|TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Way It Is
The First KeyMemoryHope
The Second KeyUnderstandingFaith
The Third KeyWillLove
Memory of Jesus
Understanding Of Jesus
Will of Jesus
The Master Key
Master Key in the Faculty
THERE ARE THREE PERSONS IN ONE GOD
Father begets Son
Spirit proceeds from both
THERE ARE THREE FACULTIES IN ONE SOUL
Memory feeds Understanding
fed by both
THE WAY IT
As human beings, we are creatures of emotions, creatures of
intellectual abilities, and creatures with the power to accomplish.
Some people spend their time and thoughts in feeling, hearing, seeing,
and listening. Whatever cannot be felt or experienced they will not
accept. We call these people emotional.
Some people spend their time reasoning and thinking out everything,and
that cannot be fully understood, they will not accept. We call these
Other people have only one goal in life, and that is to do as they
please, when they please, and they impose their will on others. We call
these people domineering.
When any of. these people seek God in their own way, we find the
emotional person seeking the consolations of God rather than God.
The proud intellectual seeks knowledge about God, but he never knows
God, because he cannot accept the mysteries that he is unable to fully
The domineering person seeks God and loves God as long as God does
his Will. He cannot accept a "No" from God.
Most of us weave in and out of these three categories all our lives,
and we never succeed in being changed into Jesus.
Christianity is a way of life, and it demands a change of heart and a
change of mind. It entails a lifelong struggle to change our emotions, our
way of thinking, and our way of acting.
We can relate with our emotions in regard to God or neighbor, and so as
we look at our Memory to see how we can change it, we will quite easily
grasp its role, its weaknesses, and its strength.
And so it is with the Will. We are all well aware of the strength of
our Will and the Will of others. It has been the cause of success and
failure, joy and sorrow, in our daily life. And so we shall understand the
Will as we see its role and weaknesses and strength.
But this is not so true with the Intellect. How we understand,
judge, discern, and form opinions, is a mysterya
mystery because the very faculty by which we understand does not
comprehend how it understands.
We add Faith to our Understanding, and we give it light; to see things
above itself. Faith is something that we have, but it too is something we
And when we say that we must be humble to have a deep Faith, we add an
ingredient that is positively repugnant, to something that is already
difficult to grasp.
And so, when we get to the faculty of our soul that we call
Understanding, we will have to plow a little deeper; so the seeds that
will be sown can reap a rich harvest of a new way of thinking.
Our Christianity changes and transforms us from sadness to joy, from
darkness to light, and from slavery to freedom. We must seek the way to
this "spiritual revolution"' that we may be set free from ourselves and
live in Him and by Him. We must be a witness to a sad world, of Heaven on
earth, of peace amidst turmoil, and joy amidst pain.
So we shall look at our Memorynot
to dig in, but to root out.
We shall look at our Understandingnot
to comprehend but to utilize.
We shall look at our Willnot
to lose it, but to redirect it.
Made In His Image
Our Memory resembles the Father
the Father knows Himself, we know ourselves through our Memory
Our Understanding resembles the Son
the Son is the perfect Image of the Father, so our Understanding is the
exterior image of what we remember
Our Will resembles the Spirit
the Holy Spirit is the Love and Power that proceeds from the Father and
the Son, so our Will is motivated by love and accomplishes what the Memory
and Understanding give it to desire.
FIRST KEY: MEMORY - HOPE
The Apostles often found the words of Jesus difficult to understand and
they told Him so. But during the Last Supper, when He spoke of His Father
and the Father's personal love for them, they finally began to understand.
Jesus looked at them and said, "Do you believe at last? Listenthe
time will comein
fact, it has already comewhen
you will be scattered, each going his own way and leaving Me alone. And
yet, I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you all
this so that you may find peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble,
but be brave; I have conquered the world" (Jn.16:32,33)
His first words after His Resurrection were "Peace be with you! Why are
you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts?" (Luke
Why was Jesus disappointed in His Disciples' lack of faith? It would
seem, at least on the surface, that the Apostles had every right to be sad
Their Master was taken away from them, tortured, and crucified. Their
Memories of His kindness and gentleness only made their hearts more
agitated and bitter.
Their Imaginations projected fear into the future, and a feeling of
hopelessness took possession of their souls.
They remembered how they thought He would deliver them from tyranny,
and now it was all over.
What happened to these men that would cause Jesus to ask the reason for
their sadness? What did He expect them to do? Why did He wonder at their
lack of peace?
All during His public life He asked them to believe in Him, to trust
Him, and to abide in Him. Apparently, they did none of these things when
the test came, else He would not have questioned their agitation.
It would seem from reading the Scriptures that the Apostles were men of
great ambition and imagination.
They realized by His signs that Jesus was Lord, but their concept of
the Messiah was material and self-centered.
They often argued as to which one was the greatest, and James and John
decided to be on the right and left of Jesus in the Kingdom.
They greatly rejoiced in the powers Jesus gave them, and imagined
themselves on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
For three years they listened to His Words, but they repeatedly
admitted they did not understand His parables.
They rejected the thought of His future suffering though He revealed it
to them beforehand. At one time Peter tried to dissuade Him from going to
Jerusalem, and Jesus called him Satan.
It is obvious from these incidents that although they had the grace to
believe in His Sonship they did not as yet live a life of Faith.
They began to live on an emotional levela
level in which their daily lives were guided by their Memories and
Imaginations. They no longer used these faculties; they lived in them.
When we live our daily lives in these faculties, then we live in
ourselves and not in God.
We are living in these faculties
when we harbor resentments and refuse to forgive and forget,
when we worry about tomorrow to the extent that it paralyzes us in
the present moment,
when we seek only our own pleasure in everything, unconcerned with
the needs of others,
when normal discouragement over failures turns into depressing
when the remembrance of past sins turns into guilt complexes,
when a desire to succeed turns into greed and double-dealing,
when a normal desire to be loved turns into suspicionand
when a need to relax turns into over-indulgence in food, drink, and
when the need to be needed turns into jealousy and possessiveness.
Yes, when these wonderful faculties become the master in the temple of
our souls, then we run the danger of becoming slaves in our own householdprisoners,
bound hand and foot, swayed to and fro "like a reed shaken by the wind."
Jesus asked the crowds one day exactly what they expected to find in
John the Baptist"a
reed shaken by the wind"? No, John was a Prophet whose Will was united to
God's Will and who lived by his Understanding and not by his ever-changing
emotions. He was a man who was master of his own house and he used his
emotions at the right time and in the right place. The Spirit of the Lord
could use him to lash out at Herod and to tell the people to repent. He
did this with all the emotion of one led by God, and used his lower
faculties for God's honor and glory.
We are human and we understand emotions, for they convey ideas and
goals in a way that many words fail to do. This is why they were given us
but we must use them for God's honor and glory.
We must put these faculties to work for us in order to live a fuller
life, but we must never reach the point where we are not in control.
The real danger comes when we use these faculties to love with, for we
run the risk of loving with a selfish love. We will love only those who
love us. Our enemies or those with whom we have little in common, we will
not love at all.
We will love only those who render us a service; and those who, for one
reason or another, are not able to comply with our demands, we will ignore
or treat coldly.
The things that excite our Imagination and passions will be sought
after, and we will run the risk of weakening our Wills and acting in an
Living in these faculties, instead of using them, means being tossed to
and fro on a perpetual seesaw. One day we are up on the heights of joy,
and the next day down to the depths of despair.
As long as we permit our life to be regulated by these faculties we
will never possess the Peace He left to us. The Commandment to love our
neighbor in the same way God loves us will become almost impossible to
A Christian does not pretend or talk himself out of his problems or
pains. He faces them head on, and feels their impact, but he rises above
them to the level of faith and trust. He is a marvel to behold as he
accepts life and all its trials with Peace and Resignation.
We are human and we have feelingsfeelings
we cannot deny or negate. Each one of us is different but we will spend
our entire lives eating and drinking, laughing and crying, happy and sad,
succeeding and failing. But no matter what we do, it must be done for the
honor and glory of God and the good of our neighbor.
We have Jesus as our model in using these faculties. We see Him during
His public life receiving ingratitude and insults over and over again.
Yet, He was always in possession of His soul. He held His Peace and never
let His Memory of past ingratitude interfere with His kindness in the
Though He knew exactly what was in store for Him, He did not permit His
Imagination to bring fear and repugnance to His soul.
He could look out into the crowd, know the thoughts of each person and
still speak of love and compassion to the few who understood.
He would use these faculties for the purpose for which they were given;
and all during His Agony and Death He never allowed Himself to be swayed
by the jealousy and hatred of His enemies.
He used His emotions for the Father's honor and glory and our
It was the emotion of Compassion that made Him raise the widow's son to
It was Sorrow that made Him weep at the news of Lazarus' death. He wept
over Lazarus in spite of the fact that in a few moments He intended to
exert His power and raise him from the dead.
He used the emotion of Anger to throw the moneychangers out of the
Temple and to pronounce seven woes on the Pharisees.
Yes, He was human and He used human emotions as servants to express
love, concern, sympathy; He manifested anger over the injustices that His
creatures heaped upon each other. But He never lived in these faculties.
How different He was from His Apostles. They lived with Him long enough
to understand, but their Memory and Imagination had not yet become
servants, and they were':, disturbed very often over petty thingslike
which one of them was the greatest.
It may be well to look at some of these first Disciples' and learn from
In the Garden of Olives Jesus asked Peter to pray lest he be tested and
fail. But Scripture tells us that Peter was so grieved over the prospect
of the Master's suffering and death that he fell asleep.
It was perfectly normal for Peter to feel concerned ands troubled over
what was to come. It is always difficult to see those we love sufferin
fact, we call this concern, Compassion. But Peter did not use this emotion
to spur himself on to prayer and meditation. He permitted it to take
possession of him and make him sad to the point where he became
He began to feel helpless and hopeless and went to sleep in an effort
to blot the sorrow from his memory. He failed when the test came because
his faith was not strengthened by prayer and compassion.
Jesus, on the other hand, had also felt fear of the suffering to come,
but He did not live in that fear even for a moment. Though the fear was
strong enough to make Him sweat blood and ask that the chalice be taken
away, He rose above it and lived in His Understanding by presenting to
Himself the necessity of this hour for the Redemption of mankind and the
acquiescence of His Will to the Father's Will.
Many times during His life He told us not to worry about tomorrow,
because to worry is to project a feeling of hopelessness in the future.
This is a misuse of our Memory and Imagination. (Matt. 6:33)
He realizes we must plan for the future, but we can plan without worry.
God has given each one of us talents and He expects us to render an
account of them. The use of these talents often entails the planning of
future projects to render a service to mankind, but here again He does not
want us to worry.
We use the talents we possess to the best of our ability and leave the
results to God. We are at peace in the knowledge that He is pleased with
our efforts and that His Providence will take care of the fruit of those
At another time Jesus said, "If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he
has already committed adultery with her, in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) This
is a perfect example of misusing our Memory and Imagination.
Our Imagination is greatly influenced by our senses. Our eyes see, and
a picture imprinted upon our Memory. Our nose smells, and our mouth waters
with the aroma. Our ears hear, and we are calmed or frightened by the
sound. Our tongue tastes, and we rejoice in the variety of foods that
delight our appetite. Our sense of touch can make us feel warm with the
embrace of a loved one or shiver from cold as we face the wind.
All these senses affect our Memory and Imagination and together they
make life enjoyable and livable. They are good, and designed by God to
enhance daily living with beauty, joy, and laughter. They also warn us of
danger when we touch the flame of a match and feel pain. They remind us to
eat by a pain in our stomach, and thrill our hearts when we see the beauty
of a sunset.
These faculties render us a service by a feeling of fear sometimesa
kind of intuition that warns us of danger or pain. The memory of slipping
on an icy sidewalk makes us careful as our Imagination relives the
incident so vividly that we can feel the pain of the fall.
All these wonderful services are rendered by these faculties, but if we
misuse them, as in the case of the man looking upon a woman with lust,
then we turn these faculties against Godthe
Supreme Giver, and against ourselves. We use them for evil purposes and
totally forget their original purpose in our lives.
It is true that we cannot always help or prevent the rapid pictures and
thoughts that enter our minds, but we can prevent the entertaining of
those thoughts, and the occasions that promote them. And this is what
Jesus warned us of when He said the man "looked" at the woman. It was a
deliberate act to excite his Memory and Imagination for evil purposes.
We must remember that to give in is to live in, and so the man had
already committed adultery with her in his heart.
The statement "How will I know unless I try," has been the cause of
great evil in our lives. A young girl wants t try dope to feel its
effects, and it unbalances these faculties to the extent that it is nearly
impossible to reestablish balance.
And so it is with every other evil. If all we think of is satisfying
our sense of taste, we can become gluttons in food or drink. If we desire
to experience everything there is in life to experience, then we face the
danger of running these beautiful faculties into the ground and living on
a animal level. Our Will becomes so weak that we live almost by instinct
instead of as intelligent human beings.
We can also live in these faculties to the extent that the fire of hate
is enkindled at the least provocation. We ca feed this fire with the straw
of past offenses until the wind of our Imagination takes over and we are
destroyed by the rage of hate and bitterness.
Even our prayer life and good deeds can be lived in this facultythe
instead of using our Memory to recall and realize some incident in the
Lord's life that we may imitate Him, we concoct methods of showing off our
good deeds and spiritual life so as to attract the attention of others.
Jesus warned us to be careful not to parade our good deeds before men
to attract their notice. He wants us to witness to His Power in our lives
by good example, but the motive for them must be His honor and glory, not
just a way of attracting attention to ourselves.
He said that our left hand must not know what our right hand is doing.
In other words, we must be careful that our Memory does not mentally
rehearse our good works in a way that our Imagination pats us on the back
with a wonderful, wonderful feeling that we are so very good. (Matt.
Our Memory in this case should bring to mind the Goodness of God in our
regard, and our Imagination be used only to invent new ways of helping our
neighbor in his trials and needs. They are not to be used to compliment
ourselves and show us off before men.
This is also true in our spiritual lives. Jesus said that we are not to
imitate the "hypocrites who pray standing in the Temple and on street
corners for people to see them." (Matt. 6:5,6) To invent ways to pray so
that others can see us and think of us as holy individuals, takes a great
deal of Imagination; and the. Memory of past compliments will prod us on
to even greater heights of folly.
Our Memory and Imagination can be used in a most marvelous way in our
prayer life, but the emphasis must be on God, not ourselves. Since all
things are present to God, we can use our Memory to recall an incident in
the life of Jesus, and then our Imagination can put into that scene all
the visual props necessary to "see" it in our minds.
We can recall Jesus sitting on a large rock in the cool of the night,
resting from a tension-filled day. Our Imagination can picture ourselves
going over to Him, sitting beside Him, and taking His hand in ours to give
After our Memory has rendered us that service, our Understanding and
Will can take over, that is, our Faith and Love. Then we can speak to Him
as a friend speaks to a friend.
Our Understanding and Will are areas known only to, God and ourselves.
He alone knows the light we possess and the direction of our Will, and so
Jesus says, "But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have
shut your door, pray to your Father, who is in that secret place, and your
Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you." (Matt. 6:5,6)
The "private room" is our Will and Understanding, and, we must shut the
door of our Memory and Imagination lest they disturb us with the past or
future and clamor for attention as we go into that "secret" chamber with
the Bride-groom of our souls.
We must both live and pray in the areas of Understanding (where Faith
resides), and our Wills (in which Love resides).
It is in our Faith and Love that we dwell with God and God dwells with
us. We cannot permit our Memories to disturb our communion with God by
recalling past failures or allow our Imagination to embellish those
failures to make us feel unworthy to possess such a loving friendship with
We can misuse these faculties so that a pall of sadness falls upon us
and blots out all joy as well as the power to Reason and to Will.
We have an example of this in the disciples going to Emmaus (Luke
24:13,35). They saw their Master tortured, crucified, and die an
ignominious death, all of which was not in their plans for setting Israel
In their disappointed frame of mind they decided to g away from
Jerusalem, the scene of their frustrations an lost hopes. Though all
seemed lost to them, they did the one thing that saved themthey
continued to speak of the Master. Perhaps we could call this a
Jesus drew near, and Scripture says, "something pre vented them from
recognizing Him." (Luke 24:17) There were two reasons for this lack of
recognition: first, the glorified body was in a new conditionits
outward appearance changed; secondly, their Memory and Imagination blinded
their intellect and weakened their Faith. Their minds were clouded with
thoughts of disappointed hopes.
This is a perfect example of spiritual blindness. It is possible to be
so weighed down in an attitude of hopelessness that we cannot see the
answer to our problemseven
when that answer stands before us.
We can become totally absorbed in these two faculties until our
Intellect is not able to reason clearly. The disciples were living in the
sorrowful past, and their Imaginations projected a hopeless future.
When Jesus drew near, they were not ready to see Him. This is a level
that many people never rise above. They constantly live in an unhappy past
or a miserable future.
Their only hope lies in the fact that many of them continue to pray,
just as the disciples continued to speak of Jesus despite their sadness.
Before they could see Him, Jesus had to raise them to a Faith level; He
had to release them from themselves so that they would not only speak of
Him but begin to live in Him. Their whole minds were to be absorbed in
Him. It was not enough to speak of Him in disappointed tones.
This is how many of us pray. We do not live in our thoughts of Jesus;
we merely speak to Him in disgruntled tones of disappointment because our
requests are not granted in the way we had imagined.
Jesus demands Faith, and all during His life He looked for the kind of
Faith that believed because it trusted, and trusted because it loved.
As Jesus drew near and asked them what they were speaking about, they
were a little short-tempered and said, rather impatiently, "You must be
the only person staying in Jerusalem who does not know the things that
have been happening these last few days." (Luke 24:18)
When we live in our Memories we just cannot understand why everyone
else cannot share our own sentiments. Our busy world of the past is so
filled with ourselves, and our reasons for being sad are so clear to us,
that we cannot understand why everyone doesn't feel exactly as we do. If
that Memory is filled with hate for a particular person, we cannot fathom
how anyone could love that person. If it is filled with sadness, we cannot
imagine anyone joyful. If it is filled with resentment, we cannot imagine
anyone merciful. If it is filled with bitterness, we cannot imagine anyone
Like the disciples going to Emmaus, we are either intolerant or
impatient with anyone who is not living in the same world we live in.
Jesus asked them what happened that caused them to be so downcast. But
because they were living in the past, their answer was in the past tense.
"We had hoped," they told Him, "that He would be the one to set
They had hoped. In other words, they hoped no longer. His death
proved to them that He was not the one they were waiting for.
Once these disciples lost hope, their Understanding became completely
muddled, as their next statement proves. "And this is not all," they
continued, "two whole days have gone by since it all happened and some
women from our group have astounded us: they went to the tomb in the early
morning, and when they did not find the body, they came back to tell us
they had seen a vision of Angels, who declared He was alive. Some of our
friends went to the tomb and found everything exactly as the women had
reported, but of Him they saw nothing." (Luke 24:21-23)
These men had definite plans as to what the Master was to doeven
His rising from the dead was imagined by them. They heard Him say several
times that He would rise on the third day, and they, no doubt, imagined
that Angels would blow trumpets, all the people would run to the tomb, and
the Master would rise in triumph and begin to rule their nation. Yes,
nothing would stop them. They would rule the world.
They had heard the Master speak of higher things, but, as He spoke they
used His words only to plunge deeper' within themselves. They had definite
plans and ideas and they made His words fit those plans.
They never seemed to be able to rise above a narrow level of
Understanding. When the women told them the tomb was empty they became
more discouraged and decided to get away from all this nonsense.
They walked away from a truth that came from God, to look for a truth
that would fit their own ideas. But their power to understand was so
weakened by their uncontrolled emotions that they could not see the real
It is not only the cares of this world that choke the Word in our
hearts, it is the invisible daydreams, neatly planned and lovingly clung
to, that create a cloud of unreality around us. It can become a way of
life of unrealized ambitions or uncontrolled hatreds.
We may pride ourselves that all we feel is justified, in the same way
as these disciples did. We can find good reasons for every ill-tempered
moment of our lives. But, somehow, down deep, our inner soul cries out for
release from the slavery of its passionsit
seeks to rise above itself and live in the peace of His Spirit, and in the
possession of His Truth.
The disciples did not understand that there was only one way to accept
the Crucifixion and the Agony of the past few days, and that was to rise
above it and not fall beneath it or run away from it.
They had already fallen under the weight of suffering, and now they
were trying to escape from everything and everyone who reminded them of
those trying days.
One thing they did not understand, and that was that their real
problems were within. They were the cause of their unrestrained emotions.
Even when the women assured them of the empty tomb, they simply refused to
They nurtured their wounds by rehearsing all the scenes that were
responsible for their sadness and no comforting words could enter within
As their problem was emotional, nothing emotional could help them. They
felt the women were hysterical and not worthy of credence.
They had lived for three days in their memories and now it was time to
rise above this level to the level of faith.
Jesus said to them, "Foolish men! So slow to believe the full message
of the Prophets. Was it not ordained that the Christ should suffer and so
enter into His glory?"
Yes, they understood part of the message but not the full message. As
they listened to the Master, their emotions had accepted only those things
that appealed to themthe
honor, the glory, and the prestige. Their Understanding was never allowed
to reason out the necessity of the Christ's suffering and death. This was
deeper than their reason could fathomit
was on the level of faith, and to this level they had not as yet ascended.
Then Jesus began to explain the Scriptures to them. He started with
Moses and went throughout the Scriptures, explaining those passages that
referred to Him.
Slowly, as He explained, their minds were turned away from themselves
and became centered on Him. They began to reason with their intellects
instead of their emotions. They were no longer merely talking about
were living within Him. As He spoke, they began to see the purpose
of His suffering. They realized that it was foreseen as something
necessary in order for the Christ to enter into His Glory and redeem
Suddenly, everything made sense, and after they recognized Him in the
breaking of bread, they remembered that their hearts burned within them as
Yes, they still had emotions as their Memory recalled every passage He
brought to mind, but now they were free of themselves and set on God.
Their Memories were being used to serve their reasoning powers to arrive
at a logical conclusiona
conclusion that their Wills could accept.
Are we saying the disciples should not have felt grieved over their
Master's death? No, it was human and necessary that they express their
sorrow over the injustice and cruelty of His Death.
But this was not the real cause of their sorrow. They were grieved more
over their disappointed hopes than the injustice of His suffering. They
felt a sense of loss over His Death, but even this was for selfish
reasons. To them, His Death meant more tyranny from the Romans and little
chance of liberation.
Their Wills had chosen to be guided by their Memory and Imagination,
and as a result their souls were cast into sadness and grief.
We see this identical thing in the case of Mary Magdalene. The Lord had
forgiven her many sins and freed her of seven devils. She witnessed His
suffering and grieved over His Death.
She, too, heard Him say He would rise on the third day, but this woman,
who had lived her entire life on an emotional level, saw nothing in all
that happened but darkness and desperation.
Even the sight of Angels could not dispel the darkness. She was
completely absorbed in her loss, and her Will had chosen to live in the
emptiness of a loved one gone forever.
We can look at Elias in the First Book of Kings and find one of many
who succumbed to the danger of discouragement. He had succeeded in showing
the people the true God as fire came from Heaven to consume the evening
sacrifice. But when Jezebel sent Elias the message that he would be as
dead as the four hundred and fifty Prophets he had killed, he ran away. He
fled into the wilderness and sat under a furze shrub and asked God to take
away his life.
In accomplishing God's Will, he succeeded only in making himself a
hunted man. His Imagination drew pictures of a hopeless situation, and the
man who performed miracles gave in to a depth of sadness nigh unto death.
As he slept under the tree, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him and
gave him a hot scone to eat and water to drink. But, like Mary Magdalene,
the sight of an Angel meant nothing. He was satisfied in his misery. His
sadness was a kind of anesthetic that numbed his faculty to reason, and
blotted out the next arduous course to take.
It was an easy road, sitting under a tree feeling helpless, with a
perfect excuse not to do anything else to further God's Kingdom.
All three of these accounts show how we can and often do live in our
Memory and Imagination. We love to hash over bitter experiences in order
to justify our own weaknesses. We project the future as a continuation of
our unhappy past and begin to live in a world of unreality.
We call it being realistic because we know what the past has been and
knowing ourselves we can mentally predict the future. But it is all very
unreal because even a bitter past can be used to our advantage, and our
faith assures us that the One who brought us into the world will take care
of every detail of our lives.
It seems to our finite minds, however, that God does not really know
every circumstance and incident that makes us what we are. We want so much
to be justified in our anger, hatred, resentment, ambition, and greed.
All these disturbing thoughts press in upon our Memory and Imagination,
and we begin to actually live in these faculties. Everything that happens
to us during the day is somehow related to some past incident, and tension
mounts upon tension until our whole life is torn up by Memories and
It is as if a million tiny webs cover our being, blotting out the light
of grace and the air of peace.
We are tied down and hampered by our own faculties,
because they are so close to us we cannot emerge from the darkness.
What is the solution to this problem? Are we to become stoical and
cold? Are we to pretend we have no problems or feelings? Are we to blot
all feeling from our souls by some feat of Will Power?
The answer to all these questions is NO! At the risk of being
repetitious, it must be said again and again that our Memory and
Imagination are gifts from God and must be used as a key to unlock a depth
of Faith that is hidden in our Understanding.
When we are offended we feel hurtso
hurt sometimes that tears fill our eyes to express our emotions.
When we are hurt, we do not have a problem as much as an occasion to be
like the Father, who lets His sun rise on the good and the bad. But many
times what is permitted by God for our sanctification becomes a problem
when we do not release it the moment it happens. If anything disturbing is
not blocked out by the light of Faith, it drains all hope from our souls.
It becomes a problem, and a problem that may be with us the rest of our
At Baptism we were given the Theological Virtue of Hope, to elevate our
Memory to a higher level. We are not only to store the experiences and the
accumulated knowledge of everyday life, but we can now store the living
words of God's Son, His Revelations, and His life and example, in order to
overcome our disturbing Memories and overworked Imagination.
The recalling and retention of these living Words permits our Memory to
rise above the things of this world and to live in the Word of God.
Through Prayer and Scripture and the Sacraments, our Memory begins to
store good things and to put aside the rancor that keeps it in a constant
It begins to live on a supernatural levelseeing
all things in the light of Hope. When it recalls an offense, it should
substitute the words of Jesus and remember how He forgave and how He used
every opportunity that came His way for the Honor and Glory of the Father.
When the Memory recalls a failure, it should immediately substitute the
life of Jesus. The seeming failure of His Mission turned out to be the
greatest success the world has ever known.
When the Memory recalls a past sin that looms ahead like a giant
monster to devour us, it must substitute many passages of Scripture and
Parables that show the Mercy of God towards His people.
When our Imagination begins to torture us with various pictures of
glory or despair, our Memory must recall the humility of Jesusto
quiet our ambitions, and must recall the Mercy of Godto
raise us up from despair.
When our Imagination projects a future that is dark and miserable, our
Memory should recall God's Providenceto
assure us of His concern and protection.
When our Imagination telescopes all our problems until they look
unsurmountable, our Memory must recall the words of Jesus when He said
that if we had the faith of a mustard seed we could move mountains.
We must substitute a good thought for a disturbing thought. The
substitution process is a positive way of overcoming our faults and
changing our lives.
If the substitution is on the natural level, it may bring a change of
thought but not a change of life that will effect our union with God.
If someone offends us by some cutting remark, we can immediately
substitute a mental picture of a lotus flower in a calm lake. If our
Imagination is strong enough, it may change our pattern of thought and
calm our anger. And if we make a habit of thinking beautiful thoughts in
the midst' of chaos, it may become a habit that gives us a natural
serenity. This kind of substitution may lead to control, but will not lead
us above ourselves to a supernatural level.
The change we pattern for ourselves must be super natural, not natural.
A change on the natural level ma make us better human beings, but will
never make us radiate the image of Jesus.
One day Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can
come to the Father except through Me." (Jn. 14:6)
He is the Way by which our Memory and Imagination must be held in
control. He is the Truth that our Under standing clings to in order to
rise above its limited capacity to see the Mysteries of God. He is the
Life, that is, Love, b which our Wills are made strong enough to overcome
the greatest obstacles, as we journey Home.
Yes, we must substitute the Words and Life of Jesus to arrive at the
truth of every situation. Our entire life is an exercise by which our
souls are molded and changed, for better or worse, by the way we use every
situation, disappointment, joy, or sorrow.
We must strive to live a holy lifethe
life of a son of God, not only a good life as a mere creature of God.
Only God can give us supernatural life. Only Jesus is the Way, the
Light, the door of the sheepfold, and the Resurrection. Only through Him
can we rise from a life of imperfection to a life of holiness.
This is why, at Baptism, He has given each faculty of our, soul an
raise it above its natural level that it may live in Him.
To raise our Memory and Imagination to a higher level He has
given us the Virtue of Hope. Hope assures us of His Love and Mercy to
quiet the memories of a sinful past, and reminds us of His tender
Justice to prevent us from becoming presumptuous.
To raise our Understanding to a higher level, He has given us
Faith. It is Faith that raises a finite mind
with a limited reasoning power, to the heights of God
upon hidden Mysteries as a child revels in the perfections of its
To raise our Will to a higher level He has given us Love. It
is Love that spurs our Wills on to heroic deeds, to sacrifice, and to
joy in the midst of suffering and persecution.
Jesus' Death and Resurrection merited grace for each one of us. Gracea
Divine Participation in His Nature, raises our souls from a natural level
to a supernatural level.
As our natural life is a gift from God, so this new birth in Christ is
a gift from God. It is something that must grow each day by our taking
advantage of every opportunity to become more like Jesus.
The spiritual faculties of a Christian must be elevated to a higher
plane. Though he fail often, the Christian ever seeks to unite his will to
God's Will, and he knows how to take advantage even of his failures.
The Infused Virtues are there in seed form, ready for us to water by
our effort, in order that He may bear fruit in us.
We need not fear when our emotions seem to take control. As long as we
continue to make an effort to control them, Jesus Himself will come to us
and bless our efforts with success.
Life is not a Utopia; it is a proving ground; and a Christian must be
able to use every kind of situation to his advantage.
Jesus said, "This people honors me only with lip-service, while their
hearts are far from me." (Mark 7:6)
To speak of our hearts is to speak of our emotions, and we must give
the faculties of our Memory and Imagination to the Father, that the
faculty, made to His Image and Likeness, may beget Jesus in our souls.
To accomplish this task and cooperate with the Spirit in renewing these
faculties, we must look upon everything through the eyes of Hope.
It is a lack of Hope that makes our Memory retain resentments and our
Imagination project fear into the future.
Our Memory will always bring back people and circumstances from our
past that may disturb us, but it is only when we deliberately entertain
these thoughts and encourage them that they take possession of us and we
fall under their power.
It doesn't matter what kind of disturbing memory haunts us, Hope
assures us that God brings good out of evil for all those who love Him.
It is because we make so many exceptions to this rule that we never
seem to move forward in holiness.
We know God is with us in one particular situation, but we doubt His
Providence in another. There are times in our life when our Memory
completely blanks out God's past intervention, or care of us, and we are
left alone on the sea of life.
Hope is that virtue that makes our Memory recall God's; Plan in our
moment to moment existence. It gives us the. ability to substitute other
memories more positive and assuring.
The Beatitudes are counsels of Hope that are positive aids in every
negative situation. It might be well to look at the Beatitudes to see how
they are in truth an example of Memory control and the fruit of Hope.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. To be
poor in spirit is to be detached from the things of this world, but most
of all, detached from our selves.
How much control of our Memory and Imagination is necessary to be
detached! Our Memory can recall past successes, and our Imagination live
in the ventures to comeall
of which will be as successful as the past. These II faculties can make us
ambitious for honors, glory, and; riches, not for His sake, but
solely for our own sake.
We can spend hours reveling in our self-esteem, and no-one can enter
into that inner sanctum of selfnot
even God. Yes, we can become very much attached to our talents, successes,
position, and petty ambitionsso
much, so that we live in a dream-world, where the entire population is me,
myself, and I.
But we must accept the pain of detachment from earthly things, as the
Virtue of Hope reminds us of the eternal reward of controlling ourselves
in this world. We look ahead, not in a dream-world, but to the next world.
We can accept the suffering of a moment as we gaze upon eternal joy.
Blessed are the gentle; they shall have the earth for their heritage.
If there is one area in which our Memory and Imagination can go out of
control, it is the area of anger. All our anger seems justified, but most
of the time it is not. Our Memory can recall past injuries that are twenty
years old; our imagination picture the scene and embellish it with every
recollection. We can become angry and hateful in the present moment
because of something that happened long ago. Worse than that, we can live,
and continue to live for years, in that past moment of anger. It can warp
our souls and harden our hearts until we become the very thing we hate.
We can even use Scripture to substantiate our anger by quoting passages
out of context. And then we go our way with a false sense of security,
while we forget many other passages of Scripture that tell us to be
patient, gentle, and to do good to those who hate us.
We become attached to living in our hateful little world, and smug in
our own complacency. And suddenly one morning we wake up to realize we are
all alone in our little world. We are without friend or foe. We have been
unable to love enough to have a friend, or courageous enough to take a
stand on anything that would create an enemy.
But Hope comes along and tells us that if we control our tempers,
anger, past resentments and bitterness,every
human being on earth will be a friend. Even enemies who render us the
service of giving us the opportunity to forgive, have, in the act of
offending, added jewels to our crown.
Hope keeps our Memory and Imagination from harboring resentments and
gives us the assurance that no matter how dark things seem to be, our
little boat is being guided by the hand of a loving and omnipotent Father.
It gives us a light heart in regard to disturbing occurrences and helps
us to see God behind everything that happens.
Yes, the whole world will be our heritage if we can keep it where it
the outside of us. Then only will our innermost being be at its peak to
give the world it best.
Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.
Jesus was not only speaking of compassion for those in sorrow, but He
was speaking of all those who repent c their sins. The feeling of sorrow
for past sins brings down upon us the comfort of God. This kind of sorrow
is born c a deep repentance for having offended God, who has don nothing
but good to us every moment of our lives.
This kind of mourning is unselfish. It is centered o God. But how many
of us possess this kind of sorrow? Our Memory is filled with a sorrow for
past sins, but it is born c guilt, not of love. We are not so much
concerned with of fending a loving Father as we are afraid of punishment
Sometimes our motives for sorrow are lower than a fear c punishment. We
are ashamed to think we could commit such a sin, and if that sin is
public, our guilt torments u even more. All of this kind of guilt is
selfish and deprive: God of glory.
There is no sin, or combination of sins, greater than the Infinite
Mercy of God, and our sorrow must be Godcentered
and not self-centered.
This is the area where our Imagination and Memory can create havoc if
we are not careful. We must put into practice the Virtue of Hope that the
Lord has given us in order to control these faculties.
Guilt over past sins can create a shadow of doom and uneasiness every
moment of our lives. The past can torture us with feelings of guilt so
great that God becomes a terrible judge in our minds, and all the fatherly
and loving attributes of God are smothered beneath the smoldering fire of
fear and despair.
We have a good example of the right and wrong way o using the memories
of past sins in Peter and Judas.
Since denial is a form of betrayal, and betrayal is a form of denial,
we can say that both Peter and Judas denied and betrayed Our Lord. Though
both fell, each reacted to his fall in a different way.
Peter rose to the level of Hope and was comforted by the Lord Himself.
Judas sank deeper and deeper into his Memory and Imagination and
despaired; he refused to rise above himself to God.
The remembrance of Peter's sin made him humble and dependent upon God's
Mercy. The remembrance of Judas' sin centered itself on it's hideousness,
and he despaired.
Peter wept bitterly because he had offended such a good Master, and
that Goodness made him throw himself into the open arms of Infinite Mercy.
Judas screamed at the Pharisees that he had betrayed innocent blood,
but his emphasis was on himself and on what he had done. He was disturbed
over his conscience but not over His Lord. He had failed in a cheap
business deal and his only thought was to return the money.
Peter's Memory brought back to him his sin, but Hope used it as a rung
in his ladder to God. He was sure of his Master's forgiveness because his
Master was God. All his life Peter benefited by that fall as he threw
himself more and more into the one thing necessary in this lifeto
serve God. His fall was used to protect him from pride, and with a humble
heart he was capable of doing great things for the Kingdom.
Judas, however, centered all his sorrow on himself and it ended in a
remorse devoid of Hope. His Memory and Imagination took such a hold on him
that he could not believe in the Mercy of God. He had lived so long on an
emotional level that he was without Hope, and finally despaired.
Although we may not totally despair as Judas did, many of us waste
precious time living over past sins and permitting the sorrow for those
sins to grow into an agonizing remorse that fills our souls with sadness.
Peter had Hope and never denied his Master again. Judas lost Hope, and
destroyed himself. We must use all our past regrets as opportunities for
greater things, because they have taught us to depend on God and not on
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right; they shall
Jesus is telling us that when we seek to live a holy life, that desire
will be satisfied. He is also telling us that our Memory and Imagination
must hunger and thirst for God and His Perfections in order to be
If we are content to feed these faculties only the husks of swine, we
shall find ourselves starving in the midst of plenty. We can easily lose a
hunger for God by rationalizing all our actions and finding excuses for
not praying, reading spiritual books or studying Scripture.
Our Memory can recall only the things we feed it, and our Imagination
can visualize only those things that fill out heart, for where our heart
is there our treasure is also.
It is very important that we be discerning as to what we see and hear,
for what we see and what we hear are like so many jars on the shelf of our
Memory. Ever so often we take a jar off of that shelf and look at it. If
the jar is filled with spoiled food, and our Memory and Imagination are
constantly fed that food, then they shall starve and become diseased.
A constant diet of dog food could never nourish a human body, and
neither can a constant diet of worldly thoughts and desires nourish our
Memory and Imagination that they may be satisfied.
Our Memory, made to the Image of the Father, must be fed by the food
pleasing to Him. It can only grow strong when it is fed by the same source
from which it came. We do God and ourselves a great injustice when we
treat our Memory as if it were a garbage can ready to be filled with the
refuse of this world.
We must make every effort to treat these faculties with the respect
they deserve, for they render us a great service, and to mistreat them is
to destroy ourselves.
It is in seeking for God, and remembering our past offenses and present
weaknesses, that Hope manifests one of its beautiful qualitiesthat
ability to persevere,: by zealously doing our part, knowing that God will
do His part. We must be careful to read good books, listen and see those
things that lift our minds to a higher level, and speak the words we would
not be ashamed to say in His Presence.
Everything we hear and see is recorded in our Memory,' ready to
encourage or disturb us at any moment. If we hunger and thirst for the
things of God, our Memory will be fed the bread of heaven and we shall be
satisfied, for it will be filled with the food that lasts for all
Blessed are the merciful; they shall have mercy shown them.
The remembrance of past and present injuries, especially those that are
unjust, are perhaps the most difficult to control.
If we have offended someone and they have responded with angry words,
we can somehow accept it, if for no other reason than we have made someone
we dislike miserable.
But if someone does or says something that we feel is undeserved or
unjust, then we store it in our Memoryin
a very special corner. We call that corner "just anger." We almost pride
ourselves in justifying our anger by telling ourselves and everyone else
that it is right and true.
In the meantime, our Memory is becoming more and more saddened by what
it is being fed, and our Imagination builds up a case against the person
that is so convincing that severity and injustice replace mercy and
compassion. We become so wrapped up in our own injuries that we speak of
nothing but truth and justice, and in justifying ourselves we refuse to
forgive and forget.
It is so easy to blame others for our failure to see God's Will in
everything. It takes little effort to see the injustice of every offense
hurled at us. Our passions rise up to meet every occasion, and the thought
of controlling themby
recalling the words of Jesus to be merciful in the same way that mercy has
been rendered to usis
pushed into the background as being unreal.
We seemed possessed by the desire to call a spade a spade, and take
pleasure in rehashing old injurieslike
a knight in armor recalling his victories.
Yes, the world must know we have been injuredand
this somehow takes away the pain. But what a great price for such little
comfort. Each time we relive a past injury, it gnaws at our hearts and
takes away a little more love. And, suddenly, we find ourselves cold,
suspicious, unforgiving, and full of self-pity.
Jesus realized this when He told us to forgive seventy times seven
times a day. Without forgiveness on our part, our Memory and Imagination
are squeezed in the small area of self, unable to breathe the fresh air of
love and freedom.
It is as if those faculties were compressed in a small jar, with the
lid of hate so tight that it creates a vacuum of selfishness and spiritual
death in our souls. Our reasoning powers are held captive, and our Wills
become entrenched in the line of least resistance. It is then that we are
tossed to and fro like a ship on a stormy sea.
What ability we possess to look at the situation objectively is lost in
the maze of confusion constantly being stirred up by uncontrolled
Here again, Hope comes to the rescue. Hope gives us the assurance that
it is not important to be positive of who hurt who and for what reason. It
is only important that we seize the opportunity to imitate Jesus.
Hope does not take away the hurt, because being hurt isn't always the
most difficult part. The difficult part of every offense is not so much
the offense as the inability on our part to see any good reason for being
offended. Of what purpose are enemies, insults, persecutions, and
Here is where Hope elevates us to a higher level, for it assures us
that even though we have failed, or been insulted, it has all passed
through the mind of God and bears the stamp of His approval. For, how can
I be merciful or forgiving if there is no-one to forgive? Hope, again,
sees opportunities rather than injuries, and it develops within our souls
a beautiful spirit of merciful understandingan
understanding of poor, weak, fallen human nature.
So dear is a merciful heart to God, that it brings down upon its Memory
and Imagination a calm and serenity undreamed of before. The soul can
truly pray for and do good to its enemies as Jesus asked, because its
faculties are free.
God Himself will justify the soul, either in this life or in the next,
so it need not put its Memory and Imagination into a tail spin as it acts
out the part of judge, prosecutor, and jury.
Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God.
Purity of heart is a broad subject and includes many facets of daily
living. It means having God first in our lives. It means a clean mind, and
it means having high spiritual goals and values.
Here again our Memory and Imagination can build up or completely
destroy our union with God. We mentioned before how Jesus warned us about
having lust in our hearts, "If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has
already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). He also
told us that where our hearts were we would also find our treasure.
This is an indication of how much emphasis Jesus put upon the emotions
as being a source of harm if they are not kept under control.
People who feed their Memory and Imagination on X-rated movies and bad
books are slowly committing spiritual suicide. The unfortunate part of it
all is the fact that since their feelings are involved they are not aware
of the danger.
It is similar to the poor people who were on the Titanic. They were
eating, drinking, and dancing as they came closer and closer to a giant
iceberg that was ready to tear away the secure deck beneath their dancing
feet. Suddenly, the fun was over. Reality met them face to face over the
And so it will be with those who use the marvelous faculties of Memory
and Imagination as garbage cans, whose odor is obnoxious to everyone
except the owners. They become so obsessed with feelings that they cannot
see the glacier of ice tearing away all the love of God they ever had.
Though they often speak of love, it is merely a flicker on a very dark
Lust is not the only vice that can possess a man's heart. Worldly
pursuits for the sake of personal glory can also destroy our hearts. Man
can misuse his Imagination and never be satisfied with the possessions he
has already accumulated. His mind can be so filled with greed for things,
money, glory and honor, that he will lie, cheat, and steal to obtain them.
He imagines himself doing great things, and while he struggles he prays
for help from God as he makes all sorts of promises as to what he will do
for God once he has become rich and influential.
But his promises, like his dreams, are imaginary. They are merely the
trick of an overworked Imagination ready to con even God. Lies are born in
the Imagination, and if they are stored in the Memory, they become real.
Jesus told the Pharisees one day that they were like their father, the
devil, who is the father of lies. They were proud men whose Memory and
Imagination had puffed them up to the point where they began to believe
they were the greatest of men.
An overworked Imagination can make our whole life a perpetual lie. We
can live in a world of make-believe, never facing truth or realityalways
trying to be someone we're not.
Hope lets us rise above all this fantasy by bringing to mind that no
matter how beautiful or loving we desire things to be in this world, it is
as nothing compared to what is to come. It gives us the courage to put
forth the effort we need to overcome the lethargy that overpowers us and
makes us dream of building castles without laying a stone.
Hope puts our hearts on a higher plane and permits us to persevere as
we strive for a pure heart in thought and in deed.
Thoughts and desires may pester us like gnats in a swamp, but Hope
blows a gentle breeze that keeps everything that is not of God, away from
our hearts and souls. He has shown us the Way, and we attach our Memory
and Imagination to the anchor of Hope, that they may stand still and firm
during the storms of life.
Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called sons of God.
The Lord did not say that those who have peace are blessed, but those
who MAKE peace. Surely we are blest by God when we have peace, but the
good God was telling us that there is an effort needed: we must be
peacemakers within our own souls.
We must make peace, which is indicative of effort on our part.
Peace is not the end result of everything in perfect order, with nothing
to disturb us. If we are to make peace, it means that peace ordinarily is
not our portion.
Peace is like anything else we make. We have an idea, a plan, material,
and effort, and with this combination we succeed in making anything from a
cake to an office building.
Because each person has a different temperament, with its inherent
virtues and faults, each one of us must make peace in a different way. But
no matter what that temperament may be, it is certain that all of us must
keep our Memory and Imagination under control.
People lose peace over past sins, offenses, failures, and unfulfilled
dreams. Fear of the future also causes a loss of peace, fear of illness,
age, financial loss, and beauty.
It is so easy to see how important Hope is in our lives. God has given
this uplifting virtue to us to calm our fears, to put a reason behind
every unexplainable tragedy, to give us joy, to put Him above everything,
and to realize we are merely pilgrims traveling Home, and these unpleasant
occurrences in life are only part of the journey.
When we put our heart and soul into things, we live in a perpetual fear
of losing them, and we experience a kind of vacuum at the very thought of
being stripped of them. And yet, this very stripping is part of the
growing process of Hope in our hearts. We are being shown, in a very
graphic way, that everything in this world is passing,so
many reminders that thus passes the glory of this world.
When we permit our Imagination to rebel and our Memory to bring back
past glory, our souls are in constant turmoil-torn by what we want to be
and what we are.
We must make peace between these truthswhat
we were, what we wanted to be, and what we are. Once Hope succeeds in
doing this, we have peace. Hope puts all our desires in God who is
everlasting and does not change. It makes us face reality with joy. It
sees everything in the light of Eternity. Past sins are used to maintain
humility, not despair. Past glory is used to maintain confidence, not
pride. Past failures are used as guideposts of our abilities, not as
stepping stones to discouragement.
Hope has the ability to use everythinggood,
bad, and indifferentas
opportunities for greater holiness. It is ever vibrant and ingenious in
keeping our poor souls above ourselves and raising us to a higher level.
Yes, we make peace in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by
ever seeking to bring good out of evil, doing all in our power to raiseour
neighbor above those things that hamper his peace, having courage to
change the things that can be changed, while having hope that others will
change the things we cannot change.
Hope does not pretend that a particular situation is not serious,
neither is it flippant or flighty, refusing to face reality. Hope rouses
our Memory and Imagination to complete realityseeing
both visible and invisible causes and remedies.
Without Hope, we see only one side of a situationthe
miserable side; but with Hope we see also the good side. We see reasons,
we possess more and more assurance that God will make all things well.
St. Paul lost his peace one day, and every bit of Hope he ever had
seemed to be gone. Everything was pressing in upon him and the future
suddenly looked hopeless. He called this darkness of soul, "an angel of
Satan" (2 Cor. 12:7).
The man who had spoken so eloquently on fighting the good fight, being
zealous for God's honor and glory, loving enemies no matter what they did,
and rejoicing to be found worthy to suffer something for the Kingdom,yes,
this man became so depressed that he could not practice what he preached.
He had always been strong; he could always see the solution to other
people's problems; he could see God's hand in their persecutions; and he
could see clearly how God brought good out of evil; but this day, he saw
nothing but darkness, and the strong Paul became very weak.
It was something he had not experienced before, and three times He
asked God to deliver him from this feeling of failure and depression.
The answer he received was not the one he expected. His Memory and
Imagination had successfully brought back all the sufferings of the past
and had projected worse things in the future. There was only one solution
to such a problem, and that wasdeliverance.
The suffering and persecution must stop, or he could go no further.
And then Jesus answered his prayer and said to him, "My grace is enough
for you: my power is at its best in weakness." Now, Paul had a whole new
concept of holiness. It was not becoming strong in himself, but in using
God's grace in weakness that would make him holy.
No matter what his Memory and Imagination told him, no matter how dark
the future, no matter how weak he was, he would be strong through God's
grace and not through his own herculean strength.
In fact, his very weakness was the foundation upon which God would
accomplish greater things. It was through God's strength that Paul would
continue to work, despite the insults, hardships, persecutions, agonies,
and his own weakness. (2 Cor. 12:10)
He would use these heretofore hindrances as objects of Hope. He would
boast that he suffered and was weak so that God's Power in him would be
But what was this power that would help him overcome discouragement,
sadness, and depression?
What kind of power was more manifest in the midst of misery than in
What kind of power would calm his Memory and Imagination and enable him
to rise above to peace and serenity?
What kind of paradox was thispower
dependent upon weakness, and weakness bearing the fruit of power?
To our human way of reasoning, all the hardships Paul was experiencing
were anything but graces. He could see no good in his miseries.
His Memory and Imagination rebelled against a constant diet of
frustration, even though Hope kept him from despair.
The Lord was teaching His Apostle in gradual stages. Paul's zeal had
caused him to persecute the Christians, and that same zeal pushed him
forward to overcome every force once he was converted. His whole attitude
towards life situations, good and bad, had to change. Faith demanded that
he begin to think like Jesus, and to see everything in the light of Faith:
he must live on a Faith level.
His convictions were strong, and he went out to make converts with the
same zeal with which he had persecuted them. His emotions were on a high
level as he spoke to anyone who would listen, yet there was something Paul
still had to learn, and that wasto
live by Faith.
The man of emotions had to see God and God's people in a different way.
He was to learn how to use his emotions to express his feelings, but not
to live in themhe
was to live in Jesusin
his Understanding. And this way of living was best reached by weakness.
We will look at this new way of living and thinking, and see how we can
be like Jesus.
Sharing His Nature through Baptism
The "Memory" is given Hope
keep it from despair, discouragement and sadness, and to protect it from
The "Understanding" is given Faith
raise it above itself to see invisible reality
The "Will" is given Supernatural Love
unite itself to God in everything it accomplishes.
SECOND KEY - UNDERSTANDING AND FAITH
Man's power to reason raises him to a level next to the Angels. He not
only knows who he is, but what he is, and this knowledge
gives him dignity and self-confidence. He does not run aimlessly through
life, guided by instinct.
He not only knows when it is time to eat, but he can grow, produce, and
prepare what he eats.
He not only responds to his name; he knows the personality, talents,
sins, weaknesses, failures, and successes of the person behind that namehimself.
And so he reasons out everything that presents itself to him. He
possesses an intellectual life
a life invisible to another man's eye but very real and active.
Only a small portion of one's thoughts are made visible by gestures,
actions, or words. A whole world of calm and storm, fear and courage,
darkness and light, are experienced in that inner realm of intellect.
Battles are fought
some are won and some are lost
that inner sanctum. And we can say in all truth that ninety-five percent
of a man is within while only five percent is visible to other men.
The intellect is a faculty that is sublime and makes us master of every
other form of life in this world. But unless it, too, is elevated to a
higher level, it may accomplish great things in the eyes of the world but
it will always be limited in its effect upon mankind. It must have
something to increase its capabilities and capacity. It must have Faith to
Faith keeps alive the realization that there is a God. I has the power
to bring that God into our very souls, for it is a grace, given by God's
own Spirit. It makes us think like God.
Faith in Jesus elevates our reasoning powers to a level of light
undreamed of before. The Understanding is no longer dependent upon visible
things alone; it penetrates and fathoms invisible thingsthings
that eye has not seen nor ear heard.
Now, we need no longer be tossed to and fro by emotions and forces that
our poor souls are unable to cope with; we can see things as He sees them.
Faith, added to our Understanding, sets our souls free into those
regions where the air is so pure that only the unburdened and unhampered
Our intellect, darkened and hampered by passions, clouded by ignorance,
and tied down with pride, can now roam the vault of Heaven and speak to
God face to face through Faith.
Now, our souls have a place to abide in this valley of tears. St. Paul
found this hidden place when he said, "There are three things that last:
Faith, Hope, and Love." (1 Cor. 13:13) Our Memory and Imagination are
lifted from the depths by Hope; our Understanding is raised into Heaven by
Faith; and our Will is united to God by Love.
We are to be renewed, and St. Paul reminded us of this when he said to
the Ephesians, "You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside
your old self which gets corrupted by following illusory desires. Your
mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution, so that you can put on the
new self that has been created in God's wayin
the goodness and holiness of the truth." (Eph. 4:23,24)
Jesus said that He was the Truth, and our Understanding must be renewed
in Him. This Spiritual Revolution must; take place as we renew our minds
and elevate them with the gifts God has given us. It is often painful,
always takes effort, planning, and prayer,but
the change is well worth'' the time and sacrifice: we shall be brought to
the very Heart of God in this life and eternal glory in the next life.
Faith in Christ Jesus elevates our Understanding so that through it, as
St. Paul says, we are made "sons of God... .
All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ."
Our finite mind, so limited by what it sees, needs Faith to lift it to
those regions where its contact with Infinite Goodness changes its way of
thinking and sheds light when everything is in darkness.
We often look at Faith as something abstractan
acceptance of a revelation that we cannot fully comprehend. But to Paul
and the first Christians it was much moreit
was something alive. It changed their lives, their minds, their heartsit
made them new men.
We can imagine Paul as he wrote to the Corinthians and said, "From now
onwards, therefore, we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh.
Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know Him
now. And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old
creation is gone, and now the new one is here. (1 Cor. 5:16,18)
It is this new creation, brought about by Faith, in our Understanding,
that we must study, look at, and grow in, if we are to be renewed.
Our Understanding is renewed by our Faith in Jesus. This means more
than an acceptance of Him as Savior. It also means, as quoted above by St.
Paul, an acceptance of Him as the Word of God, begotten of the Father.
That Word must ever dwell in our Understandingit
must be a source of living water and a never-ending source of light. To
live by those words is Faith.
Jesus mentioned the direction our Understanding must take when He said,
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word and My Father will love him and
We shall come and make Our home with him."
"Those who do not love Me, do not keep My words."
"If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, you may ask what you
will and you shall get it." (Jn. 14:23,24-15:7),
Jesus went so far as to explain to us that it is that very word that
the Father uses to prune us. After explaining to His Apostles that the
Father would prune them so they would bear more fruit, He told them how
this was done. He said, "You are pruned already, by means of the word that
I have spoken to you." (Jn. 15:3)
The words of Jesus living in our Understanding and stored in our Memory
will keep our souls in peace. Jesus was always astounded when His apostles
lacked faith, when they so quickly forgot His words and signs and yielded
to fear. They forgot to recall His words and live by them.
Jesus demanded Faith from everyonea
Faith that springs from humility. We must be humble to accept everything
Jesus told us. Our Understanding creates doubts in our hearts because it
cannot rise above its own limitations. But when it is filled with Faith,
nothing is impossible, because it judges everything by the words of Jesus
and not by its own words.
It may be well for us to look at Scripture and see how those who
followed Jesus practiced and grew in Faith.
Since sin seems to be one thing that drags our souls down, we will look
first at a sinner and see how Faith guided her through the depths.
Jesus was invited to a dinner at the house of one of the leading
Pharisees. He had been invited to the feast, not out of love, but merely
out of curiosity. They wanted to observe this young Rabbi at close range.
A woman came in, whose soul was overburdened with sin. Her Memory and
Imagination must have tormented her for years with guilt, only to drive
her deeper into greater sins, in order to forget those of the past. She no
doubt had heard about the gentle Master who understood and forgave.
What struggles must her soul have experienced when she first thought of
asking forgiveness. Her Memory must have brought back her past sins with
great rapidity and her Imagination embellished them until she seemed
surrounded with the horror of despair. But surely these faculties would
not stop there. She had lived so long in her emotions that they would
fight for control. They would picture to her a bleak future without the
sins that had given her so much pleasure. But they would hide the misery
that had accompanied every moment of that sinful past.
Her poor soul must have cried out in the agony of death as it strove to
free itself from the depths of despair.
We do not know when this woman heard the Master, but what she heard
gave her a spark of Hope, and that spark was all she needed to set off the
fire of love.
No matter what her Memory and Imagination told her, she would hang on
to His words of Mercy, Love, and Compassion. She would replace the
remembrance of her sins with the parable of the prodigal son. When her
Reason told her that God would never forgive her sins because they were so
hideous, she would remember the woman who was caught in adultery. Those
words rang in her ears, "Has no-one condemned you? Neither do I condemn
you: go away, and don't sin any more." (Jn. 8:10,11)
As she struggled, rays of light broke through the darkness, and her
Understanding began to lift itself out of the mire of filth and to breathe
in the fresh air of peace. It, too, had to change. Her Memory told her it
was hopeless, and her Understanding told her it was impossible. But the
sound of His Voice planted the seed of Faith, and the look of compassion
on His Face gave her Hope. She began to throw off the human reasoning of
her faculties and to live in the unknown regions of the Spirita
region in which she knew little but understood much. She longed for
deliverance, and the sudden realization that He would forgive, made her
seek Him out.
She heard that He had been invited to the house of the Pharisee, and
disregarding all human respect she went into the house. She looked neither
to the right nor left but made straight for the Master.
She knelt at His feet, and when she touched them, Mercy flowed out to
her as healing did to the woman who touched the hem of His garment. Her
many sins were forgiven; her struggle with her human faculties was
rewarded; she was free. The relief was so great that she began to cry, and
her tears fell copiously on His feet. She had nothing to dry them with
except her beautiful long hair. The human beauty she had used to attract
men, she would use to wipe away her tears of contrition. She would renew
her whole being
would rise above the depths into the heights.
She would not destroy her emotions; she would redirect them into the
paths of God. She would glorify His Mercy for all Eternity.
Everyone in the dining hall looked at her with disdaineveryone
but Jesus. He knew her sins but He also knew her struggle, effort, and
desires. She believed in His Words of Mercy, and she was there because of
She refused to believe or live in her own words; she would live by His
words. She did not make the mistake most of us make. No, she put aside her
finite reasoning and her unbridled imagination and believed His words.
Jesus looked at her and said, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has
saved you; go in peace." (Luke 7:48,50)
We don't often think of faith in relation to the forgiveness of sins,
and yet, the lack of faith is the real cause of so many guilt complexescomplexes
that cripple and destroy lives and happiness.
Sometimes, past sins return to haunt us because we may have offended
others, but the words of Jesus in which faith is grown, tell us that God
can and will bring good out of evil. If we have offended someone and
expressed our contrition by apologizing, and the offended person refuses
to forgive, our faith tells us to leave it to Jesus. He will take care. We
have only to pray for that person and keep our hearts free of resentment.
That is Faith.
We see from the Gospels that all those who sought forgiveness were what
we would term "big sinners." There is nothing anyone could do today that
these men and women had not done.
The difference between them and ourselves is not in the hideousness or
enormity of sin, but in our faith. They heard Him say, "It is not the
healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the
words, 'What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.' And indeed I did not come to
call the virtuous but sinners." (Matt. 9:12,13)
These words took root in the souls of these sinners; they lived by
them, and they were forgiven and freed. We, today, read them but prefer to
live by our own wordsthe
words born of a finite, unforgiving intellect, and the Truth is not in usit
is only in Jesus.
Because our Understanding is so limited, it is difficult to believe
that God forgives and forgets. We tend to judge Him by our standards or
worldly standards, and we forget that the wisdom of men is foolishness to
Jesus told us that as we measure out mercy, mercy will be measured out
to us. These are living words that must be lived and experienced, not just
read and forgotten. Our human Understanding cannot be permitted to
rationalize justice in regard to our neighbor, and mercy in our own
As it is with mercy, so it is with every other virtue. We must live our
lives by His example and words, and this is to live by Faith, because our
own reasoning and emotions are often contrary to His reasoning and Will.
We can see this in the explanation Jesus gave to His Apostles in regard
to the parable of the sower. He told them that "when anyone hears the word
without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in
his heart." In other words, the Good News was stored in their Memory
(heart) but never reached their Understanding. They never studied it,
reasoned it out, or began to live by it, so it was easy for the evil one
to push it out of their minds completely by substituting other thoughts,
imaginings and desires.
He continued, "The one who received it on patches of rock is the mar:
who hears the word and welcomes it with joy. But he has no root in him, he
does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the
word and he falls away at once." Here we have someone who has not only
stored the word in his Memory but found great joy in it. But his joy is
purely emotional; his acceptance of the word in the first place was
because of its emotional quality. Being loved by a Great God gave him a
feeling of Hope, joy, and security.
This kind of man judges the efficacy of the word entirely by his
feelings, and he will do all in his power to keep those feelings on a high
level. This kind of piety can be called in truth "the opium of the
people." God is used as a kind of tranquilizer or anesthetic to blot out
reality and life.
Because the Word never reaches the Understanding that has been elevated
by Faith, this kind of man falls away as soon as some trial or persecution
comes along. The reason for this is that any kind of suffering, in any
form, takes away his feelings.
His Understanding, still operating on a natural level, can see no
reason for trials or the cross. It is pure nonsense to him because in his
emotional world he has imagined the trials God would send him. In these
trials, he comes through in a blaze of glory, and the thought of carrying
his cross, and following the Lord, has in his mind become just another
level of emotion, not a quiet sacrifice for God.
Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, the trials that come his way
may be quite different from the ones his human reasoning has projected. He
is given an opportunity to rise to the faith levelby
accepting the trials he does not understand. Because his love for God is
shallow, even his sufferings must be tailor-made and specially built to
fit the shallow water in which his boat sails, and so he cannot accept the
trials he does not understand.
Consequently, when any suffering that he cannot explain comes his way,
or that he cannot endure with glory and attention, or understand its place
in his life, he falls away from his new found faith. He tried to put faith
in his Memory and Imagination level, and it did not fit. Like a fish out
of water, it died.
Jesus goes on to tell us of another type of person: the one who
received the word among thorns. He said that such a man "hears the word,
but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the wordand
he produces nothing."
Now here is where a great percentage of mankind live, as far as their
life with God is concerned. This is the area in which our souls are in the
greatest danger. The reason is that both worry and the desire for riches
seem to be the things that are part and parcel of daily life. There is
hardly a person alive who does not have a legitimate reason to worry.
Neither are there very many of us who do not think that a more comfortable
way of life would be to our advantage.
When the Lord described this category of mankind, He pulled out the
comfortable rug of excuses on which we have stood so long. To our dismay,
He pulled it out from under us almost with an air of disgust, and said
bluntly that we "produce nothing."
At least the man in the first category did not understand the word, and
the one in the second received it for a time, but those of us who permit
worry and worldly ambitions to choke out the word, seem to be more
deliberate in our actions and more aware of our choices. We permit them to
When our Memory and Imagination are in complete control, we begin to
rationalize our worries and ambitions until they appear legitimate and
necessary; then it is that they begin to choke His word and revelations
out of our minds.
We become so absorbed in what appears to be right and good that we can
keep ourselves distressed our entire lives. We look for solutions to our
problems and avenues of escape, but we never seek the answer in God. He is
so far away and of another world that our relationship with Him is unreal,
and we doubt both His knowledge and care of us.
Why do we insist on the need to worry? We go so far as to call it
"concern," but down deep in our hearts we know it is not so much concern
as a lack of confidence in the Father's Providence.
To talk over our problems with God is a form of prayer. It is also an
occasion to empty our Memory and Imagination of the superfluities that
The Lord wants us to talk over our problems, disappointments,
heartaches, and sufferings with Him. And in this area, nothing is too
small or too great. He is deeply interested in each part of our lives, and
wants to share in everything that concerns us. So it is His Will that we
run to Him with all our needs.
To speak of them to God is to lift them from our minds and put them
into His Mind. But here is the point where most of us fail. After we have
given them to God, we immediately take them back, and the burden becomes
heavier and more unbearable. Our Memory and Imagination, aided by our
natural reasoning, tells us that we must really solve this problem by
It is true that we must often plan moves that help solve these
problems, but that belongs to the action category. To worry, however, is
not to doit
is to do nothing but think negative thoughtsthoughts
that drain all hope from our Memory and all Faith from our Understanding.
Indeed, worry chokes the word from our minds and leaves us to
ourselves. And though we cry to God for help, we refuse to let go of our
problems. We hang on to them like a security blanket that eventually
smothers us to death.
The lure of riches is another danger that is cloaked with an air of
legitimacy. Jesus used the word "lure" because, like artificial bait
enticing a fish riches entice men to reach out for false hopes and
A fish, looking at an artificial lure dangling from the hook of a
fisherman, is under the impression that what it sees is real, appetizing,
and satisfying. The fisherman has gone to a great expense to create this
impression and he is satisfied to sit for hours dangling his lure, waiting
for some unsuspecting fish to bite.
A bystander on the shore watching such a scene is fully aware of what
is about to take placeso
is the fisherman. The only one oblivious of the real consequences of his
next move is the fish. And it only finds out too late.
Jesus is the bystander on the shore of life, and He is telling us to
stay away from the lure dangling from the reel of the evil one.
We must rise above worry and unnecessary possessions in order to keep
our Memory clean and our Understanding clear enough to hear His word and
live by it. If we do not, we will produce nothing but anxiety and
It is in Matthew's account of the sower that we find an interesting
addition. He says, "And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the
man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a
harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty." (Matt.
Jesus is telling us very plainly that it is on the UnderstandingFaith
level that we produce fruit, and we do this in proportion as we understand
the word because we do not always produce the same amount of fruit. The
word "now" indicates that there are times in our life when we believe His
word and live by it and then we produce a hundredfold.
But there are other times when, even though we understand, we still
hesitate and draw back. Then it is that we produce sixty-fold.
And then, there are other times when circumstances and our finite minds
join forces and tell us that this problem or difficulty is impossible, and
that even God cannot help. But, somehow, we hang on to a thread of Faith
and manage to survive and bear thirty-fold fruit.
What makes us draw back and permit our human reasoning to take over our
lives so completely? There seems to be only one answer to that question,
and the answer isa
lack of humility.
If we cannot fully understand the Mysteries of God, we will not accept
them, and when we do not accept them we cannot make them a part of our
daily life. They become mere "beliefs" that we reluctantly accept because
we need some kind of crutch, or we reject because they are above our own
Sometimes we play games, and accept some revelations while rejecting
others that do not suit us. And we use that very reasoning power, by which
we accept some revelations, to rationalize ourselves out of believing
other mysteries on Faith alone.
For example, we know God can do all things, but our human reasoning
tells us that this time He can't or won't.
We know God loves us, but our intellect cannot comprehend His personal
love and attention so we become just another pebble on the beach.
We know that God is present everywhere, and especially present in our
souls through grace, but since our Understanding cannot fully comprehend
"how," we go our way as if He were nowhere.
We know there is a God because every effect must have a cause, but
since our Understanding cannot explain a Power that is Pure Spirit, we
prefer to call Him "Nature."
To give credit for all creation to "Mother Nature" is to bring God down
to our sense level where we can compete with Him on an equal basis. But
the basis is not one of equality but pride on our part. We manage to keep
ourselves from ever rising to the level of Faith because we insist on
boxing ourselves inside the narrow limits of our own minds.
We remember when He said we should forgive seventy times seven times a
day. But we apply this only when we are the ones to be forgiven. Our human
Reasoning tells us that this is impossible when someone offends us that
We remember when He said we should love our enemies and do good to
them. But our Intellect tells us that we cannot love anyone who hates usit
is asking too muchit
We remember when He said that we should love each other in the same way
He loves us. But the thought of this Commandment is perhaps one of the few
times that we acknowledge an important truth, because we completely
dismiss the Commandment, saying, "We can't do that because God loves with
an Infinite Love and we are only finite." Yes, we are finite, but we admit
that truth at the wrong time and the wrong place.
We remember how He spoke of His Father in Heaven and that He was going
there to prepare a place for us. But our human Understanding rationalizes
us right out of Heaven because it refuses to rise above itself to the
region of God and Pure Spiritsa
place where Faith alone can enter during this earthly sojourn.
Human reasoning can calm our emotions for awhile, and though they bear
the fruit of self-control, it is self-centered
for the sake of human respectto
be seen by men. What is thought to be control only drives us to a more
subtle form of selfishness and pride. It does not change us into Jesus; it
merely controls our emotions, leaving our Understanding still on the
Only when our Understanding is elevated by Faith in Jesus do we change
and become sons of God and heirs to the Kingdom. Faith gives us a new
birth. It puts away our old way of thinking and adopts a new way. We put
on the mind of Christ, as St. Paul urged us to do.
As Christians, we not only believe; we think and live by those beliefs.
We reason and understand by His standards, not ours or the world's. We see
events, people, disappointments, trials, and suffering in a new light. We
not only have Faith but we live by Faith.
Living in this light, we are unburdened and free to breathe the fresh
air of joy and freedom, because we have already begun to live in Him.
Heaven is wherever God is, and though we live in a physical world, we
also live in a spiritual one. The physical is outside of us, and passing;
the spiritual is within us and everlasting. Since we are composed of body
and soul, there must be harmony between these two lives. One must help the
other towards happiness in this life and the next.
If we put an unbalanced emphasis on the spiritual, we run the risk of
becoming cold, stoic, and unconcerned. If we put too much emphasis on the
physical, we become selfish and greedy.
We see in Jesus a perfect balance between the physical and spiritual,
and it is this harmony that we seek. Our passions and desires must be
subject to our intellectual powers so that we are not tossed to and fro
like a rudderless boat on a stormy sea. On the other hand, if we ignore
the physical part of our nature we run the risk of killing the old man
instead of renewing him and having a rebirth.
To be born again in the Spirit is to live on a supernatural plane. We
must point out that the word "super" means above, exalted. So we take what
with the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, we raise what is and always
will be human and finite, to a higher levela
level of participation into a life higher and more sublime than our own.
Though our human nature with all its inherent weaknesses is always with
us, we can, calmly and consistently, raise it up to a higher and happier
We notice in the parable of the sower that Jesus speaks of the "rich
soil" into which the seed fell, to bear various quantities of fruit.
For soil to be rich in the properties necessary for a plentiful
harvest, it needs fertilizer, and we must exert every effort to keep the
ever-growing weeds down to a minimum.
And so it is with our souls. His Power is at its best in weakness. Our
souls are rich in weaknesses that keep us constantly stirred up. We can
use that rich soil as a garbage heap by piling sin upon sin, or we can
keep the soil weeded and use the fertilizer of our weaknesses to, grow
lasting fruit for the Kingdom.
To our human nature, God has added the ingredients of Faith, Hope, and
Love to produce a plentiful harvest. But if we do not put forth the effort
to cultivate and weed it, the enemy will sow more and more weeds, and the
rich soil will be drained of its ingredients and become sterile ground.
God is the Sower and we are the gardeners. He has sown the Virtue of
Hope in our Memory, Faith in our Understanding, and Love in our Will. As
good gardeners, we use our weaknesses to grow in virtue by pulling out the
weeds of sin that lessen our fruit and mar the beauty of our garden. Jesus
told us this when He said, "It is to the glory of My Father that you
should bear much fruit, and then you will be My disciples." (Jn. 15:8)
St. Paul realized this when he said he would make his weaknesses his
special boast, so that the Power of Christ may stay over him. (2 Cor.
12:9) He used his weaknesses to grow in the image of Jesus. He was
careful, however, that those weaknesses did not bear the harvest of sin.
His failures healed his pride and made him depend more upon God.
We come now to a facet of the Christian life that we find difficult to
understand and harmonize: weaknesses and holinessthe
ridiculous changed into the sublimethe
very human becoming divine.
People in the past have sometimes depicted holy people as
other-worldly, unemotional, indifferent, and untouched by human passions
beings set aside by God to arrive at a supernatural state unattainable by
the rest of mankind.
Nothing can be more false. The real difference is that they used these
weaknesses, and we try to destroy them. We find, however, that as soon as
we think we have overcome one weakness, it either crops up again or
something else takes its place. Then we are discouraged and give up the
fight as a hopeless cause.
We' attempt to fight invisible foes and weaknesses with visible
weapons, and that is often our first and last mistake.
When our Memory recalls some unpleasant past experience, we sit there
as if we were in front of a television screen and enjoy the whole thing.
We live and relive it until it is so blown out of proportion that we are
enmeshed in a maze of fantasy.
To recall past offenses is a weakness of our human nature. Possessing
that weakness is not what's wrong with us. The success or failure lies in
how we handle it. And the way we handle it will determine how strong or
weak that frailty will become.
If we consistently give in, that weakness will control us. If we
overcome it, we will conquer it even though we may never destroy it.
It is not feeling anger that displeases God; it is giving in to anger
and letting the sun go down on our anger that warps our soul. (Eph. 4:26)
When the Holy Spirit told us not to let the sun go down on our anger He
was giving us a plan. We must put our Memory at rest before we retire
every night. We must look back at the day's events and forgive and forget,
and if we can't forget, then look at the day through the eyes of Jesus.
We must accept the events of that day in the light of Faith. We must
forgive and use the unpleasant to increase humility, and rejoice in the
pleasant, for both are ordained or permitted by God for our good. This is
where Faith plays such an important role in our lives.
A Christian sees everything in the light of Faith, and he thinks in the
light of Faith. It is here that we prove whether we are Christian in name
or in deed.
When God gave us a plan by telling us what to do, namely, not to let
the sun go down on our anger, He also told us how to accomplish this
In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus said, "Be compassionate as Your Father
is compassionate." (Luke 6:36) Many translations use the word "Merciful"
but Mercy seems to be the fruit of Compassion, so we shall look at this
passage and use the new translation to see how it fits in our daily life.
Compassion is a "feeling" that belongs to that faculty most concerned
with the category of Memory and Imagination. It is not surprising then
that Jesus has asked us to be compassionate as the Father is
When we are compassionate we sympathize with our neighbor's weaknesses,
and even though they offend us, we somehow understand. We are able to be
objective and have an understanding heart, fully aware of our own
We must grow in the feeling of Compassion,
because compassion must be substituted for uncontrolled anger, impatience,
and an unforgiving heart.
Scripture says many times that Jesus had compassion on the multitudes
or on sinners. He felt sorry for them for they were like sheep without a
shepherd. The very word "compassion" gives us a kind and warm feeling.
We are not asked by Jesus to destroy our feelings. We are asked to
change and elevate them. The virtue of Hope gives us courage to persevere
through the maze of bad memories, and results in the feeling of well-being
that we call joy.
But for the unpleasant incident that is not yet a Memory but very much
in the present moment, we need Compassion to make us Merciful.
It is here at this point that Faith must bring us to that other step so
necessary to preserve our determination to rise above the things of this
Jesus told us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Hope,
joy, and compassion belong to our "feelings" and they aid that part of our
human nature in order to raise it above itself.
The word "perfect" is not at all related to exterior order or
perfection, but to an elevation of our minds to a different levela
level in which perfection is more easily attained.
This is a spiritual level that we are encouraged to reach fora
level untouched by the feelings, which tend to drag us down to the animal
level. We must realize that if we ignore our life with God, we run the
risk of living an unrestrained lifea
life directed only by our senses in much the same way as an animal is
directed by instinct.
When we substitute and develop feelings of compassion for anger or
hatred, we are calming our passions, but we are still operating on the
lower level of the "senses." We must now add a new dimension and rise to
the spiritual level of Faith and live by more perfect standardspurely
same standards Our Father lives byand
that demands Faith.
As our senses and emotions are held more in control by substituting
compassion, joy, and hope for dangerous emotions, we clear the way to
elevate the "higher" faculties of our soulthe
Understanding and Will.
As we speak of one faculty, it is often necessary to bring in one or
two of the others for greater clarity. Though each faculty is different,
they work together in such a close relationship that we are hardly
conscious of their difference.
So far, then, we have been told by Jesus to be compassionate and
perfect as the Father is compassionate and perfect. We also know that
Jesus is the perfect image of the Father. That perfect Image has become
Man to show us "how" and to tell us "what" to do.
To know what He did is historical knowledge, but to make it a part of
our life by imitating Him is Faith. And the degree of Faith we have will
be determined not by how much we know, but by how much we make Him a part
of our life.
Here is where our human Understanding rebelsrebels
because it is often rooted in pride. When we begin to deal with our
Intellect and speak of supernatural standards, truths, and revelations,
our human Understanding is at a disadvantage.
Our intellect is so dependent upon our senses and memory for the
knowledge it defines and rationalizes, that it is at a loss when it is
asked to deal with the purely spiritual. In the realm of the spiritual our
senses fail us completely. And yet, we are asked by God, with the help of
His Grace (not our senses), to rise to His level of perfection.
But Grace, too, is invisible, and so we are in need of something to
enable us to comply with Divine commands on our level.
The quality that we need to accomplish this seemingly impossible task
As our Memory is elevated by Hope, and developed by Compassion, so our
Understanding is elevated by Faith and is developed by Humility and
We have been given the gift of Faith, and Jesus has told us how to
increase this gift. He said, "Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in
heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matt. 11:29) To accept the
revelations of Jesus, we must be humble and admit they are above us.
If we are not humble, doubt will cause unrest in our souls. The
inability to solve the problem of pain and suffering causes unrest in our
souls. The difficulty of accepting truths that are within our reason, and
yet above that reason, causes unrest in our souls.
The desire and inability to eradicate poverty and disease causes unrest
in our souls. The unexplainable reasons for all the heartache and
disappointments in daily life cause unrest in our souls.
There are a multitude of things in life that all crowd in upon our
Understanding, clamoring for explanations. But our reasoning power,
unaided by Faith, cannot solve these problems or answer these questions.
So our Understanding must either rise above itself through Faith or it
will be in a constant state of doubt and frustration. When it is unable to
cope with unsolvable problems it will either pretend they are not there or
manufacture some logical solution that does nothing but touch the surface.
So we find the scientist who refuses to believe in God, making up his
own explanations for the mysteries his reason cannot understand. But
somehow they never satisfy him or anyone else for too long.
We find a social worker, who sees poverty, sickness, and injustice,
losing his faith in God because his Understanding cannot solve or aid such
astronomical problems alone.
We see those who have been unjustly offended becoming bitter because
their Understanding can see no reason for persecution.
And then there are those who sincerely try to lead good lives only to
be visited by tragedy and misfortune. Their Understanding questions and
sometimes rebels at the injustice of it all.
Truly, our Understanding, unaided by Faith, cannot cope with, live
with, or endure, those multitudes of crises that plague our daily lives.
In the Old Testament, Faith was based on the Hope of a Savior. Now, our
Faith is based on a belief in Jesus as Lord and our imitation of Him as
We are saved by this kind of Faith because Jesus is its source. "It is
in Him and through Him that we move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)
This kind of Faith has the power to change us into sons of God. But in
this area we often put the cart before the horse by just affirming a
belief that Jesus is Lord through lip service. We then attempt to prove
our sincerity by good works, like giving to some charity.
Faith that produces nothing but empty words never reaches our
Understanding. It has been merely a balm for a bad conscience and it
produces nothing. It never changes us.
The kind of Faith Jesus wants us to have is the kind that changes our
way of thinking and acting. It reasons on a higher plane and sees things
in a totally different light than our human way of reasoning.
We have an example of this in the way the Apostles acted before and
after Pentecost. In the Gospel of St. Mark we read where Jesus foretold
Peter's denial and the other Apostles' flight in His time of need.
Jesus said to them, "You will all lose Faith. . . . However, after My
Resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee." (Mark 14:27)
Peter's faith was not as strong as he thought it was. He confused his
faith with his emotional love for Jesus and his admiration of His Power.
Peter's reply to Jesus was, "Even if all lose faith, I will not."
Even Peter's Hope was not as yet elevated, for now he is presumptuous,
and presumption is opposed to Hope.
Yes, though Peter thought he had everything an Apostle needed to
persevere through the test, he soon found out it was all naturalall
on the surfacehe
was not thinking like Jesus.
Peter's Hope and Faith were built on such an emotional level that even
after Jesus predicted his denial, he still reiterated his allegiance by
saying, "If I have to die with You, I will never disown You." (Mark 14:31)
The important lesson in this passage is not so much Peter's presumption
as the statement from Jesus that they would lose their Faith that very
In telling the Apostles how they would lose their Faith, Jesus has told
the rest of us what Faith is really all about.
We have said before that the Apostles lived on an emotional level. They
could not stand the thought of His suffering, death, and departure,
neither did they ever really hear, as He spoke of His Resurrection.
Jesus knew that as long as they lived on that level, His Cross would be
a scandal to their human way of Understanding, and as a result, they would
lose their Faith.
They had fulfilled only a part of the necessary requirements of Faitha
belief in Jesus as Son of God. They had yet to fulfill the most important
transform their Understanding to His way of Understanding.
One day when Jesus asked His Apostles who they thought He was, Peter
said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus told Peter
that the Father Himself revealed this to him.
Jesus looked at Peter and said, "You are Peter and on this Rock I will
build My Church." (Matt. 16:17) Peter had a special revelation that gave
him a realization that what appeared to be only a Man was truly God. He
bore public witness to this fact and was rewarded with the Keys of the
Kingdom by which he could loose or bind on earth and it would be so in
This was a glorious moment for Peter and he reveled in it. Joy filled
his heart every time he thought about that moment.
And then, a few days later, "Jesus began to make it clear to His
disciples that He was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at
the hands of the elders, be put to death, and rise on the third day."
(Matt. 16:21) Peter's Understanding rebelled at the thought. This would be
a tragedy and something had to be done about _it. What would become of
this small band of followers if this were to happen? The Church would be
ever began, without the Master.
These thoughts must have plagued Peter's mind until he could stand it
no more. "Then, taking Him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with Him,
'Heaven preserve You, Lord,' he said, 'this must not happen to you.'"
Jesus turned to the man who just a few days before proclaimed Him the
Son of God, and said, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an obstacle in My
path, because the way you think is not God's way but man's." (Matt. 16:23)
Peter made the first step in Faithan
acknowledgment of Jesus as Lord, but his Understanding, created to
resemble the Son he professed, was not thinking in the same way as Jesus.
It was too human. He had still to take the final step into Faith and put
on the "mind of Christ."
He was thinking the way a man would think, not as God would think. He
unwittingly became an obstacle and a tool of Satan in the Lord's path.
To change his way of thinking so drastically would take a great deal of
humility on the part of Peter. He was not ready for such a step.
Peter and the rest of the Apostles had to learn by sad experience the
consequences of a faith based on exterior signs alone.
It was only when Peter denied Jesus and the other disciples fled that
they realized there was something missing in their Faith. It was much more
than believing Jesus was Lord, because of His works. It was to think as He
thought, to see as He saw, and to do as He did.
The very failure to stay with Him in His time of need, was used by them
to keep them humblehumble
enough to want to distrust their own Understanding and accept everything
in the way He did.
Faith that does not lead to imitation in thought and deed is merely an
acknowledgment of an historical fact, that Jesus is the Lord, but even
Satan knows that St. Paul put it beautifully when he said, "It would be a
sign from God that He has given you the privilege not only of believing in
Christ but of suffering for Him as well." (Phil. 1:29)
Yes, both parts of Faith are privileges from God, but the sign that we
possess the gift of Faith is the ability to suffer for Him.
Knowing how distasteful such a sign would be to our human way of
thinking, Paul encourages the Philippians to have a common purpose without
conceit. They were to be self-effacing, thinking of other people's
interests rather than their own.
He put the crowning touch on it all by saying,
"His state was divine,
yet He did not cling
to His equality with God but emptied Himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are; and being as all men are,
He was humbler yet
even to accepting death,
death on a Cross." (Phil. 2:6,7,8)
Yes, Faith is a gift, and it is a sign when we are willing to suffer
something for Jesus. It develops by humbly giving up our way of thinking,
and adopting His way of thinking. "I have given you an example," He said,
"so that you may copy what I have done to you." (Jn. 13:15)
In the Old Testament, perfection consisted in a strict observance of
perfection; but Jesus came and emptied Himself by humility, to give us
courage to empty ourselves of our adherence to our own reason and will.
This demands an interior change which is more difficult and more purifying
than the observance of a law.
Only Faith can give us the conviction and drive to change and give up
our own way of thinking and doing,
that is, giving our Understanding and Will to God.
"All I want is to know (Understand) Christ," Paul said, "and the power
of His Resurrection, and to share His sufferings by reproducing the
pattern of His death." (Phil. 3:10)
What is the pattern of Christ's death? When Christ left the bosom of
the Father and the Glory of Heaven to become I man, He stripped Himself of
all His Glory. He became one of us.
He gave up His way of living as God and took upon Himself a way of
living far inferior to His own.
He had to think as a Man, that man might begin to think as God.
He had to live as a Man, that man might live as God.
He had to limit His Power as God, that man might share that Power and
become sons of God.
He had to suffer as a Man, that man might know how he can imitate
He had to show us how to love as a Man, that man might love as God.
He was content to be limited as Man, that man might reach the
He assumed an inferior nature, that man might be raised above his
He changed, and in changing became Humility itself, that man might
realize his nothingness and face the truth with a humble heart.
The pattern of Christ's life was one of denial and sacrifice because of
He became Man; He suffered; He died; and He rose, that we might have
some definite pattern and way to follow.
We do not have the power to assume another nature, but we do have the
ability to change that part of us made to His Imageour
Through Hope and Compassion, we can change depressing emotions to
Through Faith and Humility, we can change our way of thinking from a
natural level to a supernatural level.
In the Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul gives us an excellent idea
of this pattern of Christian living. It is interesting to see how he
alludes to the three keys of Memory, Understanding, and Will.
He says, "You are God's chosen race, His saints; He loves you and you
should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness (purifying our
Memory) and humility, gentleness and patience (increasing our Faith). The
Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Bear with one another;
forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins (substituting a good
emotion for a bad one). Over all these clothes (Memory and Understanding),
to keep them together and complete them, put on Love (the Will purified by
love). (Col. 3:12-14)
But what must we do to accomplish this change? St. Paul tells us when
he says, "You must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly
impurity, guilty passion, evil desires, and especially greed which is the=
same thing as worshipping a false god." (Col. 3:5)
We saw as we looked into our Memory and Imagination that all these
things came from the heartthe
unbridled; emotions that defile a man.
St. Paul realized how easy it was to live on an uncontrolled plane. He
tells us to destroy these evil emotions and to substitute higher emotionsemotions
such as Compassion and Mercy that help change our way of thinking and lead
He reminded these first Christians that they used to live on a lower
level by "getting angry, being bad-tempered, spiteful, using abusive
language, and dirty talk."
It is so easy to give in to these weaknesses when every one else is
doing it. We tend to excuse ourselves by considering these attitudes as
part of modern-day lifenot
evil or harmfulonly
These things are indeed human; they are not divine and we have been
called by the Merciful Love of God too rise above these kinds of emotions
and replace them with higher ones.
Paul continues, "You have stripped off your old behavior, with your old
self, and you have put on a new self, which, will progress toward true
knowledge the more it is renewed; in the Image of its Creator." (Col.
What a magnificent heritage! We have been chosen to think and act like
When we begin to substitute God-like qualities for weak, and often evil
emotions, we pave the way to clear thinking. Our Understanding arrives at
"true knowledge" the more, we are renewed.
As we become more Compassionateenough
so as "to forgive as soon as a quarrel begins," and more Mercifulknowing
we too have been forgiven, then we will begin "to see what eye has not
seen and to hear what ear has not heard."
We saw Peter and the disciples trying to dissuade Our Lord from going
to Jerusalem to suffer and die. We realized from this that our dear Lord's
physical Presence so blinded their emotions that they became ambitious for
high places and desired to live in the favor of the people.
He told them it was expedient that He leave them so that the Spirit
could come. As long as Jesus was with them, they lived in their Memory and
Imagination, and never fully began to live by Faith alone.
They were unable to think the thoughts of God that come through Faith
because they were too busy enjoying the Presence of Jesus and receiving
the graces that came from that friendship.
It was only when He was gone and they began to live by Faith and in His
Spirit that they were able to completely change their pattern of thought
For a boasting arrogance, they substituted humility.
For worldly ambition, they substituted a desire for spiritual gifts.
For impatience at the importunity of the crowds, they substituted
compassion for the multitudes.
For the desire to do everything themselves, they substituted the
realization that He did all things in them.
For the discouragement that followed their imperfections and sins,
they substituted peace at the thought of His Mercy.
For the fear of their fellow-man's hatred and persecution, they
substituted the joy of following in His footsteps.
Yes, when the Apostles began to live by the example and words of Jesus,
they began to change.
It is true they were filled with the Holy Spirit, but so are we.
They possessed His Seven Gifts, but so do we.
They were weak men who were forced by that weakness to strive harder,
but so are we.
They received many graces from God, but so have we.
The era in which they lived was evil, but so is ours.
They had the satisfaction of seeing their work signed by miracles,
but so can we.
Their Faith was so great they moved the mountain of paganism, but so
They saw persecution through the eyes of Faith and suffered with joy,
but so can we.
They saw things as they really were and not as they appeared to be,
but so can we.
They had three years of living with Jesus, and His words were written
in their hearts, but we have 2,000 years of living in His Spirit, His
example clearly written in the Gospels, the witness of His power among
men and clear interpretation and lights on His words.
Yes, they had much, but we have more.
We can take courage from the fruit they bore and the example they left
us. What a change there was in Peter! after Pentecost. When he began to
live by Faith, all the potential that was buried beneath his boasting and
worldly: ambitions began to emerge. It gives us Hope to see men do an
"about face" in their way of thinking.
For a few moments let us keep in mind Peter's weaknesses and his effort
to dissuade the Master, as we read some of his second Epistle.
He learned not to trust his own strength, and said, "By His Divine
Power, He has given us all things that we need for life and true
Peter learned the hard way that emotional feelings did not always
spell out true devotion.
"In making these gifts, He has given us the guarantee of something very
great and wonderful to come." (2 Peter 1:3-11)
This is the same man who witnessed Christ's Transfiguration and was
ready to pitch three tents. He had desired earthly consolation to last
forever. Now he is content to look forward to a great reward. What it
will be he is not sure, but his Faith tells him it is something great,
and he is satisfied.
... through them you will be able to share the Divine Nature and to
escape corruption in a world sunk in vice."
Now Peter is no longer interested in which one of them is the
greatest. He realizes he is called to share the very Nature of God; he
remembers his weaknesses and glorifies God's Mercy.
"But to attain this, you will have to do your utmost yourselves."
All during the Public Ministry, Peter would ask the Master to
increase his Faith, teach him how to pray, explain the parables; and
would seek the line of least resistance by asking if he could forgive
his neighbor just seven times. Now, he realized God had given him Grace,
talents, and Giftshe
had to put forth effort to use them in order to grow in His Love.
".... adding goodness to the Faith that you have, Understanding to your
goodness, self-control to your Understanding, patience to your
self-control, true devotion to your patience, kindness towards your fellow
men to your devotion, and, to this kindnessLove."
Peter had pondered well and realized that one virtue hinged upon
another. He found out to his delight that God did want him to contribute
towards his salvation, and that when he began to grow in one virtue he
would add many other virtues to it. The harder he strove to think and
act like God, the more beautiful were the qualities added to his
personality. His Memory and Imagination were in control as he
substituted other emotions that helped clear his Understanding.
"If you have a generous supply of these, they will not leave you
ineffectual or unproductive: they will bring you to a real knowledge of
Our Lord Jesus Christ."
Yes, Peter at one time desired but one thingthe
restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. He reveled in his power to cure,
and rejoiced in the security of the Master's feeding five thousand. Nowhe
realized that though social problems had to be solved, they were
ineffective unless men changed inside.
"But without them a man is blind or else short-sighted; he has
forgotten how his past sins were washed away."
Peter knew from bitter experience just how blind and short-sighted he
could be when he lived by the wrong kind of emotions. He lived with the
Light for three years, and instead of his humility growing, his
self-importance grew, and he forgot his weaknesses and how much of a
beneficiary he was of God's Mercy.
Yes, he would remember his past sins, but for regret he would
substitute a deep awareness of God's Love and Mercy, and he would grow
St. Peter realized that if he were to be a man of Faith, if his
Understanding were going to see things as Jesus did, he would have to
constantly recall His words in order to elevate that Understanding.
"That is why," he said, "I am continually recalling the same truths to
you, even though you already know them and hold them firm." This is where
many of us fail. Our Memory recalls a truth and our Understanding accepts
it, and that is as far as it goes.
We have an idea that a kind of effortless adherence to truth is all
that is required of us. Peter may have fallen asleep in the Garden and he
may have denied his Lord, but he would never do that again. Now, he would
not only listen to God's Word, he would feed his Understanding with that
Peter told the first Christians that it was his duty "to keep stirring
them up with reminders." Realizing his departure from this world was
imminent, he assured them he would take great care that they would still
have a means to "recall these things to memory." (2 Pet. 1:15)
Paul had told his converts the same. He said, "Let the message of
Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you." (Col. 3:16) And being
a man of deep emotions, he felt that our love and devotion should be
expressed with gratitude in our hearts, singing psalms and hymns and
inspired songs to God. (Col. 3:17)
The first Christians gave themselves totally to God. Life was not one
long frustration; it was a loving challenge in which they participated in
changing their lives from misery to perfect joy.
They strove and succeeded in looking at each situation in life in a new
way. They refused to permit themselves to become bogged down in their
fears, resentments, anger, and selfish motives.
The Lord had given them Faith and they would use it to rise above the
things they could not understand and see them all in His Light.
Human reasoning told the centurion that the Master would have to come
and touch his servant and say some prayers in order for him to be healed.
But his Faith told him that this Man was God and He had but to Will and it
would be done. He chose to live by Faith. (Matt. 8:5-13)
Human reasoning told the first Christians that worry was a part of life
and they would have to become absorbed in life's problems to solve them.
But Faith told them that they were worth more than many sparrows. If they
set their hearts first on God's Kingdom and holiness, He would take care
they chose to live in that Faith. (Matt. 6:25-34)
Human reasoning told the woman with the hemorrhage that unless the
Master looked at her and willed to cure her, she would never be healed.
But Faith told her that if she touched the hem of His garment she would be
cured. Faith drew power out from Him and she was healed. (Mark 5:21-34)
Human reasoning told the first Christians that any change of religion
that brought on persecution should be abandoned; that it is important to
be accepted by the world. But Faith told them that if they were not
accepted in one town they should merely go to another; they were no better
than the Master; they should rejoice when they were hated, driven out, and
denounced on account of Jesus. It was so with all the holy men of old and
their reward was great in Heaven. They chose to live by Faith. (Matt.
10:17-25 Luke 5:12)
Human reason would say "if you can't beat the world, join it." But
Faith says that we should not fear those who kill the body and after that
have nothing else they can do. Faith says we should be happy when we are
stripped of worldly goods for we know we possess something better and
everlasting. (Heb. 10:32-36)
Human reason would say that you judge a man by his education, his
success, his popularity, and his wealth. But Faith says you judge a man by
the fruit of virtue in his soul, and though he be poor in the goods of
this world, he is rich in God. (Matt. 7:15-20)
Human reason says that if someone offends you, you are perfectly
justified in hating him. But Faith says that you must "do good to those
who hate you, pray for those who treat you badly (Luke 6:27), and forgive
seventy times seven.
Human reason says that if we are ill or in pain, it is an evil and a
curse from God. But Faith says we should humbly ask to be healed, and seek
medical attention to ascertain the method God will choose to heal us.
Faith goes even further, however, for it tells us that if after prayer and
medical help the illness is still with us, it is an opportunity from God
to bring us to patience.
Human reason tells us that we must have displeased God in some way to
be visited with so many heartaches and sufferings in our lifetime. But
Faith tells us that when we are bearing the fruit of virtue the Father
will prune us in order to make us bear more fruit. Suffering is part of
our training, for God is treating us as sons. (Heb. 12:7)
We can see clearly that as Hope elevates our Memory and calms our
emotions it enables us to recall the Words of Jesus and His example. But
at this point it is merely a recollection. It is through Faith that we
incorporate that recollection into the present situation, and think, act,
and live accordingly.
Unless our Faith has this living quality, what we think is Faith in our
life is only Hopea
blind Hope which trusts that God's revelations are true. But Hope alone is
not strong enough to change our way of thinking; it only prepares the way.
It gives us the courage and assurance that by changing we will arrive at
This is why the Sacred Writer in the Epistle to the Hebrews says, "Only
Faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for." Faith makes the
things we hope for real in our lives. They are no longer just words
brought forth from our Memory to increase our Knowledge.
They are real, living, and vibrant experiences that change our life
from something to Someone.
And so the Sacred Author continues, ". . . . or prove the existence of
the realities that at the present remain unseen." (Heb. 11:1,2)
Faith truly proves the life and existence of those invisible truths,
tucked away in our Memory only as words, and awakened by Hope.
They are raised from knowledge to experience. Sometimes that experience
is joyful and sometimes painful, but to the Christian, it is all an
experience of Faith.
Life is always new and fresh because it never ceases to be a
challenge in Faith.
It is never monotonous because it is ever moving.
It is never satiated because its capacity is unlimited.
It is never surprised because it penetrates everything.
,It is never in darkness because it always sees the light.
It is always bearing fruit, in season and out of season, because God
is the source.
It is always secure because its foundation is humility.
It is never saddened because it drinks of the well of everlasting
Yes, ".... a new way has been opened to us, a living opening through
the curtain, that is, His Body.... So as we go in, let us be sincere in
heart and filled with Faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any traces
of a bad conscience." (Heb. 10:20,22)
It is easy to see how one may have a great deal of knowledge of Godknowledge
stored in the Memory and released to the Understanding at intervals for
speculation and discussion. But that Knowledge may never reach the Faith
The World, the Flesh, and the Enemy can all contribute and vie with
each other for our attention and adherence.
Jesus speaks of Faith as a power. He said that if we had as much Faith
as a mustard seed we could move mountains. (Matt. 13:31) Pride, fear,
arrogance, doubt, discouragement, and sadness are all mountains that block
out our view of God and His Mysteries. Only Faith can remove them. Only
Faith in Jesus can say to these mountains, "Remove thyself into the sea"
and it would be done. (Matt. 17:19)
Yes, Faith was the power that made the centurion believe in His Wordand
the Word healed his servant.
Faith was the power that made the woman with the hemorrhage believe
in His touch and that touch healed her.
Faith was the power that made the leper believe in His Willand
he heard the words, "Of course I will, be made clean." (Mark 1:41,45)
Faith was the power that drove Peter and Paul and all Christians
since, to "struggle wearily on," driven by Christ's own power within
them. (Col. 1:29)
Faith is the power that is at its best in weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Paul explained it beautifully when he said, "You must live your whole
life according to the Christ you have receivedJesus,
the Lord; you must be rooted in Him, and built on Him, and held firm by
the Faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving." (Col. 2:6-8)
So, we are rooted, built, and held firm by our Faith in Jesus. When we
recall the parable of the sower we realize the power of Faith. All those
who did not bear fruit, had no roots. And if the roots did grow, they
withered and were never "built" or "held firm."
Paul gives us a way of protecting ourselves from this danger to our
Faith. He says, "Since you have been brought back to true life with
Christ, you must look for the things that are in Heaven, where Christ is,
sitting at God's right hand."
"Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things of the
earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with
Christ in God." (Col. 3:1,4)
He tells us how to do this in the Epistle to the Philippians. He tells
us to be happy, always happy in the Lordto
be tolerant and never to worry.
And then he tells us to pray for whatever we need. Paul is realistic.
He knows we are human and need both material and spiritual things, but he
knows that our faith in God must be strong enough to realize God's Love
and Providence in our regard. We pray and work and He provides.
Paul expected our Faith to be so great that after we have asked we
should be full of thanksgiving. Then it is that the peace of God that
surpasses all our understanding will be ours. (Col. 4:4-9)
It is that peace, born of a living Faith, that will "guard our hearts
and thoughts in Christ Jesus."
"Brothers, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything
that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love
and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of
praise." (Phil. 4:8)
This is how we are changed into Christ on this earth. Life is full of
opportunities to change our way of acting and thinking. Those
opportunities can either destroy us or renew us, depending on how we
choose to use them.
When we feed our Memory with the Words and example of Jesus, when our
Understanding sees His way of thinking and acting, this "sight" is Faith.
By spiritual reading, Scripture, and the substitution of unruly emotions
with Compassion, we begin to change the material constantly feeding our
When that material rises to a higher level, then we begin to "see"
people, circumstances, failures, successes, and suffering in a new and
We begin to live, not only as Jesus lived on earth, but as He now lives
in Heaven. The difference, of course, is in the Light of Glory and the
Both Hope and Faith begin and grow to maturity in this life and are
perfected in Heaven.
Hope is perfected by the possession of God, and Faith is perfected by
the Vision of God. St. Paul tells us this in his Epistle to the
Corinthians. He says, "In short, there are three things that last, Faith,
Hope, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love." (1 Cor. 13:13)
It is strange to read that Faith and Hope will last. We ordinarily
think that in Heaven they will fall away, and only love remain. But St.
Paul fully realized the role of Hope and Faith in our lives. What is begun
here on earth is perfected there in Heaven.
What we hoped for on earth in a positive way by raising our emotions to
a higher level, we will possess forever. We will no longer have to make an
effort to be compassionatewe
shall partake of Compassion Itself.
The Memory will no longer have to overcome evil passions, for these
passions disappear forever.
The Memory will no longer have guilt complexes to rise above, for we
will forever rest in the Mercy of God.
We will no longer feel resentment, only the joy that God brought good
out of evil.
Our Hope, given by God, fed by His Gifts, brought forth by trial, and
growing through compassion, will have reached its maturity in Heaven by
full possession of God. Our Memory will be filled with God forever.
And so it is with Faith. What we saw on earth by changing our way of
thinking to a higher and more supernatural way of reasoning, we will see
in full light.
Our Understanding, expanding itself by Faith on earth, will see the
Mysteries it saw in a dim manner, in the Light; of God.
The Understanding that sees reasons for the persecutions of life,
through Faith, will experience the reward of those persecutions.
The Understanding that accepted poverty and pain, through Faith, as He
did, will know the real value of those sufferings and rejoice in God's
The Understanding that overcame the doubts inherent to its limited
nature, by expanding its capacity through Faith in His Word, will be
filled with new truths and light for all eternity.
Our Faith, given to us by God, fed by His Gifts, growing through
humility, "seeing" His Face everywhere, and experiencing His Power in Life
situations, will understand the Mysteries of God. Our Understanding will
see God face to face.
Yes, Hope and Faith abide, but what was only a reflection becomes a
reality. St. Paul says, "But when Christ is revealedand
He is your lifeyou,
too, will be revealed in all your glory with Him." Through the Gifts of
Faith, Hope, and Lovethat
is, union with Christ at Baptismwe
already live the identical life that He lives in Heaven.
It is not glorious as it will be then, but it is manifested now by the
degree of Faith, Hope, and Love we have in this life.
It is so very important that we utilize every precious moment of time.
Each moment affords us the opportunity to replace our emotions with His
emotions, and our Reasoning with His Reasoning.
Then it is that we shall fulfill the new commandment, for we shall love
as He loves. (Jn. 13:34)
"So you will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of
you, a life acceptable to Him in all its aspects; showing the results in
all the good actions you do, and increasing your knowledge of God.... Now
you are able to appear before Him holy, pure, and blameless, as long as
you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the Faith, never letting
yourselves drift away from the Hope promised by the Good News." (Col.
Our dear Lord Himself gave us the way of accomplishing this, for He
said, "if anyone wants to be a follower of Mine, let him renounce himself
and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matt. 16:24)
Is the cross that Jesus spoke of only the trials of daily life? No,
these form only a part of the cross, for Jesus goes on and speaks of the
necessity of changing ourselves and our lives. He says, "For anyone who
wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for My
sake will find it." (Matt. 6:25)
The type of cross Jesus was speaking of is the interior cross. We might
say that renouncing ourselves forms the vertical beam, and the daily
vexations of life form the horizontal beam of our cross.
Jesus uses the word "renounce." This means to give up and He is so
emphatic about it that we read, in the tenth chapter of Matthew, that
unless we do renounce ourselves for Him we are not worthy of Him.
What does He mean when He says that if we want to save our life we will
lose it? When we use our faculties for no other purpose than to serve and
gratify ourselves, w find only ourselves.
If a man's Memory never recalls the words and life of Jesus to spur
him on to virtue, he is conscious only of himself.
If a man's Understanding is used only to gratify his pride and
selfish interests, he thinks of no-one but himself.
If a man's Will is never united to God's Will, he is totally absorbed
To spend our lives gratifying our own selfish desires with no
renunciation, is to lose God and find only ourselves., The more we give in
to every whim, the more we find only ourselves.
We are then conscious of ourselves as every life situation comes along.
When we are offended, we are conscious only of how hurt we are, how unjust
the offender was, and how best to retaliate.
When we fail, we are conscious only of the feeling of, failure, or the
part others played in that failure, and we project a hopeless outlook for
When we love, but are not loved in return, we feel bitter, and can
become so self-conscious that we never love again.
When we suffer from both spiritual and material poverty, we become so
conscious of our privation that we can be resentful and jealous of those
who have more material and spiritual gifts.
It is easy to see that when our minds are totally concentrated on
ourselves it profits nothing.
In an effort to do everything and be everything without God, we think
we are saving ourselvesWe
want so much to be the master of our fate and the captain of our souls.
In order to arrive at that state that God has destined for us, we must
renounce ourselves and we must do it for His sake.
Renouncing ourselves must be done for His sake, or it again will profit
nothing. We have noted how miserable we can be when we are conscious only
of ourselves. This misery, however, can drive us to a form of self-denial
that is done for no other reason than to replace a bad feeling for a good
The motive behind such denial is as selfish and self-oriented as the
misery of being absorbed in oneself.
In order to really "find" ourselves, we must be lost in Jesus. Only in
Him can we find peace, purpose, joy, and fulfillment. Only when our
Memory, Understanding, and Will begin to remember, think, and act like
Jesus will we know our true selfthe
creature God made in His Image.
If we blur His Image by superimposing our own, we will lose our real
identity, for we were made for great things, but we insist on clinging to
We so often look at this passage in Scripture about renunciation as
meaning giving up food or some other thing in our life.
But Jesus was very emphaticHe
spoke of renouncing "self," and myself is all of mebody
Many people practice great self-denial in food, but their only motive
is health. These people would never fast for the sake of the Kingdom.
Body and soul in our human nature are so closely related that one
affects the other in everything we do. That is why it is important to
control our sensesthose
windows of our soulthrough
which our Memory is fed, our Understanding delights, and our Will reacts.
denial is important.
But most important is the denial in our higher faculties, for it is
here we are made to His Image, and it is here that we become sons of God.
Here is where we must renounce ourselves and put on Jesus.
To renounce in favor of more of the same is not to renounce at all. So,
to renounce self for the sake of self no renunciation.
We do not destroy our faculties by denying themwe
renew them, we change them, we rebuild them, and we elevate them to a
higher state. But if we insist on keeping o faculties to ourselves under
the guise of freedom, then those faculties will sink lower and lower until
they are totally distorted and no longer resemble the Image in which they
Only by replacing His way of remembering for our Memory, His way of
reasoning for our Understanding, and H Will for our Will, can we ever be
said to lose our life a find it.
We "give up" our favorite resentment and put on His Mercy.
We "give up" our anger and put on His Meekness.
We "give up" our pride and put on His Humility.
We "give up" our indifference and put on His Compassion.
We "give up" our way of looking at things and see them as He sees
We "give up" our own Will and accomplish His Will.
As we do these things day after day, we begin to change. The change is
imperceptible and slow but it is constant an sure.
Jesus gave us courage and hope to carry on, though we do not see
immediate results, when He said, "This is what the Kingdom of God is like:
a man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is
awake, the seed is sprouting and growing: how, he does not know. Of its
own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, the the full
grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts
to reap, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26,29)
Yes, though we must continue to strive and often do not see or feel
results, there is a continuous growth in the image of Jesus in our souls.
It is often difficult, but Jesus has told us to shoulder His yoke and
learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart; for His yoke is easy
and His burden light. (Matt. 11:28-30)
Jesus does not want us to carry our burden alone. By assuming our human
nature, He has yoked Himself to us, and He wants us to shoulder that yoke
He has come to dwell in those very faculties that need to be changed,
in order to make it easy for us. His grace and gifts are tremendous
powers, given to us by His generous Love.
To accomplish this, He had to humble Himself and be meek as a lamb in
order to show us the way. Yoked to Him, we change and walk with Him
through all the pathways of life. Knowing He did it before us, and that He
dwells in our very souls to aid us, we can walk side by side and bear the
burden of change together.
If we do not cooperate with God as He bestows many gifts upon us, we
shall be like those to whom He addressed these words, "Everyone who
listens to these words of Mine and does not act upon them, will be like a
stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales
blew and struck that house, and it fell: and what a fall it had!" (Matt.
To Change as We Share His Nature
We must be Compassionate
To keep our Memory free of Resentment,
To substitute good emotions for bad emotions,
To forgive and forget,
To realize our own weaknesses.
We must be Humble
To admit our limitations,
To realize His Transcendence,
To accept His Revelations,
To think as He thinks.
We Must be Prayerful
To have strength to do His Will,
To see things as He sees them,
To prefer Him to ourselves,
To do everything for Him.
THIRD KEY: WILL - LOVE
Love As our Memory resembles the Father and is elevated by Hope, and
our Understanding resembles the Son and is elevated by Faith, so our Will
resembles the Holy Spirit and is elevated by Love.
The Love between the Father and the Son is a Personthe
Holy Spirit. He is Love and Love is a Power.
Our Will, made to resemble the Holy Spirit, is also a power, and, like
Him, it seeks for what is goodit
Our Will chooses and puts into action whatever our Memory and
Understanding present to it.
If our Memory and Understanding are centered only on ourselves, then
our Will ever tends to choose whatever gratifies self.
If we remember only unhappy experiences, and arrive only at unhappy
conclusions, then our Will chooses to dislike or hate all those who have
contributed to our miserable state. The Will was created by God to
choose that which is good, but when our other faculties present only what
is bad, our Will begins to choose, and sometimes mistakes what is bad for
A man's Will can pursue what is evil, and take pleasure in that evil,
if nothing good is ever presented to it. If such a state continues over a
long period of time, he can become so hardened in the ways of sin that he
chooses evil for all eternity.
God, holiness, and good men can become intolerable to such a man,
because his Will has become set on evil.
God has made that Will free to choose between good and evil. Therefore,
it is very important that our Will be presented correct information before
it makes a choice.
Unless the Will knows Truth, its choices will never satisfy us, and it
will vacillate from truth, to half-truth, to no truth at all.
Our free Will is God's most awesome and precious gift to us. It is
truly a great power, but like all power it can be used to our advantage,
or misused to our harm.
Before we do anything, we must first Will to do it. The action is a
result of our Will making a choice. When that Will consistently makes the
same choice, it can become habituated in that particular direction.
If a man's Will chooses to drink once or twice, he may still have
control over his decision to take another drink. But if his Will
habitually chooses to drink, then what was once free becomes enslaved, and
the man becomes an alcoholic. Only with great difficulty, and only when
his Will chooses to stop, and sobriety becomes a deliberate choice, can he
stop what has become an evil habit.
If our Memory and Understanding feed our Will nothing but "self," then
we are said to be "self-willed." Everything we do is geared towards
gratifying ourselves. We love only those who love us. We tolerate those we
do not love, provided they render us a service.
Our one goal in life becomes the pursuit of satisfying all our senses,
and our Will begins to choose only those things that promote pleasure,
good times, luxury, ambition, and greed. The Will can seek those things to
the extent that it chooses them and rejects God.
God, who is Goodness itself, is to such a Will a barrier, for God's
Goodness is in opposition to what the Will chooses. A person who possesses
that kind of Will runs the risk of rejecting God forever.
What was created in the Image of Love becomes the image of hate. It is
still a power, but it is a malicious, distorted power, replacing itself
Our Will, made to resemble the Spirit, Who is Love, must be transformed
into that Image; it, too, must be love. To do this, it must draw from its
original Source. To be good, it must seek Goodness. To see truth, it must
seek the one Truth.
The Memory retains, and the Understanding reasons, but it is the Will
that decides what we bring forth from our past, and what course to take
when we have come to a conclusion.
It is so important that our Memory be lifted up by Hope, and our
Understanding be enlightened by Faith, in order for our Will to always
choose the most loving, God-like course of action.
St. John realized this because he said, "You must not love this passing
world or anything that is in the world. The love of the Father cannot be
in any man who loves the world, because nothing the world has to offerthe
sensual body, the lustful eye, pride in possessionscould
ever come from the Father, but only from the world."
"And the world, with all it craves for, is coming to an end: but anyone
who does the Will of God remains forever." (Jn. 2:15,16,17)
We can look at this passage and think that to love God is a very
negative, funless, emotionless adherence to laws and regulations, geared
to destroy our free will. But nothing could be further from the truth.
We were created by God to be happy in this life and the nextto
possess a "joy no-one can take away from us." But it is our own Will that
deprives us of that joy when it seeks those kinds of pleasure for which it
was not created.
When a man tries to force a square peg into a round hole, he cannot
complain when the corners begin to break off.
God has given us gifts that are pertinent to the faculty upon which
they are bestowed. Thus, Hope spurs on our Memory to recall and retain
those things that encourage and give us a feeling of assurance.
Faith breaks through the darkness of our finite Understanding and gives
us light to see truth as God sees it.
But Supernatural Love is a power designed to elevate our natural love
so that our Will can choose a course of action that leads it to greater
Here it is necessary to distinguish between natural love, based only on
emotions, and supernatural love, based on Faith.
In the previous chapters, we saw our faculties on a natural level: the
Memory retaining and recalling, and the Understanding judging, reasoning,
and forming opinions.
Our third facultythe
the power that activates what the other two faculties present to it as
being good. The Will, being a strong power and tending towards good, will
seek that good at any cost.
The problem is not in the seeking of good, but in the decision as to
what constitutes "good."
When man operates only on a natural level, the good he seeks is always
purely human. It tends towards self-satisfaction and self-indulgence,
since all its faculties are concentrated upon the human person alone.
He may accomplish great exterior works, but those works will never
raise him to a supernatural level, for man alone cannot raise himself to a
level above his capacities. Knowing this, God has given him Faith, Hope,
and Love at Baptism. By himself, man cannot be filled with a participation
in God's Nature, which is far above his own nature.
God is Love, and unless we grow in His kind of love, we shall never
bear "the fruit that lasts."
If we limit our Memory and Understanding to retain and reason only what
is natural, then our Will can choose only the things of this world.
This is why God in His Infinite Goodness has given us Commandments and
show us what is for our greater good. Our own limited faculties can only
choose what is inherent to their own limited capacities, and can never
rise to a level far above themselves.
But God, in giving us these elevating gifts at Baptism, leaves our Will
free to choose between what we are, which is a limited good, and what He
wants us to beeverlastingly
His Word in Scripture does not take away our Will; it merely shows us a
more perfect way to arrive at that good which our Will ever desires.
The choice is ours, and when He warns us of eternal punishment, He is
not doing so as a hard Taskmaster who demands blind obedience to His Will.
No, He merely shows us the end result of a will that seeks its own good
outside of God. His Love warns us of the tragic results of the human will
seeking its own level.
Since what is finite and limited in its creation, cannot go beyond
itself on its own power, it will sink beneath its original level unless
God Himself raises it up.
Our faculties, finite at their creation and weakened by Original Sin,
must in all humility acknowledge their need and dependence upon their
Creator and Lord.
This is the real struggle of lifeconforming
our Will to God's Will, acknowledging His Will superior to ours, and
realizing that, unless He enlightens us, we do not know the way.
There is only one force strong enough to accomplish this, and that is
Love, but this Love must be of a higher degree and quality than human
This kind of love is greater than the love inherent to our human
nature. Human love is limited and finite, and though men have accomplished
great things by the ardor of human love, it can never satisfy the human
heart. For the human heart longs for a love that is infinite and
no human being can fill that desire.
Because our Will resembles the Spirit, Who is Love, it ever seeks
greater degrees of love. If it seeks that kind of love in the world or
itself, it will always be disappointed and frustrated.
Not knowing where to turn to satiate, its desire for love, the Will can
seek one finite thing after another, and never find its fulfillment.
Since what it really seeks is beyond its nature and capacity, God has
given us Supernatural Love. This love gives our Will free reign to soar
into the limitless realms of God's Love and become satiated and absorbed
with as much as it desires.
The Spirit, in whose image the Will is made, reveals, through Jesus,
the means and the way by which the Will can rise above itself, detach
itself, and live in the very Heart of God from whom all good things come.
Thus, Hope raises what ordinarily tends to drag itself downthe
Memory. Faith elevates our Reasoning to understand what is beyond its
But in the Will, which by its nature turns towards good in Love, God
has bestowed the same quality except that now the Love that was human
becomes a Love that is Divine.
And so the New Commandment is to love one another in the same way Jesus
loves us. (Jn. 13:34)
And how does Jesus love us? He tells us in the 17th Chapter of St.
John. He says, "With Me in them and You in Me, may they be so completely
one that the world will realize that it was You who sent Me, and that I
have loved them as much as You loved Me." (Jn. 17:21-24)
We are to love with the love of the Holy Spirit, for that is how the
Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father. The Holy Spirit is
that love. And so it is that God has elevated that facultythe
only to resemble the Spirit, but now possessing the Spirit, Who is
Now we can love both God and our neighbor with the same love as the
Father loves the Son.
Jesus came to make us sons of God, that we may participate in the very
love the Father has for the Son. It is infinite, beyond our wildest
dreams, greater than the universe, and deeper than the ocean.
Pride is the rejection of God's love in favor of love for the world and
the flesh. Jesus came down to render to the Father a perfect love from a
perfect Man. He humbled Himself, taking the form of a slave, to give to
the Father what man refused to givehis
In so doing, He showed us the way to eternal life and peace of heart.
He is our Model, our Hope, and our Intercessor. We have but to look at Him
to move our Will to please the Father.
Without supernatural love moving our Will, our Faith and Hope would
come to nothing. Unless we act upon the light that Faith instills, and the
assurance that Hope gives us, we will surely be like the man who built his
house on sandbecause
he heard the words of God but did not act upon them. (Matt. 7:27)
It is significant that Jesus told His disciples, not all those who say
"Lord, Lord" will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the person who
does the Father's Will. (Matt. 7:21)
To say, "Lord, Lord" is indicative of a degree of Faith, but unless
that Faith activates the Will towards God through love, it will be of no
profit to the soul.
The Master goes even further and says that even those who have
prophesied, cast out demons, and worked miracles in His Name, will not
enter the Kingdom, except they do the Father's Will. (Matt. 7:22-23)
To acknowledge Him as Lord, and to perform miracles in His Name,
presupposes a great deal of Faith. It is frightening to think that one can
possess healing charisms and not enter the Kingdom. But we saw an example
of this very phenomena in Judas. He healed, as the other disciples did,
but he did not do the Father's Will.
His Will was set on personal glory, ambition, and greed, and not on
loving His Master and pleasing the Father. Did Jesus try to warn Judas
when He said, "Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known
you: away from Me, you evil men"? (Matt. 7:23)
When we speak of doing the Father's Will, we must understand that what
we are really speaking of is Love.
To love Him with a natural love is neither enough nor worthy of Him as
God. We must love with a love like His own. He added this new kind of Love
to our Will at Baptism, and it is only through giving Him that Will
completely that we love Him.
Uniting our Wills to His is more than obedience; it is a union of lovea
desire to be like the object of our lovean
opportunity to manifest love by preferring Him to ourselves.
Jesus explained this reciprocal love when He said, "As the Father has
loved Me, so I have loved you. Remain in My Love. If you keep My
commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father's
commandments and remain in His Love." (Jn. 15:10)
Jesus is saying that to keep His commandments is to love, and to love
is to keep His commandments. He gives Himself as an example of this by
saying that this is how He remains in the Father's love. It is by our Will
that we keep His commandments, and by that same Will that we love.
One gets the impression that Jesus is telling us a secret, because He
says, "I have told you this so that My joy may be in you, and your joy be
complete." (Jn. 15:11)
God wants us to be full of joy with nothing missing, and nothing to mar
it. He wants to give us His own joy because it is a part of love to see
the Beloved joyfula
complete joy that is derived from the source of its love.
If we love God with a purely natural, emotional love, then that love
will vacillate in the same way it vacillates in regard to our neighbor. We
will love Him when all goes well and we feel His Presence,and
be indifferent in times of trial and dryness. Our joy is not complete.
And so it is with our neighbor. When we love our neighbor with only an
emotional, natural love, we love when he appeals to our senses, or renders
us a service. Our joy is not complete.
To aid us in our quest for complete joy, Jesus repeated His
Commandment, and said, "This is My Commandment, love one another as I have
loved you." (Jn. 15:12)
Jesus shows His love for us by remaining in the Father's love, the
source of all love. He said, "The world must be brought to know that I
love the Father and that I am doing exactly what the Father told Me." (Jn.
In order to love our neighbor then, we must first remain in God's Love.
And our neighbor will know of that love by the way we keep the
Commandments, especially the new one.
This is why, immediately after repeating the commandment to love each
other as He loves us, He added, "A man can have no greater love than to
lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I
command you." (Jn. 15:13-14)
The Father asked Jesus to give His life for us, and He obeyed that
command. By doing so, He proved His Love for the Father and for us.
We were enemies of God but His obedience to His Father's Will proved
His love for us. And that love made us "friends" of God.
We were servants, but Jesus told us that servants do not know the
Master's business. The fact that He obeyed the Father's command to live
and die for us, makes us friends because He has told us all His secrets.
It is easy to see how closely related our Will and Love are. The kind
of Love bestowed upon us at Baptism is the same love the Father has for
Jesus and Jesus has for the Fatherit
is a power capable of making us friends of God, heirs to the Kingdom, and
witnesses that Jesus is the Lord.
The first proof then that we love our neighbor is to remain in the
source of all love and life. And we do this by keeping His Commandments
just as Jesus did.
To accept Jesus as Lord is a commandment, and this is the basis of our
Faith as Christians. And this Faith must reach out to our neighbor that
he, too, may find God.
That's why Jesus said, "With Me in them and You in Me, may they be so
completely one that the world will realize that it was You who sent Me,
and that I love them as much as You loved Me." (Jn. 17:23)
The first obligation we have to our neighbor then is spiritual, and the
second is social.
That's why the First Commandment is to love God with our whole heart,
mind, soul, and strength. To do this, we must remain in God's Love. We
must keep His words in our heart and choose Him above all things.
The Second Commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves. This
concerns the social aspect or the fruit of our love of God. To love our
neighbor as ourselves is to care for him, feed him when he is hungry,
clothe him when he is naked, and give our life for him if God so wills.
Jesus Himself showed us very clearly the order in which we should love:
God first and neighbor second. And because God is our first love, and the
source of our love, our love for our neighbor is like our love for Godit
is the same love.
He said, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is
in me? . . . . It is the Father, living in Me, who is doing this work . .
. . Believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason." (Jn.
What was this evidence? His care for the poor was one of the signs He
gave to John the Baptist. His concern for the multitudes when they were
hungry, His compassion for sinners, and His healing of the blind and sick,
were also signs.
Because He remained in the Father's love, He was able to love His
neighbor in the same way He loved the Fatherit was with the same love.
Both His Love and His Will were one in the Father, and His Love for
mankind was a proof of that love. "Believe in the work I do; then you will
know for sure that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father." (Jn.
And so it is with us. Our Faith in Jesus must move our Will to love God
and neighbor in the same way Jesus does.
Here again, many of us put the cart before the horse. We try to perform
good works for the sake of the works. They become our works, and not the
works of Jesus in us.
They are not the result of our remaining in His Love like the works of
Jesus were. They are often merely acts of kindness that we perform because
it is the Christian thing to do.
These kinds of works are only exterior, and their source is ourselves,
and though they start out with great zeal, they are, like ourselves, small
and without spirit. They do not witness to God's work in us, only to our
work in ourselves.
Since the works of Jesus were the result of His remaining in the
Father's love, and we are to imitate Him, then our works must be the
result of our living in the love of Jesus.
Jesus is our Mediator, our bridge to the Father. As the Son does, so
His friends must do. What Jesus is by Nature, He has made us through
grace. And this participation in His Naturegiven
through Faith, Hope, and Love, and the Seven Gifts of His Spiritpermits
us to imitate Him, follow Him, and share in His Sonship.
He became Man to show us the Way. He was perfect Man, and, though He
always enjoyed the Hypostatic Union, He experienced all the weaknesses and
struggles of our human natureall
With this in mind, we must see how God-made-Man used His Human
Faculties to show us the Way.
For Jesus to be our Way, we must look at His Way.
For Jesus to be our Truth, we must look at His Truth.
For Jesus to be our Life, we must look at His Life.
There must be a "way" to keep close to God during our daily life, and
there is only One who can show it to usJesus.
We must have a starting point, a map, and direction to arrive at any
Let us say that our starting point is our Memory; our Understanding is
our map; and our Will is the direction we take.
The Eternal Word never ceased to be God, as He united Divinity to flesh
and blood. He never for a moment forgot Who He was, or the Mission the
Father gave Him. But as Man, He did grow in the experience of human
weakness, and in this capacity He is able to help us and raise us up above
our human level.
To arrive at a proper perspective of the direction our Will must take,
we will look at Jesus and see if we can penetrate His secret as to how we
can best "remain" in God's Love.
A WAY -
THE MEMORY OF JESUS
St. John says in his Prologue that, "No-one has ever seen God; it is
only the Son, who is nearest to the Father's heart, who has made Him
known." (Jn. 1:18)
We have said our Memory resembles the Father, and we spoke of
developing those emotions that are most like the. Fathercompassion
and mercy. We heard Jesus tell us that it is from the heart that the evil
desires of man come, and we must be careful because where our treasure is,
there will our heart be also.
Jesus is nearest to the Father's heart as God, and He never forgot that
position as Man. The Memory of His Father was always with Him and gave Him
the courage He' needed as Man to withstand the hatred and persecution of
His chosen people.
His Memory never left the Presence of the Father. He said to Nicodemus,
"We speak only about what we know, and witness only to what we have seen.
No-one has gone up to Heaven except the One who came down from Heaven, the
Son of Man who is in Heaven." (Jn 3:11,13)
"The Son of Man who is in Heaven," shows us very clearly where Jesus
kept His Human Memory.
Our Memory is a faculty that can keep us in the past, and since our
past is of this world, it cannot lift us up above ourselves.
But Jesus kept His yesterday in the Heart of His Father. And He merited
Hope for us, so that we may ever keep the Heart of God in our Memory. This
can elevate every present moment that so quickly becomes a Memory.
Every life situation must be seen through the eyes of Faith, so that
the Memory of that situation may be placed in the Heart of God.
It takes much Hope and Trust to realize that the situation at hand came
from God and must be returned to God for care, healing, providing, mercy,
It is not for us to worry, to glory in, to regret, or to relive that
memory. And when that Memory returns to disturb us or inspire us to pride,
we have only to raise it again to the Heart of the Father, Who is
Compassionate and Merciful.
Jesus told His enemies one day, "You have never heard His (the
Father's) voice or seen His shape, and His Word finds no home in you,
because you do not believe in the One He has sent." (Jn. 5:37,38)
It is through the words of Jesus that we hear the Father's words, and
we see the Father's shape when we look at Jesus. "To have seen Me is to
have seen the Father." (Jn. 14:9)
Those words and that example must be stored in our Memory and recalled
often so that the Kingdom of Heaven may dwell within us.
The Memory of Jesus always recalled to His Mind where His teaching came
from. "My teaching is not from Myself; it comes from the One who sent Me."
This realization gives us Hopethe
One whose words we hear has come from God.
The Memory of Jesus never let Him forget that He was sent by the Father
and came from the Father. "I know where I came from and where I am going.
. . . I, who am sent by the living Father, Myself draw life from the
Father." (Jn. 8:14,6:57)
The Memory of Jesus constantly fed His beautiful humility. "The One who
sent Me is truthful, and what I have learnt from Him I declare to the
world. I do nothing of Myself; what the Father has taught Me, is what I
preach. "What I, for My part, speak of, is what I have seen with my
Father." (Jn. 8:26,28,38)
Are we saying that to imitate Jesus we must blank life and reality out
of our mind? No, Jesus was a realistthe
only realist this world has ever known.
He understood human nature, and suffered from every evil that could
befall us. He not only saw every situation as it was, but even knew the
thoughts of those who hated Him.
He suffered more than any other human being, because He was so perfect
and holy, and He understood the evil of sin.
we say that imitating Jesus is unrealistic, we only show our lack of
comprehension of His Life and His Mission.
Yes, we must work, live, plan, and provide, but these are not the
things that defile us. It is what goes on in our Memory and Understanding
and the action of our Will that makes us either realistic or live in a
A dream is something that may be beautiful or ugly, but whatever it is,
it lasts but a momentand
so does life.
Jesus understood this, and kept His Memory of the Father, the Father's
Words, the Father's Will, and His Love, Compassion, and Mercy so much in
His Mind that it kept Him always in touch with the one and only realityGod.
As Jesus kept the Father in His Memory, we, too, must keep Jesus
present in our Memory. He is our bridge to the Father.
Our Memory must recall often that His Words are God's Words. We must
remember that when we bear fruit, it is only because we are attached to
the true Vine, and it is He who bears fruit in us.
We must recall His burning love for us, as He died for our salvation.
We must remember His consoling words in times of need, His warning words
in times of temptation, His loving words in times of loneliness, His
revealing words in times of doubt, His humble words when tempted to be
proud, His reassuring words when tempted to despair, and His pleading
words in times of apathy.
As Jesus always saw the face of the Father, we must ever remember the
face of His Son.
As Jesus spoke only the words He heard from the Father, we must speak
those words of His Son.
As Jesus taught only what He learned from the Father, we must teach
what we learn from His Son.
We must keep our Memory free of all the things of this worldthe
superfluous things that choke His Words. We must trust and hope in His
Words without hesitation, without "ifs" and "buts" and without reserve.
We must keep ourselves free of anger, bitterness, hatred, and
self-indulgence, by keeping our Memory occupied with JesusHis
THE TRUTH - THE UNDERSTANDING OF JESUS
The Understanding of Jesus is so far above our own that we catch only a
glimpse of itnot
because He wants it that way, but because we find it so difficult to think
the thoughts of God. We are proud, and that is why humility is so
important, in order that our understanding may reason as He reasons, and
see as He sees.
Only a humble and childlike heart can understand and accept the words
A proud man lives by his own words, but a humble mana
man of Faithlives
by the Words of Jesus. And because these Words are from Jesus, they are
life-giving and enlightening.
"I am the light of the world;" He said, "Anyone who follows Me will not
be walking in the dark; he will have the light of life." (Jn. 8:12)
From the First Chapter of Matthew, throughout the New Testament, we
observe a whole new way of thinking, of understanding, of reasoning.
Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. The temptations
were typical of those we are all plagued with. He had fasted forty days
and was tempted to turn stones into bread, but He replied that man does
not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of
To our human way of thinking, it would have been reasonable to turn
stones into bread, especially after a forty-day fast. But Jesus reasoned
was not according to the mind of God to use His miraculous powers for
Most important of all, He used this temptation to raise His Mind to
God. God's Word was real food for man's soul, and the "flesh" must never
be held in first place. He would give us an example.
Later on in His life, He was to say, "It is the spirit that gives life,
the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit,
and they are life." (Jn. 6:63)
At another time, when the disciples returned with food, He said, "I
have food to eat that you do not know about. My food is to do the Will of
the One who sent me." (Jn. 4:32-34)
We see Jesus putting the emphasis on the Spirit. His Memory always
beheld the Face of the Father; His Understanding reasoned according to the
Words He heard from the Father; His Will was fed by ever being united to
the Will of the Father. He fed His Human Soul with the Father's Presence
(Memory); the Father's Word (Understanding); and the Father's Will (Will).
The first temptation was directed to His Memoryand
emotional faculty. The thought of bread after a fast would arouse His
emotions and senses. His hunger was legitimate, but the method suggested
to satisfy it was not, and He would not succumb.
The second was a temptation directed to His Understanding. "If You are
the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for Scripture says, 'He will put You
in His Angels' charge.'" Human reasoning would say, "Yes, You are God's
Son, and God has promised to see that You do not dash Your foot against a
But Jesus reasoned differently. He would not take Scripture out of
context. His Understanding looked at the whole of Scripture, not at one
paragraph. He would see it as God gave it, for it also said, "You must not
put the Lord, Your God, to the test." This was a temptation to Pride. The
Intellect can be the throne of pride (self), or the throne of God. It can
be our home or His Home. We can abide in ourselves, or we can abide in
Jesus would not succumb to the temptation to "show off" and attract the
multitudes by some manifestation of His Powera
manifestation that had no purpose but to attract attention to Himself. He
would live by the words that the Father gave Him. He came as an Image of
the Father's Love and Mercy. He would not swerve from that purpose.
Jesus fed His Understanding with the thoughts of God, and we must do
the same. He began His Public Life by immediately giving us new avenues of
The poor in spirit inherit the Kingdom, the gentle inherit the land,
and the persecuted are to dance for joy. How contrary to human reasoning!
He said that to refrain from killing someone is not enough; we are not
even to be angry or say "Fool" to our neighbor. To refrain from committing
adultery is not enough; a man must not even look at a woman with lust. How
contrary to human reasoning!
To say we love our neighbors but hate our enemies is not enough. We
must also love our enemiesdo
good to them. How contrary to human reasoning!
He told His disciples that it was necessary that He suffer grievously,
die, and rise for our Redemption, and that a loving Father commanded Him
to do so. How contrary to human reasoning!
He said if we were meek and humble as He, we would find rest for our
souls. How contrary to human reasoning! All of His parables stop our human
reasoning short, and we are forced to take another look at God and
ourselves. Our way of reasoning concentrates on this life alone, and His
way of reasoning sees this life as passing, and looks at everything in its
relationship to God and Heaven.
Our human way of reasoning makes us a prisoner in our own house. And
this is why Jesus said, "If you make My Word your home, you will indeed be
My disciples; you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.
Everyone who commits sin is a slave; now the slave's place in the house is
not assured." (Jn. 8:31,35)
Only living in and by His Word are we free, because living by our own
words puts us in darkness. So many things in life are riddles, complex,
and often tragic. No matter how hard we try, we find no reasons or
solutions for them. But Jesus said, "Anyone who follows Me, will not be
walking in darkness; he will have the light of life." (Jn. 8:12)
Jesus looked at and reasoned everything in the light of the teaching of
the Father. He is the first-born Son and received His information directly
from the Father.
We, however, have been given FaithFaith
in Jesus. It is through that living Faith that we receive the teaching and
words to live by. It is through Faithwhose
foundation is a humble heartthat
we begin to Understand and see life in all its facets, with joy and
"The Father is the source of life," Jesus told His disciples, "and He
has made the Son the Source of Life." (Jn. 5:26)
Some time after He told this to His disciples, He explained to them
that unless we received our life from Him we would die. "He who eats My
Flesh and drinks My Blood, lives in Me and I live in Him. As I, who am
sent by the living Father, Myself draw life from the Father, so, whoever
eats Me will draw life from Me." (Jn. 6:56)
God became Manthe
Incarnation; God becomes foodthe
beyond our poor human reasoning.
As the Son constantly receives life from the Father, being the Son of
God, and as He used His human Memory, Understanding, and Will to keep in
touch with that life as Man, so we must receive the Eucharist as our
source of eternal life, and use our Memory, Understanding, and Will to
keep in touch with God through Faith in His Word.
When the Mysteries of God seem too much for our finite minds to grasp,
and our Reasoning says, "This is intolerable language. How could anyone
us say with Peter, "Lord, to whom shall we go; You have the Words of
Eternal Life." (Jn. 6:68)
Jesus is our source of Life, and we must constantly draw from that
Source, or we shall bear no fruit. Jesus told us this when He compared
Himself to a Vine and mankind to branches. The Father is the Vinedresser
who comes looking for fruit, and when He finds some, He prunes in order to
receive a more bountiful harvest.
Jesus was very definite about the source of whatever fruit we manage to
bear. "As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part
of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me." (Jn. 15:3,4)
This picture is often brought home to us after a windstorm. The wind or
lightning will break a branch off a tree, and in less than a day, the
leaves begin to droop, and in another day or two, the branch is dead. It
was suddenly cut off from the Source of life.
We can become absorbed in the beauty of branches laden with fruit, and
forget the life-giving trunk. And then a windstorm brings us face to face
And so it is with our spiritual life. Unless we live in Jesus through
our Memory, and by Jesus through our Understanding, and with Jesus through
our Will, we will wither and die.
Yes, when our Understanding begins to reason as He reasons, we are on
our way to being true disciples. Faith is the key that opens our
Understanding to higher levels, because Jesus, the Light of the World, is
our never-ending source of light.
THE LIFE - THE WILL OF JESUS
From the First Chapter of Matthew to the Prologue of John, we are aware
that Jesus is the Lord, and that He came because it was God's Will.
Matthew says, "The Virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and
they will call Him Emmanuel." (Is. 7:14, Matt. 1:23) "He will be great and
will be called the Son of the Most High." (Matt. 1:27)
John says, "who was born not out of human stock, or urge of the flesh,
or will of man, but of God Himself." (Jn. 1:13)
God's Will alone brought the Eternal Word into this world, in order for
unite His human Will to the Father's Eternal Will.
Although we are brought into existence by the urge of the flesh, and of
is still by that same Will of God that we may unite our wills to His Will.
Though our origin is different, both the Word made Man, and nothingness
made man, were born to do the Will of Him who sends them.
Our Will is our most precious possession because it was given as a gifta
gift without strings attached, and a gift that is completely ours to do
with as we please.
For that reason it is also a dangerous gift, because we can turn it
against ourselves, and in so doing think we are freefree
because we do as we please, when we please, and how we please.
St. Peter gave his opinion of all those who think freedom means giving
free reign to their desires when he said, "They may promise freedom, but
they themselves are slavesslaves
to corruption; because if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything,
then he is a slave to it." (2 Pet. 2:19)
This is especially true of Christians who, by their very name, have
given themselves to God through obedience to Jesus. It is a contradiction
to see a Christian think and act as the world and his own desires dictate.
A Christian who conforms his Will to worldly standards, under the
excuse that we live in a modern world, has merely a veneer of Christianitythe
truth is not in him.
Of such a man St. Peter says, "Anyone who has escaped the pollution of
the world once by coming to know our Lord Jesus Christ, and who allows
himself to be entangled by it a second time and mastered, will end up in a
worse condition than he began in. . . . What he has done is exactly as the
proverb rightly says: The dog goes back to his own vomit, and when the sow
has been washed, it wallows in the mud." (2 Pet: 2:20,22)
To prevent ourselves from falling into this deplorable state, we will
look at Jesus and see how our Exemplar united His Will to the Father's.
Conforming our Will to the Father's Will is the highest exercise of our
free will. Jesus Himself showed us this when He said, "I have come here
from God; yes, I have come from Him; not that I came because I chose; no,
I was sent, and by Him." (Jn. 8:42)
Jesus repeatedly tells us that His aim was not to do His own Will but
the Father's Will. "I have come from Heaven," he said, "not to do My own
Will but to do the Will of the One who sent Me."
The Father decided that the Son would be our exemplar and come to earth
to live, suffer, and die as any other human being. But to strengthen our
faith in Him, He was to rise from the dead.
Jesus was asked to do thisHe
was sent to accomplish our RedemptionHis
love for the Father made Him desire only one thing, and that was the
accomplishment of the Father's Will.
This is why He could say He was sent, and that He did not come to do
His own Will. But because His choice was one of love and union, He could
also say, "The Father loves Me because I lay down My life in order to take
it up again. No-one takes it from Me; I lay it down of My own free will."
It was in His power to lay down His life and take it up again. "This is
the command," He said, "I have been given by My Father." (Jn. 10:18)
The more we love, the more we desire to do the will of the beloved.
Love can make us choose the Beloved's Will over and over as a
manifestation of our love. It is the best proof of love.
We see this in Jesus throughout the Gospelsso
much so that He compares doing the Father's Will to food. (Jn. 4:34)
Material food sustains, nourishes, and rebuilds our bodies, and without
it our bodily functions would soon be impaired and eventually die. Hunger
reminds us of a need for food, and we readily see by loss of weight that
we can go just so far without eating.
These are physical signs for physical needs, but the Lord never seemed
to be too concerned with this kind of food.
Twice we know He had compassion on the multitudes and fed them in the
desert, but when they came after Him, He was disappointed in the motive
for their affection.
"You are not looking for Me because you have seen signs, but because
you had all the bread you wanted to eat." (Jn. 6:26)
Jesus wants to be loved for Himself alone and not for what He does for
This gives us our first clue as to how to unite our wills to God's
Will. We must do His Will out of pure love. We are to be grateful for His
benefits, but we are to love Him for Himselfbecause
He is God's Sonbecause
He loves usbecause
He lived, and died for usbecause
He wants our lovebecause
He is so lovableand
because He is Who He isour
"Do not work for food that cannot last," He told them, "but work for
food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is
offering you." (Jn. 6:27)
The Words of Jesus are food, and doing the works of God is to believe
in those Words. But this is not enough unless, like physical food, these
words are taken in and digested.
Jesus added the finishing touch to this process when He said, "My food
is to do the Will of the One who sent Me, and to complete His Work.
To hear and to believe is good, but to complete our work, our Will must
Our Will completes the work that our Memory has brought forth and our
As it is with the words of God, it is with the words of this world. If
our Memory is fed only the words of the world, and our Understanding
accepts only the words of the world, then our Will can strive only for
If we live on a constant diet of the words we hear on radio and
television, and read in newspapers, books, and magazines,then
our Will knows of no other choice to make except what is presented to it.
It can choose only the things of this world, and find its good in them. We
feed our souls dry straw and slowly starve to death.
How true is the saying that we are what our thoughts are! Just as our
bodies become what we eat, our souls become what we hear, see, and do.
We often heard Jesus say that He came to do the Will of His Father. To
Will is to do, not only to desire.
Whatever we feed our Memory and Understanding makes us desire, but the
Will must accomplish that desire.
A delicious dinner prepared well, and garnished to excite our appetite,
is of no value unless we perform the act of eating. Only then does it
become part of us.
We can compare this to our spiritual faculties, for the words we live
by must be stored in our Memory, and prepared by our Understanding, but
unless our Will acts upon this accumulation of information, it is all
We have an example of this on the night of His Agony. Jesus went into
the Garden to pray, and asked Peter, James, and John to pray with Him. He
went on ahead to pray alone, but when He came back, they were asleep. He
said to Peter, "So you had not the strength to keep awake with Me one
hour? You should be awake and praying not to be put to the test. The
spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:40,41,42)
Here is our second clueprayer.
Both Jesus and His Apostles were in distress of soul over the prospect of
what was to come. The Agony of Jesus was greater because He was aware of
every gory detail of the coming Crucifixion.
More than thatHe
was aware of the stark reality, that even after He showed mankind so much
would still Will to reject Him.
How were the Apostles to unite their Wills to God's Will at a time when
their human nature rebelled against so great a suffering? What do we do
when our emotions are at such a pitch that the whole world seems to be
crushing in upon us, and our nature cries out in pain and despair?
What do we do when our nature begs for relief and only more distress
falls upon it?
When that time comes, we throw ourselves upon the ground of our misery
that His Will be done, not ours.
This is what Jesus did, and His Will was strengthened; and this is what
the Apostles did not do, and their Wills were weakened.
Our Will must be strengthened if it is to persevere in its pursuit of
the Only Good. Prayer, by its very naturecommuning
our emotions. Our Memory begins to recall the words of God, rather than
the words that disturb it. When this happens, our Understanding can see
the situation through the eyes of Faith, and our Will, calmed by the
prayer, can choose the right course in a more enlightened manner.
Since our body and soul are so closely united, and so dependent upon
each other, it seems logical that the process by which the one is fed and
strengthened, would also apply to the other.
In order for our body to sustain life, it needs an appetite, food, a
preparation of food, a choice of food, and a digestive process. If one of
these is missing or out of balance, the body will suffer.
Without an appetite, food becomes intolerable; without food, life is
impossible; without the proper choice of food, the bodily functions are
impaired; and without a good digestive process, the body suffers great
Our soul must live by a similar process. For appetite, it has desires;
for food, Memory; for the preparation of food, Understanding; for a choice
of food, the Will; and for a digestive processprayer.
Rightly did our Lord tell us not to put our hearts in the food that
perishes. Material food is fed to a material body and both are destined to
perish. But the Words fed to our soul change that soul for good or bad for
And one day when the body is reunited to the soul, that body will take
on the beauty or ugliness of the soul. "In the twinkling of an eye ... the
dead will be raised imperishable ... because our present perishable nature
must put on imperishability, and this mortal nature must put on
immortality." (1 Cor. 15:52,53)
If we permit the flesh to influence the spirit, the results may not be
as evident now, but they will be in Heaven and on the Last Day.
Even though the full impact cannot be seen until the Last Day, we can
perceive, from the fruit we bear now, a resemblance of what will be.
We see this in the difference between the fruit Jesus bore and the
fruit His Apostles bore.
Let us follow our process and see how it bore fruit and what kind of
During His life, Jesus had a great desire to Redeem us. He called it a
baptism with which He had to be baptized. (Mark 10:38)
During His Life, He fed His Memory with the teaching of the Father. His
Understanding took that teaching and reasoned out Parables that conveyed
word pictures to the people, and revealed the Mysteries of God in the
simple words that they could retain.
He saw the Father in every joyous or painful experience, and united His
Will to the Father's. He then digested all this Wisdom through hours of
prayer and communion with His Father.
When the crucial moment of His Life arrived, His human faculties were
able to rise to the occasion and give Him strength.
His desire was ever the same. "Now the hour has come for the Son to be
glorified. . . . Now My soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father,
deliver Me from this hour? But it was for this very reason that I have
come to this hour." (Jn. 12:23,27)
His Memory filled Him with sadness and distress. For the first time He
pleaded for help. "My Soul is sorrowful to the point of death." (Matt.
26:37) His emotions began to anticipate the suffering to come. Suddenly,
He saw all the souls that would refuse His Love. The combination of
anticipated pain and rejection brought upon Him a fear that made Him cry
out, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless,
let it be as You, not I, would have it."
His Understanding asked if there were any chance of this chalice
passing Him by. Even though He had come for this very purpose, was there
some remote chance? But, immediately, His Love for the Father prompted Him
to say, "Let it be as You, not I, would have it."
He prayed, and He asked the Father the same question three times. Each
time, His immediate reaction to His own question was that He preferred the
The important part of this account is the question: How did He sustain
His union with the Father's Will, as the answer to His request remained
The answer is: continued prayer. The more His emotions gripped His Soul
in fear, the more He reasoned that there might be some slight chance of
He prayed. And that continued prayer sustained His Will and strengthened
it to the point where He could say to His Apostles, "Now the Hour has come
when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up!
Let us go! My betrayer is already close at hand." (Matt. 26:46)
Because His faculties had lived in the Father all His life, and prayer
nourished His Soul often, He was able in His crisis to remain serene and
united to the Father.
The difference between Jesus, His Apostles, and ourselves is evident,
and need not be reiterated.
Before He died, He gave us one more secret to help us when life
presents us with those unavoidable, unexplainable, and undesirable
and prolonged prayer.
Prayer brings our faculties together, unites them in a common purpose,
and strengthens our Will to unite itself to God in love.
It is when our faculties are each going in their own direction that the
soul becomes confused.
Prayer, a loving thought, and sometimes often rebellious conversation
with God, permits each faculty to take hold of itself and rest in Him.
This is why the Master often asked His Apostles to go aside and rest
awhile. They all needed time to discuss, redirect, and feed their souls
with His WordsWords
that gave courage, hope, and confidence.
Had the Apostles continued in prayer, as the Master led them to do,
they would never have failed Him.
He told them, "You should be awake and praying not to be put to the
test." (Matt. 26:41) Is He saying that had they prayed, they would not
have to suffer? No, because He prayed, and He had to bear His Cross.
What did He mean then that if they prayed they would not be tested? To
be tested is to be given an opportunity to make a choice between two
between good and evil, or the right way and the wrong way.
When Jesus told them that prayer would take away the test, He was
telling them that prayer would direct their Wills to adhere to God's Will,
no matter how difficult or painful it might be.
Through prayer, their spiritual faculties would have remembered the
prophecies, seen His Passion through the eyes of Faith, and accepted it
with courage. There would have been no test: their Wills, like the Will of
the Master, would have been united to the Father; their choice, made in
prayer, would have done away with the test.
Not to be put to the test is not the elimination of the cross or
temptation: these are part of life. It is being so united to God's Will in
every cross that the test is no longer thereit
is no longer a choice between good and evil. Our Will, through prayer,
chooses good and does away with the test, even though the cross remains.
This is why Jesus could get up from prayer, strengthened in His Will,
and take up His Cross with serenity. But His Apostles, their faculties
dulled by grief, and starved by sleep, were tested and failed.
Having looked at Jesus to see how He used His human faculties, we find
that He did everything He asked us to do, and did it under more
distressing circumstances than we will ever have.
He never lost sight of the source of His WordsHis
His Memory was always at rest. He had trust in His Father's Providence,
and never worried when everything seemed to fall apart. He prevented
Himself from becoming disturbed by having Compassion on` all men.
From the Words He heard from His Father, He Reasoned with the thoughts
of God, not men. He saw the value of suffering, detachment, and poverty,
and encouraged His followers not to put their trust in the things of this
world. His Understanding was always raised to a higher level, and He put
the Kingdom of Heaven above everything else. His Humility was unparalleled
and as great as His Omnipotence.
His Will, ever fed and guided by a Memory and Understanding filled with
the Father, was always united to the Father's Will. His Love for mankind
was like the Father's. He loved everyone and excluded no-one, no matter
how hateful they were to Him. To keep His Will ever united to the
Father's, He prayed very much and very often.
We have arrived at a pattern of life that will transform us into Jesus.
God has given us human, but spiritual, faculties that resemble His
Godhead. He has enhanced them with Infused Virtues to raise them to His
level. He has sent His Son to show us how to use them, and He has sent His
Spirit to give us Gifts.
Before we go on to find the Master Key, we shall look at our pattern.
Let us see how this pattern fits our life:
Our Memory is elevated by Hope and enhanced by Compassion.
Our Understanding is elevated by Faith and enhanced by Humility.
Our Will is elevated by Love and enhanced by Prayer.
God has given us a Memory and Hope: we must be Compassionate.
He has given us an Understanding and Faith: we must be humble.
He has given us a Will and Love: we must pray.
He has done His part: He waits for us to do ours.
"Turned into the Image that we reflect"
(2 Cor. 3:18)
A Hopeful and Compassionate Memory →
is raised from the image of the Father to being like the Father
→ "Be Compassionate as your Father is
Compassionate." (Luke 6:36)
A Humble and Faith-filled Understanding →
is raised from a likeness of the Son to Transformation into Jesus
→ "Learn of Me for I am Meek and Humble of
Heart." (Matt. 11:29)
A Loving and Prayerful Will → is
raised from a resemblance to the Spirit to Union with the Spirit
→ "Pray that you be not put to the test."
THE MASTER KEY
Our three faculties are like three keys that open the door of two
different houses. The one is the House of God, and the other the House of
Whichever door they open, in that place they live. That is why Jesus
has asked us to make our home in Him, in the same way that He makes His
home in us. (Jn. 15:3)
The one House is one of beauty, joy, and happiness, and the other is
one of ugliness, sadness, and misery. Each one of us has at one time or
another lived in both houses alternately. We live in one and then the
other, but eventually we find that our stay in one of these houses gets
longer and longer.
The Keys were given to us to live only in one Housethe House of God,
and when we use them to live in the house of the thief, we run the risk of
take to ourselves what is a gift from a bountiful Father.
We must spend our time using these keys to open many different rooms in
the House of God. Though every human being has the three Keys, each set
opens different rooms, according to the designs of the Householder and the
effort that the holder of the Keys puts forth.
Yes, in His Father's House there are many rooms, and at this moment He
is preparing a place for us. (Jn. 14:2)
St. Paul was very conscious of the need and effect of effort on our
part when he said, "You can build in gold, silver and jewels, or in wood,
grass, and straw, but whatever the material, the work of each builder is
going to be clearly revealed when the day comes." (1 Cor. 3:12,13)
We can give to God the silver of our Memory, shining with a clear Image
of the Father; the gold of our Understanding, bright with the Mysteries of
God; and the jewels of our Will, forever united to Eternal Loveor
We can develop a Memory of straw, marred by the dead seeds of
bitterness; an Understanding like the grass, earthly and low to the
ground; and a Will hard as wood, unyielding and unbending, united to
itself in misery.
Whichever set of keys we choose to use, the final product will be seen
by the whole world. It is important that we develop these faculties to
their highest degree.
We must then determine which one of the three Keys is the Master Key,
which one opens the door to the others, because without this knowledge we
might not use our keys properly.
We have determined that to each faculty God has given a corresponding
virtue to elevate it, and a Counsel to develop it.
Understanding → Faith
In each particular category there is a Master Keya
Key that opens the door to the others in that category,a
Key upon which the others depend for development and guidance.
If our pattern is the correct one to follow, then the Master Key in
each category should be the area in which that faculty, virtue, and
counsel are one.
We will try to prove which combination is the Master Key, and hope the
reader will use that Key in his life. Only then will we know for certain
that we are using all the Keys and have found the Master Key.
MASTER KEY IN THE FACULTIES
We have seen how important it is to keep our Memory free of those
memories that feed our soul with disturbing words.
We have seen how Hope elevates, and compassion develops that faculty
above itself, to encourage, uplift, and calm the memories that sadden and
disturb our souls.
But before we can use any of these gifts and aids, we must want to
Without the Will to control our Memories, we may cry out in distress
and desire to be delivered, but until we want to change, or calm those
memories, we will never use the helps God has given us.
"Do not let the sun go down on your anger," the Lord warned us. (Eph.
4:26) The words "do not" belong to the power of the Will. It is this power
that we use when we "do" or "do not."
We may be ignorant of a way to rid ourselves of bitter memories, but
when we seek that way, we are exercising our Will, even though we are not
blessed with immediate success.
There are some things we need that we receive for the asking, but there
are others that we must seek before we find. An old bad memory may be hard
to conquer, but every effort in that direction will fade it out a little
If we have spilled ink on a white garment, we may not
notice any difference as we begin to blot it out; but continued effort and other helps will make the garment like newso
new, one would never know it was soiled. "Though
your sins are as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow."
As soon as we are conscious of a disturbing memory, we must substitute
some words of Jesus, and substitute the feeling of Compassion. A deep
realization of our own misery will permit us to have mercy on others. We
must also grow in the virtue of Hope, by seeing in a disturbing memory an opportunity to trust God and to gain merit for the next life.
To do all of this, we must want to rid ourselves of these frustrating
memories. To calm our memories, we need prayer, love, and will power.
Some Memories the Lord Himself will literally take away for the asking.
But there are others that are so deep-rooted that His Will permits them to
only for our good.
The exercise of Hope, the practice of Compassion, the prolongation of
our prayers, and the effort of our Will towards ridding ourselves of these
Memories, all help in changing this faculty and making it stronger.
The continued effort makes our Will stronger to adhere to God's Will in
other things; the practice of Compassion makes our whole attitude more
understanding and merciful. Through the seemingly fruitless prayer, we
actually become more enlightened in the darkness and more "at home" with
When the time is over and we have succeeded in conquering that Memory,
we will find ourselves more in love with God and more loving to our
To conquer bitter Memories with Hope and Compassion then, we need Will
Power, Love, and Prayer.
St. Paul tells us, "Never give in then, my dear brothers, never admit
defeat; keep on working at the Lord's work always, knowing that in the
Lord, you cannot be labouring in vain." (1 Cor. 15:58)
We must want to be rid of a Memory; we must want to be Compassionate;
we must want to exercise our Hope. To Want is to Will, and to Will is to
We must look at unwanted memories merely as doors, as opportunities to
do greater work in that faculty.
St. Paul looked upon every opportunity as a door that opened up new
ways of working for God, by changing himself and saving souls.
In the Epistle to the Corinthians, he says, "A big and important door
has opened for my work, and there is a great deal of opposition." (1 Cor.
St. Paul must have been forced to work on his Memory long and hard,
with all the opposition he received. We know from Scripture that when
things were hard for him he prayed that his Will would not permit his
Memory to conquer.
"Pray for us especially, asking God to show us opportunities for
announcing the message and proclaiming the Mystery of Christ, for the sake
of which I am in chains; pray that I may proclaim it as clearly as I
ought." (Col. 4:3)
Paul's memory never let him forget the reason for his persecutions,
sufferings, and chains, but he looked upon them all only as opportunities,
and prayed that his Will would do as it ought to doproclaim
the word regardless of that suffering.
He appealed to the Memory of these Colossians when he said, "Remember
the service that the Lord wants you to do, and try to carry it out.
Remember the chains I wear." (Col. 4:17,18) The remembrance of his chains
was to give them courage in their own sufferings.
He combines the Memory and Will together to encourage, build, and
render a service. He uses this faculty for good, not as a warehouse of
evil. Yes, the Memory is our own private, spiritual warehouse, in which
our Will can clean house by using the broom of Hope and the dustpan of
There are, however, some painful memories that we must retain for our
greater good. Peter never forgot his denial because the fruit of that
memory was goodit
kept him humble, careful, and more loving.
When the time of his own crucifixion came, he used that memory as a
tool to encourage him to take this opportunity to show his love for his
Our dear Lord Himself retains His Five Wounds in Heaven. He showed them
to His Apostles to prove He had risen. We shall find new joy in Heaven
each time we gaze upon them. They will be glorious reminders of the great
Love God has for us.
Our Memory will abide with us in Heaven, but it will be changed. The
Memory of our sins will make us glory in His Mercy, and we will rejoice in
the power that was so manifest in weakness.
In Heaven we will use our Memory in the way God intended us to use it.
We will see the reasons for our trials and how great the reward for so
little effort on our part. We will be full of love, joy, compassion, and
praise for all Eternity.
God desires that we begin on earth what we shall do in Heaven. Our
Memory must see the reasons for our difficulties through the eyes of
Faith, and be filled with the same compassion and love as we shall have in
Heaven. No hatred, bitterness, resentment, or jealousy must be permitted a
place in the warehouse of our Memory.
Because we are in the state of pilgrimage, and our Will is in the state
of merit, it will always take effort on our part to keep our Memory in
order. But it will be easier as we form the habit of living by our Will,
and not by our Memory.
The Sacred Writer says in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "God would not be
so unjust as to forget all you have,. done, the love you have for His
Name, or the services you have done, and are still doing for the saints.
Our one desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same
earnestness to the end." (Heb. 6:10,11)
Here we see God's Memory never forgetting how much effort we put forth
for the Kingdom, and how we should use that Eternal Memory as a tool to
prod our Will on to greater work for the Kingdom. He forgets our sins but
always remembers the good we do.
Paul said to Titus, "Remember, there was a time when we were ignorant,
disobedient, and misled, and enslaved by different passions and luxuries;
we lived then in wickedness and ill will, hating each other and hateful
ourselves." (Titus 3:3)
What a perfect example of someone living in an uncontrolled Memory. But
why did he ask that we remember those weaknesses? "It was not because He
was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it
was for no reason except His own compassion that He saved us by means of
the cleansing water of rebirth (Baptism) and by renewing us in the Holy
Spirit. . . ." (Titus 3:5,6)
God Himself remembers our good works, our desires, and our effort, and
His Mercy in our regard is guided by His Compassion, not by our goodness.
And so it must be with us on earth.
Our Compassion for our neighbor must ever keep before our eyes his
effort and desires and not dwell upon his weaknesses. We must love our
neighbor because we want to be good, not because he is good. That is how
God loves us. We must then keep before the eyes of our Memory our
neighbor's good deeds and not his sins and weaknesses.
To do this, we need Will power, love, and prayer, for this is how God
treats us in regard to His Memory. He has Compassion on our weakness
because He wants to, because He loves us, because He thinks of us
This is to be perfect as He is perfect.
He no longer remembers our sinswe
should not remember the sins of our neighbor.
He remembers our effort, good deeds and serviceswe
should remember the good our neighbor accomplishes.
He does this because He is good, and not because we are goodwe
should do this, too, because we want to be good, not because our neighbor
He Wills to love us even when we are sinnerswe
should Will to love all men even when they offend us.
His Eternal thought of us keeps us in existence; our conversation with
Him keeps our soul united to Him.
As we do to our neighbor in regard to our Memory, we must do to
ourselves. We must be compassionate with ourselves, acknowledging our
efforts even though we possess many weaknesses.
We must remember the good in the past, and have compassion on our
limited abilities until we grow in virtue.
We must love ourselves, not because we are always lovable, but because
He lives in us and we are His sons. We must have courage and understand
that we can do all things in Him who strengthens us.
Yes, we must use our Memory in regard to ourselves and our neighbor in
the same way God uses His Memory in our regard, with Compassion and Love
through union of our Wills with His. This demands virtue.
Jesus said that on the last day He will remind us that when He was sick
we visited Him. (Matt. 25:36) It is significant to note that He said
"visited" and not "healed" Him.
There are some illnesses and some memories that God may not take away
because they have healing powers in themselves.
We learned this truth in Peter's life after Pentecost. The thought of
his denial healed his boasting and pride. It helped change an ambitious
man into a man of understanding and compassion. And so it is with us. We
can be assured that if we have a distressing illness or Memory the Lord
has not taken away, it has spiritual healing powers hidden within, and
only Faith will unlock those doors.
It takes more Compassion and Faith to see and profit from a long
illness or Memory than it does to be cured of that distress. Here again,
our Will must be united to God's Will and know that if we believe we shall
be healed. But our healing will be in the area that is the most profitable
for our eternal glory.
This brings us to our Understanding level, and we shall see if the
"Will" opens this door as it did the door of the Memory.
Our ability to reason is a most precious gift and yet it is limitedlimited
in its ability and capacity. But God again, by adding Faith, has given it
the ability to go beyond itself to limitless regions of intellectual
Faith in Jesus, given to us at Baptism, makes us sons of God, as we see
beyond the visible creation into the invisible creation. This new ability
is enhanced greatly by humilitythe virtue that makes us "decrease so He
But here, too, we must "want" to see Jesus and be Jesus if our Faith is
to go beyond the belief stage.
St. Paul told the Romans, "Faith leads to faith, or, as Scripture says:
The upright man finds life through Faith." (Rom. 1:17) Faith must grow out
of the seed of belief, to a great tree, whose roots are humility and whose
fruits are good works.
"Christians are told by the Spirit," Paul says, "to look to Faith for
those rewards that righteousness hopes for .. . what matters is Faith that
makes its power felt through love." (Gal. 5:6)
Our Will is a "power" whose elevating Virtue is Love, and that power is
felt by our soul as it is elevated into the regions of God through Faith.
That power makes our Faith branch out into good works, and raises our
Understanding to heights beyond its human capacity.
The human Will must unite itself to the Divine Will in all His
that stagger the human Understanding. The Will must reach out and accept
the truths presented to it through Faith, wrap them in deep Love, and
express them to our neighbor by good works.
Since God's Nature is so far above our own, and it is only through
Faith that we can live in Him, then it is through prayer that we become
more accustomed to the pure air of Faithso
pure is that air that we can breathe in only small amounts at a time until
we begin to change and are able to breathe freely as we see God face to
face in Faith.
Jesus warned His Apostles that if they did not pray they would be put
to the test. "You will all lose faith in Me this night." (Matt. 26:31)
Christ's Crucifixion would prove an obstacle to their Faith because they
refused to unite their Wills to God's Will as to "how" God would redeem
They wanted Him to redeem us in a blaze of glory, and not through the
ignominy of the Crossthe
obstacle to the Jews and madness to pagans. (1 Cor. 1:23)
For Faith to grow, we must want to believe, not because we fully
comprehend, but because the Mysteries we accept come from God. Faith,
united to our Will, is a power that can move a mountain. Our Will, united
to Faith, and Love, can move the Heart of God.
The more we want to do God's Will, and accepting Jesus is His Will, the
more Faith we will possess and the deeper will be our love. Without the
power of our Will behind our Faith, love would never flourish.
Paul realized this when he said, "If I have Faith in all its fullness,
to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all." (1 Cor.
Our Faith must rise above the knowledge level of believing in Jesus, to
the Will level of loving Jesus, or it is fruitless.
This is why St. James said, "You believe in the one God; that is
credible enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble
with fear." (James 2:19)
It is not enough to believe that Jesus is Lord. We must "want" to love
Him more than ourselves. We must unite our Will to His Will; we must love
Him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength; and we must converse
with Him often and longto
praise, adore, thank, and ask.
As Faith opens the door of our Understanding, and Humility increases
that Faith, the Willwith
its Love and Prayeropens
these doors wider and wider until all of Heaven lives in us. Yes, the Will
opens the door of our Understanding to make our Faith fruitful in good
works, and capable of changing our way of reasoning to His way of
reasoning. It teaches us to think the thoughts of God.
We have seen how the Will and its accompanying virtues open the door to
both Memory and Understanding, but we have yet to establish what the Will
does for itself.
God gave us all ten talents when He created us to His Image. He added
eighty more talents when He bestowed upon us Faith, Hope, and Love. But we
must gain those other ten talents if we are to be perfect.
No matter how much a father does for a child, unless that child shows
some initiative in regard to his gifts, those gifts will lie dormant.
This is why the Will is so important and why Jesus spoke so much about
doing God's Will, keeping His Word, and making our home in Him. To do, to
keep, to make, to abide, and to unite, are all words that show the
necessity of doing our part in gaining the Kingdom. We must want God; we
must choose God: and we must love God if we are to live with Him forever.
These are all the things the faculty of the Will can accomplish for us.
What a power the Will is!! How much we desire to hold it for our very own!
How much we desire to have God do our Will!! How much we desire others to do our Will!
We hold on to it with a tenacity that defies description, and we will
fight and die to keep it free.
The Will made martyrs endure torture rather than deny their Lord.
The Will makes us push forward, seeking God, though our weaknesses make
us feel it is impossible to reach Him.
The Will enables us to overcome evil habits and replace them with good
The Will makes us seek the Kingdom no matter what the cost.
The Will enables us to love, even when those on whom we bestow this
gift are ungrateful and unlovable.
The Will is a power that enables us to unite a finite Will with a
Divine Will, and in so doing be transformed into Jesus.
But when we keep this power to ourselves and never seek to unite it to
Infinite Power in Love, it is confined in the small area of the soul, and
eventually explodes, throwing the soul in any and every direction. It
seeks pleasure, sin, pride, hate, and anything else that keeps it in a
whirlwind of unharnessed power.
It carries us into places we do not want to go, and makes us do things
we do not want to do. We are tossed to and fro like a buoy on the sea,
always moving yet ever staying in the same place.
St. Paul told the Romans: "I cannot understand my own behavior. I fail
to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very
things I hate.... What a wretched man I am!" (Rom. 7:15,24) Paul had to
struggle, as we all struggle, with two opposing forces locked inside of
us,one desiring an Infinite Good that is spiritual, and the other, a
finite good that is material.
Paul finally came to grips with this paradox and said, "The unspiritual
are interested only in what is unspiritual, but the spiritual are
interested in spiritual things."
"People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be
pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but
in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made His home in you." (Rom.
Our Will, made to resemble the Holy Spirit, will never find rest until
it is at home in Him. The Holy Spirit is Love, and our Will, elevated by
His Love at Baptism, must be united to Him by being one with Him.
"The Spirit Himself and our spirit bear united witness. that we are
children of God." (Rom. 8:16)
Our Will must be sensitive to His Will in our lives, and Paul tells us
how to discern that Will by recommending Love and Prayer. He says we must
remember that in all the trials of life, God turns everything into good
for those who love Him. (Rom. 8:28)
Our Will vacillates and rebels because it does not see the good in our
sufferings. It seeks its own way, determined that it is better than God's
Our Will must be one with God, and when we feel too weak to carry on,
Paul tells us, "The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. For when we
cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit Himself
expresses our plea in a way that could never be put into words." (Rom.
The Spirit strengthens our Will at a time when it is weary with its
struggle to be one with Him. Paul constantly implored his converts to
pray, to pray for strength, to pray in time of illness, to pray for the
faithful, to pray for spiritual gifts, to pray in times of trial, to pray
for humility and generosity, and, most of all, to thank God for His
It is the love that comes through prayer that enables the Will to keep
itself united to God at all times and in all circumstances.
Prayer keeps the flame of love burning bright in our hearts; it keeps
us aware of the Presence of the Divine Spirit living within us; it permits
us to speak to God as a son to a father; and it keeps His Words ever
before us to encourage our Will to follow the Spirit.
Prayer assures us that "nothing can come between us and the love of
Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened,
or even attacked." (Rom. 8:35,36)
Paul's Will was so united to God's Willeven
though he had to struggle at times to keep it sothat
he said, "For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no
prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or
height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the
love of God made visible in Christ Jesus, our Lord." (Rom. 8:38,39)
He had learned to mistrust his own Will, so prone to deceive him, and
to trust in God's designs for him as expressed by every day occurrences.
He learned the hard way "how rich were the depths of God, how deep His
wisdom and knowledge, and how impossible to penetrate His motives or
understand His methods." (Rom. 11:33)
He would be humble and acknowledge his inability to comprehend God's
work in his soul, but he would change as the Divine Sculptor desired.
"Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but
let your behavior change, modeled by your new mind. This is the only way
to discover the Will of God and know what is good, what it is that God
wants, what is the perfect thing to do." (Rom. 12:2)
A "new mind" is the mark of a real Christian. He thinks and acts like
God, and when he fails, he glorifies God by an unbounded hope in His
Mercy. His Will, ever tending towards God, takes advantage of every moment
of life to increase its thrust into God.
The Will, elevated by the Spirit of Love, and strengthened by a filial
relationship with God in prayer, opens the doors of our faculties to new
It is the Master Key that changes our Memories by a spirit of Hope and
Compassion, raises our Understanding to the realms of Faith through
Humility, and unites itself to the power of the Spirit through Love and
The Will opens every door and its own door because it is a power that
nothing in the soul can resist.
Memory, Understanding, and Will, these three, but the greatest of these
Faith, Hope, and Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love.
Compassion, Humility, and Prayer, these three, but the greatest of
these is Prayer.
Will, Love, and Prayer, these threethe Master Key.
Compassionate Father, I put all my Hope in Thee. Purify my Memory and
root out everything that keeps me from Thee. Let the remembrance of Thy
Merciful Love in my regard make me compassionate to my neighbor so that
like Thee I may extend my love to all men.
Humble Jesus, I put all my Faith in Thee. Purify my Understanding, and
let me rise above my limited intellect and accept the wonders of Your
Revelations with a humble heart.
Loving Spirit, I put all my Love in Thee. Purify my Will that it may be
united to the Father's Will in all things, and my being transformed into
Jesus by the peace of Thy Love.
The author prays that all those who read this booklet will have a
deeper awareness of the Father's Mercy, the Son's Love and the Spirit's
Printed with the ecclesiastical approval of
JOSEPH G. VATH, D.D.
Bishop of Birmingham
©1977 Eternal Word Television Network, Inc.
Scripture Quotations taken from Jerusalem Bible unless otherwise