Emmitsburg Council of Churches

Do you think of your soul enough?

Father John J. Lombardi 

"What does a man profit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" (Mt. 16:26)

"Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna." (Mt. 10:26).

Even though the Scriptural words above are from God, modernist believers may take them lightly, if at all. After all, phrases like "soul," "destruction" and "Gehenna" are not used everyday; and, isn't everyone going to Heaven anyway? But: we should think about these invisible and important realities more, and take the Lord Jesus seriously, even today when some may downplay Ultimate Spiritual Realities …Remember: at death, our souls will either go to Heaven (unending bliss with God), Hell (eternal separation from God), or an intermediate state, Purgatory (God's merciful cleansing)…

Your soul is a supernatural substance, created by God, animating your body, destined for union with God in Heaven. While people can maim or destroy your body, they cannot destroy your soul if you are in a state of grace...So, let us meditate--how can a soul: 1) be in a state of grace? 2) be destroyed?

Let's use a spiritual metaphor: your soul is like an "animated window," created by God as an immortal gift to you. Like a window receiving light, a soul may absorb light (grace), or darkness (sin); and, like a glass window, a soul is invisible; and also, like a window, God wants it pristine so His Light may suffuse with it, immersing you (and your entire being) in His Life, and thus shine thru you to others. You can either bathe your soul/window in God's light, thru spiritual and pure acts, or despise God's Light by sinning.

The Saints, after continual "cleansing of the window," became the most stunning, excellent, "stained-glass windows of divine-human artistry." Like the ebullient windows of a beautiful cathedral, we love to admire the saints and say, with St. Irenaeus, "The glory of God is man fully alive." When we give our souls to God we find the Uncreated Light enrapturing, and want to become one with It-the Trinitarian Effulgence, the radiating love of God's outflowing Divinity-this is our supernatural destiny.

And so our souls (like a pane of glass) can become melded by, and into, God; this is called sanctification: constantly trying, with God's aiding grace, to pursue holiness and Christ-likeness. Thus, the Blessed Trinity divinizes us (makes holy and "divine-like"-see II Pt. 1:4) - and we gradually become one with Him (connatural-is the theological term-"one natured" with God). Therefore, the glass (of our souls) and the Light (of God)--while in a state of sanctifying grace-are spiritually suffused-there is no separation-we are imago dei, the image of God. (St John of the Cross and other saints use this metaphor). Is this not why the Virgin Mary says, "My soul magnifies the Lord…"? (+Lk. 1:46)

St. Teresa of Avila describes the soul's doublefold ability to become divine-like or cloudy thru sin: "My soul is like a mirror in which the glory of God is reflected; but sin, however insignificant, covers the mirror with smoke."

The window of the soul can become ugly and thru venial sins, which smudge the window, "blemish" the Light, by embracing shadowy or evil thoughts, words or deeds. Thus, less light interfaces with the window-soul, depending on the kind and frequency of sins. Mortal sins are like consciously breaking and fragmenting the window-soul, and if this is deliberate and ongoing, we thereby reject God, consciously choosing separation from Him, thus meriting Hell, really by our own choices. As the light-filled window (soul) is one with Light, so oppositely, your soul-window can become "possessed" and "absorbed" by the darkness of the sinful object, person or activity, so much so it becomes one with it.

The soul, like a coarsened window, is transformed and smelted in the evilness, losing all grace-"killed" or "destroyed" unless a conscious conversion (repentance) takes place. The stained glass window and image of God has become charred ash…But we must always remember--we have free will, God's unconditional mercy and love, to choose the Light. The saints overcame the darkest of sins (think of St. Augustine) and were irradiated with light (St. Joseph Cupertino, a "holy Franciscan fool," frequently levitated). Your destiny, just like any saint, is to magnify the Lord God…Questions: +Will you? +Does darkness (ie. three traditional enemies: self, Satan, sensuality of the world) ever characterize the state of your soul more than Light does? +When your soul "gets dirty" do you clean it by: the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist; by prayers of sorrow frequently and fervently; by sacrificing for others; reading the Bible (esp. about Jesus' Passion); helping others? Do you really want, and work for, the window of your soul to be totally absorbed in God's Light and Grace?

"God and the soul-that is what I want to know about, nothing more, nothing less." +St. Augustine, sinner-become-saint.

"Body and Soul but Truly One"

(from: The Catechism of the Catholic Church)

The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. Man whole and entire, is therefore willed by God. The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body…The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents; and also that it is immortal. . . Resurrection. (Catechism of the Catholic Church: 362; 365; 366)

Meditations and Prayers for Healing

Come to Me all you who labor and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am  meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden light. (+Mt. 11:28)

As Catholics we believe that all healing comes form God and His grace. This divine life within us may sometimes radiate from our souls and bring us healing and "repair of the body." The first, most needed healing, then, occurs in the soul-a spiritual healing, wherein we can be closer to Jesus thru any trials. Let us always remember to pray as the saints, and accept anything He gives us, or allows, to purify thru the cross of suffering wherein we imitate the Savior (Christ suffered for you and left you an example to follow:1Pt.2:24 Prayerfully consider…+Healing of Mind and Memories Pray: Lord God, please free me, and heal me, from troubles and wounds of:

  • Childhood, growing up R.Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit)
  • Adolescence, my middle years
  • Adulthood
  • Job difficulties
  • Marriage troubles
  • Family trials and challenges
  • Past or present relationships
  • Recurring harmful thoughts, tendencies: pride, anger, greed, avarice, lust, envy, sloth
  • ealing of Body

Pray: Lord God, please free and heal me from troubles and wounds of:

  • Any of the organs of my body R. Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit)
  • Any and all infections .R.
  • Any needed healing of my limbs
  • Any cancer of my body
  • Any nervous illness
  • Any impairment from stroke or heart disease
  • Any infections, maladies, pains +.Healing of Soul

Pray: Lord God, please free and heal me from troubles and wounds of:

  • Lukewarmness in my soul and spiritual life R. Veni Sancte Spiritus . . . Come Holy Spirit
  • Dark and sinful thoughts, words, deeds R.
  • Disordered attachments to any person or possessions . . .
  • Any addictions to substances, medicines, drugs . . .
  • Past or present wrongful behaviors . . .

All are welcome to help beautify the Grotto.
Saints Bernadette and Mother Seton,
Our Lady of Lourdes-pray for Us!

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi