The Via Christa: Degrees and Initiations

The Way of the Christ, the Via Christa, is the initiatory Path of Ascension on which we work out our own salvation, to become as perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. Every law that Jesus taught is part of the Way of the Christ, the Via Christa; we are initiated on those laws, moment to moment.

The Master's Path is steps, and only by climbing while building the next step, gaining the strength to stand on and defend that new step do we become a "Master in law." Our measure is God, the Father. The rod to measure by is all the law given to us for following the Via Christa, the Way of the Light of the Godhead.

The Age of Light is come. The old fear vibration is finished, understanding and wisdom are blending now, and shall rule earth. We all have come to earth to help found this Age. We all have past lessons to finish and learn before it comes. The Path of Destiny is the Master's work. The Master's cloak is upon us. We must bear it in love to enter the others' hearts, then wisdom will come to us.

This passage in the Letter to Philippians describes the Way of Christ: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philipians 2:5-8.

In reality, every law that Jesus taught is part of the Way of the Christ, the Via Christa.

The Way is symbolically divided into 33 Degrees that encompass how we learn to become and to be Christlike in soul. The Via Christa Degrees are initiations by temptations on every law, from Neophyte to Christos; they test our selflessness, devotional attitudes and soul expressions toward God and man.







Via Christa Initiations

Acceptance is a law of doing, a soul virtue and an initiatory degree rooted in the principle of nonresistance. As ascending souls, acceptance is how we apply the principle of nonresistance in our lives and relationships. However, do not accept anything, to take it into your being or consciousness, unless you lift it first.
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Bravery, a Via Christa Degree, is also related to the Mystic Degree, who dares to do and to be silent about it. Bravery is that inborn quality of soul that takes a deep breath, girds its loins, and acts as if this is the frosting on its cake.
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Compassion is an absolute principle, an abstract principle, a law of being and of doing, a Via Christa Degree and a virtue. Our relative expression of compassion is in the perfect balance between Love and Wisdom in action.
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Comprehension, "to grasp everything," is the final Degree of the Via Christa, a degree of service and dedication that combines all other degrees. Comprehension is an abstract principle, a law of doing, an initiatory degree and a faculty.
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Conquering Self is a law of doing or expression under the principle of desire, and a Via Christa Degree. Conquering self is becoming all the laws received through initiations under the Degrees.
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Consecration is a Via Christa Degree. We consecrate our will, desires and actions to the service of God and Christ.
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Defense is a Via Christa Degree. To stand on truth is our best defense. We can withstand anything when we stand with God.
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Devotion is a Via Christa Degree of dedication to God's service. Our devotion is written in the profile of vows we have made and paid.
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Endurance is a character alloy of physical strength, mental stamina and spiritual tenacity. Endurance is an abstract principle rooted in the absolute principle of Power, a law of being, a virtue, a faculty and a Via Christa Degree.
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Equality is a virtue of character and a Via Christa Degree. "Heaven is a place of degrees; each is on his proper degree. No lasting absolute equality exists, but all have an equal right to ascend."
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The Eye of God is the single mystic eye that sees spiritually. It is the highest degree of spiritual vision, and a soul virtue.
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Facts are the foundation of logical thinking and reasoning. Fact is a Via Christa Degree.
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Fidelity means faithfulness and loyalty, being in strict conformity to the truth or fact of an original pattern. Fidelity, with obedience and devotion, forms the fourth lesser trinity of Via Christa Degrees, whose keynote is gratitude.
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Fortitude is holding fast to your principles. It gives soul the power to exercise choice.
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Giving is generosity in action. Giving is a law of doing, a virtue and a Via Christa Degree.
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Gratitude is the sign of a truly appreciative soul. Expressing gratitude or thanksgiving is difficult for the arrogant, grasping stingy soul.
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Immortality is part of the soul's true inherent nature, a gift from God. We are formed of immortal substance and named with the immortal Word of God.
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Improving is a law of doing, rooted in the principle of desire. The ability to improve is a fundamental aspect of ascension. Improvement defines the purpose of ongoing initiation.
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Inspiration is a law of doing under the principle of desire; through the power of the Holy Breath inspiring us, we may become an inspiration to others.
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Justice is the conformity of an action to moral right, or to reason, truth, or fact, fairness, correctness, propriety. One of the four cardinal virtues, justice is observance of the divine law, the state of being righteous or "just before God."
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Legends are stories about mythical or supernatural beings or events. Such stories usually embody wisdom or a cautionary tale. Knowing and understanding legends is essential to comprehending our eternal identity with God, the Source of All. Legends grow from facts. We must search for the truth in legends, to unfold their hidden facts.
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Loyalty reveals that with which we identify. Loyalty to God is our first Commandment. Our loyalty is inseparable from our honor and integrity.
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Relationship is best understood by considering from earth to the Source: First, man's relationship to himself. The second relationship is man to man and understanding of people. The third is more important, the relationship to God and God's to man.
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Religion is the term we use to designate the activity of manifestation, or God in action. Religion includes all that is. Religion is a law of being (we must be religious) and a law of doing (we must practice our religion), and a Via Christa Degree.
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Responsibility is a law of being (we must be responsible) and a law of doing (we must act responsibly). Responsibility is a soul virtue, the requisite for the Master Degree; personal responsibility is complete when we attain the Christos Degree.
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Seven Sacred Degrees (Neophyte, Disciple, Adept, Mystic, Master, Priest and Christos) form the basis of our challenges and initiation in daily life (even when we're unaware), under the guise of personal choice, commitment, action, acceptance, responsibility, service and sublimation.
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Simplicity of spirit is single-mindedness, which enables one to detect, recognize and observe the law of truth that lies beneath and within all ideas, events and personalities on earth, no matter how it is presented.
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Edna Lister on the Via Christa

You need not search after you have found the Via Christa, so stop prowling the world of the Antichrist. – Edna Lister, Divine Love, August 26, 1934.

The divine spark possesses you; you cannot avoid your destiny. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 28, 1938.

Follow the footsteps of Jesus, hour by hour, and all shall come to pass as decreed and declared unto us by the Father. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 19, 1939.

The Master does not paint an easy path, which will bring you into Power for a few mouthed phrases. The path is the rugged way of all ascending creator gods, and no man may have unearned ease. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 14, 1939.

The Via Christa is hard, for it has no room for self. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 6, 1940.

The Master bestows a share of his Mantle of Messiahship on each who walks the Via Christa. Many who begin walking the Way of Christ turn back when they meet hard initiations, yet you must live the Via Christa with all your heart, body, soul, mind and life to succeed. – Edna Lister, A Perfect Design for Ascension, 1941.

The path of earning and advance is the same for prince or pauper, creator or creature climbing for the first time. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, April 1, 1941.

We are all traveling to the Source. To follow the same path is not necessary, though we must all learn the same lessons in one earth life or another. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, October 21, 1941.

Thy Path of Destiny is the Master's work. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, December 25, 1941.

Let no man or writing of man tell you that the Via Christa is an easy Way. It is a mighty struggle. The Way of return is not one of glamour, but a constant vigilant battle to overcome the self. The subconscious digs in its claws in at the end, the last pulling over the hill, for it has no desire to let go. The final soul polishing is the hard part. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 9, 1945.

In following the Master, you cleanse the self traces from each center in your body. Those remaining traces of self in the cells cause all crystallization and weakness. Each cell has its own memory, so you must cleanse each. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 17, 1945.

Adherence to outer schools of truth can only detour you from your Path, for it delays the time of your obedience to the supreme laws. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 19, 1945.

Everyone is free to do what he does because he is on his place on the Path. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 22, 1945.

Your smallest weakness is the weakest link in your chain of life, the greatest obstacle on your path. Your greatest virtue is less than your weakest point. You may have worked for years for your accomplishments, but your smallest fault can hurl you to the bottom. You cannot erase your weaknesses unless you ascend. No willpower you exert hides your past, for in ascension is the place of revelation. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 23, 1945.

Seek the Master in all things, lest you overlook his answer and so cut off or delay your own good. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 31, 1945.

The midway point is the most dangerous part of your path. You are not at the bottom or at the top. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, August 11, 1945.

The Via Christa is the way of soul expression and selflessness. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 10, 1946.

God is everywhere evenly present and available, so all have an equal chance to become in His eyes. Inequality rests in each soul's present degree of development. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 10, 1947.

A virgin soul stands on the Path, looks into the Light and sees the immensity of the magnificent climb ahead. She recognizes it as her goal, views her past with abhorrence and horror over the way she has come, while acknowledging the need of life lessons for experience. She turns to the Light in full consciousness of the task ahead, and with deliberate intent and choice, takes her first step upward. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 30, 1947.

You are not on anyone else's path. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, October 30, 1947.

Countless others will be drawn to you. They will bring their mops and brooms to help you clean up. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 13, 1947.

No soul can follow his true Path of Destiny until he recalls and redeems all his misused soul substance. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 8, 1948.

People first scoff at truth; others hear about it, think about it, talk about it and force everyone else to be it. Finally, you ask, "What am I doing wrong?" This fully illumines your path to law. After you have found the Path of Light, you cannot deny your responsibility. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 30, 1948.

The Path of Ascension and self-healing is a struggle to pull the soul from the quicksands of self. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 22, 1952.

You must always know whether you are following the world's path, or the Master's. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 3, 1953.

Hebrews 8 outlines every step to accomplish the goal on the Path of Destiny. – Edna Lister, Your Life's Goal, May 30, 1954.

The Master gives you a cross as you begin to walk your Path. You choose whether you will be crucified on it, or climb it as your ladder of Ascension. – Edna Lister, I Surrender, July 4, 1954.

The ten Commandments are thirty steps on the Via Christa. – Edna Lister, The Fourth Face: Ascending, November 9, 1954.

As you begin to walk the Master's Path, he gives you the Mantle of Messiahship. You lose this if you lose your vision or repudiate the Christ. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 4, 1955.

You must apply awareness, recognition, acceptance, surrender, and obedience as states of being to walk the Via Christa. – Edna Lister, Aspiration, June 17, 1956.

Their greed pushes some people down the path. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 5, 1956.

As you step onto the Via Christa, Light clothes you. The more self-negativity you see, the more you ask for Light, the more Light dissolves the little self. Light will show you the way. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 24, 1957.

No one of earth can call you unimportant when you follow the Light. Yet so many people too often refuse to follow their soul Light. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 11, 1957.

Never let anything kick you off the Path. When struck, say, "God, slap the other side." Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 28, 1957.

The thirty-three Via Christa Degrees are initiations by temptations on every law, from Neophyte to Christos. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 6, 1957.

When you use if/then statements about others, you obstruct their progress on the Path. Instead, ponder how the Father will direct them to freedom in His inimitable way under His perfect timing. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 21, 1957.

The Light of your Star illumines the Path you choose to declare, with the pattern of protection your words create. November 9, 1958.

Never ask of anyone what you have not done first for yourself, for therein lies the efficacy of our Path for the world. To become perfection is our motto. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 11, 1958.

The Via Christa is the Way of Christ. The thirty-three Via Christa Degrees are the attitudes of ascending gods, part of one hundred forty-four steps as you make the rounds twelve times on the first Wheel of Ezekiel to conquer on the Seven Degrees. – Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959.

The White Brotherhood degrees control self. The Neophyte Degree initiation is Rebirth, and conversion. The Disciple undergoes Baptism by Water, using control over emotions. Adept Degree initiations deal with healing and Baptism by Fire, by attempting to control outer events. The Mystic Brotherhood degrees conquer self. The Mystic Degree initiation is Transfiguration from self to soul. The Master Degree is the first Crucifixion of personal will. The Priest requires full Resurrection of self. The Christos Degree makes full Ascension. – Edna Lister, Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension, May 19, 1959.

Tying your earth to heaven is stepping onto the Path of Destiny, an initiation called "crossing the burning sands of the desert." It may take years to complete, since many frequently quit when only halfway through. They turn back to the easier initiations on the line of fate. – Edna Miriam, What Is Symbolism, October 6, 1959.

"I hear, and when I accept, I am predestined to step from my fate line to my Path of Destiny." One who hears but refuses to ascend, regresses to his fate line. – Edna Lister, I Am the Truth, October 11, 1959.

The instant you accept God as the Source of Love, you step onto your Path of Destiny. Everything else is preparation for your real work of soul Ascension as a conqueror. – Edna Lister, I Am the Truth, October 11, 1959.

Lincoln was a just and holy man, who never deviated from his Star of Destiny, who never gave in to fears or doubts, but walked his Path of Destiny always. His Gettysburg Address is a beautiful, sacred proclamation. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 22, 1961.

To forget self is to walk the Path of Destiny. You choose your way after you ascend under a sacrifice of self. To deny destiny with a tinge of self, you fall back into the abyss of fate. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 29, 1961.

You cannot walk the Path of Ascension while carrying a pin point's worth of intolerance or blame. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, January 4, 1962.

Rocky is the Way of Christ, full of pitfalls, quicksand and abysses. If you allow self to rule even briefly, the way grows harder, steeper until conquering is almost a nightmare, for you must fill every detrimental pitfall. Like being lost in the forest, one finds and loses the Path, falls into the ditches until desire to ascend becomes the soul's burning motivation. There is no easy way. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 27, 1962.

The Via Christa is the Way of Ascension to immortality. On the lower pole it is the Path of Death, the only gateway out of the world. – Edna Lister, Fourteen Stations of the Cross, April 17, 1962.

You are on your Path of Choice, choosing not once for all time but once every hour. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 25, 1963.

Israel crossing the Jordan River symbolizes crossing your fate line to the Path of Destiny. – Edna Lister, The Crown of Thorns, July 7, 1963.

The Gospel of John describes the Way or the Path of Christ. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, August 15, 1963.

The world follows you in ascension. Some object, revile you and fight, but it matters not. They can only ascend. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 22, 1964.

When you walk the fate line, you tune in the world's disharmonies. When you step onto your Path of Destiny, you reach your own particular vibration. June 17, 1965.

When you finish the fate line, you step onto the Path of Destiny. The initiations are Rebirth, Baptism by Water, Baptism by Fire, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Death, and Ascension, crossing the final abyss to sacrifice the last of self. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 31, 1965.

Everyone must tread his own Path. Each is now in his own ultimate beautiful place in God's service. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 12, 1966.

God has not promised that the Path will be easy, but has promised love, joy and that the crooked will be made straight. Power would do this for every soul on earth. People stumble because the ego's eye is on appearance, so they step into the pitfalls of self-pity. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, October 20, 1966.

The Master always lights two steps before you, so you may know what to do next on the "straight and narrow" way, through "the eye of the needle." His Path shows us the way, then others walk in your footsteps, which is the basis of your responsibility to walk in the Light. If you walk in darkness, others follow you there, too. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 3, 1966.

You are supposed to be an ambassador of Light, enfolded on your Path of Destiny, but God blocks your Path until you cleanse subconscious taints. – Edna Lister, How to Collect Your Divine Inheritance, November 6, 1966.

We live within time and space, under fate and the world, which is the source of all delay and heartache, doing things at the wrong time, the wrong way, in the wrong place. Under fate, the right time and space never seem to meet for us. When you move onto your Path of Destiny, you move into Christed consciousness where time and space are one, and call it a miracle. – Edna Lister, Do You Follow Your Path of Destiny, December 4, 1966.

Everyone has gone off the path sometime. It doesn't take much to send you to the bottom, just a little breeze to snuff the small flame within. Stay on the main highway. Work out your salvation where you are. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 22, 1967.

Moving from the fate line to the Path of Destiny is a road filled with ditches. Some try to go back to their fate line and straddle the ditch until they fall. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, December 14, 1967.

Each follows his Path of Destiny, recharged repeatedly by complete Power, Substance, and Life of the Living God. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 23, 1968.

A law applied on the Path of Destiny can set aside the physical level. – Edna Lister, Light on the Path, July 6, 1969.

You may not dangle one foot of line of fate and the other on the Path of Destiny, or think you can live by the laws of life you lived by ten years ago. This is how you get stuck on dead center. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, August 7, 1969.

You straddle the abyss between the line of fate and the Path of Destiny when you give credence to negative reports and words. React instantly to reach out, grab, declare it good and say, "Let there be Light." – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, October 30, 1969.

You can follow the fate line or step onto the Path of Destiny. When you follow the Only Begotten Son and step onto the Path of Destiny, you must put on our whole armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-24. – Edna Lister, The Path of Destiny, June 13, 1971.

You are supposed to be an ambassador of that Light and enfolded on your Path of Destiny. – Edna Lister, The Path of Destiny, June 13, 1971.

The Sermon on the Mount, John 1 and Ephesians 6:10-20 outlines the Path of Destiny. – Edna Lister, The Path of Destiny, June 13, 1971.

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New Testament Laws on the Via Christa

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:2-6.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. – Matthew 7:12-14.

And when [Jesus] was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. – Mark 10:17-25.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22.

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Edna Lister on the Via Christa Degrees

In the first ten degrees, the creature, who has only a credulous belief in the law, kills without cause. In the second ten degrees, the son of man, who knows law, needs a cause to show his anger. At the third ten degrees, the son of God, who comprehends law, knows that anger is dangerous. The creator, who is becoming law under the final three degrees, knows that the first misstep softens morale and the moral stance, making the second mistake easier. Weakened moral fiber inevitably leads to the point where all that remains are selfish desires. – Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

The Great Pyramid represents the 33 Via Christa Degrees, the soul's pilgrimage from darkness to Light. – Edna Lister, Seven Degrees in the Great Pyramid, November 30, 1954.

Three sets of 33 Degrees descended from Solomon's wisdom. The 33rd Degree includes the Ten Commandments repeated three times: outer physical, mental and spiritual. We take three degrees as independent initiations: The 31st is the degree of the Priest, the 32nd Christos Degree; the 33rd degree is the initiation into the Order of Melchizedek, which includes perfect balance of Love and Wisdom expressed as Holy Breath. – Edna Lister, The Ten Commandments, November 4, 1958.

The first twenty-seven Via Christa Degrees are lesser degrees, divided into three groups of nine each, called the great Trinities of Degrees. The first thirty degrees prepare you to complete one thousand burnt offerings [1 Kings 3:4], or living a thousand days as absolute perfection to open all spiritual soul faculties. In all the examinations, you face the three temptations, which are always in some virtue you lack, or negative action you are doing.

The three Christos Degrees include the final three of the 33 Degrees. The 31st Degree covers Resurrection and contains five degrees. The 32nd Degree contains seven lesser Degrees. You must complete one thousand burnt offerings to complete these degree initiations. The 33nd Degree of Ascension includes seven great initiations, polishing all degrees from Neophyte to Christos. Each degree has nine lesser degrees, totaling sixty-three (7 great degrees x 9 lesser degrees = 63). The 33rd Degree is indescribable illumination and comprehension. You are now polishing all degrees in this life and the final test is the ascension of life sparks in the outer physical body sheath. – Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 13, 1959.

The Via Christa, the Way of Christ, holds 33 Degrees. At the first thirty steps, you repeat the Ten Commandments on three levels. You take the final three degrees out of the body on the sun at night. – Edna Lister, God's Magna Charta, October 29, 1961.

Initiations are for the purpose of conquering self. Everyone who believes in and loves the Lord Jesus Christ is working on at least the 30th of the 33 Degrees. You are always working on the last three degrees, which brings ever more initiations that take you through all the emotions. – Edna Lister, What Is the Spoken Word?, November 23, 1965.

There are three sets of 33 Degrees. Each set of the 33 Degrees has 144 steps. The first set encompasses the physical aspects of the Zodiacal signs under the twelve divisions. The second set of initiations is emotional in nature, and includes all Baptisms by Water. The third set of initiations is for soul polishing by Baptisms by Fire. – Edna Lister, The First Seven Magnitudes,
November 8, 1966.

You are immortal in the substance of which you are formed. Jesus was immortal, acted immortally and gave the laws to express immortality. The cells of the body are immortal substance but have no immunity from low vibrations of the world. People who search for knowledge are unconsciously hunting beauty of soul, immortality of soul. There is always an initiation on every level, each degree of the 33 Degrees has a "substance degree." Each of 144 steps has a "substance step." You can take exams repeatedly for each one. There are tempters (initiators) who may suggest that this is a good place to rest, no hurry about obeying laws, just stay on that level. When you grow complacent, you may succumb to the temptation rather than climbing higher into the Light. – Edna Lister, Practical Methods for Creating Beauty, May 23, 1967.

The Degrees of the Via Christa Way are the same essentially the same in nature as those in all other mysteries,though perhaps with different names. – Edna Lister, Yetzirah Paths of Quabalah: The Fiery Furnace, March 19, 1970.

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Etymology of Christa: Latin Christus, from Greek khristos, "the anointed."

Etymology of via: Latin via "road," of uncertain origin, plausibly cognate with vehere "to conduct."

Etymology of degree: Old French degré, "a step (of a stair), pace, degree (of relationship), academic degree; rank, status, position," from Vulgar Latin degradus, "a step," from degredare, from Latin de- "down" + gradus "step or grade."


The Via Christa, is the initiatory Path of Ascension on which we work out our own salvation. The Way is symbolically divided into 33 Degrees that encompass how we learn to become and to be Christlike in soul. A degree is a step or stage in a process, in an ascending or descending scale, a relative condition or state of being; the degree is the relative intensity, extent, measure or amount of a quality, attribute or action. No equality in status exists, for heaven is a place of degrees.

Every law that Jesus taught is part of the Way of the Christ, the Via Christa; we are initiated on those laws, moment to moment. We progress from degree to degree of ascension by tests and trials called initiations. An initiation is always an invitation to do better. We face many sets of initiations, including the Seven Degrees, the 33 Degrees, the Labors of Hercules and lesser initiations on every principle, law, degree, virtue, taint and sin.


The Narrow Way
What thousands never knew the road!
What thousands hate it when 'tis known!
None but the chosen tribes of God
Will seek or choose it for their own.

A thousand ways in ruin end,
One only leads to joys on high;
By that my willing steps ascend,
Pleased with a journey to the sky.

No more I ask or hope to find
Delight or happiness below;
Sorrow may well possess the mind
That feeds where thorns and thistles grow.

The joy that fades is not for me,
I seek immortal joys above;
There glory without end shall be
The bright reward of faith and love.

Cleave to the world, ye sordid worms,
Contented lick your native dust!
But God shall fight with all his storms,
Against the idol of your trust.
William Cowper, 1731-1800, Olney Hymns, LXII


References

Cowper, William. "The Narrow Way,"The Poems of William Cowper. John Cann Bailey, editor. London: Methuen, 1905, 74.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).


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