One day in Capernaum, Christ with his followers was teaching in a synagogue and the people were amazed because he taught as one “with authority and not as the scribes.”
Later, the people were again amazed when Christ drove away the unclean spirit that possessed a man there. They could not help but exclaim, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” (cfr. Mk 1,21-28)
These incidents simply showed to the people the true identity of Christ—that he was not just any ordinary person, nor just an accomplished preacher. He was trying to lead the people to believe that he was the expected Messiah who wants to bring us back to the dignity meant for us.
But underlying all these incidents is the fact that Christ also wants to share his power and authority with us. He is actually unstinting in sharing what he has with us. As to our capacity to share his power and authority, there should be no question. We are wired and equipped for that state of life. Things would just depend on us as to how we are receptive to God’s designs for us in this regard.
That is why we need to give due attention and care for our spiritual faculties of the intellect and will. As our Christian faith tells us, of all the powers and capabilities we have, it is the intellect and the will that make us image and likeness of God before all the other components of our humanity, like our body, can partake of the same dignity.
That’s simply because these powers of ours enable us to know and to love, and therefore, allowing us to enter into communion with the objects of our knowledge and love. They are spiritual powers that transcend the dynamics of our physical or material constitution, i.e., our biological, chemical make-up, etc.
As such, these powers of ours are capable of receiving and acting not only on things of nature, but also on the spiritual and supernatural realities. A philosophical term is applied to this phenomenon. And this is called their “obediential potency,” that allows them to be elevated to the supernatural order, to the world of grace, the world of the spirit and of God.
As a Catholic dictionary would put it, obediential potency is “the capacity to receive either a miraculous change or a supernatural perfection that exceeds the natural capacities of a being.” Of all the creatures of God, we, together with the angels, have that potency.
It stands to reason therefore that we have to give due attention and care for these powerful faculties of ours. We just cannot allow them to develop on their own, simply guided by what our senses can discern.
They have to be inspired and guided by the things of God who give us a share not only of his knowledge but also of his very life, his power and authority, through the gifts of faith, hope and charity, or the gift of grace in general.
Unless our spiritual faculties of intellect and will are guided by faith, hope and charity, they can only go anywhere and nowhere, and in fact can expose and lead us to a lot of dangers. Indeed, they can be our worst enemy, our gravest curse!
Without faith, hope and charity, or without grace, we may know a lot of things and get involved also in significant human affairs, but we will fail to reach the goal meant for us. We would be prone to get entangled in controversies and endless contentions. We would fail to enjoy what God wants to share with us.*