By what can be designated as the ‘Month of the Soul of Christ,’ we can look deeply into the first rose of the Mystical Rose: the white rose of prayer. While sacrifice and penance matter greatly, PRAYER is primary to Mary Mystical Rose from the get-go of Her 3 roses. When it is pleasing to God, it can attain to mystical heights, or “mystical prayer.” PRAYER without Faith, SACRIFICE without Love, or PENANCE without Hope can gain oneness with God? Real prayer often incorporates the other two with it (as the greatest Prayer is the SACRIFICE of the Mass and the PENANCE of the Passion-Paschal mystery in it). Prayer from the depths of the soul is so key, and with heroic faith!
Christ’s Human Soul was constantly in prayer with knowledge: open to any designs of Abba Father: His will, way, work. Indeed, Jesus spoke of doing only whatever His (and Our) Father would show Him. “Show” can be of the senses, but too of another denotation (of INDICATE) -- with or without the senses, by thought (illumination), word (oft in contemplation), affect (with the whole heart), etc. Yet while the soul can also be comparable to all of one’s heart, mind, and spirit in one, special emphasis on the uniqueness of the soul can go beyond feeling, thought, and drive to one’s very core of being. Indeed, kenosis (self-emptying) is not anything like yoga. Centered on the Trinity (vs. nothing), ‘kenotic prayer’ can either include (depending) or go beyond elements of thought, affect, etc. What’s left, then, when beyond these? Simple openness to God. This certainly goes beyond merely the body (especially any physical or corporal distractions to prayer). Silence, stillness, free time and space [‘silent retreat’] can be humanly helpful for the soul’s encounter in prayer, although martyrs could transcend challenges to peaceful prayer. (St. Polycarp preferred freedom to pray when being hauled off, and he was allowed a bit of private prayer time by his enemies.) How many people truly love God with one’s core being - the soul? When? How often? How much of one’s very soul?
One particular prayer helps greatly to increase grace of soul and to decrease distractions to the body, heart, mind, or even spirit. Which prayer?
Answer: interior acts (especially of the whole soul) of oneness with Mary. St. Luis Montfort insisted on the Magnificat after Communion. We could go a whole route with our Model of Holy Communion – Mary. This would be Marian prayer pre-Communion, at Communion, and post-Communion – just as She also was the only Virgin-Mother pre-birth, at birth, and after giving birth to Jesus. How? In order not to interrupt Mass prayers? There are always at least some split second gaps of time before Holy Communion, etc., to interiorly utter “Maria” or more.
Beyond the greatest daily act (of Communion), Acts of Spiritual Communion go well with threesomes too of our Mystical Rose. Before, during, and after any daily routine – especially Holy Communion -- we can feel free to pray [FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE SOUL] the famous prayer of 3 Avemarias, but with the intention of greatest glory to God alone. To Mary as Mystical Rose -- with her 3 roses of white, red, yellow-gold – we can invoke her thematically to the very colors. Among other threesomes [faith=white (joy), love=red (sorrow+), hope=yellow-gold (luminosity and glory)] we have Queen of Virgins, Queen of Martyrs, Queen of All Saints (angels and humans, both); to the color flow: white for virgins, red for martyrs, and gold for all saints. Then we can do all mainly for the Trinity, via Maria – before, during, and after a daily activity (especially also with any kinds of Acts of Love of the Trinity).
Christ’s whole Body, Heart, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Humanity and Divinity were and always are PERFECT. Yet He cares far more for our very souls than our bodies. God will judge us (for what we did in our bodies, as the Bible teaches), but according to the sanctifying grace levels of our SOULS. So, while we have the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity marked out in monthly sequence, we lose nothing by preferring a month in honor more of the whole Soul of Christ than, say, His Mind or Will only (aspects of human souls). His Brain and Heart was/is related humanly to His Body and Mind, yet we should also emphasize more explicitly (against heresies, too) His Soul (Aug.) and Divinity (Sept.), though in Communion line only “the Body of Christ” or “the Blood of Christ” is voiced.
We hold not to materialist philosophies like epiphenomenalism. It purports that thinking is only a byproduct of the physical brain, of its neurochemical reactions. It is true that the ‘mapping of the brain’ can show connections to the mind. Yet our Catholic Church’s Council of Vienne (1311-1312) solemnly defined the human soul as the essential form of our being. Since the soul is not necessarily mindless, it isn’t altogether dependent upon a wormy-brained body. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church the ‘form’ is distinct from the whole. While the body is an essential part of the person, it is not a distinct human being of its own, of course; whereas the soul even apart from the body can be a kind of person, it is not the entire person without either the mortal body or the future immortal one, since God created them to go together for perfect human personhood. Indeed, the Church’s ‘Angelic Doctor’ St. Thomas Aquinas held (as we do) that the human soul is directly created by God, not from matter or material forces (which naturally ‘procreate’ the body by parents). He also taught that the soul subsists (exists in itself) by God, yet by itself it is incomplete in its nature since the human person is the composite of body and soul. [Yet we know that the good of a person is mainly not that of the body but of the soul’s condition. For the soul leaves the body at death and goes where it must, depending upon its condition, whereas the body is left behind like dead grass.]
The historic arrival of Pope Francis on St. Bridget’s Memorial of July 23 marked the first official American Pope as pope fully present in America in person during World Youth Day in Brazil. The relic of a saint, too, brings something of the presence of a saint, besides possible miraculous favors. Truly too, though, it is the soul that stays mainly with the person as the spirit can be quite altered whether one goes to Europe, America, etc. What’s best, then, for the soul? The mind, the heart, the spirit, or the body? While ‘grace builds upon nature’ (St. Thomas Aquinas), the soul builds upon sanctifying grace [saints go “from grace to grace” (Jn 1:16) and “from glory to glory” (2 Cor 3:18)]. The soul can build too upon the graced quality of the heart, mind, or spirit, and even the body (depending). It’s comparable to an altar candle. The body is like the wax (‘here today and gone tomorrow’ – or later – yet good for the altar candle), the mind is like the light (naturally or supernaturally with the soul), the heart like the wick, the spirit like the flame, and the soul is like? The altar upon which God’s graces flow – with offerings of prayers, sacrifices, but especially the Transubstantiated Real Presence (full of sanctifying graces) miraculously had upon it. For the body is required for the Food (as the candle should be also at Mass), but the altar can hold Its Presence longer without loss, depending. Even the Real Presence in the tabernacle near the altar still flows out there somewhat (as we guard silence in a Church all the more if a sacramentary candle is lit for signalizing the Host nearby). This comparison works well for emphasizing the far greater size of importance of the soul to the body (as the size of the altar to the candle)… and of the soul over that of the lights of the mind, the enkindled heart, or the flickering fire of the spirit. For the flickering, enkindling, and brightening is not so much for the wax nature, as for the altar (SOUL) upon which God comes, dwells, and is given ‘to and fro’ for others, soul-to-soul and not only with ‘soul-mates,’ but especially unto the apostate souls that can repent and open to God’s sanctifying graces in our souls. If not, then the apostates may get a wormy ‘candle’ (like a body-‘stick’) that will burn forever in another fire if they don’t open to the true matches of Truth for real Light to the altars of their souls. While God, the Heavenlies with Him (angels and saints), and congregations notice the quality of the altar candles -- especially the Easter Candle in the Easter Season -- it’s the altar that positions the marvel of the Mass: the Holy Eucharist.
Peace, of soul too,
Have a Blessed & Holy August month of the Soul of Christ!