Tending to Our Souls
Have you ever paged through Vogue? My sister gave me the issue with Michelle Obama pictured on the cover. The magazine is 324 pages mostly of pencil-thin models selling clothes, accessories, and perfume, many of them costing in the thousands! Our culture is obsessed with our bodies. Not just clothing them. We’re bombarded with programs, articles, and ads touting the latest diets, exercises, healthy food, and guaranteed-to-work medicines. What if we paid equal attention to our souls? How do we clothe, feed, tone, and heal them?
Colossians 3:12 advises us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Ephesians 6:13–17 tells us to put on the armor of God: truth, righteousness, readiness for the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God. Most challenging, Galatians 3:27 reminds us that in baptism we have clothed ourselves in Christ. These garments are priceless! They also are required dress for entering the eternal celebration in God’s kingdom.
How do we nourish our souls? By two of God’s precious gifts: the Eucharist and his Word in Scripture. Just as we eat every day to stay alive—three square meals and a snack or two or three, we need daily contact with God to keep our souls from starving. He is our source of life.
Yoga, tai chi, massages, and exercise keep our bodies in good form and working smoothly. We strengthen our souls every time we practice self-control. For example, we might bite our tongue when tempted to hurt someone by our words. We might refrain from shopping or watching TV. Or we might squeeze in time to volunteer to help someone. These kinds of actions are like push-ups for the soul.
Last but not least, when something is wrong with our bodies, we treat them and may go to the doctor. What good is it to have a perfect body if one’s soul is sick? Our souls are healed of sin and faults and renewed by Communion and by the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We go to the Divine Physician.
Imagine if there were a 324-page magazine focused on the soul. Do you think anyone would buy it?
Yes! I think people would buy it and read it. The research supports this. People are looking for spiritual nurture and it can be presented within Catholic and inter-tradition.
The challenge is to create a publication in the quality of Vogue with great writing, appealing design and effective marketing.
And what does our Lord Jesus Christ teach? “Take up your cross and follow Me.” New Age is the opposite. New Age does not understand the Catholic teachings on the merit of suffering, such as, “Join your sufferings to the Passion of Christ for the good of souls.” New Age has no concept of sin. Therefore, for them there is no need for the sacrament of confession, self-sacrifice and penance. New Agers do not surrender to our personal God, Jesus Christ, and trust in Him for their salvation. The goal of New Age thinking is to be happy—self fulfillment. By making use of techniques and methods they want to rise to higher levels of life force energy and comic powers and become one with the universe. In this way they think that each person can be their own god and experience self-salvation within themselves.