The Word Magazine, March, 1960, Page 6
A Thought for Lent
by Fr. Naseeb C. Masood
We are now in the Great Lenten Fast of our Church. Let us all now stop and evaluate our progress in our spiritual and daily life with one another, and also let us prepare ourselves for our Coming with Christ into Heaven through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Let us follow the example which is best illustrated by St. Paul in II Corinthians chapters 5:17-18: 4-11 respectively: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” By this passage St. Paul tells us to keep Christ within ourselves and, likewise, to keep ourselves in Christ. Also in relation to the latter passage is this passage from St. Paul— “all things approving ourselves to the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Sprit, by love unfeigned, the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known: as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”
Saint Paul has written these passages in the past, but let us in the present use these words in our life for our future salvation and meeting with God. From the above mentioned verses the greatest teaching of St. Paul is expressed—we must be dead to this world, but we must be alive to Christ and to Christ within us.
During Lent a few years ago after I had entered the seminary I asked myself this question—Why do I wish to live deeply and spiritually? I believe that all of us during this Great Eastern Lent and for all times keep this question in our minds—Why would we, as being in Christ, wish to live a deep life which is and should be righteous and spiritual?
As one progresses daily, many circumstances are responsible for his mental and physical forms. Everyone had his particular forms, which are different in many modes from those of another. All of these different modes or mannerisms are the make-up and composition of the world. If everything in this world were identical, life would be nothing but a monotonous stream without ripples. It is the ripple in the stream that makes the stream pleasant to watch. Everyone contributes his ripple to that stream, which flows into the ocean of life and perpetuates the existence of man.
Man, like a whole, has two separate types of character. One type of this character is interest and the other type is disinterest. If we look at this great ocean of life from the surface, we have only the view of the one angle. But if we descend to the depths, we are able to see many different angles of this sublime scenery. Instead of the obtuse angle, we should use the acute angle. By the use of the obtuse angle, we are not able to perceive the correct vision, but the acute angle penetrates deeply into man’ s inner life, or his subconsciousness.
By living deeply, I believe that one will be better equipped with the tools for a more perfect way of life. The offerings of life are too numerous to be neglected. One should not keep to his own shell, but he should keep a window opened always, both in the heart and the mind. The heart and the mind need to be in perfect accordance, like the body with the soul; therefore one should think as deeply as he lives. This harmony cannot be achieved by man’s powers alone. There is another power, which is needed to lift the latch, which opens the window to the heart and mind. The power of God is that power which is transmitted to man as faith. In order to live deeply and spiritually, man must have a strong, undiversified faith. This faith is the bridge, which connects the heart with the mind and the body with the soul. One of these cannot live without the other. By using this example, we are able to see how one needs his fellow man as a part of one’s life.
The art of living deeply and spiritually has been diversified and many irrelevant structures have been built in its place. These structure are of man’s making and not of God’s doing and through these structures man is attempting to perfect a superficial world of his own, leaving the realm of a deep pure spiritual life. These structures could be named the sins and transgressions which have become a part of man’s normal life. So many are these sins that man is not able to dissociate the sins from the worthy deeds. Man uses many words with which he attempts to sway another’s mind to think as the other does. Here is one of man’s biggest faults. No matter how many words man may use to sway minds, God speaks inwardly to man’s soul, without sound of words. (Yes! If only more of us would realize this!) Minds and hearts of man were made to be free and not influenced by another’s persuasive ideals or thoughts.
In the modem and progressive world, I find it very difficult, many times, to keep on a straight way. Without the help of God and my faith in His ways, life would hold no meaning or goal. No matter what we try to accomplish, we need a crutch or an aid and for this season, since God never forsakes us, we are able to receive all the conceptions of a full, life, providing this living is righteous and without deviations of aim. If a man is to be righteous in the sight of God, he must begin by forsaking all the suppositions which man has erected. If man does not have a strong faith, which is only acquired by a deep spiritual life, he is very susceptible to contamination or corruption which may he classified as a discord between himself and his fellow man, and between himself and God. A deep spiritual life is imperative for a perfect understanding of all things, both material and spiritual.
Let us now being by constantly praying not with meaningless words, but with opened hearts, minds, and souls.
O our God, to what place our souls and bodies
wandered, for we are so far from Thee?
Help us at this and all times to return to Thee.
Help us, O our God,through our seeking
humility which are of Thy highest gifts to live deeply
and according to Thy Word.
O our God be merciful to us sinners.
Amen Amen Amen
For Thou, O God, are good and lovest mankind and
to thee we ascribe glory, to the Father and to the
Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto
ages of ages. Amen.