Virtue Is a Defense, Understanding Is a Weapon
Virtue has the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. It strengthens the spiritual quality of humankind and engenders a greater knowledge of the Maker and a greater faith in Him. The more we open our hearts as a channel of blessings to others, the more power we possess. Keeping the channel clear, open, and ready to be used, we see the seemingly impossible begin to take place and we come to realize that no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper. Happy are we when protected by the impregnable defense found in the same pureness of ourselves that we demand of others.
Virtue is a defense against all temptation to censure, condemn, or criticize-for with it we see with eyes that are looking for the pure. We see behind the vice of other souls, made in the image of their Maker. We feel that they need our love and our help along the way. With virtue within, we never retard the development of others.
As with virtue comes understanding, so with understanding comes divine light. Understanding is a strong and tried weapon whose blade is never bent. It has ever been a weapon in the endless warfare for truth. When once the enemy is conquered, it is at the same time won as an ally, for it stands in awe in the presence of a power that gives an understanding of its real intents and purposes. Only with virtue and understanding can we rise above the tumult in the battle of life, and, with the Master, pass through the midst of it and go our way. How simple when we understand! How wonderful when we are pure in heart, pure in mind, and pure in spirit!
The Effects of Virtue and Understanding on Ourselves and Others
Virtue and understanding have to do primarily with ourselves and with our relationship to the Creative Forces. They are reflected in our judgment of others, for our conduct is a reflection of our inner thoughts. To think nobly is to act nobly. It is a privilege to think, provided we think with a mind that is in tune with the ideal that is set in the Christ. We may compare the daily building of ourselves, mentally, physically, and spiritually, to the construction of a house. Are we choosing those attributes that will help our development? Are we casting aside the imperfect stones, using only the good? Are we placing them evenly in line? Are we ready to be passed on by the divine Inspector? If we can answer these questions in the affirmative, then we are hastening our development toward God. The quality of the structure depends upon us and upon us only. We are building for ourselves either hovels or holy temples.
No one liveth to oneself. How we live, act, and think not only is reflected in ourselves but also has its effect upon others. As we put into practice love, mercy, justice, patience, and forgiveness, others catch the same spirit. This is illustrated by one who came in contact with those who had received spiritual cleansing. They made me better," she said, "gave me back my living faith, instilled in me a desire to realize-that God lives and is speaking through all people. They gave me hope and new interest in life. Before I met them my worship was form; afterwards it became more spiritual and I began to reach out for the joy that seemed to be theirs."
Finally, we know we have passed from death unto life because we love. We know that new life now courses through us, and that a new and strange peace is ours that makes us in accord with divine will. What we once despised now we cherish, and the world we formerly cherished now ceases to attract. We give thanks to God for this unspeakable gift of spiritual understanding which is now ours through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit.
Virtue and understanding
May the following words be ever upon our lips:
Let virtue and understanding be in me, for my defense is in Thee, О Lord, my Redeemer; for Thou hearest the prayer of the upright in heart. 262-17