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Can Christians believe in reincarnation? Login/Join 
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At any rate, the individual being can be changed without losing its essence; translation: a soul can use another body without becoming another soul.

Hi Will, and welcome to the forums. We just amble along here, so please visit from time to time to check in.

What you're proposing above is very much along the lines of what some New Age and Hindu writers would say. I think the traditional teaching of "one soul, one body" needs to be re-visited in the light of the encounter with the New Age and the East to see if there's anything new here we might be able to learn from them, and just what divine revelation expressed in the Judeo-Christian tradition might have to say about it.

Thanks for your post.

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Another great post from you, w.c. I'm glad you've found your way here, and decided to be active on the forum.

As I think I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread, I've had dreams similar to yours in which I was in some armed forces or another during WWII, frightened out of my mind. And there's this huge birthmark on my abdominal area, which some reincarnation advocates might say suggests a scar from a previous lifetime. That would have been a very nasty wound! Eeker

I'm glad you find the group open-minded an civil. We strive to avoid the extremes of dogmatism and ecclecticism--not always easy.

Concerning this present topic, for example, we need to consider what is being revealed about human nature and our immortal destiny in the resurrection of Jesus. So much of our doctrines about one-body, one-soul come from reflection on this. So Christians dialoguing with Easterners and new agers can't forget their own tradition, but need to be open to listening to the insights and experiences of other traditions to see how the truth becomes clarified.

It is indeed a wondrous topic. Smiler

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Hi folks, another twist on this road to truth. Phil wrote,

Concerning this present topic, for example, we need to consider what is being revealed about human nature and our immortal destiny in the resurrection of Jesus.

I agree. There's the source of our Christian perfection....following Christ as Christ calls us to go. One of the insights I just received concerning the question of reincarnation and Christ points towards the end of the Gospels where Jesus when he visits the apostles and eats with them. After his death and resurrection he must have still had a physical body otherwise he would not have been able to eat fish just as any other person did. From this point, I would venture more on my own thought to say that the "material" nature of any being reflects the nature of the existence the being happens to be within at the given time. Despite the highly metaphysical ring of this comment, I believe there is evidence within Scriptures to suggest this: Melchezidek in the old testament, the three visitors who paid Abram a visit before they destroyed Sodom, etc.
So, our "human nature" come up as a key point. In contemporary philosophy, one major topic is embodiment. The arguement explores the issue of being with/without bodies, and, the meaning of those questions. In Christianity, what the resurrection suggests is not that we lose our body after death (as dualism seems to intimate) but rather that the body is brought to a new place(as the Gospels and the later part of the New Testament, especially Revelation). The New Jerusalem, as is mentioned late in Revelation, describes a place paralleled by many other relgion, essentially boiling down to the concept of paradise. [Note: in Revelation, John speaks of being caught up in the spirit and brought elsewhere, i.e., into heaven.] Seeing as we Christians believe we are to keep the same body, but, be renewed in spirit and mind, I am beginning to find the question of one soul, many bodies meaningless unless the question turns more to the point of time moreso than space.
To me the possibility of a particular body appearing at different times seems more realistic than to think of the same spirit transferring from body to body. The challenge there is that we are then forced to reconsider human nature, as Phil pointed out. As "mortals" we believe that the body dies and disintegrates at death; yet, as I mentioned before, Christians hold that the body is not destroyed, but, is revitalized by the Spirit. To believe that flies in the face of "mortal" truth because we then become "eternal" beings limited by the death process. Let me stress, I am not saying we are immortal through our own nature, but, through the power of the Holy Spirit as an emissary of Christ and a mediator for the Father, Yahweh. It is through faith in Christ that we are able to receive such eternal blessings. As such, we are inherently called to believe in the death and resurrection because it is the paradox that inspires our faith, it is the unmoving mover, the changeless truth that changes by its immutability through changing our ever-growing nature by reflecting on its eternality. To consider human nature, death, and, eternity are three of the essential questions to understanding the truth of Christ's call. When I realized that it is we who change (in our understanding, our being, and, our nature) then I began to find some real, lasting wisdom in these questions for myself.
 
Posts: 27 | Location: Baton Rouge | Registered: 22 March 2002Report This Post
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There's lots of food for thought in your post, Will. I might be talking past some of it or around it, but I think you'll see the relevance in some of what I'm about to say.

Consider for example the appearances of Mary. If we are to believe that she is in fact manifesting in various places around the world at different times, one thing that stands out is that she appears in many different kinds of bodies. In Guadeloupe, for example, she looks Mexican; at Fatima, she looks European. And so forth. The same goes for Jesus in some of his Resurrection appearances. We like to think that he's not recognized because the perceiver is not looking for him, or isn't expecting to see him, but it may well be that he didn't always look exactly the same. What would this mean?

I really don't think that Christianity requires that we believe that the matter which constituted our bodies when we died will be used to recast some sort of risen body when we are raised up. More likely, the spiritual body that the soul is will draw to itself the matter that it needs in order to manifest on the physical plane. In the case of Jesus' resurrection, he drew his corpse to himself to leave no doubt that it was indeed, Jesus, the one who was crucified, who had risen from the dead, and because had he not done so, his corpse could have been used as evidence against the resurrection. The Gospel according to Matthew also mentions graves being opened and others being raised when Jesus was crucified: maybe that's how it happens for some. Obviously, however, this would be problematic for people who were cremated and had their ashes thrown to the wind. But I don't think we're required to accept that literal an interpretation of what our bodies are and what they shall be in the future.

So where does that leave us with respect to reincarnation? Well, to touch base with one of the points you made, Will, I should mention that the church teaches that the soul is indeed immortal by nature, and not by grace. That is because we believe it is a spiritual entity, and according to our philosophical reflection on this matter, something that is spiritual is immortal and incapable of being destroyed once it is created, except of course by God. This is why we believe that one possibility for our destiny is hell, which would mean the living out our immortal existence in total alienation from God. What grace does is not make us immortal, but transform our spiritual nature so that it becomes like that of Christ.

One might say that immortal soul could be reincarnated again and again, and could draw to itself the body that it needed each time for its development, only there is so much about this idea which seems to buy into eastern assumptions about salvation that we need to be careful about it. We are not saved through progressive rebirths into higher states of consciousness, but through our union with Christ and his Spirit, however imperfect that may be. It may well be that the ongoing development of the soul happens as much or maybe even more in the afterlife in subtle realms of reality than it does in this life. In which case, reincarnation is not necessary at all. Maybe this life is like the first stage of a rocket; it gets us launched in and into the journey. But who knows? Lots of mystery here! Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Wow... my head is spinning here.

Phil, your comments about Mary's appearances being different yet recognized triggered a thought.
If we think of our bodies being perfected... aren't we defining perfected according to our perception of what is perfect?
Christ appeared to the disciples both in a way that he was not immediately recognized ( on the road) and again in a way that he was easily recognized (to Thomas). Could it be that it was not the body that was different, but their perception of the body... like those pictures where if you look at them one way you see one thing, but in another you see something entirely different.... same picture, different view.

Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Report This Post
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Phil, as you said, there's a lot to respond to, but, one thing stood out. You wrote, "the church teaches that the soul is indeed immortal by nature, and not by grace." I was always under the impression that the soul was a form of metaphysical copula, much as the verb "is" connects a subject to its predicate in grammar. In other words, the soul was a bridge between the spiritual and the physical, an extension of the former to connect the immaterial with the material.

Wanda, like you, I wonder about the idea (and the reality) of perfection very much. I like soemthing Phil pointed out elsewhere about eastern thought that makes your question an interesting one. He offered the notion that we consider perfection in the context of a process instead of an end (my interpretation of his thoughts). Instead of thinking that we have to reach some sort of predefined ideal/perfection, perhaps we are to live knowing that the process of living (though imperfect) is itself a process of perfection. So, like you, I think the idea of perfection and the personal interpretation of that idea makes a pretty big dent into how one would view some of these resurrected beings.

You also wrote: "Christ appeared to the disciples both in a way that he was not immediately recognized ( on the road) and again in a way that he was easily recognized (to Thomas). Could it be that it was not the body that was different, but their perception of the body... like those pictures where if you look at them one way you see one thing, but in another you see something entirely different.... same picture, different view." Maybe that had to do with the degree of knowledge and relationship one had with Christ. Thomas, being an apostle, a dear friend of Christ, would certainly have recognized him much more quickly than someone (like the two fellows on the road) who had only known him for six months (a hypothetical number) simply from being exposed to him more often throughout his lifetime. Any thoughts?
 
Posts: 27 | Location: Baton Rouge | Registered: 22 March 2002Report This Post
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Will, you wrote: I was always under the impression that the soul was a form of metaphysical copula, much as the verb "is" connects a subject to its predicate in grammar.

The prevailing philosophical view on this borrowed heavily from Greek philosophy and its idea of the soul as a spiritual substance. The new Catholic Catechism still affirms this, stating, "The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the 'form'of the body, i.e., it is becuase of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in humans, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature. The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God -- it is not 'produced' by the parents -- and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection." (# 365, 366). There is nothing in the Catechism about reincarnation; obviously, that doesn't mean it's an open topic, but, more likely, that it's not even given serious consideration as a possibility.

And Wanda noted: Could it be that it was not the body that was different, but their perception of the body... like those pictures where if you look at them one way you see one thing, but in another you see something entirely different.... same picture, different view. Will had some interesting thoughts on this. But in the case of the Marian apparitions, at least, it does seem that she appears in different forms. Or, I suppose, technically we should say that's how we perceive her, but it's pretty hard to argue against the image of Guadaloupe not being Mexican---no young Jewish woman, there. What I was saying was that maybe it's not necessary for a resurrected soul (as Mary's is considered to be by Catholics) to manifest in the same physical form every time. But your point about how our perception contributes to these differences is undoubtedly significant, I believe.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Although some of the logic contained in this link bothers me, it's interesting nonetheless. http://www.near-death.com/origen.html
 
Posts: 27 | Location: Baton Rouge | Registered: 22 March 2002Report This Post
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Yes, Will, some good points in those articles, and some not so good.

I liked this discussion a little more, especially since it provides some coverage of Eastern and psychic perspectives on the topic. I think his points about possible demons or other spirits entering into the data was well-made, and difficult to discount completely.

Comments?
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
[qb] Buddha believed you could go all the way to enlightenment in this very lifetime.
FWIW. Phil [/qb]
Could someone tell me where the Buddha is buried? Is his place of burial known? Isn't Jesus the only "prophet" who was raised from the dead?

Katy
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Report This Post
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I've just posted an online slideshow adaptation of the Powerpoint presentation I used for a lecture on this topic last year. Enjoy . . . Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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==========

Hello:

I am new to Shalom Place; frankly, I stumbled by accident upon this this topic "Can Christians believe in reincarnation?"

I found the posts fascinating, especially the distinctions between reincarnation and resurrection.

My own personal interests are similar, though pertaining more to ensoulment/disensoulment and to the Mystical Body of Christ. Here are some pertinent references:

"Life: The Ensoulment of Matter" (2005)
By Dr. Peter Chojnowski
http://www.sspx.org/against_th...ulment_of_matter.htm

"Aquinas on Human Ensoulment, Abortion and the Value of Life" (2003)
By John Haldane and Patrick Lee
http://kolbe.franciscan.edu/pl...human_ensoulment.htm

"When is a human zygote considered human?" and "According to the [Roman Catholic] Church, does ensoulment occur at conception?"
By Kerry Catholics
http://www.kerrycatholics.com/q_and_a3.htm

"Evangelium Vita" / "The Gospel of Life" (1995)
By Pope John Paul II
http://www.vatican.va/holy_fat...gelium-vitae_en.html

"Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation" (1987)
By the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
http://www.vatican.va/roman_cu...r-human-life_en.html

"The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ"
by Fr. William G. Most
http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/chura1.htm

"Mystici Corporis Christi" / "On the Mystical Body of Christ" (1943)
By Pope Pius XII
http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p12mysti.htm

"The Jewish Tradition and Choices at the End of Life" (2001; includes a section on disensoulment)
By Lewis D. Solomon
http://bookweb.kinokuniya.co.j....cgi?ISBN=0761819606


Within the contexts of Christianity, I am very interested in the connections between the concepts of ensoulment/disensoulment (even St. Thomas Aquinas referes to the pre-Christian notions of Aristotle) and how souls are schematically represented in the Mystical Body of Christ (represented traditionally as the Church Triumphant by the deceased saintly souls in heaven, the Church Suffering by the deceased poor souls in purgatory, and the Church Militant by living souls on earth; another aspect recently discussed is the Church Progenitory by the yet-to-be-born souls in God's on-going creation).

I am particularly concerned about these progenitory souls as pre-ensoulments; as compared to the current ensoulments of living human beings, and as contrasted with the disensoulments of the deceased suffering souls in purgatory and of the deceased saintly souls in heaven.

As can be sensed by the above statement, to me it seems that the progression of souls in the Christian traditions appear to be linear, in contradistiction to the cyclical concepts of Eastern religions. Thus, in Christian terms, souls are embodied only once (not numerous times as in reincarnation); and somehow upon the resurrection these saved souls are reconnected to their material counterparts.

Interestingly, though, it seems that from the Christian perspectives, souls predate and postdate their somatic bodies; and ultimately will continue (body and soul) when resurrected, either with God in heaven or without God in hell.

However, before that end time will finally occur, there seemingly are interactions between the saintly souls, the suffering souls, the earthly souls, and the progenitory souls -- although the saintly souls can only assist earthly souls whose main responsibilities are to help the suffering souls (who are post-earthly and cannot help themselves) to move from purgatory to heaven (by prayers and good works) and to help the progenitory souls (who are pre-earthly and cannot help themselves) to move from pre-existence to earth.

Therefore, the linear progression of individual human souls: pre-earthly, earthly, purgatory (if need be), heaven (ultimately).

This corresponds to notions of pre-ensoulment (prior to earthly existence), ensoulment (on earth), dis-ensoulment (during purgatory or heaven), and re-ensoulment (at the end time of resurrection).

The soul of Jesus and Mary, without sin, are perhaps the only human souls ever to be re-ensouled after earthly death: Jesus upon his own resurrection and Mary upon her assumption.

What do you all think about my contemplations, as expressed above? Please let me know.

Thanks very much,
--- Sal

==========
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 April 2005Report This Post
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Hi Sal, and welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you've given quite a bit of thought to this topic and can make a good contribution to our discussion of it. So that's my response to your closing sentence. Wink

The concept of "pre-ensoulment" is controversial, and has even been formally dismissed (see pre-existentianism, link below).
- http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/reincar4.html


See also this page.
quote:
There are three theories about the origin of the soul.

(1) Pre-existentianism, is a speculative theory that the souls of men existed in a previous state, and in that former state accounts for the current state of the soul. It does not hold much credit nowadays.
(2) Traducianism. This theory holds that the souls of men are propagated along with the body by generation, and are therefore transmitted to the children by the parents. It proceeds on the assumption that God ceased to work after creation. But this is an unproved assumption. God often works immediately in the performance of miracles, and in parts of redemption.
(3) Creationism. This view is to the effect that each individual soul is an immediate creation of God, the time of which cannot be precisely determined. The soul is supposed to be created pure, but to become sinful even before birth by entering into that complex of sin by which humanity as a whole is burdened. This theory is
more in harmony with scripture than the others, Eccl. 12:7; Isaiah 42:5; Zechariah 12:1; Hebrews 12:9; cuff Numbers 16: 22.

Each of these theories has difficulties, but Creationism seems more in line with Scripture and is therefore the preferred option.
Pre-ensoulment seemed to get a boost from Betty Eadie in her book, Embraced by the Light, wherein she describes her NDE. Of course, that's hardly the kind of material that will transform a Church teaching.

The way I understand the Church's treatment of Aquinas and ensoulment was to emphasize that even the development of the embryo (about which they knew little, of course) and the body of infants and babie was "for the soul" and so must have beein "in-formed" by the spiritual soul. This makes sense to me, and I doubt the teaching will change, especially with the abortion controversy continuing.

I think your point about a "linear" movement is very well-taken, and it does seem to be a characteristic of the Judeo-Christian-Islam tradition. I liken the process to our earthly life being a kind of larval stage, with death introducing us to a butterfly stage. Not a unique insight, I realize, but one that be-speaks a continuum of growth that even nature hints at.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Hi Sal, and welcome! Smiler It's a faith for thinking people. Most people who remember past lives seem to come from cultures which believe in past lives.

caritas,

mm <*)))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Report This Post
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==========


Hi:

Just a few more brief notes ...

Unbeknownst to me when I wrote my initial email on this topic early
this morning, 4 April 2005, today happens to be the Feast of the
Annunciation (the first joyful mystery of the Rosary); thus,
literally the remembrance of the ensoulment of Jesus, as he was
conceived within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by her
Fiat, "Let it be done to me according to thy word," when she believed
and consented to the message of the angel Gabriel, thereby bringing
about the Incarnation of Jesus, "And the Word was made flesh, and
dwelt among us."

The ensoulment of Mary herself is celebrated by the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception (December 8; and December 8, 2004 was the 150th
anniversary of dogmatic/doctrinal encyclical "Ineffabilis Deus"
(December 8, 1854) by Pope Pius IX.

Therefore, we commemorate the ensoulment of Mary by the Feast of the
Immaculate Conception, and the ensoulment of Jesus by the Feast of
the Annunciation.

Their souls were unique, being entirely sinless (like the pristine
souls of Adam and Eve, created without sin); and throughout the whole
lives of Mary and Jesus, their souls remained sinless (unlike the
souls of Adam and Eve, tainted by original sin).

In her last apparition to St. Bernardette Soubirous (herself made a
saint on December 8, 1933 by Pope Pius XI), on March 25, 1858 the
beautiful Lady declared to Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate
Conception", the great "I am" statement of Mary - which reflected the
greatest "I am" himself, her son Jesus [Yeshua, meaning God saves].

The disensoulment of Jesus is remembered when he died upon the cross
on Good Friday, when he "gave up his spirit" (spirit also meaning
that he gave up his last breath of life, for us).

The re-ensoulment of Jesus is celebrated when he rose from the dead
on Easter Sunday, thereby fulfilling his own words while having lived
amongst us, "I am the Resurrection and the life." Jesus is truly the
greatest "I am."

The disensoulment AND re-ensoulment of Mary is celebrated on the
Feast of the Assumption (August 15), when she was taken body and soul
into heaven, as promulgated by the dogmatic/doctrinal
encyclical "Deiparae Virginis Mariae" (May 1, 1946) by Pope Pius XII.

So, here chronologically are these events and feast days:

Immaculate Conception (ensoulment of Mary), December 8.
Annunciation/Incarnation (ensoulment of Jesus), April 4.
Good Friday (disensoulment of Jesus)
Easter Sunday (re-ensoulment of Jesus)
Assumption (disensoulment/re-ensoulment of Mary), August 15.

The death and resurrection of Jesus occurred at different times, with
his resurrection "on the third day" after his death; whereas the
death and resurrection of Mary occurred simultaneously, immediately
upon her assumption "body and soul" into heaven.

It's curious that Jesus' body and soul were separated for a space of
time: from the end of the first day (Good Friday) throughout the
entire second day (Holy Saturday) until the beginning of the third
day (Easter Sunday). This seems puzzling to me; just as that Mary was
assumed at once "body and soul" into heaven. Indeed, all the saints
in heaven have experienced the "little death" or "first death" when
their souls and bodies separated after their earthly death; yet, they
will experience the "second death" or the "last death" or the "big
death" upon the last day of the resurrection, when their souls and
bodies will become forever reunited (re-ensouled).

In Christianity, the first judgment (disensoulment) is considered
each individual's very own "first" death; whereas the last judgment
(re-ensoulment) is considered all individuals collective "last" death.

As far as we know, spiritually and materially, re-ensoulment has only
occurred for Jesus (at his resurrection) and for Mary (at her
assumption); their "first" and "last" deaths have already happened,
thus representing precursors for all other human beings. They are the
first fruits (two re-ensoulments, like two witnesses for us), already
gathered prior to the last great harvest of all humanity (the final
re-ensoulments for all others of us, the very ultimate resurrection).

A bit much to bear or to comprehend ...
--- Sal


==========
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 April 2005Report This Post
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My belief thus far on the theory of reincarnation is that a person may need to keep on coming back until he/she accepts Christ as Saviour. Jesus ended the cycle of death and birth. He cancelled all our "karma".

Katy
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Report This Post
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My belief thus far on the theory of reincarnation is that a person may need to keep on coming back until he/she accepts Christ as Saviour. Jesus ended the cycle of death and birth. He cancelled all our "karma".

Kary, you put it nicely. I totally agree with your statement. Reincarnation makes sense for me not because many in the East has written and spoken on it. When it comes to spiritual matters I rely totally on the guidance of Holy Spirit and Christ. We humanbeings are full of sins. Mostly to clear up all our karma issue one life is not enough. So, it is obvious to reincarnate again for this purpose. Actually what Christ done for 2000 years ago was he opened the gate of reincarnation for us inorder to safely reincarnate again and again until we accept him as our saviour. Once we accept him the issue of clearing karma become his problem. What he wanted from us is only one thing. Surrender and accept whatever comes in the process.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Report This Post
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Sal, thank you that you raise this important subject on Mary. It is rarely we read on Maria on this website. Mary has special place in my life. She is the one who leads me to her son our Lord Jesus Christ by clearing my karmas and sins. Based upon direct experience I relate to the dogmatic principle of the Catholic Church on Maria.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Report This Post
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Yes, good stuff, Sal. Thanks for your follow-up.

Katy and Grace, according to Christian teaching, there's no need to continue to atone for karma since Christ has come. Some Christian theologians maintain that this is true not only for Christians, but for non-Christians as well, who choose Christ implicity through the fundamental goodness of their life and the indelible orientation it has left on their will. Perhaps they get a chance at that explicit choice when dying?

Also, the problem of impurities is addressed, at least in Catholicism, through the teaching on Purgatory. This might be understood in terms of the Dark Nights a la John of the Cross; you can do that here, or you can do it in the afterlife.

One additional problem is that, in Catholicism, a body isn't viewed as some kind of accidental outer dressing that a soul can pick up and put down from life to life. It's considered an essential part of our personhood -- the very expression of the soul itself in space and time. That's an objection from the standpoint of metaphysics, and it's a good one, imo.

Nevertheless, who really knows about any of this . . .? All we have are our beliefs and the reasoning to back them.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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Also, the problem of impurities is addressed, at least in Catholicism, through the teaching on Purgatory. This might be understood in terms of the Dark Nights a la John of the Cross; you can do that here, or you can do it in the afterlife.

Phil, I remember what we have learned why God created us when I was around 10 yrs old. We learned God created us to love him, to know him and to abide by his rules inorder to enter in his kingdom. This has a great meaning for me now when I'm in this transformation process.

The question of purgatory is implicitly included in what I mentioned above. For me Purgatory is not a choice one make wheather one want to do it here or in the afterlife. The very reason why we are here in this world is to know God, not only intellectually or theologically but directly know him. To know God directly involves purugation. If one is detrmined to know God seriously Dark Night is an inevitable.

Regarding purugation in after life we learned that we should pray for the dead people in purgatory state. In my understanding we have to come to the Earth to clear our karma. In my understanding the coming of Christ doesn't dismiss our indivisual karma. Christ makes the purification process easy for us if we accepted him as our saviour. So, I don't understand how ones karma/sin which is created here can be cleared in after life. Phil, as you know I'm not talking from theological point of view. This understanding has been gained from the process I'm in. I don't mean I'm against theology, I will appreciate if you elaborate it from that aspect.
 
Posts: 340 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 14 May 2004Report This Post
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Grace, there's probably more than you'll ever want to know here.

St. John of the Cross is the one who related purgatory to the Dark Night experiences, as the latter are a purgation in the service of transformation. His thinking was that those who don't do that in this earthly life will have to do it in the next, and will be dependent on the prayers of others for their progress. In this life, while we're in the body, we can still "help ourselves" through our spiritual practice. Naturally, for St. John, reincarnation was not in the picture.

Re. Christ and our karma -- he does indeed not only dismiss it, but also suffer it with us. Nevertheless, we do have to grow out of those old habits and need to have healed the woundings they brought to our nature.
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Report This Post
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==========

Novena of the Mystical Body of Christ

==========


Date: Sat Nov 2, 2002 2:04 pm
Subject: Novena of the Mystical Body of Christ


Hello:

As you may have probably noticed in my recent emails, I have felt very uneasy internally (spiritually), as a result of all the turmoil within our Roman Catholic church, particularly as reflected by the scandal of the American Catholic bishops' sinfulness and unlawfulness in regard to the clergy/religious sexual abuse of minors.

Perhaps a science-fiction analogy can be drawn, by considering the poignant words of Obi-wan Kenobee in the Star Wars movie, when (simultaneously) the infamous Death Star space-ship vaporized an entire inhabited planet: "I sense a great disturbance in the Force."

I mentioned in one of my recent emails that, similarly, there can be sensed a tremendous discomfort within many living Roman Catholics, who are much offended by the USA bishops' sinfulness and lawlessness, as are also all the Poor Souls in purgatory, and all Saints in heaven, and our dear lord Jesus Christ himself.

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Early this past Wednesday (October 30, 2002), I woke up at dawn with a sense that such disruptions between the material and spiritual universes need to be repaired and reconciled, need to be healed and cured.

I started to think about a prayerful Triduum, consisting of All Saints Day (November 1st) and All Souls Day (November 2nd) and All Living Persons Day (November 3rd) -- but soon this seemed to me not to include all members within the Roman Catholic church and all living peoples and all the members of the Mystical Body of Christ (God, the Saints and the Poor Souls).

After some more thought on the matter, I eventually came up with this schema, for the Novena of the Mystical Body of Christ:

Creator's Day ------------ Oct. 27
Savior's (Jesus') Day ---- Oct. 28
Sanctifier's Day --------- Oct. 29
All Angels Day ----------- Oct. 30
Mediatrix (Mary's) Day --- Oct. 31
All Saints Day ----------- Nov. 01
All Souls Day ------------ Nov. 02
All People's Day --------- Nov. 03
All Progeny's Day -------- Nov. 04

To me, there are some wondrous symmetries (beautiful spiritual truths), as can be seen in this Novena. Some pleasing fundamental symmetries of truth and beauty (almost sounds like basic structures in physics) are these:

The first three days, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, comprised of our Creator [our Father/Mother/Parent], our Savior [Jesus], and our Sanctifier [Holy Spirit].

The first four days, dedicated to the spiritual beings, comprised of our Triune God and of the Holy Angels.

The central "bridge", Mary, between the spiritual and material worlds; truly the cornerstone that upholds this arch/archetype, by Mary's central role in salvific history, through whom all graces flow, veritably connecting the spiritual and material universes.

The last four days, dedicated to the material beings, comprised of all saints, all poor souls, all persons/peoples living presently, and all progeny yet-to-live in future.

This final quadratic grouping contains some notable internal counterpoints, such as the dearly departed (saints and poor souls) and such as the living and yet-to-live.

Another symmetry (triadic) would be the Trinity (Days 1-3: Creator, Savior, Sanctifier); the Heavenly Beings (Days 4-6: Angels, Mary, Saints); and the pre-Heavenly (possibly-Heavenly) Beings (Days 7-9: Poor Souls, Living Persons, Progeny).

I'm not sure what theological implications would be involved within this schematic representation, by this Novena of the Mystical Body of Christ, but in my mind's eye (and in my heart's eye and in my spirit's eye) such a Novena is wondrous to behold.

I don't have any specific prayers to offer you, in regard to this proposed Novena, but perhaps some persons more skillful and more inspired than I could assist with these aspects, to "fill out" my ideas/ideals as presented by this Novena.

By the way, this all occurred within the first hour of dawn on this past Wednesday morning, October 30, 2002 (All Angels Day), so maybe my Guardian Angel had something to do with it. [Thank you, my Guardian Angel!] These thoughts certainly did sooth me, healing my distress in regard to the Roman Catholoic church and to the Mystical Body of Christ, which I've been feeling for some months now.

Prayerfully yours, Sal


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Update on April 5, 2005

Since I thought of this Novena of the Mystical Body of Christ, primarily because of my interest in the Progeny [yet-to-live human beings], I have become even more concerned about these issues: pre-ensoulment (the existence of an immortal soul prior to its joining to a physical body) and ensoulment (when a person is created, body and soul, at conception?) and disensoulment (when the soul leaves the body, at death?) and re-ensoulment (when the soul rejoins its body, at the end of time for the earth/universe).

The importance for human persons thus extends through various linear phases of being:

1. pre-ensoulments (PRE-LIFE: the soul in God's pre-material bosom; pre-earthly existence);

2. ensoulments (LIFE: the soul/body on earth);

3. disensoulments (POST-LIFE: when an individual dies; the saved soul going into purgatory or heaven, and the lost soul going into hell);

4. re-ensoulments (ETERNAL LIFE: when all individuals [but Jesus and Mary already?] are resurrected at the end time/place, when soul and body are rejoined; at the last judgment -- when/where a new earth/heaven will come into existence, and when/where perhaps hell will cease to exist?).

Just some more thoughts on these matters ...

Does any of this make sense?

--- Sal


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Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 April 2005Report This Post
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I see what you're doing, Sal, and it does make sense. I think you were a little hard on the bishops in that first email, however. They're not all culpable, and many just had some bad advice from counselors on how to deal with these issues. FWIW, there have been very few new abuse issues since the mid-70's, when, after the Diocese of Lafayette, LA was sued for abuse cases, other dioceses began to clamp down hard on priest abusers and reformulate their policies. We already have a couple of threads going on the abuse issue, however, so let's not get into that any more on this one.

What did you think of my post above on the Church's teaching about preexistenianism?
 
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Ensoulment/embodiment;
resurrection vs. reincarnation

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Hi, Phil and everyone else too:

I read your posts about pre-existentianiam, and I am finding this concept quite perplexing, given the sources from Scripture [Biblical, old & new Testament] and from tradition [Patristics, Medieval Theology, etc.] and from contemporary reason [physical and biological and psychosocial sciences].

However, my own interests focus on the whole network of body/soul issues through space/time, particularly in terms of the Mystical Body/Spirit of Christ.

Perhaps there are not yet any vocabulary or word meanings that define what I am trying to express and to understand [limited to my own personal experiences, of course] about these material and spiritual realities.

We constantly run across similar binary terms, such as material/spiritual and mortal/eternal and body/soul, as if they are discrete entities, whereas they are actually interconnected. Teilard de Chardin, for instance, speaks about the spiritualization of matter [coining such terms as the noosphere, which superceded but is built upon the foundation of the universe/earth and the terrestial biosphere]. Many other philosophers/theologians (from the ancient Greeks and Romans to their modern counterparts) attempt to more clearly perceive and understand [and to more carefully explain and convey] these material/spiritual realities.

In terms of pre-existence of the soul (prior to its ensoulment into a human body), my sense is that our own cognitive models are woefully inadequate and theologically/scientifically inconsistent, precisely because even some of the same basic words, such as body and soul in English [soma and psyche in Greek; corpus and anima in Latin; just to reference a few], have been given various definitions (by other words or by meaningful contexts) or are understood in numerous manners according to certain cultural conditions of particular places and times.

Therefore, its not easy to develop a cohesive model that "really fits" the measurable material universe, let alone the immeasurable spiritual universe; again, similar to the body/soul duality.

Perhaps an analogy could be the birth of a child of Earth into the life of the world, and the rebirth of a child of God into the life of the spirit. These could also be termed, being born and being born again.

Two books which I have read some time ago likewise treat the resurrection of Jesus and the assumption of Mary, as well as their respective apparitions with living human beings in their [Jesus' and Mary's] newly configured bodies/souls (for Jesus, just after his resurrection in the first century; for Mary, during her visitations during the latter 1900s):

Bonnel Spencer, O.H.C. "They Saw The Lord" (1983: Morehouse-Barlow Co,. Inc; Wilton, Connecticut).

Fr. Rene' Laurentin. "The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary Today" (1990: Veritas Publications; Dublin, Ireland).

These two books focus on the apparitions of Jesus (from his Resurrection to his Ascension) and of Mary (during the latter 1900s). Spencer's treatment is based on New Testament writings; while Laurentin's treatment is based on modern testimonials. However, both deal with Jesus and Mary in their re-ensoulments, although Jesus in his resurrected body interacted more directly with these New Testament "witnesses" -- and Mary in her assumed body interacted rather indirectly with these modern "seers".

Living human beings also have reported or are reporting various mystical experiences not only with Jesus and Mary, but also with other parts of the Mystical Body/Spirit, including God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, the good angels and the deceased saintly souls in heaven, the deceased suffering souls in purgatory, other living human beings (by holy persons and sinners alike), and the yet-to-be-born progeny. Additionally, as mentioned in some of the emails in this section, some mystical experiences also contend with Satan and the devils (fallen angels) and the deamons (fallen humans) from Hell -- which are the unholy counterparts of God and the good angels and the saints from Heaven.

As mentioned in earlier posts, Christianity generally does not regard reincarnation seriously, although it does believe in the resurrection as an article of faith (as in the Nicean creed).

I could continue on various subtopics within this major theme of resurrection/reincarnation, but these would be too lengthy for now, so I'll hold off until further posts.

Phil and others, please provide some comments and constructive critiques; thanks very much.

--- Sal


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You're doing great, Sal. It's not every day one finds a person so interested in this topic. Carry on . . . Smiler

In terms of pre-existence of the soul (prior to its ensoulment into a human body), my sense is that our own cognitive models are woefully inadequate and theologically/scientifically inconsistent, precisely because even some of the same basic words, such as body and soul in English [soma and psyche in Greek; corpus and anima in Latin; just to reference a few], have been given various definitions (by other words or by meaningful contexts) or are understood in numerous manners according to certain cultural conditions of particular places and times.

I'll grant you some of the inadequacies and inconsistencies, especially if one is trying to following the meaning of the words used. The conceptual basis of the teaching is rather consistent, however, while not pretending to understand the "how" of these matters. Re. pre-existentianism, I'd say it boils down to two factors:

1. A rejection of any notion that our human life / ensoulment is a penalty for sin or misdeeds in a prior existence, purely spiritual or otherwise. This would seem to include reincarnation, though maybe only obliquely so.

2. The teaching that God creates the individual human soul at the moment of conception. This sends a right hook to the jaw of preexistianism, knocking it out in the first round.

Of course, it's impossible to prove these positions using any kind of criteria that would satisfy the scientist, but the teaching is at least internally congruent and consistent.
 
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