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The first struggle, the first battle and, therefore, the first victory or  defeat is in the realm of the mind.  The mind, Scupoli says, must be protected and guarded against its great enemy, IGNORANCE; for ignorance darkens the mind and prevents it from knowing the truth which is its proper object.  

What must the mind know?  Christ was very specific in the Gospels what we must learn and what we must teach:

a) ". . .teaching all nations ALL that I have commanded."

b) ". . .teaching all nations HOW to observe them."

Today, it is rare to find someone with this "evangelical knowledge" which, in effect, makes the Catholic Church, for the most part, nominal rather than truly Catholic.    

Knowing the commands of Christ removes NEGLIGENCE.  And herein is the next concern of the Church: "Not only in teaching what should be avoided and what should be done," St. Augustine states, "but she must also care about the OBSERVANCE of what is learned."  And Origen adds, "No PRAXIS without THEORIA, no THEORIA without PRAXIS", meaning to say, obedience to Christ's commands leads to knowledge and knowledge leads to obedience to the commands.  These warnings are valid because it is possible to know Christ's commands while doing one's own will.  The devil allows us to learn God's commands but makes us obedient to our own stubborn wills.  

It is not easy to remove ignorance since Christ's commands are not learned as other human sciences.  To learn Christ's commands, we have to apply the classical "lectio," "meditatio," "oratio" and "contemplatio."  Through reading (lectio), one seeks the truth; through meditation (meditatio), one finds; through prayer (oratio), one knocks; through contemplation (contemplatio), the divine secrets are opened.  For reading without meditation is arid, meditation without reading leads to errors; prayer without meditation is tepid; meditation without prayer is fruitless; contemplation without prayer is rare, if not impossible.  "Stand firm with one's mind girded with truth," St. Paul reminds.  







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