An Introduction to Somatic Resonance
Compiled from Articles by Father William G. Most,
and by Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)
(Lower Nature and Higher Nature)
We know from the basics of our Catholic Faith that Man is a Creature composed of
Body and Soul, and made to the Image and
Likeness of God. During life on this earth, Body
and Soul are so Interdependent, that One of them cannot Function without the Other.
Without the Soul, the Body is a
Corpse. Without the Body, the
Soul cannot Function, for all that the Soul
knows on the Natural Level comes through the 5-Senses of the
Body. The Body is not merely an Instrument of the
Soul, for both were made for-each-other and each is Incomplete without the other.
Together they make a Single (1) Living Person.
Since we are made of Matter and
Spirit, Body and Soul, and
these are so closely joined as to add-up to One (1) Person, the result is that if we have a
condition on One (1) of the Two (2) Sides,
then for Normal Running - not for mere Survival - there is need of a Parallel Condition on the Other Side, which Condition is
called a "Resonance". When this Resonance falls-on the Bodily
Side, which is most-common, we speak of "Somatic Resonance".
For example, if a Man is in Deep Black Depression, then the unfortunate
Biochemistry of this Affliction, (which might be
caused by break-down of Three (3) important Neurotransmitters,
including Norepinephrine, Serotonin, and
Dopamine), may interfere with the Biochemistry
that should be the Somatic Resonance to Faith. Then
the Sufferer will think he has Lost or is Losing Faith.
The reason is that the Disturbance of the Biochemical
Resonance makes it almost impossible for Faith to function, though it does
not expel Faith. This concept of Somatic
Resonance explains many things, and of course immediate help from an MD is required to Stabilize the
Biochemical Affliction via a myriad of possible
Prescription Drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, et al.
Faith is on the side of the Spirit,
but it needs a Resonance in the Body, which is probably
Biochemical, to function normally. So Spiritual Growthneeds a Gradual Adjustment
of this Resonance, which, according to the Law of Growth of Bodies, follows a
Step-Graph, with Long Plateaus, and Small Rises in between.
It is a fact-of-experience that the more the Bodily Appetites and
Desires are Indulged and Gratified,
the less the Soul is disposed for Spiritual
Endeavor. Body and Soul are meant to work in
Harmony, but that Harmony will be the Fruit only of a Well-Disciplined Life. Before the
Fall of our First Parents, that Harmony existed. Man enjoyed a Perfect Balance of his Powers and Faculties, the
Body being a Perfect Partner and Docile Instrument of the
Soul. But after the Fall, the Balance of Manís Nature was Upset.
Where before the Fall, Mans Lower Nature
(the Appetites and Inclinations of the
Body), was Perfectly Subject to his Higher Nature
(the Dictates of Reason and the Command of the Will);
after the Fall, Mans Lower Nature
Rebelled against the Limitations set by Reason, and
Demanded and often Attained Satisfactions Contrary to the Law of
God. In that Historic Fall, our Human Nature lost a
Precious Gift, resulting in the Conflict we
all experience within us in our efforts to live the Christian Life. Of this
Conflict Saint Paul testifies: "The Flesh lusts
against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh; for these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you would".
In this present life, the Body must be properly cared for and properly nourished
in order that it be an aid to the Soul in its Activity. However, it also must be Restrained
when it becomes a Hindrance to that Activity. Not infrequently, proper care of the
Body will require denying the Body what it seeks
(i.e.Mortification). As long as the Soul is the
Master and the Body is the Servant (as God and
Nature intends), a Man will lead a Peaceful and Fruitful
Life. All too often today, however, the Body is the Master and the
Soul the Servant, with the result that Man is neither At-Peace within himself,
nor with his Neighbor, nor with his God. In other words, the
Body is meant to be an Instrument of Spiritual Growth,
and it will be for the True Christian; but it can be an
Impediment to that growth in the measure that a Worldly Spirit rules
Mortification or Suffering of any type,
that affect the Bodily Side, may put the "Resonance"
mentioned earlier into a more Fluid State, as-it-were, and make possible a Large Rise in Perfection,
if we respond Most Generously at each opportunity. Negative Mortification is needed for this; just
being Nice to people does not have this kind of effect.
Conformity to the Will of God must be Cultivated. Really, if One could
Perfectly Align his Will with the
Will of God, that would be Complete Perfection. But
this cannot be had by simply reciting a Prayer of Acceptance, even with all Sincerity. Why?
First, we cannot foresee now all that His Will may
call-for before the End of our Lives, and so cannot fully Conform.
Second, Somatic Resonance needs to grow
Gradually, for such is the Law of Physical Bodies.
We distinguish Two (2) kinds of cases.
In some, the Will of God is already Clear. Then we must Actively
Will what He Wills,
not just be Passive.
Secondly, there are times when His Will
is not yet Clear; then we try to be Open, as it were having Plasticity, ready to take whatever shape
He may call for.
This Plasticity is gained only by much Mortification, to Tame the
Disorder of our Natural Drives, a Disorder
increased by all Deliberate Sins. (Cf. Matthew 6:21)
"Where your Treasure is, there is your Heart also". The absolutely best example of this
Mortification by a Human Being is the Heroic Positive and Active following of the
Will of Our Father by Our Lady, as detailed
so Intimately and Eloquently by Saint Alphonsus Liguori in his Treatise
Of the Dolors of Mary.