An Introduction to Somatic Resonance

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The Mortification willingly accepted by Our Lady, in conformance with the Will of God, for our Redemption

 

Mortification is a practice of Christian Asceticism the purpose of which is Twofold: Negatively, to cause Death to Sin, to overcome the Desires of the Flesh, to conquer Evil Habits; Positively, through Penances, Hardships, Austerities and continued Good Actions, so to Strengthen the Will that a Man may pursue a Desired Object despite Difficulties. A Natural Form of Mortification is used by anyone who labors long hours to be successful; Supernatural Mortification aims at Progress in Virtue and the Possession of God and depends on Sanctifying Grace.

 

An Introduction to Somatic Resonance

Compiled from Articles by Father William G. Most,
and
by Father Paul A. Duffner, O.P.

Human Being/Person
(A Unity (1) of Body and Soul)

Natural Order
(Lower Nature and Higher Nature)

Body/Lower Nature/
Appetites/Inclinations/
Satisfactions/Desires
Psychosomatic Powers
Senses/Passions/Feelings/
(Subordinate-Partner)

Soul/Higher Nature/
Superior Will/Reason
Spirit/Intellect/
Faith/Hope
Love//Mind/
(Dominant Partner)

Somatic
Resonance

Spiritual
Resonance

Biochemical
Resonance

Faith
(Supernatural Order)

 

 

 

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, Man’s 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, Man’s 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 one's Life.

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?

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) First, we cannot foresee now all that His Will may call-for before the End of our Lives, and so cannot fully Conform.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Second, Somatic Resonance needs to grow Gradually, for such is the Law of Physical Bodies.

We distinguish Two (2) kinds of cases.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In some, the Will of God is already Clear. Then we must Actively Will what He Wills, not just be Passive.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) 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.