Map of Life - Lesson 11.1


Map of Life: Chp 11 Supernatural Life -Means

Map of Life: Contents
Catechsim Series 1: 
Catechism Series 2: 
Catechism: Q139-149
Aquinas 101: 
Summa Theologica:
Companion to the Summa: 
Random articles: Catholic Encyclopedia, On Prayer

Ite Missa Est: 


Supernatural Life - Means

  1. Recap:

    Introduction: Just as we need a geographical map to know where we are, and how to get to where we want to go in the world, we also need a map of life to know where we are in relation to everything else in life, and how to get to our ultimate goal in life. This map of life is given to us by God through Divine Revelation which is preserved, interpreted and transmitted through the Catholic Church.

    Chapter 1:  Just as we must have faith in the geographical map-maker at the start of a journey, we must have faith in life's map-maker at the start of our journey through life. The map of life tells us

          (a) what man is (a creature composed of body and soul, in the image and likeness of God by the possession of an intellect and a will),

          (b) where he is destined (his finality: supernatural union with God).

    Chapter 2:  We also need an law of life so that we might attain the goal indicated on the map of life. This law comprises the physical law (for all material creatures) and the spiritual law (for intelligent creatures). Some spiritual laws are natural to man (eg. the ten commandments), some are divinely revealed in Scripture or Tradition (e.g. the laws of the sacraments). Some spiritual laws form the basis of man-made laws such as canon laws or civil laws. 

    Chapter 3: The "X" that marks the spot on the map of life is heaven, where our highest faculties (intellect and will) are perfected by a perfect knowledge and love of God, which is only possible with supernatural grace (also called supernatural life, sanctifyfing grace and habitual grace).

    Chapter 4: Adam was created with the means of attaining heaven, but lost supernatural grace, virtues and gifts when he committed the sin of disobedience. It was the first sin of the first man and condemned humanity to a fallen state whereby every man was henceforth conceived in the state of Original Sin. The map of life became blurred to humanity, the path was either lost or impassible, and "X" was unattainable without supernatural help.

    Chapter 5: God then entered into His creation so that man might (a) know the truth about God, and (b) know the law by which he might attain God, and (c) be sanctified by the supernatural life necessary for union with God. He enacted the objective redemption by which the gates of heaven were opened once again.

    Chapter 6: The Catholic Church was founded by Christ to continue His mission after he had ascended into heaven. It's mission is to teach the truth, uphold the law (both natural and divine), and sanctify souls by the sacraments. Like a living being comprising body and soul, the Church has physical body which is its human hierarchy of members on earth, and a spiritual soul which is the Mystical Body of Christ (or some say that the soul of the Church is the Holy Ghost, but this is a matter of attribution). A soul must be a spiritually living member of the Church to benefit from the Redemptive work of Christ.

    Chapter 7: Christ established the Church to teach, govern and sanctify. In its teaching office it teaches with God's authority and has the protection of God so that it will never teach error. We say that the Church teaches infallibly. The official teaching of the Church is expressed in official documents which are known as Acts of the Magisterium. A Catholic assents to the truth of the Teaching Church, not because he agrees, or it seems reasonable, but because it is backed by the authority of God.

    Chapter 8: In the Church's teachings there are many mysteries which are truths about which we cannot know everything. This is because God cannot be entirely known by the finite intelligence of creatures. God reveals mysteries about Himself so that we may know Him better by discovering all the knowable truth in each mystery. The greatest mystery revealed by God is the mystery of the Blessed Trinity by which we may discern the three Persons of the Godhead eternally knowing and loving each other.

    Chapter 9: God's Law is found in men's heart by nature and is deduced by reason (Natural Law), and it revealed to man by Divine Revelation (Divine Law). Natural Law is necessary for man's natural perfection. Natural Law and Divine Law are necessary for man's supernatural perfection. Conscience is the judgement of a practical act here and now against the moral law. Conscience needs to be informed by the natural and divine law. Man is only free if he follows God's law.

    Chapter 10: Suffering is a consequence of Original Sin, but God has desired that suffering be the gateway to union with Him. Following God's law can cause suffering. Involuntary suffering and voluntary acts which cause suffering can expiate our sins, help us grow in mastery over our passions (grow in virtue), and configure us to Christ.

  2. Map of Life

    On the Map of Life we have discerned the:

    - the Truth: knowledge of where we are (fallen man, with an intellect and will, made to know, love and serve God), and we know where we destined (union with God in heaven), and

    - the Law: knowledge of the path to arrive there (following God's will which is His law).

    We must now discern how we might be fitted for heaven.

  3. The need for supernatural life

    In our state of fallen nature, we are unable to attain heaven. By our natural faculties (spiritual and bodily) we cannot know and love as God knows and loves Himself and we are unable to serve God with His power. We need a new life above our nature which we call the supernatural life.

  4. "I am the Life"

    Christ said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life".

    - Desiring Christ is the perfection of the will by desiring what Christ wills (the Law), necessary to journey towards Christ. 

    Knowing Christ is the perfection of the intellect by knowing what Christ has revealed (the Truth).

    Being animated by the life of Christ is the perfection of our whole being, by being members of His Mystical Body or, in other words, being incorporated into Christ (the Life)

    Being animated by the Divine Life of Christ is something that has no parallel in nature. We say that we participate in the Life of Christ such that our natural life is supernaturalised and our natural faculties are supernaturalised. There are not two souls in one body, but one soul which is transformed by sanctifying grace.

  5. Sanctifying or habitual grace

    Sanctifying grace is not the Divine Life, but the means by which we share in the Divine Life.

    Sanctifying grace is a supernatural quality (formal cause), inhering in the soul (subject), which gives us a physical and formal participation, although analogous and accidental, in the very nature of God as God (final cause).

    It is a free gift of God, but Christ instituted the seven sacraments as sure conduits of sanctifying grace. The sacramentals or any act of charity (love of God) merit an increase of grace in the souls.

  6. Prayer

    The first activity of a soul in in a state of grace is prayer. See this article.