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The Tripartite Biblical Vision of Man: A Key to the Christian Life

by Arthur Burton Calkins

Corresponding Member of the Pontifical International Marian Academy


           Just as there is a revealed doctrine of God in the Bible, so there is also a revealed doctrine of man. [1]  Of course there is no philosophical treatise neatly drawn out in one place, but, contrary to many modern exegetes, I am convinced that the Scriptures are fundamentally coherent and consistent on the nature of man.  The locus classicus which seems to summarize the biblical doctrine on man most succinctly is I Thessalonians 5:23 where Paul prays that God may sanctify his readers wholly and draws out for them what this means:  may their spirit (pneûma) and soul (psyché) and body (sôma) be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. [2]   (The Old Testament locus classicus, it seems to me, may well be Psalm 16:9 where “heart” bears the meaning of “spirit”.)  Père Louis Bouyer doesn’t hesitate to describe this text as “the definitive formula of the biblical and Christian view of man” and “one which also constitutes as it were a summary of all Christian spirituality.” [3]  Let us now consider the connotation of these terms in the New Testament.


            As we begin to explore these three “dimensions of man’s being, let us be clear that these are not three distinct and independent entities or parts of man.  Rather, they are three ways of looking at the unity which is man.  As Dom Wulstan Mork puts it:  “This unity is viewed from three different aspects – ‘flesh,’ ‘soul,’ and ‘spirit’.” [4]   Hence, while the distinction among these three terms is to be carefully noted – and that between soul and spirit is often crucial in the matter of spiritual discernment – we are not speaking here of “air-tight compartments,” but of terms which in a certain sense interpenetrate one another.

            Further, it should be clearly understood that what is presented here regarding the distinction between soul and spirit is not proposed in opposition to the doctrine of Saint Thomas and the great Scholastics who followed him, but as a complimentary approach to the reality of man which they studied with such perception.  The anima, as treated by Saint Thomas, comprises both the psyché and the pneûma of which Saint Paul speaks.  While it would be temerarious on my part to pretend to treat this subject with anything like the depth of the Angelic Doctor or to propose this brief sketch in opposition to his magisterial treatment de anima, what I present here is an “essay” in the root sense of the word which invites further comments and clarifications in terms of the biblical data, the traditional theological teaching on man's nature and the history of spirituality.

            I.  The body is man considered as material, as related to the rest of the physical universe.  St. Paul calls it “the outer man” (II Cor. 4:16) [5];  it is man's external dimension.   It is through the body that man gathers information about and deals with the world around him (ad extra).  The body, as created by God is good and holy (cf. Gen. 1:26-31).  There is nothing evil about the body in itself.  What is evil, however, is man's attempt to satisfy himself by living primarily or exclusively for the pleasures of the body (cf. Rom. 1:24-25; 16:18; I Cor. 6:12-20; Phil. 3:19). [6]   Such conduct is fleshly (sarkikós, cf. I Pet. 2:11).  This is, in effect, to live merely on the level of an animal which “is completely dominated by natural impulses, instincts, and desires.  When it is hungry, it will inevitably seek food.  When it is thirsty, it will inevitably seek a drink.  When any urge whatsoever comes upon it, it will not fail to try to satisfy that urge.” [7] 

            To judge merely by external appearances is to “judge according to the flesh” (Jn. 8:15; cf. II Cor. 1:12).  To refuse to live with any orientation beyond the pleasures of the flesh (sarx) is sinful (cf. Rom. 7:5, 25; 8:4-8, 12-13; II Cor. 10:2-3; Gal. 3:3, 5:13, 16-17, 19-20; Eph. 2:3).  We are saved from being slaves to the flesh because the Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14) and condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3, cf. Col. 1:22).  Because in Baptism we have received the Holy Spirit even our bodies become temples of the Spirit (I Cor. 6:19-20).

            The New Testament term for the life of the body is bíos.  The seed that falls among thorns is interpreted to be those who hear the Word but are “choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life (bíos)” (Lk. 8:14)  It also denotes life in its external aspects.  The Father of the prodigal divides his living (bíos) between his two sons (Lk. 15:12, 30).  The widow who puts her two copper coins into the temple treasury gives her “whole living (bíos)” (Mk. 12:44; Lk. 21:4).  Paul reminds Timothy that a good soldier does not get entangled in the affairs of civilian life (II Tim. 2:4).  One who has the goods of this life (bíos) is exhorted to share with his brothers in need (I Jn. 3:17).  The “pride of life” spoken about in I Jn. 2:16 seems to be an arrogance about one's own resources and possessions.

            II.  The soul is man as self-conscious.  To speak about one’s soul is tantamount to speaking about one's self or "ego"; it is man in his interior (infra).  (We are speaking here of what the Scholastics would refer to as the “inferior portion” of the soul.)  In itself the soul is the form of the body, [8] that which makes man to be uniquely what he is (substantia in actu primo in the language of the scholastics).  In its operation (substantia in actu secundo) it comprises man’s intellect, will and emotions. [9]   

            The specific difference between man and animal is that man is “rational,” that he can observe, deduce and decide for himself.  As Father William G. Most puts it:

Above the animal level is the human level.  Man is a rational animal; hence, he acts in a way worthy of his natural position when he acts according to the dictates of his reason.  A man who lives by reason will, of course, often grant the desired satisfaction to natural urges.  He will eat, he will drink, he will rest and do other things when his lower nature calls for them.  In so doing, however, he will not act with the blind regularity of an animal:  he will let reason moderate all these actions, so that sometimes when his appetite calls for food, he will refuse to satisfy it, on the ground that it is not the proper time, or because the amount or kind of food desired is unsuitable for his own well-being.  The rational man will also decide to do or not to do certain things because he sees them to be opposed to some law. [10] 

            The soul is the very principle of human life [11] ; it is the seat of man's personality [12] in which sense it comprises not only his conscious but also subconscious and unconscious life (in the psychological sense).  Hence the soul is also the abode of the emotions. [13]   Man's rationality and ability to make decisions does not cancel out his sensitivity.  Hence Jesus, anticipating his passion and death could say:  "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (Mt. 26:38; Mk. 14:34) and "Now is my soul troubled" (Jn. 12:27).  Likewise Mary, the Mother of Jesus, would proclaim "My soul magnifies the Lord" (Lk. 1:46) and would also be told:  “A sword will pierce through your own soul” (Lk. 2:35). 

            According to the terminology of the New Testament, man as rational, as self-determining, as emotional, is described as psychikós. [14]  There is no neat English equivalent for this term which, in a neutral context, may be appropriately rendered “natural”, [15] but in contexts which explicitly exclude the realm of God may also be rendered as “unspiritual” [16] or “worldly”.  The word psychikós might even be rendered “self-centered” or “self-sufficient” and it is precisely in this sense that St. Paul speaks of “the old man” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9).  The man who is living exclusively on the “soul-level” of existence is displeasing to God because he does not and will not see beyond himself, his natural talents and interests. 

            Indeed, fallen man often tends to see himself as the axis of the universe.  The natural (psychikós) man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God because he is not open to them and they are beyond his frame of reference (I Cor. 2:14).  James calls the wisdom of such a man earthbound, narrow-minded (psychikós) and devilish (Jas. 3:15).  Jude describes those who live strictly for themselves (psychikoí) as devoid of the Spirit (Jude 19).  What is translated as “physical body” in the Revised Standard Version rendering of I Cor. 15:44-46 would seem to be better rendered as “the body under the domination of the soul” in contradistinction to “the body under the guidance of the spirit.”

            The New Testament term for man’s conscious, rational and emotional life is also psyché.  Hence it is the most common way to speak about one’s life as mortal (cf. Mt. 2:20; 20:28; Mk. 3:4; 10:45; Lk. 6:9; 12:20; Jn. 10:11, 15, 17, 13:37; 15:13; Acts 15:26; I Jn. 3:16, Rev. 12:11).  But it is also the way to speak about one’s personal life as independent of God.  When one becomes preoccupied with acquiring the immediate needs of this life, he can become oblivious to the reality of God (cf. Mt. 6:25-33; Lk. 12:22-31).  So it is that Jesus calls his followers to die to self (psyché), to put their own preferences, desires and human cleverness to death, in order to follow him (cf. Mt. 10:39; 16:25; Mk. 8:35-37; Lk. 9:24; 14:26; 17 :33; Jn. 12:25).  Consequently when a person yields himself totally to the Lord in faith and gives up trying to control  or manipulate his destiny, he is said to obtain the salvation of his soul (cf. I Pet. 1:19) for in abdicating the control of his life he is entrusting his soul to the care of a faithful Creator (I Pet. 4:19) and returns to Jesus, the Shepherd and Guardian of his soul (I Pet. 2:25).  When a person stops attempting to manage his life and truly submits himself to the Lordship of Jesus, he will find rest for his soul (Mt. 11:29).

            III.  The spirit is man considered as conscious of God and open to Him.  We are speaking here of the what the Scholastics refer to as the “superior portion of the soul”; here we enter into the domain of the “supernatural”.  The spirit (pneûma) is the core, the deepest dimension of man’s being which Paul aptly describes as “the inner” or “interior man” (II Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16).  As André Derville, S.J. points out: 

The interior man means man considered in his most deep personal interiority, where the regenerating Spirit moves him, where Christ dwells through faith and where is born the love that comes from Christ. ... It is a question of that secret and intimate part of man, the part that is spirit, open to God. [17]

It is by virtue of man's spiritual dimension, of his having a human spirit (the “breath of God” in him) that he is a living being, a soul (cf. Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:5, 9-10).  The spirit is the ultimate principle of man’s life.  When it is breathed into the body, life begins (Lk. 8:55; Rev. 11:11; 13:15); when it leaves the body, death occurs (Mt. 27:50; Lk. 23:42; Jn. 19:30; Acts 7:59; Jas. 2:26).

            Man’s spirit, as the core of his being, is deeper even than his consciousness, his intellect and imagination, his emotional sensations and pleasures – for these are all operations of the soul.  It is in his spirit that man is most specifically "in the image and likeness of God" (cf. Gen. 1:26; Jn. 3:6; 4:24).  It is true that the man who is living exclusively on the soul-level is not even aware of his spirit or the spiritual dimension of reality (I Cor. 2:13-14) because his soul has virtually overpowered his spirit, yet still if he lay himself open to the Word of God, it can pierce “to the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12) and he can discover a more profound level of existence than he ever knew possible.

            Man's spirit is his “contact-point” with God.  “Man’s spirit, his pneuma,” says Tresmontant, “is that within him which permits an encounter with the Pneûma of God.” [18]  It is his in-built orientation to God which instinctively reaches up (supra) to Him.  It echoes the voice of God first of all in man’s conscience.  Bishop Kallistos of Diocleia helpfully contrasts the ways of knowing which correspond with these three planes of existence. 

Body, soul, and spirit have each their special way of knowing:  the body, through the five senses; the soul, through intellectual reasoning; the spirit, through the conscience, through a mystical perception that transcends man's ordinary rational processes. [19]

            God does not communicate with man directly through his body or through his mind, but through his spirit.  As St. Paul testifies: “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father’ it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).  It is in the spirit that we perceive and respond to divine realities (Mk. 8:12; Lk 1:47; Jn 11:33; 13:21; Acts 17:16; 18:25; 19:21) and it is in the spirit that we discern motives (cf. Mk. 2:8; I Cor. 2:11, 14; 12:10).  This function of the spirit may be described as intuition or discernment.  Hence it is the spiritual man, ho pneumatikós, [20] the man who lives in profound communion with God, who “judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one” (I Cor. 2:15).

            Since man’s spirit is his “contact-point” with God, his in-built orientation to God, it is only at this level that genuine prayer takes place. [21]  As Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth2 (Jn. 4:23-24; I Cor. 14:14-15).  The spirit is created for communion with God.  It is consequently the “locus” where God infuses grace into our being [22] (cf. Gal. 6:8; Phil. 4:23; II Tim. 4:22; Phlm. 25) which is meant to permeate from there into our souls and even into our bodies.  (Note in the case of the paralytic that first he is healed in spirit – forgiven – and then he is healed in body; cf. Mt. 9:2-7; Mk. 2:3-12; Lk. 5:18-25). 

            Indeed God has created our human spirit to be the abode of his Holy Spirit. [23]  As the Protestant exegete Henry Barclay Swete neatly put it at the beginning of this century:  “The human spirit lies dormant and powerless till it has been awakened and enabled by the Spirit of God.” [24]  It is precisely in Baptism that this awakening and enabling takes place.  Father Most differentiates the “spirit level” from the “body” and “soul2 planes of existence in this way: 

Man acting in the animal manner has blind impulse for his guide; man acting in the human manner has reason for his guide (with perhaps the help of the infused virtues and actual graces); man acting in the superhuman manner has the Holy Spirit Himself as his guide.  It is obvious that with such a guide, the soul can be led to levels far higher than those to which reason would have brought it. [25]

Père Bouyer continues to elucidate the relationship of Holy Spirit to human spirit thus: 

The more the Spirit is integrated with man, the more man himself may be said to become ‘spirit.’  As his soul (psyché) vivifies his body (sôma), it is itself vivified by the Spirit, it becomes ‘spirit’. [26] 

            Note that in the prophecy of Ezekiel the Lord first promises to give the house of Israel “a new spirit” (Ezek. 36:26) and then promises to give them his [Holy] Spirit (Ezek. 36:27). [27]  The baptized are temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:16; II Cor. 6:16; cf. Rom. 8:11) precisely because the Holy Spirit dwells in their spirits (cf. Eph. 3:16).  Hence to be “in the spirit” means to be living on the spiritual plane and to be completely disposed to the action of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rev. 1:10; 4:2;17:3; 21:10).

            The New Testament term for the life of the spirit is zoé.  It is a term used with special impact in the Gospel of John in which Jesus identifies himself as the life (zoé) (Jn. 11:25; 14:6).  Jesus has this kind of life in himself because he has received it from the Father (Jn. 5:26; cf. 1:4) and he shares this life with all who believe in him (Jn. 3:15-16; 5:24; 6:40; 10:10, 28; 17:2).  Jesus’ very words are spirit and life (Jn. 6:63).

            Zoé is resurrection-life (cf. Jn. 5:29; 11:25; II Cor. 5:4) because it is imparted by Jesus, the second Adam, who “became a life-giving spirit” (I Cor. 15:45).  Zoé is grace-life, a spring of living water welling up to eternal life (Jn. 4:14; Rev. 21:6; 22:1, 17; cf. Jn. 7:37-39).  It is the life of heaven begun here on earth; it is the essence of what is sometimes called “realized eschatology”.  This share in God's life (cf. Jn. 1:4; 5:26; Col. 3:4) begins in Baptism (Rom. 6:4) and is meant to continue into the world to come (Mt. 19:19; 25:46; Mk. 10:30; Lk. 18:30).  It is often called “eternal life” because, since it is the life of the spirit, it will never have an end (cf. Mt. 19:16; Mk. 10:17; Lk. 10:25; 18:18; Jn. 3:16; 6:27, 68; 12:25, 50; 17:3). 

            Perhaps the single most striking text manifesting the difference between the life of the soul and the life of the spirit, between nature and supernature, is the logion of the Lord about the necessary death of the grain of wheat:  “He who loves his life (psyché) loses it, and he who hates his life (psyché) in this world will keep it for eternal life (zoé)2 (Jn. 12:25).

            The distinction between soul and spirit is crucial for the leading of the Christian life in its fullness and the art of discernment of spirits.  The problem in dealing with much theological and spiritual literature on this topic is that the terminology is fluid and, in different epochs and even in different authors from the same period different terms are used to represent the biblical terms “soul” and “spirit”.  Commonly among Scholastic philosophers and theologians a distinction is made between the inferior and superior portions of the soul (the former representing the soul and the latter the spirit).  Dom Anscar Vonier, former Abbot of Buckfast, makes a helpful distinction between the spirit and soul levels of existence while retaining the traditional Scholastic terminology:

Generally speaking, it may be said that a soul is not a spirit, and that a spirit is not a soul.  The human soul is the only exception.

Speaking quite universally, spirit-functions are for ever different from soul-functions.  That spiritual substance which we call the human soul, has both spirit-functions and soul-functions, but it is through different parts of itself, or rather through different powers of the spiritual substance. [28]

            Another helpful insight which the same author provides is that these three biblical dimensions of man as we have outlined them place man at the mid-point in the hierarchy of being.  His body has the characteristics of animal life.  His spirit has the characteristics of angelic life.  His soul is the dimension which is unique to himself; through it he reaches down to the world of animals and matter below him and up to the world of angels and God above him.  In this sense he characterizes the human soul as “entirely and exclusively the spirit of the physical universe.” [29]

            In a general audience just before Christmas 1988 Pope John Paul II spoke very effectively about the dimensions of life which we have tried to sketch above without using the technical New Testament terminology:  “Who could ever have thought that we, poor fragile creatures, often incapable of taking care of and respecting even our physical and natural life, are beings made for a divine and eternal life?” [30]

            IV.  By way of corollary, it is interesting to note the many correlations between these three dimensions of our being and the light they shed on various facets of the Church's teaching and the spiritual life.  The most explicit employment of the biblical/Pauline terminology of which I am aware in the Roman Rite, for instance, occurs in the blessing of the Oil of the Sick on Holy Thursday.  The Bishop prays:  “May your blessing come upon all who are anointed with this oil, that they may be freed from suffering, pain and illness and made well again in body, soul and spirit.” [31]

            It must be readily conceded again, however, that we are not dealing here with “air-tight compartments" and that in the applications which follow it is often a matter of which dimension is dominant in a particular situation rather than the absence of the other two.

            A.  Stages of Prayer.  Note in the following quotation the correlation between body [32] and vocal prayer, soul and meditative prayer, spirit and contemplative prayer:

First, there is VOCAL PRAYER:  a prayer of the lips, with stress on words, recited or sung.  The text is often prefabricated or ready-made and is often beautiful and inspiring.  Vocal prayer may also be spontaneous. [33]

Then, there is MEDITATIVE PRAYER or meditation:  a prayer centered in the mind, which pictures and ponders, reflects and thinks of God and His wonderful dealings.  The mind seeks understanding and insight.  In meditation, the lips are quiet and the mind is active.

Finally, there is CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER or contemplation:  a prayer of heart and will which reaches out to God's presence.  The lips and mind both come to rest:  there is a simple gazing (looking) at the Lord while the heart reaches out in wordless prayer and the will seeks to be one with His. [34]

It should be noted that the spirit must be operative on all three levels otherwise there would be no genuine prayer at all; what we point to is a certain predominance of one dimension at each of these levels.

            B.  As Ethelbert Stauffer points out in his article in  Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament:

Basically, there are three expressions for love in pre-biblical Greek:  erân, phileîn and agapân1.  Erân is passionate love which desires the other for itself.  In every age the Greeks sung glowing hymns to sensually joyous and daemonic éros, the god who is compelled by none but compels all. [35]

No doubt, because it so obviously correlates with conduct which is already described as sarkikós, the word does not appear in the New Testament.  It surely represents love on the level of the body and it is in this sense that we find the word used by St. Ignatius of Antioch in a very celebrated passage of his Letter to the Romans:  "My love (éros) of this life has been crucified, and there is no yearning in me for any earthly thing." [36]

2.  Phileîn/philía, on the contrary, signifies for the most part the inclination or solicitous love of gods for men, or friends for friends.  It means the love which embraces everything that bears a human countenance. [37]

These cognate forms continue to be the words used to describe the love of friendship in the New Testament. [38]  As Père Spicq puts it so beautifully: 

This is not the religious, reflective love of a superior for an inferior, but the spontaneous abandon of two persons united in a mutual love which has made them equals. ... The religious agápe ascending from disciple to Master is very different from the sensible, emotional warmth which the eleven had come to feel for Jesus in their permanent contact with him from day to day since he had first called them to himself.  In Jn. 16:27, the relationship is expressed anthropomorphically in terms of friendship, of tenderness strictly limited to the little group of the Son’s socii. [39]

Undoubtedly the noble emotions involved in the unselfish love of friendship speak of a mutual attraction originating in the soul.

            3.  Interestingly, agápe, the word chosen to represent the characteristic Christian love, had no particularly profound meaning in the secular Greek world.  “Its etymology,” says Stauffer, “is uncertain, and its meaning weak and variable.  Often it means no more than ‘to be satisfied with something’; often it means ‘to receive’ or ‘to greet’ or to ‘honour,’ i.e., in terms of external attitude.” [40]  And yet adds Père Spicq “Thirty years after the death of Christ, the Church already had its own language, its own full and precise theological vocabulary.  The word agápe, in particular, had acquired so specialized and rich a meaning that is seemed almost a neologism.” [41]

            Clearly there is a striking correspondence and complementarity in the correlation between pneûma and agápe and the key, I believe, is precisely in the fact that they are both predicated in the strict sense of God.  “God is spirit (pneûma)” (Jn. 4:24) and “God is love (agápe)” (I Jn. 4:16).  Specifically because in Baptism the spirit of the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, he also receives agápe which, according to Spicq:

is the place, the home, where the Father, the Son, and all believers meet (I Jn. 5:1, 2, 18) because they all possess the same nature.  It is not enough, then, to say that charity assures the mutual intimacy of the lover and the beloved, or even that it makes them present to one another.  There is more than contact; there is communication of being and life, and it is on this level that we must understand the reciprocal indwelling which agápe causes. [42]

God is love, the manifestation and gift of love (I Jn. 4:8, 16).  When he begets children, he gives them the agápe which characterizes his nature.  From the gift, it is easy to deduce the consequence:  the child of God is “naturally” loving; charity is the rightful possession of every disciple who is reborn of God. ... This is certainly the supreme motive of fraternal love.  Christians are exhorted to love their neighbor because of the loving nature they received at baptism.  “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God” (I Jn. 4:7). ... Fraternal agápe is much less a love prescribed for the sake of resembling God and conforming to Christ’s example than it is a sharing and application of God's love of predilection for all the disciples of Jesus. [43]

            With the advent of Christ agápe might well appear to be a neologism because up to his coming it was unknown in the formal Christian and Johannine sense.  He, Love Incarnate, has manifested in himself the fullness of God's love, "a very particular kind of love, which bespeaks absolute initiative and anteriority, not reciprocity.  God has revealed his charity under this mode (I Jn. 4:11, 19)." [44]  Beyond doubt there is a profound correlation between pneûma and agápe because “God's love (agápe) has been poured into our hearts (= spirits) through the Holy spirit which has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).

            C.  Interestingly, theologians ordinarily hold for three kinds of human knowledge in Christ apart from his divine omniscience:  acquired, infused and beatific. [45]  (The first and third of these are upheld by the magisterium and the second, infused knowledge, is held to be at least theologically certain.) 

            1.  Acquired knowledge is fundamentally related to the body.  Let us allow Fr. Albert Schlitzer to define it simply for us.

Our ordinary, human way of knowing anything – God included – is through ideas that come to us conditioned by sense experience.  The overwhelming evidence is that these ideas of things are acquired by the intellect by being abstracted from sense experience.  Ideas are not congenital or innate.  The only thing that is congenital is the power to know.  But whatever be the process by which ideas come to us, the point of chief concern to us now is that our normal, human way of knowing intellectually is through the means of ideas or concepts.  The things that we know are in our minds through and in the concepts that represent them.  The stone building that we know is not literally in our head; it is there in its concept or idea.  In other words acquired knowledge is essentially conceptual, and mediate, that is, through the medium of ideas. [46]

            By means of his acquired knowledge Christ discovered the data of the world about him, abstracting from what He took in through the senses.  “This knowledge was always perfect for the time being” says St. Thomas [47] which means, according to Garrigou-Lagrange, “that He always had every perfection of knowledge adapted to each age, so that He was never ignorant even by His acquired knowledge of those things that according to time and place befitted Him.” [48]   “By means of this actual experimental knowledge, namely, by induction and deduction, understanding causes from effects, effects from causes, like from like, contraries from contraries,” [49] Christ grew in wisdom, age and favor before God and man (cf. Lk. 2:52). 

            2.  Infused knowledge is fundamentally related to the soul.  “Infused knowledge is also, like acquired knowledge, conceptual; but it does not start with first-hand sensory experience of its object.  Rather, it is, as the derivation of its name says, ‘poured into’ a mind by God – this, in such a way as not to interfere with the operations of that mind.” [50]  It has to do with wisdom and knowledge which is not acquired through human experience, yet mediate and conceptual knowledge given in view of a particular mission.  It was the kind of knowledge which the Curé of Ars had in the confessional, a knowledge infused into the souls of saints and prophets in view of a particular mission entrusted to them by God. [51]  Father Bertrand de Margerie, S.J. argues that “One could not deny the infused knowledge of Christ without denying also His prophetic mission, constantly affirmed by the New Testament.  It could be denied only by rejecting completely the historicity of John’s gospel which insists upon this on numerous occasions, in the presence of the disciples, the Samaritan woman, Judas, the Twelve (2:19-25; 4:17-18; 6:66, 64, 70; 11:11).” [52]

            3.  Beatific knowledge or the Beatific Vision is the face-to-face knowledge of the blessed in heaven who see all things in God.  It is the specific knowledge for which the spirit of man is created.  Again in the words of Father Schlitzer: 

Now the vision of intuition of the intellect in the strict sense in which we take it here means a knowledge that does not go through an idea or concept to reach its real object.  In place of a concept, the object itself is really present, and known in it that way.  The intellect’s vision, or sight, or intuition of God, is then, immediate knowledge, that is, non-conceptual, without the mediation of concepts. [53]

            Pius XII taught in his encyclical Mystici Corporis that Christ was “hardly ... conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the vision of the blessed, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.” [54]  In commenting on the Summa Theologiae III, question 10, article 4, Garrigou-Lagrange says that

The beatific vision is according to a participation of light that is derived from the Word of God.  But Christ's soul, since it is united to the Word in person, is more closely associated with the Word than any other creature, even the angelic.  Therefore Christ's soul received a greater influx of light, and thus sees the divine essence more perfectly ... The highest possible degree of the light of glory cannot be conceived, because the divine nature is capable of infinite participation, and there is always an infinite difference between Christ's beatific vision and the uncreated and comprehensive vision, not as regards the object, but as regards the mode of cognition or penetration. [55]

            A grasp of this threefold human knowledge in Christ can help us to understand better the sufferings of Jesus in his passion.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas:

These same things about which [Christ] grieved according to the sense, imagination, and lower reason, in the higher [reason] were a source of joy, inasmuch as He referred them to the order of divine wisdom ... He allowed each of the lower powers to be moved by its own impulse. [56]

Faithful to the Angelic Doctor, Garrigou-Lagrange comments:

Thus He most freely abandoned Himself to grief, limiting the beatific joy to the summit of His mind and preventing it from overflowing into the lower part of His mind and into His sensitive nature.  Thus, by most freely abandoning Himself to grief, as a most generous and voluntary victim, He prevented the overflow of joy of the higher part of the mind into the lower.  But this grief ceased when Christ was no longer a wayfarer.  Hence Christ suffering in His human nature is like a mountain, the summit of which is poised in the clear sky, the base of which is made desolate by stormy weather. [57]

            In effect the holy Bishop of Geneva, St. Francis de Sales, presents the same doctrine to us in his own inimitable way insisting that while the soul of Christ suffered in his passion in a way that stretches human agony to its farthest limit, in his spirit [58] the beatific vision was maintained as if by a single thread.

He suffered sadness, fear, terror, anguish, abandonment, and inner depression such as never had and never shall have an equal.  For although the highest portion of His soul supremely rejoiced in eternal glory, love hindered this glory from extending its delights into His feelings, imagination, or lower reason, and thus left His entire heart exposed to sorrow and anguish.  Ezekiel saw ‘the likeness of a hand’ which ‘seized him by a single lock of the hair of his head’ and lifted him up between heaven and earth.  Our Lord likewise was lifted up on the cross between heaven and earth, and seemed to be held by His Father's hand only by the highest point of His spirit, as it were by a single hair of His head, which was touched by the gentle hand of the eternal Father and received a supreme affluence of felicity.  All the rest was swallowed in grief and sorrow.  For this reason He cries out, ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’

It is said that in the midst of the tempest the fish called the sea lantern thrusts its tongue above the waves and is so luminous, brilliant, and clear that it serves as a light or beacon for sailors.  So too in the sea of sufferings that overwhelmed our Lord, all the faculties of His soul were swallowed up and buried as it were in a maelstrom of fearful pain.  The point of His spirit was alone excepted.  Left exempt from all suffering, it was bright and resplendent with glory and joy. [59]

            Finally, let us listen to how Pope John Paul II presents the traditional doctrine of the Church in the course of a catechesis on the last words of Christ from the Cross: 

Dominant in his mind Jesus has the clear vision of God and the certainty of his union with the Father.  But in the sphere bordering on the senses, and therefore more subject to the impressions, emotions and influences of the internal and external experiences of pain, Jesus’ human soul is reduced to a wasteland, and he no longer feels the “presence” of the Father, but he undergoes the tragic experience of the most complete desolation.

... the Father is now silent.  That silence of God weighed on the dying Jesus as the heaviest pain of all, so much so that his enemies interpreted that silence as a sign of his reprobation:  “He trusted in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, ‘I am the son of God’” (Mt. 27:43).

In the sphere of feelings and affection this sense of the absence and abandonment by God was the most acute pain for the soul of Jesus who drew his strength and joy from union with the Father. [60]

            A very interesting illustration of what we have just been dealing with occurs in the first lines of the Magnificat (Lk. 1:46-47).  Mary said:  “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” [61]  Whereas in his passion Jesus did not allow the joy from his union with the Father in the beatific vision to overflow into his soul and sensitive nature, the case with Mary in her pregnancy is quite different.  From the moment of the angel's announcement her spirit had been filled with joy in God and His Christ.  Later when she spoke to Elizabeth she could rightly say that her soul magnifies the Lord (megalúnei – present tense) and her spirit has been rejoicing in God her Savior (hegallíasen – aorist tense). 

            This very correct use of tenses which is mirrored in the Vulgate (magnificat –  present tense; exsultavit – perfect tense) indicates that the joy in Mary’s spirit preceded that in her soul because this, indeed, is the order established by God.  Because this distinction between the functions of soul and spirit is not adverted to among most contemporary exegetes, virtually none of the modern language translations of the Bible respect the sequence of tenses found in the first two lines of the Magnificat.  One modern author, who seems to recognize the differentiation between soul and spirit in one sentence, nevertheless says in subsequent ones that Mary's words could be just as well rendered:  “My spirit magnifies the Lord and my soul has rejoiced in God my Savior” without affecting the meaning in any way. [62]  However seemingly innocently, such a statement represents an inability to recognize the precision of the biblical language and the insight which it affords into the functioning of the “spiritual organism.”  It is always exceedingly dangerous to attempt to “rearrange” the language in which God’s revelation comes to us.

            D.  Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware) of Diocleia relates the three dimensions of man’s being to the very rich biblical word “heart”:

(1)  The heart is something existing on the material level, a part of our body, the centre of our organism from the physical point of view.  This material aspect of the heart must not be forgotten:  when Orthodox ascetic texts speak of the heart, they mean (among other things) the ‘carnal heart’, ‘a piece of muscular flesh’, and they are not to be understood solely in a symbolical or metaphorical sense.

(2)  The heart is connected in a special way with man's psychic composition, with his soul:  if the heart stops beating, we know from this that the soul is no longer in the body.

(3)  Most important of all for our present purpose, the heart is linked with the spirit:  in Theophan’s words, ‘The heart is the innermost man, or spirit.  Here are located self-awareness, the conscience, the idea of God and of one’s complete dependence on Him, and all the eternal treasures of the spiritual life.’  There are times, he continues, when the word ‘heart’ is to be understood, ‘not in its ordinary meaning, but in the sense of “inner man”.  We have within us an inner man, according to the Apostle Paul, or a hidden man of the heart, according to the Apostle Peter.  It is the God-like spirit that was breathed into the first man, and it remains with us continuously, even after the Fall.’  In this connection Greek and Russian writers are fond of quoting the text, ‘The inner man and the heart are very deep.’  This ‘deep heart’ is equivalent to man’s spirit:  it signifies the core or apex of our being, what the Rhineland and Flemish mystics termed the ‘ground of the soul’.  It is here, in the `deep heart', that a man comes face to face with God. [63]

            In his magisterial encyclical on the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Haurietis Aquas, Pius XII develops a variation on this theme teaching that

the Heart of the Incarnate Word is deservedly and rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that threefold love with which the divine Redeemer unceasingly loves His eternal Father and all mankind.  It is a symbol of that divine love which He shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit but which He, the Word made flesh, alone manifests through a weak and perishable body, since “in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  It is, besides, the symbol of that burning love which, infused into His soul, enriches the human will of Christ and enlightens and governs its acts by the most perfect knowledge derived both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused.  And finally – and this in a more natural and direct way – it is the symbol also of sensible love, since the body of Jesus Christ, formed by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, possesses full powers of feelings and perception, in fact, more so than any other human body. [64]

It should be noted, of course, that the divine love corresponds in the affective realm to the divine omniscience in the intellectual realm and that the level of soul and spirit are mentioned together as deriving “both from the beatific vision and that which is directly infused”. Hence the second “love” comprises the love of both Christ's human soul and spirit.

            A matter of further interest is the magisterial treatment of the question of reparation offered to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  In his encyclical Miserentissimus Redemptor Pope Pius XI asked the necessary theological question:  how can our reparation bring solace now, when Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven?  His answer is predicated upon the Beatific Vision of Christ:

To this we may answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here, “Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say.” ... Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived some solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Lk. 22:43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation.  And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men. [65]

In other words:  as Christ saw all the sins of men in his beatific vision in the course of his bitter agony, so by the same token he could also see our reparation.  As Father Most puts it:  “By acting today, we can console Him then.” [66]

            E.  At least since the writing of The Celestial Hierarchy by the Pseudo-Dionysius, [67] the spiritual life of Christians has traditionally been divided into three stages corresponding to that of beginners who are being purified from the attractions of living merely on the bodily level of existence (purgative), to that of proficients who have entered into the soul’s life of virtue (illuminative) and to that of the perfect who live fully the life of the spirit (unitive). [68]  Once again it must be emphasized that we are not dealing here with “air-tight compartments” and that in the spiritual life there is movement across the lines rather easily.  Nonetheless these three divisions represent basic stages of the spiritual life.  It might be pointed out that the purgative stage has primarily to do with moral theology, the illuminative with ascetical theology and the unitive with mystical theology.  A few instances from the history of spirituality follow may serve as illustrations.

            “William of Saint-Thierry (+ 1148) presents a general view of the spiritual life according to three degrees that are most clearly expressed by the words ‘animal man,’ ‘rational man,’ and ‘spiritual man’.” [69]  These expressions are representative of his thought and he uses them consistently in The Golden Epistle addressed to the Carthusians of the Monastery of Mont Dieu. [70]

            Johannes Tauler, O.P. (+ 1361) wrote thus:

This turning away from involvement in things in the expectation of the Holy Spirit differs from person to person.  Some receive the Holy Spirit with their senses in a way that is conceivable to the senses, while others receive him in a much nobler way with their higher powers and in a rational way which is much above that of the senses.  But a third group receive him not only in this way but they also receive him in their hidden abyss, in the secret domain, the ground where the precious image of the Holy Trinity is concealed, the highest part of the soul. [71]

            Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381) in his work, The Spiritual Espousals, distinguishes three ways of Christian living:  (1) “the active life, which by itself characterizes the life of beginners and is the minimum necessary for anyone who wishes to be saved”; (2) “the interior life” and (3) “the contemplative life” [72] and continues to illustrate these in his later work The Sparkling Stone by those whom he describes as “faithful servants,” “secret friends” and “hidden sons.” [73]

            Fr. Louis Lallemant, S.J. (1587-1635) made an interesting correlation between this traditional doctrine and three kinds of religious:  (1) those “who never refuse their senses anything” who are “always bent on pleasing themselves, scarcely knowing in practice what mortification is”; (2) those who “avoid the excesses of the first, and deny themselves all such satisfactions as they do not deem necessary; but they let themselves be deceived under the appearance of good.  They form some design which falls in with their own inclination, and then they seek for high motives to color their choice and justify their conduct” and (3) those who “have renounced all desires, are indifferent to everything, satisfied with everything, and have no other will than the good pleasure of God.  They unite together outward exactness and inward application; they keep watch over their own heart, preserve their peace of soul, and practice recollection as much as obedience permits." [74]

            F.  A further corollary is found in the traditional presentation on the three kinds of visions which have been distinguished by theologians of the spiritual life since St. Augustine:  corporeal visions in which the bodily eyes perceive an object normally invisible; imaginative visions in which the representation of an image is supernaturally produced on the imagination and intellectual visions which are a simple intuitive knowledge supernaturally effected without the aid of any sensible image or impressed species in the internal or external senses. [75]

            A Final Word.  While I hope at this stage the reader will recognize that the tripartite nature of man is not only a very important biblical datum, but also deeply imbedded into the Christian tradition of both East and West, it must be admitted that the use of terminology has been anything but consistent in the course of this tradition owing to various philosophical and theological preoccupations and influences.  It often requires painstaking  analysis to correlate the words and concepts used by various authors with the biblical terminology as I have attempted to outline it.  Here is an example:

            St. Irenaeus of Lyons (+ c. 202) speaks of man as consisting of phýsis, psyché and noûs. [76]  The difficulty is that phýsis is more commonly translated into English as “nature” and noûs as “mind”.  In the latter case there is a possible confusion as to whether he is speaking of the intellect which is a function of the soul or the spirit proper which also has its own way of knowing.  Didymus the Blind follows suit with the same terminology. [77]

            In this article I have merely attempted to define some terms and to make correlations and associations in light of them.  No doubt much remains to be clarified and corrected, but I remain convinced of the value of the fundamental intuition.  Hundreds more similar enterprises could surely be undertaken because God’s word is truly inexhaustible and man, his creature, is “just a little less than the angels” (Ps. 8:5) and made in his own “image and likeness” (Gen. 1:26).

Selected Bibliography

            The Art of Prayer:  An Orthodox Anthology compiled by Igumen Chariton of Valamo, trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and E. M. Palmer, edited with an introduction by Timothy (Kallistos) Ware (London:  Faber and Faber, 1966).  Ware’s introduction is helpful on the biblical doctrine of man as it pertains to prayer, especially pp. 16-28.  The texts themselves are equally illuminating.

            Louis Bouyer, Cong. Orat., Introduction to Spirituality, trans Mary Perkins Ryan (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 1961) pp. 143-62.  Especially in the first few pages Bouyer testifies to the Pauline doctrine on man capsulized in I Thess. 5:23 as “the definitive formula of the biblical and Christian view of man.”

            Henri de Lubac, S.J., Mistica e Mistero Cristiano, trad. Antonio Sicari (Milano:  Cooperativa Edizioni Jaca Book, 1979), cap. 2:  “Antropologia Tripartita,” pp. 59-117.  In this wonderfully insightful chapter Cardinal de Lubac begins with the anthropology presented by St. Paul in I Thess. 5:23 and considers why it is not accepted and assimilated by more modern authors.  He says it is because of “the phobia of Platonism” which, he claims, acutally proposes a “bipartite” and not “tripartite” anthropology.  He traces the Pauline doctrine through the Fathers, especially Origen and St. Augustine, the medieval teachers of the spiritual life, notably St. Bernard, William of St. Thierry, Isaac of Stella, St. Bonaventure, Tauler, Luther, St. Francis de Sales and some modern writers.  If he doesn't say the last word on the complex history of the integration of this concept in the history of Christian spirituality, he nonetheless makes a very important contribution to the scholarly study of this topic and clearly shows that this Pauline anthropology is not extraneous to Christian spirituality but integral to it.

            André-Jean Festugière, O.P., L’Idéal Religieux des Grecs et L'Évangile (Paris:  Gabalda, 1931 & 1981 [avec corrigenda]).  Excursus B (pp. 196-220) of this important study is devoted to considering the body-soul-spirit division of I Thess. 5:23 vis-à-vis Greek philosophy.  He points out with rich documentation that a tripartite division of man is older than the thought of Plato, but that, as in Plato, it is always composed of noûs (the intellectual soul), psyché (the sensible soul) and sôma.  Although St. Paul was certainly familiar with the Greek concept of noûs, he chose to use instead the much less frequently used word pneûma.  Why?  Festugière argues convincingly that it was because St. Paul was not following Greek thought here, but that of the Bible.  He cites specifically Genesis 2:7 in confirmation of this.  Later in the tradition St. Augustine will employ the word mens (but not in the sense of noûs) and St. Francis de Sales will make use of the term cime de l’âme (summit of the soul) to the same effect.

            Abbot David Geraets, O.S.B., Jesus Beads (Pecos, New Mexico:  Dove Publications, 1973).  Abbot Geraets explores the implications of this doctrine of the tripartite nature of man in terms of prayer especially on pp. 16-31, 75-84.

            Edward Malatesta, S.J. (ed.), A Christian Anthropology (Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire:  Anthony Clarke Books and St. Meinrad, Indiana:  Abbey Press 1974).  Pp. 51-83 are a translation of the article “Homme Interieur” from the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité.

            George A. Maloney, S.J., Man, the Divine Icon:  The Patristic Doctrine of Man Made according to the Image of God (Pecos, New Mexico:  Dove Publications, 1973).  If nothing else, Maloney illustrates – without wishing to – how already in the second century intellectualizing tendencies were at work distorting the fundamental data and identifying pneûma with noûs (mind).  Hence Maloney finishes by identifying the image of God in man with rationality.

            George T. Montague, S.M., Riding the Wind (Ann Arbor, Michigan:  Word of Life, 1974).  Chapters two and three would follow well after Mork's expository chapters and serve as a good complement to them.

            Wulstan Mork, O.S.B., The Biblical Meaning of Man (Milwaukee, Wisconsin:  Bruce, 1967).  This is a good basic exposition.  The last two chapters, however, seem to fall short of the conclusions which could be drawn from the exposition.

            Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, 3 vols. (New York:  Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc. 1968).  A work of remarkable perception and discernment, given the author’s ignorance of the great Catholic tradition.  Converted to Christianity under “fundamentalist” auspices, Nee was unable to integrate his insights on anthropology with the Catholic teaching on Baptism, sanctifying grace, the Indwelling and reconciliation.  This does make him, however, in spite of some of his extreme Calvinist positions, an interesting witness to the biblical tradition.  Unfortunately, from a literary perspective, his style tends to be quite repetitious.

            John F. O’Grady, Christian Anthropology:  A Meaning for Human Life (Paramus, New Jersey:  Paulist Press, 1976).  The best thing to be said of O’Grady’s work is that he does consider the biblical theme of man as body, soul and spirit (pp. 125-137).  His treatment is quite shallow, however, since he bases himself almost exclusively on the works of modern psychologists, philosophers and theologians without really coming to grips with the scriptural data.  His basic recognition of the soul as comprising intellect, will and emotions is good, but his emphasis on spirit as source of personality and self-awareness  seems to be considerably wide of the mark in terms of biblical usage.  Consequently his conclusions are rather vague and the biblical doctrine on man is not well assimilated into the whole book.

     [1] Cf. Dom Wulstan Mork, O.S.B., The Biblical Meaning of Man (Milwaukee:  The Bruce Publishing Company, 1967), esp. 1-18.

     [2] There continue to be many arguments about this famous text, St. Paul's intentions in formulating it and the sources from which this “trichotomy” entered into his thought.  There are insinuations that he appropriated this terminology from Platonic or Stoic sources, but a thorough examination of his usage makes it sufficiently clear that in this area, as in many others, he is an heir of Old Testament thought who continues, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to develop and refine what he has inherited.  Cf.  Hermann Kleinknecht’s conclusion about the use of pneûma in the Greek world in “pneûma ktl,” in Gerhard Friedrich (ed.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, Mich.:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968) 357-59 and Eduard Schweizer's comments in the same article with regard to the uniqueness of the nuances of pneumatikós vis-a`-vis somatikós and psychikós (396) and St. Paul's correction of the naturalistic elements of Hellenistic thought in the light of the Old Testament (424).

     [3] Louis Bouyer, Cong. Orat., Introduction to Spirituality, trans. Mary Perkins Ryan (Collegeville, Minnesota:  Liturgical Press, 1961) 144.

     [4] Mork 14.

     [5] Cf. Mork 28.

     [6] Cf. Mork 28-32.

     [7] William G. Most, Mary in Our Life:  Our Lady in Doctrine and Devotion (New York:  P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1954) 196.  Cf. also his more recent book, Our Father’s Plan:  God’s Arrangements and Our Response (Manassas, Va.:  Trinity Communications, 1988) 211.

     [8] Cf. definition of the Council of Vienne:  Denziger-Schönmetzer #902; J. Neuner, S.J. & J. Dupuis, S.J., (eds.), The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church (New York:  Alba House, 1982) #405.

     [9] Since the time of St. Augustine it has been customary to consider the soul as comprising intellect, will and memory.  Cf. Reypens, S.J., “Ame (Structure d’après les Mystiques),” Dictionnaire de Spiritualité (Paris:  Beauchesne, 1937) I:436-41.  While I have chosen to speak of emotions above rather than memory, I readily recognize that mention of the one does not exclude the other.

     [10] Most, Mary in Our Life 196; cf. also Our Father’s Plan 211-212.

     [11] Cf. Mork 48-49.

     [12] Cf. Mork 38.

     [13] Mork 49; cf. also Eduard Schweizer, “psyché ktl.; The New Testament,”  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament IX: 640-41.

     [14] Cf. Schweizer, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament IX:661-63.

     [15] Cf. the New American Bible (1987 ed.) translation of I Cor. 2:14 and also Reypens, “Ame,” Dictionnaire de Spiritualité I:435.

     [16] Cf. the Revised Standard Version rendering of I Cor. 2:14.

     [17] André Derville, “Interior Man,” a translation by Sister Mary Innocentia Richards, S.N.J.M. of the article “Homme intérieur” in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité VII  (Paris:  Beauchesne, 1969) 650-674) in Edward Malatesta, S.J. (ed.), A Christian Anthropology (Wheathampstead:  Anthony Clarke Books, 1974) 55.

     [18] Claude Tresmontant, A Study of Hebrew Thought (New York:  Desclée Company, 1960) 107.

     [19] The Art of Prayer:  An Orthodox Anthology compiled by Igumen Chariton of Valamo, trans. by E. Kadloubovsky and E. M. Palmer, edited with an introduction by Timothy (Kallistos) Ware (London:  Faber and Faber, 1966) 18.

     [20] Cf. Eduard Schweizer, “pneûmatikos”" Theological Dictionary of the New Testament VI:436-37.

     [21] Cf. Schweizer, “pneûma ktl,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament  VI:430.

     [22] Cf. André-Jean Festugière, O.P., L’'Idéal Religieux des Grecs et L’Évangile (Paris:  Gabalda, 1931 & 1981 [avec corrigenda]) 199.

     [23] Festugière 220.

     [24] Henry Barclay Swete, The Holy Spirit in the New Testament (London:  MacMillan and Co., Ltd., 1910) 395.

     [25] Most, Mary in Our Life; cf. also Our Father’s Plan 212.

     [26] Bouyer 144

     [27] There is surely a profound correlation between “human spirit” and “Holy Spirit” and the doctrine of “created grace” and “uncreated grace”.  Cf.  Bouyer 153.

     [28] Anscar Vonier, O.S.B., The Human Soul and its Relations with Other Spirits (London and St. Louis:  B. Herder, 1913) 18.

     [29] Vonier 58.

     [30] 21 December 1988, L’Osservatore Romano English edition, #1070, p. 2.

     [31] Unfortunately the English translation provided by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has blurred the language which is quite clear in the original Latin text:  ut tua sancta benedictione sit omni, qui hoc unguento perungitur, tutamen corporis, animae ac spiritus, ad evacuandos omnes dolores, omnes infirmitates, omnemque aegritudinem.  The English paraphrasers have rendered instead “body, mind and soul”.  Cf. The Rites of the Catholic Church as Revised by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Vol. II (New York:  Pueblo Publishing Co., 1980) 307-08.

     [32] In an Angelus address of 19 February 1989 Pope John Paul II makes a specific application about ways in which the body prays:  “Following the example of Jesus, we too must pray with our bodies.  The choices which we make involving demanding and difficult behaviour, such as chastity according to our state of life, charitable assistance to our brothers and sisters, and every other physically draining activity, become prayer and sacrifice to be offered to God in redemptive union with the ‘suffering of Christ’ (Col. 1:24).”  L’Osservatore Romano English edition #1078, p. 1.

     [33] In the fullest sense “body” prayer is not limited merely to the lips but has to do also with the posture and position of the body and the use of the senses such as by holding a rosary.

     [34] J. Borst, M.H.M.,  Contemplative Prayer:  A Guide for Today's Catholic (Liguori, Missouri: Liguori Publications, 1979) 17-18.

     [35] Ethelbert Stauffer, “agapáo, agápe, agapetós,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament I:35.

     [36] Trans. given in The Office of Readings According to the Roman Rite (Boston:  St. Paul Editions, 1983) 1598.  Cf. philological comment in William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago:  The University of Chicago Press, 1957) 311.

     [37] Stauffer, 36.

     [38] Cf. the masterful treatment of “Phileîn, Phílos, and Agapân in the Johannine Writings” in Ceslaus Spicq, O.P., Agape in the New Testament, Vol. III:  Agape in the Gospel, Epistles and Apocalypse of St. John trans. Sister Marie Aquinas McNamara, O.P. and Sister Mary Honoria Richter, O.P.  (St. Louis:  B. Herder Book Co., 1966) 86-102.

     [39] Spicq III:87-88.

     [40] Stauffer 36.

     [41] Spicq, Agape in the New Testament, Vol. II:  Agape in the Epistles of St. Paul, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of St. James, St. Peter, and St. Jude trans. Sister Marie Aquinas McNamara, O.P. and Sister Mary Honoria Richter, O.P.  (St. Louis:  B. Herder Book Co., 1965) v.

     [42] Spicq III:173.

     [43] Spicq III:183-84.

     [44] Spicq III:183.

     [45] Cf. ST III, q. 9-12.

     [46] Albert Schlitzer, C.S.C., Redemptive Incarnation:  Sources and Their Theological Development in the Study of Christ (Notre Dame, Indiana:  University of Notre Dame Press, 1962) 152.

     [47] ST III, q. 12, a. 2, ad 2.

     [48] Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., Christ the Savior:  A Commentary on the Third Part of St. Thomas' Theological Summa trans. by Dom Bede Rose, O.S.B. (St. Louis:  B. Herder Book Co., 1950) 387.

     [49] Garrigou-Lagrange 385.

     [50] Schlitzer 163.

     [51] Garrigou-Lagrange 363, 365-66.

     [52] Bertrand de Margerie, S.J., The Human Knowledge of Christ  (Boston:  St. Paul Editions, 1980) 18; also in French in Doctor Communis 36:2-3 (maggio-dicembre, 1983) 127.

     [53] Schlitzer 152.

     [54] D-S #3812; English trans. in Schlitzer 154.

     [55] Garrigou-Lagrange 373-74.

     [56] Compendium Theologiae, cap. 232 quoted in Garrigou-Lagrange 362; cf. also ST III, q. 46, a. 7-8.  “The suffering in the soul of Jesus was possible on the level of the infused and acquired knowledge with which he looked upon this impending evil (crucifixion) and the evil of others (the sin of men); on the contrary suffering was not possible on the level of the higher reason with which he contemplated the Divinity in itself.”  P. Luigi Iammarrone, O.F.M. Conv., “La Visione Beatifica di Cristo Viatore nel Pensiero di San Tommaso,” Doctor Communis 36:2-3 (maggio-dicembre, 1983) 319 (my trans.).

     [57] Garrigou-Lagrange 362 (emphasis mine).

     [58] L. Reypens, S.J. in his article, “Ame (Structure d'après les Mystiques)” in the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité I:463-64 points out that St. Francis de Sales uses la pointe de l’esprit, suprême pointe de la raison, extremité et la cime de nostre âme, suprême éminence and extrême point de nostre esprit for the reality which we have designated simply as “spirit”.

     [59] St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God trans. John K. Ryan (Rockford, Illinois:  Tan Books and Publishers, 1975) I:108-09; Oeuvres de Saint Francois de Sales.  Édition complète d’'après les autographes et les éditions originales (Annecy:  J. Niérat, 1892) V:123-24.  I have made further observations on the correlation between biblical anthropology and the “theology of the heart” in my article, “The Union of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary in St. Francis de Sales and St. John Eudes,” Miles Immaculatae XXV (1989) 472-512.

     [60] General Audience of 30 November 1988 L’Osservatore Romano English edition #1067, p. 1.

     [61] While archaic, I retain the Douay Rheims translation here because it is faithful to the tenses of the verbs whereas the modern language translations are not.

     [62] Alberto Valentini, S.M.M., Il Magnificat:  Genere letterario. Struttura. Esegesi. (Bologna:  Edizioni Dehoniane, 1987) 129.

     [63] The Art of Prayer 19-20.  Cf. also Antoine Guillamont, “Le ‘Cœur’ chez les Spirituels Grecs,”  Dictionnaire de Spiritualité (Paris:  Beauchesne, 1953) II:2281-85 in which the author treats of (1) le cœur, corps intérieur et invisible; (2) cœur et âme; (3) cœur et esprit.  It should be noted that the first classification does not dwell on the physical dimension explicitly and that in the third it is the word noûs which bears the meaning of spirit rather than pneûma, a not infrequent substitution.

     [64] Denziger-Schönmetzer #3924; English trans. by Rev. Francis Larkin, SS.CC. (Orlando:  Sacred Heart Publication Center, 1974) 23-24.

     [65] AAS 20 [1928] 173-174; Claudia Carlen, I.H.M., The Papal Encyclicals 1903-1939 (Raleigh, N. C.:  McGrath Publishing Co. “Consortium Book,” 1981) 325.

     [66] Most, Our Father’s Plan 180.

     [67] Cf. Pseudo-Dionysius:  The Complete Works trans. Colm Luibheid (New York:  Paulist Press “The Classics of Western Spirituality,” 1987) 154.

     [68] Cf.  Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 15 October 1989, #17-25; Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life  (Rockford, Illinois:  Tan Books and Publishers, 1977) and The Three Ages of the Interior Life trans. Sister M. Timothea Doyle, O.P. Vol. I (St. Louis:  B. Herder Book Co., 1947), Vol. II (1948).

     [69] Derville, 63.

     [70] The Works of William of St. Thierry, Vol. IV:  The Golden Epistle:  A Letter to the Brethren at Mont Dieu trans. Theodore Berkeley, O.C.S.O. (Spencer, Massachusetts:  Cistercian Publications, 1971).  He treats of the “animal man” or the beginnings of the spiritual life in #41-92, the “rational man” in #195-248 and the “spiritual man” in #249-300.

     [71] Quoted in Oliver Davies, God Within:  The Mystical Tradition of Northern Europe (London:  Darton, Longman and Todd, 1988) 83-84; emphasis mine.

     [72] Cf. John Ruusbroec:  The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works int. and trans. James A. Wiseman, O.S.B. (New York:  Paulist Press “Classics of Western Spirituality,” 1985) 8-15.

     [73] Ruusbroec 164-69.

     [74] Alan G. McDougal (ed.), The Spiritual Doctrine of Father Louis Lallemant (Westminster, Md.:  Newman Book Shop, 1946) 52-54.

     [75] Cf. Jordan Aumann, O.P. Spiritual Theology (Huntington, Indiana:  Our Sunday Visitor, 1980) 425-27.

     [76] Johannes Quasten, Patrology, Vol. I:  The Beginnings of Patristic Literature (Utrecht/Antwerp:  Spectrum Publishers, 1966) 308-10.

     [77] Quasten, Patrology, Vol. III:  The Golden Age of Greek Patristic Literature (Utrecht/Antwerp:  Spectrum Publishers, 1963) 99.

Copyright ©; Msgr Arthur Calkins 2007

This Version: 24th January 2014



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