The pathway of the spiritual life begins with knowing the faith. The faith is required to know ourselves, to understand what leads to joy and what will leave us in misery. However, knowing our faith also must become one with knowing Jesus Christ, the one Whom we are to love totally. St. Augustine said that we love another to the degree we know him. Our fulfillment is found in perfecting our love for Christ and knowing Him through the teachings of the Church, through meditating upon Scripture, and from a deep life of prayer.
Knowing Christ is the first step of love, but the next is the more difficult. We have to become masters of our will, which is the faculty by which we choose. This mastery is for the sake of giving ourselves totally to Christ. Training of the will in order to develop self-mastery and self-possession are pre-requisites to holiness. Remember, that love is an act of the will in which one gives himself totally to God and to others for their integral good, but one cannot give what he does not first possess. Self-mastery must be completed in the many acts of love which comprise our lifetime relationship with God and with those whom He puts in our lives.