Short Summary of Guilt

THE FALL — “Escaping Our Destiny”

  • The Fall of man resulted in avoiding our “destiny as human beings, the destiny to be a Christ” because Adam — made in the image and likeness of God (in the pattern of Jesus within the Godhead who is the perfection of manhood due to the incarnation) — turned away from God, so his lack of knowledge of God led to his lack of knowledge about himself & sin is the result. 

THE MESS — “Avoiding Christ & Feeling Guilty”

Man represses Christ in himself for 2 reasons:

  1. Ignorant of the joy of sharing Christ’s life.
  2. Afraid of guilt. 

Some facts about [1] Being Ignorant of the joy of sharing Christ’s life:

  • Two words will always be on your (ego-neurotic) lips: [1] never fulfilled & [2] never satisfied.
  • “Modern man longs to realize himself as a complete human being (to be Christ), but he does not know how to achieve this.”
  • Deep in the heart of every man exists “the homing toad” — to return home, regardless of how far he is away & to be who God created him to be: a man made in the pattern of Christ. When a man fastens this craving (the Homing Toad… to be what we were made to be…crave to be loved) onto some other being, either because he does not know God, or because he does not know that only God, who created his need, can fill it, the result is neurosis.
  • Sharing in Christ’s life involves sharing in His sufferings & we don’t want that because of self-love. But it is in exact “proportion to our willingness to suffer that we succeed as human beings” because it “liberates our capacity to love… and on that alone, our fulfillment as human beings depends.”

Some facts about [2] Avoiding guilt:

  • Guilt is the result of the Fall.
  • Guilt means that “we have broken the law of our being, we are in collision with reality, and suffering follows inevitably.”
  • Guilt is very inconsistent — The more guilty we are, the less guilty we feel. Therefore, people think guilt is purely subjective. 
  • We cannot face our own guilt — we try to escape.
  • Guilt is manifest in 3 areas that men try to escape from:
  • Self-knowledge — psychological fancy dress (hide by glorifying the wrong), confess to others (vs. Sacramental Confession). Man is afraid to know himself and be known. 
  • Suffering — avoid others & use of drugs, self-accusation of pious people. We avoid suffering because of self-love, for self-pity measures self-love. The irony is that we all want some form of suffering or struggle to get the most prized things in life (worked your way to the top of the business, etc) and especially with love (sacrificed for your wife, etc).
  • Responsibility — psychotherapy (to diagnose guilt as merely a psychological disorder), identify with a group (vs. body of Christ), scapegoats.  


Christ accepted the guilt of all sin for several key reasons:

  • “Whereas Adam was the first sinful man and he tried to escape from guilt, Christ was the first sinless man and he accepted the guilt of all sin.”
  • “Christ came to redeem, show men how to cope with guilt, give them back their lives, fulfill their humanity, teach them how to love again — all through his embrace of suffering.”

Christ gave suffering the power of his love:

  • “Christ came to give life to humanity. For answer, humanity gave suffering to Christ, and Christ accepted it and gave suffering the power of his love. Suffering is the means by which Christ chose to redeem sin; logically so, since it is the direct result of sin. For this reason Christ and suffering are inseparable for so long as there remains one jot of unredeemed sin, or one sinner on earth.”

Christ is the answer to the neurotics deepest desire — to be loved:

  • “It is only because his desires are not centred upon God that they wreck a man, for what the neurotic asks is exactly what man was created for; to be loved illimitably (without limits or an end), to be loved not for any particular quality or act of his own, but because God made him only that he might love him with infinite, inexhaustible love. The only meaning and purpose of his existence is to be loved. The neurotic is broken, but he is broken on the rock of truth, for he is in fact infinitely loved. If he were not, he would cease to be.”


To be a saint is to accept & surrender to our destiny to be “another Christ”:

  • Sanctity is man’s integrity, the fullness and the wholeness of his humanity; in it suffering and joy are one thing, love; and love is Christ.
  • Man fulfills his human nature through Christ — Christ’s mind to adore with, Christ’s love to love with, Christ’s sacrifice to atone with. 
  • Sanctity is the only cure for the vast unhappiness of our universal failure as human beings.
  • An integrated person is one who has become whole, and wholly himself, through oneness with Christ, and through Christ’s response to the Father.

The saint’s reaction to guilt:

  • Saints accept guilt b/c they have surrendered to Christ.
  • Our reaction to guilt is key — saint’s embrace guilt because they have surrendered to Christ & have become truly human whereas sinner’s escape from guilt & become inhuman. 

The one exclusion from the saint’s love is self:

  • He is afraid to know himself and to be known. To this fear love is the ultimate challenge. For the first condition of love is the total surrender of the secret of self. To love is to know and to be known.

The saint’s willingness to suffer:

  • The willingness to suffer is not the explanation of sanctity, but it is the explanation of the sanity of the saints.
  • The saints’ willingness to suffer results in [1] an integrated, balanced personality; [2] it is the doorway to a limitless variety and magnitude of experience; [3] it liberates the capacity for love.

Saints, through oneness with Christ, know the Eternal Father:

  • If every earthly father gave to his son the love of which he is trustee, the eternal Father’s love, every son should be able to go from his boyhood to his maturity as Christ did, with his father’s spirit resting upon him and his father’s voice, telling his joy in him, ringing in his ears—with his own pride and glory in his identification with his father.
  • The most profound secret of psychological healing for guilty men is to know the Eternal Father.

The one essential for sanctity, the one thing all saints have in common, is the capacity to love:

  • The healing of mankind begins whenever any man ceases to resist the love of God.
  • The meaning of man’s life on earth is to transmit life through love. The life which men are to give to one another on earth is the risen life of Christ.  It is the life which has overcome death, the life in which self-love has died, and to which the lover has been born again, made new.


  1. […] My short (5-10 minute) summary of the book (click here) […]

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