What Is the Shape of the Soul?

A Wider Sunrise


When I was little, I mistakenly thought that a picture of a smoker’s lungs from my first grade textbook was showing a picture of the soul. To this day, when I hear the word soul, my first mental image is of a purple lung-shaped thing. But of course the soul is invisible. We use this term to talk about a reality of the human person and identity which does not have a specific location in the same way that a body organ does.

I have been reflecting on St. John of the Cross’s description of the Dark Night of the Soul, and on the feeling of spiritual emptiness that often accompanies it. What follows is simply my own thoughts. I am drawing on Christian sources, but my conclusions are not authoritative in any way. I am merely putting them up for discussion.

When a person passes through the “Dark Night,”…

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR.
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