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SPIRITUALITY


 

 

THE TWO FACES OF MAN

What is the origin of those unruly passions in man? We should never blame our weak human nature of these because our nature was formed in God's image and likeness. 

The animals came into this world before us and we inherited some of their qualities. Our emotions came from the animals; they are commonly connected with self-preservation transferred into human life and expressed in the form of passions. 

For instance, a fighting spirit keeps some animals alive, the pleasure of sex produces fertility; cowardice saves the timid animal; fear keeps the vulnerable animal safe from stronger predators, gluttony preserves the obese. Animals are unhappy when they fail to obtain the pleasure they are seeking. These qualities have found their way into man. . .but definitely taken from animals. 

But the likeness of God is not revealed by a spirit of self-preservation, "unless you lay down your life. . ." God's nature is not characterized by the pleasure of procreation or by cowardice, greed or dislike of inferiority. These marks are far from being divine. 

It is like a sculptor molding two different faces in one head. That is human nature. In the vices and passions it reproduces in itself the signs of the beast; but in the soul it has the features of the divine beauty. Whatever shines more makes the man ugly or beautiful. 

St. Gregory of Nyssa (pg 44, 192)

 

 

 

(05-07-02)

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