Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Health of the Soul

It's very easy in life to neglect one's own health. Most visibly, one sees this in someone who works too hard or is too focused elsewhere to pay attention to their body. One sees this also in addicts. The body is neglected for some other thing. This is not wholly bad, for sometimes we sacrifice physical functions for a greater good.

But often, especially in the Evangelical world, we do not understand or appreciate soul-care. Most Evangelicals don't know what it is, and it becomes the domain of psychology. Yet this is fundamental to the role of the pastorate and a a necessary in the gifts of Christian leadership. This is therapeutic, but not necessarily what most mean by the word 'therapy'. This is about what the Patristics referred to as overcoming the passions. It is learning how to recognize the torrents of evil in one's soul and resist and bring healing.

Reflect on St. Isaac of Nineveh's words. See this warning, and turn back to the mercy of God. Living according to this is more important than all else:

"Many have accomplished mighty acts, raised the dead, toiled for the conversion of the erring, and have wrought great wonders; and by their hands they have led many to the knowledge of God. Yet after these things, these same men who quickened others, fell into vile and abominable passions and slew themselves, becoming a stumbling-block for many when their acts were made manifest. For they were still sickly in soul, and instead of caring for their soul’s health, they committed themselves to the sea of this world in order to heal the souls of others, being yet in ill health; and, in the manner I have stated, they lost their souls and fell away from their hope in God. The infirmity of their senses was not able to confront or resist the flame of things which customarily make wild the vehemence of the passions"

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