I am probably on the autism spectrum. My kids certainly are! One reason why I say that is I can think in pictures as well as verbally. Over the years, I have been blessed with three different pictures of the soul each of which has benefited me tremendously. Take what you will from them.
Do you remember blowing bubbles as a child? Those beautiful iridescent transparent spheres that moved in the breeze? My first picture of the soul was like that except that there were smaller spinning spheres within. They touched each other like cogs in a machine, except there were no rough edges. The motion of one affected the other spheres and it allowed the sphere to move in absolutely any direction simply by a thought. Beautifully lit from within, it was gorgeous and breathtaking!
This was the picture of a pure soul able to act in perfect obedience to whatever God desired. I thought of the inner spheres almost as organs. I know that one was our will. Another would have been whatever causes our body to do what we will. As St. Paul says sometimes we do what we do not want! When everything is in order to know God’s will is to do it. Mary or Jesus would have had a soul this pure and obedient.
The second picture was of the same sphere but it was clogged with mud and grit. Some of the inner spheres were spinning without connecting to the other spheres. Others couldn’t spin at all. The inner light could not be seen.
This was a soul in the midst of sin and suffering. The mud was sin that obscures the light of God from us. We can neither see it ourselves nor illuminate others. It prevents us from moving forward. We are literally spinning our wheels. The grit was suffering. The tiny rocks were cutting us so we would shrink from moving in that direction because of the pain involved. Pain and suffering can certainly paralyze us and keep us stuck at a particular point.
The light from the last picture was so brilliant I could only gaze at it for a nanosecond. The soul was washed beautifully clean. The scars from suffering had etched it like fine crystal. As a result the light within reflected off of it like a brilliant diamond except the light was going out not in. The dazzling light was too much for the eye to take in.
The mud had been washed by the sacraments. Our forgiveness of others who had hurt us removed the stone but had left the etching behind. The end result was our ability to shine the inner light of God out to the world was greatly magnified.
Mary and Jesus never had the mud but they did experience suffering in doing His will. Rather than shrink from that suffering they embraced it. Their etching runs much deeper than ours so they show the light of God most perfectly and brilliantly to the world.
I hope these three visions help you in understanding the role of suffering in your life and why sometimes we are spinning our wheels. The answers are always repentance, forgiveness, sacramental grace and embracing the cross. Now go forth and shine the light of Christ out into the world.
Reference scripture: Romans 7:15
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