Sep 19, 2010

The Ox Knows Its Owner...

In response to an account of an Anglican priest administering communion to a parishioner and his dog, Fr. Vasile Tudora (a priest in the Greek Orthodox Church) had this to say:
In the quest to prove that man comes from animals, man is actually diminished to the level of a marginally more advanced living creature and nothing else, having very little to distinguish him from his "close relatives" that still dangle from one tree branch to the other. By reducing man to his animal body, man is actually abridged to matter and any spark of spirituality is completely denied to him.  Man becomes an animal with the illusion of grandeur.
But, according to Vladimir Lossky  "Human perfection does not consist in what makes him resemble with all creation, but in what sets him apart from the created order and makes him resemble his Creator"
Man was created differently than the other forms of life. God created the world by a simple "let there be..." but for man He decided to fashion him in a distinctive manner. "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Gen 1:26).
The resemblance with God that makes man different than animals is the rational origin of his soul. "Animals act on impulse (they have urges) but in man there is also 'logic'; it is the Grace of God which comes and establishes itself 'logically' upon the soul", says Saint Maximus the Confessor.  
Animals do not possess rationality and have no free will. They possess however, through their instincts and the spirit of life planted in them, a certain basic understanding of the world, enough for them to never fail in recognizing God and serving His will.
This is why Christ did not specifically minister to animals, not because they were unworthy, or because He didn't care about them, but because the creation already knew Him and obeyed him as God. "The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; But Israel does not know." (Isaiah 1:3).  The icon of Nativity shows this clearly by depicting the animals as the first witnesses of the Incarnation.
On the other hand man, misusing his God given rationality and betraying his freedom of choice, in his disobedience, has forgotten Who the Master is and has fallen into sin.  Because of man and his sin the entire creation has been turned upside down and exists in the corrupted state we see today.

No comments: