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St. Leopold Mandic! (c) Anthony Zubac

November 12, 2018
St. Josaphat

Dear Family of Mary!

“…My children, the spirit is mightier than the flesh, and, carried by love and actions, it overcomes all obstacles…” (November 2, 2018)

I have been struggling with this sentence in the message and decided it would be important for us to understand what Our Lady means by “the spirit” here. I don’t think she means the Holy Spirit, but instead our human spirit. God has created us with a soul and a body. We are physical and spiritual in that our souls are spiritual. And it is in our soul that we choose and guide our person. So the soul, or “spiritual soul” is “mightier than the flesh”.

I am including the section from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which talks about our body and soul (spirit). It is found in the Catechism at Part One, Section Two, Chapter One, Article I, Paragraph 6. Man, I. 362-368 (Wow that’s a mouthful!!)

II. “BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE”

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7) Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. (Cf. Mt 16:25-26; Jn 15:13; Acts 2:41.) But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, (Cf. Mt 10:28; 26:38; Jn 12:27; 2 Macc 6:30) that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit. (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19-20; 15:44-45. Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason, man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. (GS 14 § 1; cf. Dan 3:57-80)

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body (Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902) i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection. (Cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis: DS 3896; Paul VI, CPG § 8; Lateran Council V (1513): DS 1440)

367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s coming. (1 Thess 5:23) The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. (Cf. Council of Constantinople IV (870): DS 657) “Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God. (Cf. Vatican Council I, Dei Filius: DS 3005; GS 22 § 5; Humani Generis: DS 3891)

368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God. (Cf. Jer 31:33; Deut 6:5; 29:3; Isa 29:13; Ezek 36:26; Mt 6:21; Lk 8:15; Rom 5:5.)

I find this explanation in the Catechism to be helpful in understanding what Our Lady means by “the spirit is mightier than the flesh.”

We all can intuit this truth, because we know how human beings can drive themselves to great feats, at untold cost to their physical wellbeing, when they have a higher goal to reach. For instance, think of parents who care for their children, team members who strive to win, religious sisters who care for orphans or the sick, etc. Our spirit, or spiritual soul, can urge us on to do great things, no matter the personal cost. This is what Our Lady is telling us.

“…carried by love and actions, it overcomes all obstacles…” Our souls, our spirits, long to love. Made in the image of God, deep in our being, we long to imitate our Savior, and overcome all obstacles to love. We can do it!! Our spirits can become very mighty, through prayer, fasting, Confession, the Eucharist, the Bible and all Our Lady’s messages of light. She wants to raise up an army of mighty souls, ready to sacrifice all for love, for Jesus.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2018