The day after Halloween is All Saints’ Day (in the Catholic Church calendar). The next day is All Souls’ Day.
The soul. Many agree it is the mystical core of our being…our existence. This is the blank slate that gets stained and marked and written upon through our deeds in life. When our corporeal bodies are laid to rest…the soul ‘lives’ on. In some religions, it is what gets passed along in the reincarnation cycle. In Christian theologies, the soul is what gets looked at during the Last Judgement.
When I was in Catholic school, I was told that on All Souls’ Day, I could go into the church and, after saying a certain number of prayers, a soul would be released from Purgatory. I could do this all day…freeing souls to continue onto Heaven. The only catch was I had to get up and leave the church…then come back in to start over. A hassle for me in foul weather, but a good thing for the souls stuck in the line to Bliss.
Then, quite to my surprise, the Church demoted Purgatory. It wasn’t an item of belief anymore. (I still think I’m destined for the place…so I fall back on the indulgences of the past, also on the “out” list of the official Church teachings.) So, I let cars make turns in front of me to keep the flow of traffic going and to keep knocking off those million years I’m sure to spend paying for the sins of my youth.
But, the soul is also supposed to be the entity behind ghosts and hauntings. These souls are “caught” between this world and the next…according to theory, anyway. I tend to go along with this concept. Especially when I think of murder victims…who never saw it coming. That is why I think battlefields are probably quite haunted, indeed. A poor 17 year-old gets hit by a mini-ball in the temple and…one minute he’s thinking of his girlfriend…and the next he’s looking down on the carnage below.
The soul. I read that there was an experiment by a Doctor who put a terminally ill patient on a very accurate scale…and waited until this individual took his or her final breath of earth’s air. He found, much to his astonishment that the soul had mass (weight). For those of you interested in these things, the soul’s mass is 21 grams. (There was a movie made in the last few years with this title). For you non-metric types, think of 21 average sized paper clips. Heft those clips in your hand. That is the mass of whatever it is that has been called the “soul”.
All the collective human experiences of sins, good deeds, pain, tears, fear, loss, joy, love, knowledge, hate, and pity are in that tiny mass that feels like the paper clips in your palm.
I’m not a religious person and I am a skeptic when it comes to ghosts and apparitions. (But I love a good scary tale).
But, since science will never be able to explain certain things…then the power of belief must fill in the blanks.
The soul. I feel that something is within us. Something that knows the difference between evil and good, love and hate and the satisfaction of forgiveness.
I think the soul and the heart are the same. Not the heart of muscle and valves…but the heart that can be filled with joy and amazement…and the heart that can be broken by a single word.
The photograph below is one I found on several Internet sites. It is purported to be the “soul” of a deceased person taken at the moment of death. I cannot speak to its authenticity. I just thought you’d find it interesting if you’ve never seen it before.