Spiritual longing is the helpless cry of the soul in awareness of being in the world in an incomplete way. It’s a precious gift to us from God. To understand spiritual longing in this way I think it helps to first talk about what it means to be a soul. Then, hopefully, you’ll see more clearly what makes this longing of your soul so special. You and I—as far as creatures or created things go—are endowed by God with being, life, intelligence, and freedom, as the great St. Bonaventure tells us. Thanks to the divine will, in love, God called us into existence from nothingness with the capacity to live eternally as intelligent beings able to understand all other creatures of creation—and—our own being in relation to the uncreated Creator, God himself.
Your soul is the masterpiece of a magnificent act of divine love.
Think about that because your soul is truly the masterpiece of a magnificent act of divine love. From nothingness you were “called forth” into being. This can be tough to honestly grasp since we live in a world that says we need nothing. You were shaped in the very image of God as he gave you intelligence, memory, and a will. With the gift of existing in this manner you became a living soul!
So, what exactly are you as a soul? The human soul is an immortal rational spirit or spiritual being. As splendid as this is, alone, it doesn’t complete us. Therefore, our humanity was also given a material dimension, a body. Our soul and body together bring us closer still to the fullness of our humanity. This is what you see each time you glance in a mirror—an embodied, rational and immortal soul. At this point you are recognizable to yourself and others. You have a name, a history, a family, gifts and abilities, and work that you do. You may or may not have a car, a house, opportunities, and numerous other “things” in your life. Does this complete you? No, not yet…thanks to your rational faculties you cannot be satisfied living out your existence on a purely material level, nor solely on a spiritual level. You were made to occupy both worlds…with God. Now, that completes you, and here’s why.
Your Sublime Dignity Desires Supreme Goodness
We are sublimely beautiful rational spiritual beings made in the image of the One who alone is greater than all of creation and us—God. He is supremely good, beautiful, loving, and true. We can’t help but recognize the absence of God in direct contact with our soul. This is the incompleteness we all experience and the crisis of our day.
However, if you are receptive, spiritual longing can bring you to God, because longing for God is a gift with a scarlet red cord that can connect your heart to His in intimate union and communion…forever. In merciful love God never ignores our longing hearts. We can, and we do. But, God never does. When longing wells up in my own soul, I pray. I also love going to Mass. There I pour my longing out in worship to him. There I receive him in holy communion. There I gaze upon his majesty...
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