hough HIV is a deadly threat to humanity, it’s pretty interesting to see how it behaves inside a cell. This virus is a nonliving genetic material outside the cell. But when it infects a cell it takes control of all the cellular activities. It simply gets into the nucleus and redirects the protein synthesis for its own survival. It doesn’t consider the need of the cell. It doesn’t get too much attached with the cell, i.e. it is free to come out of the cell after completing its own synthesis of required proteins and genetic material.
That’s HIV. It gets into the nucleus and becomes the master of the cell; something from outside taking control of the cell.
That’s why I said it’s really, really, interesting.
Let me say something spiritually. According to St. Thomas Aquinas ‘in the hierarchical structure of beings of the world Angels, the compounds of essence and existence, exists on the peak of creation, and then come men, we all, the Homo sapiens sapiens, whose substantial form is the spirit, which is united with material. The man is the sum total of this merely corporeal and spiritual being. The spirit can exist independently of the body. However, the more sensitive beings, the animals, or poorly vegetative beings, the plants, have a corruptible form of spirit that cannot exist independently of the material.’ That is, we have a spiritual existence outside the body unlike other animals and plants. The maximum level of expectation for these lower creatures is only up to humans. That is, these all are created for us, not only for you and me, but also for the coming generations.
It may be contrary to your traditional religious beliefs. But, let me just make my point clear…
Who are we ???
In contrary to the Platonian concept or some non Semitic religious views of man, the man can not be fragmented into a body and a spirit. That is the man is not body + spirit which would make of him two individuals; which is a misconception. Here the spirit is not something which is imprisoned in the body and willing to be released. Instead, both form a substantial union and this substantial union is a relation by which two substances are so disposed that they form one. It forms the person “You”. It is not our spirit that loves, or our body that eats, but "We" that do both. It can be explained by a general theory. That is, it is neither "matter" nor "form", but only the composite, called a substance. Similarly the man is neither the spirit nor the body but only the substantial union of the spirit and body.
I am talking about human beings, that is about you and me, the totality of body and spirit. The man has both bodily as well as spiritual features. Both of them are dominant. Then, there arises a question whether any of these two needs to be predominant. If so, which is the predominant one? You may wonder why I don’t use the traditional concept of mind because the mind is nothing but a cluster of nuclei in CNS, which is again a part of the body.
It’s very clear that the body together with mind is of earthly origin. We get it from our parents; it dies, degrades into basic elements, then gets incorporated into the food chain, and it may reach into our parents and come out as another body. This is not reincarnation (In fact, there is nothing like reincarnation) but natural way of processing of material. There is nothing to add to this cycle from outside. But the spiritual existence does not perish and undergo any recycling but is unique to each one of us. The Catholic Church dogmatically teaches that the man gets his spiritual existence at the very beginning of conception itself. So that man can not be completely destroyed by any means at any phase of growth.
The death ???
And the death; which is not an end of anything, but is a transformation. This is not like as we end somewhere and begin as another, but like something changing its state into another. i.e., like childhood to adulthood. And in this transformation we lose our earthly body the spirit continues existing as it was before but, without body. This is applicable only to humans because only their spirit has an extracorporeal existence. On the Day of Judgment the spirit forms a substantial union with its heavenly body. Yes, we will be transformed as Jesus Christ, our savior, did. Then you will have your heavenly body, but you, the person, will be same. This heavenly body will be totally different from the earthly body. Remember, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the two disciples who accompanied Him till Emmaus couldn’t recognize Him, because He was with His Heavenly body.
“There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.” (1 Corinthians 15:40)
The eternal life ???
We are created by God, our Father, for being with Him in Heaven. We are sent to this world not only to go through a “to do list” but to live with our spirit so as to maintain the spiritual features as such it was created with. As we are going to be raised to a supernatural state, as a son of God and member of the Mystical Body of which Christ is the Head, which is the eternal enjoyment of the beatific vision. So it is obvious that we should develop our spiritual features; because the language of the place where we go after transformation is of love which is a feature of spirit. So it is very important to train our spiritual features before we transform. Not just important, but mandatory; because witout those features we can not enjoy the everlasting love. Denials of this training result in forfeiting of His love. And that absence of His love is called nothing but the hell.
Now I needn’t answer which one of these feature need to be predominant. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I am not joking. This is a matter of our existence.
That is why it’s interesting to take HIV as a role model of life. Here the mind, body and the spirit is compared to the nucleus of cell, the cell and the HIV respectively. (Just consider the mind as an interconnecting link between body and spirit). As same as the working of HIV in a cell, the spirit should also be able to tame the body and mind to develop spiritual features. We may have to sacrifice our bodily pleasures for attaining this goal. Never mind it, because these spiritual features are the one which help us stand after transformation. I said it as just one factor because the salvation is not our achievement, but a free gift from God. This is somewhat like UPSC considering the language papers for civil service examination.
So I say the spirit should be virulent even much more than an HIV to develop the spiritual features.
That is what Saint Paul says.
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to law. .”(Galatians 5:16-18)
So what are the desires or features of body?
“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God”. (Galatians 5:18-21)
And the features of spirit are..
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”. (Galatians 5:22-23)
And then how will we behave if we have these spiritual features?
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13)
So be virulent enough as Human immunodeficiency virus to plant your life back into eternity.
Nelson T T
Refined in thy fire, Renewed by thy Spirit, Radiant in thy Holiness!
Rooted in Jesus. Driven by His Love…
POINTS FOR REFLECTION
- Is salvation possible just because of we have (even if) completely developed our spiritual features?
- Who is Jesus Christ ? and how did he make salvation easy ?
- Is human spirit originating from God and returning back to Him? If so ,Are both creator and creatures same?
- What does happen to the spirit until the day of judgement ? is it wandering on the earth ?
- Is salvation possible for those who are not baptised or outside catholic church ?