Mother of God of Kasperov

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

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THE INTERACTION BETWEEN SOUL AND BODY ACCORDING TO OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH

According to Patristic (Holy Fathers of the Church) understanding of human nature, man is seen as a psychosomatic being, that is to say, that man is by nature comprised of both a body and a soul. Man is both spiritual and physical by nature. This is what gives us our unique position within all of creation. We as human beings, we're composed of both a spiritual soul, much like the Angels, as well as material and biological bodies, just like the other creatures of the physical world. This is why man is the high priest of creation: we can offer the creation back to God, "thine own of thine own."

"There is a natural and organic interaction between our soul and our body. The condition of our body can affect the condition of our soul, and vice-versa. For example, the afflictions of our body can provide the opportunity for the purification of our souls, as well as the acquisition of many spiritual virtues. On the other hand, the afflictions of our body can wear down our soul, and they can break our spirit if we let them. They can also lead us to despondency, depression, and despair. We see, then, that there is both suffering in the physical sense, which afflicts our body, as well as suffering in the spiritual that's going to afflict our soul. Both of these types of suffering will interact, and it's going to affect the whole man, the complete human person."

"The world in its fallen state has become dysfunctional, and this is apparent within society at large and within the basic unit of society, the family, as well as within each and every human person. Dysfunction rules the world. Sin and suffering, separation from God, ultimately, death itself: there are now the characteristic marks of fallen humanity. Separation from God not only leads to suffering; it's seen as sin itself. Sin is not simply a legal transgression of Divine Commandments that is set forth by a vengeful judge who waits to chastise those who break his rules or to reward those who follow his rules. Rather, sin is that which separates man from God."

"The sexual character of human persons has a positive role to play in human spirituality. Like all things human, sexuality must be sanctioned by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit, used for the purpose God has intended. And like all things human, through its misuse and abuse, sexuality can be perverted and corrupted, becoming an instrument of sin rather than the means for glorifying God and fulfilling oneself as made in His image, and according to His likeness."

"...The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body...

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I, therefore, take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, 'The two shall become one.' But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (I Corinthians 6:13-20).

Our Holy Orthodox Church teaches us to discipline ourselves through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three are really categories of disciplines that the Church recommends to us as means to "acquire the holy spirit", that is, to be continually full of the Life of God. Saint Isaac says, God will not judge you on whether or not you did or did not do your prayers, etc. Prayer, fasting, and almsigiving are exercises--you might even say weapons--by which we close the door to demonic delusion in our lives and through which we begin to see reality more clearly. Consequently, by means of the disciplines we are able to repent, to change, to cease following the "old man" of the flesh and passions, and come to let the "New Man" reign in our hearts and minds. It is this personal transformation that is important.

"Concerning the state of the soul after the Particular Judgment, the Orthodox Church teaches thus: 'We believe that the souls of the dead are in a state of blessedness or torment according to their deeds. After being separated from the body they immediately pass over either to joy or to sorrow and grief; however, they do not feel either complete blessedness or complete torment. For complete blessedness or complete torment, each one receives after the General Resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body in which it lived in virtue or in vice" (The Epistle of the Eastern Patriarchs on the Orthodox Faith, paragraph 18).

Father Calistrat Chifan, an Orthodox priest from the Vladiceni Monastery in Iasi, Romania, teaches that "Christians living pious, chaste, and moral lives and staying faithful to God can also be considered martyrs. We are surrounded by so much corruption, filth, and immorality, that preserving our purity of heart, being virtuous, maintaining our faith in the True God, participating in the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church, staying faithful to our spouses, protecting our families, defending the sanctity of life, and raising God-fearing children, are just as much acts of martyrdom today as being tortured and killed for your Christian faith."

It behooves a Christian believer to preserve his or her chastity and spiritual integrity both of soul and body. There are a plethora of social movements and sexual orientations today that threaten the Christian way of life. The heterodox Christians that have introduced to their confession the so-called "inclusiveness" as part of their tradition have driven away many of their adherents to other religions.

Authentic Christianity cannot and will not compromise her beliefs, ethics, values, tradition, and way of life to appease a corrupt society. It will remain steadfast to the Divine Commandments of her All-Holy Founder and Lord Jesus Christ. As Orthodox Christians, we have only one loyalty and that is to our Savior.

What we are witnessing today is a total rebellion against the Almighty God. This is called apostasy! Jesus Christ is hated by the unbelievers and anti-Christians. Those who seek the destruction of the Christian Church and faith have infiltrated it and are deliberately creating all kinds of evil from within, i.e., divisions, confusion, distortion, heresy, lifestyles which are contrary to the teachings of Christ, and outright anarchy. It is an all-out war between good and evil. These are surely evil and dangerous days.

We must not allow the enemies of Our Lord Christ to enter into our Holy Orthodox Church.  Under the present circumstances, one can easily say that they are the 'wolves in sheep's clothing.' Let us be vigilant and aware of the evil threats both from within and without the Church. (References: Orthodox Church in America, Holy Nativity Orthodox Church, The Voice Crying in the Wilderness, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George