MAN AND HIS NOBLE DESTINATION
In discussing who man is, where he came from and what is his destination, even at this moment, before reading these words, some will just reject or ignore them establishing beyond doubt one of the most important things found in all men – freedom! Freedom to accept or reject! Man is free and able to choose between truth and falsehood, good or evil. In our freedom of our choice favoring truth over falsehood, we turn to the only account of the formation of man that has ever been recorded by one of the greatest of all man – Moses. What He writes in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, he does not record fiction but what was directly revealed to him by the Spirit of God. Moses was not in existence when he begins recording the account of creation. How wonderful and comforting are his true inspired and recorded words, which teach us that we are not from beasts and animal, by were created directly from the hands of God, who breathed His Spirit into our beings.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" , and
he goes on, recording all the days of creation. We will go to the sixth day, enabling us to see the final creation and the purpose of it, as well, for the final creation being man in the image of God is for whom everything was made.
The account in the above paragraph is not the creation of man,. But the future plan expressed by God of a man in His own image and likeness, that is, perfectly like himself.
Moses records before the creation of man, what God’s perfect plan for all creation is, saying: "And God said, let us create man according to our own image and likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the seas, and over flying creatures of heaven, and over the cattle and of all the earth, and over all the reptiles that creep on the earth."
This man is not the old Adam but the New Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, who refers to this passage when He says: "In the heading of the Bible it is written of me" It is the first reference to Christ in the Bible, and it is the fulness of manhood to which Adam and every man are destined by God if they so choose.
Moses continues his account: "And God made man, according to the image of God made he him, male and female he made them. And God blessed them/, saying, Increase and multiply ,and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the flying creatures of heaven, and all the cattle and all the earth, and all the reptiles that creep upon the earth."
The man in the image and likeness of God, is the man whom the entire human race needs to emulate, for this man, being the [perfect image and likeness of God, proved to be the Conqueror of Death, who by His death destroyed the kingdom of death.
However all of us are descended from the old Adam, and are thereby subject to death, which came upon mankind by his violation in eating of the forbidden tree. How then are we enabled to become like the man in the image and likeness of God. Glory to God, who did not neglect us. For Christ came into the world, and after His terrible suffering and death, He did rise on the third day, bestowing life on the race of man. Here is the method by which we share in His death and resurrection.
Christ established His holy Church and within it are everything needed to become the perfect man in the image and likeness of God. First, we are baptized into the death of Christ, and arise into His resurrection. This is accomplished by three immersions in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then we are washed and made clean and are able to be sanctified. Then we are sealed with Holy Chrism, and the celebrant proclaims: "The seal of Holy Spirit" repeatedly, anointing our bodies. This process deadens the old man of sin within us, making it possible for us to choose not to sin again. But if we do sin, repentance and return to God is possible.
Now we have become new, washed of our sins sealed with Holy Spirit, we feel ready to do battle with the Evil One. Well not quite, for we need the energy and power to fight fearsome forces which seek our destruction. So we are provided with divine Food, unlike any food ever offered to man. It is called the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Body and Blood of Christ or simply the Holy Mystery.
This Food is meant only for those who have entered into battle against their own sins and the evil forces which surround us. It is not ordinary but appears as bread and wine. However it is fire, for it is God himself who enters into our souls, inflaming us with love and desire for Him even more. It is a deifying Food which transforms the worthy into gods like God.
Partaking of the divine Mysteries, we actually partake of the nature and essence of God, and the Communion prayer says it so wonderfully "Tremble O man, when you see the deifying Blood, For it is a coal that burns the unworthy. The body of God both deifies and nourishes; It deifies the spirit and wondrously nourishes the mind." Truly, when we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ the Holy Trinity comes into our souls and abides there. Guiding us, teaching us, sanctifying, us and deifying us, as the prayer of St. Basil says: "Purify me from all defilement of flesh and spirit. Teach me to achieve perfect holiness in the fear of you, that with the clear witness of my conscience I may receive a portion of your holy things, and be united with your holy Body and Blood, and have you dwelling in me with the Father and the Holy Spirit."
When we live in this manner, keeping every commandment, avoiding every sin and transgression, living soberly and with temperance in all things. At the same time offering up prayers frequently and never forgetting the God who gave us our very existence, and who fills us with every blessing. Our lives here will be paradise and filled with every grace from on high! The change is inner, for it is the interior man within us who seeks to conform to what God has meant us to be. Our speech will become measured and attractive, our anxieties will abate as we acquire the interior peace endowed to us by Christ. As our lives becomes tranquil and the attraction of this world grows dim before our eyes, happiness and joy will begin to surround our lives, due to Her who dwells within us. Peace accompanies us wherever we travel and whatever we do. This peace cannot be taken of us for it is divine, for the Lord constantly greets us with: Peace be with you!