The Annotated Catechism for Autistic Thinking:
Originally posted here: https://www.mission-of-saint-thorlak.com/mission-activities
Is our soul’s care completely in our control,
or is it affected by outside forces?
Before we attempt a question this big, let us please keep in mind our reason for asking in the first place. We are looking at this section in the Baltimore Catechism:
Q: Why must we take more care of our soul than our body?
A: In losing our soul, we lose God and everlasting happiness.
Now the variables of control come into play. Is the soul interconnected with body and mind, or is it separate? Recall our graphic from a few weeks back:
By proportion, the importance placed on body and mind should be less than that placed on the soul. This is because body and mind are the components of ourselves which are enlivened and given identity by the soul, which is our core identity. The body and mind are those parts of us which interact with the outside, and the soul is that which dwells on the inside. We might say that body and mind are influenced by the soul from the inside, and by forces beyond our control from the outside. As such, any consideration of outside forces begins with body and mind… and, if we want to go even further, we can consider body and mind as outside forces unto themselves!
But, first, what do we mean by “in our control”? The choices we make? How can we ever know if anything is purely “in our control”? Even our behavior, which originates in the body, can be arguably influenced by factors beyond our control, both from outside ourselves and far within, on the molecular level. We did not start our own hearts beating, after all!
Let’s hurry up and define some of these things before we get too far out of hand. Outside of high philosophical and theological circles, we think the following definitions will suffice:
IN OUR CONTROL: Things we freely choose
AFFECTED BY OUTSIDE FORCES: How far our actions stray from our intentions
All this, and we haven’t even answered the question yet. Is our soul’s care completely in our control, or is it affected by outside forces?
The care we give to our soul is the sum total of the intentions we formulate (which are in our control) and the choices we make in the context of both things we can and cannot control.
We cannot control the majority of forces which act upon us. But our intentions are solely ours, and so the choices we make are often like arrows shot in wind, fog and all sorts of tricky circumstances. The important point to remember is that intentions count in the equation. We are not purely victims of circumstances, nor are we masters of our own fate. We are conscious beings in between, and the God who put us here knows that we are not always able to act without influence and interference. If we keep God in our intentions, our souls will not be lost. The more we keep God in our intentions, the more our souls will stay on the path God imagined for us. And the more we focus on outside forces, the more easily we will find ourselves disoriented.