Re: Sathya Sai Baba and Me ?
- After reading the original posting by Rev Fr.Paulose and the reply by Benny, I was insipred to write the following.
The concept of God-Man is not alien to Christian Theology. The true God-Man is Jesus Christ. He was 100% God and 100% Man at the same time. If Jesus Christ was just 100% God and not 100% Man then the 33 years he spent on earth would not have been that impressive. The beauty is that he was 100% Man as you and me. He experienced pain, He faced hunger, He felt thirsty, He felt sadness. He faced every earthly temptation that you are I faced. Even then he didn't commit a single sin.
We as Christians are also called to be `gods'. This is a key concept of the teaching of salvation by the Orthodox Church fathers. In Greek it is called `Theosis'.
St. Athanasious teaching about the Incarnation of Christ says: "He became what we are, so that we might become what He is." In other words "God became man so that men might become gods." We even sing about this in the Sleeba Prabhata Prarthana in the hymn that starts with `Rijumatikalkkirulil'. In the second stanza of this hymn we sing:
(MSOT Udayagiri translation)
`Avanodu thulyam naamakan
'Than saamyam naam poondiduvan
Namude saamyamavan poondu'
This teaching of Theosis is not just from St. Athanasious; we can see it in the writings of various church fathers:
St. Irenaeus stated that God "became what we are in order to make us what he is himself."
St. Clement of Alexandria says that "he who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through him . . . becomes a god while still moving about in the flesh."]
St. Cyril of Alexandria says that we "are called `temples of God' and indeed `gods,' and so we are."
St. Basil the Great stated that "becoming a god" is the highest goal of all.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus implores us to "become gods for (God's) sake, since (God) became man for our sake."
These are all saints that we commemorate in the Fifth Thubden, Sy Cyril of Alexandria is Mor Koorilose, St. Clement of Alexandria is Mor Cleemis, St Basil is Mor Baselious and St Gregory is Mor Gregorious.
The problem however is that Sai Baba didn't atleast as far as we know, accept Jesus Christ and his energy didn't come from Him. Remember the thief on the right side; he confessed at the very last moment and became the first person to enter Paradise. So as Christians we are called to love everybody and pray for everybody. So it is indeed very noble for Rev Fr. Paulose to pray for the soul of Sai Baba.
Now coming back to `Faith'. Those of us who think we are saved because we are baptized and say that we have `Faith' should read James 2:14-26 from the Holy Bible. `Faith without works is dead'. It is not our lip service, but our faith that lives through our works that will save us. That is what we see our Lord saying in Matthew 25: 34-36
`Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Now if we are not doing this, we need to be worried. The sacraments of Baptism, Confession and the Holy Qurbana are helpful for our salvation; but so also is our faith that lives through our works.
When I see a lot of modern day TV preachers etc, I think of the words of the Roman Catholic saint, St. Francis of Assissi: "Preach Jesus Christ where ever you go, use words only when absolutely necessary." In other words we are to preach the Jesus to the gentiles not with so many words, but by our actions and how we lead our life.
Mathew G M