I love these words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I first encountered in I Want to Live These Days with You: A Year of Daily Devotions. I will be using some of this in my sermon this Sunday, but I wanted to share it here because I could not find these words quoted anywhere on the internet, and they really deserve to be. So, here are Bonhoeffer’s wise and wonderful words on the importance of paying attention to our souls:
“Like a song from old times, like a medieval image painted on gold leaf, like the memory of childhood days, the sound of the wonderful word of the soul has grown foreign to us. If there is still in our day—in the age of machines, of economic battles, of the reign of fashion and sports—something like the soul, then it’s not just a dear childhood memory like so many others. The little word “soul” sounds just so wonderful and strange in the confusion and shouting of voices that extol it; the language is so soft and still that we hardly hear it anymore over the raging and roaring going on within us. But the word speaks a language that is full of the greatest responsibility and deepest seriousness.
Hey, you! Human being! You have a soul! See that you don’t lose it, that you don’t wake up one day from the frenzy of life—professional and private life—and see that you have become hollow inside, a plaything of events, a leaf driven back and forth and blown away by the wind: that you are without a soul. Human being, pay attention to your soul!
What are we to say about that soul? It is the life that God has given us; it is what God has loved about us, what he—from his eternity—has touched. It is love in us and longing and holy restlessness and responsibility and happiness and pain; it is divine breath breathed into mortal being. Human being, you have a soul!”