+JMJ+ Welcome to part 50 of our weekly series on the soul. We’re looking back at the series that began as a post for November, then became a series for the month, and finally ran weekly for several months. In this post I’ll highlight some of the ones that I think are most important in understanding what the Church teaches about the soul, and what some of the finest minds have thought about the soul, from the Biblical writers and others onward into our own day.
I can’t do more than scratch the surface here, and that’s all I really did during this whole long endeavor, partly because I’m learning and exploring and sharing with you as I explore, partly because there is so much out there I couldn’t cover it all even briefly if the series ran to thousands of installments. That’s how it seems to me, anyway. Maybe I’ll run a Series II at some point.
We began with a look at a book by a Cistercian Dom, Alois Wiesinger, OCSO, who was also a Thomist. His Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology is a classic in its field and, though published in the middle of the twentieth century, is still highly regarded. I’m indebted to Dom Wiesinger for affirming that not everything unexplained phenomena must be traced back to the action of angels or demons, God or the dead. We actually have more abilities than we are usually aware of, though not to the extent that our First Parents had them before the Fall. But we do still have them.
When the soul is completely focused on bodily concerns it barely takes notice of spiritual matters. But when it is freed up somewhat, spiritual things can get through to it. And when free to a greater extent yet not to the point of bodily death, it’s even more aware of spiritual things, spiritual powers or faculties, or communications from other souls, not necessarily from souls who have passed on, not necessarily from angels or demons, but from other souls living in this world now.
These first five parts are really the core of the series. What started the whole thing was learning of this book from a fellow member of #CatholicTwitter, @aquinasbear, who understands what I went through in my New Age years and in leaving all of that behind, and how sensitive I am to such things now. This book has been enormously helpful to me as I’ve been entering the next phase of my development where I can look back at the New Age and occultish stuff and see it with new eyes, with Catholic lenses, as it were, seeing things as they are. Not from fearfulness or credulity, or an arrogant dismissiveness, but simply seeing things as they really are, what is, and is not, normal, natural, or from other souls, souls alive in this life, consciously or unconsciously, or those already in the afterlife, communicating with souls still alive in the body, and with God’s permission, as opposed to what is actually demonic.
Dom Wiesinger says it better than I can, and I strongly urge you to read his book or at least the excerpts from it posted here. See Parts 1-5 on the Annotated Table of Contents (hereafter, TOC) for more. A free PDF of the book is in the links at the end of each of the five posts.
Another highlight of the series was a three-part interview with author James Matthew Wilson, author of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, on the Catholic Culture podcast. See parts 6-8 on the TOC.
Also see some videos from:
- Aquinas 101 by the Thomistic Institute, Parts 9-10 on the TOC.
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, originally broadcast in 1953, Part 21 on the TOC.
- Scott Hahn and Rob Corzine on the connection between the Ascension and Pentecost. And links to Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s six talks on the New Age and false ideas about Christ. Part 22 on the TOC.
Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting by Dr. John Cooper gets four posts, looking at what the Bible actually says about the body and soul and what happens after death. I’ve found it to be a fascinating read. May write more about it in the future after I’ve read the rest of it. There are videos in Parts 39-40. (Part 41 is about St. Teresa of Avila since she was the saint of the day and is one of my favorite saints of all time. Two videos about her are included.) Dr. Cooper, Parts 39-40, 42-43 on the TOC.
The Christmas special post is brief but there’s a link to a homily by St. Augustine On the Nativity, and a video of The Chosen: Special Christmas Episode. I’m really enjoying that series. You can watch it for free via their apps for iOS and Android. I’ve added a note about that to the post. See Part 49 on the TOC.
There are a lot of posts in the soul series and I’ve only highlighted a few for you here. I hope you’ll find something that interests or helps you in there, or somewhere else on the blog:
- Check out the Featured Posts and Series page.
- Or the Resources section (planning to completely redo that soon-ish).
- Or the Rosary Project. (That project keeps growing and growing.)
Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you, and may His peace be always with you. HAPPY NEW YEAR! +JMJ+
Image in banner: The Last Supper, by Philippe de Champaigne. From Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.
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