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A Program of Spiritual Formation for Candidates to the Priesthood

The Lay Monastic Community of Caryana








(Luke 2:1-14)

God made man into his image and likeness. So when God loves man, it is His own image and likeness in man that He loves. And when God commands us to love one another, it is the image and likeness of God in others that we love. Because, apart from this image and likeness, there is nothing to love in man. 

All men are born with this image and likeness. And man will never lose it. Original Sin is the condemnation that, as we grow up, the image and likeness of God begins to be covered with our sins. As God's image becomes less and less discernible, man's behaviour becomes more and more bestial. 

The entire Advent and Christmas spirituality consist in Christ teaching us how to restore the image and likeness of God in our souls. Because the less the image of God shines in us, the less God loves us. The more the image of God shines, the more God loves us. Our ability to love God and neighbor is dependent on how much God loves us. "We are able to love God because He has loved us first." 

Christ was born to show us how to polish that image: "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Humility is the beginning by which God's image shines in our souls. 

No matter how great a sinner a soul is, there is always a little of that image and likeness that remains in him so God is still able to love him and effect the grace of repentance in him. But when one blasphemes or sins against the Holy Spirit, the image and likeness of God becomes completely covered in one's soul that God finds nothing to love in the person. These are the souls that Paul described as the "walking dead".


(updated 03-16-02)

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