Many thanks to Joan S. for sharing these thoughts from her experiences…
Having come from the Catholic tradition, I had been heavily influenced by the representation, in early catechism classes, of the soul as a half-pint sized “milk bottle” tucked beneath one’s sternum. Thought of in that way, the soul seems like such an insignificant piece of one’s existence. In the “milk bottle” model, small (venial) sins were represented as black dots on the soul; mortal sins turned the entire soul black. Surprising how deeply those early images had imbedded themselves in my subconscious. And so it was, when I first encountered these words by John O’Donohue (quoted in the recent Christian Playbook piece), I was completely taken with his idea of the soul:
“The soul is not simply within the body, hidden somewhere within its recesses. The truth is rather the converse. Your body is in the soul. And the soul suffuses you completely.“
When one visualizes the body as in the soul and the inner life with a depth and breadth every bit as vast a landscape as the outer world, the presence of the sacred takes on a wonderfully different dimension – and importance. This paradigm shift, for me, was huge. I love this image – and I loved O’Donohue’s book Anam Cara, literally “soul friend”, (from which this quote originated) when I read it a decade or so ago. Seems to me we put so much stock in our intellects that we forget how very much we can learn through our bodies and souls!
Wonderful commentary – thanks again, Joan!
ACTION: On this day, may we relax and allow O’Donohue’s vision of soul to suffuse us completely!
Lectionary Texts for Sunday, April 29, 2018:
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