Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Three Basic Prerequisites for a Spiritual Life


By Protopresbyter Fr. Gerasimangelos Stanitsas

1. The Salvific Work of Christ

The Incarnation of the Son of God is the fundamental prerequisite for the true life of man, to be united with God. Since man is the image of Christ who is the unchanging image of the Father, the "firstborn of all creation", the union of the two natures of Christ is the basic element of His existence. For man to become a true man he must become like Christ. The Incarnation negates the barrier of nature that separates man from God, while the Resurrection of Christ negates sin and death.

2. The Sacramental Life

The Body of the Incarnate and Risen Christ is the Church, the Body of Christ. The recreation and spiritual rebirth of man takes place in the Church through the Mysteries, especially Baptism, Chrismation and the Eucharist. In the Mystery of Baptism the reconstruction of man takes place and new spiritual functions are activated through Holy Chrismation. The Eucharist is the completion of the Mysteries. It is the source of the spiritual life and spiritually nourishes man. It is thus understood that the spiritual life is not personal or private, but ecclesiastical.

3. Human Cooperation

The Mysteries of the Church do not magically change man into a spiritual being. Man with his free cooperation needs to utilize the gifts given by God. Salvation is the fruit of divine and human synergy, which is why the Mysteries do not operate without our effort. This path requires spiritual asceticism and continuous repentance. The spiritual life is Christocentric, a life in Christ, because communion with Christ gives substance and life to man.

With this we understand the necessity for a spiritual life today. Christ did not come to teach or correct certain things in the world, but to become Himself the Life of the world, our Life. "I am Life". He did not come for the world to live better, but to actually save the world. Without God the world has no life, which is why the Church is not an ethical system of life, but transfuses the only true Life, who is Jesus Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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