The human being, as a child of God, is made up of both body and soul. You look at yourself in the mirror and see your body, but have you ever wondered what your soul looks like? How big is it? Where is it?
Being spiritual, the soul does not have a physical appearance, but our human tendency is to imagine it in physical terms. One description is that it is the size of the heart and “placed” right next to it. Another is that the soul is in the inner core of the body as when we feel something “deep within.”
A third image that comes to mind is the old, glass milk bottle. I remember teachers explaining how sin affects the soul by having us imagine a glass bottle full of white milk. As we sin, our soul is darkened little by little just as adding chocolate powder to the milk darkens it.
The Catechism, however states, “The unity of the soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body… spirit and matter, in man are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.” (CCC 365). That’s a big soul!
Our entire self is animated by God’s spirit, giving us life, both physical and spiritual. When we take good care of our bodies, it can help us spiritually and vice versa. For example, when we fast, we are training both body and soul not to be attached to only the physical things of this world. When we perform an act of kindness, it is our body and soul making that happen. And when we receive the Eucharist, we are nourishing both body and soul.
So the next time you hear the word soul mentioned, don’t think of an invisible heart or a glass milk bottle. It is not some separate part of you, it’s all of you!