We refer to ‘the heart and soul’ as a matter of central focus. We know where to find our heart, but where is our soul located? Certainly, it cannot be seen through any x-ray machine. Yet the strength of the spirit within a sports team or operational group is often referred to as their soul.
I think there is a clue to our possession of a soul when we read of Jesus telling the good thief beside him on that first Good Friday that he would be with him that day in heaven. While it was accepted his body would be buried in the earth, it was his soul that was elevated to heaven.
When Jesus died it is said “he gave up his spirit” but his body remained and like the ‘Good Thief’ was buried. So too with us, our body does not disappear just because we die. (Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust you shall return).
However, our faith tells us that after death we enter into the next life. So, what is it that supposedly fronts up to St Peter and knocks on the gates of heaven seeking entrance? What is it that meets up with other family members and friends who have died before us? What is it that confronts our Creator?
I think it is a safe bet that this is our soul, the dwelling place of our Spirit.
I believe when the miracle of human creation occurs our God, the source of all goodness, creates our soul as our link to heaven. As God’s creation we are given a unique set of finger prints. As God’s creation and because of Jesus, we are loved unconditionally. While God may not like some of what we do, we can receive forgiveness by the unconditional love available to us.
I like to think our unseen soul is a vessel that builds up treasure according to our good works and the love we show God and others around us. Some may refer to this treasure as ‘grace’.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth twigged to this when she greeted Mary with “Hail Mary, full of grace”. When you consider Mary was the one chosen to be the mother of Jesus she must have been held in high regard by The Creator.
Because of our humanness we have lives where we do some good and where we do some not so good things. We can certainly make life a lot easier if we can maintain our faith by maintaining our relationship with our God, the source of all goodness. The emphasis here is on us doing our best to maintain the relationship.
Our busy lives give us many reasons why the maintenance of our relationship with God can become and often just peter out all together. This situation is often exasperated by events which occur and for which we blame God for allowing to happen.
We can become that far removed from God that we are frightened that God wouldn’t want us back. The words of the hymn ring true in my mind, ‘Be Not Afraid, – come follow me and I will give you rest’
At the point of our death, like Jesus, do we give up our spirit? Does our soul leave our body and line up at heaven’s gates? Who knows who St Peter allows in and how serious are the causes of those who are turned away?
Just because some may have been promised eternal life by virtue of their beliefs, I question whether this would necessarily give them automatic immediate entry through the Golden Gates. I think we will find our life here on earth is the preparation for the form our existence will take in the hereafter.
Let us consider for a moment a trip to a local major airport. Perhaps we have pre-booked and confirmed our seat on-line and just need to line up in the ‘bag drop’ area. Here we are required to wait as the line slowly reduces in length.
Inwardly, we know we have a seat on the flight but the waiting sure becomes frustrating, particularly as we look over at the First Class line and see passengers entering and moving through speedily.
There is another line formed which seems to be moving even slower. These are passengers who originally had a ticket booked but due to circumstances their ticket was cancelled.
They wish to rebook and are seriously concerned they might miss the flight altogether.
Using the above example, I think this might give us an understanding of what might happen to souls arriving outside heaven. Some will be ‘full of grace’ and travel straight through to the heavenly departure lounge. Others, who fortunately know they will eventually get to the same departure lounge tend to be in a frustration mode because this waiting period is deemed to be their personal time of atonement . (Some may refer to this as being in purgatory)
Meanwhile those who have flaunted the rules here on earth have some serious explaining to do to get an opportunity to join even the ‘bag drop’ line. Sadly, some may not make it and will miss the flight altogether.
In our fast-moving lives, which are often full of frustrations, we can only try to do the right thing. While it would be preferable to aim for the first-class direct route, we can be a bit more realistic and perhaps our prayer could be aimed to at least making it into the ‘bag drop’ line.
I’m Peter mack and that’s how I feel.