“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I Thessalonians 5:23
You took a nasty fall on a hike you planned with your family and you have to go to the hospital for proper medical attention. Your heart is heavy and the pain in your knee is excruciating. The doctor comes in and says, “I’m so sorry but you’ll need surgery to repair the damaged tendons connected to the knee. I know that is not the news you had expected from the doctor, however, you’ll heal and the surgery will repair the injury.” You sigh, sob, and then feel relief knowing there is a tangible path to heal your knee and body. It is comforting knowing you are going to be okay. You are going to heal. You will take courage in modern medicine and the art of your surgeon to see you through to the other side of this injury.
Now let’s consider the state of your soul, the internal realm that encompasses your mind, will, feelings, thoughts, and attributes that awaken your physical body from a casing to created life (your real consciousness). What do you do when you have been hurt, betrayed, disappointed, harmed, or abused? This time the injury is not in the physical body but the soul. Who prepares surgery for this and how are you supposed to heal something that doesn’t come with an explicit surgical plan? Take hope, my friend, there is a way to heal.
There is good news. You can journey into the deepest parts of your soul and heal. I call this work “soul surgery”, no knives, anesthesia, or scalpel needed, just your will, courage, a box of kleenex, and a guide sitting across from you, willing to help you get into the wounded internal places of your soul that have been stuck in pain for years. This type of surgery is not completed in one visit, sometimes it is a continuous process till you have built trust within your soul; that part of you that was harmed by others or even yourself. The beauty of this work is that as you heal from the inside out, you begin to prepare yourself for the Kingdom work. You see, this healing journey is not meant for just earthly bliss and a superficial connection. No, this work is preparing you to meet Jesus and be ready to do the work he has assigned for you in heaven as well as on earth and in your communities. We are preparing the soul and practicing heavenly duties here on earth in the realm beneath the skin and bones where your heart is fused with the energy of God and Spirit, where emotions, personality, thoughts, longings desires, and parts of you are formed and housed in the Image of God.
Think of this internal space like a beautiful home with many walls, stories, and shapes. You were born in the image of God and he loves you so much. He crafted your inner being and made you come to life like a beautiful dwelling full of shapes, colors, crevices, textures, and smells. Sadly, the fall of man, the sinful nature, and its harm caused this dwelling to experience many bruises, bumps, and spills. The walls begin to crack, the foundation has water leaking through it, the pipes are rusty, the carpet smells, and the windows are so dirty that light isn’t able to shine through. Thankfully, Jesus came through Mary, fully God and man to reorder this dwelling to revive it and finish the work of sin and death here and now, to give his body and blood to regenerate and renew the fall of man and to restore order to the chaos. The Holy Spirit dwells in this house for those who are baptized and believe the Son of Man, Jesus, is the living Christ and God in the form of man. In the center of this home is the self, the attribute of you that is separate from all the parts of your soul and capable of joining with the Spirit and God to restore the dusty broken spaces. The self is the light in each room ready to recharge and join in relationship with each thought, memory, feeling, and hurting part of the psyche through love, compassion, curiosity, and peace.
But is the work done here or are we called to be partners with Christ and the Spirit to clean up the dwelling place we have been given? Are we called to heal the traumas and pain that have been passed down by our ancestors and harm by the hands of our parents? Are we called to be active participants in this renewal? Our souls, our inner homes, require a remodel, surgery, and healing. When you come into my counseling office and sit down in front of me and we lock eyes, I am inviting you on a journey into the levels and layers of the place beneath your skin and bones. I am asking you to open the door to that weary old home and pick up the paintbrush and broom, to begin to lovingly clean and wipe away the dust and dirt and begin to find the younger parts of you who were harmed along the way. I am not inviting you to do this work alone. Every surgery needs a surgeon, every home needs a builder, and every heart needs a creator. In partnership with the soul surgeon (therapist/counselor/ spiritual director), Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), and self, will you begin to create beauty, younger parts will be free to play and wonder, burdened parts of the soul will transform and practice their holy duties and original intent bestowed at birth by God, and you will begin to see God in the here and now. The windows of this soul will be wiped clean and you’ll be able to see out of them into creation where the material and the sacramental world join. You’ll begin to see the divine presence in ways you couldn’t see before and in it, you will begin to crave and long for Christ’s final return more prepared to do the work he has given you to do here and in heaven.
Prayer for the preparation of soul surgery:
Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Lord Jesus. Heal the broken parts of our souls, hold the young parts of our soul who are stuck in time and pain, bring them to the fullness of the vision you have for them, and allow the soul to rest in the resurrection of you, Christ, so that we can become allies and partners for Kingdom life here on earth and in our heavenly citizenship. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as it was, in the beginning, is now and ever shall be forevermore Amen. (Vanessa Crisp)
The language and teachings in this blog were inspired by the following leaders and teachers who I have been exposed to through their writings, teachings, and homilies.
The Beloved Holy Spirit