Tag Archives: soul

The rosary – food for life of the soul

Praying the rosary is a staple for Catholic family spirituality. The late Fr. Patrick Peyton (aka “The Rosary Priest”) said “the family that prays together, stays together.” Unfortunately, we’ve replaced family prayer with soccer, dance, and every form of technology that doesn’t bring us closer to God, or to each other.

As a priest, I should know the power of praying the rosary. I have an advanced degree in Mariology from the Pontifical Marianum Institute in Rome. My family prayed the rosary regularly, and I remember getting quizzed on knowing the mysteries in the proper order — each child tasked to lead a decade. As a seminarian and priest, the rosary has filled my travels, my personal time, and especially my difficult days with an assurance of God our Father and loving heavenly Mother.

But somedays it’s tough to pray the rosary, especially when you’re tired.

Regular meditation of the rosary isn’t a “law,” but an act of devotion to help me through challenging and tiring days.

One day, as a young priest, I had such a tough day I consciously chose NOT to pray my rosary before going to sleep. I was awakened by an emergency call to anoint a man who was “dying.” The caller was a defensive-sounding woman, dramatically telling me that she was a fallen-away Catholic, but calling for her dying dad, who’d been sick for a while. In my mind, I asked, “Why couldn’t she have called earlier?!?” I went dutifully, but begrudgingly

Since it was a 20-minute drive, I could have prayed the rosary. But now I was irritated. I thought, Mary wouldn’t want to listen to me while I’m in a sour mood. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

When I arrived, I discovered the man wasn’t actually dying. The daughter confused a coughing fit with dying. In fact, the elderly father went to the bathroom — on his own — when I arrived. He was far from dying, but I felt like I was.

I put on my best pastoral face and proceeded to offer the prayers of anointing. I politely asked this man’s name. He said, “My name is Rosario, just like my favorite prayer,” as he held out his rosary.

What a wake-up call! I realized that I was called out of sleep to pray that rosary — not just for myself, but for the dying, the dramatic daughter, and for myself when I’m weary and tired.

On the way home, I prayed my rosary. I went to sleep peacefully, knowing that Mary’s prayers always help.

LEO E. PATALINGHUG IVDEI, priest, author, speaker, TV and radio host, founder of Plating Grace and The Table Foundation. Learn more at FatherLeoFeeds.com

 

Smoked Salmon Wrap • yields 4 tortillas

Here’s a simple recipe to help us remember our Blessed Mother’s prayers and our pro-life mission as Catholics. While it’s Lent-friendly, this dish (and especially the sauce) is a crowd pleaser all year long. You can also watch my video as I prepare this meal with a message.

Ingredients:
Smoked Salmon
(2 sliced per tortilla)
4 Tortillas
Bib Lettuce, 4 leaves
1 Roma Tomato, diced
1 jalapeño, de-seeded, minced
1/4 Red Onion, 2 Tbs, minced
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1 Lime, juiced
1 Avocado, seed removed, and sliced (yielding 8 slices)
Cilantro, 4-8 small stems
1/2 tsp Salt and 1/2 tsp Pepper

Directions 

Make sauce/cream by adding the tomato, jalapeño, onion, garlic powder, cumin, mayo, sour cream, and lime juice in a bowl and stir all together.

Open 1 avocado and fan out.

Separate the smoked salmon slices.

To assemble the tortilla wrap, lay flat one tortilla and add and spread sauce/cream over the tortilla, place one bib lettuce leaf, add sliced avocado, add 1-2 slices of the smoked salmon, then a few sprigs of cilantro. Roll tortilla closed and serve with a side of the cream.

Is a soul conscious after death?

A distinguished group of Catholic bioethicists had gathered in a conference room of a Washington, D.C., hotel to discuss the topic of brain death. When my turn came for a presentation, I was in for a shock.

Edward J. Furton

Within 10 minutes, the room grew uneasy. There were quizzical looks and the shuffling of papers. One of the attendees became angry and began to shout. His words were at first unintelligible — they included complex Latin quotations — but it became clear that he was objecting to my statement that the intellective soul survives the death of the body.

The discussion continued for weeks afterwards via email. To my surprise, I discovered that the majority of these distinguished thinkers did not know that the soul continues in conscious existence after separation from the body. One influential figure told me that at death, the soul went into a deep unconscious state and lacked all awareness. Another said that the soul ceased to exist at all until it was reunited with the resurrected body. Yet the Church teaches that at death there is a “particular judgment” that either unites the soul with the life of Christ in heaven (often through purgatory) or condemns it to eternal damnation (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1021). This event precedes the “last judgment” and the resurrection of the dead (CCC #1038).

Death is the separation of the soul from the body, but the soul does not lose consciousness — or cease to exist — when it undergoes that separation. The soul is fully aware of the particular judgment. This is not to deny in any way that the soul is the substantial form of the body. The two form a composite union, but the soul has its own principle of existence, given to it by God. As a spiritual entity, the soul doesn’t need the body to exist or to engage in thought. The soul has an “intellective memory” that survives death and can also have new thoughts through God’s direct infusion of ideas into the mind.

These are interesting philosophical inquiries, but they also have some measure of empirical support from a remarkable phenomenon within the field of medicine. Some patients who are dead by standard medical criteria report after resuscitation that they were aware of efforts to revive their bodies and are able to describe specific events that occurred then. Thus a patient might say, “I saw a nurse wearing a red cap enter the room, give the physician a syringe, and then leave.” But during that time the patient had no heartbeat, no brain function, and no signs of life, but lay on the operating table dead.

Revived patients who experience these events often describe a feeling of looking down on the room from above, but the question of location is really not important. What matters from an evidentiary point of view is the accuracy of their accounts. If the soul ceased to exist at death, or fell into a state of complete unconsciousness, it would not be able to know anything. But in these cases, the patient is able to describe details about events connected to the resuscitation that could not possibly have been known unless he or she were somehow still aware.

One of the most comprehensive surveys of this phenomenon is titled “AWARE” (Parnia et al., Resuscitation 85.12, Dec. 2014, 1799-1805). The study shows that 40% of patients who survived cardiac arrest were aware during the time that they were clinically dead. If death is the separation of the soul from the body, as the Church teaches, then these cases should not surprise us. The person has indeed died because the soul has separated from the body, but a successful resuscitation causes the soul to return life to the body. The particular judgment does not take place because death had not been finalized.

Of course, we live in an age of materialism. Those who hold that there is no life after death tell us that these experiences are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain or some other purely material cause. Yet that view cannot explain the factual nature of the accounts. Hallucinations caused by chemical imbalances don’t produce accurate reports.

Given that Church teachings on the nature of the soul are not matters of faith but are evident to reason, such studies provide an important type of empirical evidence. I have met physicians who have experienced this phenomenon, but they are uneasy speaking about it. They fear ridicule from their colleagues. At least they aren’t likely to be shouted at in Latin!

EDWARD J. FURTON, PH.D., is a staff ethicist and the director of publications for the National Catholic Bioethics Center.