I’m writing a Weekly Series On the Soul. This annotated Table of Contents will make navigating the series easier. Oh, and it’s not necessary to read the whole series or to read them in order. Feel free to dip in wherever you please.
Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, Wiesinger, 5 posts. (Finished. But may re-visit later, it’s so very important and good.)
Part 1: Introduction. When I was a new ager, I was seeking the truth. I had no idea where to find it but I was seeking it. I had so many questions. Is there life after death? What is the soul? What does the soul do? How do sin, evil, and the Fall effect the soul? What about the spiritual world and angels? Enter the book I wish I’d had all those years ago: Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, by Cistercian abbot, Alois Wiesinger, OCSO, published in the nineteen fifties.
Part 2: Continuing to read Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology. Why bother with theology? Why bother with occult phenomena of any type? Then follow some passages from the book.
Part 3: Continuing to read Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, chapter 2, Pure Spirit: angels and human souls.
Part 4: Continuing to read Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, chapter 3, the Body-Free Soul: the powers latent in the human soul, a pure spirit’s mode of cognition, the way a spirit communicates with and influences other spirits, pure spirits immunity from forgetfulness and fatigue. (Oh, if only.)
Part 5: Continuing to read Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, chapter 3, the Body-Free Soul continued: spirits acting upon or influencing other spirits, the reappearance of the dead, anecdotal accounts.
Vision of the Soul, Wilson, 3 posts. (Finished.)
Part 6: Listening to the Catholic Culture podcast episode “Reclaiming the vision of the West” featuring an interview with James Matthew Wilson, author of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition. One of three eps.
Part 7: Continuing to listen to the Catholic Culture podcast series of interviews featuring James Matthew Wilson, author of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition. “Beauty Revealing Being” is this week’s episode. Two of three eps.
Part 8: Continuing to listen to the Catholic Culture podcast series of interviews featuring James Matthew Wilson, author of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition. “Reason With Stories, Philosophize With Your Life” is this week’s episode. Three of three eps.
Aquinas 101, Thomistic Institute, 2 posts. (There will be more.)
Part 9: Immortality of the Soul, a video from the Thomistic Institute’s Aquinas 101 series. Plant, animal and human souls are discussed.
Part 10: This week we have two videos, both from the Thomistic Institute and their Aquinas 101 series, Powers of the Soul: A First Look and A Closer Look. The human soul shares much in common with other souls, but there are also some things that set us apart.
Some thoughts and reflections on the series so far.
Part 11: Some thoughts on the powers of the soul and the phenomena that is often called paranormal or occult these days, phenomena also too often ascribed to angels, Holy Souls, or demons, when it could easily have its source in ourselves or in others around us, sometimes but not always in the circle of our family and friends. Based on what I’ve learned mainly from reading Dom Weisinger’s Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology.
The Human Soul, Vonier, 3 posts. (Finished, for now.)
Part 12: This week we’ll read part of The Human Soul and its Relations with Other Spirits, by Dom Anscar Vonier, OSB, who, like Dom Wiesinger, OSCO, looked mainly to St. Thomas Aquinas as the Master Theologian, mainly if not exclusively. (Oh, how I love these good, old, Catholic books!) Our focus will be on Angels and their relation to us.
Part 13: Continuing to read The Human Soul and its Relations with Other Spirits, by Dom Anscar Vonier, OSB, focusing on the Guardian Angels.
Part 14: Continuing to read The Human Soul and its Relations with Other Spirits, by Dom Anscar Vonier, OSB, wrapping up with the Angels, and including a brief account of something that happened to my mom and dad here at the house I live in now.
Theology of Christian Perfection, 1 post. (May come back to this one.)
Part 15: This week we’ll look at another classic text, this one by Dominican Fr. Antonio Marín Royo and his Theology of Christian Perfection, translated by Fr. Jordan Aumann. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange is said to have preferred this book to his own. We’ll look at Causes of Mystical Phenomena, beginning on page 561.
Single posts, for the liturgical day.
Part 16: About St Francis and the animals, probably not the one you’re thinking about. St. Francis de Paola had legendary compassion for animals. And I say “legendary” because the only mentions I can find about it are in accounts of legends that have grown up about him. That doesn’t mean they aren’t true or that there isn’t at least a kernel of truth about them.
Part 17: It’s Easter Week during quarantine/lockdown so this week I’ll post some videos I think you’ll enjoy: two by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen and two from Aquinas 101 by the Thomistic Institute. (Thomistic Institute, the Quarantine Lectures info and link at the end of the post.)
Temperaments, 2 posts. (Finished, for now.)
Part 18: I studied the temperaments as a New Ager but I’m more interested in the subject from a Catholic perspective now. This week a video from Fr. Chad Ripperger, Spiritual Theologhy Series: Temperaments.
Part 19: Continuing our look at the four temperaments from a Catholic perspective with a video from Sensus Fidelium, a talk about how the temperaments relate to your predominant fault. At the end of this post there are links to more reading and a questionnaire to help you discover your own temperament.
More single posts, some for the liturgical day.
Part 20: Sharing a post by Dr. Robert Stackpole at the Divine Mercy website about a woman who was upset about something written in Divine Mercy In My Soul, St. Faustina’s Diary. The woman took offense “about the way St. Faustina writes of the superiority of the ‘religious’ way to holiness, in constrast to the way of ordinary, lay Christians.”
Part 21: A video by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, entitled, appropriately enough, Soul, and originally broadcast in 1953–before I was born, but only by a few years.
Part 22: Pentecost: The Holy Spirit, the real and the counterfeit. Includes a video of Scott Hahn and Rob Corzine discussing the connection between the Ascension of Our Lord, which we celebrated the previous week, and Pentecost which we would be celebrating the next week. Then I talk a bit about the False Spirit of the New Age. Links to some articles and to Fr. Mitch Pacwa’s six talks about the New Age. These are excellent. If you are, or know anyone who is, involved in the New Age (especially any of the false Christ movements), I highly recommend listening to Fr. Mitch’s talks at least once, and preferably more than once.
Part 23: When I was a Buddhist, I could never quite accept the teachings on the soul, or, rather, the lack thereof. Not lack of teachings, but the teachings on the lack of a soul. Hinduism, in general, teaches that there is an atman (soul). Buddhism, in all branches with which I’m familiar, teaches that there is anatman (no soul). Just some thoughts about my past studies and path before I stumbled onto The Way.
Part 24: With all that’s going on in the world—the craziness, the violence—I decided to focus on feeding my soul (not that I hadn’t been already). In this post I’ll share what I found to help you feed yours, too. One of the things that feeds my soul is music and poetry. Mine, that is. I included one of my new poems at the end of the post.
Part 25: About the New Age group of people who are determined to cast spells on the President and anyone who dares to disagree with them. At the end of the post I offer a suggestion as to how we might combat these spiritual enemies. More will be said about this in future posts.
Part 26: A first glance at some books I received (Theistic Evolution: The Teilhardian Heresy, by Wolfgang Smith, and a used library copy of The Goddess Unsmasked: The Rise of Neopagan Feminist Spirituality, by Philip G. Davis), a mention of some books I read long ago, an article at First Things, and a video trailer for The End of Quantum Reality, about the work of Wolfgang Smith. (As of July 12, 2020, I’m on about page 170 in the Goddess book, how revealing it has been. I wish I’d had it back when I was listening to all of those Joseph Campbell tapes. He used to be my hero.)
Part 27: Ah, how refreshing to dip into some good, solid Catholic spiritual writing. This week it’s a reading from Francis Fernandez-Carvajal’s In Conversation with God (NOT to be confused with the series, Conversations with God, by New Age author Neale Donald Walsch–UGH!). I have the seven volume set of In Conversation with God from Sceptre Publishers and have used it for daily reading for many years. Not that I use it every day, but I have used it a lot over the years. Always see something new in it. So good!
Part 28: Another post on our spiritual enemies, this time with a focus on the New Age influence that stems from HP Blavatsky and Alice A. Bailey, and spreads out from there. I’m beginning a re-read of those two with one of Bailey’s books, Education in the New Age. Why bother? Who cares? Her ideas were central to those of Robert Muller who came up with his World Common Core Curriculum, and to Maurice Strong whose list of connections with the UN alone could take up an entire article, but of note are his work with Mikhail Gorbachev on the Earth Charter, and his University of Peace. Also of note, the Barbara Marx Hubbard connection to the ideas of Bailey, with Hubbard’s New Species of Human, her Homo Amore Univeralis.
Note: Beginning with Part 29, below, I’m back to exploring teachings about the soul from a more specifically Catholic perspective, and from other perspectives on occasion, if for no other reason to offer contrast and a maybe a warning; and on the New Age in general, among other things, in the Monday posts. This was how I’d intended the schedule to work but I’d started drifting away from it, so I’m making an adjustment to get back on course. :)
Part 29: Intercession. Today I heard a Catholic radio call-in show host answer a question concerning intercessory prayer and the saints, and I used it as a jumping off place and decided to write about it in this post. Here are the notes I jotted down that occurred to me as I listened to the very end of the show. (I’m always catching the very tail end of shows. But that’s okay because I only need a little bit to send me down a rabbit hole or send me down a slightly different track.)
- We who are in the Church are the Body of Christ.
- We are commanded to pray for each other.
- Our souls are immortal.
- What does this mean for us as practicing Catholic Christians?
The Unseen World, Lépicier, 5 posts. (Finished, for now)
Part 30: Worlds Unseen. This week we’ll begin reading a text quoted by Dom Wiesinger: The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism, by Cardinal Lépicier.
Part 31: Spirits. Cardinal Lépicier suggests in chapter one that we inquire whether there are, “in the invisible order, pure spirits, free from matter and distinct in kind from the souls of men separated from the body, and if so, what knowledge of material things such beings may be supposed to possess, and what power over the elements of the visible universe they may be said to have.”
Part 32: After Death. Continuing to explore The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism, by Cardinal Lépicier, with the first part of chapter 2, “The Human Soul After Death.”
Part 33: After Death (Continued). Before we pick up where we left off in our text, The Unseen World: An Exposition Of Catholic Theology in its Relation to Modern Spiritism by A. H. M. Cardinal Lépicier, I want to take a few minutes to talk about spiritism. Should I have done that before now? Yep. But I didn’t realize I needed to cuz I really thought we–I thought I–knew what it was. And I did. Sorta.
Part 34: YOGO: You Only Get One. Body and Soul, that is, in this life, in this world. And in the next world, at the time of the General Resurrection, your Soul will be reunited with your Resurrected Body. No multiple lives, multiple bodies, multiple souls. Cardinal Lépicier explains.
Part 35: We’re currently reading chapter 2, section 2: The Knowledge of the Departed Human Soul. We’re talking about the Catholic teaching on these things and not about soul sleep (a belief of some of our separated brethren) and not about raising the spirits of the dead (which would be necromancy and was condemned by the Church from earliest times, as it is in the Bible). We are talking about how the human soul lives on even after the body dies. One day the soul and the body will be reunited at the resurrection, and, specifically in this post, about the soul and its knowledge after separation from the body, after the death of the body.
Part 36: This week: A Comparison between our Knowledge during Life and our Knowledge after Death. “What, it may now be asked, is the difference between the knowledge which the soul thus naturally possesses after death and that which it possesses in this life ? Will that knowledge then be of a more perfect character, and will it embrace a wider range of intellectual objects?”
Part 37: Communication. Sections covered include: Whether Spiritistic Manifestations can be attributed to Departed Souls, Whether and How Departed Souls can Converse Together, How we Communicate our Thoughts to our Fellow-men in the Present Life The Theory of the Unconscious Subliminal Self, The Theory of Mental Vibrations (this idea is still a favorite of New Agers), The Hypothesis of a Magnetic Fluid. Then some concluding thoughts on The Unseen World. This is the last post from Cardinal Lépicier’s book, for now, anyway.
Part 38: Transitional, while I ponder what to do next, which book to explore, or what-have-you. Post contains info about two books and one dissertation, and also sharing some videos on the soul, and on growing in a time of turmoil.
Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting. (5 posts. Finished for now.)
Part 39: The Christian church has taught for 2,000 years (except for a few groups), from Scripture down through the Father of the Church, the Great Councils, and down to our day, that humans have souls. But, he notes, some people began to question the teachings on the soul a few hundred years ago and now we have Evangelical Christians who doubt or reject even the reality of the soul altogether.
Part 40: When I sat down to write this post, I ran a search on the web to be sure I knew about the available versions of the book and what did I find but the Logos/Verbum edition. I was so excited! Now I can study the book with the Scriptures and other works with search tags in it already. Tagged by humans. That makes it very useful, indeed.
Part 41: Doctor of the Soul. I couldn’t let today go by without a special something for the saint whose name I had chosen but, sadly, never got to give as my confirmation name (that part was skipped over for some reason): Saint Teresa of Avila, or, more properly, Saint Teresa de Jesus. Even more properly: Santa Madre Teresa de Jesus. (I’ve actually practiced saying that for years and if I could roll my r’s, I think it would sound pretty convincing, but I cain’t, so it dudden.)
Part 42: The Afterlife according to the Bible, just in time for All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days. The main reason I’m reading Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting is that so many non-Catholic Christians have rejected the Christian teachings on the afterlife, handed on from the beginning, with some rejecting the idea of the immortal soul. In fact, there’s a heated debate going on about what the soul is and whether or not it even exists.
Part 43: In this part I’m going to backtrack a little to let Dr. Cooper tell us about holism and monism, before going on to begin to look at chapter 4, the period between the Testaments.
Part 44: Politics and Religion. Are religion and politics truly separate with no effect whatsoever on each other? Are the various aspects of ourselves so separate that they can stand alone and not intermingle at all, so that we can say and do things one way in one part of our lives and yet say and do something completely opposite in another? Would this way of living, if we can call it that, not tear us apart and leave us unable to function, like a man trying to walk with each leg trying to go in its own separate and opposite direction?
Part 45: Quo Vadis? While I take the night off to try to rest my eyes (have been working away on the Rosary ebooks and overdid it, of course, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing), I’m sharing this video that aired on television many years ago. But it’s just as timely now as it was then. I’ll be back at it soon, but I have to close my eyes a while.
Part 46: Gratitude. A brief personal reflection on gratitude, or the lack thereof. It’s weighing heavily on my soul.
Part 47: Listening. It all began when I found a sample of a book about listening and imagination. I asked a couple of questions, went looking for answers, fell down a rabbit hole, and the rambling ramble here is the result. Well, one result. The other one is a project I’ll have to tell you about later on. Hopefully.
Part 48: Christmas and Purgatory. I just discovered an article written in 2003 by an author I respect more and more: Christmas Seen As Best Time To Pray For Release Of The Holy Souls In Purgatory. After all, it’s the season of hope and for giving gifts. What better gift is there than the gift of release from Purgatory into Heaven? And all we have to do is pray for them.
Part 49: Merry Christmas! Tonight I’m reading a homily by St. Augustine of Hippo, On the Nativity, and watching The Chosen Special Christmas Episode. No at the same time, of course. Links in the post.
Part 50: Afterword. 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. Posted on the last night of the year. And what a year it was!
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