Responsibility is the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone; the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something; a moral obligation to behave correctly towards or in respect of; the opportunity or ability to act independently and take decisions without authorization; a thing which one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation.
  A responsibility is a charge, trust, or duty, for which one is responsible. To be responsible means to be correspondent or answerable, accountable to another for something, liable to be called to account, morally accountable for your actions, capable of rational conduct.Oxford English Dictionary

“A true Master is one who is quickest to assume responsibility for lifting a person or situation and declaring Light.”

Responsibility is the keynote of the first lesser trinity of the 33 Degrees, and it includes the Degrees of Honor, Morality and Equality. Responsibility is a law of being—you must be responsible—and a law of doing—you must act responsibly. Responsibility is a soul virtue, the requisite for the Master Degree; personal responsibility is complete when you attain the Christos Degree.

Responsibility is the vow of the fifth, or Master Degree. The Vow of Responsibility: I am now become responsible for all my own earth life. The place I occupy now I have made for myself. The work I do now is as a servant of God. All that comes to me is my very own, either Light or Dark, it has been Created by me for myself by my own use or misuse of Life, Light, Power, Mind and Substance. That which I do not like or enjoy, I have created. From this hour forth, I shall live life by Love alone and let God do His perfect work as me.

Edna Lister on Responsibility

You are under no responsibility to accept back into your life anything or anyone that has ever gone out of it, you need only lift them.—Edna Lister, Get on the Receiving End of Life, January 23, 1933.

Obedience to the spiritual laws does not lessen your responsibility to obey the laws of man.—Edna Lister, January 28, 1933.

An initiation consists of assuming a greater responsibility, then tests are sent to see if you are worthy and well qualified.—Edna Lister, January 30, 1933.

Do not try to "fix" a situation, which may only make it worse. Your responsibility is to declare, "This is good. Let there be Light," and lift, lift, lift.—Edna Lister, February 2, 1933.

The brotherhood of humanity is the responsibility of each individual.—Edna Lister, Mystical Government, March 6, 1934.

A Priest (the degree) must accept anything that comes as his responsibility.—Edna Lister, The Beatitudes, January 19, 1935.

Responsibility never means authority, only power to lift in silence. When you break the silence by word or action, all Power is withdrawn from you.—Edna Lister, July 15, 1938.

To be fully responsible means to be fully obedient to all divine laws.—Edna Lister, November 14, 1938.

You are not fully responsible unless you see when your Light is dimming.—Edna Lister, November 7, 1941.

You are fully responsible for the outer effects of every word you speak.—Edna Lister, October 27, 1944.

You are responsible for all whom you have ever touched. Lift them hourly.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1944.

Don’t palm off any task or responsibility on another.—Edna Lister, July 2, 1945.

What is your responsibility when someone has made a mess? Apply law. "This is mine, or it could not come to me; therefore I must lift." Cover the transgressions of others in Light. Be silent if they blame you, even unjustly. Apologize, but do not excuse, justify or explain from the cellar of self.—Edna Lister, July 17, 1945.

To be fully responsible to law is to strive to be responsible for every deed, thought, desire, picture, emotion, and word to the full extent of the law.—Edna Lister, July 20, 1945.

"I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."—John 12:32. Your ascension creates a vacuum and you are responsible for the cohesive suction action that attracts the same degree and kind.—Edna Lister, September 19, 1945.

If you fail, two others are always ready to accept full responsibility.—Edna Lister, December 2, 1946.

"I now accept my great responsibility to lift all that comes to me, which entails: Assuming all responsibility for lifting all darkness around me, the responsibility to sacrifice self, and the responsibility of full surrender to be the servant of all Power." This is one of the three great Laws of the Creator.—Edna Lister, July 5, 1947.

Often the only way to pay your debt of responsibility is to lift like crazy and release a millionfold Light to cover the situation.—Edna Lister, August 24, 1947.

Be responsible, and pay all your debts now. If not now, then incarnating again to do so will be necessary.—Edna Lister, January 8, 1948.

Light absorbs darkness, but it leaves the soul naked and exposed. One who has lost his magnetic robe of self must accuse another of stealing his virtue. The one who is ascending is the Light and is responsible for everything that the Light does through him.—Edna Lister, January 31, 1949.

Power moves through you when you accept responsibility and it increases as you ascend.—Edna Lister, Be-Attitudes, June 12, 1951.

When you broaden your concept of responsibility toward God, your spoken Word returns more rapidly, bringing greater miracles.—Edna Lister, The Candle of Glory, June 24, 1951.

To inherit a legacy means you assume responsibility for it. If you inherit the earth, and part of it is dark, it’s your responsibility to lift earth from darkness.—Edna Lister, July 19, 1951.

The time has come to put on our share of the Mantle of Messiahship placed there by our Master when he said, "All the works I do and greater shall you do." So, we shall accept our full responsibility and go forth to achieve in his name, forgetting self, pressing on.—Edna Lister, April 22, 1952.

From age sixteen it is a soul’s responsibility, not his parents’ if he fails to develop his particular talents or open a door of desire.—Edna Lister, The Great Challenge, November 23, 1952.

To clean up your personal history, first put every episode on a cloud of Light. Memory impressions of the past can cause butterflies in your stomach because they trigger a solar plexus response. Sentimentality always covers some fear. Your tears about the past have dropped into your heart, but you have not erased all the memory impressions. Youthful hurts and disappointments have filled your life. When you refuse to take responsibility, you are flattering your self. You do not fear to take responsibility, but flatter self. You are responsible for surrendering. When your surrender becomes a fact, the law you have learned will make you into law.—Edna Lister, July 13, 1953.

Assuming responsibility to lift and to cover others’ transgressions is the keynote of the desire to climb.—Edna Lister, Now Is the High Time, December 6, 1953.

You remain the spiritual parent of your old neighborhood and home after you move. No matter where you go, you are responsible. You have lines of Light and responsibility up to all the stores in which you have traded and places you have been.—Edna Lister, June 28, 1954.

Surrender of self to God means that you take up your full Christed responsibility, and to stand alone increases your responsibility.—Edna Lister, I Surrender, July 4, 1954.

You must take personal responsibility for everything and everyone around you, eventually. You earn your ascension by being responsible for your place and service, and ascend just as high on the inner as you earn here.—Edna Lister, Jesus, the Son of God, November 21, 1954.

"He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do."—John 14:12. By this, Jesus meant "as God releases Power, you will be greater in responsibility than I am now." This is the greatness of your responsibility to lift. It’s like the difference between a camel and a jet in speed.—Edna Lister, November 5, 1956.

Responsibility is a gruesome thought to many, and most people pray for freedom from responsibility. Yet, only what you have created can return to you, like a boomerang, which means you must receive it again.—Edna Lister, The Glory, Your Ascension, November 11, 1956.

One who gives a law is responsible for that obeying that law and for what his listeners do with it.—Edna Lister, December 17, 1956.

A true Master is one who is quickest to assume responsibility for lifting.—Edna Lister, The Brain, Your Instrument of Power, September 24, 1957.

The days of no responsibility for your brothers are past. You are responsible for your block, your district, your city and state.—Edna Lister, December 19, 1957.

You take in metaphysical laundry when you become responsible for paying your brother’s debts.—Edna Lister, January 9, 1958.

It doubles your responsibility to know too much about a person’s troubles. Ask what he thinks, and see his problem only to lift. You can neutralize another’s negative thought processes through Light.—Edna Lister, October 20, 1958.

Every life spark harbors a responsibility for honor in its heart. Jesus spoke of that original responsibility when he said, "Cast your burden on me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30). Accept the yoke of responsibility; you will find its weight is also Light. "I accept" is the first law of governing self. Acceptance is a higher responsibility of all humanity.—Edna Lister, Constancy in Obedience, October 26, 1958.

Lifting is declaring a person or situation good, and imagining the subject on a cloud of Light, perfect before God. Your personal responsibility on earth is to lift all that comes and declare it good for God to move in and make it so.—Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959.

The fifth law of expression is to accept full responsibility. The Master lays self-will upon the crossbar of the cross and assumes full responsibility for lifting everything.—Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959.

Responsibility comes with knowing. Words do not carry the same reaction to one in the Neophyte Degree as they do to one in the Master Degree. One who does not know or understand the law, releases little Power when he speaks. Your words and thoughts determine what returns to you. You cannot release universal Power until you accept your responsibility for releasing that Power. Until you assume responsibility, only a small amount of Power seeps to the physical on your spoken word. When you accept and meet your responsibility, your words release Power.—Edna Lister, Jesus’ Seven Last Words, June 7, 1959.

To see each step up in responsibility is a glory. The time comes when responsibilities become the Light upon your path, the glory of your soul.—Edna Lister, June 15, 1959.

The one who will not accept God just will not accept responsibility for his own spiritual debts; he wants to avoid paying his debts. Irresponsibility, a state of consciousness, is the root of agnosticism and atheism.—Edna Lister, Heaven as a State of Consciousness and as a Place, June 16, 1959.

You can accept truth, but your responsibility is to be truth, a perfect state of consciousness.—Edna Lister, Heaven as a State of Consciousness and as a Place, June 16, 1959.

The Neophyte law of acceptance: "I accept all that comes to me as mine. I earned it in past lives, created it in this life, or it is something of darkness that only I may lift for my Father; therefore, I do accept and lift all that comes unto me. I now accept my responsibility to lift all that comes to me, which entails these three things: assuming all responsibility for all darkness around me, responsibility to sacrifice self and the responsibility of full surrender to be the servant of all Power. I now observe every detail of my life. I am alive and alert to observe above and below. As I use observation in my outer life, according to my practice of observation, exactly so shall I see and hear in Heaven."—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959.

The Christos law of absolute responsibility is to assume all blame and responsibility for everything about you, wherever your name is used or for whatever you are connected with.—Edna Lister, Eight Great Powers of Being, June 23, 1959.

"I am my brother’s keeper," or personal responsibility for your fellow man, is the key to ascension of soul. Mankind’s greatest psychological sin is repudiation of responsibility for a brother.—Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959.

"Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice."—John 18:37. All who are ready to accept the responsibility of maturity can hear the law. Every person who is resurrecting the past and ascending to accept responsibility for his life, hears the Master’s voice. You cannot hear the voice of truth unless you accept the responsibility of maturity. You express truth through your interpretation of law. When you realize a new law, you hear that voice, which may come to you from the Bible, other books or in conversation. Yet to hear is not enough; you must do more. When you also hearken, heed and obey, you are of the truth.—Edna Lister, I Am the Truth, October 11, 1959.

You must assume responsibility for everything your name touches. When you, as a creator, assume all responsibility and lift, you will cleanse earth.—Edna Lister, I Am the Life, October 18, 1959.

In the Via Christa Degrees, we expand the meaning of responsibility in the first lesser trinity: Honor is recognizing your responsibility. Equality is accepting your responsibility. Morality is fulfilling your responsibility.—Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 20, 1959.

The Great Abyss stretches from immaturity in Gethsemane to maturity in ascension. Immaturity is unwilling to be responsible for your actions, but maturity accepts responsibility. Only love can bridge the abyss. Every time you love an enemy, you cast a line of Light across the abyss to ascension, to fasten around the person or thing you regard as an enemy. Love enough builds a cable, strand by strand, until it is strong enough to bear your weight to the side of full ascension.—Edna Lister, From Gethsemane to Ascension, May 15, 1960.

You owe personal responsibility to God, to others and to yourself to express a high sense of honor and not to hurt others.—Edna Lister, Steadfastness Through Vigilance, June 19, 1960.

To rule yourself, you must accept responsibility where and when you meet it.—Edna Lister, Steadfastness Through Vigilance, June 19, 1960.

Irresponsibility always impoverishes, and you cheat yourself of great glory. Unless someone pays the debt of honor and informs you, you’d find yourself outside looking in.—Edna Lister, June 20, 1960.

The tragedy of earth is that one can stop just short of knowing the fullness of the rapture, ecstasy, and joy of fully accepting responsibility.—Edna Lister, June 22, 1960.

To accept creates a firm responsibility to become law, which sets you apart from the world. You either honor your place or not, your place does not honor you.—Edna Lister, September 8, 1960.

Be the responsible one in your place. Engineer it, entice soul mastery and kick self in the rear. Having done all, stand and know until you have conquered self.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

Procrastination is an evasion of duty, repudiation of responsibility or acceptance of responsibility with a grudge.—Edna Lister, Metaphysical Correspondences, May 29, 1962.

The world doesn’t want to accept responsibility, resulting in stubbornness against conquering, resistance to hearing a new law, and rebellion. This is the truth for the world.—Edna Lister, June 7, 1962.

Jesus became the law by accepting full responsibility for Messiahship when he said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Light."—Edna Lister, March 18, 1963.

Your responsibility, as you ascend in consciousness, is to stand in your own high place and see all others as perfectly expressing their own quality and beauty of soul until the love you send forth draws answering love from them.—Edna Lister, Five Keys of the Kingdom, 1964.

Responsibility is standing under any earth conditions, loving God with all your heart, obedient to every Godly principle, seeking an ever greater comprehension of what you think you know and sending forth only Christed compassion to everyone in our world. Responsibility means that you have matured as a Daughter or Son of God, have reached the point of being able to create anew all the elements of your life by lifting them back into their original pattern on the Mount (see Exodus 25:40).—Edna Lister, Five Keys of the Kingdom, 1964.

Responsibility is a form of steadfastness in assuming payment for all your debts for actions and words, to take the blame for what your words or actions cause, without becoming soft, being a doormat, or unbalanced.—Edna Lister, Responsibility, February 14, 1964.

You obligate yourself with responsibility to stand as perfection, day by day, without self’s contamination when you speak the word of perfection for others.—Edna Lister, March 1, 1964.

Too many blame their parents or background for what they are or do now. This is just a way to escape responsibility.—Edna Lister, The Word, Your Magic Wand, April 12, 1964.

The law of responsibility includes assuming all blame and all debts created all over earth. Give love for everything that comes, and this will fulfill the law of responsibility for blame.—Edna Lister, July 26, 1964.

Responsibility is first law of nonresistance. The law of nonresistance goes into effect when you accept responsibility.—Edna Lister, Responsibility and Respect, October 18, 1964.

You must assume responsibility to live right. Anyone who accepts responsibility has the respect of others. You must respect life, law, and God. If you respect life, you must of necessity respect your own life.—Edna Lister, Responsibility and Respect, October 18, 1964.

As long as you life life on the fate line, you do not assume responsibility for your creations. When you reach the Path of Destiny, you assume responsibility for your creations and life.—Edna Lister, The Eternal Son, His Identity, Nature and Attributes, December 8, 1964.

When people follow you, it carries a responsibility to become an instrument of God. If you say, "I don’t want credit," you are "protesting too much," thinking of self. You don’t have to protest if you are the Light. You will know they follow God’s agent, not you.—Edna Lister, June 24, 1965.

You fail in part when you are irresponsible in any department of life.—Edna Lister, November 8, 1965.

Assuming responsibility is growth, living by a "more and more" plan. Escape from responsibility, living by the "less and less" plan, leads to senility, being a zombie.—Edna Lister, Life, the Laboratory of Soul, December 5, 1965.

You ascend your consciousness to see, and expand your consciousness to ascend, which is why you must become responsible for your creations.—Edna Lister, March 13, 1966.

You are responsible for placing a life preserver under those who need it. Hold your lines of Light. Angels often question you at night — "What have you done with the lines we gave you this morning?" See an invisible bubble of Light around the heads of those on your lines. When it deflates, they pull on the line, you feel it and lift. You can see and lift all your lines of Light in two or three minutes.—Edna Lister, May 11, 1967.

"I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."—John 12:32 means responsibility for lifting the other fellow. You can’t lift another even an inch higher than your own state of consciousness. You must do God’s work wherever it appears, so when someone or something comes to you for lifting, put it on an altar, where it belongs.—Edna Lister, The Heavenly Mysteries Unveiled, October 20, 1968.

The conquering of the Master Degree, accepting all personal responsibility, opens the faculty of intuition. The Priest further becomes responsible for details in life, to open illumination.—Edna Lister, The Fiery Furnace, March 19, 1970.

You are always responsible.—Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1924-1971.

Top ↑

Laws of the Living Soul

Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1924-1971.

The laws of the living soul include this set, designed to clarify the first steps in assuming personal responsibility.

I AM now responsible for all my own earth life.

The spot I occupy now I have made for myself.

The work I do now is as a servant of God.

All that comes to me is my very own, either Light or darkness. I have created it for myself by my own "use" or "misuse" of Life, Light, Power, Mind and Substance.

That which I do not like or enjoy, I myself have created.

From this hour forth, I shall live life by Love alone and let God do His perfect work as me.

I am now in the right place, doing the right thing at the right time.

Top ↑

Stories That Illustrate Responsibility

The Parable of the Talents: For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.—Matthew 25:14-30.

Top ↑

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.—Matthew 25:21. [A good and faithful servant, who is faithful over a few things, shall be made ruler over many things.]

Top ↑

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 responsibility: Latin respondere, "to respond."

Responsibility is a law of being.
Responsibility is a law of doing.
Responsibility is a soul virtue.
Responsibility is a Via Christa Degree.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Related Topics

Spiritual Debt