Thomas Moore spent twelve years of his life preparing for the priesthood, although he was not ordained. There is no question, however, that those years had a profound effect upon his thinking. He understands the importance self-denial, a simple life, and contemplation. The Bible, he says, is “a compendium of insight into the nature of the soul.” He talks of the importance of ritual and symbolism, which is so much a part of the Catholic Church. Christians understand that spirituality needs to be reinforced by going to church and reserving time for worship.
The Christian conception of the soul and the symbolism inherent in biblical writings are consistent with Moore’s idea of soul. He uses the example of Jesus standing in the River Jordan, waiting to be baptized before he begins his life’s work. Symbolically, Jesus is standing in the swirling waters of time and fate—a “stream of events”—in which at some point every individual must find a place. The stories in the Gospels can be read for inspiration as we make our way through life. The formal Christian teachings, rites, and stories, Moore says, “provide an inexhaustible source for reflection on the mysteries of the soul.”
The title of this work, Care of the Soul, may suggest that this is a “self-help” book. The author takes care to explain that this is not the case. “Self-discovery” is a better characterization. As a practicing psychotherapist, Moore relates several times in the book how analysis of the soul has helped his patients. He does not, however claim to “cure” people. Moore is suggesting a new way of thinking about the inner life that brings about understanding, acceptance, and wisdom.