I’m writing a Weekly Series On the Soul. This annotated Table of Contents will make navigating the series easier.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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?
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.”
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