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Developing the appetite for the supernatural life

As Christians, I suppose we would readily realize that our life should not just be our own life, but rather always a life with God. And since God is supernatural, then our life also ought to be supernatural without, of course, compromising what is natural to us. Thus, there is a need for us to develop a desire, a liking, an appetite for the supernatural life, i.e., a life with God.

We need to make this point clear because I have the strong feeling that we as Christians in general do not realize this. And if we do, we do not know how to go about it. At best, what we usually do is simply to avail ourselves of some Christian practices, more out of compliance, without realizing how those practices should have their effect in us. In other words, we can generally call ourselves as Christians by name only, but not the authentic ones.

Developing the supernatural life is simply a matter of identifying ourselves vitally or existentially with Christ who is God who became man to save us. His humanity is united to his divinity so that we can, through his humanity, find “the way, the truth and the life” of God. In other words, that we can have the supernatural life of and with God as we are meant to have.

This means that we should have the very mind of God, as St. Paul said of himself. (cfr. 1 Cor 2,16) That is why he said, “Be imitators of me as I am an imitator of Christ.” (1 Cor 11,1) It is in having the mind of Christ that we share in the spirit of Christ, and thus become like Christ. Yes, we are meant to be “another Christ, if not Christ himself” (alter Christus, ipse Christus) who is actually the pattern of our humanity and the savior of our damaged humanity.

And this mind or spirit of Christ has been revealed to us quite clearly through his teachings and example, or through everything that he has given us and is now kept, taught with divine authority and guarantee, in spite of the weaknesses of men, in the Church.

That is why to develop this supernatural life we need to be made a living part of the mystical body of Christ which is now the Church where all the elements and means, visible and invisible, hierarchical and charismatic, needed for us to develop this supernatural life are made available.

But we have to see to it that our recourse to these means is done with the mind of Christ, and not just out of compliance by simply going through the motions of availing ourselves of them.

If our recourse to these means is animated by that spirit of Christ, we cannot help but channel Christ’s very own life in all its richness in our life. How Christ was and continues to be would also be how we would be. There is pure love manifested in all the virtues like humility, patience, compassion, charity, goodness, mercy, etc., etc.

So you can imagine what all this would involve. We need to study and assimilate all the teachings of Christ. We need to pray, avail of the sacraments, develop the virtues, wage a continuing struggle against our weaknesses, temptations and sin itself.

We would be willing to suffer just like Christ suffered for all of us. We would have an apostolic purpose in life, and so on and so forth.*

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