One of my favorite authors is Stephen W. Smith. He has a new book out entitled “Soul Custody.” Smith encourages us to take custody of our souls. “Soul custody is taking back what we’ve almost lost in order to gain what we should never want to lose. It’s doing what the word custody implies – taking responsibility for our souls and hearts. This is our sacred privilege.” He shows how modern life does violence to our souls. He quotes Thomas Merton who observed, “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.” In other words, if we get too busy and forget our soul, we are succumbing to the violence being done to the soul in a culture that has little time for the inner life. In the process we never find out who we really are.
Taking custody for our souls is a challenge that each of us men need to heed. Remember the words of Jesus – “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul” (Matt 16:26)” The Message reads, “What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for.” This blog is committed to helping care for their souls. Soul care is not a selfish endevour. Rather it is practicing a form of spirituality that take seriously the responsibility of knowing, with the help of God, the state of the soul. To use a phrase I have used often in this blog, this means “going with your mind into your heart.”
Paying attention to our souls will means that you will come to know the real you. “The life that is within you is your living soul. It is the truest part of you, and it will live on after you die.” Our soul is “God-given, God shaped, and God sustained.” To live on the surface of life, to avoid the inner journey is to allow violence to be done to our souls. In the process, we will not find out who we are nor know the depth of the love that God has for us. You will be living life in your own energy and strength, never coming to experience the energy and life centered in the soul, that place where God met you in the secret place.
If you are a man reading this blog and you are fearful of the inner journey, that is, going with your mind into your heart; here are a few simple suggestions. First, be honest and open about your fear. If you can share this with a spiritual friend that would be ever better. Second, it is vital that you begin some practice of be quiet and still before the Lord. Thirdly, ask God for the grace and mercy to begin to know who you really are, that is, the good, bad, and ugly. Fourthly, know that the Father is pleased that you are coming to him in order to know who you are. Fifthly, don’ be discouraged by what you discover. Surrender the bad ( the old, false self) to God and rejoice in the discovery of the good, who you really are in Christ.