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The Human Being: Made for Ecstasy

Dec 5, 2016

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The Human Being: Made for Ecstasy

Bishop Robert Barron explores the nature of the human person according to St. Thomas Aquinas in chapter four of his book Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master.  According to Barron, Aquinas writes that the human person is an union of body and soul and in fact, “the soul is most itself and most at home in a body, better, ‘with’ a body” (152).  The Catechism of the Catholic Church builds on Aquinas’ teaching by stating, “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” (365).  Our bodies, through the senses, are how we know the world and how we know God who is present in our world.  Though the body will die, our eternal soul continues to exist, dare we hope, in heaven.  Aquinas teaches that the nature of the man is incomplete without the body and the soul longs for its reunion with the body, even in heaven.  In the final Resurrection, according to Aquinas, the soul and body will be reunited to a glorious state; the resurrected body will be, “lissome and agile, entirely responsive to the soul” (158).  Thomas Aquinas gives us a beautiful Incarnational theology.  

Barron states that the soul is our capax universi, literally capacity for the universe.  This image of the soul as one’s capacity for the universe reflects Creation, that we are made in the image of God.  God, who is existence itself, shares with humanity the ability and the desire to wonder, and to explore all that is; meaning that the soul is marked with a desire for and a capacity to know God.  As we continue to journey in search for happiness, meaning, beauty, and unity the soul rises and reaches for God.  The human person is on a spiritual journey where one yearns and searches for God, only to be fulfilled in ecstatic union in heaven.  In our desire and search for completion, we only have to look to Christ, the perfect union of Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, to help us find our true selves.

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