The Annotated Catechism for Autistic Thinking
If care for our soul means knowing, loving and serving the purposes of God in our lives, neglect would be those times when we disregard opportunities to know God, love God or serve God’s purposes in the things we ordinarily do. Sometimes this happens through circumstance and chain reaction, very often because “God-things” are not immediately visible and get pushed aside by the visible, tangible things taking up all of our attention first. It takes lifelong practice to remember that God is invisibly present in everything, as present as the atmosphere which sustains us, and there will be times when it simply slips our minds. The more often we can call God back to mind, the stronger our foundation becomes for remembering His presence and incorporating God into our conscious activity; but, realistically, there are always going to be times when other concerns of the moment occupy our minds first.
Neglect is not always a passive thing, however. Sometimes we neglect things purposefully, like when we ignore incoming calls or let the laundry pile up. Neglect can equally be a function of habit, or avoidance, or even a deliberate act of aggression – such as choosing not to follow through on something we have promised.
What happens when we neglect God’s presence in our lives?
What happens if we lose our spiritual connection and purpose?
Plenty. For starters, waking up in the morning gets harder and harder. People around us get more and more tedious. Tasks feel fruitless.
This sounds a lot like depression, but is it the same thing? We know that depression is caused by biochemical imbalance resulting from many different contributing factors, sometimes spontaneously and sometimes from depletion due to chronic distressing. But in both cases, imbalance results because our bodies are not designed to live like this. It is just as untrue to say that all depression is spiritually caused as it is to think that spiritual unrest can’t happen in perfectly healthy bodies. Body and soul work together for the same purpose, like harmonious melodies in the same composition. So, it is fair to say that a loss of spiritual connection and purpose results in hardship on both body and soul.
When we find life pointless, we stop thriving. We also tend to dry up in terms of what we might have to offer others around us.
This might just be enough to say that neglect of the soul is not a good thing. The Baltimore Catechism goes us one step further: it says that chronic neglect puts us at risk of losing our soul forever. This, again, would be the result of our failure to cultivate and maintain that connection to God. He relies on us to stay connected with Him in our lifetime so that we will want to see Him face to face in the next. If we grow unfamiliar, uncomfortable and distrustful now, we’re definitely going to shrink away from any idea of spending eternity with Him.
But, if not with God, who holds all creation together
in Himself… then… where?
In losing our soul, we lose God and everlasting happiness.
That remains unknown.
We can’t know where we will be.
In other words, our soul will be lost.
May the power of Divine Love shine in and through my weakness, so that He might be glorified in and through me, and that in my weakness, His power may reach perfection. Through Christ Our Lord, AMEN.
Fr. Mark P. Nolette - Spiritual Director for the Mission of Saint Thorlak