An author, political activist and lecturer Helen Keller (1880–1968) said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” Developing this aspect of one’s life was seen as crucial for our soul’s development. People’s souls usually go through trials that serve as catalysts for their successful growth.
Many people are weighed down by problems. During our earthly pilgrimage our souls experience torments. During these moments individuals will have difficulties. Such conflicts are one of uncertainty, skepticism, and denial. They may make comprises that are troubling, and some they may regret. By feeding on evil bombarding their psyches, their actions may become negative. That’s why Christians sing hymns about their wretched souls. It’s feared that continuing down these perilous paths they will lose their souls.
What is the soul?
In Hebrew Scripture the soul and the body aren’t sharply distinguished. The Rabbis of the Talmudic period recognize a separation of body and soul. In Genesis, God is known to have breathed a soul into the first man, Adam. From this beginning our soul was considered a separate entity from the body. Christians believe in a soul that’ll live on when they die. In following the footsteps of Jesus Christ they look forward to their resurrection after death.
A soul shares this earthly life with the body. Judaism like Christianity believes in the soul’s immortality. A Greek philosopher Plato (428/427 or 424/423 B.C.–348/347 B.C.) taught about immortality, while Christians believe in an embodied resurrection. Another Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 B.C.–322 B.C.) reasoning was somewhat differently from Plato, when he stressed that the soul was the human being. An Italian Catholic and Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) promoted the view of an individual’s immortality. Since 1869, it was the Roman Catholic position our soul is conferred at the moment of conception. This fact is regarded as an inviolable truth by the Catholic Church.
Sustaining the Soul
It’s imperative that people strive to have peaceful souls. In our worldly journey our souls mustn’t be burdened with evil. By embracing what’s pure they can be perfected. In this way we grow spiritually. During our lives it’s good to practice the virtues of love, joy, faith and peace. These attributes rejuvenate and refresh us. Christians in the inner recesses of their beings are spiritually nourished. These gifts are achieved in churches that are God-centered, for believers are able to cultivate blessed souls.
An English novelist and journalist George Eliot (1819–1880) recognized the importance of the influence of a human soul on another when he wrote, “Blessed is the influence on one true, loving human soul on another.” A poet and essayist Walt Whitman (1819–1892) wrote, “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” Undoubtedly the truth of life is paramount for the full and authentic development of our souls.