Comprehension is the act or quality of comprehending, or containing; a comprising. An including or containing within a narrow compass; a summary; an epitome or compend. Capacity of the mind to understand; power of the understanding to receive and contain ideas; capacity of knowing.Webster’s American Dictionary
  A modern definition of comprehension is the act or action of grasping with the intellect; understanding; knowledge gained by comprehending; the capacity for understanding fully. Synonyms include appreciation, apprehension, grasp, perception, percipience, and understanding.– Dictionary

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”–Isaiah 55:8-9

  The sense of this word, comprehension, reveals that it is nearly cognate with Christ consciousness, that mind that was in Christ Jesus. Comprehension is an abstract principle, a law of doing, an initiatory degree and a faculty. Comprehension is the final Degree of the Via Christa, a degree of service and dedication that combines all other degrees.

Edna Lister on Comprehension

Every prayer, every statement, every desire to ascend adds a brick in your stairway to comprehension direct from the Source.–Edna Lister, January 31, 1945.

You create room to comprehend law only by emptying the subconscious of all past negatives of the little self. To know law is to comprehend its meaning as applied to the self, to lift the self and incorporate it into the soul. Declare each day that you are open to comprehend high law and to live up to that high law.–Edna Lister, February 19, 1945.

Comprehension is the secret of wisdom that opens all doors.–Edna Lister, March 8, 1945.

When your comprehension is so great that you think everything that comes is Light, without need to lift, then you are the love of God and all is Light as soon as it touches anywhere near you.–Edna Lister, March 12, 1945.

When you discover what you lose in disobedience, comprehension shall reach to your toes.–Edna Lister, July 6, 1945.

Comprehension begets greater comprehension.–Edna Lister, May 4, 1947.

Thinking is based on facts. When you ask without having all the facts at hand, you have no comprehension. Take the full responsibility for all the nothings that follow.–Edna Lister, November 13, 1947.

Imagination turned upward opens the faculty of comprehension.–Edna Lister, The Seven Churches, December 14, 1949.

Comprehension comes through experience.–Edna Lister, June 7, 1951.

When synthesized, the five faculties (logic, reason, discrimination, discretion, discernment) become comprehension, which is a combination of pure love and wisdom.–Edna Lister, June 11, 1951.

To ascend from belief to comprehension, you move through five stages: First, you hear about truth, second, you talk about truth, third, you think about truth, fourth, you then begin to do all that truth requires; fifth, from doing, you become truth. You cannot become truth without taking these five steps. No one can be truth without doing truth. Most people say, I’ll try. Trying is the neophyte state between thinking about truth and being truth. Yet you must go through the interval of trying. You fumble through these stages blindly until you finally realize that this means you.–Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

If you live under the laws of ascension, you don’t have time to think about it–you hear, accept and ascend on whatever it is to gain comprehension. This is a natural law of the universe. As you comprehend, you become. You hear, accept, ascend, comprehend and become. Comprehension is an act of God, as illumination.–Edna Lister, July 27, 1951.

Jesus comprehended all law and thus could heal. Most of us do not comprehend what we think we know. A great difference lies between knowing something to be true and comprehending that reality. If you comprehended the reality of health and healing, you would ascend to unconquerable faith and be a perfect ensample of Christed consciousness.–Edna Lister, Prove Me Now, October 28, 1951.

The minute you find soul identity with God, you comprehend the necessity of applying law to your life and you begin to become law.–Edna Lister, Success Through Prayer, July 7, 1953.

Each must wait upon the Lord his own way, according to his comprehension of love and Light.–Edna Lister, July 12, 1953.

Oneness with God means complete comprehension, which is to love God.–Edna Lister, Your Life’s Plan, May 16, 1954.

When you comprehend what you think you know, you finally will be loving God enough.–Edna Lister, June 6, 1954.

Lift desire into poise, which is immovable. Power descends to mate with poise. As peace and patience are to poise and power, so is compassion to comprehension. You gain comprehension only by further surrender. Poise is the result of surrender to be possessed by the Power of God. So further surrender to be possessed by the fullness of all the Power endows you with comprehension. From comprehension, compassion moves into the world. The subconscious makes you work to learn peace and patience. The same thing happens when you think of humility and tolerance. When you ascend into comprehension, compassion descends and you express tolerance and humility.–Edna Lister, I Surrender, July 4, 1954.

When you ascend into love of God, you see that comprehension is above knowing, and knowing is above a belief.–Edna Lister, November 30, 1954.

Work to become law and to gain comprehension of that law. For example, one who has become the law of tolerance comprehends the love of God and has no idea of such a thing as intolerance.–Edna Lister, December 16, 1954.

When you function logic, reason, discretion, discrimination and discernment as one, they become comprehension.–Edna Lister, July 4, 1955.

You must put all you comprehend of God into action as understanding for your fellow man, or your relationship to life will be confused.–Edna Lister, Rose-Colored Glasses, April 22, 1956.

The all-conquering path upward from creature to creator moves through knowing into full comprehension of divine principle. No separation of my life from God’s life is possible under comprehension; no room exists for the idea of separation.–Edna Lister, God Got There First, May 20, 1956.

When you have comprehended what you think you know, you can apply the law of what you know to what you do.–Edna Lister, June 18, 1956.

You move through inspiration to knowing comprehension as you ascend from the creature to the creator stage in consciousness. You cannot have comprehension without a balance of Wisdom and Love. When you break through the sonic barrier of intellectual knowing, you reach comprehension.–Edna Lister, Inspiration, June 24, 1956.

Discernment is comprehension, a state in which all self is lifted and gone, a requisite for becoming a mediator. Comprehension results when conscious mind joins the super-conscious mind. Comprehension is that state of I AM consciousness where you stand upon earth, fully based in law, with your head in heaven, seeing and hearing spiritually. Comprehension is the only state in which you can spiritually see and hear. Comprehension is standing upon the sea of glass, looking upward, waiting upon the Lord.–Edna Lister, June 26, 1956.

Live by royal sense, which is the comprehension of all one knows and the inability to curse before blessing.–Edna Lister, September 5, 1957.

Comprehension begets consistently correct interpretation.–Edna Lister, The Brain, Your Servant, October 8, 1957.

Do not live by common sense, but by royal sense, which cures, not by thinking of lack or limitation, but instantly accepts, acts, knows and stand firmly upon this knowing. Royal sense supercedes and takes precedence, but does not discard common sense. Royal sense includes the letter and the spirit of common sense. To live by royal sense requires comprehension of all one knows and the inability to curse before blessing, to never modify, dilute or adulterate the original Power that goes forth.–Edna Lister, October 10, 1957.

Each must prove truth for himself; each sees facts and comprehends them differently.–Edna Lister, The Point of No Return, December 15, 1957.

You must develop comprehension in order to ascend. When comprehension moves in, you can achieve.–Edna Lister, January 9, 1958.

Lots of people gain a new metaphysical understanding, but never learn to use it. Success is the application of what you know to what you do—it’s how much you comprehend and apply what you know.–Edna Lister, January 20, 1958.

You must move from being a conscientious objector to a comprehending accepter. Edna Lister, February 17, 1958.

Knowledge, understanding and comprehension of another can come only through love’s receptivity in interpretation.–Edna Lister, March 11, 1958.

No one can know truth intellectually; you can only comprehend truth spiritually. With a firm conviction of truth, you have ascended from mere belief in to soul-knowing comprehension. If you do not comprehend, you are not ascending high enough in soul consciousness.–Edna Lister, Promises Given, May 4, 1958.

Ascension of consciousness is like climbing a mountain. The higher you go, the smaller the interference that will throw you off your balance. There is an abyss between comprehension and the absolute knowing.–Edna Lister, May 22, 1958.

Christ consciousness is a vast principle, clothed in comprehension.–Edna Lister, June 3, 1958.

When you finally love enough, you begin to go up and expand in consciousness and understanding other people; this is a blend of comprehension and knowing.–Edna Lister, September 8, 1958.

You must attain a higher point of contemplative receptivity to gain full comprehension of how to apply the Laws of the Crown to every detail of your life. You do not need lack of appreciation and inattention under the surface. This you must do now: You must reach a higher point of contemplative receptivity so that you may apply all the Laws of the Crown to every smallest detail of your life, especially in your relationships with others. It means having a line of light up from each of your faculties to your Oversoul to be conscious of what you are doing every moment of every hour, so that while finishing one detail or task, you may be aware of your next step. Only by this awareness can you avoid losing your soul vision.–Edna Lister, September 17, 1958.

Do you comprehend the love of God as you comprehend the existence of evil in the world? As you grow in comprehension, you become untouchable and immoveable by the world’s hypnotic influence on the senses and consciousness.–Edna Lister, Brainwashing, Inc., October 19, 1958.

No one can ascend without sacrificing the little self of appetitive soul. From blindness of self to soul comprehension—this is the Path.–Edna Lister, Constancy in Obedience, October 26, 1958.

You cannot truly lift unless you have truly understood. Only lifted incarnations can give you full comprehension of the interplay of emotions and thinking that have led you to this present time.–Edna Lister, May 21, 1959.

The perfection of your desire takes you before the high altar, but what you do not comprehend returns you to earth.–Edna Lister, Desire Is Your Glory, June 14, 1959.

The finite mind cannot think past a certain point in infinitude. This is why law lays stress upon giving up the I-me-my, which stands in the way of comprehension. If the slightest tendency is left in the soul to take credit—and any expression of I-me-my is the self, taking credit—you reach your point of comprehension. The complete bill for all past debts to the law is presented for payment. God has given the soul the power of choice and the knowledge is available to cover this completely before you reach this point of comprehension, if your surrender is not a pseudo-achievement, thinking, I am surrendered.
  The slightest taint of self in soul moves into operation as a trap door through which the soul falls dead to all high vibrations. That great point of comprehension, which was to have been your gift, is withdrawn for another round of climbing back to where you may find it. The instant self enters, you may easily detect it in the thought so and so is doing this to me, resentment, a complaint against another for not living up, and the ugliness of self takes charge.–Edna Lister, October 8, 1959.

Truth is a full comprehension of God and loving compassion toward men.–Edna Lister, November 23, 1959.

Comprehension implies complete understanding instead of mere thinking. You cannot reach comprehension on opinions and prejudices; it takes complete surrender of self to be used by Power. God steps down Light as illumination to suit the average student. However, comprehension is above illumination, in the full Shekinah glory from the Source. To ascend is to comprehend.–Edna Lister, Follow Me, November 29, 1959.

All tests and initiations are to purge your consciousness of self and to learn to live as an ascending creator god. You repeat the initiations on the misuse of Mind, Substance and Power until you progress from instinctive intelligence and intellectual reasoning into intuitive comprehension of divine law.–Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

Becoming steadfast in the practice of all virtues, earns rewards of comprehension that include hearing and seeing beyond the outer visible.–Edna Lister, February 26, 1960.

Comprehension is a state of knowing in the Light above, the first step toward perceiving truth. Comprehension gives you your Christed crown.–Edna Lister, Miracles Through Comprehension, July 10, 1960.

Every prayer, every statement, every desire to act adds bricks in your stairway to comprehension, direct from the Source.–Edna Lister, January 3, 1961.

Love enough will give you comprehension of law.–Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

To comprehend means to include, to take in, to grasp and to hold. Comprehension means to understand completely, as a super-understanding, not from the surface of the mind as I think, but as I know.
  Comprehension is to hold awareness of that which you know. You do not forget once you comprehend.–Edna Lister, This I Comprehend, December 10, 1961.

Ephesians 3 shows that comprehension is above knowledge and is a combination of all virtues.–Edna Lister, April 4, 1962.

Comprehension is full knowing that brings all your past lessons up to use and apply on all new situations.–Edna Lister, Heaven: A Place to Fill, April 10, 1962.

Your work must equal the Power moving through you and you must back it with persistence, perseverance and a continuous soul-need to move higher, to reach higher, to understand more, to comprehend more. Every I accept is a sight draft on the Power. A time shall come when saying, I accept, will release such Power, such illumination, such an opening of comprehension on matters of law, that the joy of it will be almost overwhelming.–Edna Lister, April 27, 1962.

True freedom comes only under comprehension. You do not gain comprehension until your life design moves into the love and faith of God, you know and express God with rigid discipline, and ascend until your works show.–Edna Lister, Life Triumphant, May 27, 1962.

Understanding is to stand under the Light; it is the power by which you develop comprehension, discernment and logic.–Edna Lister, November 16, 1962.

The magic word is comprehension, your magic wand. Comprehension of what God’s laws mean in relation to you gives you your magic wand. It isn’t what you think you know, but what you comprehend about what you think you know. If you don’t apply the practicality of law to yourself, you lack comprehension of law.–Edna Lister, The Word, Your Magic Wand, April 12, 1964.

Each interprets a lesson according to his personality type and level of comprehension.–Edna Lister, The Sword of Spirit, Your Flaming Scepter of Power, April 19, 1964.

Comprehension is another name for peace.–Edna Lister, January 16, 1965.

You hear only as high as you can consciously see and know. We call it our highest point of contemplative comprehension. This has nothing to do with meditation or thinking. Contemplation takes you up and out of intellect. When you immerse yourself in contemplative receptivity, comprehension comes as a flash of soul-knowing in devotion, in oneness with God always.–Edna Lister, January 5, 1967.

Your spiritual crown’s beauty, its completeness depends on your comprehension of law. You must apply what you think you know to what you are doing. You can unknowingly misuse law if you do not comprehend all phases of it. Comprehension is all-inclusive, and you must include all—you may not take a few facts and say that is all. Comprehension means to grasp, hold and increase what you have. Comprehension follows action. The only way to increase the quality and quantity of your comprehension is to act. To open your comprehension faculty, you must offer a thousand burnt offerings to awaken the brain cells you need.–Edna Lister, Comprehension and Nonresistance, June 25, 1967.

From stardust you were formed and into stardust you shall be reformed. Yet a lengthy process of garnering experience, understanding and comprehension lies between the two poles.–Edna Lister, October 29, 1969.

It takes comprehension of law to hold what you have gained, otherwise law becomes vague and seems not applicable.–Edna Lister, February 1, 1970.

You must always apply law in a new way on every new level to which you are promoted. The law does not change with a new interpretation, it just expands its meaning and this we call comprehension.–Edna Lister, May 13, 1970.

You reach comprehension in five steps: First, you hear about the truth, talk about the truth, think about the truth and then begin to do something about the truth; finally you become the truth.–Edna Lister, From Surrender of Self to Soul Ascension, May 16, 1971.

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Treatments for Greater Comprehension

"I rejoice that I return each morning with full comprehension of the degree of truth I have earned."–Edna Lister, October 18, 1957.

I must attain a higher point of contemplative receptivity to gain full comprehension of how to apply the law to every detail of my life. I do not need lack of appreciation or inattention under the surface. I must reach a higher point of contemplative receptivity to apply all the laws to every smallest detail of my life, especially in my relationships with others. I must have a line of Light up from each of my soul faculties, so that I may be conscious of what I am doing every moment of every hour, and that I may, while finishing one detail or task, be aware of my next step. Only by this awareness can I avoid losing my soul vision. This one thing I do now. I, Name, a Son/Daughter of God, am now determined to make every word I hear as important in my life as if I were doing it for a million-dollar prize.–Edna Lister, September 17, 1958.

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The Laws of Absolute Necessity for Comprehension

If you live by the following laws of comprehension, also called the laws of absolute necessity, you have full protection—

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.–Matthew 6:33

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him.–Matthew 5:25

Abstain from all appearance of evil.–1 Thessalonians 5:22

What is that to thee? Follow thou me.–John 21:22

I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.–John 12:32

This is Good! Let there be Light!–Genesis 1
Edna Lister, November 14, 1958

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In the Word was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.–John 1:4-5

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.–Ephesians 3:14-19

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of comprehend: Latin comprehendere: com- with + prehendere, to grasp.

Comprehension is an abstract principle.

Comprehension is a law of doing.

Comprehension is a soul faculty.

Comprehension is the final Via Christa Degree.


The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "Comprehension." Accessed April 11 2021.

Webster, Noah. "Comprehension." Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828. This work is in the public domain.

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Illumination and Comprehension: Edna Lister outline; November 11, 1945, December 9, 1945