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Articles by V. Rev. Rodney Torbic

REFLECTIONS ON THE SOUL

Matthew 10:28-And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Believers benefit by taking time to think carefully about the soul. The minds and hearts of believers are filled with many things. Many ideas and thoughts compete for the attention of the minds and hearts of believers.

Being able to focus on soul is of primary importance. The Lord Jesus Christ cautioned to fear God so as not to have the soul and body destroyed.[1]
 
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Daily care of the soul deserves the attention of believers. Daily nourishment of the soul deserves the attention of believers. Daily protection of the soul is required of believers.

Conscious thought about the soul is necessary. Believers take time to think about financial matters. Believers take time to think about food, clothing and bodily necessities.

How much time during a given day, given week, given month, given year do believers think about the soul? What does the lack of conscious attention to the soul reflect?

In daily conversations with known believers, how often is the soul a subject of conversation? Why does so little discussion about the soul occur outside the walls of the church?

Given the amount of baptized Christians, what percent of known believers spend time reading about the soul? Of those who read about the soul specifically, what is the average amount of time invested? What is done with the information obtained?

How many people pray specifically for the benefit of the soul? How many people read specifically for the benefit of the soul? How many people confess with consciousness about the soul? How many people partake of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ with the soul clearly in mind?

When individuals assign values to what is most important to them, where does the soul get listed? How many individuals list the soul as their first interest and concern?

What steps can an individual take to be more conscious of his or her soul? What sources of information are used for each believer's knowledge about the soul?

Is the soul the subject of discussions in the family home?

Matthew 16:26-For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus equates the value of the soul with being equal to or greater than the whole world. How many people think of the soul having this kind of value?

Believers have the responsibility of maintaining fidelity to Christ. Believers are expected to live in accordance with the Profession of Faith in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Believers are expected to come to Holy Confession and Holy Communion. Believers are expected to pray with regularity daily, to read the Holy Scriptures and to attend the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and major feasts.

The Church provides a definite structure for individuals to maintain personal integrity and to seek the salvation of the soul. The Church provides a definite structure for nourishing the soul and protecting the soul.

Individuals seeking to learn more about the soul benefit from attending the Divine services of the Church. Individuals seeking to protect and nourish the soul can draw from examples in the lives of the saints.

Believers must contend with thoughts, with impulses, with passions. Believers must maintain a certain discipline. Saying "no" to those impulses, passions and thoughts which can cause the soul to perish is an absolute must.

Saying "yes" to Christ at every possible moment is an absolute necessity. Consideration must be given to when an individual becomes conscious of the soul.

Thought must be given to the different mental abilities of individuals. Some people are very limited mentally and do not have the faculties to comprehend the presence of a soul. God will care for such individuals.

For individuals with minds capable of knowing of the soul and with knowledge about the presence of the soul, responsibilities exist. Certain environments foster care of the soul. Certain environments put the soul at great risk.

Individuals living in households where God is of primary importance are more likely to experience behaviors among family members that encourage and strengthen Christian identification and practices.

Individuals living in environments where God is ridiculed and blasphemed are more likely to encounter behaviors contrary to fostering a healthy soul.

Vigilance is always necessary. Parents need to keep in mind the care of the souls of their children. Children observe parents and learn from them.

Matthew 22:37-Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all
your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind."

Jesus was quite clear when he spoke to the lawyer about the great commandment in the law.(Mt.22:35-37) Loving God with complete heart, mind and soul is within the realm of possibility.

God would not establish a commandment beyond the capabilities of man.Jesus said: "With God all things are possible.(Mt.19:26) Individuals loving God with the complete heart, mind and soul can take satisfaction in having followed the words of Christ and having taken them to heart.

Individuals loving God completely are set apart. They have faith and trust in God. They have confidence in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. The look to God with hope. They look to God for the salvation of their souls.

Individuals loving God completely are without fear and at peace. The First Epistle of St. John states: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."(I Jn.4:18)

Individuals seeking to love of God completely must invest the effort to learn about God. Prayer, fasting and reading the Holy Scriptures are important. Attending the Divine Liturgy regularly is important.

Praying to God in sincerity brings reassurance to a person. Individuals come to know God through prayer. Individuals can listen to God in prayer.

Listening to God is important for the soul. God comes to individuals in ways unexpected and at times unexpected.

The Holy Prophet Elijah heard the Lord speak in a still small voice. God asked Elijah, "What are you doing here Elijah??(I Kings. 1912-13)

Each believer does well to listen for the still small voice of God. Each believer does well to answer the question: "What are you doing here?" If the question cannot be answered in a way pleasing to God, repentance is the best course of action.

Holy Confession and Holy Communion are the best course of action for the salvation of the soul. The best course of action to save the soul is to follow the examples of the Prodigal Son and the Good Thief on the Cross.

The Prodigal Son returned to his father and was well received. When he returned from wasting his life, the prodigal's father said joyfully: "It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found."(Lk.15:11-32)

The "Good Thief" on the Cross when facing death had enough sense to say: "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."(Lk.23:42) Use time remaining for salvation of the soul.

Adult Class - St.George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
August 31/September 13, 2007. Father Rodney Torbic

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[1] The Orthodox Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, Nashville,
Tennessee, 1993, p.30.



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