Continuing the Spiritual Journey

By: E. Jane Rutter

On the heels of Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, New Year’s and Epiphany, my thoughts remain on two mighty words that have stayed with me throughout these Holy weeks: soul and divinity.

In between flitting about doing laundry and chores (Saturday’s routine has also stayed with me through retirement!), I consider the meanings of soul and divinity to me as a wife, mother, sister, parishioner, friend and all the other titles I’ve gathered thus far throughout my life. Most importantly, I quickly realize, is the title I share with all humanity – beloved child of God.

The further our world and social media and its influencers lead us astray from embracing our Sacred title, the more confused we become about what defines our soul. Do we have one, and if so, are we born with it? Is it a vacant receptacle in which we craft our personal definition of good or evil? Christians, we accept the truth that God creates all we are.

Created by God in His image, our bodies are temples of the Spirit that house the soul, our spiritual form (Catechism of the Catholic Church 363-366). While our bodies age and die; our souls are eternal.

Created by God in His image, Pope Paul VI reminds us that “In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience, when necessary, speaks to his heart: do this, shun that.” (Gaudium Et Spec, 1965)

Created by God in His image, we are called to seek and practice goodness, to walk the path of holiness to and with our Father. As Bishop Robert Barron states, “Fired by the God-consciousness, in touch with the divine source within us, drinking from the well of eternal life, we are inspired simply to pour ourselves out in love.”

Likewise, our pastor Msgr. Greg Higley recently led off his homily with the breathtaking statement “we all have a spark of divinity within us.” Given free will, we starve or feed that spark, our soul, the God of pure love within us.

Saturday chores finished, I watch the snow fall and ask myself how I’m doing at feeding my divinity. With no intention of making New Year’s resolutions, they present themselves nonetheless:

• Nurture my prayer life and relationship with Christ
• Feed my mind with literature, works and all that is good
• Recognize and respect the spark of divinity in all
• Grow in faith, hope and love (1 Cor. 13).

As St. Paul so eloquently sums up their value in speaking to his followers, “So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).

And so I pray: Dear Lord, let me be an agent of Your love. Fill me with thoughts of hope and kindness, words that encourage, arms that embrace, and works that bless You.