Map of Life - Lesson 11.2


Map of Life: Chp 11 Supernatural Life -Means

Map of Life: Contents
Catechsim Series 1: 
Catechism Series 2: 
Catechism: Q249-312
Aquinas 101: Sacraments
Summa Theologica:
Companion to the Summa: 
Random articles: The Sacraments in detail, 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.

    Chapter 11.1: Being animated by the life of Christ is the perfection of our whole being by which we are members of His Mystical Body and so are incorporated into Christ (the Life). We become animated by the life of Christ by sanctifying grace which is transmitted to us chiefly by means of the sacraments. The 

  2. Prayer

    Prayer is both a precondition and an act of the supernatural life.

    Definition: In its broadest sense, prayer is the raising of the mind (intellect) and heart (will) to God.

    Division: Prayer may be public or private.

    - Public prayer is the official prayer of the Church known as the liturgy. It includes the Mass, the sacraments, the Divine Office and all the ritual of the Church (found in the book called "The Ritual").

    - Private prayer may be vocal or mental.

       - Vocal prayer may be personal (prayer recited by self) or collective (all non-liturgical prayers recited in common)

       - Mental prayer may be meditative of contemplative.

          - Meditative prayer is the simplest form of mental prayer and may be defined as “a loving discursive consideration of religious truths”.

         - Contemplation is described by St. Theresa of Avila as “nothing but the intimate commerce of friendship, in which a soul converses one to one with this God by whom it knows itself loved.” It is a free gift of God given to souls by which they are given intuitive glimpses of God's love.

    Ends of prayer: adoration, thanksgiving, expiation of sins, supplication for all our needs

    Prayer is the first duty of every Christian. It is a turning to God which is a condition and means of the transmission of supernatural life.

  3. The Mass

    : Q277: The Holy Mass is the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine, and offered to God for the living and the dead.

    The Mass is the perfect prayer:

    - It is a sacrifice - the highest form of prayer

    - It is offered to God

    - The gift offered is Christ Himself (God)

    - The priest offering is Christ Himself (God)

    - The whole Mystical Body of Christ participates in this prayer: it is the channel of all the prayers of its members.

    - It is offered for all mankind

  4. The Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary

    (i) Re-presentation (repraesentatio): The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a re-presentation of the one unique Holy Sacrifice on Calvary. It is that same sacrifice of Calvary rendered present here on the altar so that His faithful might participate in that sacrifice and might share in the fruits of that sacrifice.

    (ii) Commemoration (anamnesis): The Mass is a commemoration of:

        - The Sacrifice of Calvary in itself: by bringing it to the present we are reminded of it for it is before our very eyes (even if it requires the light of faith to see it).

        - It is also a commemoration the COMPLETE WORK OF REDEMPTION, and part of this work is the RESURRECTION and the Ascension of Our Lord.

    It was Our Lord’s command that: As often as you do these things [as often as you render My sacrifice present again] ye shall do them in remembrance of Me.

    (iii) Application: The Mass is an application of the fruits of the Sacrifice of Calvary to souls who assist worthily, and in particular, for those who commune with the living Divine Victim which is offered at the Mass.

  5. Sacraments

    Definition: Q249. A sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls.

  6. Division

    Baptism: beginning of the supernatural life

    - Confirmation: strengthens the supernatural life

    - Holy Orders: gives power to transmit supernatural life

    - Marriage: begets souls for the supernatural life

    - Extreme Unction: preserves the supernatural life at the last moment of earthly life

    - Penance: restores the supernatural life

    - Holy Eucharist: is the supernatural life

    See: The Sacraments in detail

  7. Other conduits of the supernatural life

    Certain actions called sacramentals are endowed with power to transmit the supernatural life by the Church (e.g. the sign of the Cross, genuflection before the Blessed Sacramant and other indulgenced actions; also many prayers have indulgences attached). Whereas