Soul attraction

By

9 Aug 2023

To access our soul we need to make time for prayer, silence and reflection.

For the Catholic Church, soul is understood as a fundamental aspect of human existence. It could be seen as that which transcends the physical body, the spiritual essence of each human being that connects us to God.

The concept of soul has been central to Catholic theology since the beginning of the church. Through scripture as early as one of the biblical accounts of creation, where God breathed life into Adam, infusing him with a unique and divine presence. (Genesis 2:7)

Later in scripture, in the Gospel of Mark we hear the words: Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30) In this passage and others, soul is translated from the Greek word psyches which really takes on a bigger sense of the whole human person. Soul could be seen as the divine spark that makes each human being unique and imbues them with inherent dignity and worth.

SOUL SURGE

Over the past few years, there has been more and more products and movies which include the word soul in their title. I wonder what is the attraction?

For example, Soulcollage® is a process through which you let your intuition create an incredible deck of cards which have deep personal meaning and which will help you with life’s questions. The 2011 movie Soul Surfer is about a young woman who overcomes odds and her own fears of returning to the water after a tragic accident. Where does her courage, resilience, faith and love come from? It’s nurtured by her parents and the young women discovers within herself, a greater purpose to make a difference in the lives of others. We would name this soul.

Another movie that deals with the concept of the soul and death was Coco, a movie about the day of the dead, where some cultures to set up meaningful home altars to remember those who have died, with prayer and remembrance.

Even as recently as 2020, Pixar released an animated children’s movie, Soul, about a jazz player who travels to another realm to help others find their passion, thus discovering what it means to have soul.

IMMORTAL SOUL

This attraction to the word soul, reminds us that soul is immortal and continues to exist beyond the temporal realm of life here on earth. It pinpoints the very teaching of the Catholic Church of the existence beyond the earthly life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 363)

The soul can be seen as the source of conscience and moral reasoning. The soul is always oriented towards goodness and truth. It is connected to our sense of purpose and meaning of life. The soul is connected to our deepest desires, hopes and aspirations. Which begs the question – how do I access the soul? Through prayer, silence, and more prayer and silence. Can we separate our mind from our soul? With practice perhaps, but in reality our whole being is so interwoven to make separation impossible. We need to build our innermost passions towards a more meaningful and purposeful existence.

The immortal essence of the soul has been discussed and debated by philosophers, theologians and scholars for centuries. It remains as a matter of faith and spirituality. However, I cannot ask my students to draw the soul, like I can the head, heart or body. Its significance is in shaping our perceptions of the world and our place in it. It provides the source of human personhood, providing a foundation for morality and ethics, and functioning as the seat of the intellect, will and emotions. The soul is often associated with compassion, empathy, and love, which are considered to be some of the most admirable qualities a person can possess.

In the church’s calendar, two important feasts fall next to each other – All Saints Day (1 November) and All Souls Day (2 November). In Australia, All Saints Day used to be a holy day of obligation, and as my birthday falls on All Souls Day I used to say I was for all souls, and not just those who have been named as saints.

If we are to be more in touch with our soul, we need to make time and space in our lives for silence and prayer. We need to allow space for the qualities of love, generosity and kindness to well up inside of us.

This article first appeared in the 2023 Winter edition of Madonna magazine.

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