FROM MARY MAGNIFYING GOD. BY WILLIAM HUMPHREY, OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE OBLATES OF ST. CHARLES. AD 1873
Exultavit spiritus meus.
My spirit hath rejoiced. St. Luke i. 47.
Her use of the word 'soul' was to signify the entirety of her worship and adoration, wherewith she magnified the Lord. It was the service of her whole human being, of all her emotions, affections, and feelings, as well as of her intellect and will.
But now she uses the word 'spirit' and that to show the nature and character of her rejoicing; that it was not a mere, and was not always an affective or emotional joy, but an intellectual and supernatural rejoicing.
The human soul, the spirit that is in man, has all the powers and faculties that an angel, a pure spirit, has; but it has more; and therefore it is called a soul, and not merely a spirit When we speak of all those faculties, and mean to express them, then we speak of it as a soul. When, on the contrary, we speak of those faculties only which it has in common with the angels—'the faculties of memory, of intellect, and of will—then we speak of it as a spirit.
Those latter faculties are sometimes, although not in strictness and with accuracy, spoken of as constituting the higher soul; while the other faculties— the emotions, affections, feelings, passions, and appetites—are spoken of as constituting the lower soul, I say, not with strict accuracy, for the soul is one. There is but one soul in man, and those are all faculties of one and the selfsame soul; but we speak as if it were otherwise, in order to express the fact, that the two sets of faculties may be in opposition the one to the other—'the higher faculties tending in one direction, and the lower faculties drawn in another.
The lower faculties are ordained by their Creator in order to the exercise of the higher; and they are necessary for this exercise, in our present state of existence. According to the original intention of the Creator, and before the fall which frustrated that intention, the two sets of faculties were in perfect harmony; the lower was in a state of perfect subordination to the higher; the sensitive did service to the intellective, the flesh was subdued to the spirit. But now since the fall, and under the reign of concupiscence which it introduced, the lower faculties are often drawn earthwards, even while the higher faculties tend towards heaven.