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Salt, Dust, Water & Light in Scripture

Salt, Dust, Water & Light in Scripture

What is salt, dust, and stone in the Bible
In Scripture, DNA is both dust and salt
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Substantial Form Analyzed in Light of Demonic Possession
By Stephen Michael Leininger
Updated: 07/05/2024

Substance (incl. Substantial Form & Substantial Change)

According to Komonchak et al.,
In the context of philosophical usage, form and matter are correlative terms, combining to explain the underlying structure of the changing material beings of our experience, although form can also be extended to independent uses (as in the ideal Forms of Plato existing independently in the Platonic World of Ideas, or the “pure forms” of angels in St. Thomas). In their widest general sense, form and matter [the two components of a substance—SML] are two of the most basic and indispensable terms for speaking about our everyday experience of the world. Form signifies the shapes, patterns, structures, or designs of things, whether natural or artificial, i.e., in general that which determines something to be such and such, to be this kind of thing. Matter signifies the “material,” that out of which something is made, that which is capable of receiving a form or pattern, i.e., in general that which is determinable by form. Thus we say of a piece of clothing, “What is that? It is a sweater,” and again, “What is it made out of? It is made out of wool, or cotton, etc.” We recognize the irreducible distinction between the two when we discover that the same form or pattern can be reproduced in many different materials, (e.g., a cup made of glass, clay, or metal) or the same material may be successively worked into many different forms (a child molds a piece of clay now into this form, now into that). It is clear that the form and matter of something cannot be identical, although neither can exist by itself alone: a form is always the form of something, a form in some material, and a piece of matter is never found without some form or structure to it. Were it totally formless, totally indeterminate, it would be nothing at all.[1]
Without going into a great deal of detail, let’s briefly define two philosophical terms necessary to our understanding of Transubstantiation. The two terms are Substance (i.e., Form) and Accident (i.e., Matter). As defined by De Munnynck “signifies being as existing in and by itself, and serving as a subject or basis for accidents and accidental changes.”[2] An example of a corporeal substance is a rock. It exists in and of itself. A rock is still a rock regardless of its shape, weight, color, density, location, etc. He goes on to write:
The Scholastics.  . . . also distinguished primary substance (substantia prima) from secondary substance (substantia secunda):
The former is the individual thing—substance properly so called; the latter designates the universal essence or nature as contained in genus and species. And, again, substance is either complete, e. g., man [body and soul], or incomplete, e. g., the soul [without the body]; which, though possessing existence in itself, is united with the body to form the specifically complete human being. The principal division; however, is that between material substance (all corporeal things) and spiritual substance, i.e., the soul and the angelic spirits.  . . . An attempt has recently been made by representatives of physical science to reconstruct the idea of substance by making it equivalent to energy. The attempt so far has led to the conclusion that energy is the most universal substance and the most universal accident (Ostwald, Vorlesungen uber Naturphilosophie, 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1902, p. 146).[3]
Before going any further, let us define concupiscence. According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, concupiscence is,
In its strict and specific acceptation, a desire [all emphasis SML] of the lower appetite contrary to reason. To understand how the sensuous and the rational appetite can be opposed, it should be borne in mind that their natural objects are altogether different. The object of the former is the gratification of the senses; the object of the latter is the good of the entire human nature and consists in the subordination of reason to God, its supreme good and ultimate end. But the lower appetite is of itself unrestrained, so as to pursue sensuous gratifications independently of the understanding and without regard to the good of the higher faculties.[4]
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote,
Now we have it on the authority of Scripture that ‘God made man right’ (Eccles. 7:30), which rightness, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei, xiv, 11), consists in the perfect subjection of the body [i.e., salt/dust of DNA] to the soul.[5]
Aquinas goes on to show the role that supernatural grace played in our state of original justice. He writes,
Subjection of the body to the soul and of the lower powers to reason, was not from nature; otherwise, it would have remained after sin.  . . . Hence it is clear that also the primitive subjection by virtue of which reason was subject to God, was not a merely natural gift, but a supernatural endowment of grace.[6]

St. Catherine of Siena’s Thoughts

By God’s design, the body is meant to be fully and harmoniously subject to the spiritual soul. As an example, we cite St. Catherine of Siena. She tells us:
[At the resurrection,] all will see my [God’s] generosity and mercy shine forth in the blessed as these receive the fruit of the blood of the Lamb. And they will see how all the sufferings the blessed endured remain as adornments on their bodies, like ornamentation imprinted on cloth—not from the body’s own excellence, but because the soul from her fullness will imprint on the body the fruit of its labors, to shine outwardly, since it was her partner in virtue [emphasis added].[7]
Let’s look at another example of the spirit having the complete control over the body. It has been well documented the power that a demon (exercising the powers of the soul—a demonic spirit has no soul because they never possessed a body, thus the need for a soul) has over a body it has possessed. Because a demonic spirit is pure evil, the overflow of its “heart” is also evil. And it is expressed in the language of the possessed person’s body. It is the spirit (with all its powers) that gives the possessed body all its abilities—not the human spirit.
This makes sense in light of the philosophical understanding that the spiritual soul is the substantial form of the body.[8] To help us understand the soul, body, and form concept, think of a hand and glove. The hand represents the spiritual soul, which contains no matter, and the leather glove represents the body. Without the hand inside of it, the glove has no form. The matter of the body remains, but it is without form.
In Deuteronomy, we read: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Deut 6:5). This wording helps us to understand the different powers within one single spiritual soul.[9] The heart represents our free will (one of the upper powers of the soul) where we chose to love (not to be confused with chemically induced biological so-called “love,” the presence or absence of holy desire for God. The soul represents the lower portion of the one spiritual soul. It directs all functions of the body—the scriptural mouth from which the heart overflows.[10][11] The mind represents the intellectual faculties of the one spiritual soul.[12] Intellect is another of the upper powers of the spiritual soul. After all, one cannot love what one does not know. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in the upper powers of the spiritual soul, grace overflows into the lower powers of the soul thus causing that overflow to occur in the language of the body.
Thus, one created in the image and likeness of God must possess reasoned intellect. Putting all three composite parts together, we can say: the mind feeds the desires of the heart through knowledge of Truth, which incites the higher powers of the soul, i.e., spirit, to cause the body (the mouth) to send Love into the visible/physical world in the language of the body, of which the heart of flesh is critically important.

Demons, Possession, and Substantial Form

Demons are mentioned in Scripture over eighty times. Below is a small sampling:
1). “That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick” (Mt 8:16),
2). “And the demons begged him, ‘If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine’ ” (Mt 8:31),
3). “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Mt 10:8),
4). “And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons” (Mk 1:39), and
5). “Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons” (Mk 16:9).

Satan’s Goal

Satan’s overall objective is to install in the world a distortion of the perfect design with which God created it. Why? Because God created everything as an image of Himself. This can be seen through a speech by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) to the American Bishops in 1976 and reprinted in the November 9, 1978 issue of The Wall Street Journal. He said:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.[13]
Man was the crown jewel of that perfect image and likeness of the Triune God. No other creature in physical creation could make that claim, a fact that Satan hates beyond our comprehension.
Explaining the meaning of Psalm 8:6-7, God revealed to St. Hildegard of Bingen:
“Thou hast crowned [man] with glory and worship, and given him dominion over all the works of Thy hands.” Which is to say: You, O God, Who have marvellously [sic] made all things, have crowned Man with the gold and purple crown of intellect and with the sublime garment of visible beauty, thus placing him like a prince above the height of Your perfect works, which You have distributed justly and rightly among Your creatures. Before all Your other creatures You have conferred on Man great and wonderful dignities.  . . .  [and] of all the strengths of God’s creation, Man’s is most profound, made in a wondrous way with great glory from the dust of the earth and so entangled with the strengths of the rest of creation that he can never be separated from them; for the elements of the world, created for Man’s service, wait on him, and Man, enthroned as it were in their midst, by divine disposition presides over them.[14]
Since Satan could not destroy God, he wanted to utterly destroy that which was in His image and likeness. Man! Make no mistake, Satan and his demons will take great delight in tormenting every human inhabitant in hell, especially those who worshipped Satan on earth by willfully furthering his plans. These fools are deluding themselves. They actually think Satan will be grateful for their help. Ahh—No!!!! He will hate them even more for having such pride that they would dare to think that Satan even needed their help in the first place.

Spirit (Demons) versus Spiritual Soul (Man)

In order to properly understand demonic possession in the context of substantial form, it is vital to understand the human soul, human spirit, and angelic spirit. Man is a composite of the spiritual soul and the body. The spiritual soul possesses two levels of power. The first is the upper powers of the spiritual soul, the human spirit, consisting of 1) Intellect/Understanding (not to be confused with the cranial brain), which is how we can know Divine Truth. St. Hildegard of Bingen (a Doctor of the Church) incorporates understanding as a part of the intellect; 2) Free Will, which becomes on fire to send out/express/share that Truth;[15] and 3) In addition to powers 1 and 2, St. Catherine of Siena (also a Doctor of the Church) adds unfailing Memory.[16] These three powers constitute the human spirit. It is in the human spirit that the Holy Spirit was meant to dwell, but which was lost after Original Sin.
The second level of power in the spiritual soul is the soul. It controls all the functions of the human body. The desires, i.e., that which we treasure, good or bad, overflow from the spirit to the soul, which then causes the body to put into action that which is needed to attain those desires.[17] A real-life illustration of these facts can be read in Testimony of the Saints. The section shows how the Holy Spirit dwelling in the human spirit overflows to the soul, which then produces profound physical effects to the biological heart.
It is important to note that the two different levels of power within the spiritual soul do not constitute a duality.[18] There are not, for example, different locations for each level of power within the spiritual soul.
In comparison, all angels, both good and bad, are pure spirit. These spirits are pure intellect—no brain is involved. They do not have a body and, thus, do not possess a soul. An angelic spirit cannot possess a human’s spirit. However, when a demon takes possession of a person’s body, the power of the demonic spirit simply and easily overpowers the spirit of the individual post-fallen man. The demon does not, cannot, control the human spirit. However, because it has been invited into the possessed person’s body, the demonic spirit subjugates the faculties of human soul. As a result, the overflow from which the biological functions are controlled is that of the demon, not the human spirit.

The Spiritual Mechanics of Demonic Possession

How do we understand a demon’s possession of a person? In Joan Carroll Cruz’s Angels and Devils, we read:
The devil, in taking possession of a person, enters the body, but he does not unite with the body in the same manner as the soul does, nor does he enter into the [spiritual] soul itself. As Tanquerey explains,[19] he can indeed act directly on the bodily members and cause them to perform all sorts of motions, and indirectly, he can move the faculties of the soul in so far as they depend for their operations upon the body.[20]
According to theologian and philosopher Fr. Romano Guardini:
Every part of the body is an expressive instrument of the soul. The soul does not inhabit the body as a man inhabits a house. It lives and works in each member, each fiber, and reveals itself in the body’s every line, contour, and movement.[21]
Building upon Guardini’s thoughts, we can say that a demon inhabits the body as a tenant who can make drastic and unwanted changes to the physicality of the house after overpowering its true owner. God does not allow a person to be possessed by a demon unless the person invites them in. What form can this invitation take? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, actions such as:
Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums, all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.[22]
This, by the way, is similar to the tactic Satan employed to tempt Eve, i.e., ‘you will be like God.’
Germane to the topic at hand, evil spirits that take possession of a human person’s body demonstrate their ability to usurp the faculties of the soul and, therefore, control the substantial form, i.e., the human body, including the function of the biological brain.
Because of the powers inherent in their angelic nature (which weren’t lost after their fall), demons are capable of causing the body to change its physical appearance and perform acts that are humanly impossible—at least for a human person not in the state of Original Justice. They are capable of temporarily altering/distorting the form of the body.
For example, Joan Carroll Cruz writes:
In a true possession, the victim might assume a gutteral voice, sometimes growling, ranting, screaming, baying, and if more than one demon is present, using distinctively different voices. He might moan, yelp helplessly or howl, as would a pack of beasts. The victim might even levitate and soar bodily about the room and perform feats of agility that are beyond the scope of nature. The victim might be thrown about and dragged, producing wounds and bruises.  . . .  Terrible facial expressions, unusual strength, contortions, and physical gymnastics might also be evident, as in the case of two boys at Illfurth, Germany, who were possessed between 1864 and 1869. It is reported that if the boys were sleeping on their backs, they would turn over and over at an incredible speed, like living tops. . . . During the exorcism of a young girl, Claire-Germaine Cele of Natal, who was possessed in 1906 and 1907, another symptom of possession was noted when the demon would inflate her chest or stomach to enormous proportions. Her head sometimes appeared grotesquely swollen, with her cheeks inflated. Her neck would lengthen, and a goiter would appear. Most unusual of all is that a lump would sometimes form under the skin and travel throughout her body.[23]
How do we know if someone can be legitimately described as being possessed? Cruz writes:
According to the Roman Ritual, in the section entitled “De Exorcizandis Obsessis a Daemonio,” which gives the Church’s official pronouncement on the subject, there are three principal signs by which possession may be recognized, some of which have already been noted.
The first sign is that of speaking a language previously unknown to the subject.  . . . It has also been noted that some subjects can translate perfectly a language previously unknown to them.
The second indication of possession is the knowledge of hidden matters.  . . . There might also be predictions of future events. A reasonable time should elapse to learn if the predictions take place as foretold. . . .
The third sign.  . . . the subject exhibits a strength out of all proportion to his age and circumstances.  . . . this unnatural strength is such that many people are required to constrain the subject while he is struggling violently.[24]
As mentioned above, knowing and speaking foreign languages previously unknown to the possessed person is a mark of genuine demonic possession. This power is another example of what is meant by the temporary usurpation of the powers of the human soul to function as the substantial form of the body.
The upper powers of the spiritual soul are not accessible to demons. Evil spirits cannot read or hear our thoughts or the content of our inner hearts (spiritual, not biological). However, demons can read the biological consequences of our thoughts and desires. For example, when one willingly entertains lustful thoughts, the body will respond by producing specific hormones, regardless of whether we consent to, and act on, those thoughts.
Let’s return to the example of the possessed person’s ability to speak a previously unknown foreign language. Since the possessed person’s human spirit does not yet possess the ability to speak or understand foreign languages, the power to do so originates solely from the evil spirit(s’) intellect while possessing the body. Thus, it can be seen that the demon usurps the faculties of the soul to cause the possessed person’s biological brain to cause the body to speak the words (spoken in any foreign language the demon chooses) it wishes to say. In a sense, the demon(s) temporarily overpower the soul’s fallen/disordered natural human powers.
Another example of demons usurping the faculties of the human soul and thus the substantial form comes from Elwell and Beitzel. They write:
Demons often cause illness or physical disability; Luke 13:11 tells of a woman who had a “spirit of infirmity” for 38 years but was delivered and healed by Jesus. Since evil spirits often attack the [biological] mind and the emotions [i.e., the brain and especially concomitant endocrine glands], many symptoms of mental illness may be attributed to their activity. The boy whom Jesus delivered just after the transfiguration exhibited symptoms of epilepsy. Paranoia may be the work of a spirit of fear. Some individuals suffering from schizophrenia (split or multiple personality) may in reality be demonized by a number of spirits.[25]
In addition to the above text, it should be noted that the demon does not infect the possessed person with a germ, virus, bacteria, etc. It simply distorts the normal cellular function, causing it to fully function as though it had been infected with a disease. The symptoms produced are real biological reactions, not illusions. When the demon is expelled, the cellular dysfunction—the disease—ends.
Now, if the disordered fallen angels could successfully usurp the power of substantial form, completely controlling cellular function, how much easier would it be for a rational human born in a perfect state of original justice to cause a non-fallen body to function biologically as though it was concupiscent—but without actually suffering from original sin. We have such an example. His name is Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us so.

Jesus Made Sin

In 2 Corinthians, it is written:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  . . . For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin [emphasis added], so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:19-21).
Some might be confused by the fact that Jesus suffered from hunger in the desert (Mt. 4:2, Lk. 4:2) or excruciating pain on the Cross. And yet, at the same time, we know that he was not born with original sin.
Aquinas explains this apparent contradiction thusly:
The penalties, such as hunger, thirst, death, and the like, which we suffer sensibly in this life flow from original sin. And hence Christ, in order to satisfy fully for original sin, wished to suffer sensible [all those penalties, so] that He might consume death and the like in Himself.[26]
Adding to Aquinas’ thoughts, it can be said that Jesus wished to suffer the biological consequences of all sins committed by man throughout time. Doing so, he could take upon his shoulders the consequences of the guilt of each and every one of us and our sins. By forgiving us while on the Wood of the Cross, he could make a perfect sin offering to our Father in Heaven.
One of the biological components of concupiscence is the involuntary expression of hormones in response to sensually received inputs. It is through this expression of hormones that we willingly subjugate ourselves and become slaves to sin—a consequence Scripture warns against (e.g., Jn 8:34).
Germane to this scriptural warning, it should be noted that all hormones are delivered to their target cells via the bloodstream. St. Hildegard of Bingen reinforces the secretion of hormones with the slavery mentioned above. She writes:
Succumbing to the whirlwinds of Satan’s lies, the fallen soul cries out, “Ach miserable me! for harmful poisons were instilled into me through Adam, when he disobeyed God and was cast out into the world and joined his tabernacle [i.e., human body] to carnal things. For in the taste of the fruit he knew by disobedience, a harmful sweetness poured itself into his blood and flesh, producing the corruption of vice. And therefore I feel the sin of the flesh in me, and intoxicated by this sin, I neglect the Most Pure God.”[27]
For blood by itself carries shameful crimes and turbulent injustice, and runs through uncertain paths, in a twisted sweetness that leads to burning lust and frightful vices.[28]
And finally, God the Father revealed to Hildegard:
For, since the fall of Adam, I have not found in human seed the justice that should have been in it, for the Devil drove out this justice [Adam and Eves sensual eyes were opened] by the taste of the fruit. Therefore I sent My Son into the world born of a virgin, so that by His blood, in which there was no carnal pollution, He might take away from the Devil those spoils that he had carried off from humanity.[29]
From the last quote, we can see one of two likely possibilities. One, Jesus willed the appropriate endocrine gland to produce the desired hormone and release it into the bloodstream; Two, he willed the intended target cell to function as though it had received the hormone.
Jesus’ redemptive act would not have been possible had Jesus’ human soul not been fully subject/obedient to his human spirit. Put another way, because Jesus’ body was completely subject to his human soul. He did not inherit original sin; therefore, his spiritual soul possessed the power to will and allow his body to experience the consequences of original sin without sinning himself.
According to Jamieson et al., the word “sin” in 2 Cor 5:21:
[Does not mean] A sin offering, which would destroy the antithesis to “righteousness,” and would make “sin” be used in different senses in the same sentence: not a sinful person, which would be untrue, and would require in the antithesis “righteous men,” not “righteousness”; but “sin,” that is, the representative Sin-bearer (vicariously) of the aggregate sin of all men past, present, and future. The sin of the world is one, therefore the singular, not the plural, is used; though its manifestations are manifold (Jn 1:29). “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” Compare “made a curse for us,” Ga 3:13.[30]
Joe Heschmeyer from Catholic Answers writes:
Fortunately, St. Paul isn’t saying anything like this. In Hebrew, the word ḥāṭā’ means both “sin” and “a sin offering.” In technical terms, this is what’s called a “contranym.” We’ve got plenty [of examples] in English: “cleave” can mean to separate (like a meat cleaver does) or to join together (cleave to your wife). “Dusting” can mean remove dust (like dusting the furniture) or adding dust (like dusting a cake). “Oversight” might mean that you’re paying careful attention, or that you’re not. So it is with ḥāṭā’. In Genesis 4:7 and many other places, it means “sin.” In Exodus 29:14 and many other places, it means “sin offering.” In Leviticus 4, we see it used in both ways: the same word to describe the people’s sin (Lev. 4:14) and the sacrificial offering made in response to that sin (Lev. 4:20).
In the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, ḥāṭā’ gets translated as the Greek word hamartia. Likewise, when Hebrews 10 mentions sin offerings, it simply says peri hamartia, “for sin.” The word “offering” is implicit in the context, but not actually there in the Greek. So to say that Christ “became hamartia,” as St. Paul does in 2 Corinthians 5, is to say that Christ became our sin offering, so that “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14).[31]
The Greek for the words “For us” in this passage means:
“In our behalf.” Compare Jn 3:14, Christ being represented by the brazen serpent, the form, but not the substance, of the old serpent. At His death on the cross the sin-bearing for us was consummated.[32]
Finally, the phrase “knew no sin” means that Jesus’ entire human nature was absolutely untouched by the stain of any sin whatsoever “by personal experience (Jn 8:46) [Alford]. Heb 7:26; 1 Pe 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5.”[33]
The concept of substantial form helps us more fully understand the visible manifestations of the Resurrected Jesus. Because Jesus’ glorified physical (but not mortal) body is fully subject to his human soul, he can choose to will his body to appear in any form he wishes. He can appear as an infant, a child, or a thirty-two-year-old man. He can choose to reveal only a portion of his flesh and/or blood in the Eucharist while still remaining fully and entirely present.
Because Jesus’ Resurrected humanity is in the Eternal Now, his appearance as an adult does not mean he has gone back in time to when he was thirty-two. When he appears as an infant, it does not mean he has gone back in history to the Nativity. When he appears within a specific time in history, he chooses and wills what form his body will take. It remains his unchanging glorified physical body, subject to his soul. His appearances are not illusions, not phantasms. His substance never changes; only the accidents through which he chooses to reveal his substance.
When the Holy Spirit prompts Jesus to lift the sacramental veil, and we see his Real Flesh and Blood, Aquinas tells us it is not an illusion or a hallucination. God is not—would not—deceive us. Aquinas tells us:
The same reverence is shown to it as was shown at first, which would not be done if Christ were not truly there, to Whom we show reverence of latria. Therefore, when such apparition occurs, Christ is under the Sacrament.  . . . as was said already, this is not deception, because it is done “to represent the truth,” namely, to show by this miraculous apparition that Christ’s body and blood are truly in this Sacrament. And thus it is clear that as the dimensions remain, which are the foundation of the other accidents, as we shall see later on (Q. 77, A. 2), the body of Christ truly remains in this Sacrament.[34]
Similarly, during NDE’s (near-death experiences), people often see their deceased relatives—even relatives they never met during life. How is it they even recognize them? They are recognized by their faces. How can this be? The deceased relatives do not yet possess their physical bodies? It is because everything physical/biological, is part of the substantial form of the body, i.e., the spiritual soul. The appearance of the face is produced by the spiritual soul. The accidents (including the dimensive quality) are also part of that substantial form, which is why the holy souls in Heaven always appear as they were in the prime of their life, even though their bodies are currently nothing more than lifeless dust. Even angelic spirits have a substantial form which controls their unique facial appearance.
This truth is not limited to only Eucharistic miracles, but to all visible manifestations of his humanity within time. This understanding is further explicated here and especially here.

Catherine: Soul Imprints the Body

Another example of the soul being the substantial form of the body comes from St. Catherine of Siena. God revealed to her:
[On Judgment Day, all God’s sons and daughters] will see my generosity and mercy shine forth in the blessed as these receive the fruit of the blood of the Lamb. And they will see how all the sufferings the blessed endured remain as adornments on their bodies, like ornamentation imprinted on cloth—not from the body’s own excellence, but because the soul from her fullness will imprint on the body [because the spiritual soul is the substantial form of the body] the fruit of its labors, to shine outwardly, since it was her partner in virtue.[* J]ust as a mirror reflects a person’s face, just so, the fruit of their labors will be reflected in their bodies.
When the darksome ones see such honor, and themselves deprived of it, their suffering and confusion will increase. For on their bodies will appear the mark of their evil deeds, with pain and excruciating torment.[35]
* Virtues are gifts of the Holy Spirit that directly change the spirit within the spiritual soul, which then overflows to the soul and, therefore, the body. According to St. Hildegard, virtues work through the body and soul together;[36] “a virtue is a divine quality that . . . fully incarnates itself [SML].”[37] What does this mean?
It means that as the heart is purified, so also is the body. It cannot be otherwise!! We discussed this earlier. The higher powers of the soul (where the Holy Spirit dwells) are not fenced off from the lower powers (which control the body). Why is this necessary? In its role as the scriptural mouth of the overflow of the spiritual heart, the body must accurately express (both sense-ably and meta-sense-ably) virtuous acts that will bear good fruit. Christopher West tells us that the body simply gives expression to the experiences of the heart;[38] the spirit expresses itself in the language of the body.[39]
If the spiritual soul were not the substantial form of the body, then God, who is infinitely Just, would have to judge the body and soul independently. This leads to the incorrect belief that, at the Final Judgement, the body could be sent to hell while the body goes to Heaven or vice versa. This belief would lead to a multitude of highly problematic theological and philosophical understandings.


[1] Joseph A. Komonchak, Mary Collins, and Dermot A. Lane, in The New Dictionary of Theology (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2000), 398.
[2] Mark Mary de Munnynck, “Substance,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 14, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912), http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14322c.htm.
[3] Munnynck, “Substance,” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14322c.htm.
[4] John Ming, "Concupiscence,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908), (accessed July 24, 2020) <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04208a.htm>.
[5] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 99.
[6] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 99.
[7] St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke, O.P (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1980), 86.
[8] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 76.
[9] Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 32, 103-104, 277.
[10] Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, trans. Columba Hart and Jane Bishop (New York: Paulist Press, 1990), 151.
[11] Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 76, a. 1.
[12] cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q. 75, a. 2, co.
[13] Mark Mallet, “Understanding the Final Confrontation,” The Now Word, https://www.markmallett.com/blog/2010/02/16/understanding-the-final-confrontation/, Feb. 16, 2010.
[14] Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1990), 98.
[15] Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1990), 120-121, 151 ; Aquinas, ST, I, Q. 76, A. 1.
[16] Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, trans. Suzanne Noffke, O.P. (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), 105; 107-108.
[17] Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias, (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1990), 113, 120.
[18] Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), n. 367.
[19] Adolphe Tanquerey, S.S., D.D., The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology (Westminster: The Newman Press, 1930), 720-721.
[20] Joan Carroll Cruz, Angels and Devils, (Charlotte: TAN Books, 1999), Kindle Edition, 238-239.
[21] Romano Guardini, Sacred Signs (St. Louis, MO: Pio Decimo, 1955), 22 ; cited in Scott Hahn, Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots (New York: Random House Publishing Group, 2009), Kindle Edition, 77-78.
[22] Catholic Church, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Ed. (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), n. 2116.
[23] Joan Carroll Cruz, Angels and Devils, (TAN Books), Kindle Edition, p. 239-240.
[24] Cruz, Angels and Devils, 239.
[25] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Demon, Demon Possession,” in Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 611.
[26] Aquinas, ST, III, Q. 1, Art. 4, ad. 2.
[27] Hildegard, Scivias, 113.
[28] Hildegard, Scivias, 417.
[29] Hildegard, Scivias, 80.
[30] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 309–310.
[31] Joe Heschmeyer, “Wait, Jesus Became SIN??,” 3/31/2023, Catholic Answers, https://www.catholic.com/magazine/blog/wait-jesus-became-sin.
[32] Jamieson et al., Commentary Critical, 309-310.
[33] Jamieson et al., Commentary Critical, 309-310.
[34] Aquinas, ST, III, Q. 76, Art. 8, o. c. and co.
[35] Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 86.
[36] Hildegard, Scivias, 345.
[37] Hildegard, Scivias, 37.
[38] Christopher West, Theology of the Body Explained (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2003), 94.
[39] West, Theology of the Body Explained, 382.

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