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´╗┐Title: Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) - An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine
Author: Kinkead, Thomas L.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) - An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine" ***

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An
Explanation
Of The
Baltimore Catechism
of Christian Doctrine


For The Use of
Sunday-School Teachers and Advanced Classes

(Also known as Baltimore Catechism No. 4)


by
Rev. Thomas L. Kinkead



Nihil Obstat:
D. J. McMahon
Censor Librorum

Imprimatur:
+ Michael Augustine
Archbishop of New York
New York, September 5, 1891


Nihil Obstat:
Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D.
Censor Librorum

Imprimatur:
+ Patrick J. Hayes, D.D.
Archbishop of New York
New York, June 29, 1921



{Transcriber's Note: This book is commonly known as "The Baltimore
Catechism No. 4" and is the last part of a four volume e-text
collection. See the author's note to Baltimore Catechism No. 3 for the
background and purpose of the series. This e-text collection is
substantially based on files generously provided by
http://www.catholic.net/ with some missing material transcribed and
added for this release. Transcriber's notes in this series are placed
within braces, and usually prefixed "T.N.:".}



APPROBATIONS


His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons:
"I thank you for the copy of The Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism
which has just reached me. A Religious spoke to me in very high terms of
your book. I regard the opinion as of great value."

Most Rev. M. A. Corrigan, D.D., Archbishop of New York:
"I congratulate you on the good which it is likely to do."

Most Rev. William Henry Elder, D.D., Archbishop of Cincinnati:
"I think the work will be a very serviceable one. I hope it will meet
with great success."

Most Rev. Thomas L. Grace, D.D., Archbishop of Siunia:
"Your book entitled An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism supplies a
want which is generally felt by the clergy and others engaged in
teaching Catechism. Apart from the very satisfactory development of the
answers to the questions and apt illustrations of the subjects treated,
the additional questions inserted in your book give it a special value."

Most Rev. P. J. Ryan, D.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia:
"Your explanation of the Baltimore Catechism is excellent and must be of
very great service to teachers of Sunday schools and to all who desire a
clear exposition of Catholic doctrine, either for themselves or to
communicate it to others. We give the work our cordial approval."

Most Rev. William J. Walsh, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of
Ireland:
"I have had a copy of your admirable work for some weeks past, and on
several points it has been of very great use to me and to the committee
[a committee of professors of theology, moral as well as dogmatic;
priests of long and of wide experience in the work of instructing
children in the Catechism; experienced examiners of children;
accomplished scholars and writers of English; members both of religious
and of secular collegiate communities; and representatives of the
missionary priesthood, secular and regular, appointed to draft a new
Catechism]."

Right Rev. D. M. Bradley, D.D., Bishop of Manchester:
"I am sure this 'Explanation' will be welcomed by the teachers in our
schools and indeed by all whose duty it may be to instruct others in the
teachings of the Church."

Right Rev. Thomas F. Brennan, D.D., Bishop of Dallas:
"I like the book very much and will not only recommend it to the priests
and good sisters of my diocese, but will also use it myself at catechism
every Sunday in the Cathedral. The list of questions and general index
render its use very easy."

Right Rev. M. E. Burke, D.D., Bishop of Cheyenne:
"Your Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism is excellent, and it
supplies a much needed means of useful and necessary catechetical
instruction for our Sunday schools. It will be found an excellent
textbook for Catholic schools and academies throughout the country and a
most useful manual for all who are engaged in the instruction of our
children."

Right Rev. L. De Goesbriand, D.D., Bishop of Burlington:
"I consider your book, the Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, as an
admirable work. Nothing can be found more clear, more satisfactory."

Right Rev. John Foley, D.D., Bishop of Detroit:
"I congratulate you upon producing a work so useful to those having
charge of souls in such clear, concise, and instructive a style. I shall
gladly commend it to the Rev. Clergy."

Right Rev. H. Gabriels, D.D., Bishop-elect of Ogdensburg:
"Your book will furnish solid material to priests who wish to preach at
low Masses the catechetical instructions prescribed by the council of
Baltimore. A rapid perusal of some of its pages has convinced me that it
is just what was often looked for in vain in this important branch of
the holy ministry."

Right Rev. N. A. Gallagher, D.D., Bishop of Galveston:
"Having read your Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, I wish to say
that it is in my opinion a very useful book for priests as well as for
teachers; and that it is a valuable book to place in the hands of those
who wish to become acquainted with the teachings of Holy Church. I have
just ordered ten copies from the Publishers for my own distribution."

Right Rev. Leo Haid, O.S.B., D.D., Vicar Apostolic of North Carolina:
"I am very glad you gave us such a sensible, simple, and complete
explanation of the Baltimore Catechism. I wish it were in the hands of
every teacher of Christian doctrine. In this Vicariate, where priests
are few, and often obliged to receive converts into the Church without
that thorough instruction which resident pastors can give, your book
will be hailed with joy. I will do my utmost to make it known. Please
send me one dozen copies."

Right Rev. John J. Hennessy, D.D. Bishop of Wichita:
"From what I have seen of your book I am delighted with the method which
you have adopted for explanation. It makes the Catechism easy and
interesting to both teacher and pupil. I shall heartily recommend your
book to our clergy for introduction into our schools."

Right Rev. A. Junger, D.D., Bishop of Nesqually:
"I am sure your work will not fail to obtain its object. There is not
the least doubt that it will be of the greatest and best use for Sunday
school teachers and advanced classes who will make use of it, and to
whom we highly recommend it. Such a work was needed, as our Baltimore
Catechism does not and cannot contain all the necessary explanations."

Right Rev. John J. Keane, D.D., Rector of the Catholic University,
Washington:
"The character of the work speaks for itself."

Right Rev. W. G. McCloskey, D.D., Bishop of Louisville:
"What I have already seen of it gives me the impression that it is a
meritorious work which ought to be encouraged."

Right Rev. James McGolrick, D.D., Bishop of Duluth:
"I think you have prepared a thoroughly practical work in your
Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism. You have in well selected and
plain English enabled teachers to give useful lessons from the text
itself without the need of resort to other books. Your book will find
its way to the desk of every Catholic teacher, and we hope to the home
of every Catholic family. I am glad you marked the Scripture references,
for the higher classes after Confirmation can unite their Scripture
lessons with such study of your book as to prepare themselves for
teaching. Your series of questions and good index are certainly very
useful."

Right Rev. Camillus P. Maes, D.D., Bishop of Covington:
"I have examined your Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism on some of
the most important points of doctrine and morals. I find its teachings
sound, and the manner of presenting them practical. I take pleasure in
commending your book to priests and teachers, and in congratulating you
for having bestowed so much time on the greatest of all pastoral work,
viz: giving children a thorough and sound knowledge of Holy Church and
of her divine teachings."

Right Rev. C. E. McDonnell, D.D., Bishop-elect of Brooklyn:
"I beg you to accept my hearty congratulations."

Right Rev. R. Manogue, D.D., Bishop of Sacramento:
"We have ponderous works from distinguished authors on the Catechism in
general, but yours--An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism--is the
simplest, most concise, most natural and instructive I have yet
encountered. It is good not only for advanced pupils, teachers,
preachers and priests, but also for the sacred precincts of every
Catholic family."

Right Rev. Tobias Mullen, D.D., Bishop of Erie:
"Your book appears to me a very meritorious production. In your preface
you observe it has been designed for the use of Sunday school teachers
and that it 'should do good in any Catholic family' I think you might
have added that any clergyman having the care of souls, whether giving
private instructions or preparing for the pulpit, would derive great
benefits from its perusal."

Right Rev. H. P. Northrop, D.D., Bishop of Charleston:
"The Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, plain and practical, clear
and comprehensive, was a work very much needed. From a general
examination, I think you have done your work well, and you deserve the
thanks of all teachers of catechism and those who have charge of our
schools. You have simplified the work of the teacher by putting in his
hand such a ready handbook and commentary on the text he is supposed to
explain. If they do what they expect their pupils to do--study the
lesson--with such a help as you have furnished them, the work of the
Sunday school will be much more satisfactory. I hope the hearty
appreciation of those for whom you have labored will crown your work
with abundant success."

Right Rev. Henry Joseph Richter, D.D., Bishop of Grand Rapids:
"The aim of your book is excellent. To judge from the portions which I
have read, your labor has been successful. I recommend the book to all
Catholic adults, but especially to teachers and converts, as a
convenient handbook of appropriate, plain, and solid instructions on the
doctrine of the Catholic Church."

Right Rev. S. V. Ryan, D.D., Bishop of Buffalo:
"I think your work fully meets all you claim for it. It will serve as a
good textbook for an advanced catechism class, and a very useful
handbook for catechists in instructing converts or our own people what
they should know and what they are bound to believe in regard to our
holy faith. The book will, I think, do good in any Catholic family."

Right Rev. L. Scanlan, D.D., Bishop of Salt Lake:
"I consider it a most useful if not necessary book, not only for Sunday
school teachers and for advanced classes, but for all who may desire to
have a clear, definite knowledge of Christian doctrine."



CONTENTS



PRAYERS

The Lord's Prayer
The Angelical Salutation
The Apostles' Creed
The Confiteor
An Act of Faith
An Act of Hope
An Act of Love
An Act of Contrition
The Blessing before Meals
Grace after Meals
The Manner in Which a Lay Person Is to Baptize in Case of Necessity


CATECHISM

Lesson 1--On the End of Man
Lesson 2--On God and His Perfections
Lesson 3--On the Unity and Trinity of God
Lesson 4--On Creation
Lesson 5--On Our First Parents and the Fall
Lesson 6--On Sin and Its Kinds
Lesson 7--On the Incarnation and Redemption
Lesson 8--On Our Lord's Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension
Lesson 9--On the Holy Ghost and His Descent upon the Apostles
Lesson 10--On the Effects of the Redemption
Lesson 11--On the Church
Lesson 12--On the Attributes and Marks of the Church
Lesson 13--On the Sacraments in General
Lesson 14--On Baptism
Lesson 15--On Confirmation
Lesson 16--On the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost
Lesson 17--On the Sacrament of Penance
Lesson 18--On Contrition
Lesson 19--On Confession
Lesson 20--On the Manner of Making a Good Confession
Lesson 21--On Indulgences
Lesson 22--On the Holy Eucharist
Lesson 23--On the Ends for which the Holy Eucharist Was Instituted
Lesson 24--On the Sacrifice of the Mass
Lesson 25--On Extreme Unction and Holy Orders
Lesson 26--On Matrimony
Lesson 27--On the Sacramentals
Lesson 28--On Prayer
Lesson 29--On the Commandments of God
Lesson 30--On the First Commandment
Lesson 31--The First Commandment--On the Honor and Invocation of the
           Saints
Lesson 32--From the Second to the Fourth Commandment
Lesson 33--From the Fourth to the Seventh Commandment
Lesson 34--From the Seventh to the Tenth Commandment
Lesson 35--On the First and Second Commandments of the Church
Lesson 36--On the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Commandments of the
           Church
Lesson 37--On the Last Judgment and Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory and
           Heaven



PREFACE


It must be evident to all who have had experience in the work of our
Sunday schools that much time is wasted in the classes. Many teachers do
little more than mark the attendance and hear the lessons; this being
done, time hangs heavily on their hands till the school is dismissed.
They do not or cannot explain what they are teaching, and the children
have no interest in the study.

The Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism is intended for their use.
The explanations are full and simple. The examples are taken from Holy
Scripture, from the parables of Our Lord, from incidents in His life,
and from the customs and manners of the people of His time. These are
made applicable to our daily lives in reflections and exhortations.

The plan of the book makes it very simple and handy. The Catechism is
complete and distinct in itself, and may be used with or without the
explanations. The teacher is supposed, after hearing the lesson, to read
the explanation of the new lesson as far as time will allow. It may be
read just as it is, or may be learned by the teacher and given to the
children in substance.

The Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism will be found very useful
also for the instruction of adults and converts. The priest on the
mission is often called upon to instruct persons who can come to him but
seldom, and only for a short time; and who, moreover, are incapable of
using with profit such books as The Faith of Our Fathers, Catholic
Belief, or works of controversy. They are simply able to use the Child's
Catechism when explained to them. If the Explanation of the Baltimore
Catechism is in their hands, they may read the explanations and study
the Catechism with pleasure.

Indeed the book should do good in any Catholic family. The majority of
our people are children as far as their religious knowledge goes. They
may, it is true, have books on particular subjects, such as the Duties
of Parents to Their Children, The Sure Way to a Happy Marriage, etc.;
but a book that explains to them in the simplest manner all the truths
of their religion, and applies the same to their daily lives, ought to
be useful.

The chief aim of the book is to be practical, and to teach Catholics
what they should know, and how these truths of their Catechism are
constantly coming up in the performance of their everyday duties. It is
therefore neither a book of devotion nor of controversy, though it
covers the ground of both. As in this book the explanations are
interrupted by the questions and answers of the Catechism proper, it
will, it is hoped, be read with more pleasure than a book giving solid
page after page of instructions.

Wherever a fact is mentioned as being taken from Holy Scripture, it will
generally be given in substance and not in the exact text; though the
reference will always be given, so that those wishing may read it as it
is in the Holy Scripture. The children are not supposed to memorize the
explanation as they do the Catechism itself, yet the teacher, having
once read it to them, should ask questions on it. The book may be used
as a textbook or catechism for the more advanced classes, and the
complete list of numbered questions on the explanations--given at the
end--will render it very serviceable for that purpose.

As the same subject often occurs in different parts of the Catechism,
explanations already given may sometimes be repeated. This is done
either to show the connection between the different parts of the
Catechism, or to impress the explanation more deeply on the minds of the
children, or to save the teacher the trouble of always turning back to
preceding explanations. The numbering of the questions and answers
throughout the Catechism, and the complete index of subjects and list of
questions at the end, will, it is hoped, make these comparisons and
references easy, and the book itself useful.

With the hope, then, that the Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism may
do all the good intended, I commend it to all who desire a fuller
knowledge of their holy religion that they may practice it more
faithfully.


Rev. Thomas L. Kinkead
June 21, 1891,
Feast of St. Aloysius



An
Explanation
Of The
Baltimore Catechism
of Christian Doctrine



Basic Catholic Prayers



THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily
bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

This is the most beautiful and best of all prayers, because Our Lord
Himself made it. (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). One day when He was praying and
explaining to His Apostles the great advantages of prayer, one of them
said to Him: "Lord, teach us to pray." Then Jesus taught them this
prayer. It contains everything we need or could ask for. We cannot see
its full meaning at once. The more we think over it, the more clearly we
understand it. We could write whole pages on almost every word, and
still not say all that could be said about this prayer. It is called
"the Lord's," because He made it, and sometimes the "Our Father," from
the first words.

We say "Our," to show that we are all brethren, and that God is the
Father of us all, and therefore we pray not for ourselves alone but for
all God's children.

We say "Father," because God really is our Father. We do not mean here
by Father the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, but the Blessed
Trinity itself--one God. What does a father do for his children? He
gives them their natural existence, provides them with food and
clothing, teaches, protects, and loves them, shares with them all that
he has, and when he dies leaves them his possessions. Now, in all these
ways, and in a much truer sense, God is our Father. He created us and
gives us all that is necessary to sustain life. He gives light, heat,
and air, without any one of which we could not live. He provides for us
also food and clothing, and long before we need or even think of these
things God is thinking of them. Did you ever reflect upon just how much
time and trouble it costs to produce for you even one potato, of which
you think so little? About two years before you need that potato, God
puts it into the mind of the farmer to save the seed that he may plant
it the following year. In the proper season he prepares the ground with
great care and plants the seed. Then God sends His sunlight and rain to
make it grow, but the farmer's work is not yet ended: he must continue
to keep the soil in good condition and clear away the weeds. In due time
the potato is taken from the ground, brought to the market, carried to
your house, cooked and placed before you. You take it without even
thinking, perhaps, of all this trouble, or thanking God for His
goodness. This is only one article of food, and the same may be said of
all the rest. Your clothing is provided for you long before you need it.
The little lamb upon whose back the wool is growing, from which your
coat is someday to be made, is even now far away on some mountain,
growing stronger with the food God gives it till you need its wool. The
little pieces of coal, too, that you so carelessly throw upon the fire
were formed deep down in the earth hundreds of years ago. God produces
all you use, because He foresees and knows you will use it. Moreover He
protects us from danger; He teaches us by the voice of our conscience
and the ministers of His Church, our priests and bishops. He loves us
too, as we may learn from all that He does for us, and from the many
times He forgives us our sins. He shares what He possesses with us. He
has given us understanding and a free will resembling His own. He has
given us immortality, i.e., when once He has created us, we shall exist
as long as Himself--that is, forever. When Our Lord died on the Cross,
He left us His many possessions--His graces and merits, the holy
Sacraments, and Heaven itself.

It is surely, then, just and right to call God Father. Our natural
fathers give us only what they, themselves, get from God. So even what
they give us also comes from Him.

Before the time of Our Lord, the people in prayer did not call God
Father. They feared Him more than they loved Him. When He spoke to
them--as He did when He gave the Commandments to Moses--it was in
thunder, lightning, and smoke. (Ex. 19). They looked upon God as a great
and terrible king who would destroy them for their sins. He sent the
deluge on account of sin, and He destroyed the wicked city of Sodom with
fire from Heaven. (Gen. 7:19). They called Him Jehovah, and were afraid
sometimes even to pronounce His name. But Our Lord taught that God,
besides being a great and powerful king--the Ruler of the universe and
Lord of all things--is also a kind and good Father, who wishes His
children not to offend Him because they love Him rather than because
they fear Him, and therefore He taught His disciples and all Christians
to call God by the sweet name of Father.

"Who art in Heaven." The Catechism says God is everywhere. Why then do
we say, "Who art in Heaven," as if He were no place else? We say so to
remind us, first, that Heaven is our true home, and that this world is
only a strange land in which we are staying for a while to do the work
that God wishes us to do here, and then return to our own home; second,
that in Heaven we shall see God face to face and as He is; third, that
Heaven is the place where God will be for all eternity with the blessed.

"Hallowed" means made holy or sacred. Halloween is the name given to the
evening before the feast of All Hallows or All Saints.

"Thy kingdom come." This petition contains a great deal more than we at
first see in it. In it we ask that God may reign in our hearts and in
the hearts of all men by His grace in this life, and that we and all men
may attain our eternal salvation, and thus be brought to reign forever
with God in Heaven--the kingdom of His glory. As the Church on earth is
frequently called the kingdom of Christ, and as all the labors of the
Church are directed to the salvation of souls, we pray also in this
petition that the Church may be extended upon earth, that the true
religion may be spread over the whole world, that all men may know and
serve the true God and cheerfully obey His holy laws; that the devil may
have no dominion over them. While saying this petition we may have it in
our minds to pray even for particular ways in which the true religion
can be spread; for example, by praying that the missionaries may meet
with success and all the missions prosper; that priests and bishops may
be ordained to preach the Gospel; that the Church may overcome all her
enemies everywhere, and the true religion triumph.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." In Heaven all the angels
and saints obey God perfectly; they never offend Him; so we pray that it
may be on earth as it is in Heaven, all men doing God's will, observing
His laws and the laws of His Church, and living without sin.

"Give us this day our daily bread." In this petition "bread" means not
merely bread, but everything we need for our daily lives; such as food,
clothing, light, heat, air, and the like; also food for the soul, i.e.,
grace. If a beggar told you that he had not tasted bread for the whole
day, you would never think of asking him if he had eaten any cake,
because you would understand by his word bread all kinds of food. We say
"daily," to teach us not to be greedy or too careful about ourselves,
and not to ask for unnecessary things, but to pray for what we need for
our present wants.

"And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against
us." "Trespasses" means here our sins, our offenses against God. When we
trespass we enter places we should not, or where we are forbidden to go.
So when we sin we go where we should not go, viz., out of the path of
virtue that leads to God, and into the way of vice that leads to the
devil.

"As we forgive them." We take this to mean: we forgive others who have
offended us, and for that reason, God, You should forgive us who have
offended You. Our Lord told a beautiful parable, i.e., a story by way of
illustration, to explain this. (Matt. 18:23). A very rich man had a
servant who owed him a large sum of money. One day the master asked the
servant for the money, and the poor servant had none to give. Now the
law of the country was, that when anyone could not pay his debts, all
that he had could be sold and the money given to the one to whom it was
due, and if that was not sufficient, he and his wife and his children
could be sold as slaves. The servant, knowing this, fell on his knees
and begged his master to be patient with him, and to give him time and
he would pay all. Then his master was moved to pity, granted not only
what he asked, but freed him from the debt altogether. Afterwards when
this servant, who had just been forgiven the large sum, was going out,
he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a very small sum of
money, and taking hold of him by the throat, demanded payment. Now, this
poor servant, having nothing to give just then, implored his assailant
to be patient with him and he would pay all. But the hard-hearted
servant--though he himself had a little while before asked and obtained
the very same favor from his own master--would not listen to the request
or wait longer, but went and had his fellow servant cast into prison
till he should pay the debt. The other servants, seeing how unforgiving
this man was who had himself been forgiven, went and told all to their
master, and he, being angry at such conduct, had the unforgiving servant
brought back and cast into prison.

"And lead us not into temptation." "Temptation" means a trial to see
whether we will do a thing or not. Here it means a trial made by some
person or thing--the devil, the world, or our own flesh--to see whether
we will sin or not. God does not exactly lead us into temptation; but He
allows us to fall into it. He allows others to tempt us. We can overcome
any temptation to sin by the help or grace that God gives us. Therefore
we ask in this petition that God will always give us the grace to
overcome the temptation, and that we may not consent to it. A temptation
is not a sin. It becomes sin only when we are overcome by it. When we
are tempted we are like soldiers fighting a battle: if the soldiers are
conquered by their enemy, they are disgraced; but if they conquer their
enemy, they have great glory and great rewards. So, when we overcome
temptations, God gives us a new glory and reward for every victory.

"Deliver us from evil." From every kind of evil, and especially the evil
of being conquered by our spiritual enemies, and thus falling into sin,
and offending God by becoming His enemy ourselves. It would be a sin to
seek temptation, though we have a reward for resisting it when it comes.

"Amen" means, be it so. May all we have asked be granted just as we have
asked it.


THE ANGELICAL SALUTATION

Hail, Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou
amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary,
Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Next in beauty to the Lord's Prayer comes this prayer. It is made up of
three parts:

"Hail, full of grace! the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst
women" was composed by the angel Gabriel, for these are the words he
used when he came to tell the Blessed Virgin that she was selected to be
the Mother of God (Luke 1:28). All her people knew that the Redeemer
promised from the time of Eve down to the time of the Blessed Virgin was
now to be born, and many good women were anxious to be His mother, and
they believed the one who would be selected the most blessed and happy
of all women.

"The Lord is with thee" by His grace and favor, since you are the one He
loves best. He is with all His creatures, but He is with you in a very
special manner.

After the visit of the angel, the Blessed Virgin went a good distance to
visit her cousin, St. Elizabeth, who was the mother of St. John the
Baptist (Luke 1:39). When St. Elizabeth saw her, she, without being told
by the Blessed Virgin what the angel had done, knew by the inspiration
of the Holy Ghost what had taken place, and said to the Blessed Virgin:
"Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."
That is "blessed" because, of all the women that have ever lived or ever
shall live, you are the one selected by God to be the mother of His Son
and Our Redeemer, and blessed is that Son Himself. This is the second
part of the prayer. The third part, from "Holy Mary" to the end, was
composed by the Church.

"Hail." This was the word used by the people of that country in saluting
one another when they met. We say when meeting anyone we know, "Good
day," or "How do you do?" or some such familiar expression used by all
in salutation. So these people, instead of saying, "Good day," etc.,
said "Hail" i.e., I wish you health, I greet you, etc. The angel did not
say "Mary," because she was the only one present to address.

"Full of grace." When anything is full it has no room for more. God's
grace and sin cannot exist in the same place. Therefore when the Blessed
Virgin was full of grace, there was no room for sin. So she was without
any sin and gifted with every virtue.

"Holy Mary," because one full of grace must be holy.

"Mother of God," because her Son was true God and true man in the one
person of Christ, Our Lord.

"Pray for us," because she has more power with her Son than all the
other saints.

"Sinners," and therefore we need forgiveness.

"At the hour of our death" especially, because that is the most
important time for us. No matter how bad we have been during our lives,
if God gives us the grace to die in His friendship, we shall be His
friends forever. On the other hand, no matter how good we may have been
for a part of our lives, if we become bad before death, and die in that
state, we shall be separated from God forever, and be condemned to
eternal punishment. It would be wrong, therefore, to live in sin, with a
promise that we shall die well, for God may not give us the grace or
opportunity to repent, and we may die in sin if we have lived in sin.
Besides this, the devil knows how much depends upon the state in which
we die, and so he perhaps will tempt us more at death than at any other
time; for if we yield to him and die in sin, we shall be with him
forever--it is his last chance to secure our souls.

Besides the Hail Mary there is another beautiful prayer on the same
subject, called the Angelus. It is a little history of the Incarnation,
and is said morning, noon, and evening in honor of Our Lord's
Incarnation, death, and resurrection. It is made up of three parts. The
first part tells what the angel did, viz.: "The angel of the Lord
declared unto Mary. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost." After saying
these words, we say one Hail Mary in honor of the angel's message. The
second part tells what Mary answered, viz.: "Behold the handmaid of the
Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word." We say another Hail
Mary in honor of Mary's consent. The third part tells how Our Lord
became Man, viz.: "And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt among us." The
"Word" means here the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity; and "made
flesh" means, became man. Then another Hail Mary is said in honor of Our
Lord's goodness in humbling Himself so much for our sake. After these
three parts we say: "Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God! that we may be
made worthy of the promises of Christ"; and, finally, we say a prayer in
honor of Our Lord's Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. This
beautiful prayer is said three times a day in all seminaries, convents,
and religious houses. The time for saying it is made known by the
ringing of a bell called the "Angelus bell." In many parishes the church
bell rings out the Angelus. In Catholic countries the people stop
wherever they are and whatever they are doing, and bowing their heads,
say the Angelus when they hear its bell. It is a beautiful practice and
one most pleasing to our Blessed Lord and His holy Mother. Good
Catholics should not neglect it.

I might mention here another kind of prayer often said in honor of our
blessed Mother. It is the Litany. In this form of prayer we call Our
Lady many beautiful names which we know are most dear to her, asking her
after each one to pray for us. We address her first by names reminding
her that she is the Mother of God and has therefore great influence with
her divine Son. We say: Mother of Christ, Mother of Our Creator, Mother
of Our Redeemer, etc., pray for us. Next we remind her that she is a
virgin and should take pity on us who are exposed to so many temptations
against holy purity. We call her virgin most pure, virgin most chaste,
etc., and again ask her to pray for us. Lastly we call her all those
names that could induce her to hear us. We say: health of the weak,
refuge of sinners, help of Christians, pray for us.

In addition to the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, we have the Litany of
the Holy Name of Jesus, the Litany of the Blessed Sacrament, the Litany
of the Sacred Heart, the Litany of St. Joseph, and many others--all made
up in the same form. We have also the Litany of all the Saints, in which
we beg the help and prayers of the different classes of saints--the
Apostles, martyrs, virgins, etc.


THE APOSTLES' CREED

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and
in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy
Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day
He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the
right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to
judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy
Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the
resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

A creed is a definite list or summary of all the things one believes.
The "Apostles' Creed" is therefore a list or collection of all the
truths the Apostles believed. The "Apostles" were the twelve men that
Our Lord selected to be His first bishops. We know they were bishops
because they could ordain priests and consecrate other bishops. They
lived with Our Lord like a little family during the three and a half
years of His public life; they went with Him and learned from Him
wherever He preached. Besides these He had also His disciples, i.e.,
followers who went with Him frequently but did not live with Him. Our
Lord wished His doctrine to be taught to all the people of the world,
and so He told His Apostles that they must go over the whole world and
preach in every country. During the life of Our Lord and for a short
time after His death they preached in only one country, viz.,
Palestine--now called the Holy Land--in which country the Jews, up to
that time God's chosen people, lived. Since the Apostles were to preach
to all nations, the time came when they must separate, one going to one
country, and another to another. In those days there were no steamboats
or railroads, no post offices, telegraph offices, telephones, or
newspapers. If the Apostles wished to communicate with anyone they had
either to go to the place themselves or send a messenger. By walking or
riding it might have taken them months or years in those days to make a
journey that we can make now in a few days; and for an answer to a
message which we can get now by telegraph in a few hours they might have
had to wait months. The Apostles knew of all these inconveniences, and
before leaving the places they were in pointed out the chief truths that
all should know and believe before receiving Baptism, that Christian
teachers who should come after them might neglect nothing--just as we
use catechisms containing the truths of religion, for fear the teachers
might forget to speak of some of them. There are "twelve articles" or
parts in the Apostles' Creed, and each part is meant to refute some
false doctrine taught before the time of the Apostles or while they
lived. Thus there were those--as the Romans--who said there were many
gods; others said not God, but the devil created the earth; others
taught that Our Lord was not the Son of God: and so on for the rest. All
these false doctrines are denied and the truth professed when we say the
Apostles' Creed.

Just as in the Lord's Prayer we do not see all its meaning at first, so
in the Apostles' Creed we find many beautiful things only after thinking
carefully over every word it contains.

"I believe," without the slightest doubt or suspicion that I might be
wrong.

"In God" by the grace that He gives me to believe and have full
confidence in Him.

"God," to show that there is only one.

"The Father," because He brought everything into existence and keeps it
so (see Explanation of the Lord's Prayer).

"Almighty," i.e., having all might or power; because He can do whatever
He wishes. He can make or destroy by merely wishing.

"Creator." To create means to make out of nothing. God alone can create.
When a carpenter makes a table, he must have wood; when a tailor makes a
coat, he must have cloth. They are only makers and not creators. God
needs no material or tools. When we make anything, we make it part by
part; but God makes the whole at once. He simply wills and it is made.
Thus He said in the beginning of the world: "Let there be light; and
light was made." For example, suppose I wanted a piano. If I could say,
"Let there be a piano" and it immediately sprang up without any other
effort on my part, although neither the wood, the iron, the wire, the
ivory, nor anything else in it ever existed till I said, "Let there be a
piano," then it could be said I created a piano. No one could do this,
for God alone has such power.

"Heaven and earth" and everything we can see or know of.

"Jesus Christ." Our Lord is called by many names, but you must not be
confused by them, for they all mean the same person, and are given only
to remind us of some particular thing connected with Our Lord. He is
called "Jesus," which signifies Saviour, and "Christ," which means
anointed. He is called the "Second Person of the Blessed Trinity," and
when we call Him "Our Lord," we mean the Second Person of the Blessed
Trinity after He became man. He is called the "Messias" and the "Son of
David" to show that He is the Redeemer promised to the Jews. Also at the
end of all our litanies He is called the "Lamb of God," because He was
so meek and humble and suffered death so patiently. In the Litany of the
Holy Name of Jesus we will find many other beautiful names of Our Lord,
all having their special signification.

"His only Son," to show that God, the First Person of the Blessed
Trinity, was His real Father. We are called God's children, but we are
only His created and adopted children.

"Who was conceived," i.e., He began to exist by the power of the Holy
Ghost in the womb of His Mother, the Blessed Virgin.

"Suffered." We shall see in the explanation of the Passion what He
suffered.

"Under" means here, at the time a man named Pontius Pilate was governor.
If anyone were put to death today in this country, we should say he was
executed under Governor or President so-and-so. "Crucified," i.e.,
nailed to a cross. We say "died," because Our Lord is the Giver of Life,
and no one could take His life away unless He allowed it. Therefore we
say He died, and not that He was killed, to show that He died by His own
free will and not against His will.

"Was buried." This we say to show that He was really dead; because if
you bury a man who is not really dead he must die.

"Hell" here does not mean the place where the damned are, but a place
called "Limbo." You know that when our first parents sinned, Heaven was
closed against them and us, and no human being could be admitted into it
till after the death of Our Lord; for He by His death would redeem
us--make amends for our fall and once more open for us Heaven. Now from
the time Adam sinned till the time Christ died is about four thousand
years. During that time there were at least some good men, like Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and others, in the world, who tried to serve
God as best they could--keeping all the divine laws known to them, and
believing that the Messias would some day come to redeem them. When,
therefore, they died they could not go to Heaven, because it was closed
against them. They could not go to Hell, because they were good men.
Neither could they go to Purgatory, because they would have to suffer
there. Where could they go? God in His goodness provided a place for
them--Limbo--where they could stay without suffering till Our Lord
reopened Heaven. Therefore, while Our Lord's body lay in the sepulchre,
His soul went down into Limbo, to tell these good men that Heaven was
now opened for them, and that at His Ascension He would take them there
with Him.

"The third day." Not three full days, but the parts of three days, viz.,
Friday afternoon, Saturday, and Sunday morning.

"He arose" by His own power: and this was the greatest of all Our Lord's
miracles. Some others, like the prophets and Apostles, have, by the
power God gave them, raised the dead to life; but no dead person ever
raised himself. Our Lord is the first and only one to do this, and by so
doing, showed they could not take away His life unless He wished to give
it up; for since He could always take back His life, how could they
destroy it?

"He ascended" forty days after His Resurrection.

"Right hand of God." We know God is a pure spirit having no body; and if
He has no body He can have no hands. Why then do we say right hand? When
the President of the United States invites anyone to dine at his house,
he makes the invited guest sit at his right hand, and thus shows his
respect by giving him the place of highest honor.

When Our Lord ascended into Heaven, He went up in the human body He had
upon earth, and His Father placed Him as man, in His glorified body, in
the place, after His (the Father's) own, the highest in Heaven; but
remember, only as man, because as God He is equal to His Father in all
things.

"From thence"--that is, from the right hand of God.

"To judge." To examine them, to pronounce sentence upon them; to reward
them in Heaven or punish them in Hell.

"The living and the dead." We may take this in a double sense. As the
general judgment will come suddenly and when not expected, all will be
going on in the world as usual--some attending to business, others
taking their ease as they do now, or as they were doing when the deluge
came upon them. Just when the judgment is about to take place, God will
destroy the earth; and then all those living in the world will perish
with its destruction and then be judged. The "dead" means, therefore,
all those who died before the destruction of the world, and the "living"
all those who were on earth when the time of its destruction came. Or
the "living" may mean also those in a state of grace, and the "dead"
those in mortal sin; for God will judge both classes.

"Holy Ghost," i.e., the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Ghost is an
old word meaning spirit. When persons say that a ghost appeared, they
mean that the spirit of some dead person appeared. These stories about
ghosts are told generally to frighten children or timid persons. If
those who thought they saw a ghost always examined what they saw, they
would find that the supposed ghost was something very natural; probably
a bush swayed by the wind, or a stray animal, or perhaps some person
trying to frighten them. Ghost here does not mean the spirit of a dead
person, but the Holy Spirit, which is the proper name for the Third
Person of the Blessed Trinity.

"The communion of saints." There are three parts in the Church. We have,
first, the Church Militant, i.e., the fighting Church, made up of all
the faithful upon earth, who are still fighting for their salvation. The
Holy Scripture tells us our life upon earth is a warfare. We have three
enemies to fight. First, the devil, who by every means wishes to keep us
out of Heaven--the place he once enjoyed himself. The devil knows well
the happiness of Heaven, and does not wish us to have what he cannot
have himself; just as you sometimes see persons who, through their own
fault, have lost their situation trying to keep others out of it.

Our second enemy is the world. This does not mean the earth with all its
beauty and riches, but the bad people in the world with their false
doctrines; some telling us there is no God, Heaven, or Hell, others that
we should pay no attention to the teaching of the Church or the laws of
God, and advising us by word and example to resist our lawful superiors
in Church or State and give free indulgence to our sinful passions.

The third enemy is our own flesh. By this we mean our concupiscence,
that is, our passions, evil inclinations, and propensity to do wrong.
When God first created man, the soul was always master over the body,
and the body obedient to the soul. After Adam sinned, the body rebelled
against the soul and tried to lead it into sin. The body is the part of
our nature that makes us like the brute animals, while the soul makes us
like to God and the angels.

When we sin, it is generally to satisfy the body craving for what it has
not, or for that which is forbidden. Why did God leave this
concupiscence in us? He left it, first, to keep us humble, by reminding
us of our former sins, and, secondly, that we might overcome it and have
a reward for the victory.

The second branch of the Church is called the Church Suffering. It is
made up of all those who have gone through this world and are now in
Purgatory.

Some of them while on earth fought well, but not as well as they could
have done; they yielded to some temptations, fell into some small sins,
received some slight wounds from their spiritual enemies, or they have
not satisfied God entirely for the temporal guilt due to their great
sins; therefore they are in Purgatory till they can be completely
purified from all their sins and admitted into Heaven.

The last or third branch of the Church is called the Church Triumphant,
and is made up of the angels and all those who have lived at one time
upon earth and who are now in Heaven with God, enjoying their rewards
for overcoming their spiritual enemies and serving God while upon earth.
They are triumphant or rejoicing because they have reached their
heavenly home.

You must not think that those only are saints who have been canonized by
the Church and whose names are known to us; for all in Heaven are
saints, as we also shall be if admitted into that happy eternity. God
wishes all to be saints, for He wishes all to be saved. You know we can
pray to the saints and ask their help and prayers; but how could we know
that certain men or women are really in Heaven? We can know it when the
Church canonizes them, and thus gives proof that they were great
spiritual heroes in the service of God and can be more confidently
appealed to on account of their eminent sanctity and powerful
intercession.

Therefore the Church by canonization tells us for certain that such and
such persons are truly in Heaven. But might not the Church be deceived
like ourselves?

No! for Christ has promised to be always with His Church, and the Holy
Ghost is ever directing her, so that she cannot err in faith or morals.
If the Church made us pray to persons who are not saints, she would fall
into the worst of errors, and Our Lord would have failed to keep His
promise--a saying that would be blasphemous, for Christ, being God, is
infinitely true and could not deceive or be deceived. To canonize,
therefore, does not mean to make a saint, but to declare to the whole
world that such a one was a saint while upon earth. After death we
cannot merit, so our reward in Heaven will be just what we have secured
up till the moment of our death; hence holiness is acquired in the
Church Militant.

How does the Church canonize a saint? Let us suppose some good man dies,
and all his neighbors talk about his holy fife, how much he did for the
poor, how he prayed, fasted, and mortified himself. All these accounts
of his life are collected and sent to Rome, to the Holy Father or to the
cardinals appointed by him to examine such statements. These accounts
must show that the good man practiced virtue in a more than ordinary
manner, that he either performed some miracles while he lived, or that
God granted miracles after his death through his intercession.

These accounts are not examined immediately after his death, but
sometimes after a lapse of fifty years or more, so that people might not
exaggerate his good works because they knew him personally.

When these accounts are examined, one is appointed to prevent, if he
can, the canonization. He is sometimes called the devil's advocate,
because it is his business to find fault with all the accounts and
miracles, and prove them false if possible. This is done to make certain
that all the accounts are true and the miracles real. If everything is
found as represented, then the good man is declared venerable, later
beatified, i.e., called blessed, and still later canonized, i.e.,
declared a saint. If he is only beatified, he can be honored publicly
only in certain places or by certain persons; but if he is canonized, he
can be honored throughout the whole Church by all the faithful.

Thus we understand the three branches of the one true Church--the Church
Militant, i.e., all those who are on earth trying to save their souls;
the Church Suffering, those in Purgatory, having their souls purified
for Heaven; and the Church Triumphant, those already in Heaven.

The "communion of saints" means that these three branches of the Church
can help one another. We help the souls in Purgatory by our prayers and
good works, and the saints in Heaven pray for us. But "communion of
saints" means still more. Let us take an example. Suppose there are in a
family, living together, a mother and three sons. The eldest son earns a
large salary, the second son enough to support himself, and the youngest
very little. They give their earnings to their mother, who from the
combined amounts provides for the wants of all and draws from the large
salary of the eldest to supply the needs of the youngest. Thus he who
has too little for his support is--through his mother--aided by the one
who has more than he needs. Now, the Church is our mother, and some of
her children--the great saints--were rich in good works and did more
than was necessary to gain Heaven, while others did not do enough. Then
our mother, the Church, draws from the abundant satisfaction of her rich
children to help those who are poor in merit and good works. The
greatest treasure she has to draw from for that purpose is the more than
abundant merits of Our Lord and the superabundant satisfaction of the
Blessed Virgin and the greatest saints. Our Lord could have redeemed us
all by the least suffering, and yet He suffered dreadful torments, and
even shed His blood and died for us. The Blessed Virgin never sinned,
yet she performed many good works and offered many prayers. Therefore
"communion of saints" means, also, that we all share in the merits of
Christ and in the superabundant satisfaction of the Blessed Virgin and
of the saints; also in the prayers and good works of the Church and of
her faithful and pious children.

"The forgiveness of sins," i.e., by the Sacrament of Penance, through
the power that God gave His priests; also by Baptism.

"The resurrection of the body," i.e., on the last day (Matt. 24:29; Luke
21:25). When on the last day, at the general judgment, God's angel
sounds the great trumpet, all the dead will arise again and come to
judgment, in the same bodies they had while living. But you will say: If
their bodies are reduced to ashes and mixed with the earth, or if parts
of them are in one place and parts in another, how is this possible?
Very easily, with God. If He in the beginning could make all the parts
out of nothing, with how much ease can He collect them scattered here
and there! When God made man He gave him a body and a soul, and wished
them never to be separated. Man was to live here upon earth for a time,
and then be taken up into Heaven, body and soul, as Our Lord is there
now. But when man sinned, in punishment God commanded that he should
die; i.e., that these two dear friends, the body and the soul, should be
separated for a time. Death is caused by the separation of the soul from
the body. The body and soul together make a man, and neither one alone
can be called a man. A dead body is only part of a man. At the
resurrection every soul will come from Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell, to
seek its own body; they will then be united again as they were in life,
never to be separated--to be happy together in Heaven if they have been
good upon earth, or miserable together in Hell if they have been bad
upon earth.

"Life everlasting"--either, as we have said, in Heaven or Hell. There
was a time when we did not exist but it can never be said of us again we
do not exist. When once we have been created, we shall live as long as
God Himself, i.e., forever. When we have lived a thousand years for
every drop of water in the ocean; a thousand years for every grain of
sand on the seashore; a thousand years for every blade of grass and
every leaf on the earth, we shall still be existing. How short a time,
therefore, is a hundred years even if we live so long--and few
do--compared with all these millions of years! And yet it depends upon
the time we live here whether all these millions of years in the next
world will be for us years of happiness or of misery. The whole life of
a man extends through the two worlds, viz., from the moment of his
creation through all eternity; and surely the little while he stays upon
earth must seem very short when, after spending a million of years in
the next world, he looks back to his earthly life. There is a good
example to illustrate this. If you stand on a railroad, and look away
down the track for about a mile, it will seem to you that the rails come
nearer and nearer, till at last they touch. It seems so on account of
the distance, for where they seem to touch they are just as far apart as
where you are standing. So, also, when you look back from eternity, the
day of your birth and the day of your death will seem to coincide, and
your life on earth appear nothing. Then, if you are among the lost souls
you will think, What a fool I was to make myself suffer all this long
eternity for that silly bit of earthly pleasure, which is of no benefit
to me now! And this thought will serve only to make you more miserable.
But, on the other hand, if you look back from a happy eternity, you will
wonder at God's goodness in giving you so much happiness for so short a
service upon earth.


THE CONFITEOR

I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed
Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles
Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly,
in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through
my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin,
blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy
Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray to the Lord our God
for me.

May the Almighty God have mercy on me, forgive me my sins, and bring me
to everlasting life. Amen.

May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant me pardon, absolution, and
remission of all my sins. Amen.

This is another beautiful prayer. In it we can imagine that we are
permitted to enter Heaven. What do we see there? God, the Blessed
Virgin, the thousands of angels, the Apostles, all the saints, martyrs,
confessors, doctors and virgins. They cease singing God's praises, as we
enter, and fix their eyes upon us. Our guardian angel conducts us before
the great throne of God, and we kneel down in the presence of the whole
court of Heaven, to acknowledge our sins and faults, while all listen
attentively. Touched by so sublime a sight and the thought of having
offended a God of so much glory, we begin our accusation of ourselves.
We fix our eyes first upon God, and say: "I confess," i.e., accuse
myself, "to Almighty God." Then we look upon the rest of the blessed,
and say: "to the Blessed Mary ever Virgin," etc. Thus we call the whole
court of Heaven to be a witness of the fact that we "have sinned," not
lightly, but "exceedingly," i.e., very greatly, and in three ways: "in
thought," by thinking of things sinful and forbidden; "in word," by
lies, curses, slanders, etc.; "in deed," by every bad action that we
have committed; and each of us can say: I have done all this "through my
fault," i.e., willingly and deliberately; and it was not a small fault,
but an exceeding great fault, because God was helping me by His grace to
overcome temptations and avoid bad thoughts, words, and actions, and I
would not accept His help, but willingly did what was wrong. What am I
to do, therefore? Will God pardon all these offenses if I alone ask Him,
seeing that all the angels and saints know that I have thus offended
Him? What shall I do? I will ask them to help me by their prayers, and
to beg God's pardon for me. He may grant their prayers, especially those
of the Blessed Mother and of the saints, when He would not grant mine.
"Therefore I beseech the Blessed Mary ever Virgin," etc., "to pray to
the Lord our God for me."

When we kneel down to say the Confiteor, if we could imagine what I have
just described to take place, how well we should say it! With what
attention, respect, and sorrow we should ask the prayers of the saints!
When we say the Confiteor, and indeed any prayer, we say it in the
presence of God, and of the whole court of Heaven, though we are not in
Heaven and cannot see God. The angels and saints do hear us and will
pray for us. When, therefore, you are saying the Confiteor, imagine that
you see all I have described, and you will never say it badly.


AN ACT OF FAITH

O my God! I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine
persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son
became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the
living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy
Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst
neither deceive nor be deceived.

An "act," i.e., a profession, of faith. The whole substance of the act
of faith is contained in this: I believe all that God has revealed and
the Catholic Church teaches. We might mention one by one all the truths
God has revealed, i.e., made known to us, and all the truths the
Catholic Church teaches as revealed by God. For example, we might say, I
believe in the Holy Trinity, in the Incarnation of Our Lord in the Holy
Eucharist, in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, in the
infallibility of the Pope, and so on, till we write an act of faith
twenty pages long, and yet it would all be contained in the words: I
believe all God has revealed and the Catholic Church teaches. Hence we
find in prayerbooks and catechisms acts of faith differing in length and
words, but they are all the same in substance and have the same meaning.
The act of faith in our Catechism gives a few of the chief truths
revealed, that it may be neither too short nor too long, and that all
may learn the same words.


AN ACT OF HOPE

O my God! relying on Thy almighty power and infinite goodness and
promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and
life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and
Redeemer.

The substance of this act is: I hope for Heaven and the means to obtain
it. The means by which I will obtain it are the pardon of my sins by
God, and the grace which He will give me in the reception of the
Sacraments and in prayer, by which grace I will be able to know Him,
love Him, and serve Him, and thus come to be with Him forever. Here
again we could make a long act by mentioning all the things we hope for;
viz., a good death, a favorable judgment, a place in Heaven, etc.


AN ACT OF LOVE

O my God! I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul
because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as
myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask
pardon of all whom I have injured.

The substance of this act is: I love God above all things for His own
goodness, and my neighbor as myself for the sake of God. An act of love
and an act of charity are the same thing with different names. We are
accustomed to call such things as the giving of alms or help to the
poor, the doing of some good work that we are not bound to do for
another, charity. Surely there are many motives that may induce persons
to help others in their distress; but what is the chief Christian
motive, if it be not the love we bear our brother-man because he is,
like ourselves, a child of God, and the desire we have to obey God, who
wishes us to help the needy? The sufferings of others excite our pity,
and the more we love them the more sorry are we to see them suffer.
Thanks to God for all His mercies to us; He might have made us, instead
of this man, poor and in suffering, but He has spared us and afflicted
him; we know not why God has done so, and therefore we help him, moved
by these considerations even when we feel he is not deserving of the
help, because we know his unworthiness will not prevent God from
rewarding our good intention. We may be charitable to our neighbor by
saying nothing hurtful about him, by never telling his faults without
necessity, etc. Therefore real charity, in its widest sense, and love
are just the same.


AN ACT OF CONTRITION

O my God! I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all
my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but
most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and
deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.

The substance of this act is: O my God! I am very sorry for all my sins,
because by them I have offended Thee, and with Thy help, I will never
sin again. It is well to know what the acts contain in substance, for we
can use these short forms as aspirations during the day, when we
probably would not think of saying the long forms. A fuller explanation
of the qualities of our contrition will be given in Lesson Eighteen.


THE BLESSING BEFORE MEALS

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we are to receive from Thy
bounty, through Christ our lord. Amen.


GRACE AFTER MEALS

We give Thee thanks for all Thy benefits, O Almighty God, Who livest and
reignest forever. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through
the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

"Grace" means thanks. We saw in the explanation of the Our Father how
God provides us with all we need, and most frequently with food. It is
the least we can do, therefore, to thank Him for it, when it is just
placed before us. We should thank Him also after we have eaten it and
found it good, pleasing, and refreshing. When God provides us with food
He thereby makes a kind of promise that He will allow us to live awhile
longer and give us strength to serve Him. How shameful it is, then, to
turn God's gifts into a means of offending Him, as some do by the sin of
gluttony! Again, it is very wrong to murmur and be dissatisfied with
what God gives us. He does not owe us anything, and need not give unless
He wishes. What would you think of a beggar of this kind?
He comes to your door hungry, and you, instead of simply giving him some
bread to appease his hunger, take him into your house and give him a
good dinner, new clothing, and some money. Now, instead of being
thankful, suppose he should complain because you did not give him a
better dinner, finer clothing, and more money, and should look cross and
dissatisfied; what would you think of him? Would you not be tempted to
turn the ungrateful fellow out of your house, with an order never to
come again, telling him he deserved to starve for his ingratitude? We
are not quite as ungrateful as the beggar when we neglect grace at
meals, because in saying our daily prayers we thank God for all His
gifts, our food included, and hence it is not a sin to neglect grace at
meals. But do we not show some ingratitude when we murmur, complain, and
are dissatisfied with our food, clothing, or homes? God, even when we
are ungrateful, still gives; hence His wonderful goodness and mercy to
us.


THE MANNER IN WHICH A LAY PERSON IS TO BAPTIZE IN CASE OF NECESSITY

Pour common water on the head or face of the person to be baptized, and
say while pouring it: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

N.B. Any person of either sex who has reached the use of reason can
baptize in case of necessity.



CATECHISM

Questions marked * are not in No. 1 Catechism.

A catechism is any book made up in question and answer form, no matter
what it treats of. We have catechisms of history, of geography, etc. Our
Catechism is a book in the same form treating of religion. It is a
little compendium of the truths of our religion, of all we must believe
and do. It contains, in the simplest form, all that a priest learns
during his many years of study. The theology he learns is only a deeper
and fuller explanation of the Catechism. A whole book might be written
on almost every question. For example, might we not write a book on each
of the first three questions--the World, God, and Man? There is
consequently much meaning in the Catechism, which must be made known to
us by explanation. You should therefore learn the Catechism by heart
now, even when you do not fully understand it; because afterwards, when
you read books on religion or hear sermons, all these questions and
answers will come back to your mind. Sermons will help you to understand
the questions, or the questions will help you to understand the sermons.



Lesson 1
ON THE END OF MAN


The end of a thing is the purpose for which it was made. The end of a
watch is to keep time. The end of a pen is to write, etc. A thing is
good only in proportion to the way it fulfills the end for which it was
made. A watch may be very beautifully made, a very rare ornament, but if
it will not keep time it is useless as a watch. The same may be said of
the pen, or of anything else. Now for what purpose was man made? If we
discover that, we know his end. When we look around us in the world, we
see a purpose or end for everything. We see that the soil is made for
the plants and trees to grow in; because if there was no need of things
growing, it would be better to have a nice clean solid rock to walk
upon, and then we would be spared the trouble of making roads, and
paving streets. But things must grow, and so we must have soil. Again,
the vegetables and plants are made for animals to feed upon; while the
animals themselves are made for man, that they may help him in his work
or serve him for food. Thus it is evident everything in the world was
made to serve something else. What then was man made for? Was it for
anything in the world? We see that all classes of beings are created for
something higher than themselves. Thus plants are higher than soil,
because they have life and soil has not. Animals are higher than plants,
because they not only have life, but they can feel and plants cannot.
Man is higher than animals, because he not only has life and can feel,
but he has also reason and intelligence, and can understand, while
animals cannot. Therefore we must look for something higher than man
himself, but there is nothing higher than man in this world, and so we
must look beyond it to find that for which he was made. And looking
beyond it and considering all things, we find that he was made for
God--to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him both in this world and
in the next. Again, we read in the Bible (Gen. 1) that at the creation
of the world all things were made before man, and that he was created
last. Therefore, if all these things could exist without man, we cannot
say he was made for them. The world existed before him and can exist
after him. The world goes along without any particular man, and the same
may be said of all men. Neither was man made to stay here awhile to
become rich, or learned, or powerful, because all do not become
rich--some are very poor; all are not learned--some are very ignorant;
all are not powerful--some are slaves. But since all men are alike and
equal in this, that they have all bodies formed in the same way, and all
souls that are immortal, they should all be made for the same end. For
example, you could not make a pen like a watch if you want it to write.
Although pens differ in size, shape, etc., they have all one general
form which is essential to them. So, although men differ in many things,
they are all alike in the essential thing, viz., that they are composed
of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God. Hence, as
pens are made only to write with, so all men must have only one and the
same end, namely, to serve God.

1 Q. Who made the world?
A. God made the world.

The "world" here means more than the earth--more than is shown on a map
of the world. It means everything that we can see--sun, moon, stars,
etc.; even those things that we can see only with great telescopes.
Everything, too, that we may be able to see in the future, either with
our eyes alone, or aided by instruments, is included in the word
"world." We can call it the universe.

2 Q. Who is God?
A. God is the Creator of Heaven and earth, and of all things.

3 Q. What is man?
A. Man is a creature composed of a body and soul, and made to the image
and likeness of God.

"Creature," i.e., a thing created. Man differs from anything else in
creation. All things else are either entirely matter, or entirely
spirit. An angel, for example, is all spirit, and a stone is all matter;
but man is a combination of both spirit and matter--of soul and of body.

*4 Q. Is this likeness in the body or in the soul?
A. This likeness is chiefly in the soul.

*5 Q. How is the soul like to God?
A. The soul is like God because it is a spirit that will never die, and
has understanding and free will.

My soul is like to God in four things.

(1). It is "a spirit." It really exists, but cannot be seen with the
eyes of our body. Every spirit is invisible, but every invisible thing
is not a spirit. We cannot see the wind. We can feel its influence, we
can see its work--for example, the dust flying, trees swaying, ships
sailing, etc.--but the wind itself we never see. Again, we never see
electricity. We see the light or effect it produces, but we never see
the electricity itself. Yet no one denies the existence of the wind or
of electricity on account of their being invisible. Why then should
anyone say there are no spirits--no God, no angels, no souls--simply
because they cannot be seen, when we have other proofs, stronger than
the testimony of our sight, that they really and truly exist?

(2). My soul will "never die," i.e., will never cease to exist; it is
immortal. This is a very wonderful thing to think of. It will last as
long as God Himself.

(3). My soul "has understanding," i.e., it has the gift of reason. This
gift enables man to reflect upon all his actions--the reasons why he
should do certain things and why he should not do them. By reason he
reflects upon the past, and judges what may happen in the future. He
sees the consequences of his actions. He not only knows what he does,
but why he does it. This is the gift that places man high above the
brute animals in the order of creation; and hence man is not merely an
animal, but he is a rational animal--an animal with the gift of reason.

Brute animals have not reason, but only instinct, i.e., they follow
certain impulses or feelings which God gave them at their creation. He
established certain laws for each class or kind of animals, and they,
without knowing it, follow these laws; and when we see them following
their laws, always in the same way, we say it is their nature. Animals
act at times as if they knew just why they were acting; but it is not
so. It is we who reason upon their actions, and see why they do them;
but they do not reason, they only follow their instinct.

If animals could reason, they ought to improve in their condition. Men
become more civilized day by day. They invent many things that were
unknown to their forefathers. One man can improve upon the works of
another, etc. But, we never see anything of this kind in the actions of
animals. The same kind of birds, for instance, build the same kind of
nests, generation after generation, without ever making change or
improvement in them. When man teaches an animal any action, it cannot
teach the same to its young. It is clear, therefore, that animals cannot
reason.

Though man has the gift of reason by which he can learn a great deal, he
cannot learn all through his reason; for there are many things that God
Himself must teach him. When God teaches, we call the truths He makes
known to us Revelation. How could man ever know about the Trinity
through his reason alone, when, after God has made known to him that It
exists, he cannot understand it? It is the same for all the other
mysteries.

(4). My soul has "free will." This is another grand gift of God, by
which I am able to do or not do a thing, just as I please. I can even
sin and refuse to obey God. God Himself--while He leaves me my free
will--could not oblige me to do anything, unless I wished to do it;
neither could the devil. I am free therefore, and I may use this great
gift either to benefit or injure myself. If I were not free I would not
deserve reward or punishment for my actions, for no one is or should be
punished for doing what he cannot help. God would not punish us for sin
if we were not free to commit or avoid it. I turn this freedom to my
benefit if I do what God wishes when I could do the opposite; for He
will be more pleased with my conduct, and grant a greater reward than He
would bestow if I obeyed simply because obliged to do so. Animals have
no free will. If, for example, they suffer from hunger and you place
food before them, they will eat; but man can starve, if he wills to do
so, with a feast before him. For the same reason man can endure more
fatigue than any other animal of the same bodily strength. In traveling,
for instance, animals give up when exhausted, but man may be dying as he
walks, and still, by his strong will-power, force his wearied limbs to
move. But you will say, did not the lions in the den into which Daniel
was cast because he would not act against his conscience, obey the
wicked king and offend God--as we read in Holy Scripture (Dan.
6:16)--refrain from eating him, even when they were starving with
hunger? Yes; but they did not do so of themselves, but by the power of
God preventing them: and that is why the delivery of Daniel from their
mouths was a miracle. It is clear, because the same lions immediately
tore in pieces Daniel's enemies when they were cast into the den.

6 Q. Why did God make you?
A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world,
and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

"To know" Him, because we must know of a thing before we can love it. A
poor savage in Africa never longs to be at a game or contest going on in
America, because he does not know it and therefore cannot love it. We
see a person and know him; if he pleases us we love him, and if we love
him we will try to serve him; we will not be satisfied with doing merely
what he asks of us, but will do whatever we think might give him
pleasure. So it is in regard to God. We must first know Him--learn who
He is from our catechisms and books of instruction, but especially from
the teaching of God's ministers, the Holy Father, bishops and priests.
When we know Him, we shall love Him. If we knew Him perfectly, we should
love Him perfectly; so the better we know Him the more we shall love
Him. And as it is our chief duty to love Him and serve Him upon earth,
it becomes our strict duty to learn here whatever we can of His nature,
attributes, and holy laws. The saints and angels in Heaven know God so
well that they must love Him, and cannot therefore offend Him.

You have all seen some person in the world, or maybe several persons,
whom you have greatly admired; still you did not love them perfectly;
there was always some little thing about them in looks, manners, or
disposition that could be rendered more pleasing; some defect or want
you would like to see supplied; some fault or imperfection you would
like to see corrected. Now suppose you had the power to take all the
good qualities you found in the persons you loved and unite them in one
person, in whom there would be nothing displeasing, but everything
perfect and beautiful. Do you not think you would love such a person
very much indeed?

Moreover, suppose you knew that person loved you intensely, would it not
be your greatest delight to be ever with such a friend? Well, then, all
the lovable qualities and beauties you see in created beings come from
God and are bestowed by Him; yet all the good qualities on earth and
those of the angels and saints in Heaven, and even of the Blessed Virgin
and St. Joseph, if united in one person would be nothing compared to the
goodness and beauty of God. How good and how lovable, therefore, must He
be! And what shall we say when we think that He loves us with a greater
love than we could ever love Him, even with our most earnest efforts?
Try then first to know God and you will surely love and serve Him. Do
not be satisfied with the little you learn of Him in the Catechism, but
afterward read good books, and above all hear sermons and instructions.

"In this world." Because unless we do what is pleasing to Him in this
world we cannot be with Him in the next. Our condition in the next world
depends entirely upon our conduct in this. Thus we have discovered the
answer to the great question, What is the end of man; for what was he
made?

*7 Q. Of which must we take more care, our soul or our body?
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body.

*8 Q. Why must we take more care of our soul than of our body?
A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body, because in
losing our soul we lose God and everlasting happiness.

Every sensible person will take most care of that which is most
valuable. If a girl had a hundred dollars in a ten-cent pocket-book, you
would consider her a great fool if she threw away the hundred dollars
for fear of spoiling the pocket-book. Now, he is a greater fool who
throws away his soul in order to save his body some little
inconvenience, or gratify its wicked desires or inclinations. Wherever
the soul will be, there the body will be also; so we should, in a
certain way, try to forget the body and make sure of getting the soul
safely into Heaven. You would not think much of the wisdom of a boy who
allowed his kite to be smashed in pieces by giving his whole attention
to the tail of the kite. If he took care to keep the kite itself high in
air and away from every danger, the tail would follow it; and even if
the tail did get entangled, it would have a good chance of being freed
while the kite was still flying. But of what use is it to save a
worthless piece of rag, if the kite--the valuable thing--is lost? Just
in the same way, of what use is our body if our soul is lost? And
remember we have only one soul. Therefore, make sure to save the soul,
and the body also will be saved--that is, the whole man will be saved;
for we cannot save the soul and lose the body; they will both be saved
or both be lost.

9 Q. What must we do to save our souls?
A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity;
that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our
heart.

"Worship," that is, give Him divine honor. We honor persons for their
worth and excellence, and since God is the most excellent, we give Him
the highest honors, differing from others not merely in degrees but in
kind--divine honors that belong to Him alone. And justly so, for the
vilest animal upon the earth is a thousand times more nearly our equal
than the most perfect creature, man or angel, is the equal of God. In
speaking of worship, theologians generally distinguish three kinds,
namely: latria, or that supreme worship due to God alone, which cannot
be transferred to any creature without committing the sin of idolatry;
dulia, or that secondary veneration we give to saints and angels as the
special friends of God; hyperdulia, or that higher veneration which we
give to the Blessed Virgin as the most exalted of all God's creatures.
It is higher than the veneration we give to the other saints, but
infinitely inferior to the worship we give to God Himself. We show God
our special honor by never doubting anything He reveals to us, therefore
by "faith"; by expecting with certainty whatever He promises, therefore
by "hope"; and finally by loving Him more than anyone else in the world,
therefore by "charity."

But someone may say, I think I love my parents more than God. Well, let
us see. Suppose your mother should command you to commit a sinful act (a
thing no good mother would do) and you have therefore to choose between
offending her or Almighty God. Now, although you love your mother very
much, if in this instance you prefer to displease her rather than commit
the sin that offends God, you show that you love God more than her.
Again, many who dearly love their parents leave them that they may
consecrate their lives to the special service of God in some religious
community and thus prove their greater love for Him. The love we have
for God is intellectual rather than sentimental; and since it is not
measured by the intensity of our feelings, how are we to know that we
love Him best? By our determination never to offend Him for any person
or thing in the world, however dear to us, and by our readiness to obey
and serve Him before all others.

10 Q. How shall we know the things which we are to believe?
A. We shall know the things which we are to believe from the Catholic
Church, through which God speaks to us.

"Catholic Church" in this answer means the Pope, councils, bishops, and
priests who teach in the Church.

11 Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Catholic Church
teaches?
A. We shall find the chief truths which the Catholic Church teaches in
the Apostles' Creed.

"Chief," because the Apostles' Creed does not contain in an explicit
manner all the truths we must believe. For example, there is nothing in
the Apostles' Creed about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, about the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, or the infallibility of the
Pope; and yet we must believe these and other articles of faith not in
the Apostles' Creed. It contains only the "chief" and not all the
truths.

12 Q. Say the Apostles' Creed.
A. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the
Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into Hell; the third day
He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at
the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to
judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy
Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the
resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

"Descend" means to go down, and "ascend" to go up.



Lesson 2
ON GOD AND HIS PERFECTIONS


A "perfection" means a good quality. We say a thing is perfect when it
has all the good qualities it should have.

13 Q. What is God?
A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

"A spirit" is a living, intelligent, invisible being. It really exists,
though we cannot see it with the eyes of our body. It has intelligence
and can therefore think, understand, etc. It is not because we cannot
see it that we call it a spirit. To be invisible is only one of the
qualities of a spirit. It is also indivisible, that is, it cannot be
divided into parts. God is such a being. He is "infinitely perfect,"
that is, He has every perfection in the highest degree. "Infinite" means
to have without limit. If there were any perfection God did not have, He
would not be infinite. He is unlimited in wisdom, in power, in goodness,
in beauty, etc. But you will tell me persons on earth and the angels and
saints in Heaven have some wisdom and power and beauty, and therefore
God cannot have all, since He has not the portion with which they are
endowed. I still say He is infinite, because what the angels and others
have belongs to God, and He only lends it to them. "Perfect" means to be
without any defect or fault.

14 Q. Had God a beginning?
A. God had no beginning; He always was and always will be.

Was there ever a time when we could say there was no God? There was a
time when we could say there was no Heaven or earth, no angels, men, or
animals; but there was never a time when there was no God. We may go
back in thought millions and millions of years before the Creation, and
God was then existing. He had no beginning and will never cease to
exist. This is a mystery; and what a mystery is will be explained in the
next lesson.

15 Q. Where is God?
A. God is everywhere.

"Everywhere"--not spread out like a great cloud, but whole and entire in
every particular place: and yet there is only one God, and not as many
gods as there are places. How this can be we cannot fully understand,
because this also is a mystery. A simile, though it will not be perfect,
may help you to understand. When we speak of God, we can never give a
true and perfect example; for we cannot find anything exactly like Him
to compare to Him. If I discharge a great cannon in a city, every one of
the inhabitants will hear the report; not in such a way that each hearer
gets his share of the sound, but each hears the whole report, just as if
he were the only one to hear it. Now, how is that? There are not as many
reports as there are persons listening; and yet each person hears the
whole report.

16 Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?
A. We do not see God because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with
bodily eyes.

"Pure spirit," that is, not clothed with any material body--spirit
alone.

17 Q. Does God see us?
A. God sees us and watches over us.

"Watches" to protect, to reward or punish us. He watches continually; He
not only watches, but keeps us alive. God might have created us and then
paid no more attention to us; but if He had done so, we should have
fallen back again into nothingness. Therefore He preserves us every
moment of our lives. We cannot draw a breath without Him. If a steam
engine be required to work ceaselessly, you cannot, after setting it in
motion, leave it henceforth entirely to itself. You must keep up the
supply of water and fire necessary for the generation of steam, you must
oil the machinery, guard against overheating or cooling, and, in a word,
keep a constant watch that nothing may interfere with its motion. So
also God not only watches His creatures, but likewise provides for them.
Since we depend so much upon Him, is it not great folly to sin against
Him, to offend, and tempt Him as it were? There are some birds that
build their nests on the sides of great rocky precipices by the
seacoast. Their eggs are very valuable, and men are let down by long
ropes to take them from the nest. Now while one of these men is hanging
over the fearful precipice, his life is entirely in the hands of those
holding the rope above. While he is in that danger do you not think he
would be very foolish to tempt and insult those on whom his life
depends, when they could dash him to pieces by simply dropping the rope?
While we live here upon earth we are all hanging over a great precipice,
namely, eternity; God holds us by the little thread of our lives, and if
He pleased to drop it we should be hurled into eternity. If we tempt or
insult Him, He might drop or cut the thread while we are in mortal sin,
and then, body and soul, we go down into Hell.

18 Q. Does God know all things?
A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and
actions.

Certainly God "knows all things." First, because He is infinitely wise,
and if He were ignorant of anything He would not be so. Secondly,
because He is everywhere and sees and hears all. Darkness does not hide
from His view, nor noise prevent Him from hearing. How could we sin if
we thought of this! God is just here, looking at me and listening to me.
Would I do what I am going to do now if I knew my parents, relatives,
and friends were watching me? Would I like them to know that I am
thinking about things sinful, and preparing to do shameful acts? No! Why
then should I feel ashamed to let God see and know of this wicked
thought or action? They might know it and yet be unable to harm me, but
He, all-powerful, could destroy me instantly. Nay, more; not only will
God see and know this evil deed or thought; but, by His gift, the
Blessed Mother, the angels and saints will know of it and be ashamed of
it before God, and, most of all, my guardian angel will deplore it.
Besides, this sin will be revealed to the whole world on the last day,
and my friends, relatives, and neighbors will know that I was guilty of
it.

19 Q. Can God do all things?
A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.

20 Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful?
A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely perfect.

"All just"--that is, most just. "Just" means to give to everyone what
belongs to him--to reward if it is merited or to punish if it is
deserved. "Holy"--that is, good. "Merciful" means compassionate,
forgiving, less exacting than severe justice demands. In a court a just
judge is one who listens patiently to all the arguments for and against
the prisoner, and then, comparing one with the other, gives the sentence
exactly in accordance with the guilt. If he inflicts more or less
punishment than the prisoner deserves, or for money or anything else
gives an unfair sentence, then he is an unjust judge. The judge might be
merciful in this way. The laws say that for the crime of which this
prisoner is proved guilty he can be sent to prison for a term not longer
than ten years and not shorter than five: that is, for anything between
ten and five years. The judge could give him the full ten years that the
law allows and be just. But suppose he believed that the prisoner did
not know the law and did not intend to be as wicked as he was proved; or
that it was his first offense, or that he heard the prisoner's mother,
who was old and infirm, pleading for him and saying he was her only
support; or other extenuating circumstances that could awaken sympathy:
the judge might be merciful and sentence him for the shortest term the
law allows. But if the judge dismissed every prisoner, no matter how
guilty, without punishment, he would not be a merciful but an unjust
judge, who would soon be forced to leave the court. In the same way, God
is often merciful to sinners and punishes them less than He could in
strict justice. But if He were to allow every sinner to go without any
punishment whatsoever--as unbelievers say He should do, by having no
Hell for the wicked--then He would not be just. For as God is an
Infinite Being, all His perfections must be infinite; that is, He must
be as infinitely just as He is infinitely merciful, true, wise, or
powerful.

Now He has promised to punish sin; and since He is infinitely true, He
must keep His promise.



Lesson 3
ON THE UNITY AND TRINITY OF GOD


"Unity" means to be one, and "Trinity," three in one.

21 Q. Is there but one God?
A. Yes; there is but one God.

22 Q. Why can there be but one God?
A. There can be but one God because God, being supreme and infinite,
cannot have an equal.

"Supreme," that is, the highest. "Equal," when two are equal one has
everything the other has. You could say one pen is the equal of another
if it is just as nice and will write just as well; one mechanic is the
equal of another if he can do the work equally well. Two boys are equal
in class if they have exactly the same marks at the end of the month or
year. You could not have two persons chief. For example, you could not
have two chief generals in an army; two presidents in the nation, or two
governors in a state, or two mayors in a city, or two principals in a
school, unless they divide equally their power, and then they will be
equals and neither of them chief. God cannot divide His power with
anyone--so as to give it away entirely--because we say He is infinite,
and that means to have all. Others have only the loan of their power
from God. Therefore, all power and authority come from God; so that when
we disobey our parents or superiors who are placed over us, we disobey
God Himself.

23 Q. How many persons are there in God?
A. In God there are three divine persons really distinct and equal in
all things--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

"Distinct," not mingled together. We call the first and second persons
Father and Son, because the second is begotten by the first person, and
not to indicate that there is any difference in their age. We always see
in the world that a father is older than his son, so we get the idea
perhaps that it is the same in the Holy Trinity. But it is not so. God
the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost existed from all
eternity, and one did not exist before the other. God the Son is just as
old as God the Father, and this is another great mystery. Even in nature
we see that two things may begin to exist at the same time, and yet one
be the cause of the other. You know that fire is the cause of heat; and
yet the heat and the fire begin at the same time. Though we cannot
understand this mystery of the Father and Son, we must believe it on the
authority of God, who teaches it. First, second, and third person in the
Blessed Trinity does not mean, therefore, that one person was before the
other, or brought into existence by the other.

24 Q. Is the Father God?
A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.

25 Q. Is the Son God?
A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

26 Q. Is the Holy Ghost God?
A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

27 Q. What do you mean by the Blessed Trinity?
A. By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in three Divine Persons.

*28 Q. Are the three Divine Persons equal in all things?
A. The three Divine Persons are equal in all things.

29 Q. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same God?
A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the
same divine nature and substance.

Though they are one and the same, we sometimes attribute different works
to them. For example, works of creation we attribute to God the Father;
works of mercy to God the Son; and works of love and sanctification to
the Holy Ghost; and you will often find them thus spoken of in pious
books; but all such works are done by all the Persons of the Trinity;
because such works are the works of God, and there is but one God.

*30 Q. Can we fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and
the same God?
A. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and
the same God, because this is a mystery.

"Fully"--entirely. We can partly understand it. We know what one God is
and we know what three persons are; but how these two things go together
is the part we do not understand--the mystery.

*31 Q. What is a mystery?
A. A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.

"A truth," that is, a revealed truth--one made known to us by God or His
Church. It is a truth which we must believe though we cannot understand
it. Let us take an example. When a boy goes to school he is taught that
the earth is round like an orange and revolving in two ways, one causing
day and night and the other producing the seasons: spring, summer,
autumn, winter. The boy goes out into the country where he sees miles of
level land and mountains thousands of feet in height. Again he goes out
on the ocean where sailors tell him it is several miles in depth.

Now he may say: how can the earth be round if deep valleys, high
mountains, and level plains prove to my senses the very opposite, and
the countless things at rest upon its surface tell me it is motionless.
Yet he believes even against the testimony of his senses that the earth
is round and moving, because his teacher could have no motive in
deceiving him; knows better than he, having learned more, and besides
has been taught by others who after long years of careful study and
research have discovered these things and know them to be true. If
therefore we have to believe things that we do not understand on the
authority of men, why should we not believe other truths on the
authority of God? Yes, we must believe Him. If a boy knew all his
teacher knew there would be no need of his going to school; he would be
the equal in knowledge of his teacher, and if we knew all that God knows
we would be as great as He. As well might we try to empty the whole
ocean into the tiny holes that children dig in the sand by its shore, as
fully to comprehend the wisdom of God. This is the mistake unbelievers
make when they wish to understand with their limited intelligence the
boundless knowledge and mysterious ways of God, and when they cannot
understand refuse to believe. Are they not extremely foolish? Would you
not ridicule the boy who refuses to believe that the earth is round and
moving because he cannot understand it? As he grows older and learns
more he will comprehend it better; so we, when we leave this world and
come into the presence of God, shall see clearly many things that are
unintelligible now. For the present, we have only to believe them on the
authority of God teaching us. Another example. We take two little black
seeds that look just alike and place them in the same kind of soil; we
put the same kind of water upon them; they have the same sunlight and
air, and yet when they grow up one has a red flower and one a blue.
Where did the red and where did the blue come from? From the black seed,
or the brown soil, or the pure water, air and sunlight? We do not know.
It is there, and that is all. We see it and believe it, though we do not
understand it.

So if we refuse to believe everything we do not understand, we shall
soon believe very little and make ourselves ridiculous.



Lesson 4
ON CREATION


This lesson treats of God bringing everything into existence. The chief
things created may be classed as follows: (1) The things that simply
exist, as rocks, and minerals--gold, silver, iron, etc. (2) Things that
exist, grow, and live like plants and trees. (3) Things that grow, live,
and feel, like animals. (4) Things that grow, live, feel, and
understand, like men. Besides these we have the sun, moon, stars, etc.;
all things too that we can see, and also Heaven, Purgatory, Hell, and
good and bad angels. All these are the works of God's creation. All
these He has called into existence by merely wishing for them.

*32 Q. Who created Heaven and earth, and all things?
A. God created Heaven and earth, and all things.

"Heaven," where God is and will always be. It means, too, everything we
see in the sky above us. "Earth," the globe on which we live.

*33 Q. How did God create Heaven and earth?
A. God created Heaven and earth from nothing, by His word only; that is,
by a single act of His all-powerful will.

34 Q. Which are the chief creatures of God?
A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.

35 Q. What are angels?
A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to adore and enjoy
God in Heaven.

"Angels" are not the same as saints. Saints are those who at one time
lived upon the earth as we do, and who on account of their very good
lives are now in Heaven. They had bodies as we have. The angels, on the
contrary, never lived visibly upon the earth. In the beginning God was
alone. We take great pleasure in looking at beautiful things. God,
seeing His own beauty, and knowing that others would have very great
pleasure and happiness in seeing Him, determined to create some beings
who could enjoy this happiness; and thus He wished to share with them
the happiness which He Himself derived from seeing His own beauty.
Therefore He created angels who were to be in Heaven with Him, singing
His praises and worshipping before His throne.

The angels are not all equal in dignity, but are divided into nine
classes, or choirs, according to their rank or office, and, as
theologians tell us, arranged from the lowest to the highest and named
as follows; angels, archangels, virtues, powers, principalities,
dominations, thrones, cherubim, and seraphim. Archangels are higher than
angels and are so called because sent to do the most important works. It
was the Archangel Michael who drove Lucifer from Heaven and the
Archangel Gabriel who announced to the Blessed Virgin that she was to be
the Mother of God. The angels receive their names from the duties they
perform. The word angel signifies messenger.

*36 Q. Were the angels created for any other purpose?
A. The angels were also created to assist before the throne of God and
to minister unto Him; they have often been sent as messengers from God
to man; and are also appointed our guardians.

The duties of the angels are many. Some remain always in Heaven with
God; some are sent to earth to be our guardians and to remain with us.
Each of us has an angel to take care of us. He is with us night and day,
and offers our prayers and good works to God. He prays for us, exhorts
us to do good and avoid evil; and he protects us from dangers spiritual
and temporal. How unfortunate then must one be to cause him to return to
Heaven with sad complaints to God; such as: "The one whom I have in
charge will not obey Thy laws or use the grace Thou sendest him: with
all my efforts to save him, he continues to do wrong." He will be doubly
sad when he sees other angels returning with good reports and receiving
new graces for those whom God has committed to their care. If you love
your guardian angel, never impose on him the painful duty of bringing to
God the report of your evil doings.

Now, how do we know that the angels offer our prayers and good works to
God? We know it from the beautiful story of Tobias, told in the Holy
Scripture. (Tobias). This holy man loved and feared God. He lived at a
time when his people were persecuted by a most cruel king, who wished to
force them to give up the true God and worship idols, but many of these
good people suffered death rather than deny God and obey the wicked
king. When they were put to death, their bodies were left lying on the
ground, to be devoured by birds of prey or wild animals. Anyone caught
burying them was to be put to death by the king's servants. Tobias used
to carry the dead bodies of these holy martyrs into his house and bury
them at night.

One day when he returned very tired he lay down by the wall of his house
to rest, and, while lying there, some dirt fell into his eyes and he
became blind. This Tobias had a young son whose name was also Tobias;
and as he himself was now blind and poor, he wished to send his son into
a certain city, at a good distance off, to collect some money that he
had formerly loaned to a friend. As the young man did not know the way,
his father sent him out to look for a guide. Young Tobias went out and
found a beautiful young man to be his guide and he consented, and he
brought Tobias to the distant city. As they were on their way they sat
down by the bank of a river. Tobias went into the water near the edge,
and soon a great fish rushed at him. Tobias called to his guide. The
guide told him to take hold of the fish and drag it out upon the shore.
There they killed it, and kept part of its flesh for food and part for
medicine. Then they went on to the city, got the money and returned. The
guide told young Tobias to rub the part of the fish he had taken for
medicine upon his father's eyes. He did so, and immediately his father's
eyes were cured and he saw. Then both the father and son were so
delighted with this young guide, that they offered to give him half of
all they had. He refused to take it and then told them he was the angel
Raphael sent from God to be the guide of this good man's son. He told
the old Tobias how he (the angel) had carried up to God his prayers and
good works while he was burying the dead. When they heard he was an
angel they fell down and reverenced him, being very much afraid. From
this beautiful history we know that the angels carry our prayers and
good works to God. Again we learn from the Holy Scripture (Gen. 28) in
the history of another good man almost the same thing. The patriarch
Jacob was on a journey, and being tired, he lay down to rest with his
head upon a stone. As he lay there he had a vision in which he saw a
great ladder reaching up from earth to Heaven. At the top he saw
Almighty God standing, and on the ladder itself angels ascending and
descending. Now the holy Fathers of the Church tell us this is what is
really taking place; the angels are always going down and up from God to
man, though not on a ladder and not visibly as they appeared to Jacob.
Besides the guardian angel for each person, there are also guardian
angels for each city and for each nation.

Again (Gen. 19) angels appeared to Lot to warn him about the destruction
of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrha. Angels appeared also to the
shepherds on the night Our Lord was born (Luke 2). The catechism says
angels have no bodies--how, then, could they appear? They took bodies
made of some very light substance which would make them visible, and
appeared just like beautiful young men, clad in flowing garments, as you
frequently see them represented in pictures. Angels were sometimes sent
to punish men for their sins, as the angel who killed in one night
185,000 men in the army of the wicked king, Sennacherib, who blasphemed
God, and was endeavoring to destroy Jerusalem, God's city. (4 Kgs. 19).

But here is a difficulty. If God Himself watches over us and sees all
things, why should the angels guard us? It is on account of God's
goodness to us; though it is not necessary. He does not wish us to have
any excuse for being bad, so He gives us each a special heavenly servant
to watch and assist us by his prayers. If a friend received us into his
house and did all he could for us himself, we should certainly be
satisfied, but if he gave us a special servant, though it would not be
necessary, he would show us great respect and kindness. Moreover
whatever the angels do for us, we might say God Himself does, for the
angels are only obeying His commands.

*37 Q. Were the angels, as God created them, good and happy?
A. The angels as God created them were good and happy.

*38 Q. Did all the angels remain good and happy?
A. All the angels did not remain good and happy; many of them sinned and
were cast into Hell; and these are called devils or bad angels.

God did not admit the angels into His presence at once. He placed them
for awhile on probation, as He did our first parents.

One of these angels was most beautiful, and was named Lucifer, which
means light-bearer. He was so perfect that he seems to have forgotten
that he received all his beauty and intelligence from God, and not
content with what he had, became sinfully proud and wished to be equal
to God Himself. For his sin he and all his followers were driven out of
Heaven, and God then created Hell, in which they were to suffer for all
eternity. This same Lucifer is now called Satan, and more commonly the
devil, and those who accompanied him in his fall, devils, or fallen
angels.



Lesson 5
ON OUR FIRST PARENTS AND THEIR FALL


39 Q. Who were the first man and woman?
A. The first man and woman were Adam and Eve.

In the beginning God created all things; something particular on each of
the six days of Creation. (Gen. 1). On the first day He made light, on
the second, the firmament, or the heavens, and on the sixth day He
created man and called him Adam. God wished Adam to have a companion; so
one day He caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and then took from his
side a rib, out of which he formed Eve. Now God could have made Eve as
He made Adam, by forming her body out of the clay of the earth and
breathing into it a soul, but He made Eve out of Adam's rib to show that
they were to be husband and wife, and to impress upon their minds the
nature and sacredness of the love and union that should exist between
them.

40 Q. Were Adam and Eve innocent and holy when they came from the hand
of God?
A. Adam and Eve were innocent and holy when they came from the hand of
God.

God placed Adam and Eve in Paradise, a large, beautiful garden, and gave
them power over all the other creatures. Adam gave all the animals their
appropriate names and they were obedient to him. Even lions, tigers, and
other animals that we now fear so much, came and played about him. Our
first parents, in their state of original innocence, were the happy
friends of God, without sorrow or suffering of any kind.

*41 Q. Did God give any command to Adam and Eve?
A. To try their obedience God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of a
certain fruit which grew in the garden of Paradise.

He told them (Gen. 2) they could take of all the fruits in the garden
except the fruit of one tree, and if they disobeyed Him by eating the
fruit of that tree, they should surely die. God might have pointed out
any tree, because it was simply a test of obedience. He gave them a very
simple command, for if we are faithful in little things we shall surely
be faithful in greater. Moreover, it is not precisely the consideration
of what is forbidden, but of the authority by which it is forbidden that
should deter us from violating the command and prove our fidelity. Thus
disobedience to our parents and superiors, even in little things,
becomes sinful. Someone might say: "Why did God not try their obedience
by one of the Ten Commandments?" Let us examine them. "Remember the
Sabbath." That one would be unnecessary: for every day was Sabbath with
them; the only work was to praise and serve God. "Thou shalt not steal."
They could not; everything was theirs; and so for the other
Commandments. Therefore, God gave them a simple command telling them: If
you obey, you and all your posterity will be happy; every wish will be
gratified, neither sorrow nor affliction shall come upon you and you
shall never die; but if, on the contrary, you disobey, countless evils,
misery and death will be your punishment. The earth, now so fruitful,
shall bring forth no crops without cultivation, and after years of toil
the dead bodies of yourselves and children must lie buried in its soil.
So having the gift of free will they could take their choice, and either
keep His command and be happy, or disobey Him and be miserable.

*42 Q. Which were the chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had
they remained faithful to God?
A. The chief blessings intended for Adam and Eve, had they remained
faithful to God, were a constant state of happiness in this life and
everlasting glory in the next.

Our first parents and their children were not to remain in the garden of
Paradise forever, but were, after spending their allotted time of trial
or probation upon earth, to be taken body and soul into Heaven without
being obliged to die.

43 Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God?
A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God, but broke His
commandment by eating the forbidden fruit.

As it is told in the Bible (Gen. 3), Eve went to the forbidden tree and
was standing looking at it, when the devil came in the form of a serpent
and, tempting, told her to take some of the fruit and eat. It does not
appear that she went and tasted the fruit of all the other trees and
finally came to this one, but rather that she went directly to the
forbidden tree first. Do we not sometimes imitate Eve's conduct? As soon
as we know a certain thing is forbidden we are more strongly tempted to
try it.

See, then, what caused Eve's sin. She went into the dangerous occasion,
and was admiring the forbidden fruit when the tempter came. She listened
to him, yielded to his wicked suggestions, and sinned. So will it be
with us if through curiosity we desire to see or hear things forbidden;
for once in the danger the devil will soon be on hand to tempt us--not
visibly indeed, for that would alarm us and defeat his purpose, but
invisibly, like our guardian angels; for the devil is a fallen angel who
still possesses all the characteristics of an angel except goodness. But
this is not all. Eve not only took and ate the fruit herself, but
induced Adam to do likewise. Most sinners imitate Eve in that respect.
Not satisfied with offending God themselves, they lead others into sin.

Why should the devil tempt us? God created man to be in Heaven, but the
fallen angels were jealous of man, and tempted him to sin so that he too
should be kept out of Heaven and might never enjoy what they lost; just
as envious people do not wish others to have what they cannot have
themselves.

44 Q. What befell Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
A. Adam and Eve on account of their sin lost innocence and holiness, and
were doomed to sickness and death.

They were innocent and holy because they were the friends of God and in
a state of grace, but by their sin they lost His grace and friendship.
"Doomed" means sentenced or condemned. The first evil result, then, of
Adam's sin was that he lost innocence and made his body a rebel against
his soul. Then he was to suffer poverty, hunger, cold, sickness, death,
and every kind of ill; but the worst consequence of all was that God
closed Heaven against him. After a few years' trial, as we said, God was
to take him into Heaven; but now He has closed it against Adam and his
posterity. All the people in the world could never induce God to open it
again; for He closed it in accordance with His promise, and man was an
exile and outcast from his heavenly home.

45 Q. What evil befell us on account of the disobedience of our first
parents?
A. On account of the disobedience of our first parents we all share in
their sin and punishment, as we should have shared in their happiness if
they had remained faithful.

Does it not seem strange that we should suffer for the sin of our first
parents, when we had nothing to do with it? No. It happens every day
that children suffer for the faults of their parents and we do not
wonder at it. Let us suppose a man's father leaves him a large
fortune--houses, land, and money--and that he and his children are happy
in the enjoyment of their inheritance. The children are sent to the best
schools, have everything they desire now, and bright hopes of happiness
and prosperity in the future. But alas! their hopes are vain. The father
begins to drink or gamble, and soon the great fortune is squandered.
House after house is sold and dollar after dollar spent, till absolute
poverty comes upon the children, and the sad condition of their home
tells of their distress. Do they not suffer for the sins of their
father, though they had nothing to do with them? Indeed, many families
in the world suffer thus through the faults of others, and most
frequently of some of their members. Could you blame the grandfather for
leaving the estate? Certainly not; for it was goodness on his part that
made him give. Let us apply this example. What God gave Adam was to be
ours also, and he squandered and misused it because he had free will,
which God could not take from him without changing his nature; for it is
our free will and intelligence that make us men, distinct from and
superior to all other animals. They can live, grow, feel, hear, see,
etc., as we can, but the want of intelligence and free will leaves them
mere brutes. Therefore, if God took away Adam's intelligence and free
will, He would have made him a mere animal--though the most perfect.

When a man becomes insane or loses the use of his intelligence and free
will, we place him in an asylum and take care of him as we would a tame
animal, seldom allowing him to go about without being watched and
guarded.

Let us take another example. Suppose I have a friend who is addicted to
the excessive drinking of strong liquor, and I say to him: "If you give
up that detestable habit for one year, I will make you a present of this
beautiful house worth several thousand dollars. It will be yours as long
as you live, and at your death you may leave it to your children. I do
not owe you anything, but offer this as a free gift if you comply with
my request." My friend accepts the offer on these conditions, but the
very next day deliberately breaks his promise. I do not give him the
house, because he did not keep his agreement; and can anyone say on that
account that I am unjust or unkind to him or his children? Certainly
not. Well, God acted in the same manner with Adam. He promised him
Heaven, a home more beautiful than any earthly palace--the place Our
Lord calls His father's house (John 14:2) and says there are many
mansions, that is, dwelling places, in it. God promised this home to
Adam on condition that he would observe one simple command. He had no
right to Heaven, but was to receive it, according to the promise, as a
free gift from God, and therefore God, who offered it conditionally, was
not obliged to give it when Adam violated his part of the agreement.

The example is not a perfect one, for there is this difference in the
cases between Adam and my friend: when my friend does not get the house,
he sustains a loss, it is true; but he might still be my friend as he
was before, and live in my house; but when Adam lost Heaven, he lost
God's friendship and grace, and the loss of all grace is to be in sin.
So that Adam by breaking the command was left in sin; and as all his
children sustain the same loss, they too are all left in sin till they
are baptized.

*46 Q. What other effects followed from the sin of our first parents?
A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first parents, which
darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left us a strong
inclination to evil.

Our "nature was corrupted" is what I have said of the body rebelling
against the soul. Our "understanding darkened." Adam knew much more
without study than the most intelligent men could learn now with
constant application. Before his fall he saw things clearly and
understood them well, but after his sin everything had to be learned by
the slow process of study. Then the "will was weakened." Before he fell
he could easily resist temptation, for his will was strong. You know we
sin by the will, because unless we wish to do the evil we commit no sin;
and if absolutely forced by others to do wrong, we are free from the
guilt as long as our will despises and protests against the action. If
forced, for example, to break my neighbor's window, I have not to answer
in my conscience for the unjust act, because my will did not consent.
So, on every occasion on which we sin, it is the will that yields to the
temptation. After Adam's sin his will became weak and less able to
resist temptation; and as we are sharers in his misfortune, we find
great difficulty at times in overcoming sinful inclinations. But no
matter how violent the temptation or how prolonged and fierce the
struggle against it, we can always be victorious if determined not to
yield; for God gives us sufficient grace to resist every temptation; and
if anyone should excuse his fall by saying he could not help sinning, he
would be guilty of falsehood.

"A strong inclination" to do wrong--that is, unless always on our guard
against it. Our Lord once cautioned His Apostles (Matt. 26:41) to watch
and pray lest they fall into temptation; teaching us also by the same
warning that, besides praying against our spiritual enemies, we must
watch their maneuvers and be ever ready to repel their attacks.

47 Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first parents?
A. The sin which we inherit from our first parents is called Original
Sin.

*48 Q. Why is this sin called original?
A. This sin is called original because it comes down to us from our
first parents, and we are brought into the world with its guilt on our
souls.

*49 Q. Does this corruption of our nature remain in us after Original
Sin is forgiven?
A. This corruption of our nature and other punishments remain in us
after Original Sin is forgiven.

It remains that we may merit by overcoming its temptations; and also
that we may be kept humble by remembering our former sinful and unhappy
state.

50 Q. Was anyone ever preserved from Original Sin?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary, through the merits of her divine Son, was
preserved free from the guilt of Original Sin, and this privilege is
called her Immaculate Conception.

The Blessed Virgin was to be the Mother of the Son of God. Now it would
not be proper for the Mother of God to be even for one moment the
servant of the devil, or under his power. If the Blessed Virgin had been
in Original Sin, she would have been in the service of the devil.
Whatever disgraces a mother disgraces also her son; so Our Lord would
never permit His dear Mother to be subject to the devil, and
consequently He, through His merits, saved her from Original Sin. She is
the only one of the whole human race who enjoys this great privilege,
and it is called her "Immaculate Conception," that is, she was
conceived--brought into existence by her mother--without having any spot
or stain of sin upon her soul, and hence without Original Sin.

Our Lord came into the world to crush the power which the devil had
exercised over men from the fall of Adam. This He did by meriting grace
for them and giving them this spiritual help to withstand the devil in
all his attacks upon them. As the Blessed Mother was never under the
devil's power, next to God she has the greatest strength against him,
and she will help us to resist him if we seek her aid. The devil himself
knows her power and fears her, and if he sees her coming to our
assistance will quickly fly. Never fail, then, in time of temptation to
call upon our Blessed Mother; she will hear and help you and pray to God
for you.



Lesson 6
ON SIN AND ITS KINDS


51 Q. Is Original Sin the only kind of sin?
A. Original Sin is not the only kind of sin; there is another kind of
sin which we commit ourselves, called actual sin.

Sin is first or chiefly divided into original and actual; that is, into
the sin we inherit from our first parents and the sin we commit
ourselves. We may commit "actual" sin in two ways; either by doing what
we should not do--stealing, for example--and thus we have a sin of
commission, that is, a bad act committed; or by not doing what we should
do--not hearing Mass on Sunday, for example--and thus we have a sin of
omission, that is, a good act omitted. So it is not enough to simply do
no harm, we must also do some good. Heaven is a reward, and we must do
something to merit it. Suppose a man employed a boy to do the work of
his office, and when he came in the morning found that the boy had
neglected the work assigned to him, and when spoken to about it simply
answered: "Sir, I did no harm"; do you think he would be entitled to his
wages? Of course he did not and should do no harm; but is his employer
to pay him wages for that? Certainly not. In like manner, God is not
going to reward us for doing no harm; but on the contrary, He will
punish us if we do wrong, and give no reward unless we perform the work
He has marked out for us. Neither would the office boy deserve any wages
if he did only what pleases himself, and not the work assigned by his
master. In the same way, God will not accept any worship or religion but
the one He has revealed. He tells us Himself how He wishes to be
worshipped, and our own invented methods will not please Him. Hence we
see the folly of those who say that all religions are equally good, and
that we can be saved by practicing any of them. We can be saved only in
the one religion which God Himself has instituted, and by which He
wishes to be honored. Many also foolishly believe, or say they believe,
that if they are honest, sober, and the like, doing no injury to anyone,
they shall be saved without the practice of any form of religious
worship. But how about God's laws and commands? Are they to be despised,
disregarded, and neglected entirely, without any fear of punishment?
Surely not! And persons who thus think they are doing no harm are
neglecting to serve God--the greatest harm they can do, and for which
they will lose Heaven. God, we are told, assigned to everyone in this
world a certain work to perform in a particular state of life, and this
work is called "vocation." One, for instance, is to be a priest;
another, a layman; one married; another single, etc. It is important for
us to discover our true vocation; for if we are in the state of life to
which God has called us, we shall be happy; but if we select our own
work, our own state of life without consulting Him, we shall seldom be
happy in it. How are we to know our vocation? Chiefly by praying to God
and asking Him to make it known to us. Then if He gives us a strong
inclination--constant, or nearly constant--for a certain state of life,
and the ability to fulfill its duties, we may well believe that God
wishes us to be in that state.

After we have begged God's assistance, we must ask our confessor's
advice in the matter, and listen attentively to what the Holy Ghost
inspires him to say. The signs of our vocation are, therefore, as
stated: first, a strong desire, and second, an aptitude for the state to
which we believe we are called. For example, a young man might be very
holy, but if unable to learn, he could never be a priest. Another might
be very learned and holy, but if too sickly to perform a priest's
duties, he could not, or at least would not, be ordained. Another might
be learned and healthy, but not virtuous, and so he could never be a
priest. Aptitude, therefore, means all the qualities necessary, whether
of mind, or soul, or body. The same is true for a young girl who wishes
to become a religious; and the same, indeed, for any person's vocation.
We should never enter a state of life to which we are not called, simply
to please parents or others. Neither should we be persuaded by them to
give up a state to which we are called; for we should embrace our true
vocation at any sacrifice, that in it we may serve God better, and be
more certain of saving our souls. Thus, parents and guardians who
prevent their children from entering the state to which they are called
may sin grievously by exposing them to eternal loss of salvation. Their
sin is all the greater when they try to influence their children in this
matter for selfish or worldly motives. As they may be selfish and
prejudiced without knowing it, they too, should ask the advice of their
confessor, and good persons of experience. Oh! how many children, sons
and daughters, are made unhappy all the days of their life by parents or
superiors forcing them into some state to which they were not called, or
by keeping them from one to which they were called. This matter of your
vocation rests with yourselves and Almighty God, and you are free to do
what He directs without consideration for anyone.

52 Q. What is actual sin?
A. Actual sin is any willful thought, word, deed, or omission contrary
to the law of God.

Three ways we may sin, by "thought"--allowing our minds to dwell on
sinful things; "word"--by cursing, telling lies, etc.; "deed"--by any
kind of bad action. But to be sins, these thoughts, words and deeds must
be willful; that is, we must fully know what we are doing, and be free
in doing it. Then they must be "contrary to the law of God"; that is,
violate some law He commands us to obey, whether it be a law He gave
directly Himself, or through His Church. We can also violate God's law
by neglecting to observe it, and thus sin, provided the neglect be
willful, and the thing neglected commanded by God or by His Church.

53 Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there?
A. There are two kinds of actual sin--mortal and venial.

"Mortal," that is, the sin which kills the soul. When a man receives a
very severe wound, we say he is mortally wounded; that is, he will die
from the wound. As breath shows there is life in the body, so grace is
the life of the soul; when all the breath is out of the body, we say the
man is dead. He can perform no action to help himself or others. So when
all grace is out of the soul we say it is dead, because it is reduced to
the condition of a dead body. It can do no action worthy of merit, such
as a soul should do; that is, it can do no action that God is bound to
reward--it is dead. But you will say the soul never dies. You mean it
will never cease to exist; but we call it dead when it has lost all its
power to do supernatural good.

"Venial" sin does not drive out all the grace; it wounds the soul, it
weakens it just as slight wounds weaken the body. If it falls very
frequently into venial sin, it will fall very soon into mortal sin also;
for the Holy Scripture says that he that contemneth small things shall
fall by little and little. (Ecclus. 19:1). A venial sin seems a little
thing, but if we do not avoid it we shall by degrees fall into greater,
or mortal, sin. Venial sin makes God less friendly to us and displeases
Him. Now if we really love God, we will not displease Him even in the
most trifling things.

54 Q. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

"Grievous"--that is, very great or serious. "Against the law." If we are
in doubt whether anything is sinful or not, we must ask ourselves: is it
forbidden by God or His Church? and if we do not know of any law
forbidding it, it cannot be a sin, at least for us.

Suppose, for example, a boy should doubt whether it is sinful or not to
fly a kite. Well, is there any law of God or of His Church saying it is
sinful to fly a kite? If not, then it cannot be a sin. But it might be
sinful for another reason, namely, his parents or superiors might forbid
it, and there is a law of God saying you must not disobey your parents
or superiors. Therefore a thing not sinful in itself, that is, not
directly forbidden by God or His Church, may become sinful for some
other reason well known to us.

We must not, however, doubt concerning the sinfulness or lawfulness of
everything we do; for that would be foolish and lead us to be
scrupulous. If we doubt at all we should have some good reason for
doubting, that is, for believing that the thing we are about to do is or
is not forbidden. When, therefore, we have such a doubt we must seek
information from those who can enlighten us on the subject, so that we
may act without the danger of sinning. It is our intention that makes
the act we perform sinful or not. Let me explain. Suppose during Lent a
person should mistake Friday for Thursday and should eat meat--that
person would not commit a real sin, because it is not a sin to eat meat
on an ordinary Thursday. He would commit what we call a material sin;
that is, his action would be a sin if he really knew what he was doing.
On the other hand, if the person, thinking it was Friday when it was
really Thursday, ate meat, knowing it to be forbidden, that person would
commit a mortal sin, because he intended to do so. Therefore, if what we
do is not known to be a sin while we do it, it is no sin for us and
cannot become a sin afterwards. But as soon as we know or learn that
what we did was wrong, it would be a sin if we did the same thing again.
In the same way, everything we do thinking it to be wrong or sinful is
wrong and sinful for us, though it may not be wrong for those who know
better. Again, it is sinful to judge others for doing wrong, because
they may not know that what they do is sinful. It would be better for us
to instruct than to blame them. The best we can do, therefore, is to
learn well all God's laws and the laws of His Church as they are taught
in the catechism, so that we may know when we are violating them or when
we are not, i.e., when we are sinning and when we are not.

*55 Q. Why is this sin called mortal?
A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life,
which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation
on the soul.

When the soul is sent to Hell it is dead forever, because never again
will it be able to do a single meritorious act.

*56 Q. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?
A. To make a sin mortal three things are necessary: a grievous matter,
sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

"Grievous matter." To steal is a sin. Now, if you steal only a pin the
act of stealing in that case could not be a mortal sin, because the
"matter," namely, the stealing of an ordinary pin, is not grievous. But
suppose it was a diamond pin of great value, then it would surely be
"grievous matter." "Sufficient reflection," that is, you must know what
you are doing at the time you do it. For example, suppose while you
stole the diamond pin you thought you were stealing a pin with a small
piece of glass, of little value, you would not have sufficient
reflection and would not commit a mortal sin till you found out that
what you had stolen was a valuable diamond; if you continued to keep it
after learning your mistake, you would surely commit a mortal sin. "Full
consent." Suppose you were shooting at a target and accidentally killed
a man: you would not have the sin of murder, because you did not will or
wish to kill a man.

Therefore three things are necessary that your act may be a mortal sin:
(1) The act you do must be bad, and sufficiently important; (2) You must
reflect that you are doing it, and know that it is wrong; (3) You must
do it freely, deliberately, and willfully.

57 Q. What is venial sin?
A. Venial sin is a slight offense against the law of God in matters of
less importance, or in matters of great importance it is an offense
committed without sufficient reflection or full consent of the will.

"Slight," that is, a small offense or fault; called "venial," not
because it is not a sin, but because God pardons it more willingly or
easily than He does a mortal sin. "Less importance," like stealing an
ordinary, common pin. "Great importance," like stealing a diamond pin.
Without "reflection" or "consent," when you did not know it was a
diamond and did not intend to steal a diamond.

*58 Q. Which are the effects of venial sin?
A. The effects of venial sin are the lessening of the love of God in our
heart, the making us less worthy of His help, and the weakening of the
power to resist mortal sin.

"Lessening of the love," because it lessens grace, and grace increases
the love of God in us. It displeases God, and though we do not offend
Him very greatly, we still offend Him. "Weakening of the power to
resist." If a man is wounded, it will be easier to kill him than if he
is in perfect health. So mortal sin will more easily kill a soul already
weakened by the wounds of venial sin.

59 Q. Which are the chief sources of sin?
A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger,
Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth; and they are commonly called capital sins.

A "source" is that from which anything else comes. The source of a river
is the little spring on the Mountainside where the river first begins.
This little stream runs down the mountain, and as it goes along gathers
strength and size from other little streams running into it. It cuts its
way through the meadows, and marks the course and is the beginning of a
great river, sweeping all things before it and carrying them off to the
ocean. Now, if someone in the beginning had stopped up the little spring
on the mountain--the first source of the river--there would have been no
river in that particular place. It is just the same with sin. There is
one sin that is the source, and as it goes along like the stream it
gathers strength; other sins follow it and are united with it. Again:
each of these "capital sins," as they are called, is like a leader or a
captain in an army, with so many others under him and following him.
Now, if you take away the head, the other members of the body will
perish; so if you destroy the capital sin, the other sins that follow it
will disappear also. Very few persons have all the capital sins: some
are guilty of one of them, some of two, some of three, but few if any
are guilty of them all. The one we are guilty of, and which is the cause
of all our other sins, is called our predominant sin or our ruling
passion. We should try to find it out, and labor to overcome it.

Every one of these capital sins has a great many other sins following
it.

"Pride" is an inordinate self-esteem. Pride comes under the First
Commandment; because by thinking too much of ourselves we neglect God,
and give to ourselves the honor due to Him. Of what have we to be proud?
Of our personal appearance? Disease may efface in one night every trace
of beauty. Of our clothing? It is not ours; we have not produced it;
most of it is taken from the lower animals--wool from the sheep, leather
from the ox, feathers from the bird, etc. Are we proud of our wealth,
money or property? These may be stolen or destroyed by fire. The learned
may become insane, and so we have nothing to be proud of but our good
works. All that we have is from God, and we can have it only as long as
He wishes. We had nothing coming into the world, and we leave it with
nothing but the shroud in which we are buried; and even this does not go
with the soul, but remains with the body to rot in the earth. Soon after
death our bodies become so offensive that even our dearest friends
hasten to place them under ground, where they become the food of worms,
a mass of corruption loathsome to sight and smell. Why, then, should we
be so proud of this body, and commit so much sin for it, pamper it with
every delicacy, only to be the food of worms? This does not mean,
however, that we are not to keep our bodies clean, and take good care of
them. We are bound to do so, and could not neglect it without committing
sin. The one thing to be avoided is taking too much care of them, and
neglecting our soul and God on their account. The followers of pride
are: conceit, hypocrisy, foolish display in dress or conduct, harshness
to others, waste of time on ourselves, etc.

"Covetousness," the same as avarice, greed, etc., is an inordinate
desire for worldly goods. "Inordinate," because it is not avarice to
prudently provide for the future either for ourselves or others.
Covetousness comes under the Tenth Commandment, and is forbidden by it.
We must be content with what we have or can get honestly. The followers
of covetousness are: Want of charity, dishonest dealing, theft, etc.

"Lust" is the desire for sins of the flesh; for impure thoughts, words,
or actions. It comes under the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, and
includes all that is forbidden by those Commandments. It is the habit of
always violating, or of desiring to violate, the Sixth and Ninth
Commandments. Lust and impurity mean the same thing. The followers of
lust are, generally, neglect of prayer, neglect of the Sacraments, and
final loss of faith.

"Anger" comes under the Fifth Commandment. It is followed by hatred, the
desire of revenge, etc.

"Gluttony" is the sin of eating or drinking too much. With regard to
eating, it is committed by eating too often; by being too particular
about what we eat, by being too extravagant in always looking for the
most costly things, that we think others cannot have. With regard to
drinking, it is generally committed by taking too much of intoxicating
liquors. The drunkard is a glutton and commits the sin of gluttony every
time he becomes intoxicated. Gluttony, especially in drink, comes in a
manner under the First Commandment, because by depriving ourselves of
our reason we cannot give God the honor and respect which is His due.
Think of how many sins the drunkard commits. He becomes intoxicated,
which in itself is a sin. He deprives himself of the use of reason,
abuses God's great gift, and becomes like a brute beast. Indeed in a way
he becomes worse than a beast; for beasts always follow the laws that
God has given to their nature, and never drink to excess. They obey God,
and man is the only one of God's creatures that does not always keep His
laws. Think too of the number of insane persons confined in asylums, who
would give all in this world for the use of their reason, if they could
only understand their miserable condition. Yet the drunkard abuses the
gift that would make these poor unfortunate lunatics happy. Again, the
drunkard injures his health and thus violates the Fifth Commandment by
committing a kind of slow suicide. He loses self-respect, makes use of
sinful language; frequently neglects Mass and all his religious duties,
exposes himself to the danger of death while in a state of sin, gives
scandal to his family and neighbors, and by his bad example causes some
to leave or remain out of the true Church. By continued intemperance, he
may become insane and remain in that condition till death puts an end to
his career and he goes unprepared before the judgment seat of God.
Besides all this he squanders the money he should put to a better use
and turns God's gifts into a means of offending Him. If a father, he
neglects the children and wife for whom he has promised to provide;
leaves them cold and hungry while he commits sin with the means that
would make them comfortable. Drunkenness therefore is a sin accompanied
by many deplorable evils. There are three great sins you should always
be on your guard against during your whole lives, namely, drunkenness,
dishonesty, and impurity. If you avoid these you will almost surely
avoid all other sins; for nearly all sins can be traced back to these
three. They are the most dangerous, first, because they have most
followers, and secondly, because they grow upon us almost without our
knowing it. The drunkard begins perhaps as a boy by taking a little,
even very little; the second time he takes a little more; the next time
still more, then he begins to be fond of strong drink and can scarcely
do without it; finally he becomes the slave of intemperance and sells
his soul and body for it. The passions of dishonesty and impurity grow
by degrees in the same manner. Therefore avoid them in the beginning and
resist them while they are under your power. If you find yourself
inclined to any of these sins in your youth, stop them at once.

"Envy" is the desire to see another meet with misfortune that we may be
benefited by it. We are glad when he does not succeed in his business,
we are sorry when anyone speaks well of him, etc. Envy comes under the
Eighth Commandment.

"Sloth" is committed when we idle our time, and are lazy; when we are
indifferent about serving God; when we do anything slowly and poorly and
in a way that shows we would rather not do it. They are slothful who lie
in bed late in the morning and neglect their duty. Slothful people are
often untidy in their personal appearance; and they are nearly always in
misery and want, unless somebody else takes care of them. Sloth comes
under the First Commandment, because it has reference in a special
manner to the way in which we serve God. How, then, shall we best
destroy sin in our souls? By finding out our chief capital sin and
rooting it out. If a strong oak tree is deeply rooted in the ground, how
will you best destroy its life? By cutting off the branches? No. For
with each returning spring new branches will grow. How then? By cutting
the root and then the great oak with all its branches will die. In the
same way our capital sin is the root, and as long as we leave it in our
souls other sins will grow out of it. While we are trying to destroy our
sins without touching our capital sin--our chief sin--we are only
cutting off branches that will grow again. Indeed a great many people
are only cutting off branches all the time and that is why they are not
benefited as much as they could be by the prayers they say, Masses they
hear, Sacraments they receive, and sermons they listen to. But do not
imagine that because you are not becoming better, when you pray, hear
Mass, and receive the Sacraments, you are doing no good at all. That
would be a great mistake, and just such a thing as the devil would
suggest to make persons give up their devotions. What is the use, he
might say, of your trying to be good? You are just as bad as you were a
year ago. Do not listen to that temptation. Were it not for your prayers
and your reception of the Sacraments, you would become a great deal
worse than you are. Suppose a man is rowing on the river against a very
strong tide. He is rowing as hard as he can and yet he is not advancing
one foot up the stream. Is he doing nothing therefore? Ah! he is doing a
great deal: he is preventing himself from being carried with the current
out into the ocean. He is keeping himself where he is till the force of
the tide diminishes, and then he can advance. So they who are trying to
be good are struggling against the strong tide of temptation. If they
cease to struggle against it, they will be carried out into the great
ocean of sin and lost forever. Someday the temptation will grow weaker
and then they will be able to advance towards Heaven. We feel
temptations most when we are trying to resist them and lead good lives,
because we are working against our evil inclinations--the strong tide of
our passions. We have no trouble going with them.



Lesson 7
ON THE INCARNATION AND REDEMPTION


"Incarnation" means to take flesh, as a body. Here it means Our Lord's
taking flesh, that is, taking a body like ours, when He became man.
"Redemption" means to buy back. Let us take an example. Slaves are men
or women that belong entirely to their masters, just as horses, cows, or
other animals do. Slaves are bought and sold, never receive any wages
for their work, get their food and clothing and no more. As they never
earn money for themselves, they can never purchase their own liberty. If
ever they are to be free, someone else must procure their liberty. Now,
suppose I am in some country where slavery exists. I am free, but I want
one hundred dollars; so I go to a slave owner and say: I want to sell
myself for one hundred dollars. He buys me and I soon squander the one
hundred dollars. Now I am his property, his slave; I shall never earn
any wages and shall never be able to buy my freedom. No other slave can
help me, for he is just in the same condition as I myself am. If I am to
be free, a free man who has the money must pay for my liberty. This is
exactly the condition in which all men were before Our Lord redeemed
them. Adam sold himself and all his children to the devil by committing
sin. He and they therefore became slaves. They could not earn any
spiritual wages, that is, grace of God to purchase their liberty; and as
all men were slaves one could not help another in this matter. Then Our
Lord Himself came and purchased our freedom. He bought us back again,
and the price He paid was His own life and blood given up upon the
Cross. In His goodness, He did more than redeem us; He gave us also the
means of redeeming ourselves in case we should ever have the misfortune
of falling again into the slavery of the devil--into sin. He left us the
Sacrament of Penance to which we can go as to a bank, and draw out
enough of Our Lord's grace--merited for us and deposited in the power of
His Church--to purchase our redemption from sin.

60 Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin?
A. God did not abandon man after he fell into sin, but promised him a
Redeemer, who was to satisfy for man's sin and reopen to him the gates
of Heaven.

"Abandon" means to leave to one's self. Adam and his posterity were
slaves, but God took pity on them. He did not leave them to themselves,
but promised to help them.

"Gates of Heaven." Heaven has no gates, because it is not built of
material--of stone, or iron, or wood. It is only our way of speaking;
just as we say "hand of God," although He has no hands. Heaven is the
magnificent home God has prepared for us, and its gates are His power by
which He keeps us out or lets us in as He pleases. Our Lord, therefore,
obtained admittance for us.

61 Q. Who is the Redeemer?
A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind.

62 Q. What do you believe of Jesus Christ?
A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the second Person of
the Blessed Trinity, true God and true man.

"True God." He was true God equal to His Father from all eternity. He
became man when He came upon the earth about 2,000 years ago, and was
born on Christmas Day. Now He is in Heaven as God and man. Therefore, He
was God always, but man only from the time of His Incarnation.

*63 Q. Why is Jesus Christ true God?
A. Jesus Christ is true God because He is the true and only Son of God
the Father.

God the Father, first Person of the Blessed Trinity, is His real Father,
and St. Joseph was His foster-father, selected by the Heavenly Father to
take care of Our Lord and watch over Him while on earth. A foster-father
is not the same as a stepfather. A stepfather is a second father that
one gets when his real father dies. A foster-father is one who takes a
person, whether a relative or a stranger, and adopts him as his son. It
was a very great honor for St. Joseph to be selected from among all men
to take care of the Son of God; to carry in his arms the great One of
whom the prophets spoke; the One for whom the whole world longed during
so many thousand years; so that next to our Blessed Mother St. Joseph
deserves our greatest honor.

*64 Q. Why is Jesus Christ true man?
A. Jesus Christ is true man because He is the Son of the Blessed Virgin
Mary, and has a body and soul like ours.

He has all that we have by nature, but not the things we have acquired
such as deformities, imperfections, and the like. Everything in Our Lord
was perfect. Above all, He had no sin of any kind; nor even inclination
to sin. He could be hungry, as He was when He fasted forty days in the
desert. (Matt. 4:2). He was thirsty, as He said on the Cross. (John
19:28). He could be wearied; as we read in the Holy Scripture (John 4:6)
that He sat down by a well to rest, while His disciples went into the
city to buy food. All these sufferings come from our very nature. We say
a thing comes from our very nature when everybody has it. Now, everyone
in the world may at times be hungry, thirsty, or tired; but everybody in
the world need not have a toothache or headache, because such things are
not common to human nature, but due to some defect in our body; and such
defects Our Lord did not have, because He was a perfect man. Therefore,
Our Lord had a body like ours, not as it usually is with defects, but as
it should be, perfect in all things that belong to its nature, as Adam's
was before he sinned.

*65 Q. How many natures are there in Jesus Christ?
A. In Jesus Christ there are two natures: the nature of God and the
nature of man.

He was perfect God and perfect man. His human nature was under the full
power of His divine nature, and could not do anything contrary to His
divine will. You cannot understand how there can be two natures and two
wills in one person, because it is another of the great mysteries; but
you must believe it, just as you believe there are three Persons in one
God, though you do not understand it. Those who learn theology and study
a great deal may understand it better than you, but never fully. It will
be enough, therefore, for you to remember and believe that there are two
natures--the divine nature and the human nature--in the one person of
Our Lord.

*66 Q. Is Jesus Christ more than one person?
A. No, Jesus Christ is but one Divine Person.

"But one," so that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of
God, the Messias, Christ, Jesus, Our Lord, Our Saviour, Our Redeemer,
etc., are all names for the one Person; and, besides these, there are
many other names given to Our Lord in the Holy Scripture, both in the
Old and the New Testaments.

*67 Q. Was Jesus Christ always God?
A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the Second Person of the
Blessed Trinity, equal to His Father from all eternity.

*68 Q. Was Jesus Christ always man?
A. Jesus Christ was not always man, but became man at the time of His
Incarnation.

69 Q. What do you mean by the Incarnation?
A. By the Incarnation I mean that the Son of God was made man.

70 Q. How was the Son of God made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man by the power of the Holy
Ghost, in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

*71 Q. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly the Mother of God?
A. The Blessed Virgin Mary is truly the Mother of God, because the same
Divine Person who is the Son of God is also the Son of the Blessed
Virgin Mary.

*72 Q. Did the Son of God become man immediately after the sin of our
first parents?
A. The Son of God did not become man immediately after the sin of our
first parents, but He was promised to them as a Redeemer.

God did not say to Adam when He would send the Redeemer, and so the
Redeemer did not come for about 4,000 years after He was first promised.
God permitted this long time to elapse in order that mankind might feel
and know how great an evil sin is, and what misery it brought upon the
world. During these 4,000 years men were becoming gradually worse. At
one time--about 1,600 years after Adam's sin--they became so bad that
God destroyed by a deluge, or great flood of water, all persons and
living things upon the earth, except Noe, his wife, his three sons and
their wives, and the animals they had in the ark with them. (Gen. 6).
Let me now give you more particulars about this terrible punishment.
After God determined to destroy all living things on account of the
wickedness of men, He told Noe, who was a good man, to build a great
ark, or ship, for himself and his family, and for some of all the living
creatures upon the earth. (Gen. 6). When the ark was ready, Noe and his
family went into it, and the animals that were to be saved came by God's
power, and two by two were taken into the ark. Besides the two of each
kind of animals, Noe was required to take with him five more of each
kind of clean animals. Clean animals were certain animals which,
according to God's law, could be offered in sacrifice or eaten; they
were such animals as the ox, the sheep, the goat, etc. Therefore, seven
of each of the clean animals, and two of each of the other kinds. Why
did He have seven clean animals? Two were to be set free upon the dry
earth with the other animals, and the other five were for food and
sacrifice. Noe spent a hundred years in making the ark. At that time men
lived much longer than they do now. Adam lived over 900 years and
Mathusala, the oldest man, lived to be 969 years old. There are many
reasons why men live a shorter time now than then. When the door of the
ark was closed, God sent a great rain that lasted for forty days and
forty nights. All the springs of water broke forth, and all the rivers
and lakes overflowed their banks. Men ran here and there to high places,
while the water rose higher and higher till it covered the tops of the
mountains, and all not in the ark were drowned. The big ark floated
about for about a year; for although it stopped raining after forty
days, just think of the quantity of water that must have fallen! Think
of the rain what would fall during the whole of Lent from Ash Wednesday
to Easter Sunday--forty days. It took a long time, therefore, for the
waters to go down and finally disappear. When the waters began to go
down, Noe, wishing to know if any land was as yet above the water,
opened the little window, and sent out a raven or crow over the waters.
The raven did not come back, because it is a bird that eats flesh, and
it found plenty of dead bodies to feed upon. Then Noe sent out a dove,
and the dove came back with the bough of an olive tree in its mouth.
From this Noe knew that the earth was becoming dry again. After some
days, the ark rested on the top of a mountain named Ararat. When all the
waters had dried up, Noe and his family and all the animals passed out
of the ark. He offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and he and his
family settled once more upon the earth. For a while, the descendants of
Noe were good, but when they became numerous they soon forgot the deluge
and its punishments, and became very wicked. Many forgot the true God
altogether, and began to worship the sun, moon, and stars. Some
worshipped animals, and others idols of wood or stone. They offered up
human victims and committed all kinds of sins most displeasing to God.
Many were in slavery; masters were cruel; and things were becoming daily
worse, till just before the coming of Our Lord the world was in a
terrible condition of misery and sin. The lawmakers tried to remedy
these evils by their laws, and the teachers and professors by their
teaching; but all was of no avail. God Himself must save the world.

God gave many promises of the Redeemer. The first one was given in the
garden to our first parents. God said (Gen. 3:15) to the serpent: I will
put enmities, that is hatred, between thee and the woman; that is,
between the devil and the Blessed Virgin--whom the holy writers call the
second Eve; because as the first Eve caused our fall, the second Eve
helped us to rise again. I will put also a great hatred between the
devil and your Redeemer. The next promise of the Redeemer was made to
Abraham. (Gen. 15). Another was made to Isaac, and another to Jacob; and
later these promises were frequently renewed through the prophets; so
that during the four thousand years God encouraged the good people, by
promising from time to time the Redeemer.

Some of the prophets foretold to what family He would belong, and when
He would be born, and when and what He would suffer, and how He would
die. They also foretold signs or things that would come to pass just
before the advent or coming of the Messias (Gen. 49:10); so that when
the people saw these things coming to pass, they could know that the
time of the Messias was at hand. Thus when Our Lord came, the whole
world was waiting and looking for the promised Redeemer, because the
signs foretold had appeared or were taking place. But the majority did
not recognize Our Lord when He came, on account of the quiet, humble,
and poor way in which He came. They were expecting to see the Redeemer
come as a great and powerful king, with mighty armies conquering the
world; and in this they were mistaken. If they had studied the Holy
Scriptures they would have learned how He was to come--poor and humble.

*73 Q. How could they be saved who lived before the Son of God became
man?
A. They who lived before the Son of God became man could be saved by
believing in the Redeemer to come, and by keeping the Commandments.

We have seen that God promised the Redeemer during four thousand years.
Now, those who believed these promises and kept all God's Commandments,
and observed all His laws as they knew them, could be saved. They could
not, it is true, enter into Heaven after their death, but they could
wait in Limbo without suffering till Our Lord opened Heaven for them.
They were saved only through the merits of Our Lord. And how could this
be when Our Lord was not yet born? Do you know what a promissory note
is? It is this. When a man is not able to pay his debts just now but
will be able afterwards, he gives those to whom he owes the money a
promissory note, that is, a written promise that he will pay at a
certain time. Now, those who died before Our Lord was born had the Holy
Scripture promising that Christ would pay for them and for their sins
when He would come. So God saved them on account of this promise and
kept them free from suffering till Our Lord came. If any died when they
were little infants, their parents answered for them as godfathers and
godmothers do now for infants at Baptism.

74 Q. On what day was the Son of God conceived and made man?
A. The Son of God was conceived and made man on Annunciation Day--the
day on which the Angel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that
she was to be the Mother of God.

"Annunciation Day" is the 25th of March. You can easily remember that
feast. Everybody knows that St. Patrick's Day is on the 17th of March,
and therefore eight days after it comes Annunciation day. There is
another feast coming in between them, the feast of St. Joseph, on the
19th of March. Therefore it is easy to remember these three feasts
coming all in March and almost together. Annunciation is the name given
to that day after the angel came, but it was not called so before.
Annunciation means to tell or make known, and this is the day the angel
made known to the Blessed Virgin that she was selected for the high
office of Mother of God. The Blessed Virgin was expecting the Messias,
and was probably praying for His speedy arrival, as were the rest of her
people, when suddenly the angel came and said: Hail, full of grace. (See
Hail Mary Expl.).

75 Q. On what day was Christ born?
A. Christ was born on Christmas Day in a stable at Bethlehem, over
nineteen hundred years ago.

"Christmas Day" is the 25th of December, one week before the New Year.
It is called Christmas Day since the time Our Lord was born, over
nineteen hundred years ago. "In a stable at Bethlehem." The story of Our
Lord's birth is in every way a very sad one. The Blessed Virgin and St.
Joseph lived in Palestine--called also the Holy Land since Our Lord
lived there. Palestine was the country where God's people, the Jews,
lived, and at the time we are speaking of, it was under the power of the
Roman Emperor, who had his soldiers and governor there. He wished to
find out how many people were there, and so he ordered a census or count
of the people to be made. (Luke 2). We take the census very differently
now from what they did then. We in the United States, by order of the
government, send men around from house to house to write down the names;
but in Palestine, when they wanted the number of the people, everyone,
no matter where he lived, had to go to the city or town where his
forefathers had lived and there register his name with all the others
who belonged to the same tribe or family. Now, the forefathers of St.
Joseph and the Blessed Virgin belonged to the little town of Bethlehem
(Luke 2); so they had to leave Nazareth where they were then living and
go to Bethlehem. This was shortly before Christmas. When they got to
Bethlehem, they found the place crowded with people who also came to
enroll their names. They went to the inn or hotel to seek for lodging
for the night. The hotels there were not like ours. They were simply
large buildings with small rooms and no furniture; they were called
caravansaries. A man was in charge of the building, and by paying him
something persons were allowed the use of a room. No food was sold
there, so travelers had to do their cooking at home and bring whatever
they needed with them. When the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph went to
the inn they found all the rooms occupied. Then they went up and down
the streets looking for some house where they might stay. Nobody would
take them in, because St. Joseph was old and poor and had no money, or
little, to give. They were refused at every door, a very sad thing
indeed. What were they to do? It was growing dark, and the lights most
likely were being lighted here and there in the houses. The old towns
were not built as ours are, with houses on the outskirts growing fewer
as we advance into the country. They were surrounded by great walls to
keep out their enemies. There were several large gates in these walls,
through which the people entered or left the city. At night these gates
were closed and guarded. Nearly all the people lived within the walls
and the country was lonely and almost deserted. Only shepherds were to
be found in the country, and they lived in tents, which they carried
about from place to place, as soldiers do in time of war. Such was the
country about Bethlehem. As St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin could not
find anyplace to stay in the town they were forced to go into the
country. They must have suffered also from fear because the country was
infested with wolves and wild dogs, so fierce that they sometimes came
into the towns and attacked the people in the streets. Besides, many
robbers were wandering about waiting for victims. Palestine is a hilly
country and there were on the sides of some of the hills large caves in
which these robbers frequently took refuge or divided their spoils.
Because the shepherds at times, especially in bad weather, brought their
animals into these caves, they are often called stables. The Blessed
Virgin and St. Joseph found, we are told, one of these cold, dark
places, went into it for the night, and there Our Lord was born.

It was the month of December and must have been quite cold, so the
little Infant Jesus must have suffered greatly from the cold. If it had
been a stable such as we see in our days it would have been bad enough;
but think of this cold, dark, miserable cave, and yet it was Our Lord,
the King of Heaven and earth, who was born there. There are few people
so poor that they have to live in a cave. What wonderful humility, then,
on the part of Our Lord. He could have been born, if He wished, in the
grandest palace man could construct and have had thousands of angels to
bring Him whatever He needed, for they are His servants in Heaven. But
Our Lord became so humble to teach us. What impression should this make
on those who are too fond of dress and too vain about their homes.

It was foretold by the prophets that Our Lord would be born in
Bethlehem, and when the time was near at hand His parents were living in
Nazareth; then the Roman Emperor gave the decree that the census be
taken, which obliged Our Lord's parents to go to Bethlehem, and thus Our
Lord was born there, and the words of the prophets fulfilled. See how
God moves the whole world, if necessary, to accomplish what He desires.
But how naturally He does everything. Nobody knew--not even the Roman
Emperor himself--that he was giving an edict to fulfill the prophecies
and the promises of God. So, at times, people do many things to carry
out the designs of God, though they know it not. We should never
complain therefore to do unwillingly whatever work we have to perform,
because it may be something that God wishes us to do for some very
special end. If you look back upon your lives, you can see that God
guided and directed you upon many occasions.

*76 Q. How long did Christ live on earth?
A. Christ lived on earth about thirty-three years, and led a most holy
life in poverty and suffering.

The life of Our Lord was spent in the following manner. At the time Our
Lord was born in Bethlehem wise men or kings, called Magi, came from the
East--perhaps from Persia or Arabia--to adore Him. They saw a strange
star, and leaving their own country came to Palestine. When they came as
far as Jerusalem, they went to King Herod and asked him where the young
King was born. Herod was troubled, for he was afraid the new King would
deprive him of his throne. He called together all the priests and asked
them about this royal child. They told him and the Magi that, according
to the prophecies, the Saviour should be born in Bethlehem. The Wise Men
saw the star once more, and followed it to Bethlehem, where it stood
over the stable in which Our Lord lay. They entered, and adored the
Infant Jesus, and offered Him presents. Now, Herod told them to come
back after they had found the newborn King, and tell him where He was,
that he too might go and adore Him. But such was not Herod's real
intention. He wished not to adore but to kill Him. See, then, how the
wicked pretend at times to do good, that they may deceive us and lead us
astray. Be always on your guard against a person if you suspect his
goodness. But Herod could not deceive God, who, knowing his heart,
warned the Wise Men not to return to Herod, but to go back to their own
country by another way, which they did. We celebrate the day on which
the Wise Men adored the Infant Jesus on the feast of the Epiphany (six
days after New Year's Day). When the Magi did not return, Herod knew
that they had avoided him. He was very angry indeed, and in order to be
sure of killing the poor little Infant Jesus, he had all the infants or
children in or near Bethlehem who were not over two years old put to
death. We honor these first little martyrs who suffered for Christ on
the feast of Holy Innocents--three days after Christmas.

After the departure of the Wise Men, God sent an angel to St. Joseph
warning him of Herod's evil designs, and telling him to fly with Jesus
and Mary into Egypt. Then St. Joseph, with the Blessed Virgin and the
Infant, set out for Egypt. St. Joseph did not ask the angel how long he
would have to stay there; nor did he ask to be allowed to wait till
morning. He obeyed promptly; he arose in the night, and started at once.
What an example of obedience for us! They must have had many hardships
on the way. They must have suffered much from hunger, cold, and fear.
They dare not go on the best roads, for we may well suppose that Herod
had his spies out watching for any that might escape. So they went by
the roughest roads and longest way. In Egypt they were among strangers,
and how could a poor old carpenter like St. Joseph find enough work
there! The Holy Family must at times have suffered greatly from want.
They remained in Egypt for some time. Afterwards, when Herod died, they
returned to Nazareth. (Matt. 2).

At twelve years of age Our Lord went to the Temple of Jerusalem to offer
sacrifice with His parents. (Luke 2:42). He afterwards returned to
Nazareth, and then for eighteen years--called His hidden life--we do not
hear anything of Him. Most likely He worked in the carpenter shop with
His foster-father, St. Joseph.

At the age of thirty (Luke 3:23), Our Lord began His public life; that
is, His preaching, miracles, etc. His public life lasted a little over
three years, and then He was put to death on the Cross.

*77 Q. Why did Christ live so long on earth?
A. Christ lived so long on earth to show us the way to Heaven by His
teaching and example.

Christ went through all the stages of life that each might have an
example. He was an infant: then a child; then a young man, and finally a
man. He did not become an old man to set an example to the old, because
if men follow His example in their youth and manhood they will be good
in old age. Youth is the all-important time to learn. If you want a tree
to grow straight, you must keep it straight while it is only a little
twig. You cannot straighten an old oak tree that has grown up crooked.
So you must be taught to do right in your youth, that you may do the
same when old. Of the hidden or private life of Our Lord we, as I have
said, know nothing, except that He was obedient to His parents; for He
wished to give an example also to those holy persons who lead a life
hidden from the world. Some books have given stories about what Our Lord
did in school, etc., but these stories are not true. The only true
things we know of Our Lord are those told in the Holy Scripture, or
handed down to us by the Church in her teachings, or those certainly
revealed to God's saints. Remember, then, that others are taught best by
example, and be careful of the example you give.



Lesson 8
ON OUR LORD'S PASSION, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION


The Passion, that is, the terrible sufferings of Our Lord, began after
the Last Supper, and ended at His death. On Thursday evening, Our Lord
sat down for the last time with His dear Apostles. He had been talking,
eating, and living with them for over three years; and now He is going
to take His last meal with them before His death. He told them then how
He was to suffer, and that one of them was going to betray Him. They
were very much troubled, for only Judas himself knew what he was about
to do.

78 Q. What did Jesus Christ suffer?
A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned
with thorns, and was crucified.

After the Supper, Our Lord went with His Apostles to a little country
place just outside Jerusalem, and separated from it by a small stream.
He told the three Apostles, Peter, James, and John, to stay near the
entrance, and to watch and pray, while He Himself went further into the
Garden of Olives, or Gethsemani, as this place was called, and throwing
Himself upon His face, prayed long and earnestly, but the Apostles fell
asleep.

We often find persons who are in great anguish or dread covered with a
cold perspiration. Now, Our Lord's agony in the garden was so intense
that great drops, not of sweat, but of blood, oozed from every pore, and
trickled to the ground. There are three reasons given for this dreadful
agony.

(1) The clear, certain knowledge of the sufferings so soon to be
endured. If we were to be put to death tomorrow and knew exactly the
manner of our death and the pain it would inflict, how great would be
our fear! Our Lord, knowing all things, knew in every particular what He
would have to undergo. Moreover, His sufferings were greater than ours
could be, even if we suffered the same kind of death; because His body
was most perfect, and therefore more susceptible of pain than ours. A
wound in the eye, because the most sensitive and delicate part of the
body, would cause us greater pain than a wound on the foot or hand.
Thus, all the parts of Our Lord's body being so perfect and sensitive,
we can scarcely imagine His dreadful torments, the very thought of which
caused Him such agony.

(2) The sins, past, present, and future of all men. He knew all things,
as we have said, and looking back upon the world He saw all the sins
committed, of thought, word, and deed, from the time of Adam down to His
own; and seeing all these offenses against His Father, He was very much
grieved.

(3) The third reason why He grieved. He looked forward and saw how
little many persons would profit by all the sufferings He was about to
endure. He saw all the sins that would be committed from the time of His
death down to the end of the world. He saw us also sinning with the
rest. No wonder then that He suffered so much in the garden. This
suffering on that night is called "Our Lord's Agony in the Garden." That
night Judas, who had betrayed Him to His enemies, came with a great band
of soldiers and people, with swords and clubs, to make Our Lord a
prisoner. He did not try to escape, but stood waiting for them, though
all His Apostles, who had promised to stay with Him, ran away. Then the
soldiers led Our Lord to the house of the Chief Priest. Then they
gathered the priests, and gave Him a kind of trial, and said He was
guilty of death. But at that time the Jews had no power to put persons
to death according to the law; so they had to send Our Lord to Pontius
Pilate, the Roman Governor, to be condemned, because they were under the
power of the Romans. The Jews acted against their laws in the trial of
Our Lord.

(1) They tried Him at night; and (2) they allowed Him no witnesses in
His defense, but even employed false witnesses to testify against Him,
and thus acted against all law and justice. Early in the morning they
led Him to Pilate, who commanded that He should be scourged. Then they
stripped Our Lord of His garments, fastened His hands to a low stone
pillar, and there He was "scourged" by the Roman soldiers. The lashes
used by the Romans were made of leather, with pieces of bone, iron, or
steel fastened into it, so that every stroke would lay open the flesh.
It is most likely these were the lashes used upon Our Lord till every
portion of His body was bruised and bleeding, and they replaced His
garments upon Him. Now, you know if you put a cloth upon a fresh wound
the blood will soak into it and cause it to adhere to the mangled flesh.
Our Blessed Lord's garment, thus saturated with His blood, adhered to
His wounded body, and when again removed caused Him unspeakable pain.
Next, the soldiers, because Our Lord had said He was a king--meaning a
spiritual king--led Him into a large hall and mocked Him. They made a
crown of long, sharp thorns, and forced it down upon His brow with a
heavy rod or reed; every stroke driving the thorns into His head, and
causing the blood to roll down His sacred face. They again took off His
garments, and opened anew the painful wounds. Because kings wore purple,
they put an old purple garment upon Him, and made Him a mock king,
genuflecting in ridicule as they passed before Him. They struck Him in
the face and spat upon Him; and yet it seems our patient Lord said not a
word in complaint. Then they put His garments upon Him, and Pilate asked
the people what he should do with Him, and they cried, "Crucify Him." It
was then Friday morning, and probably about ten or eleven o'clock. They
made a cross of heavy beams, and laying it upon His shoulders, forced
Him to carry it to Calvary--the place of execution, just outside the
city; for it was not allowed to execute anyone in the city. Our Lord had
not eaten anything from Thursday evening, and then with all He suffered
and the loss of blood, He must have been very weak at eleven o'clock on
Friday morning. He was weak, and fell many times under the Cross. His
suffering was increased by seeing His Blessed Mother looking at Him.
When He arrived at Calvary they tore off His garments and nailed Him to
the Cross, driving the rough nails through His hands and feet. It was
then about twelve o'clock. From twelve to three in the afternoon Our
Blessed Saviour was hanging on the Cross, with a great multitude of His
enemies about Him mocking and saying cruel things. Even the two thieves
that were crucified with Him reviled Him, though one of them repented
and was pardoned before death. Our Lord's poor Mother and His few
friends stood at a little distance witnessing all that was going on.
When Our Lord was thirsty His executioners gave Him gall to drink. At
three o'clock He died, and there was an earthquake and darkness, and the
people were sorely afraid.

But you will ask, how could these soldiers be so cruel? They were
Romans; and in those days men called gladiators used to fight with
swords before the Roman Emperor and all the people--just as actors play
now for the amusement of their audience. People who could enjoy such
scenes as men slaying one another in deadly conflict would scarcely be
moved to pity by seeing a man scourged. Again, in the early ages of the
Church, during the persecutions, the Emperors used to order the
Christians to be thrown to wild beasts to be torn to pieces in the
presence of the people--who applauded these horrible sights. They who
could see so many put to death would not mind putting one to death, even
in the most terrible manner.

79 Q. On what day did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Good Friday.

"Good Friday," so called since that time.

*80 Q. Why do you call that day "good" on which Christ suffered so
sorrowful a death?
A. We call that day good on which Christ died, because by His death He
showed His great love for man, and purchased for him every blessing.

*81 Q. Where did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Mount Calvary.

"Mount Calvary," a little hill just outside the city of Jerusalem. For
every city they have a special prison or place where all their criminals
are executed. Now, as the great Temple of God was in Jerusalem, the city
itself was called the City of God, because in the Temple God spoke to
the priests in the Holy of Holies. The Temple was divided into two
parts: one part, something like the body of our churches, called the
Holy, and the other part, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, called
the Holy of Holies. It had about the same relation to the Temple as our
altar and sanctuary have to our churches. The Ark of the Covenant was a
box about four feet long, two and a half feet high, and two and a half
feet wide, made of the finest wood, and ornamented with gold in the most
beautiful manner. In it were the tables of stone, on which were written
the Commandments of God; also the rod that Aaron--Moses'
brother--changed into a serpent before King Pharaoh; also some of the
manna with which the people were miraculously fed during their forty
years' journey in the desert when they fled out of Egypt. All these
things were figures of the true religion. The Ark itself was a figure of
the tabernacle, and the manna of the Holy Eucharist. The Holy of Holies
was hidden from the people by a veil. Only the Chief Priest was allowed
into that sacred place, and but once a year. The veil--called the veil
of the Temple--hiding that Holy of Holies, though the things mentioned
above were no longer in it, was torn asunder when Our Lord died on the
Cross (Matt. 27:51); because after His death there was no need any
longer of figures; for after His death we have the tabernacle itself and
the real manna, the real bread from Heaven, viz., the body of Our Lord.
The veil was rent to show also that God would not remain any longer in
the Temple, but would be for the future only in the Christian Church. On
account of all these things, therefore, Jerusalem was called the Holy
City, and no criminals were put to death in it, but were conducted to
Calvary--which means the place of skulls--and were there put to death. I
now call your attention to one thing. If the Jews showed such great
respect and reverence for the Ark containing only figures of the Blessed
Sacrament, how should we behave in the presence of the tabernacle on the
altar containing the Blessed Sacrament itself!

*82 Q. How did Christ die?
A. Christ was nailed to a cross and died on it, between two thieves.

"Two thieves," because they thought this would make His death more
disgraceful--making Him equal to common criminals. One of these thieves,
called the penitent thief, repented of his sins and received Our Lord's
pardon before his death. The other thief died in his sins. Holy writers
tell us that one of these thieves was saved to give poor sinners hope,
and to teach them that they may save their souls at the very last moment
of their lives if only they are heartily sorry for their sins and
implore God's pardon for them. The other thief remained and died
impenitent, that sinners may fear to put off their conversion to the
hour of death, thus rashly presuming on God's mercy. Persons who
willfully delay their conversion and put off their repentance to the
last moment, living bad lives with the hope of dying well, may not
accept the grace to repent at the last moment, but may, like the
unfortunate, impenitent thief, die as they lived, in a state of sin.

83 Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins.

It was not necessary for Our Lord to suffer so much, but He did it to
show how much He loved us and valued our souls, and how much He was
willing to give for them. We, alas! do not value our souls as Christ
did; we sometimes sell them for the merest trifle--a moment's
gratification. How sinful!

*84 Q. What lessons do we learn from the sufferings and death of Christ?
A. From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn the great evil of
sin, the hatred God bears to it, and the necessity of satisfying for it.

We learn "the great evil of sin" also from the misery it brought into
the world; the "hatred God bears to it," from the punishment He
inflicted on the wicked angels and on our first parents for it; and
lastly, the "necessity of satisfying for it," from the fact that God
allowed His dear and only Son to suffer death itself for the sins even
of others.

*85 Q. Whither did Christ's soul go after His death?
A. After Christ's death His soul descended into hell.

*86 Q. Did Christ's soul descend into the hell of the damned?
A. The hell into which Christ's soul descended was not the hell of the
damned, but a place or state of rest called Limbo, where the souls of
the just were waiting for Him.

Hell had many meanings in olden times. The grave was sometimes called
hell. Jacob, when he heard that wild beasts had devoured his son Joseph,
said: "I will go down with sorrow into hell." He meant the grave. Limbo
is not the same as Purgatory. It does not exist now, or, if it does, is
only for little children who have never committed actual sin and who
have died without Baptism. They will never get into Heaven or see God,
but they will not have to suffer pains as they who are in Purgatory or
Hell endure.

*87 Q. Why did Christ descend into Limbo?
A. Christ descended into Limbo to preach to the souls who were in
prison--that is, to announce to them the joyful tidings of their
redemption.

*88 Q. Where was Christ's body while His soul was in Limbo?
A. While Christ's soul was in Limbo His body was in the Holy Sepulchre.

"Sepulchre" is the same as tomb. It is like a little room. In it the
coffin is not covered up with earth as it is in the grave, but is placed
upon a stand. We call such places vaults, and you can see many of them
in any cemetery or burying ground. Sometimes they are cut in the side of
elevated ground with their entrance level with the road, and sometimes
they are built altogether under the ground. The one in which Our Lord
was placed was cut out of the side of a rock, and had for a door a great
stone against the entrance. Our Lord was not placed in a coffin, but was
wrapped in a linen cloth. It was the custom of the Jewish people and of
many other ancient nations to embalm the bodies of the dead, wrap them
in cloths, and cover them with sweet spices. (Matt. 27:59). Thus it was
that Mary Magdalene and other good women came early in the morning to
anoint the body of Our Lord. But you will say, why did they not do it on
Friday evening or night? The reason was this: The day with the Jews
began at sunset--generally about six o'clock--and ended at sunset on the
next evening. We count our twenty-four hours, or day, from twelve at
midnight till twelve the next night. Therefore, with the Jews six
o'clock on Friday evening was the beginning of Saturday. They kept
Saturday, or the Sabbath, instead of Sunday as a day of worship. On that
day, which they kept very strictly, it was not allowable to do work of
any kind; so they could not anoint Our Lord's body till the Sabbath
ended, which was about six o'clock, or sunset on Saturday evening. So,
as the Holy Scripture tells us, they came very early in the morning; for
Mary Magdalene and these good women were Jews, and strictly observed the
Jewish law. You must know that Our Lord Himself, the Blessed Virgin, St.
Joseph, and the Apostles were Jews; and that the Jewish religion was the
true religion up to the coming of Our Lord; but as it was only a figure
and a promise of the Christian religion, it ceased to have any meaning
or to be the true religion when the Christian religion itself was
established by Our Lord.

89 Q. On what day did Christ rise from the dead?
A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday,
the third day after His death.

"Rose" by His own power. This is the greatest of all Our Lord's
miracles, because all He taught is confirmed by it and depends upon it.
A miracle is a work that can be performed only by God, or by someone to
whom He has given the power. If anyone performs a real miracle to prove
what he says, his words must be true; for God, who is infinite truth,
could not sanction a lie--could not help an impostor to deceive us. Now
Our Lord said He was the Son of God; that He could forgive sins, etc.;
and He performed miracles to prove what He said. Therefore He must have
told the truth. So all those whom God sent to do any great work were
given the power to perform miracles that the people might know they were
really messengers from God. They, on the other hand, who claim--as many
have done from time to time in the world--that they have been sent by
God to do some great work, and can give no convincing proof of their
mission, are not to be believed. Thus, when Martin Luther claimed that
he was sent by God to reform the Catholic Church--which had existed
nearly 1,500 years before he was born--he performed no miracles, nor did
he give any other proof that he had any such commission from God; and he
cannot therefore be believed.

God has established all the laws of nature permanently. They will not
vary or change, so that we can depend upon them. We can always be sure
that the sun will rise and set; that the seasons will come; that fire
will burn, etc. Now, if we see three young men in a great fiery furnace
without being burned (Dan. 3), we say it is a great miracle; because
naturally the fire would burn them up if God did not prevent it. Again,
water will not stand up like a high wall without something keeping it
back; it will always run about and fill every empty spot near it. If,
therefore, we see water standing up like a high wall, as it did in the
Red Sea at the command of Moses, and in the River Jordan, we say it is a
miracle. So in all cases where the laws of nature do not work in the
ordinary manner, we say a miracle is being performed. Now Our Lord
performed many such miracles--many times He suspended the laws of
nature--which God alone can do, since He alone established them. Our
Lord called back the soul to the body after death, thus raising the
dead. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cured the lame, etc.,
when all medicine and natural means were useless. He did all these
things instantly as a rule, and without remedies. Therefore His miracles
prove His divine power. Since the resurrection was a great miracle, and
Our Lord performed it to prove that He was the true and only Son of God,
He must have been just what He said He was.

"Glorious." Our Lord rose in the same body He had before His death; but
when He rose it had new qualities--it was glorified. The qualities of a
glorified body are four, viz.: brilliancy, agility, subtility, and
impassability. (1) It has brilliancy; that is, it shines like a light;
it gives forth light; the soul shines through the body. You have heard
of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. One day He took three of His
Apostles--Peter, James, and John--unto a high mountain (Matt. 17); and
as He was speaking to them, suddenly His whole body began to shine like
the sun. Then Moses and Elias--two great and holy men of the Old
Law--came and conversed with Him. The Apostles were astonished and
delighted at the sight, and wished to remain there always. Our Lord's
body at that time showed one of the qualities of a glorified body. The
same three Apostles that saw Him thus transfigured and heard the voice
of the Heavenly Father saying, "This is My beloved Son," were present in
the garden during Our Lord's agony. He allowed them to see the
Transfiguration, so that when they should see Him suffering as man, they
would remember that they saw Him on the mountain glorified as God. (2)
Agility; that is, a glorified body can move rapidly from one place to
another, like the lightning itself. After His resurrection Our Lord was
in Jerusalem, and almost immediately He appeared near the village of
Emmaus to two disciples going there. (Luke 24). They had left Jerusalem
after the Crucifixion, probably through fear, and were going along
together talking about what had happened during the days of Our Lord's
Passion. Suddenly Our Lord came and walked and talked with them, but
they did not know Him. They asked Him to stay that night at their house,
for it was growing dark. He did not stop with them, and at supper they
knew Him, and then He vanished from their sight. An ordinary person
would have to get up and walk away; but He vanished, showing on this
occasion the second quality of His glorified body--agility. (3)
Subtility; that is, such a body can go where it pleases and cannot be
resisted by material things. It can pass through closed doors or gates,
and even walls cannot keep it out. It passes through everything, as
light does through glass without breaking it. At one time after Our
Lord's resurrection the Apostles were gathered together in a room, for
they were still afraid of being put to death, and the doors were tightly
closed. Suddenly Our Lord stood in the midst of them and said: "Peace be
to you." (John 20:19). They did not open the door for Him; neither wood
nor stone could keep Him out: and thus He showed that His body had the
third quality. (4) His body had the fourth quality also--impassability,
which means that it can no longer suffer. Before His death, and at it,
Our Lord suffered dreadful torments, as you know; but after His
resurrection nothing could injure or hurt Him. The spear could not hurt
His side, nor the nails His hands, nor the thorns His head. Shortly
after His resurrection Our Lord appeared to His Apostles while Thomas,
one of them, was absent. (John 20:24). When Thomas returned, the other
Apostles told him that they had seen the Lord risen from the dead; but
he would not believe them, saying: "Unless I see the holes where the
nails were in His hands and feet, and put my finger into His side, I
will not believe." Now Our Lord, knowing all things, knew this also; so
He came again when Thomas was present, and said to him: "Now, Thomas,
put your hand into My side." Thomas cried out: "My Lord and my God!" He
believed then, because he saw. Now if this body of Our Lord's had been
an ordinary body, it would have caused Him pain to allow anyone to put
his hand into the wound; but it was impassable. It seems very strange,
does it not, that Thomas would not believe what the other Apostles told
him? God permitted this. Why? Because, if they all believed easily, some
enemies of Our Lord might say the Apostles were simple men that believed
everything without any proof. Now they cannot truly say so, because here
was one of the Apostles, Thomas, who would not believe without the very
strongest kind of proof. Another person, one would think, would have
been satisfied with seeing Our Lord's wounds; but Thomas would not trust
even his eyes--he must also touch before he would believe: showing,
therefore, that the Apostles were not deceived in anything Our Lord did
in their presence, for they had always the most convincing proofs.

After the Resurrection, at the last day, the bodies of all those who are
to be in Heaven will have the qualities I have mentioned; that is, they
will be glorified bodies.

Speaking of Our Lord's wounds, I might tell you what the stigmata means,
if you should ever hear or read of it. There have been some persons in
the world--saints, of course--who have had upon their hands, feet, and
side wounds just like those Our Lord had, and these wounds caused them
great pain. For example, St. Francis of Assisi (see Butler's Lives of
the Saints, Oct. 4th). Up to 1883--that is, only a few years ago--there
lived in Belgium a young girl named Louise Lateau who had the stigmata.
We have the most positive proof of it, as you may see in the accounts of
her life now published. Her wounds caused her great pain and bled every
Friday for many years. She was a delicate seamstress, and lived with her
mother and sisters in almost continual poverty. She had always been
remarkable for her true piety, patience in suffering, and charity to the
sick. I mention this young girl because she lived in our own time, and
is the latest person we know of who had the stigmata, or wounds of Our
Lord. So if you ever hear of the stigmata of St. Francis or others, you
will know that it means wounds like those of Our Lord impressed on their
bodies in a miraculous manner.

"Immortal"--that is never to die again, as it will be with us also after
the Resurrection.

"The third day." It was not three full days, but the parts of three
days. Suppose someone should ask you on Friday evening how long from now
to Sunday; you would answer: Sunday will be the third day from today.
You would count thus: Friday one, Saturday two, and Sunday itself three.
So it was with Our Lord. He died on Friday at about three in the
afternoon, and remained in the sepulchre till Sunday morning.

*90 Q. How long did Christ stay on earth after His resurrection?
A. Christ stayed on earth forty days after His resurrection, to show
that He was truly risen from the dead, and to instruct His Apostles.

After Our Lord's resurrection He remained on earth forty days: but you
must not think He was visible all that time. No. He did not appear to
everybody, but only to certain persons, and not all the time to them
either. He appeared to His Apostles and others in all about nine times;
at least, we know for certain that He appeared nine times, though He may
have appeared oftener. He showed that "He was truly risen," for He ate
with His Apostles and conversed with them. (Luke 24:42). It was after
the resurrection that He breathed on them and gave them the power to
forgive sins. (John 20).

91 Q. After Christ had remained forty days on earth, whither did He go?
A. After forty days Christ ascended into Heaven, and the day on which He
ascended into Heaven is called Ascension Day.

One day He was on a mountain with His Apostles and disciples; and as He
was talking to them He began to rise up slowly and quietly, just as you
have sometimes seen a balloon soar up into the air without noise. Higher
and higher He ascended; and as they gazed up at Him, the clouds opened
to receive Him, then closed under Him: and that was the last of Our
Lord's mission as man upon earth. The Ascension took place forty days
after the resurrection. (Acts 1).

*92 Q. Where is Christ in Heaven?
A. In Heaven Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

*93 Q. What do you mean by saying that Christ sits at the right hand of
God?
A. When I say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, I mean that
Christ as God is equal to His Father in all things, and that as man He
is in the highest place in Heaven next to God.



Lesson 9
ON THE HOLY GHOST AND HIS DESCENT UPON THE APOSTLES


94 Q. Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

*95 Q. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?
A. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

*96 Q. Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?
A. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, being the same
Lord and God as they are.

97 Q. On what day did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Apostles?
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles ten days after the
Ascension of Our Lord; and the day on which He came down upon the
Apostles is called Whit-Sunday or Pentecost.

We have seen already that the Apostles fled and were very much afraid
when Our Lord was taken prisoner. Even Peter, the chief of the Apostles,
who said he would die rather than leave Our Lord, shamefully denied Him;
and St. John, the beloved disciple, stood near the Cross, but offered no
resistance to Our Lord's enemies. After the Crucifixion of Our Lord, the
Apostles, afraid of being put to death, shut themselves up in a room.
Ten days after Our Lord's Ascension they were praying as usual in their
room, when suddenly they heard the sound as it were of a great wind, and
then they saw tongues the shape of our own, but all on fire, coming, and
one tongue resting on the head of each Apostle present. (Acts 2).

This was the Holy Ghost coming to them. The Holy Ghost, being a pure
spirit without a body, can take any form He pleases. He sometimes came
in the form of a dove; so when you see a dove painted in a church near
the altar, it is there to represent the Holy Ghost. You could not paint
a spirit, so angels and God Himself are generally represented in
pictures as they at some time appeared to men.

"Whit-Sunday," or White-Sunday; probably so called because in the early
ages of the Church converts were baptized on the day before, and after
their Baptism wore white robes or garments as a mark of the soul's
purity after Baptism.

"Pentecost" means the fiftieth day, because the feast comes fifty days
after the resurrection of Our Lord. After His resurrection He remained
forty days upon earth, and ten days after He ascended into Heaven the
Holy Ghost came, thus making the fifty days.

After the Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles they were no longer
timid men. They went forth boldly into the streets and preached Christ
crucified, telling the people how the Son of God--the true Messias
promised--had been put to death. Many who heard them believed and were
baptized. The first time St. Peter preached to the people three thousand
were converted (Acts 2:41); so that when all the Apostles preached the
number of Christians increased rapidly, and the Christian religion was
soon carried to distant parts of the world.

At the time Our Lord was put to death the Jews were celebrating a great
feast in Jerusalem. The Jews were not like us in this respect. We have
many churches, and in all of them sacrifice, that is, the Holy Mass, is
offered. The Jews had only one temple where sacrifice could be offered,
and that was in Jerusalem. They had synagogues or meeting houses
throughout the land in which they assembled to pray and hear the Holy
Scriptures read; but they could not offer sacrifice in them. Three times
a year they went to Jerusalem to celebrate their great feasts. One of
these feasts was called the Pasch, or Passover, and it was during the
celebration of that feast that Our Lord was put to death; so that there
were many persons from all parts of the nation present at the sad
execution. I must now tell you why they celebrated the Pasch. We
generally celebrate a feast to commemorate--to remind us of--some great
event; and the Jews celebrated this feast to remind them of their
deliverance from the slavery of the Egyptians, in which their ancestors
had been suffering for about two hundred years. At the end of that time
God sent Moses to deliver them. You should know, then, who Moses was and
what he did to deliver his people, and you should know also something of
the history of his people--the Israelites--and how they came to be in
Egypt.

At the time I am now going to speak of the old patriarch Jacob,
Abraham's grandson, had eleven sons--for Benjamin, the twelfth son, was
born afterwards--and the youngest was called Joseph. Joseph was the
favorite of his father, and his brothers were jealous of him. The
brothers were shepherds, and used to take their flocks to feed at a
great distance from home, and did not return for a long time. One day
the father sent Joseph to his brothers to see if all were well. They
hated Joseph because his father loved him best; and when they saw him
coming they agreed never to let him return to his father. (Gen. 37).
They intended to kill him. While they were debating about how they
should put him to death--he was then only sixteen years old--some
merchants passed on their way to Egypt; so, instead of killing him, they
sold him as a slave to the merchants. Then they took Joseph's coat and
dipped it in the blood of a kid, and sent it to their poor old father,
saying they had found it, and making him believe that some wild beast on
the way had eaten Joseph. When the merchants arrived in Egypt, Potiphar,
one of the king's officers, bought Joseph, and brought him as a slave to
his own house. While there, Joseph was falsely accused of a great crime,
and cast into prison. While Joseph was in prison the king had a dream.
(Gen. 41). He saw in the dream seven fat cows coming up out of a river,
followed by seven lean cows; and the lean cows ate up the fat cows. He
saw also seven fat ears of corn and seven lean ears of corn; and the
seven lean ears ate up the seven fat ears. The king was very much
troubled, and called together all his wise men to tell him what the
dream meant, but they could not. Then the king heard of Joseph, and sent
for him. Now Joseph was a very good young man, and God showed him the
meaning; so he told the king that the seven fat ears of corn and the
seven fat cows meant seven years of great abundance in Egypt, and that
the seven lean ears and the seven lean cows meant seven years of famine
that would follow, and all the abundance of the previous seven years
would be consumed. So he advised the king to build great barns during
the years of plenty, and gather up all the corn everywhere to save it
for the years of famine. The king was delighted at Joseph's wisdom, and
made him after himself the most powerful in the kingdom, giving him
charge of everything, so that Joseph himself might do what he had
advised. Now it happened years after this that there was a famine in the
country where Joseph's father lived, and he sent all his sons down into
Egypt to buy corn. (Gen. 42). They did not know their brother Joseph,
but he knew them; and after forgiving them for what they had done to
him, he sent them home with an abundance of corn. Afterwards Joseph's
father and brothers left their own country and came to live near Joseph
in Egypt. The king gave them good land (Gen. 47), and they lived there
in peace and happiness. Learn from this beautiful history of Joseph how
God protects those that love and serve Him no matter where they are or
in what danger they may be placed; and how He even turns the evil deeds
of their enemies into blessings for them.

After the death of Joseph and his brothers, their descendants became
very numerous, and the new king of the Egyptians began to persecute
them. (Ex. 2). He imposed upon them the hardest works, and treated them
most cruelly. He ordered that all their male infants should, as soon as
born, be thrown into the River Nile. Now about that time Moses was born.
(Ex. 2). His mother did not obey the king's order, but hid him for about
three months. When she could conceal him no longer she made a little
cradle of rushes, and covering it over with pitch or tar to keep out the
water, placed him in it, and then laid it in the tall grass by the edge
of the river, sending his little sister to watch what would become of
him. Just then the king's daughter came down to bathe, and seeing the
little child, ordered one of her servants to bring him to her. At that
moment Moses' little sister, pretending not to know him, ran up and
asked the king's daughter if she wished to procure a nurse for him. The
king's daughter replied in the affirmative and permitted her to bring
one; so Moses' own mother was brought and engaged to be his nurse: but
he was not known as her son, but as the adopted son of the king's
daughter. When Moses grew up he was an officer in the king's army; but
because he took the part of his persecuted countrymen he offended the
king, and had to fly from the palace. He then went into another country
and became a shepherd.

During all this time the persecuted Israelites were praying to the true
God to be delivered from the slavery of the Egyptians, who were
idolaters. One day Moses saw a bush burning; and as he came near to look
at it, he heard a voice telling him not to come too near, and bidding
him take off his shoes, for he was on holy ground. (Ex. 3). It was God
who thus appeared and spoke to him, and He ordered him to take off his
shoes as a mark of respect and reverence. When we want to show our
respect for any person or place, we take off our hats; but the people of
that country, instead of their hats, took off their shoes. It was the
custom of the country and did not seem strange to them.

Then God told Moses that He was going to send him to deliver His people
from the Egyptians and lead them back to their own country; and He sent
Aaron, the brother of Moses, with him. Then Moses said to God, the king
of Egypt will not let the people go, and what can I do? God gave Moses
two signs or miracles to show the king, so that he could know that Moses
was really sent by Him. He gave him power to change a rod into a
serpent, and back again into a rod; power also to bring a disease
instantly upon his hand, and to heal it instantly. (Ex. 4). Do these,
said Almighty God, in the presence of the king. Then Moses and Aaron
went to the king and did as God commanded them; and when the rod of
Aaron became a serpent, the king's magicians--that is, men who do
apparently wonderful things by sleight of hand or the power of the
devil--cast their rods upon the ground, and they also became
serpents--not that their rods were changed into serpents, but the devil,
who was helping them, took away instantly their rods and put real
serpents in their place--but Aaron's serpent swallowed them up. (Ex. 7).
After these signs the king would not let the people go with Moses; for
God permitted the king's heart to be hardened, so that all the Egyptians
might see the great work God was going to do for His people.

Then God sent the ten plagues upon the Egyptians, while the
Israelites--God's people--suffered nothing from these plagues.

The first plague was blood. All the water in the land was converted into
blood. (Ex. 7). The king then sent for Moses and promised that if he
would take away the plague he would allow all the people to depart.
Moses prayed to God, and the plague was removed. But after it was taken
away the king's heart was hardened again and he would not keep his
promise. Just as people in sickness, distress, or danger sometimes
promise God they will lead better lives if only He will help them, and
when they are saved they do not keep their promises, so did Pharao; and
therefore God sent another plague. The second plague was frogs. Great
numbers of them came out of the rivers and lakes, and filled all the
houses of the Egyptians, and crawled into their food, beds, etc. Again
the king sent for Moses and did as before; and again Moses prayed, and
all the frogs went back into the waters or died. (Ex. 8). But the king
again hardened his heart and did not keep his promise. The third plague
was sciniphs (Ex. 8)--very small flies, that filled the land. Imagine
our country filled with mosquitoes so numerous that you could scarcely
walk through them; it would be a dreadful plague. As it is, two or three
might cause you considerable annoyance, and pain: what then if there
were millions doubly venomous, because sent to punish you? So these
little flies must have greatly punished the Egyptians. The fourth plague
was flies that filled the land and covered everything, to the great
disgust of the people. The fifth plague was murrain--a disease that
broke out among the cattle. The sixth plague was a disease--boils--that
broke out on men and beasts, so that scarcely anyone could move on
account of the pains and suffering. The seventh plague was hail, that
fell in large pieces and destroyed all their crops. The eighth plague
was locusts. These are very destructive little animals. They look
something like our grasshoppers, but are about two or three times their
size. They fly and come in millions. They come to this country in great
numbers--almost a plague--every fifteen or twenty-five years, and the
farmers fear them very much. They eat up every green blade or leaf, and
thus destroy all the crops and trees. When the locusts came upon Egypt,
Moses, at the king's request, prayed, and God sent a strong wind that
swept them into the sea, where they perished in the water. The ninth
plague was a horrible darkness for three days in all the land of Egypt.
The tenth plague, the last, was the most terrible of all--the killing of
the firstborn in all the land of Egypt. (Ex. 12). God instructed Moses
to tell the Israelites in the land that on a certain night they were to
take a lamb in each family, kill it, and sprinkle its blood on the
doorposts of their houses. They were then to cook the lamb and eat it
standing, with their garments ready as for a journey. (Ex. 12). The lamb
was called the paschal lamb, and was, after that, to be eaten every
year, at about what is with us Easter-time, in commemoration of this
event. That night God sent an angel through all the land, and he killed
the firstborn of man and beast in all the houses of the Egyptians. That
is, he killed the eldest son in the house; and if the father was the
firstborn in his father's family, he was killed also; and the same for
the beasts. This was a terrible punishment. In the house of every
Egyptian there were some dead but not one in the houses of the
Israelites; for when the angel saw the blood of the lamb on the
doorposts, he passed over and did not enter into their houses, so that
this event, called Passover or Pasch, was kept always as a great feast
by God's people. This paschal lamb was a figure of our blessed Lord, for
as its blood saved the Israelites from death, so Our Lord's blood saved
and still saves us from eternal death in Hell.

After that dreadful night Pharao allowed the people to depart with
Moses; but when they had gone as far as the Red Sea, he was sorry he let
them go, and set out with a great army to bring them back. There the
people stood, with the sea before them and Pharao and his army coming
behind them; but God provided for them a means of escape. At God's
command, Moses stretched his rod over the sea, and the waters divided
and stood like great walls on either side and all the people passed
through the opening in the waters, on the dry bed of the sea. (Ex. 14).

Pharao attempted to follow them, but when he and his army were on the
dry bed of the sea, between the two walls of water, God allowed the
waters to close over them, and they were all drowned. Then the
Israelites began the great journey through the desert, in which they
travelled for forty years. During all that time God fed them with manna.
He Himself, as a guide, went with them in a cloud, that shaded them from
the heat of the sun during the day and was a light for them at night.
But you will ask: Was the desert so large that it took forty years to
cross it? No, but these people, notwithstanding all God had done for
them, sinned against Him in the desert; so He permitted them to wander
about through it till a new generation of people grew up, who were to be
led into the promised land by Josue, the successor of Moses. From this
we may learn a lesson for ourselves: God will always punish those who
deserve it, even though He loves them and may often have done great
things to save them; but He will wait for His own time to punish.

The Israelites then, as I have said, went from every part of the land up
to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the Pasch each year. It was
during one of these celebrations that Our Lord was put to death, and
during another feast that St. Peter preached to the people after Our
Lord's death. He spoke only in one language, and yet all his hearers
understood, for each heard his own language spoken. (Acts 2:6). This was
called the gift of tongues, and was given to the Apostles when the Holy
Ghost came upon them. For example, if each of you came from a different
country and understood the language only of the country from which you
came, and I gave the instructions only in English, then if everyone
thought I was speaking his language--German, French, Spanish, Italian,
etc.--and understood me, I would have what is called the gift of
tongues, and it would be a great miracle, as it was when bestowed upon
the Apostles.

In the first ages of the Church God performed more miracles than He does
now, because they are not now so necessary. These miracles were
performed only to make the Church better known, and to prove that she
was the true Church, with her power and authority from God. That can now
be known and seen in Christian countries without miracles. These special
gifts, like the gift of tongues, were given also to some of the early
Christians by the Holy Ghost, when they received Confirmation; but they
were not a part of or necessary for Confirmation, but only to show the
power of the true religion. Those who heard St. Peter preach, when they
went back to their own countries told what they had seen and heard, and
thus their countrymen were prepared to receive the Gospel when the
Apostles came to preach it.

*98 Q. How did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Apostles?
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of
fire.

99 Q. Who sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.

100 Q. Why did Christ send the Holy Ghost?
A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to enlighten and
strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to preach the Gospel.

"Sanctify," to make more holy by the grace which He would give to the
members of the Church. "To enlighten." The Apostles did not understand
very well everything Our Lord taught while He was with them; but after
the Holy Ghost came upon them they understood perfectly, and remembered
many things which Our Lord said to them, and understood the true meaning
of all. The prophets foretold that when the Messias, Christ, would come,
He would bring all the world under His power. The prophets meant in a
spiritual sense; but most of the people understood that He was to be a
great general, with powerful armies, who would subdue all the nations of
the earth, and bring them under the authority of the Jews. We know they
thought that the great kingdom He was to establish upon earth would be a
temporal kingdom, from many of their sayings and actions. One day the
mother of two of Our Lord's Apostles came to ask Him if, when He had
established His kingdom upon the earth, He would give her sons honorable
positions in it, and place them high in authority. (Matt. 20:20). Our
Lord told her she did not understand what she was asking. This shows
that even some of the Apostles--much less the people--did not understand
the full nature of Our Lord's mission upon earth, nor of His kingdom,
the Church. Often too, when He preached to the people, the Apostles
asked Him on His return what His sermon meant (Luke 8:9). But after the
Holy Ghost came, they were enlightened, and understood all without
difficulty. "Strengthen." I told you already that before the Holy Ghost
came they were timid and afraid of being arrested, but that afterwards
they went out boldly, and taught all they had learned from Our Lord.
They were often taken prisoners and scourged, but it mattered not--they
were firm in their faith, and could suffer anything for Christ after
they had been enlightened and strengthened by the Holy Ghost. Finally,
they were all, with the exception of St. John, put to death for their
holy faith. St. Peter and St. Paul were crucified at Rome about the year
65, that is, about thirty-two years after the death of Our Lord. St.
James was beheaded by order of King Herod. St. John lived the longest,
and was the only one of the Apostles who was not put to death, though he
was cast into a large vessel of boiling oil, but was miraculously saved.

Certainly by dying for their faith the Apostles showed that they were
not impostors or hypocrites. They must really have believed what they
taught, otherwise they would not have laid down their lives for it. They
were certain of what they taught, as we saw when speaking of St. Thomas.

*101 Q. Will the Holy Ghost abide with the Church forever?
A. The Holy Ghost will abide with the Church forever, and guide it in
the way of holiness and truth.

"Abide" means to stay with us.



Lesson 10
ON THE EFFECTS OF THE REDEMPTION


102 Q. Which are the chief effects of the redemption?
A. The chief effects of the redemption are two: the satisfaction of
God's justice by Christ's sufferings and death, and the gaining of grace
for men.

An effect is that which is caused by something else. If you place a
danger signal on a broken railroad track the effect will be preventing
the wreck of the train, and the cause will be your placing the signal.
Many effects may flow from one cause. In our example, see all the good
effects that may follow your placing the signal--the cars are not
broken, the passengers are not killed, the rails are not torn out of
their places, etc. Thus the redemption had two effects, namely, to
satisfy God for the offense offered Him by the sins of men, and to merit
grace to be used for our benefit.

103 Q. What do you mean by grace?
A. By grace I mean a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us, through
the merits of Jesus Christ, for our salvation.

"Supernatural," that is, above nature. "A gift"; something, therefore,
that God does not owe us. He owes us nothing, strictly speaking. Health,
talents, and such things are natural gifts, and belong to our nature as
men; but grace is something above our nature, given to our soul. God
gives it to us on account of the love He has for His Son, Our Lord, who
merited it for us by dying for us. "Merits." A merit is some excellence
or goodness which entitles one to honor or reward. Grace is a help we
get to do something that will be pleasing to God. When there is anything
in our daily works that we cannot do alone, we naturally look for help;
for example, to lift some heavy weight is only a natural act, not a
supernatural act, and the help we need for it is only natural help. But
if we are going to do something above and beyond our nature, and cannot
do it alone, we must not look for natural, but for supernatural help;
that is, the help must always be like the work to be done. Therefore all
spiritual works need spiritual help, and spiritual help is grace.

104 Q. How many kinds of grace are there?
A. There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

105 Q. What is sanctifying grace?
A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and
pleasing to God.

"Sanctifying," that is, making us holy by cleansing, purifying our
souls. Sin renders the soul ugly and displeasing to God, and grace
purifies it. Suppose I have something bright and beautiful given to me,
and take no care of it, but let it lie around in dusty places until it
becomes tarnished and soiled, loses all its beauty, and appears black
and ugly. To restore its beauty I must clean and polish it. Thus the
soul blackened by sin must be cleaned by God's grace. If the soul is in
mortal sin--altogether blackened--then sanctifying grace brings back its
brightness and makes it pleasing to God; but if the soul is already
bright, though stained or darkened a little by venial sin, then grace
makes it still brighter.

*106 Q. What do you call those graces or gifts of God by which we
believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him?
A. Those graces or gifts of God by which we believe in Him, and hope in
Him, and love Him, are called the divine virtues of faith, hope, and
charity.

"Virtues." Virtue is the habit of doing good. The opposite to virtue is
vice, which is the habit of doing evil. We acquire a habit bad or good
when we do the same thing very frequently. We then do it easily and
almost without thinking; as a man, for instance, who has the habit of
cursing curses almost without knowing it, though that does not excuse
him, but makes his case worse, by showing that he must have cursed very
often to acquire the habit. If, however, he is striving to overcome the
bad habit, and should unintentionally curse now and then, it would not
be a sin, since he did not wish to curse, and was trying to overcome the
vice. One act does not make a virtue or a vice. A person who gives alms
only once cannot be said to have the virtue of charity. A man who curses
only once a year cannot be said to have the vice of cursing. Faith,
hope, and charity are infused by God into our souls, and are therefore
called infused virtues, to distinguish them from the virtues we acquire.

107 Q. What is faith?
A. Faith is a divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths which
God has revealed.

"A divine virtue" is one that is heavenly or holy. Faith is the habit of
always believing all that God has revealed and the Church teaches.
"Firmly," that is, without the slightest doubt. "Revealed," that is,
made known to us. Revelation is the collection of all the truths that
God has made known to us. But why do we believe? Because we clearly see
and know the truth of what is revealed? No, but because God reveals it;
we believe it though we cannot see it or even understand it. If we see
it plainly, then we believe it rather because we see it than because God
makes it known to us. Suppose a friend should come and tell you the
church is on fire. If he never told you lies, and had no reason for
telling you any now, you would believe him--not because you know of the
fire, but because he tells you; but afterwards, when you see the church
or read of the fire in the papers, you have proof of what he told you,
but you believed it just as firmly when he told you as you do
afterwards. In the same way God tells us His great truths and we believe
them; because we know that since God is infinitely true He cannot
deceive us or be deceived. But if afterwards by studying and thinking we
find proof that God told us the truth, we do not believe with any
greater faith, for we always believed without doubting, and we study
chiefly that we may have arguments to prove the truth of God's
revelations to others who do not believe. Suppose some person was
present when your friend came and said the church is burning, and that
that person would not believe your friend. What would you do? Why,
convince him that what your friend said was true by showing him the
account of the fire in the papers. Thus learning does not change our
faith, which, as I have said, is not acquired by study, but is infused
into our souls by God. The little boy who hears what God taught, and
believes it firmly because God taught it, has as good a faith as his
teacher who has studied all the reasons why he should believe.

108 Q. What is hope?
A. Hope is a divine virtue by which we firmly trust that God will give
us eternal life and the means to obtain it.

"Eternal"--that is, everlastings life--life without end. "Means"--that
is, His grace, because without God's grace we cannot do any supernatural
thing.

109 Q. What is charity?
A. Charity is a divine virtue by which we love God above all things for
His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.

The virtue of charity makes us "love God," because He is so good and
beautiful, wise and powerful in Himself; therefore for His own sake and
without any other consideration. "Above all things," in such a way that
we would rather lose anything than offend Him. But someone may say, he
thinks he loves his parents more than God. Well, let us see. To repeat
an example already given, suppose his parents told him to steal, and he
knew stealing to be a sin; if he would not steal, that would show, would
it not, that he loved God more than his parents, for he would rather
offend his parents than God. That is the kind of love we must have for
God; not mere feeling, but the firm belief that God is the best of all,
and when we have to choose between offending God and losing something,
be it goods or friends, we would rather lose anything than offend God.

"Neighbor." Not merely the person living near us, but all men of every
kind and nation--even our enemies. The people who lived at the time of
Our Lord in His country used to dispute about just what persons were to
be considered their neighbors; so one day they asked Our Lord, and He
answered them by telling them the following. Said He: (Luke 10:30) A man
was once going down from Jerusalem, and on the way robbers beat him,
robbed him, and left him on the wayside dying. First one man came by,
looked at the wounded man, and passed on; then another came and did the
same; finally a third man came, who was of a different religion and
nationality from the wounded man. But he did not consider these things.
He dressed the poor man's wounds, placed him upon his horse and brought
him to an inn or hotel, and paid the innkeeper to take care of him.
"Now," said Our Lord, "which of these three was neighbor to the wounded
man?" And they answered rightly, "The man that helped him." Our Lord, by
this example, wished to teach them and us that everybody is our neighbor
who is in distress of any kind and needs our help. Neighbor, therefore,
means every human being, no matter where he lives or what his color,
learning, manners, etc., for every human being in the world is a child
of God and has been redeemed by Our Lord. Therefore every child of God
is my neighbor, and even more--he is my brother; for God is his father
and mine also, and if he is good enough for God to love, he should be
good enough for me.

"As ourselves." Not with as much love, but with the same kind of love;
that is, we are to follow the rule laid down by Our Lord: "Do unto
others as you would have others do unto you." Never do to anyone what
you would not like to have done to yourself; and always do for another
just what you would wish another to do for you, if you were in the same
position. Our neighbor is our equal and gifted with all the gifts that
we ourselves have. When we come into the world we are all equal. We have
a body and a soul, with the power to develop them. Money, learning,
wealth, fame, and all else that makes up the difference between men in
the world are acquired in the world; and when men die, they go out of
the world without any of these things, just as they came into it. The
real difference between them in the next world will depend upon the
things they have done, good or bad, while here. We should love our
neighbor also on another account: namely, that he is one day to be in
Heaven with us; and if he is to be with us for all eternity, why should
we hate him now? On the other hand, if our neighbor is to be in Hell on
account of his bad life, why should we hate him? We should rather pity
him, for he will have enough to suffer without our hatred.

110 Q. What is actual grace?
A. Actual grace is that help of God which enlightens our mind and moves
our will to shun evil and do good.

"Actual." Sanctifying grace continues with us, but when grace is given
just so that we may do a good act or avoid a bad one, it is called
actual grace. Suppose, for example, I see a poor man and am able to aid
him. When my conscience tells me to give him assistance, I am just then
receiving an actual grace, which moves me and helps me to do that good
act; and just as soon as I give the help, the actual grace ceases,
because no longer needed. It was given for that one good act, and now
that the act is done, the actual grace has produced its effect. Again, a
boy is going to Mass on Sunday and meets other boys who try to persuade
him to remain away from Mass and go to some other place. When he hears
his conscience telling him to go to Mass by all means, he is receiving
just then an actual grace to avoid the mortal sin of missing Mass, and
the grace lasts just as long as the temptation. Sacramental grace is
sanctifying grace--given in the Sacraments--which contains for us a
right to actual graces when we need them. These actual graces are given
to help us to fulfill the end for which each of the Sacraments was
instituted. They are different for each Sacrament, and are given just
when we need them; that is, just when we are tempted against the object
or end for which the Sacrament was instituted.

*111 Q. Is grace necessary for salvation?
A. Grace is necessary for salvation, because without grace we can do
nothing to merit Heaven.

*112 Q. Can we resist the grace of God?
A. We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace of God.

Grace is a gift, and no one is obliged to take a gift; but if God offers
a gift and we refuse to take it, we offend and insult Him. To insult God
is to sin. Therefore to refuse to accept, or to make bad use of the
grace God gives us, is to sin.

*113 Q. What is the grace of perseverance?
A. The grace of perseverance is a particular gift of God which enables
us to continue in the state of grace till death.

"Perseverance" here does not mean perseverance in our undertakings, but
perseverance in grace--never in mortal sin, always a friend of God. Now,
if God keeps us from all sin till the day of our death and takes us
while we are His friends, then He gives us what we call the gift of
final perseverance. We cannot, strictly speaking, merit this great
grace, but only pray for it; so anyone who commits mortal sin may be
taken just in that state and be lost for all eternity.



Lesson 11
ON THE CHURCH


Before speaking of the Church I wish to give you a short account of the
true religion before the coming of Our Lord. When Adam was created in a
state of grace, God communicated with him freely; he knew God even
better than we do now. But after their sin our parents fell from the
friendship of God. Cain--one of Adam's sons--murdered his brother Abel,
and for this he and his posterity were cursed by God, and all his
descendants became very wicked. (Gen. 4:11). The other children of Adam
remained faithful to God as long as they kept away from the children of
Cain; but just as soon as they associated and intermarried with them,
they also became wicked. This should teach us to avoid evil company, for
there is always more likelihood that the good will become bad than that
the bad will be converted by the good. You know the old saying, that if
you take a basket of good apples and place a bad one among them, in a
short time they will be spoiled.

After the deluge Noe and his family settled once more upon the land, and
for a time their descendants remained faithful to God; but later they
became wicked and undertook to build a great tower (Gen. 11), which they
thought would reach up to Heaven. They believed, perhaps, that if ever
there should be another deluge upon the earth, they could take refuge in
the tower. But God was displeased with their conduct and prevented them
from completing the tower by confusing their tongues or language so that
they could not understand one another. Then those who spoke the same
language went to live in the same part of the country, and thus the
human race was scattered over the earth, and the different nations had
different languages.

After a time they were all losing the knowledge of the true God and
beginning to worship idols. God did not wish that the whole human race
should forget Him, so He selected Abraham to be the father and head of
one chosen people who should always worship the true God. He sent
Abraham from his own country into another, and promised him great
things, and renewed to him the promises of the Redeemer first made to
Adam and Eve. After the death of Abraham, God raised up, from time to
time, prophets to tell the people His holy will, to warn them of their
sins and the punishment they would receive, and to remind them of the
promised Messias. Prophets are men that God inspires to tell the future.
They tell what will happen often hundreds of years after their own
death. They do not guess at these things, but tell them with certainty.
At times, statesmen can foresee that there will be a war in a country at
a certain time; but they are not prophets, because they only guess at
such things, or know them by natural signs; and very often things thus
foretold do not occur. True prophecy is the foretelling of something
which could not be known by any means but inspiration from God.

Neither are persons who call themselves fortune-tellers prophets, but
only sinful people, who for money tell lies or guess at the future. It
is a great sin to go to them or listen to them, as we shall see later in
another question.

At the time promised, God sent His Son--Our Lord--to redeem the world
and save all men. He came to save all men, and yet He remained upon
earth only thirty-three years. We can easily understand that by His
death He could save all those who lived before He did; but how were they
to be saved who should live after Him, down to the end of the world? How
was His grace to be given to them? How were they to know of Him, or of
what He taught? All this was to be accomplished by His Church.

114 Q. Which are the means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all
times to share in the fruits of the Redemption?
A. The means instituted by Our Lord to enable men at all times to share
in the fruits of the Redemption are the Church and the Sacraments.

Our Lord instituted the Church to carry on the work He Himself was doing
upon the earth--teaching the ignorant, visiting the sick, helping the
poor, forgiving sins, etc. He commanded all men to hear the Church
teaching, just as they would hear Himself. But suppose some persons
should establish a false Church and claim that it was the true Church of
Our Lord, how could people know the true Church from false churches?
When a man invents anything to be sold, what does he do that people may
know the true article--say a pen? Why, he puts his trademark upon it.
Now the trademark is a certain sign which shows that the article bearing
it is the genuine article; and if others use the trademark on imitation
articles, they are liable to be punished by law. Now Our Lord did the
same. He gave His Church four marks or characteristics to distinguish it
from all false churches. He said, "My Church will be one; it will be
holy; it will be catholic; it will be apostolic; and if any church has
not these four marks, you may be sure it is not My Church." Some false
church may seem to have one or two, but never all the marks; so when you
find even one of the marks wanting, you will know it is not the true
Church established by Christ. Therefore, all the religions that claim to
be the true religion cannot be so. If one man says a thing is white and
another says it is black, or if one says a thing is true and another
says it is false, they cannot both be right. Only one can be right, and
if we wish to know the truth we have to find out which one it is. So
when one religion says a thing is true and another religion says the
same thing is false, one of them must be wrong, and it is our duty to
find out the one that is right. Therefore, of all the religions claiming
to be the true religion of Our Lord, only one can be telling the truth,
and that one is the religion or Church that can show the four given
marks. The Roman Catholic Church is the only one that can show these
marks, and is, therefore, the only true Church, as we shall see in the
next lesson.

"Fruits of His redemption"--that is, to receive the grace merited by Our
Lord when He redeemed us by His death.

115 Q. What is the Church?
A. The Church is the congregation of all those who profess the faith of
Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful
pastors under one visible head.

"Congregation." Not the building, therefore; because if Mass was offered
up in an open field, with the people kneeling about, it would still be
the church of that place. The buildings that we use for churches might
have been used for anything else--a public hall, theater, or school, for
example; but when these buildings we call churches are blessed or
consecrated, they become holy. They are holy also because the Gospel is
preached in them, the Sacraments are administered in them, and the Holy
Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in them. But they are holy especially
because Our Lord dwells in them in the tabernacle, where He lives and
sees and hears just as truly as He did when He was man upon earth.

In the early ages the Christians had no churches--they met secretly in
private houses. Later, when the cruel pagan emperors began to persecute
and put to death the Christians, they made large tunnels under ground
and in these places they heard Mass and received the Sacraments. These
underground churches were called the catacombs, and some of them may
still be seen at Rome. In these catacombs, too, the Christians buried
their dead, especially the bodies of the holy martyrs. On their
tombs--generally of stone--Mass was celebrated.

In every altar the table, or flat part on which the priest celebrates
Mass, should be of stone; but if the altar is made of wood, then at
least the part just in front of the tabernacle must be of stone and
large enough to hold say two chalices--that is, about ten or twelve
inches square. In this stone are placed some relics of the holy martyrs.
A piece is cut out of the stone and the relic placed in the opening.
Then the bishop puts the little piece of stone back into its place over
the relic, seals the opening, blesses the stone, and gives it to the
Church. This is called the altar stone. You cannot see it because it is
covered with the altar cloth; but unless it is in the altar the priest
cannot say Mass. This stone reminds us of the stone tombs of the saints
upon which Mass was celebrated.

The Church--that is, the Christians--was persecuted for about three
hundred years after the death of Our Lord. These persecutions took place
at ten different times and under ten different Roman emperors. Orders
were given to put to death all the Christians wherever they could be
found. Some were cast into prison, some exiled, some taken to the Roman
Coliseum--an immense building constructed for public amusements--where
they were put to death in the most terrible manner in the presence of
the emperor and people assembled to witness these fearful scenes. Some
were stripped of their clothing and left standing alone while savage
beasts, wild with hunger, were let loose upon them. Sometimes by a
miracle of God the animals would not harm them, and then the Christians
were either put to death by the sword, mangled by some terrible machine,
or burned. In these dreadful sufferings the Christians remained faithful
and firm, though they could have saved their lives by denying Our Lord
or offering sacrifice to idols. The few who through fear did deny their
faith are now forgotten and unknown; while those who remained steadfast
are honored as saints in Heaven and upon earth; the Church sings their
praises and tells every year of their holy lives and triumph over all
their enemies.

Even some pagans who came to see the Christians put to death were so
touched by their patience, fortitude, courage, and constancy, that they
also declared themselves anxious to become Christians, and were put to
death, thus becoming martyrs baptized in their own blood. How many
lessons we may learn from all this: (1) How very respectful we should be
in the Church, which is holy for all the reasons I have given. (2) What
a shame it is for us not to hear Mass when we can do so easily. Our
churches are never very far from us, and generally well lighted,
ventilated, furnished with seats and every convenience, and in these
respects unlike the dark, damp, underground churches of the early
Christians. Moreover, we may attend our churches freely and without the
least danger to our lives; while the Christians of the early ages were
constantly in dread and danger of being seized and put to death. Even at
the present day, in many countries where holy missionaries are trying to
teach the true religion, their converts sometimes have to go great
distances to hear Mass, and even then it is not celebrated in
comfortable churches, but probably on the slope of a rugged mountain or
in some lonely valley or wood where they may not be seen, for they fear
if they are captured--as often happens--both they and their priest will
be put to death. You can read in the account of foreign missions that
almost every year some priests and many people are martyred for their
faith. Is it not disgraceful, then, to see some Catholics giving up
their holy faith and the practice of their religion so easily--sometimes
for a little money, property, or gain; or even for a bad habit, or for
irreligious companions and friends? What answer will they make on the
day of judgment when they stand side by side with those who died for the
faith?

"All those who profess the faith," etc. The Pope, bishops, priests, and
people all taken together are the Church, and each congregation or
parish is only a part of the Church.

"Partake"--that is, receive. "Lawful pastors"--that is, each priest in
his own parish, each bishop in his own diocese, and the Pope throughout
the world. "Visible head"--that is, one who can be seen, for invisible
means cannot be seen.

116 Q. Who is the invisible head of the Church?
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible head of the Church.

"Invisible head." If, for example, a merchant of one country wishes to
establish a branch of his business in another, he remains in the new
country long enough to establish the branch business, and then
appointing someone to take his place, returns to his own country. He is
still the head of the new establishment, but its invisible head for the
people of that country, while its visible head is the agent or
representative he has placed in charge to carry on the business in his
name and interest. When Our Lord wished to establish His Church He came
from Heaven; and when about to return to Heaven appointed St. Peter to
take His place upon earth and rule the Church as directed. You see,
therefore, that Our Lord, though not on earth, is still the real head
and owner of the Church, and whatever His agent or vicar--that is, our
Holy Father, the Pope--does in the Church, he does it with the authority
of Our Lord Himself.

117 Q. Who is the visible head of the Church?
A. Our Holy Father the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the vicar of Christ
on earth and the visible head of the Church.

The "Bishop of Rome" is always Pope. If the Bishop of New York, or of
Baltimore, or of Boston, became Pope, he would become the Bishop of Rome
and cease to be the Bishop of New York, Baltimore, or Boston, because
St. Peter, the first Pope, was Bishop of Rome; and therefore only the
bishops of Rome are his lawful successors--the true Popes--the true
visible heads of the Church. The bishops of the other dioceses of the
world are the lawful successors of the other Apostles who taught and
established churches throughout the world. The bishops of the world are
subject to the Pope, just as the other Apostles were subject to St.
Peter, who was appointed their chief, by Our Lord Himself.

"Vicar"--that is, one who holds another's place and acts in his name.

*118 Q. Why is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, the visible head of the
Church?
A. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible head of the Church
because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of
the Apostles and the visible head of the Church.

"Of Rome." That is why we are called Roman Catholics; to show that we
are united to the real successor of St. Peter, and are therefore members
of the true apostolic Church.

*119 Q. Who are the successors of the other Apostles?
A. The successors of the other Apostles are the bishops of the holy
Catholic Church.

We know the Apostles were bishops, because they could make laws for the
Church, consecrate other bishops, ordain priests, and give
Confirmation--powers that belong only to bishops, and are still
exercised by them.

*120 Q. Why did Christ found the Church?
A. Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all
men.

"Teach" religion. "Govern" in things that regard salvation. "Sanctify,"
make good. "Save" all who wish to be saved.

*121 Q. Are all bound to belong to the Church?
A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows the Church to
be the true Church and remains out of it, cannot be saved.

Anyone who knows the Catholic religion to be the true religion and will
not embrace it cannot enter into Heaven. If one not a Catholic doubts
whether the church to which he belongs is the true Church, he must
settle his doubt, seek the true Church, and enter it; for if he
continues to live in doubt, he becomes like the one who knows the true
Church and is deterred by worldly considerations from entering it.

In like manner one who, doubting, fears to examine the religion he
professes lest he should discover its falsity and be convinced of the
truth of the Catholic faith, cannot be saved.

Suppose, however, that there is a non-Catholic who firmly believes that
the church to which he belongs is the true Church, and who has
never--even in the past--had the slightest doubt of that fact--what will
become of him?

If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be
saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was
doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the
dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his
salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed
remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin
be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does
not go to confession; and if he does, his minister--not being a true
priest--has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without
confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal
sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is
often only imperfect contrition--that is, sorrow for our sins because we
fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a
Catholic--with all the instruction he has received about how to make an
act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such
acts--might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after
having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant
have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about
this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of
perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not
know of this necessary means of regaining God's friendship, or he would
be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus
the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of
God.

If, then, we found a Protestant who never committed a mortal sin after
Baptism, and who never had the slightest doubt about the truth of his
religion, that person would be saved; because, being baptized, he is a
member of the Church, and being free from mortal sin he is a friend of
God and could not in justice be condemned to Hell. Such a person would
attend Mass and receive the Sacraments if he knew the Catholic Church to
be the only true Church.

I am giving you an example, however, that is rarely found, except in the
case of infants or very small children baptized in Protestant sects. All
infants rightly baptized by anyone are really children of the Church, no
matter what religion their parents may profess. Indeed, all persons who
are baptized are children of the Church; but those among them who deny
its teaching, reject its Sacraments, and refuse to submit to its lawful
pastors, are rebellious children known as heretics.

I said I gave you an example that can scarcely be found, namely, of a
person not a Catholic, who really never doubted the truth of his
religion, and who, moreover, never committed during his whole life a
mortal sin. There are so few such persons that we can practically say
for all those who are not visibly members of the Catholic Church,
believing its doctrines, receiving its Sacraments, and being governed by
its visible head, our Holy Father, the Pope, salvation is an extremely
difficult matter.

I do not speak here of pagans who have never heard of Our Lord or His
holy religion, but of those outside the Church who claim to be good
Christians without being members of the Catholic Church.



Lesson 12
ON THE ATTRIBUTES AND MARKS OF THE CHURCH


An attribute is any characteristic or quality that a person or thing may
be said to have. All good qualities are good attributes, and all bad
qualities are bad attributes. All perfections or imperfections are
attributes. If I can say of you that you are good, then goodness is one
of your attributes. If I can say you are beautiful, then beauty is one
of your attributes. We have seen already that the Church has four marks;
but besides these it has three attributes, which flow from its marks. It
is easier to see the marks of the Church than its attributes. It is
easier to see, for instance, that the Church is one than that it is
indefectible.

*122 Q. Which are the attributes of the Church?
A. The attributes of the Church are three: authority, infallibility, and
indefectibility.

*123 Q. What do you mean by the authority of the Church?
A. By the authority of the Church I mean the right and power which the
Pope and the bishops, as the successors of the Apostles, have to teach
and govern the faithful.

Authority is the power which one person has over another, so as to be
able to exact obedience. A teacher has authority over his scholars,
because they must obey him; but the teacher need not obey the scholars,
because they have no authority over him. God alone has authority of
Himself and from Himself All others who have authority receive it from
God, either directly or through someone else. The Pope has authority
from God Himself, and the priests get theirs through their bishops.
Therefore, to resist or disobey lawful authority is to resist and
disobey God Himself. If one of you were placed in charge of the class in
my absence, he would have lawful authority, and the rest of you should
obey him--not on account of himself, but on account of the authority he
has. Thus the President of the United States, the governor, the mayor,
etc., are only ordinary citizens before their election; but after they
have been elected and placed in office they exercise lawful authority
over us, and we are bound as good citizens and as good Catholics to
respect and obey them.

*124 Q. What do you mean by the infallibility of the Church?
A. By the infallibility of the Church I mean that the Church cannot err
when it teaches a doctrine of faith or morals.

"Infallibility." When we say Church is infallible, we mean that it
cannot make a mistake or err in what it teaches; that the Pope, the head
of the Church, is infallible when he teaches ex cathedra--that is, as
the successor of St. Peter, the vicar of Christ. Cathedra signifies a
seat, ex stands for "out of"; therefore, ex cathedra means out of the
chair or office of St. Peter, because chair is sometimes used for
office. Thus we say the presidential chair is opposed to this or that,
when we intend to say the president, or the one in that office, is
opposed to it. The cathedral is the church in which the bishop usually
officiates, so called on account of the bishop's cathedra, or throne,
being in it.

*125 Q. When does the Church teach infallibly?
A. The Church teaches infallibly when it speaks through the Pope and
bishops united in general council, or through the Pope alone when he
proclaims to all the faithful a doctrine of faith or morals.

But how will we know when the Pope speaks ex cathedra, when he is
speaking daily to people from all parts of the world? To speak ex
cathedra or infallibly, three things are required:

(1) He must speak as the head of the whole Church, not as a private
person; and in certain forms of words by which we know he is speaking ex
cathedra.

(2) What he says must hold good for the whole Church--that is, for all
the faithful, and not merely for this or that particular person or
country.

(3) He must speak on matters of faith or morals--that is, when the Holy
Father tells all the faithful that they are to believe a certain thing
as a part of their faith; or when he tells them that certain things are
sins, they must believe him and avoid what he declares to be sin. He
could not make a mistake in such things. He could not say that Our Lord
taught us to believe and do such and such, if Our Lord did not so teach,
because Our Lord promised to be with His Church for all time, and to
send the Holy Ghost, who would teach it all truth and abide with it
forever. If then the Church could make mistakes in teaching faith and
morals, the Holy Ghost could not be with it, and Our Lord did not tell
the truth--to say which would be blasphemy. But remember, the Pope is
not infallible unless he is teaching faith or morals; that is, what we
believe or do in order to save our souls. If the Holy Father wrote a
book on astronomy, mathematics, grammar, or even theology, he could make
mistakes as other men do, because the Holy Ghost has not promised to
guide him in such things. Nevertheless, whatever the Pope teaches on
anything you may be pretty sure is right. The Pope is nearly always a
very learned man of many years' experience. He has with him at Rome
learned men from every part of the world, so that we may say he has the
experience of the whole world. Other rulers cannot and need not know as
much as the Holy Father, because they have not to govern the world, but
only their own country. Moreover, there is no government in the whole
world as old as the Church, no nation that can show as many rulers
without change; so we may say the Pope has also the experience of all
the Popes who preceded him, from St. Peter down to our present Holy
Father, Pius XI--two hundred and sixty-one popes. Therefore, considering
all this, we should have the very greatest respect for the opinions and
advice of the Holy Father on any subject. We should not set up our
limited knowledge and experience against his, even if we think that we
know better than he does about certain political events taking place in
our country, for we are not sure that we do. The Holy Father knows the
past history of nations; he knows the nature of mankind; he knows that
what takes place in one nation may, and sometimes does, take place in
another under the same circumstances. Thus the Holy Father has greater
foresight than we have, and we should be thankful when he warns us
against certain dangers in politics or other things. He does not teach
politics; but as everything we do is either good or bad, every statesman
or politician must consider whether what he is about to do be right or
wrong, just or unjust. It is the business and duty of the Holy Father to
declare against the evil or unjust actions of either individuals or
nations, and for that reason he seems at times to interfere in politics
when he is really teaching morals. At times, too, governments try to
deprive the Church or the Holy Father of their rights; and when he
defends himself against such injustice and protests against it, his
enemies cry out that he is interfering with the government.

You understand now what the infallibility of the Pope implies, and that
it does not mean, as the enemies of the Church say, that the Pope cannot
sin, cannot be mistaken in anything. The Pope can sin just the same as
anyone else; he could be a very bad man if he wanted to be so, and take
the punishment God would inflict for his sins. Could he not be very
angry, entirely neglect prayer, or pray with willful distraction; could
he not be proud, covetous, etc.? And these are sins. Therefore he could
sin; and hence he has to go to confession and seek forgiveness just as
we do. Therefore remember this: whether the Pope be a bad man or a good
man in his private life, he must always tell the truth when he speaks ex
cathedra, because the Holy Ghost is guiding him and will not permit him
to err or teach falsehood in faith or morals.

We have examples in the Bible (Numbers 22, 23) where God sometimes makes
even bad men foretell the truth. Once He gave an ass the power to speak,
that it might protest against the wrongdoing of its wicked and cruel
rider.

We have seen how governments interfere with the rights of the Holy
Father, and thus he has need of his temporal power that he may be
altogether independent of any government. Now let me explain to you what
is meant by the Temporal Power of the Pope. Well, then, the Holy Father
should have some city or states, not belonging to any government, in
which he would be the chief and only ruler. Up to the year 1870 the Holy
Father did have such states: they were called the Papal States, and the
power he had over them--just like that of any other ruler--was called
the temporal power. Now how did he get those states and how did he lose
them? He got them in the most just manner, and held possession of them
for about a thousand years.

Hundreds of years ago the people of Rome and the surrounding countries
elected the Pope their sole ruler. He was already their spiritual ruler,
and they made him also their temporal ruler. Then the Pope protected and
governed them as other rulers do. Later, kings and princes added other
lands, and thus by degrees the possessions of the Pope became quite
extended.

How did he lose these possessions? The Italian government took them from
him in the most unjust manner. Besides the lands, they deprived the
Church of other property donated to it by its faithful children. No
ruler in the world had a more just claim or better right to his
possessions than the Holy Father, and a government robbed him of them as
a thief might take forcibly from you whatever had been justly given to
you, when he found you were unable to defend yourself against him.

But has the Holy Father need of his temporal power? Yes, the Holy Father
has need of some temporal power. He must be free and independent in
governing the Church. He must be free to say what he wishes to all
Catholics throughout the world, and free to hear whatever they have to
say to him. But if the Pope is under another ruler he cannot be free.
That ruler may cast him into prison, and not allow him to communicate
with the bishops of the world. At least, he can say nothing about the
injustice of the ruler who is over him. Therefore the Pope must have
some possessions of his own, that he may not be afraid of the injustice
of any ruler, and may speak out the truth boldly to the whole world,
denouncing bad rulers and praising good ones as they deserve.

Mind, I do not say what possessions the Holy Father should have but
simply that he should have some, in which he would be altogether
independent. In justice he should have all that was taken from him. We
have a good example here in the United States to illustrate the need of
the independence of the Pope. You know every State in the United States
is a little government in itself, with its own governor, legislature,
laws, etc. Now over all these little governments or States we have the
government of the United States, with the President at its head. In the
beginning the members of the United States Government assembled to
transact the business of the nation sometimes in one State and sometimes
in another--sometimes in New York and sometimes in Pennsylvania, etc.
But they soon found that in order to be independent of every State and
just to all, they must have some territory or possessions of their own
not under the power of any State. So some of the States granted them
Washington and the country about it for ten miles square--now called the
District of Columbia--which the United States government could freely
perform its duties. In a similar manner the Holy Father is over all the
governments of the world in matters of religion--in matters of justice
and right; and just as the United States government has to decide
between the rights of one State and the rights of another, so the Holy
Father has sometimes to decide between the rights of one government and
the rights of another, and must, in order to be just with all, be free
and independent of all.

Again, the temporal power of the Pope is very useful to the Church; for
with the money and goods received from his possessions the Holy Father
can educate priests and teachers, print books, etc., for the foreign
missions. He can also support churches, school, and institutions in poor
countries, and especially where the missionaries are laboring for the
conversion of the native heathens.

When the Holy Father had his own possessions he could do much that he
cannot now do for the conversion of pagan nations. At present he must
depend entirely upon the charitable offerings of the faithful for all
good works, even for his own support. The offering we make once a year
for the support of the Holy Father is called "Peter's pence," because it
began by everyone sending yearly a penny to the Pope, the successor of
St. Peter.

*126 Q. What do you mean by the indefectibility of the Church?
A. By the indefectibility of the Church I mean that the Church, as
Christ founded it, will last till the end of time.

Therefore indefectibility means that the Church can never change any of
the doctrines that Our Lord taught, nor ever cease to exist. When we say
it is infallible, we mean that it cannot teach error while it lasts; but
when we say it is indefectible, we mean that it will last forever and be
infallible forever, and also that it will always remain the same as Our
Lord founded it. There are two things that you must clearly understand
and not confound, namely, the two kinds of laws in the Church--those
which Our Lord gave it and those which it made itself. The laws that Our
Lord gave it can never change. For example, the Church could not abolish
one of the Sacraments, leaving only six; neither could it add a new one,
making eight. But when, for example, the Church declares that on a
certain day we cannot eat flesh meat, it makes the law itself, and can
change it when it wishes. Our Lord left His Church free to make certain
laws, just as they would be needed. It has always exercised this power,
and made laws to suit the circumstances of the place or times. Even now
it does away with some of its old laws that are no longer useful, and
makes new ones that are more necessary. But the doctrines, the truths of
faith or morals, the things we must believe and do to save our souls, it
never changes and never can change: it may regulate some things in the
application of the divine laws, but the laws themselves can never change
in substance.

*127 Q. In whom are these attributes found in their fullness?
A. These attributes are found in their fullness in the Pope, the visible
head of the Church, whose infallible authority to teach bishops,
priests, and people in matters of faith or morals will last to the end
of the world.

128 Q. Has the Church any marks by which it may be known?
A. The Church has four marks by which it may be known: it is one; it is
holy; it is catholic; it is apostolic.

*129 Q. How is the Church one?
A. The Church is one because all its members agree in one faith, are all
in one communion, and are all under one head.

The Catholic Church is "one," first in government and second in
doctrine. In government every pastor has a certain parish or territory
in which all the people belong to his congregation--they form his flock.
He has to take care only of these, to teach them, give them the
Sacraments, etc. He has not to be responsible for those outside his
parish. Then over the pastor we have the bishop, who looks after a
certain number of pastors; then comes the archbishop over a certain
number of bishops; next comes the primate, who is head of all the
archbishops in the country; and over all the primates of the world we
have the Holy Father. Thus, when the Holy Father speaks to the bishops,
the bishops speak to the priests, and the priests to the people. The
Church is therefore one in government, like a great army spread over the
world. We can go up step by step from the lowest member of the Church to
the highest--the Holy Father; and from him to Our Lord Himself, who is
the invisible head of all. This regular body of priests, bishops,
archbishops, etc., so arranged, one superior to the other, is called the
hierarchy of the Church.

The Church is one also in doctrine--that is, every one of the three
hundred million of Catholics in the world believes exactly the same
truths. If any Catholic denies only one article of faith, though he
believes all the rest, he ceases to be a Catholic, and is cut off from
the Church. If, for example, you would not believe Matrimony or Holy
Orders a Sacrament, or that Our Lord is present in the Holy Eucharist,
you would not be a Catholic, though you believed all the other teachings
of the Church.

Therefore the Church is one both in government and teaching or doctrine.
Now, has any other Church claiming to be Christ's Church that mark? No.
The Protestant religions are not one either in government or belief. The
Protestants of England have no authority over the Protestants of
America, and those of America have nothing to say over those of Germany
or France. So every country is independent, and they have no chief head.
Neither are they one in belief. In the same country there are many kinds
of Protestants--Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc., who do
not believe the same thing. Even those who attend the same church and
profess the same religion do not all believe the same. Everyone, they
say, has a right to interpret the Holy Scriptures according to his own
views, so they take many different meanings out of the very same words.
There must be some chief person to tell the true meaning of the Holy
Scriptures when there is a dispute about it; but they have no such
chief, and the result is they are never done disputing.

The United States has a constitution and laws. Now, suppose every
citizen was allowed to construe the laws to suit himself, without any
regard for the rights of others, what a fine state of affairs we should
soon have. But the wise makers of the constitution and laws of the
United States did not leave us in such danger. They appointed judges to
interpret or explain the laws and give the correct meaning when disputes
arise. Then in Washington there is a chief judge for the whole United
States; and when he says the words of the law mean this or that, every
citizen must abide by his decision, and there is no appeal from it. Just
in the same way Our Lord made laws for all men, and while He was upon
earth He explained them Himself. He never left all men free to take
their own meaning out of them. He appointed judges--the bishops; and a
chief judge for the whole world--the Pope. The Holy Ghost guides him, as
we have seen above, so that he cannot make mistakes in the meaning of
Christ's laws; and when he says, this is what the words of Our Lord in
His law signify, no one who is a true Christian can refuse to believe,
or can appeal from his decision.

*130 Q. How is the Church holy?
A. The Church is holy because its founder, Jesus Christ, is holy;
because it teaches a holy doctrine, invites all to a holy life, and
because of the eminent holiness of so many thousands of its children.

Protestant religions have not holy doctrines if we examine them closely.
They teach, for example, that faith without good works will save us, and
thus take away the motives for doing good; that marriage is not binding
for life--the husband and wife may for some causes separate, or get a
divorce, and marry again. This would leave the children without the care
of their proper parents, sometimes without a home, and nearly always
without religious instruction. The same persons might separate again and
marry another time, and thus there would be nothing but confusion and
immorality in society. Again, some of their doctrines teach that we
cannot help sinning; so everyone could excuse himself for his sins by
saying he could not help them, which you can easily see would lead to
the worst of consequences. Lastly, their doctrines have never made one
saint--acknowledged as such from miracles performed. Protestants are so
called because, when their ancestors rebelled against the Church about
three hundred years ago, the Church made certain laws and they protested
against them, separated from the Church, and formed a new religion of
their own.

*131 Q. How is the Church catholic or universal?
A. The Church is catholic or universal because it subsists in all ages,
teaches all nations, and maintains all truth.

"Subsists" means to have existence.

"Catholic." The word catholic signifies universal. The Church is
universal in three ways, viz.: in time, in place, and in doctrine. It is
universal in time; for from the day Our Lord commissioned His Apostles
to preach to the whole world down to the present, it has existed,
taught, and labored in every age. It is universal in place; that is, it
is not confined to one part of the world, but teaches throughout the
entire world. It is universal in doctrine, for it teaches the same
doctrines and administers the same Sacraments everywhere; and its
doctrines are suited to all classes of men--to the ignorant as well as
the learned, to the poor as well as the rich. It teaches by the voice of
its priests and bishops, and all, civilized or uncivilized, to whom its
voice reaches, can learn its doctrines, receive its Sacraments, and
practice its devotions.

It has converted all the pagan nations that have ever been converted,
and the title catholic belongs to the Roman Catholic Church alone. All
Protestant churches that claim this title do so unjustly. They are not
universal in time, and cannot be called the Church of all ages, because
they were established only three hundred or four hundred or less years
ago. They are not catholic in place, because they are mostly confined to
particular countries. They are not universal in doctrine, because what
they teach in one country they reject in another; and even in the same
country, what they teach at one time they reject at another. Wherever it
is possible for civilized people to go, there you will find a priest
saying Mass in just the same way you see him saying it here. It is a
great consolation for one in a strange country to enter a church and
hear Mass, perceiving no difference in the vestments, ceremonies, or
language of the priest. A little altar boy from the United States could
serve Mass in any part of the world. See, therefore, the great advantage
the Church has in using the Latin language instead of the vernacular or
ordinary language of the people. If the Church used the usual language
of the people, the Mass would seem different in every country; while
natives would understand the words of the priest, strangers would not.

The Latin language is now what we call a dead language; that is, it is
not the common language of any country; and because it is a dead
language does not change: another reason why the Church uses it, that
nothing may change in its divine service. The prayers used in the Church
are exactly the same today as they were when they were written many
centuries ago. The living languages--that is, those in use, such as
English, French, German, etc., are always changing a little--new words
are being added, and the meaning of old ones changed. The Church uses
the same language all over the world to show that it is not the Church
of any particular country, but the true Church of all men everywhere.

Again, using only one language, the Church can hold its great councils,
call together all the bishops of the world, that they may condemn errors
or make wise laws. When the Holy Father addresses them in Latin they can
all understand and answer him. If, therefore, the Church did not use the
same language everywhere how could this be done, unless everyone present
understood all the languages of the world--which is a thing nearly
impossible. But someone might say, if the Mass was said in English we
could follow it better. You can follow just as well in Latin, for in
nearly all prayerbooks you have besides the Latin said by the priest the
meaning of it in English on the same page, or you have the English
alone.

*132 Q. How is the Church apostolic?
A. The Church is apostolic because it was founded by Christ on His
Apostles and is governed by their lawful successors, and because it has
never ceased, and never will cease, to teach their doctrine.

"Apostolic," which means that the Church was founded at the time of the
Apostles, and has been the same ever since. Since the time of St. Peter,
the first Pope, there have been 261 Popes. You can go back from our
present Holy Father, Pius XI, to Benedict XV, who was before him, to
Pius X, who was before him, to Leo XIII, before him, and so on one by
one till you come to St. Peter himself, who lived at the time of Our
Lord. Thus the Church is apostolic in its origin or beginning.

It is also apostolic in its teaching; for all the doctrines it teaches
now were taught by the Apostles. The Church does not make new doctrines,
but it teaches its truths more clearly and distinctly when someone
denies them. For example it would not be necessary for you to prove
yourself good and honest till somebody said you were bad and dishonest.
You prove your honesty when it is denied, but both you and your friends
believed it always, though you did not declare it till it was denied. In
just the same way the Church always believed that Our Lord is the Son of
God; that there are seven Sacraments; that the Pope is infallible, etc.
These truths and all the others were believed by the Apostles, and the
Church proclaimed them in a special manner when they were denied. Then
it called together in council all its bishops, and they, with the Holy
Father, proclaimed these truths--not as new doctrines, but as truths
always believed by the Church, and now defined because denied.

Protestants have not for their churches the mark apostolic. How could
their churches be founded by the Apostles, when the Apostles were dead
more than fourteen hundred years before there were any Protestant
churches? What is more, they have changed the teachings of the Apostles;
and so they have not the mark apostolic either in their origin or
teaching.

But they say the Catholic Church fell into error and made mistakes, and
that God wished reformers to correct these errors. How could the Church
fall into error when Our Lord promised to remain always with it, and to
send the Holy Ghost to guide and teach it forever? And, secondly, if God
sent the Protestants to correct the mistakes of the Catholic Church,
what proof do they give us that they have such power from God? When, as
we have seen, God sends anyone to do a special work, He always gives him
power to prove his mission. When He sent Moses, He gave him signs--the
plagues of Egypt. When He sent His prophets, they called down fire and
rain from Heaven. (3 Kings 18). But Protestants have shown us no signs
and performed no miracles; therefore we cannot believe their assertion
that God sent them to correct the Catholic Church. Neither can we
believe that Our Lord broke His promise to stay with the Church. We
shall see the whole truth of the matter if we go back to the
establishment of the Protestant religion and consider the life of Luther
and the others who founded it.

Luther, then a young man, while out one day saw his friend killed at his
side by a stroke of lightning. Much affected by that sad event, Luther
became a priest in the order of the Augustinians. He was a learned man
and a great preacher, but very proud. The Holy Father was completing St.
Peter's Church in Rome, and about that time granted an indulgence to
those giving alms for the purpose, just as pastors now offer Masses for
those who contribute means to build a new church, or hospital, asylum,
etc.

The Holy Father sent Dominican priests to preach about this indulgence
and collect this money. Then Luther, when he found that he, a great
preacher, was not appointed, was probably jealous. He first began to
preach against the abuses of indulgences: but pride made him go further,
and soon he began to preach against the doctrine of indulgences, and
thus became a heretic. Then he was condemned by the Pope, and cut off
from the Church. Being proud, he would not submit, but began to form a
new religion, now called Protestant. But how did he get the people to
follow him? Oh, very easily. Then, as now, there were plenty of bad and
indifferent Catholics. At that time the Church was rich and had much
property and lands; because when rich Catholics died they often left to
the Church property for its own support and the support of its
institutions. Even during their lifetime kings and princes sometimes
gave the Church large donations of lands and money. The Church then was
supported by these gifts and the income or rents of the lands, and did
not need to look for collections from the people, as it has to do now.
Here, then, is how Luther got many to follow him. He told greedy princes
that if they came with him they could become rich by seizing the
property of all the churches, and the greedy princes, glad of an excuse,
went with him. Then he told the people--the bad Catholics--that fasting
was too severe; going to confession too hard; hearing Mass every Sunday
too difficult; and if they renounced their faith and embraced his new
religion he would do away with all these things: so they also followed
him. He himself broke his solemn vows made to God, and the people easily
followed his example.

Those attending the Protestant churches in our times are generally rich
and refined people, but you must not think that the first Protestants of
three hundred years ago were just like them. No. Many of them were from
the lowest and worst--I do not say poorest--classes in society; and when
they got an excuse, they went about destroying churches and
institutions, burning beautiful statues, paintings, music, books, and
works of art that the Church had collected and preserved for centuries.
This you may read in any of the histories of the Church and times. The
Protestants of the present day praise all these works of art now; but if
their ancestors had had their way every beautiful work of art would have
been destroyed.

Some persons say they would not be members of the Catholic Church
because so many poor people attend it. Then they do not want to belong
to the Church of Our Lord, because His Church is the Church of both poor
and rich. When St. John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Our Lord
if He were really the Messias, Our Lord did not say yes or no, but told
them to relate to John what they had heard and seen (Matt. 11:5),
namely, that He (Christ) cured the blind, the lame, and the deaf, and
preached to the poor. Therefore Our Lord gave preaching to the poor as a
proof that He is the true Redeemer; and since Our Lord Himself had the
poor in His congregation, the Church everywhere must have the poor among
its members, for it must do what Our Lord did. So if you see a church to
which the poor people never go, in which they are not welcome, you have
good reason to suspect it is not the Church of Our Lord--not the true
Church. Again, poverty and riches belong only to this world and make a
distinction only here. The one who is poorest in this world's goods may
be richest in God's grace. Indeed, if most Protestants studied the early
history of their religion they would not be proud, but ashamed of it.
How little they would think of their ancestors who gave up God for some
worldly gain, while the Catholic martyrs gave up everything, even their
lives, rather than forsake God and the true religion.

133 Q. In which church are these attributes and marks found?
A. These attributes and marks are found in the Holy Roman Catholic
Church alone.

We have seen that some religions may seem to have one or two of the
marks; but the Catholic Church alone has them all, and is consequently
the only true Church of Christ. The other religions are not one--that
is, united over the world; they give no proof of holiness, never having
had any great saints whom God acknowledged as such by performing
miracles for them. They are not catholic, because they have not taught
in all ages and nations. They are not apostolic, because established
hundreds of years after the Apostles. They are not infallible, for they
have now declared things to be false which they formerly declared to be
true; they are not indefectible--they are not as Our Lord founded them,
for He never founded them; and they are constantly making changes in
their beliefs and practices.

The marks of the Church are necessary also because the Church must be a
visible Church, that all men may be able to see and know it; for Our
Lord said, "He that will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the
heathen and the publican." (Matt. 18:17). Heathens were those who
worshipped false gods. Publicans were men who gathered the taxes from
the Jews for the Romans; they were generally very cruel to the people,
and were much hated and despised by them. Therefore Our Lord meant: if
anyone will not obey the Church, you should avoid him as you avoid the
heathens and the publicans, whom you despise. Now no one can be blamed
for not obeying a church that is invisible and unknown. Therefore the
true Church must be a visible body and easily known to all who earnestly
seek it as the Church of Christ. But if some shut their eyes and refuse
to look at the light of truth, ignorance will not excuse them; they must
be blamed and fall under the sentence of Our Lord.

*134 Q. From whom does the Church derive its undying life and infallible
authority?
A. The Church derives its undying life and infallible authority from the
Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, who abides with it forever.

*135 Q. By whom is the Church made and kept One, Holy, and Catholic?
A. The Church is made and kept One, Holy, and Catholic by the Holy
Ghost, the spirit of love and holiness, who unites and sanctifies its
members throughout the world.



Lesson 13
ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL


This lesson does not speak of any Sacrament in particular, but upon all
the Sacraments taken together. It explains what we find in all the
Sacraments.

136 Q. What is a Sacrament?
A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.

Three things are necessary to make a Sacrament. There must be: (1) "An
outward," that is, a visible, "sign"; (2) this sign must have been
instituted or given by Our Lord; (3) it must give grace. Now, a sign is
that which tells us that something else exists. Smoke indicates the
presence of fire.

A red light on a railroad tells that there is danger at the spot.
Therefore, the outward signs in the Sacraments tell us that there is in
the Sacraments something we do not see and which they signify and
impart. For example, the outward sign in Baptism is the pouring of the
water on the head of the person to be baptized, and the saying of the
words. Water is generally used for cleaning purposes. Water, therefore,
is used in Baptism as an outward sign to show that as the water cleans
the body, so the grace given in Baptism cleans the soul. It is not a
mere sign, for at the very moment that the priest pours the water and
says the words of Baptism, by the pouring of the water and saying of the
words with the proper intention the soul is cleansed from Original Sin;
that is, the inward grace is given by the application of the outward
sign. Again, in Confirmation the outward sign is the anointing with oil,
the Bishop's prayer, and the placing of his hands upon us. Now what
inward grace is given in Confirmation? A grace which strengthens us in
our faith. Oil, therefore, is used for the outward sign in this
Sacrament, because oil gives strength and light.

In olden times the gladiators--men who fought with swords as
prize-fighters do now with their hands--used oil upon their bodies to
make them strong. Oil was used also to heal wounds. Thus in Confirmation
the application of this outward sign of strength gives the inward grace
of light and strength. Moreover, oil easily spreads itself over anything
and remains on it. A drop of water falling on paper dries up quickly;
but a drop of oil soaks in and spreads over it. So oil is used to show
also that the grace of Confirmation spreads out over our whole lives,
and strengthens us in our faith at all times.

Again, in Penance we have the outward sign when the priest raises his
hand and pronounces over us the words of absolution.

If we did not have these outward signs how could anyone know just at
what time the graces are given? We can know now, for at the very moment
the outward sign is applied the grace is given; because it is the
application of the sign that by divine institution gives the grace, and
thus the two must take place together.

"Institution by Christ" is absolutely necessary because He gives all
grace, and He alone can determine the manner in which He wishes it
distributed. The Church can distribute His grace, but only in the way He
wishes. Hence it cannot make new Sacraments or abolish old ones.

137 Q. How many Sacraments are there?
A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist,
Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

The life of our soul is in many ways similar to the life of our body.
Our bodies must first be born, then strengthened, then fed. When sick,
we must be cured: and when about to die, we must be taken care of. Then
there must be someone to rule others, and there must be persons to be
governed. In like manner, we are spiritually born into a new life by
Baptism, we are strengthened by Confirmation, fed with the Holy
Eucharist, and cured of the maladies of our souls by Penance. By Extreme
Unction we are helped at the hour of death; by Holy Orders our spiritual
rulers are appointed by God; and by Matrimony families, with a father at
the head and children to be ruled, are established. Thus we have our
spiritual life similar in many things to our physical or bodily life.

138 Q. Whence have the Sacraments the power of giving grace?
A. The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of
Jesus Christ.

Our Lord died to merit grace for us, and appointed the Sacraments as the
chief means by which it was to be given.

*139 Q. What grace do the Sacraments give?
A. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others increase it
in our souls.

Baptism and Penance give this sanctifying grace when there is not any of
it in the soul. But the other Sacraments are received while we are in a
state of grace, and they therefore increase the quantity of it in our
souls.

*140 Q. Which are the Sacraments that give sanctifying grace?
A. The Sacraments that give sanctifying grace are Baptism and Penance;
and they are called Sacraments of the dead.

"Of the dead." Not of a dead person; for when a person is dead he cannot
receive any of the Sacraments. It is only while we live upon earth that
we are on trial, and can do good or evil, and merit grace. At death we
receive simply our reward or punishment for what we have done while
living. Therefore, Sacraments of the dead mean Sacraments given to a
dead soul, that is, to a soul in mortal sin. When grace--its life--is
all out of the soul it can do nothing to merit Heaven; and we say it is
dead, because the dead can do nothing for themselves. If a person
receives--as many do--the Sacrament of Penance while his soul is not in
a state of mortal sin, what then? Then the soul--already
living--receives an increase of sanctifying grace, that is, greater
spiritual life and strength.

*141 Q. Why are Baptism and Penance called Sacraments of the dead?
A. Baptism and Penance are called Sacraments of the dead because they
take away sin, which is the death of the soul, and give grace, which is
its life.

*142 Q. Which are the Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in the
soul?
A. The Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in the soul are:
Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and
Matrimony; and they are called Sacraments of the living.

*143 Q. Why are Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy
Orders, and Matrimony called Sacraments of the living?
A. Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and
Matrimony are called the Sacraments of the living because those who
receive them worthily are already living the life of grace.

*144 Q. What sin does he commit who receives the Sacraments of the
living in mortal sin?
A. He who receives the Sacraments of the living in mortal sin commits a
sacrilege, which is a great sin, because it is an abuse of a sacred
thing.

"Sacrilege." There are other ways besides the unworthy reception of the
Sacraments in which a person may commit sacrilege. You could commit it
by treating any sacred thing with great disrespect. For example, by
making common use of the sacred vessels used at the altar; by stealing
from the church; by turning the church into a market, etc. You could
commit it also by willfully killing or wounding persons consecrated to
God, such as nuns, priests, bishops, etc. Therefore sacrilege can be
committed by willfully abusing or treating with great irreverence any
sacred person, sacred place, or sacred thing.

*145 Q. Besides sanctifying grace, do the Sacraments give any other
grace?
A. Besides sanctifying grace, the Sacraments give another grace, called
sacramental.

*146 Q. What is sacramental grace?
A. Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives to attain the end
for which He instituted each Sacrament.

For example, what was the end for which Penance was instituted? To
forgive sins and keep us out of sin. Therefore the sacramental grace
given in Penance is a grace that will enable us to overcome temptation
and avoid the sins we have been in the habit of committing. When a
person is ill the doctor's medicine generally produces two effects: one
is to cure the disease and the other to strengthen the person so that he
may not fall back into the old condition. Well, it is just the same in
the Sacraments; the grace given produces two effects: one is to sanctify
us and the other to prevent us from falling into the same sins. Again,
Confirmation was instituted that we might become more perfect
Christians, stronger in our faith. Therefore the sacramental grace of
Confirmation will strengthen us to profess our faith when circumstances
require it; or when we are tempted to doubt any revealed truth, it will
help us to overcome the temptation. So in all the Sacraments we receive
the sacramental grace or special help given to attain the end for which
the Sacraments were separately instituted.

147 Q. Do the Sacraments always give grace?
A. The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right
dispositions.

"Right dispositions"; that is, if we do all that God and the Church
require us to do when we receive them. For instance, in Penance the
right disposition is to confess all our mortal sins as we know them, to
be sorry for them, and have the determination never to commit them
again. The right disposition for the Holy Eucharist is to be in a state
of grace, and--except in special cases of sickness--fasting for one
hour.

148 Q. Can we receive the Sacraments more than once?
A. We can receive the Sacraments more than once, except Baptism,
Confirmation, and Holy Orders.

Baptism is so important that if we do not receive it we cannot receive
any other of the Sacraments. Now, to administer Baptism validly, that
is, properly, everything must be done exactly as Our Lord intended and
the Church teaches. The proper kind of water and all the exact words
must be used. Also, the water must touch the body, that is, the head if
possible. Now persons not knowing well how to baptize might neglect some
of these things, and thus the person would not be baptized. The Church
wishes to be certain that all its children are baptized; so when there
is any doubt about the first Baptism, it baptizes again conditionally,
that is, the priest says in giving the Baptism over again: If you are
not baptized already, I baptize you now. Therefore if the person was
rightly baptized the first time, the second ceremony has no effect,
because the priest does not intend to give Baptism a second time. But if
the first Baptism was not rightly given, then the second takes effect.
In either case Baptism is given only once; for if the first was valid,
the second is not given; and if the first was invalid, the second is
given.

Converts to the Church are generally baptized conditionally, because
there is doubt about the validity of the Baptism they received.

The Sacraments may be given conditionally when we doubt if they were or
can be validly given.

*149 Q. Why can we not receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders
more than once?
A. We cannot receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders more than
once, because they imprint a character in the soul.

"A character." It is a spiritual character, and remains forever, so that
whether the person is in Heaven or Hell this mark will be seen. It will
show that those having it were Christians, who received Baptism,
Confirmation, or Holy Orders. If they are in Heaven, these characters
will shine out to their honor, and will show how well they used the
grace God gave them. If they are in Hell, these characters will be to
their disgrace, and show how many gifts and graces God bestowed upon
them, and how shamefully they abused all.

*150 Q. What is the character which these Sacraments imprint in the
soul?
A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the soul is a
spiritual mark which remains forever.

*151 Q. Does this character remain in the soul even after death?
A. This character remains in the soul even after death: for the honor
and glory of those who are saved; for the shame and punishment of those
who are lost.



Lesson 14
ON BAPTISM


152 Q. What is Baptism?
A. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from Original Sin, makes us
Christians, children of God, and heirs of Heaven.

"Christians," that is, members of the Church of Christ. "Children of
God," that is, adopted children. All men are children of God by their
creation, but Christians are children of God, not merely by creation,
but also by grace and union with Our Lord. "Heirs of Heaven." An heir is
one who inherits property, money, or goods at the death of another.
These things are left by a will or given by the laws of the State, when
the person dies without making a will. A will is a written statement in
which a person declares what he wishes to have done, at his death, with
whatever he possesses--the charitable objects or the persons to whom he
wishes to leave his goods. This will is called also the last testament.
It is signed by witnesses, and after the death of the testator is
committed to the care of a person--called the executor--whose business
it is to see that all stated in the will or testament is carried out.
There is an officer in the State to take these things in hand and settle
them according to law, when the amount left is large, and there is a
dispute about it. You can understand better now why we call the Bible
the Old and the New Testament. When Our Lord died we were left an
inheritance and spiritual property. The inheritance was Heaven, which we
had lost through the sin of Adam and regained by the death of Our Lord.
The spiritual property was God's grace, which He merited for us. The Old
Testament contains the promise of what Our Lord would leave us at His
death, and the New Testament shows that He kept His promise and did
leave what He said. The Old Testament was written before He died, and
the New Testament after His death. The witnesses of these testaments
were the patriarchs, prophets, Apostles, and evangelists, who heard God
making the promises through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The
Church is the executor of Christ's will, and it is its business to see
that all men receive what Christ left them, namely, God's grace and
Heaven. It must also see that they are not cheated out of it by their
enemies--the devil, the world, and the flesh.

153 Q. Are actual sins ever remitted by Baptism?
A. Actual sins and all the punishment due to them are remitted by
Baptism, if the person baptized be guilty of any.

We know that Baptism remits Original Sin. But suppose a person is not
baptized till he is twenty-five or thirty years old; he has surely
committed some sins since he was seven years of age--the time at which
he received the use of reason. Now the question asks, Are all his sins,
those he committed himself as well as the Original Sin, forgiven by
Baptism? The answer is, Yes. All his sins are forgiven, so that he has
not to confess them. But he must be heartily sorry for them and have the
firm determination of never committing them again, just as in
confession. Moreover, that he may not have to confess these sins, we
must be absolutely certain that he was never baptized before. Besides
remitting the sins themselves, Baptism remits all the temporal
punishment due to them.

In the Sacrament of Penance the sinner is saved from the eternal
punishment--that is, Hell--and from part of the temporal punishment. But
although the sins have been forgiven, the sinner must make satisfaction
to God for the insult offered by his sins.

Therefore, he must suffer punishment in this world or in Purgatory. We
call this punishment temporal, because it will not last forever. You can
make this satisfaction to God while on earth, and thus avoid much of the
temporal punishment by prayers, fasting, gaining indulgences, alms, and
good works; and even by bearing your sufferings, trials, and afflictions
patiently, and offering them up to God in satisfaction for your sins.

In Baptism both the eternal and temporal debt are washed away; so that
if a person just baptized died immediately, he would go directly to
Heaven, not to Purgatory: because persons go to Purgatory to pay off the
temporal debt. Neither could that person gain an indulgence, because
indulgences are only to help us to pay the temporal debt. Neither could
that person receive the Sacrament of Penance, because Penance remits
only sin committed after Baptism, and that person had no sins to remit,
because he died just after receiving Baptism. See, then, the goodness of
Our Lord in instituting Baptism, to forgive everything and leave us as
free from guilt as our first parents were when God created them.

154 Q. Is Baptism necessary to salvation?
A. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it we cannot enter
into the kingdom of Heaven.

Those who through no fault of theirs die without Baptism, though they
have never committed sin, cannot enter Heaven--neither will they go to
Hell. After the Last Judgment there will be no Purgatory. Where, then,
will they go? God in His goodness will provide a place of rest for them,
where they will not suffer and will be in a state of natural peace; but
they will never see God or Heaven. God might have created us for a
purely natural and material end, so that we would live forever upon the
earth and be naturally happy with the good things God would give us. But
then we would never have known of Heaven or God as we do now. Such
happiness on earth would be nothing compared to the delights of Heaven
and the presence of God; so that, now, since God has given us, through
His holy revelations, a knowledge of Himself and Heaven, we would be
miserable if left always upon the earth. Those, then, who die without
Baptism do not know what they have lost, and are naturally happy; but we
who know all they have lost for want of Baptism know how very
unfortunate they are.

Think, then, what a terrible crime it is to willfully allow anyone to
die without Baptism, or to deprive a little child of life before it can
be baptized! Suppose all the members of a family but one little infant
have been baptized; when the Day of Judgment comes, while all the other
members of a family--father, mother, and children--may go into Heaven,
that little one will have to remain out; that little brother or sister
will be separated from its family forever, and never, never see God or
Heaven. How heartless and cruel, then, must a person be who would
deprive that little infant of happiness for all eternity--just that its
mother or someone else might have a little less trouble or suffering
here upon earth.

155 Q. Who can administer Baptism?
A. The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism; but in case of
necessity anyone who has the use of reason may baptize.

"Ordinary"--that is, the one who has a right to baptize and generally
does; others can baptize only in case of necessity.

"Priest" and all above him--bishops, and the Pope; for they have all the
power the priest has, and more besides. "Minister" is the name given
here to one who performs any of the sacred rites or ceremonies of the
Church. "Necessity." When the ordinary minister cannot be had and when
Baptism must be given; for if it is not absolutely necessary to give the
Baptism, then you must wait for the ordinary minister.

"Anyone." Even persons not Catholics or not Christians may, in case of
necessity, baptize a person wishing to receive Baptism, if they know how
to baptize and seriously wish to do what the Church of Christ does when
it baptizes. You cannot baptize a person against his will. Neither can
you baptize an infant whose parents are unwilling to have the child
baptized, or when the child will not be brought up in the Catholic
religion. But if the child is dying, it can and should be baptized, even
without the consent of the parents.

"Use of reason." Because the person must intend to do what Our Lord
ordered to be done in giving Baptism; and a little child could not
understand, and could not therefore baptize.

156 Q. How is Baptism given?
A. Whoever baptizes should pour water on the head of the person to be
baptized, and say, while pouring the water: I baptize thee in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

When the priest baptizes in the church, he uses consecrated water--that
is, water blessed for that purpose on Holy Saturday, and mixed with holy
oil. When he or any other, in case of necessity, baptizes in a private
house, he may use plain, clean water, and he baptizes without the other
ceremonies used in the church. Remember, in Baptism you can use ordinary
clean water, warm or cold. When the priest or anyone baptizes by simply
pouring the water and pronouncing the words of Baptism, we call it
private Baptism. The Baptism given in church with all the ceremonies is
called solemn Baptism. Any person baptized privately should be brought
to the church afterwards to have the rest of the ceremonies performed.

It will increase your respect for the Sacrament to know what ceremonies
are used in solemn Baptism, and what they signify. The following things
must be prepared: the holy oils, a little salt, a little pitcher or
something similar to pour the water from, a vessel to receive the water
when poured, some cotton, two stoles, one white and one purple, towels,
a white cloth, candle, and candlestick.

All being ready, the person holding the infant takes it on the right
arm, face up, and the priest, having learned the name it is to be given,
begins by asking the one to be baptized, "What do you ask of the Church
of God?" And the godparents answer for the child, "Faith." If the person
receiving Baptism is capable of answering for himself, he must do so.
Then the priest exhorts the child to keep the Commandments and love God;
then he breathes three times upon it and bids the evil spirit depart. He
next prays for the child and puts a little salt into its mouth, as a
sign of the wisdom that Faith gives, and again prays for the child. Then
he places the end of his stole over it as a sign that it is led into the
Church; for Baptism is given in a place called the baptistery, railed
off from the church and near the door, because formerly the ceremony up
to this point was performed outside the church, and at this part of the
ceremony the person was led in to be baptized. Then before Baptism the
person says the Creed and the Our Father; for when a grown person is to
be baptized he must first be instructed in all the truths of religion,
and he must say the Creed to show that he believes them. Again the
priest prays and places a little spittle on the ears and nose of the
child, using at the same time the words used by Our Lord when He spit
upon the ground, and rubbing the spittle and clay upon the eyes of the
blind man, healed him. (John 9:6). The priest next asks the child if it
renounces the devil and all his works and pomps--that is, vanities and
empty shows; and having received the answer anoints it with holy oil on
the breast and back. Then he again asks for a profession of faith, and
finally baptizes it. After Baptism he anoints its head with holy chrism,
places a white cloth upon it to signify the purity it received in
Baptism, and as a sign that it must keep its soul free from sin. Then he
places in its hand a lighted candle, to signify the light of faith it
has received in Baptism. We are baptized at the door of the church to
show that without Baptism we are out of the Church. We are often signed
with the Sign of the Cross to remind us that our salvation is due to the
Cross and Passion of Our Lord. The priest's stole is placed over us to
show that the Church takes us under its protection and shields us from
the power of the devil. We are anointed as a sign that we are freed from
our sins and strengthened to fight for Christ. The white cloth or
garment is placed upon us to remind us of the glory of the Resurrection;
the light is placed in our hand to show that we should burn with
Christian charity.

*157 Q. How many kinds of Baptism are there?
A. There are three kinds of Baptism: Baptism of water, of desire, and of
blood.

*158 Q. What is Baptism of water?
A. Baptism of water is that which is given by pouring water on the head
of the person to be baptized, and saying at the same time, I baptize
thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

*159 Q. What is Baptism of desire?
A. Baptism of desire is an ardent wish to receive Baptism, and to do all
that God has ordained for our salvation.

"Ardent wish" by one who has no opportunity of being baptized--for no
one can baptize himself. He must be sorry for his sins and have the
desire of receiving the Baptism of water as soon as he can; just as a
person in mortal sin and without a priest to absolve him may, when in
danger of death, save his soul from Hell by an act of perfect contrition
and the firm resolution of going to confession as soon as possible.
Baptism of desire would be useful and necessary if there was no water at
hand or no person to baptize; or if the one wishing to be baptized and
those about him did not know exactly how Baptism was to be given--which
might easily happen in pagan lands. One thing you must especially
remember in giving Baptism in case of necessity: namely, that it would
not do for one person to pour the water and another to say the words.
The same person must do both, or the Baptism will not be valid. If you
are called to baptize in case of necessity, be very careful to observe
the following points, otherwise the Baptism will not be valid: use clean
water and nothing but water--no other liquid would do. Say every one of
the exact words: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost." It would not do to say, "I baptize thee in
the name of God"; or, "I baptize thee in the name of the Blessed
Trinity"; nor would it do to say simply, "In the name of the Father, and
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," without saying, "I baptize thee."
Say the words at the same time you pour the water, and be sure the water
touches the skin. It would not do to pour the water simply on the hair.
You must not sprinkle the water, but pour it upon the head.

When you have followed the above instructions carefully and are sure you
have baptized properly, never under any circumstance repeat the Baptism
on the same person. It is a sin to try to baptize more than once when
you know Baptism can be given only once. The sight of the person dying
and the fact that you are called for the first time may cause you to be
somewhat excited; but be calm, remember the importance of the Sacrament,
and you will administer it as directed. Parents should not baptize their
own children in case of necessity, if there is any other person present
who can validly do it. Remember those who administer Baptism contract a
spiritual relationship with the person they baptize (not with his
parents). If they wished, years afterwards, to marry the person they
baptized, they must make this relationship known to the priest.

Sponsors are not necessary in private Baptism. A person may be sponsor
for a child in Baptism without being present at the Baptism, provided
someone else holds the child in his name and answers the questions he
himself would answer if he were present. Such a sponsor is said to stand
for the child by proxy, and he, and not the one who holds the child, is
then the real godparent when, at the request of the parents or priest he
has consented to be sponsor.

*160 Q. What is Baptism of blood?
A. Baptism of blood is the shedding of one's blood for the faith of
Christ.

Baptism of blood, called martyrdom, is received by those who were not
baptized with water, but were put to death for their Catholic faith.
This takes place even nowadays in pagan countries where the missionaries
are trying to convert the poor natives. These pagans have to be
instructed before they are baptized. They do everything required of
them, let us suppose, and are waiting for the day of Baptism. Those who
are being thus instructed are called Catechumens. Someday, while they
are attending their instructions, the enemies of religion rush down upon
them and put them to death. They do not resist, but willingly suffer
death for the sake of the true religion. They are martyrs then and are
baptized in their own blood; although, as we said above, blood would not
do for an ordinary Baptism even when we could not get water; so that if
a person drew blood from his own body and asked to be baptized with it,
the Baptism would not be valid. Neither would they be martyrs if put to
death not for religion or virtue but for some other reason--say
political.

*161 Q. Is Baptism of desire or blood sufficient to produce the effects
of Baptism of water?
A. Baptism of desire or of blood is sufficient to produce the effects of
the Baptism of water, if it is impossible to receive the Baptism of
water.

*162 Q. What do we promise in Baptism?
A. In Baptism we promise to renounce the devil with all his works and
pomps.

*163 Q. Why is the name of a saint given in Baptism?
A. The name of a saint is given in Baptism in order that the person
baptized may imitate his virtues and have him for a protector.

The saint whose name we bear is called our patron saint. This saint has
a special love for us and a special care over us. People take the names
of great men because they admire their good qualities or their great
deeds. So we take saints' names because we admire their Christian
virtues and great Christian deeds. We should, therefore, read the life
of our patron saint and try to imitate his virtues, and the day on which
the Church celebrates the feast of our patron saint should be a great
day for us also. The Church generally celebrates the saint's feast on
the day on which he died, that is, as we believe, the day on which he
entered into Heaven.

*164 Q. Why are godfathers and godmothers given in Baptism?
A. Godfathers and godmothers are given in Baptism in order that they may
promise in the name of the child what the child itself would promise if
it had the use of reason.

*165 Q. What is the obligation of a godfather and a godmother?
A. The obligation of a godfather and a godmother is to instruct the
child in its religious duties if the parents neglect to do so or die.

This is a very important obligation, and we should be faithful in the
fulfillment of it before God. Godfathers and godmothers are also called
sponsors. The following persons cannot be sponsors: (1) All persons not
Catholics, because they cannot teach the child the Catholic religion if
they do not know it themselves. (2) All persons who are publicly leading
bad lives; for how can they give good examples and teach their godchild
to be good when they themselves are public sinners? (3) All persons who
are ignorant of their religion should not take upon themselves the
duties of godparents. Therefore parents should select as sponsors for
their children only good, practical Catholics--not Catholics merely in
name, but those who live up to their faith, and who will be an example
for their children. To repeat what has already been said, godparents
contract a spiritual relationship with their godchild, and in the event
of marriage, they must make known this relationship to the priest. The
godfather and the godmother do not contract a relationship between
themselves, or with the child's parents, but only with the child so that
neither the godfather nor the godmother could later marry their godchild
without first obtaining proper dispensation; that is, permission from
the Church granted by the bishop or Pope. With regard to names, parents
should never be induced by any motive to give their child some foolish
or fancy name taken from books, places, or things. Above all, they
should never select the name of any enemy of the Church or unbeliever,
but the name of one of God's saints who will be a model for the child.
Whatever name is taken, if it be not a saint's name, the name of some
saint should be given as a middle name. If this has been omitted in
Baptism, it should be supplied in Confirmation, at which time a new name
can be added. Again, if a saint's name has been taken in Baptism it
should not be shortened or changed so as to mean nothing; as, for
example, Mazie, Miz, etc., for Mary. When your correct name is mentioned
your saint is honored, and I might say invoked, because it should remind
you of him. For that reason you should not have meaningless or foolish
pet names, known only to your family or your friends.



Lesson 15
ON CONFIRMATION


166 Q. What is Confirmation?
A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost
to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

In Baptism we are made Christians, but we are not very strong in our
faith till the Holy Ghost comes in Confirmation. You remember how timid
the Apostles were before the coming of the Holy Ghost, and how firm and
determined in their faith they were afterwards; and how fearlessly they
preached even to those who crucified Our Lord. "Soldiers," because we
must fight for our salvation against our three enemies, the devil, the
world, and the flesh. Our Lord is our great leader in this warfare, and
we must follow Him and fight as He directs. A soldier that fights as he
pleases and not as his general commands, will surely be beaten.

167 Q. Who can administer Confirmation?
A. The bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation.

"Ordinary," because in some very distant countries where on account of
the small number of Christians they have as yet no bishops, the Pope
allows some priest to give Confirmation; but then he must use the holy
oil consecrated by a bishop, and cannot consecrate oil himself.

168 Q. How does the bishop give Confirmation?
A. The bishop extends his hands over those who are to be confirmed,
prays that they may receive the Holy Ghost, and anoints the forehead of
each with holy chrism in the form of a cross.

*169 Q. What is holy chrism?
A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm, consecrated by the
bishop.

The oil signifies the strength we receive, and the balm that we should
be free from the corruption of sin, and give forth the sweetness of
virtue.

170 Q. What does the bishop say in anointing the person he confirms?
A. In anointing the person he confirms the bishop says: I sign thee with
the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation,
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

*171 Q. What is meant by anointing the forehead with chrism in the form
of a cross?
A. By anointing the forehead with chrism in the form of a cross is
meant, that the Christian who is confirmed must openly profess and
practice his faith, never be ashamed of it, and rather die than deny it.

"Openly profess"--that is, acknowledge that he is a Catholic when it is
necessary to do so. He need not proclaim it in the streets. "Practice"
it without regard for what other people think, say, or do. "Ashamed" of
a religion so glorious as the Catholic religion? Would we not be proud
to belong to a society of which kings and princes were members? Well, a
few centuries ago nearly all the kings, princes, and great men of the
earth were Catholics. All the saints were Catholics. All the Popes were
Catholics. At present over three hundred million people in the world are
Catholics. This Church was founded when Christ Our Lord was on earth,
and is nearly two thousand years old. All the other churches are only a
few hundred years old. We ought, therefore, to be proud of our religion,
for which and in which so many noble persons died. We should feel proud
that we are Catholics; while Protestants should feel ashamed in our
presence, for they have deserted the true standard of Christ, and
followed some other leader who set up a religion of his own in
opposition to the true Church of Our Lord. They will not have the cross
or crucifix, the standard of Christ, in their churches or houses or
about their persons, and yet they claim to be Christians redeemed by the
Cross. We are called upon to defend or profess our religion when we have
to do what the Church and God require us to do: for example, hear Mass
on Sundays and holy days; abstain from the use of fleshmeat on Ash
Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, fast on fast-days, and the like, when
we are among persons not Catholics.

*172 Q. Why does the bishop give the person he confirms a slight blow on
the cheek?
A. The bishop gives the person he confirms a slight blow on the cheek to
put him in mind that he must be ready to suffer anything, even death,
for the sake of Christ.

173 Q. To receive Confirmation worthily is it necessary to be in the
state of grace?
A. To receive Confirmation worthily it is necessary to be in the state
of grace.

*174 Q. What special preparation should be made to receive Confirmation?
A. Persons of an age to learn should know the chief mysteries of faith
and the duties of a Christian, and be instructed in the nature and
effects of this Sacrament.

How can one be a good soldier who does not know the rules and
regulations of the army nor understand the commands of his general? How
can one be a good Christian who does not understand the laws of the
Church and the teachings of Christ? The "nature"--that is, understand
the Sacrament itself. "Effects"--that is, what it does in our souls.

175 Q. Is it a sin to neglect Confirmation?
A. It is a sin to neglect Confirmation, especially in these evil days
when faith and morals are exposed to so many and such violent
temptations.

"Temptations"--from the sayings and writings of the enemies of religion.
To neglect it when we have an opportunity of receiving it without any
very great difficulty would be a sin. When persons have been unfortunate
enough to grow up without Confirmation, they should come at any time in
their lives to receive it, and not be ashamed to do so on account of
their age or condition in life.



Lesson 16
ON THE GIFTS AND FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST


*176 Q. What are the effects of Confirmation?
A. The effects of Confirmation are an increase of sanctifying grace, the
strengthening of our faith, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

"Increase," because we must be in a state of grace, that is, having
already sanctifying grace in our souls when we receive Confirmation.
"Strengthening," so that we have no doubt about the doctrines we
believe.

*177 Q. What are the gifts of the Holy Ghost?
A. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are wisdom, understanding, counsel,
fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

*178 Q. Why do we receive the gift of fear of the Lord?
A. We receive the gift of fear of the Lord to fill us with a dread of
sin.

On account of the goodness of God and the punishment He can inflict.

*179 Q. Why do we receive the gift of piety?
A. We receive the gift of piety to make us love God as a Father, and
obey Him because we love Him.

*180 Q. Why do we receive the gift of knowledge?
A. We receive the gift of knowledge to enable us to discover the will of
God in all things.

*181 Q. Why do we receive the gift of fortitude?
A. We receive the gift of fortitude to strengthen us to do the will of
God in all things.

Some know the will of God--what they should do--but they have not the
courage to follow the dictates of their conscience. For example, a
person goes with bad company: the gift of knowledge will teach him that
he should give it up; but the gift of fortitude will enable him to do
what his conscience shows him to be right.

*182 Q. Why do we receive the gift of counsel?
A. We receive the gift of counsel to warn us of the deceits of the
devil, and of the dangers to salvation.

The devil is much wiser than we are, and has much more experience, being
among the people of the world ever since the time of Adam--about 6,000
years. He could therefore easily deceive and overcome us if God Himself
by the gift of counsel did not enable us to discover his tricks and
expose his plots. When at times we are tempted, our conscience warns us,
and if we follow the warning we shall escape the sin. Counsel tells us
when persons or places are dangerous for our salvation.

*183 Q. Why do we receive the gift of understanding?
A. We receive the gift of understanding to enable us to know more
clearly the mysteries of faith.

"Mysteries," truths we could never know by reason, but only by the
teaching of God; and the gift of understanding enables us to know better
what His teaching means. The Apostles heard and knew what Our Lord
taught, but they did not fully understand the whole meaning till the
Holy Ghost had come.

*184 Q. Why do we receive the gift of wisdom?
A. We receive the gift of wisdom to give us a relish for the things of
God and to direct our whole life and all our actions to His honor and
glory.

"Relish," a liking for, a desire for.

*185 Q. Which are the beatitudes?
A. The beatitudes are:

(1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
(2) Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.
(3) Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
(4) Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice, for they
    shall be filled.
(5) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
(6) Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.
(7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children
    of God.
(8) Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for
    theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

The beatitudes are part of a sermon Our Lord once preached to the people
on the Mount. (Matt. 5). When Our Lord wished to preach, the Jews would
not always allow Him to enter their synagogues or meeting houses; so He
preached to the people in the open air. Sometimes He stood in a boat by
the seashore; sometimes on a little hill, with the people standing or
sitting near Him. Did you ever think how you would have acted if you
lived at that time and were present when Our Lord preached? How anxious
you would have been to get near to Him? How you would have pushed your
way through the crowd and listened to every word? Why, then, do you
sometimes pay so little attention in church or at instructions when the
words of Our Lord are repeated to you? Our Lord instituted a Church
which, as we know, is sometimes called the kingdom of Heaven. In this
sermon He laid down the condition for being good subjects of His
kingdom; that is, He gives the virtues we should practice to be good
children of the Church. He tells us what rewards we shall have for
practicing these virtues and leading a holy life: namely, God's grace
and blessing in this world and everlasting glory in Heaven.

(1) "Poor in spirit." One is poor in spirit if he does not set his heart
upon riches and the goods of this world in such a way that he would be
willing to offend God in order to possess them, or rather than part with
them. Thus one who has no money but who would do anything to get it,
would be poor, but not poor in spirit, and therefore not among those Our
Lord calls blessed. If we are really poor and wish to be poor in spirit
also, we must be contented with our lot--with what God gives us--and
never complain against Him. No matter how poor, miserable, or afflicted
we may be, we could still be worse, since we can find others in a worse
condition than we are. We do not endure every species of misery, but
only this or that particular kind; and if the rest were added, how much
worse our condition would be! The very greatest misery is to be in a
state of sin. If we are poor and in sin, our condition is indeed
pitiable, for we have no consolation; but if we are virtuous in poverty,
bearing our trials in patience and resignation for the love of God, we
have the rich treasures of His grace and every assurance of future
happiness. On the other hand, if one is very rich and gives freely and
plentifully to the poor and works of charity, and is willing to part
with riches rather than offend God, such a one is poor in spirit and can
be called blessed. It is a great mistake to risk our souls for things we
must leave to others at our death. Sometimes those who leave the
greatest inheritance are soonest forgotten and despised, because the
money or property bequeathed gives rise to numerous lawsuits, quarrels
and jealousies among the relatives, and thus becomes a very curse to
that family, whose members hate one another on its account. Or it may
happen that the heirs thoughtlessly enjoy and foolishly squander the
wealth the man, now dead, has labored so hard to accumulate, while he,
perhaps, is suffering in Hell for sins committed in securing it. Again,
how many children have been ruined through the wealth left them by their
parents! Instead of using it for good purposes they have made it a means
of sin; often lose their faith and souls on account of it; and in their
ingratitude never offer a prayer or give an alms for the soul of the
parent, who in his anxiety to leave all to them left nothing in charity
to the Church or the poor. Surely it is the greatest folly to set our
hearts upon that which can be of no value to us after death. When a
person dies men ask: What wealth has he left behind? But God and the
angels ask, What merits has he sent before him?

(2) "Possess the land"--that is, the promised or holy land, which was a
figure of the Church. Therefore it means the meek shall be true members
of Our Lord's Church here on earth and hereafter in Heaven, and be
beloved by all.

(3) "That mourn." Suffering is good for us if we bear it patiently. It
makes us more like Our Blessed Lord, who was called the Man of Sorrows.

(4) "Justice"--that is, all kinds of virtue. "Filled"--that is, with
goodness and grace. In other words,
if we ask and really wish to become virtuous, we shall become so. St.
Joseph is called in Holy Scripture "a just man," to show that he
practiced every virtue.

(5) If we are "merciful" to others, God will be merciful to us.

(6) "Clean of heart"--that is, pure in thoughts, words, deeds, and
looks.

(7) "Peacemakers." If persons who try to make peace and settle disputes
are called the children of God, those who, on the contrary, try to stir
up dissensions should be called the children of the devil. Never tell
the evil you may hear of another, especially to the one of whom it was
spoken; and never carry stories from one to another: it is contemptible,
and sinful as well. If you have nothing good to say of the character of
another, be silent, unless your duty compels you to speak. Never be a
child of the devil by exciting jealousy, hatred, or revenge in anyone;
but on the contrary, make peace wherever you can, and be one of the
children of God.

(8) "Suffer persecution." Therefore, when you are badly treated on
account of your piety or religion, remember you are like the martyrs of
your holy faith, suffering for virtue and truth, and that you will
receive your reward.

*186 Q. Which are the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost?
A. The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are charity, joy, peace,
patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty,
continency, and chastity.

"Fruits," the things that grow from the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
"Charity," love of God and our neighbor, "Peace" with God and man and
ourselves. With God, because we are His friends. With man, because we
deal justly with all and are kind to all. With ourselves, because we
have a good conscience, that does not accuse us of sin. "Benignity,"
disposition to do good and show kindness. "Long-suffering"--same as
patience. "Modesty, continency, and chastity" refer to purity in
thoughts, words, looks, and actions.



Lesson 17
ON THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE


When Our Blessed Lord redeemed us, He applied the benefits of the
Redemption in the Sacrament of Baptism. By this Baptism He freed us from
sin and the slavery of the devil; He restored us to God's grace; He
reopened for us Heaven; made us once more children of God: in a word, He
placed us in the condition in which we were before our fall through the
sin of our first parents. This was certainly a great kindness bestowed
upon us, and one would think we would never forget it, and never more
lose God's friendship by any fault of ours; especially when we had seen
the great miseries brought upon the world by sin, and had learned
something of Hell where we would have been, and of Heaven which we would
have lost, if Our Lord had not redeemed us. Our Blessed Lord saw,
however, that we would forget His benefits, and again, even after
Baptism, go freely into the slavery of the devil. How, then, could we be
saved? We could not be baptized again, because Baptism can be given only
once. Our good Lord in His kindness instituted another Sacrament, by
which we could once more be freed from sin if we had the misfortune to
fall into it after Baptism--it is the Sacrament of Penance. It is called
the plank in a shipwreck. When sailors are shipwrecked and thrown
helplessly into the ocean, their only hope is some floating plank that
may bear them to the shore. So when we fall after Baptism we are thrown
into the great ocean of sin, where we must perish if we do not rest upon
the Sacrament of Penance, which will bring us once more in safety to the
friendship of God. How very thankful the poor shipwrecked sailors would
be to anyone who would offer them a plank while they are in danger! Do
you think they would refuse to use it? In like manner how thankful we
should be for the Sacrament of Penance, and how anxious we should be to
use it when we arc in danger of losing our souls!

The Sacrament of Penance shows the very great kindness of Our Lord. He
might have said: I saved them once, and I will not trouble Myself more
about them; if they want to sin again, let them perish. But no, He
forgives us and saves us as often as we sincerely call on Him for help,
being truly sorry for our sins. He left this power also to His Apostles,
saying to them: As often as any poor sinner shall come to you and show
that he is truly sorry for his sins, and has the determination not to
commit them again, and confesses them to you, I give you the power to
pardon his sins in the Sacrament of Penance. The forgiveness of your
sins is the chief though not the only blessing you receive in the
reception of this Sacrament, through which you derive so many and great
advantages from the exhortation, instruction, or advice of your
confessor.

Is it not a great benefit to have a friend to whom you can go with the
trials of your mind and soul, your troubles, temptations, sins, and
secrets? You have that friend--the priest in the confessional. He is
willing to help you, for he consecrated his life to God to help men to
save their souls. He is able to help you, for he understands your
difficulties, sins, and temptations, and the means of overcoming them.
He has made these things the study of his life, and derives still
greater knowledge of them from hearing the sad complaints of so many
relating their secret sorrows or afflictions, and begging his advice.

Then you are sure that whatever you tell him in the confessional will
never be made known to others, even if the priest has to die to conceal
it. You might tell your secrets to a friend, and if you afterwards
offended him he would probably reveal all you told him. The priest asks
no reward for the service he gives you in the confessional, but loves to
help you, because he has pledged himself to God to do so, and would sin
if he did not. Some enemies of our holy religion have tried to make
people believe that Catholics have to pay the priest in confession for
forgiving their sins; but every Catholic, even the youngest child who
has been to confession, knows this to be untrue, and a base calumny
against our holy religion; even those who assert it do not believe it
themselves. The good done in the confessional will never be known in
this world. How many persons have been saved from sin, suicide, death,
and other evils by the advice and encouragement received in confession!
How many persons who have fallen into the lowest depths of sin have by
the Sacrament of Penance been raised up and made to lead good,
respectable lives--a blessing to themselves, their families, and
society!

187 Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed after Baptism are
forgiven.

One who has never been baptized could not go to confession and receive
absolution, nor indeed any of the Sacraments.

*188 Q. How does the Sacrament of Penance remit sin, and restore the
soul to the friendship of God?
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits sin and restores the friendship of
God to the soul by means of the absolution of the priest.

"Absolution" means the words the priest says at the time he forgives the
sins. Absolve means to loose or free. When ministers or ambassadors are
sent by our government to represent the United States in England,
France, Germany, or other countries, whatever they do there officially
is done by the United States. If they make an agreement with the
governments to which they are sent, the United States sanctions it, and
the very moment they sign the agreement it is signed and sanctioned by
the authority of our government whose representatives they are, and
their official action becomes the action of the United States itself.
But when their term of office expires, though they remain in the foreign
countries, they have no longer any power to sign agreements in the name
and with the authority of the United States.

You see, therefore, that it is the power that is given them, and not
their own, that they exercise. In like manner Our Lord commissioned His
priests and gave them the power to forgive sins, and whatever they do in
the Sacrament of Penance He Himself does. At the very moment the priest
pronounces the words of absolution on earth his sentence is ratified in
Heaven and the sins of the penitent are blotted out.

It may increase your veneration for the Sacrament to know the precise
manner in which absolution is given. After the confession and giving of
the penance, the priest first prays for the sinner, saying: "May
Almighty God have mercy on you, and, your sins being forgiven, bring you
to life everlasting. Amen." Then, raising his right hand over the
penitent, he says: "May the Almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon,
absolution, and remission of your sins. Amen." Then he continues: "May
Our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you, and I, by His authority, absolve you
from every bond of excommunication and interdict, as far as I have power
and you stand in need. Then I absolve you from your sins, in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." At these last
words he makes the Sign of the Cross over the penitent. In conclusion he
directs to God a prayer in behalf of the penitent in the following
words: "May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the
Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, and whatsoever good you may
have done or evil you may have suffered, be to you unto the remission of
your sins, the increase of grace, and the recompense of everlasting
life. Amen." Then the priest says, "God bless you," "Go in peace," or
some other expression showing his delight at your reconciliation with
God.

*189 Q. How do you know that the priest has the power of absolving from
the sins committed after Baptism?
A. I know that the priest has the power of absolving from sins committed
after Baptism, because Jesus Christ granted that power to the priests of
His Church when He said: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you
shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they
are retained."

Every Christian knows Our Lord Himself had power to forgive sins:--(1)
because He was God, and (2) because He often did forgive them while on
earth, and proved that He did by performing some miracle; as, for
example (Mark 2; John 5), when He cured the poor men who had been sick
and suffering for many years, He said to them, "Thy sins are forgiven
thee; arise, take up thy bed, and walk," and the men did so. Since Our
Lord had the power Himself, He could give it to His Apostles if He
wished, and He did give it to them and their successors. For if He did
not, how could we and all others who, after Baptism, have fallen into
sin be cleansed from it? This Sacrament of Penance was for all time, and
so He left the power with His Church, which is to last as long as there
is a living human being upon the earth. Our Lord promised to His
Apostles before His death this power to forgive sins (Matt. 18:18), and
He gave it to them after His resurrection (John 20:23), when He appeared
to them and breathed on them, and said: "Whose sins you shall forgive,
they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are
retained."

*190 Q. How do the priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving
sins?
A. The priests of the Church exercise the power of forgiving sins by
hearing the confession of sins, and granting pardon for them as
ministers of God and in His name.

The power to forgive sins implies the obligation of going to confession;
because, as most sins are secret, how could the Apostles know what sins
to forgive and what sins to retain--that is, not to forgive--unless they
were told by the sinner what sins he had committed? They could not see
into his heart as God can, and know his sins; and so if the sinner
wished his sins forgiven, he had to confess them to the Apostles or
their successors. Therefore, since we have the Sacrament of Penance, we
must also have confession.

191 Q. What must we do to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily?
A. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily we must do five things:

(1) We must examine our conscience.
(2) We must have sorrow for our sins.
(3) We must make a firm resolution never more to offend God.
(4) We must confess our sins to the priest.
(5) We must accept the penance which the priest gives us.

When we are about to go to confession the first thing we should do is to
pray to the Holy Ghost to give us light to know and remember all our
sins; to fully understand how displeasing they are to God, and to have a
great sorrow for them, which includes the resolution of never committing
them again. The next thing we should do is:

(1) "Examine our conscience"; and first of all we find out how long a
time it is since our last confession, and whether we made a good
confession then and received Holy Communion and performed our penance.
The best method of examining is to take the Commandments and go over
each one in our mind, seeing if we have broken it, and in what way; for
example: First. "I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods
before Me." Have I honored God? Have I said my prayers morning and
night; have I said them with attention and devotion? Have I thanked God
for all His blessings? Have I been more anxious to please others than to
please God, or offended Him for the sake of others? Second "Thou shalt
not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain." Have I cursed? Have I
taken God's name in vain or spoken without reverence of holy things?
Third. "Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day." Have I neglected to
hear Mass through my own fault on Sundays and holy days of obligation?
Have I kept others from Mass? Have I been late, and at what part of the
Mass did I come in? Have I been willfully distracted at Mass or have I
distracted others? Have I done servile work without necessity? Fourth.
"Honor thy father and thy mother." Have I been disobedient to parents or
others who have authority over me--to spiritual or temporal superiors,
teachers, etc.? Have I slighted or been ashamed of parents because they
were poor or uneducated? Have I neglected to give them what help I could
when they were in need of it? Have I spoken of them with disrespect or
called them names that were not proper? Fifth. "Thou shalt not kill."
Have I done anything that might lead to killing? Have I been angry or
have I tried to take revenge? Have I borne hatred or tried to injure
others? Have I given scandal? Sixth. "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Have I indulged in any bad thoughts, looked at any bad pictures or
objects, listened to any bad conversation, told or listened to bad or
immodest jokes or stories, or, in general, spoken of bad things? Have I
done any bad actions or desired to do any while alone or with others?
Seventh. "Thou shalt not steal." Have I stolen anything myself or helped
or advised others to steal? Have I received anything or part of anything
that I knew to be stolen? Do I owe money and not pay it when I can? Have
I bought anything with the intention of never paying for it or at least
knowing I never could pay for it? Have I made restitution when told to
do so by my confessor; or have I put it off from time to time? Have I
failed to give back what belonged to another? Have I found anything and
not tried to discover its owner, or have I kept it in my possession
after I knew to whom it belonged? Have I cheated in business or at
games? Eighth. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
Have I told lies or injured anyone by my talk? Have I told the faults of
others without any necessity? It is not allowed to tell the faults of
others--even when you tell the truth about them--unless some good comes
of the telling. Ninth. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." This
can come into our examination on the Sixth Commandment. Tenth. "Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." This can come into our
examination on the Seventh Commandment.

After examining yourself on the Commandments of God, examine yourself on
the Commandments of the Church.

First. "To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation." This has
been considered in the examination on the Third Commandment. Second "To
fast and abstain on the days appointed." Have I knowingly eaten meat on
Ash Wednesday or the Fridays of Lent, or not done some chosen penance on
the other Fridays of the year, or not fasted on Ash Wednesday or Good
Friday, unless I had good reason not to do so on account of poor health
or other reason? Third. "To confess at least once a year." Is it over a
year, and how much over it, since I have been to confession? Fourth. "To
receive Holy Eucharist during the Easter time." Did I go to Holy
Communion between the first Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday? If not, I
have committed a mortal sin. Fifth. "To contribute to the support of our
pastors." Have I helped the church and reasonably paid my share of its
expenses--given to charity and the like, or have I made others pay for
the light, heat, and other things that cost money in the church, and
shared in their benefits without giving according to my means? Have I
kept what was given me for the church or other charity, or stolen from
the church and not stated that circumstance when I confessed that I
stole? Sixth. "Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are
related to us within the third degree of kindred, or privately without
witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times." Have I
anything to tell on this Commandment?

After examining yourself on the Commandments of God and of His Church,
examine yourself on the capital sins, especially on "Pride." Have I been
impudent and stubborn, vain about my dress, and the like? Have I
despised others simply on account of poverty or something they could not
help? "Gluttony." Have I ever taken intoxicating drink to excess or
broken a promise not to take it? Have I knowingly caused others to be
intoxicated? "Sloth." Have I wasted my time willfully and neglected to
do my duty at school or elsewhere? After examining yourself on the
Commandments and capital sins, examine yourself on the duties of your
state of life. If you are at school, how have you studied? You should
study not alone to please your parents or teachers, but for the sake of
learning. If you are at work, have you been faithful to your employer,
and done your work well and honestly?

The above method is generally recommended as the best in the examination
of conscience. But you need not follow these exact questions; you can
ask yourself any questions you please: the above questions are given
only as examples of what you might ask, and to show you how to question
yourself. It is useless to take any list of sins in a prayerbook and
examine yourself by it, confessing the sins just as they are given. If
you do take such a list and find in it some questions or sins that you
do not understand, do not trouble yourself about them. In asking
yourself the questions, if you find you have sinned against a
Commandment, stop and consider how many times. There are few persons who
sin against all the Commandments. Some sin against one and some against
another. Find out the worst sin you have and the one you have most
frequently committed, and be sure of telling it.

(2) "Have sorrow for our sins." After examining your conscience and
finding out the sins you have committed, the next thing is to be sorry
for them. The sorrow is the most essential part in the whole Sacrament
of Penance. In this Sacrament there are, as you know, three parts:
contrition, confession, and satisfaction--and contrition is the most
important part. When, therefore, we are preparing for confession, we
should spend just as much time, and even more, in exciting ourselves to
sorrow for our sins as in the examination of our conscience. Some
persons forget this and spend all their time examining their conscience.
We should pray for sorrow if we think we have none. Remember the act of
contrition made at confession is not the sorrow, but only an outward
sign by which we make known to the priest that we have the sorrow in our
hearts, and therefore we must have the sorrow before making the
confession--or at least, before receiving the absolution. Now what kind
of sorrow must we have? Someone might say, I am not truly sorry because
I cannot cry. If some of my friends died, I would be more sorry for that
than for my sins. Do not make any such mistakes. The true and necessary
kind of sorrow for sin is to know that by sin you have offended God, and
now feel that it was very wrong, and that you have from this moment the
firm determination never to offend Him more. If God adds to this a
feeling that brings tears to your eyes, it is good, but not necessary.

(3) Remember real sorrow for sin supposes and contains "a firm
resolution" never to sin again. How can you say to God, "O my God, I am
heartily sorry," etc., if you are waiting only for the next opportunity
to sin? How can we be sorry for the past if we are going to do the same
in the future? Do you think the thief would be sorry for his past thefts
if he had his mind made up to steal again as soon as he had the chance?
Ah, but you will say, nearly all persons sin again after confession. I
know that; but when they were making their confession they thought they
never would, and really meant never to sin again; but when temptation
came, they forgot the good resolution, did not use God's help, and fell
into sin again. I mean, therefore, that at the time you make the act of
contrition you must really mean what you say and promise never to sin,
and take every means you can to keep that promise. If you do fall
afterwards, renew your promise as quickly as possible and make a greater
effort than before. Be on your guard against those things that make you
break your promise, and then your act of contrition will be a good one.
A person may be afraid that he will fall again, but being afraid does
not make his contrition worthless as long as he wishes, hopes, and
intends never to sin again. We should always be afraid of falling into
sin, and we will fall into it if we depend upon ourselves alone, and not
on the help which God gives us in His grace.

(4) "Confess our sins." Having made the necessary preparation, you will
next go into the confessional; and while you are waiting for the priest
to hear you, you should say the Confiteor. When the priest turns to you,
bless yourself and say: "Bless me, father, for I have sinned. It is a
month or a week (or whatever time it may be) since my last confession,
and I have since committed these sins." Then tell your sins as you found
them in examining yourself. In confession you must tell only such things
as are sins. You must not tell all the details and a long story with
every sin. For example, if a boy should confess that he went to see a
friend, and after that met another friend, and when he came home he was
asked what had kept him, and he told a lie. Now, the going to see the
friend and the meeting of the other friend, and all the rest, was not a
sin: the sin was telling the lie, and that was all that should have been
confessed. Therefore, tell only the sins. Then tell only your own sins,
and be very careful not to mention anyone's name--even your own--in
confession. Be brief, and do not say, I broke the First Commandment or
the Second by doing so and so; tell the sin simply as it is, and the
priest himself will know what Commandment you violated. Again, when you
have committed a sin several times a day do not multiply that by the
number of days since your last confession and say to the priest, I have
told lies, for example, four hundred and forty-two times. Such things
only confuse you and make you forget your sins. Simply say, I am in the
habit of telling lies, about so many, three or four--or whatever number
it may be--times a day. Never say "sometimes" or "often" when you are
telling the number of your sins. Sometimes might mean ten or it might
mean twenty times. How then can the priest know the number by that
expression? Give the number as nearly as you can, and if you do not know
the whole number give the number of times a day, etc. Never say "maybe"
I did so and so; because maybe you did not, and the priest cannot judge.
Tell what you consider your worst sin first, then if there be any sin
you are ashamed to tell or do not know how to tell, say to the priest:
"Father, I have a sin I am ashamed to tell, or a sin I do not know how
to tell"; and then the priest will ask you some questions and help you
to tell it. But never think of going away from the confessional with
some sin that you did not tell. The devil sometimes tempts people to do
this, because he does not like to see them in a state of grace and
friends of God. When you are committing the sin, he makes you believe it
is not a great sin, and that you can tell it in confession; but after
you have committed it he makes you believe that it is a most terrible
sin, and that if you tell it, the priest will scold you severely. So it
is concealed and the person leaves the confessional with a new sin upon
his soul--that of sacrilege. When Judas was tempted to betray Our Lord,
he thought thirty pieces of silver a great deal of money; and then,
after he had committed the sin, he cared nothing for the money, but went
and threw it away, and thought his sin so dreadful that he hanged
himself, dying in despair.

It is not necessary to tell the priest the exact words you said in
cursing or in bad conversation, unless he asks you; but simply say,
Father, I cursed so many times. Do not speak too loud in the
confessional, but loud enough for the priest to hear you. If you are
deaf, do not go into the confessional while others are near, but wait
till all have been heard and then go in last, or ask the priest to hear
you someplace else.

(5) Listen attentively to hear what "penance" the priest gives you, and
say the act of contrition while he pronounces the words of absolution;
and above all, never leave the confessional till the priest closes the
little door or tells you to go. If the priest does not say at what
particular time you are to say your penance, say it as soon as you can.

When you have, told all your sins, you will say: "For these and all the
sins of my whole life, especially any I have forgotten, I am heartily
sorry, and ask pardon and penance." Listen to the priest's advice, and
answer simply any question he may ask you. If you should forget a mortal
sin in confession and remember it the same day or evening, or while you
are still in the church, it will not be necessary to wait and go to
confession again. It is forgiven already, because it was included in
your forgotten sins; but you must tell it the next time you go to
confession, saying before your regular confession: In my last confession
I forgot this sin. Of course if you tried to forget your sins your
confession would be invalid. It is only when you examine your conscience
with all reasonable care, and then after all forget some sins, that such
forgotten sins are forgiven.

Never talk or quarrel for places while waiting for confession, and never
cheat another out of his turn in going to confession. It is unjust, it
makes the person angry, and lessens his good disposition for confession.
It creates confusion, and annoys the priest who hears the noise. If you
are in a hurry, ask the others to allow you to go first; and if they
will not be contented and wait, and if you cannot wait, go some other
time, unless you are in the state of mortal sin. In this case you should
go to confession that day, no matter what the inconvenience. Spend your
time while waiting in praying for pardon and sorrow. Never keep the
priest waiting for you in the confessional; pass in as soon as he is
prepared to hear you.

192 Q. What is the examination of conscience?
A. The examination of conscience is an earnest effort to recall to mind
all the sins we have committed since our last worthy confession.

"Worthy confession," because if we made bad confessions we must tell how
often we made them, and whether we received Holy Communion after them or
not, and also all the sins we told in the bad confessions, and all
others committed since the good confession. If, for example, a boy made
a good confession in January, and in confession in February concealed a
mortal sin and went to confession after that every month to December, he
would have to go back to his last good confession, and repeat all the
sins committed since January, and also say that he had gone to
confession once a month and made bad confessions all these times.

*193 Q. How can we make a good examination of conscience?
A. We can make a good examination of conscience by calling to memory the
Commandments of God, the precepts of the Church, the seven capital sins,
and the particular duties of our state in life, to find out the sins we
have committed.

*194 Q. What should we do before beginning the examination of
conscience?
A. Before beginning the examination of conscience we should pray to God
to give us light to know our sins and grace to detest them.



Lesson 18
ON CONTRITION


195 Q. What is contrition or sorrow for sin?
A. Contrition or sorrow for sin is a hatred of sin and a true grief of
the soul for having offended God, with a firm purpose of sinning no
more.

"Offended"--that is, done something to displease Him.

*196 Q. What kind of sorrow should we have for our sins?
A. The sorrow we should have for our sins should be interior,
supernatural, universal, and sovereign.

*197 Q. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow should be interior?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be interior, I mean that it should
come from the heart, and not merely from the lips.

"Interior"--that is, we must really have the sorrow in our hearts. A
boy, for example, might cry in the confessional and pretend to the
priest to be very sorry, and the priest might be deceived and absolve
him; but God, who sees into our hearts, would know that he was not
really sorry, but only pretending, that his sorrow was not interior, but
exterior; and God therefore would withhold His forgiveness and would not
blot out the sins, and the boy would have a new sin of sacrilege upon
his soul; because it is a sacrilege to allow the priest to give you
absolution if you know you have not the right disposition, and you are
not trying to do all that is required for a good confession. So you
understand you might deceive the priest and receive absolution, but God
would not allow the absolution to take effect, and the sins would
remain; for if the priest knew your dispositions as God did, or as you
know them, he would not give you absolution till your dispositions
changed.

*198 Q. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow should be
supernatural?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be supernatural, I mean that it
should be prompted by the grace of God, and excited by motives which
spring from faith, and not by merely natural motives.

"Supernatural"--that is, we must be sorry for the sin on account of some
reason that God has made known to us. For example, either because our
sin is displeasing to God, or because we have lost Heaven by it, or
because we fear to be punished for it in Hell or Purgatory. But if we
are sorry for our sin only on account of some natural motive, then our
sorrow is not of the right kind. If a man was sorry for stealing only
because he was caught and had to go to prison for it, his sorrow would
only be natural. Or if a boy was sorry for telling lies only because he
got a whipping for it, his sorrow would only be natural. Or if a man was
sorry for being intoxicated because he lost his situation and injured
his health, he would not have the necessary kind of sorrow. These
persons must be sorry for stealing, lying, or being intoxicated because
all these are sins against God--things forbidden by Him and worthy of
His punishment. If we are sorry for having offended God on account of
His own goodness, our contrition is said to be perfect. If we are sorry
for the sins because by them we are in great danger of being punished by
God, or because we have lost Heaven by them, and without any regard for
God's own goodness, then our contrition is said to be imperfect.
Imperfect contrition is called attrition.

*199 Q. What do you mean by saying that our sorrow should be universal?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be universal, I mean that we should
be sorry for our mortal sins without exception.

"Universal." If a person committed ten mortal sins, and was sorry for
nine, but not for the tenth, then none of the sins would be forgiven. If
you committed a thousand mortal sins, and were sorry for all but one,
none would be forgiven. Why? Because you can never have God's grace and
mortal sin in the soul at the same time. Now this mortal sin will be on
your soul till you are sorry for it, and while it is on your soul God's
grace will not come to you. Again, you cannot be half sorry for having
offended God; either you must be entirely sorry, or not sorry at all.
Therefore you cannot be sorry for only part of your mortal sins.

*200 Q. What do you mean when you say that our sorrow should be
sovereign?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be sovereign I mean that we should
grieve more for having offended God than for any other evil that can
befall us.

201 Q. Why should we be sorry for our sins?
A. We should be sorry for our sins, because sin is the greatest of evils
and an offense against God our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, and
because it shuts us out of Heaven and condemns us to the eternal pains
of Hell.

We consider an evil great in proportion to the length of time we have to
bear it. To be blind is certainly a misfortune; but it is a greater
misfortune to be blind for our whole life than for one day. Sin,
therefore, is the greatest of all evils; because the misfortune it
brings upon us lasts not merely for a great many years, but for all
eternity. Even slight sufferings would be terrible if they lasted
forever, but the sufferings for mortal sin are worse than we can
describe or imagine, and they are forever. The greatest evils in this
world will not last forever, and are small when compared with sin. Sin
makes us ungrateful to God, who gives us our existence.

"Our Preserver," because if God ceased to watch over us and provide for
us, even for a short time, we would cease to exist.

"Our Redeemer," who suffered so much for us.

*202 Q. How many kinds of contrition are there?
A. There are two kinds of contrition: perfect contrition and imperfect
contrition.

*203 Q. What is perfect contrition?
A. Perfect contrition is that which fills us with sorrow and hatred for
sin because it offends God, who is infinitely good in Himself and worthy
of all love.

It can be a very hard thing to have perfect contrition, but we should
always try to have it, so that our contrition may be as perfect as
possible. This perfect contrition is the kind of contrition we must have
if our mortal sins are to be forgiven if we are in danger of death and
cannot go to confession. Imperfect contrition with the priest's
absolution will blot out our mortal sins.

*204 Q. What is imperfect contrition?
A. Imperfect contrition is that by which we hate what offends God
because by it we lose Heaven and deserve Hell; or because sin is so
hateful in itself.

*205 Q. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy confession?
A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we
should endeavor to have perfect contrition.

206 Q. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning no more?
A. By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed resolve not only
to avoid all mortal sin, but also its near occasions.

"Fixed." Not for a certain time, but for all the future.

207 Q. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and
things that may easily lead us into sin.

"Occasions." There are many kinds of occasions of sin. First, we have
voluntary and necessary occasions, or those we can avoid and those we
cannot avoid. For example: if a companion uses immodest conversation we
can avoid that occasion, because we can keep away from him; but if the
one who sins is a member of our own family, always living with us, we
cannot so easily avoid that occasion. Second, near and remote occasions.
An occasion is said to be "near" when we usually fall into sin by it.
For instance, if a man gets intoxicated almost every time he visits a
certain place, then that place is a "near occasion" of sin for him; but
if he gets intoxicated only once out of every fifty times or so that he
goes there, then it is said to be a "remote occasion." Now, it is not
enough to avoid the sins: we must also avoid the occasions. If we have a
firm purpose of amendment, if we desire to do better, we must be
resolved to avoid everything that will lead us to sin. It is not enough
to say, I will go to that place or with that person, but I will never
again commit the same sins. No matter what you think now, if you go into
the occasion, you will fall again; because Our Lord, who cannot speak
falsely, says: "He who loves the danger will perish in it." Now the
occasion of sin is always "the danger"; and if you go into it, Our
Lord's words will come true, and you will fall miserably. Take away the
cause, take away the occasion, and then the sin will cease of itself.
Let us suppose the plaster in your house fell down, and you found that
it fell because there was a leak in the water-pipe above, and the water
coming through wet the plaster and made it fall. What is the first thing
your father would do in that case? Why, get a plumber and stop up the
leak in the pipe before putting up the plaster again. Would it not be
foolish to engage a plasterer to repair the ceiling while the pipe was
still leaking? Everyone would say that man must be out of his mind: the
plaster will fall down as often as he puts it up, and it matters not
either how well he puts it up. If he wants it to stay up, he must first
mend the pipe--take away the cause of its falling. Now the occasion of
sin is like the leak in the pipe--in the case of sin, it will very
likely cause you to fall every time. Stop up the leak, take away the
occasion, and then you will not fall into sin--at least not so
frequently.

"The persons" are generally bad companions, and though they may not be
bad when alone, they are bad when with us, and thus we become also bad
companions for them, and occasions of sin.

"The places." Liquor saloons, low theaters, dance halls, and all places
where we may see or hear anything against faith or morals.

"Things." Bad books, pictures, and the like.



Lesson 19
ON CONFESSION


208 Q. What is Confession?
A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest,
for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.

"Duly authorized"--one sent by the bishop of the diocese in which you
are.

"Forgiveness." You might tell a priest all your sins while in ordinary
conversation with him, but that would not be confession, because you
would not be telling them to have them pardoned. If a person has lost
the use of his speech, he can make his confession by writing his sins on
a paper and giving it to the priest in the confessional. If the priest
returns the paper the penitent must be careful to destroy it afterwards.
Also, if you have a poor memory you may write down the sins you wish to
confess, and read them from the paper in the confessional; then you also
must be careful to destroy the paper after confession. If a person whose
language the priest does not understand is dying, or is obliged to make
his yearly confession, he must tell what he can by signs, show that he
is sorry for his sins, and thus receive absolution. In a word, the
priest would act with him as he would with one who had lost the use of
his speech and power to write.

209 Q. What sins are we bound to confess?
A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to
confess our venial sins.

"Bound"--obliged in such a way that our confession would be bad if we
did not tell them.

"Well," because we should tell all the sins we can remember; but if we
did not tell a venial sin after we had told a mortal sin, our confession
would not be bad. Or if we committed a little venial sin after
confession, that should not keep us from Holy Communion; because the
Holy Communion itself would blot out that and any other venial sin we
might have upon our souls: so that you should never let anything keep
you away, unless you are certain you have committed a mortal sin after
the confession, or have broken your fast.

*210 Q. What are the chief qualities of a good confession?
A. The chief qualities of a good confession are three: it must be
humble, sincere, and entire.

*211 Q. When is our confession humble?
A. Our confession is humble when we accuse ourselves of our sins, with a
deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.

*212 Q. When is our confession sincere?
A. Our confession is sincere when we tell our sins honestly and
truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.

"Exaggerating." You must never tell in confession a sin you did not
commit, any more than conceal one you did commit. You must tell just the
sins committed, and no more or less; and if you are in doubt whether you
have committed the sin, or whether the thing done was a sin, then you
must tell your doubts to the priest: but do not say you committed such
and such sins when you do not know whether you did or not, or only
because you think it likely that you did.

*213 Q. When is our confession entire?
A. Our confession is entire when we tell the number and kinds of our
sins and the circumstances which change their nature.

"Number"--the exact number, if you know it; as, for example, when we
miss Mass we can generally tell exactly the number of times. But when we
tell lies, for instance, we may not know the exact number: then we say
how often in the day, or that it is a habit with us, etc.

"Kinds"--whether they are cursing, or stealing, or lying, etc.

"Circumstances which change their nature." In the case of stealing, for
example, you need not tell whether it was from a grocery, a bakery, or
dry-goods store you stole, for that circumstance does not change the
nature of the sin: you have simply to tell the amount you took. But if
you stole from a church you would have to tell that, because that is a
circumstance that gives the sin of stealing a new character, and makes
it sacrilegious stealing. Or if you stole from a poor beggar all he
possessed in the world, so that you left him starving, that would be a
circumstance making your sin worse, and so you would have to tell it.
Therefore you have to tell any circumstance that really makes your sin
much worse or less than it seems; all other circumstances you need not
tell: they will only confuse you, and make you forget your sins and
waste the priest's time.

214 Q. What should we do if we cannot remember the number of our sins?
A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should tell the
number as nearly as possible, and say how often we have sinned in a day,
a week, or a month and how long the habit or practice has lasted.

*215 Q. Is our confession worthy if, without our fault, we forget to
confess a mortal sin?
A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our
confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in
confession if it again comes to our mind.

216 Q. Is it a grievous offense willfully to conceal a mortal sin in
confession?
A. It is a grievous offense willfully to conceal a mortal sin in
confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost, and make
our confession worthless.

"A lie to the Holy Ghost." God sees every sin we commit, and in His
presence we present ourselves to the priest in the confessional, and
declare that we are confessing all. If, then, we willfully conceal a sin
that we are bound to confess, God is a witness to our sacrilegious lie.
If I see you in some place to which you were forbidden to go, and you,
knowing that I saw you, positively deny that you were there, your guilt
would be doubly great, for, besides the sin of disobedience committed by
going to the forbidden place, you also resist the known truth, and
endeavor to prove that I, when I declare I saw you, am telling what is
untrue. In a similar manner, concealing a sin in confession is
equivalent to denying before God that we are guilty of it. Besides, it
is a great folly to conceal a sin, because it must be confessed sooner
or later, and the longer we conceal it the deeper will be our sense of
shame for the sacrileges committed. Again, why should one be ashamed to
confess to the priest what he has not been ashamed to do before God,
unless he has greater respect for the priest than he has for the
Almighty God--an absurdity we cannot believe. Moreover, the shame you
experience in telling your sins is a kind of penance for them. Do you
not suppose Our Lord knew, when He instituted the Sacrament of Penance,
that people would be ashamed to confess? Certainly He did; and that act
of humility is pleasing to God, and is a kind of punishment for your
sins, and probably takes away some of the punishment you would have to
suffer for them. Often, too, the thought of having to confess will keep
you from committing the sin. There is another thought that should
encourage us to gladly make a full confession of all our sins, and it is
this: it is easier to tell them to the priest alone than to have them
exposed, unforgiven, before the whole world on the Day of Judgment. Do
not imagine that your confessor will think less of you on account of
your sins. The confessor does not think of your sins after he leaves the
confessional. How could he remember all the confessions he hears--often
hundreds in a single month? And what is more--he does not even wish to
recall the sinful things heard in the confessional, because he wishes to
keep his own mind pure, and his soul free from every stain. The priest
is always better pleased to hear the confession of a great sinner or of
one who has been a long time from the Sacraments, than of one who goes
frequently or who has little to tell. He is not glad, of course, that
the sinner has committed great sins, but he is glad that since he has
had the misfortune to sin so much, he has now the grace and courage to
seek forgiveness. Our Lord once said (Luke 15:7) while preaching, that
the angels and saints in Heaven rejoice more at seeing one sinner doing
penance than they do over ninety-nine good persons who did not need to
do penance. The greater the danger to which a person has been exposed,
the more thankful he and his friends are for escape or recovery from it.
If your brother fell into the ocean and was rescued just as he was going
down for the last time, you would feel more grateful than if he was
rescued from some little pond into which he had slipped, and in which
there was scarcely any danger of his being drowned. So, also, the nearer
we are to losing our, souls and going to Hell, the more delighted the
angels and saints are when we are saved. One who has escaped great
danger will more carefully avoid similar accidents in the future: in
like manner, the sinner, after having escaped the danger of eternal
death by the pardon of his sins, should never again risk his salvation.

217 Q. What must he do who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in
confession?
A. He who has willfully concealed a mortal sin in confession must not
only confess it, but must also repeat all the sins he has committed
since his last worthy confession.

"Willfully." Remember, forgetting is not the same as concealing; but if
you should willfully neglect to examine your conscience or make any
effort to know your sins before going to confession, then forgetting
would be equivalent to concealing. Without any preparation your
confession could hardly be a good one. When you are in doubt whether an
action is sinful or not, or whether you have confessed it before, you
should not leave the confessional with the doubt upon your mind.

It is a foolish practice, however, to be always disturbing your
conscience by thinking of past sins, especially of those that occurred
very early in your life. Sometimes it is dangerous; because if, while
thinking of your past sins, you should take pleasure in them, you would
commit a new sin similar to the past sins in which you take delight.

It is best, therefore, not to dwell in thought upon any particular past
sin with the time, place, and circumstances of its commission; but
simply to remember in general that you have in the past sinned against
this or that Commandment or virtue.

The past is no longer under our control, while the future is, and
becomes for us, therefore, the all-important portion of our lives. Not
unfrequently it may be an artifice of the devil to keep us so occupied
with past deeds that we may not attend to the dangers of the future. Do
not, then, after your confession spend your time in thinking of the sins
you confessed, but of how you will avoid them in the future. When a
wound is healed up, nobody thinks of opening it again to see if it has
healed properly; so when the wounds made in our souls by sin are healed
up by the absolution, we should not open them again.

This is the rule with regard to our ordinary confessions; but we should
sometimes make a general confession. What is a general confession? It is
the confession of the sins of our whole life or of a portion--say one,
two or five, etc., years--of our life. A general confession may be
necessary, useful, or hurtful. It is necessary, as you know, when our
past confessions were bad. It is useful, though not necessary, on
special occasions in our lives; for example, in the time of a retreat or
mission; in the time of preparation for First Communion, Confirmation,
Matrimony, etc., or in preparing for death. It is very useful also for
persons about to change their state of life; for such as are about to
become priests or religious, etc. It is useful because it gives us a
better knowledge of the state of our souls, as we see their condition
not merely for a month or two, but for our whole lifetime. We are
looking at them as God will look at them in the Last Judgment,
considering all the good and evil we have ever done, and comparing the
amount of the one with the amount of the other. We resolve to increase
the good and diminish the evil in our future lives. We promise to do
penance for the past and to avoid sin for the future; and thus we are
benefited in general confession by this judgment of ourselves, as we may
call it.

General confession is hurtful to scrupulous persons. Scrupulous persons
are those who think almost everything they do is a sin. They are always
dissatisfied with their confessions, and fear to approach the
Sacraments. Their conscience is never at ease, and they are forever
unhappy. It is very wrong for them to think and act in this manner, and
they must use every means in their power to overcome their scruples.

Our Lord in His goodness never intended to make us unhappy by
instituting the Sacraments, but on the contrary to make us happy, and
set our minds and consciences at ease in the reception of His grace.
Scrupulous persons must do exactly whatever their confessor advises, no
matter what they themselves may think. Such persons, as you can plainly
see, should not make general confessions, because their consciences
would be more disturbed than pacified by them.

You prepare for general confession as you would for any other, except
that you take a longer time for it, and do not pay so much attention to
your more trifling sins.

218 Q. Why does the priest give us a penance after confession?
A. The priest gives us a penance after confession, that we may satisfy
God for the temporal punishment due to our sins.

"Penance." The little penance the priest gives may not fully satisfy
God, but shows by our accepting it that we are willing to do penance.
What, for example, is a penance of five "Our Fathers" compared with the
guilt of one mortal sin, for which we would have to suffer in Hell for
all eternity? Then think of the penances performed by the Christians
many centuries ago, in the early ages of the Church. There were four
stages of penance. The churches were divided into four parts by railings
and gates. The first railing across the church was at some distance from
the altar, the second was a little below the middle of the church, and
the third was near the door. Those who committed great sins had to stand
clad in coarse garments near the entrance of the church, and beg the
prayers of those who entered. After they had done this kind of penance
for a certain time, they were allowed to come into the church as far as
the second railing. They were allowed to hear the sermon, but were not
permitted to be present at the Mass. After doing sufficient penance,
they were allowed to remain for Mass, but could not receive Holy
Communion. When they had performed all the penance imposed upon them,
they were allowed to receive the Sacraments and enjoy all the rights and
privileges of faithful children of the Church. These penances lasted for
many days and sometimes for years, according to the gravity of the sins
committed. The sins for which these severe penances were performed were
generally sins that had been committed publicly, and hence the penance,
amendment, and reparation had also to be public.

"Temporal Punishment." Every sin has two punishments attached to it, one
called the eternal and the other the temporal. Let me explain by an
example. If I, turning highway robber, waylay a man, beat him and steal
his watch, I do him, as you see, a double injury, and deserve a double
punishment for the twofold crime of beating and robbing him. He might
pardon me for the injuries caused by the beating, but that would not
free me from the obligation of restoring to him his watch or its value,
for the fact that he forgives me for the act of stealing does not give
me the right to keep what justly belongs to him. Now, when we sin
against God we in the first place insult Him, and secondly rob Him of
what is deservedly His due; namely, the worship, respect, obedience,
love, etc., that we owe Him as our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer.

In the Sacrament of Penance God forgives the insult offered by sinning,
but requires us to make restitution for that of which the sin has
deprived Him. In every sin there is an act of turning away from God and
an act of turning to some creature in His stead. If a soldier pledged to
defend his country deserts his army in time of war, he is guilty of a
dishonorable, contemptible act; but if, besides deserting his own army,
he goes over to aid the enemy, he becomes guilty of another and still
greater crime--he becomes a traitor for whom the laws of nations reserve
their severest penalties. By sin we, who in Baptism and Confirmation
have promised to serve God and war against His enemies, desert Him and
go over to them; for Our Blessed Lord has said: He that is not with Me
is against Me.

We pay the temporal debt due to our sins, that is, make the restitution,
by our penances upon earth, or by our suffering in Purgatory, or by both
combined.

The penances performed upon earth are very acceptable and pleasing to
God; and hence we should be most anxious to do penance here that we may
have less to suffer in Purgatory. St. Augustine, who had been a great
sinner, often prayed that God might send him many tribulations while on
earth, that he might have less to endure in Purgatory. Therefore, after
performing the penance the priest gives you in the confessional, it is
wise to impose upon yourself other light penances in keeping with your
age and condition, but never undertake severe penances or make religious
vows and promises without consulting your confessor. In every case be
careful first of all to perform the penance imposed upon you in the
reception of the Sacrament. The penance given in confession has a
special value, which none of the penances selected by yourself could
have.

If you forget to say your penance, your confession is not on that
account worthless; but as the penance is one of the parts of the
Sacrament, namely, the satisfaction, you should say it as soon as
possible, and in the manner your confessor directs. If you cannot
perform the penance imposed by your confessor, you should inform him of
that fact, and ask him to give you another in its stead.

Indulgences also are a means of satisfying for this temporal punishment.
Sometimes God inflicts the temporal punishment in this world by sending
us misfortunes or sufferings, especially such as are brought on by the
sins committed.

*219 Q. Does not the Sacrament of Penance remit all punishment due to
sin?
A. The Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punishment due to sin,
but it does not always remit the temporal punishment which God requires
as satisfaction for our sins.

Remember that Baptism differs from Penance in this respect, that
although they both remit sin, Penance does not take away all the
temporal punishment, while Baptism takes away all the punishment, both
eternal and temporal; so that if we died immediately after Baptism we
would go directly to Heaven, while if we died immediately after Penance
we would generally go to Purgatory to make satisfaction for the temporal
debt.

*220 Q. Why does God require a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for
sin?
A. God requires a temporal punishment as a satisfaction for sin to teach
us the great evil of sin, and to prevent us from failing again.

*221 Q. Which are the chief means by which we satisfy God for the
temporal punishment due to sin?
A. The chief means by which we satisfy God for the temporal punishment
due to sin are: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal
works of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of life.

"Chief," but not the only means. "Fasting," especially the fasts imposed
by the Church--in Lent for instance. Lent is the forty days before
Easter Sunday during which we fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the
resurrection of Our Lord, and also to remind us of His own fast of forty
days before His Passion. "Almsgiving"--that is, money or goods given to
the poor. "Spiritual" works of mercy are those good works we do for
persons' souls. "Corporal" works of mercy are those we do for their
bodies. "Ills of life"--sickness or poverty or misfortune, especially
when we have not brought them upon ourselves by sin.

*222 Q. Which are the chief spiritual works of mercy?
A. The chief spiritual works of mercy are seven: to admonish the sinner,
to instruct the ignorant, to counsel the doubtful, to comfort the
sorrowful, to bear wrongs patiently, to forgive all injuries, and to
pray for the living and the dead.

"To admonish the sinner." If we love our neighbor we should help him in
his distress, even when it is an inconvenience to us. We should help him
also to correct his faults, we should point them out and warn him of
them. We are obliged to do so in the following circumstances: First.
When his fault is a mortal sin. Second. When we have some authority or
influence over him. Third. When there is reason to believe that our
warning will make him better instead of worse. If our advice only makes
him worse, then we should not say anything to him about his fault, but
keep out of his company ourselves. "Ignorant" especially in their
religion. "Doubtful" about something in religion which you can explain
and make clear to them. "Comfort," saying kind words of encouragement to
them. "Wrongs," things not deserved; for example, persons talking ill
about us, accusing us falsely, etc.; but if the false accusations, etc.,
are going to give scandal, then we must defend ourselves against them.
If, for instance, lies were told about the father of a family, and it
were likely all his children would believe them and lose their respect
for his authority, then he must let them know the truth. But when we
patiently suffer wrongs that injure only ourselves, and that are known
only to God and ourselves, God sees our sufferings and rewards us. What
matters it what people think we are if God knows all our doings and is
pleased with them? "Living"--especially for the conversion of sinners,
or for those who are on their deathbed. "The dead"--those suffering in
Purgatory, especially if we have ever caused them to sin.

*223 Q. Which are the chief corporal works of mercy?
A. The chief corporal works of mercy are seven: to feed the hungry, to
give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to ransom the captive,
to harbor the harborless, to visit the sick, and to bury the dead.

"Ransom the captive"--that is, chiefly those who while teaching or
defending the true religion in pagan lands are taken prisoners by the
enemies of our faith. You have perhaps heard of the Crusades or read
about them in your history. Now let me briefly tell you what they were
and why they were commenced. About the year 570, that is, about thirteen
hundred years ago, when the Christian religion was spread over nearly
the whole world, a man named Mahomet was born in Arabia. He pretended to
be a great prophet sent from God, and gathered many followers about him.
He told them his religion must be spread by the sword. He plundered
cities and towns, and divided the spoils with his followers. He told
them that all who died fighting for him would certainly go to Heaven. In
a short time his followers became very numerous; for his religion was an
easy and profitable one, allowing them to commit sin without fear of
punishment, and giving them share of his plunder. Many others not
influenced by these motives joined his religion for fear of being put to
death. His followers were afterwards called by the general name of
Saracens. They took possession of the Holy Land, of the City of
Jerusalem, of the tomb of Our Lord, and of every spot rendered dear to
Christians by Our Saviour's life and labors there. They persecuted the
Christians who went to visit the Holy Land, and put many of them to
death. When the news of these dreadful crimes reached Europe, the
Christian kings and princes, at the request of the Pope, raised large
armies and set out for the East to war against the Saracens and recover
the Holy Land. Eight of these expeditions, or Crusades, as they are
called, went out during two hundred years, that is, from 1095 to 1272.
Those who took part in them are called Crusaders, from the word cross,
because every soldier wore a red cross upon his shoulder.

Some of these expeditions were successful, and some were not; but, on
the whole, they prevented the Saracens from coming to Europe and taking
possession of it. Many of the Christian soldiers and many of the
pilgrims who visited the Holy Land were taken prisoners by the Saracens
and held, threatened with death, till the Christians in Europe paid
large sums of money as a ransom for their liberty. To free these
captives was a great act of charity, and is one of the corporal works of
mercy. Ransom means to pay money for another's freedom. Even now there
are sometimes captives in pagan lands.

A pilgrim is one who goes on a journey to visit some holy place for the
purpose of thus honoring God. He would not be a pilgrim if he went
merely through curiosity. He must go with the holy intention of making
his visit an act of worship. In our time pilgrimages to the Holy Land,
to Rome, and other places are quite frequent. "To harbor"--that is, to
give one who has no home a place of rest. A harbor is an inlet of the
ocean where ships can rest and be out of danger; so we can also call the
home or place of rest given to the homeless a harbor. "Sick," especially
the sick poor and those who have no friends. "To bury" those who are
strangers and have no friends. All Christians are bound to perform these
works of mercy in one way or another. We have been relieved to some
extent of doing the work ourselves by the establishment of institutions
where these things are attended to by communities of holy men or women
called religious. They take charge of asylums for the orphans, homes for
the aged and poor, hospitals for the sick, etc., while many devote
themselves to teaching in colleges, academies, and schools. But if these
good religious do the work for us, we are obliged on our part to give
them the means to carry it on. Therefore we should contribute according
to our means to charitable institutions, and indeed to all institutions
that promote the glory of God and the good of our religion. To explain
more fully, religious are self-sacrificing men and women who, wishing to
follow the evangelical counsels, dedicate their lives to the service of
God. They live together in communities approved by the Church, under the
rule and guidance of their superiors. Their day is divided between
prayer, labor, and good works, more time being given to one or other of
these according to the special end or aim of the community. The houses
in which they live are called convents or monasteries, and the societies
of which they are members are called religious orders, communities, or
congregations. In some of these religious communities of men all the
members are priests, in others some are priests and some are brothers,
and in others still all are brothers. Priests belonging to the religious
orders are called the regular clergy, to distinguish them from the
secular clergy or priests who live and labor in the parishes to which
they are assigned by their bishops. Sisters and nuns mean almost the
same thing, but we generally call those nuns who live under a more
severe rule and never leave the boundaries of their convent. In like
manner friars, monks, and brothers lead almost the same kind of life,
except that the monks practice greater penances and live under stricter
rules. A hermit is a holy man who lives alone in some desert or lonely
place, and spends his life in prayer and mortification. In the early
ages of the Church there were many of these hermits, or Fathers of the
desert, but now religious live together in communities.

The members of religious orders of men or women take three vows, namely,
of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These orders were founded by holy
persons for some special work approved of by the Church. Thus the
Dominicans were founded by St. Dominic, and their special work was to
preach the Gospel and convert heretics or persons who had fallen away
from the Faith. The Jesuit Fathers were organized by St. Ignatius
Loyola, and their work is chiefly teaching in colleges, and giving
retreats and missions. So also have the Redemptorists, Franciscans,
Passionists, etc., their special works, chiefly the giving of missions.
In a word, every community, of either men or women, must perform the
particular work for which it was instituted.

But why, you will ask, are there different religious orders? In the
first place, all persons are not fitted for the same kind of work: some
can teach, others cannot; some can bear the fatigue of nursing the sick,
and others cannot. Secondly, when Our Lord was on earth He performed
every good work and practiced every virtue perfectly. He fasted, prayed,
helped the needy, comforted the sorrowful, healed the sick, taught the
ignorant, defended the oppressed, admonished sinners, etc. It would be
impossible for any one community to imitate Our Lord in all His works,
so each community takes one or more particular works of Our Lord, and
tries to imitate Him as perfectly as possible in these at least. Some
communities devote their time to prayer; others attend the sick; others
teach, etc.; and thus when all unite their different works the combined
result is a more perfect imitation of Our Lord's life upon earth.



Lesson 20
ON THE MANNER OF MAKING A GOOD CONFESSION


*224 Q. What should we do on entering the confessional?
A. On entering the confessional we should kneel, make the Sign of the
Cross, and say to the priest: "Bless me, Father"; then add, "I confess
to Almighty God, and to you, Father, that I have sinned."

*225 Q. Which are the first things we should tell the priest in
confession?
A. The first things we should tell the priest in confession are the,
time of our last confession and whether we said the penance and went to
Holy Communion.

*226 Q. After telling the time of our last confession and Communion,
what should we do?
A. After telling the time of our last confession and Communion we should
confess all the mortal sins we have since committed, and all the venial
sins we may wish to mention.

"We may wish." We should tell every real sin we have never confessed. If
we have no mortal sin to confess, it is well to tell some kind of mortal
sin we have committed in our past life, though confessed before. We
should do this because when we have only very small sins to confess
there is always danger that we may not be truly sorry for them, and
without sorrow there is no forgiveness. But when we add to our
confession some mortal sin that we know we are sorry for, then our
sorrow extends to all our sins, and makes us certain that our confession
is a good one. If you should hear the sin of another person while you
are waiting to make your own confession, you must keep that sin secret
forever. If the person in the confessional is speaking too loud, you
should move away so as not to hear; and if you cannot move, hold your
hands on your ears so that you may not hear what is being said.

*227 Q. What must we do when the confessor asks us questions?
A. When the confessor asks us questions, we must answer them truthfully
and clearly.

*228 Q. What should we do after telling our sins?
A. After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the advice
which the confessor may think proper to give.

The priest in the confessional acts as judge, father, teacher, and
physician. As judge he listens to your accusations against yourself, and
passes sentence according to your guilt or innocence. As a father and
teacher he loves you, and tries to protect you from your enemies by
warning you against them, and teaching you the means to overcome them.
But above all, he is a physician, who will treat your soul for its ills
and restore it to spiritual health. He examines the sins you have
committed, discovers their causes, and then prescribes the remedies to
be used in overcoming them. When anything goes amiss with our bodily
health we speedily have recourse to the physician, listen anxiously to
what he has to say, and use the remedies prescribed. In the very same
way we must follow the priest's advice if we wish our souls to be cured
of their maladies. Just as a person who is unwell would not go one day
to one physician and the next day to another, so a penitent should not
change confessors without a good reason; and if you have any choice to
make let it be made in the beginning, and let it rest on worthy motives.
In a short time your confessor will understand the state of your soul,
as the physician who frequently examines you does the state of your
body. He will know all the temptations, trials, and difficulties with
which you have to contend. He will see whether you are becoming better
or worse; whether you are resisting your bad habits or falling more
deeply into them; also, whether the remedies given are suited to you,
and whether you are using them properly. All this your confessor will
know, and it will save you the trouble of always repeating, and him the
trouble of always asking. Thus the better your confessor knows you and
all the circumstances of your life, the more will he be able to help
you; for besides the forgiveness of your sins there are many other
benefits derived from the Sacrament of Penance.

But if at any time there should be danger of your making a bad
confession to your own confessor--on account of some feeling of false
shame--then go to any confessor you please; for it is a thousand times
better to seek another confessor than run the risk of making a
sacrilegious confession.

Never be so much attached to any one confessor that you would remain
away from the Sacraments a long time rather than go to another in his
absence.

You should not consider the person in the confessional, but the power he
exercises. You should be anxious concerning only this fact: Is there a
priest there who was sent by Our Lord? Is there a minister of Christ
there who has power to pardon my sins? If so, I will humbly go to him,
no matter who he is or what his dispositions.

*229 Q. How should we end our confession?
A. We should end our confession by saying, "I also accuse myself of all
the sins of my past life," telling, if we choose, one or several of our
past sins.

*230 Q. What should we do while the priest is giving us absolution?
A. While the priest is giving us absolution, we should from our heart
renew the Act of Contrition.

All, especially children, should know this act well before going to
confession.



Lesson 21
ON INDULGENCES


231 Q. What is an indulgence?
A. An indulgence is the remission in whole or in part of the temporal
punishment due to sin.

I have explained before what the temporal punishment is; namely, the
debt which we owe to God after He has forgiven our sins, and which we
must pay in order that satisfaction be made. It is, as I said, the value
of the watch we must return after we have been pardoned for the act of
stealing. I said this punishment must be blotted out by our penance.
Now, the Church gives us an easy means of so doing, by granting us
indulgences. She helps us by giving us a share in the merits of the
Blessed Virgin and of the saints. All this we have explained when
speaking in the Creed of the communion of saints.

*232 Q. Is an indulgence a pardon of sin, or a license to commit sin?
A. An indulgence is not a pardon of sin, nor a license to commit sin,
and one who is in a state of mortal sin cannot gain an indulgence.

If you are in a state of mortal sin you lose the merit of any good works
you perform. God promises to reward us for good works, and if we are in
the state of grace when we do the good works, God will keep His promise
and give us the reward; but if we are in mortal sin, we have no right or
claim to any reward for good works, because we are enemies of God. For
this reason alone we should never remain even for a short time in mortal
sin, since it is important for us to have all the merit we can. Even
when we will not repent and return to Him, God rewards us for good works
done by giving us some temporal blessings or benefits here upon earth.
He never allows any good work to go unrewarded any more than He allows
an evil deed to go unpunished. Although God is so good to us we
nevertheless lose very much by being in a state of mortal sin; for God's
grace is in some respects like the money in a bank: the more grace we
receive and the better we use it, the more He will bestow upon us. When
you deposit money in a savings bank, you get interest for it; and when
you leave the interest also in the bank, it is added to your capital,
and thus you get interest for the interest. So God not only gives us
grace to do good, but also grace for doing the good, or, in other words,
He gives us grace for using His grace.

233 Q. How many kinds of indulgences are there?
A. There are two kinds of indulgences--plenary and partial.

234 Q. What is a plenary indulgence?
A. A plenary indulgence is the full remission of the temporal punishment
due to sin.

"Full remission"; so that if you gained a plenary indulgence and died
immediately afterwards, you would go at once to Heaven. Persons go to
Purgatory, as you know, to have the temporal punishment blotted out; but
if you have no temporal punishment to make satisfaction for, there is no
Purgatory for you. Gaining a plenary indulgence requires proper
dispositions, as you may understand from its very great advantages. To
gain it we must not only hate sin and be heartily sorry even for our
venial sins, but we must not have a desire for even venial sin. We
should always try to gain a plenary indulgence, for in so doing we
always gain at least part of it, or a partial indulgence, greater or
less according to our dispositions.

235 Q. What is a partial indulgence?
A. A partial indulgence is the remission of a part of the temporal
punishment due to sin.

*236 Q. How does the Church by means of indulgences remit the temporal
punishment due to sins?
A. The Church by means of indulgences remits the temporal punishment due
to sin by applying to us the merits of Jesus Christ, and the
superabundant satisfactions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the
saints, which merits and satisfactions are its spiritual treasury.

"Superabundant" means more than was necessary. (See explanation of
communion of saints in the "Creed.")

237 Q. What must we do to gain an indulgence?
A. To gain an indulgence we must be in a state of grace and perform the
works enjoined.

"Works"--to visit certain churches or altars; to give alms; to say
certain prayers, etc. For a plenary indulgence it is required in
addition to go to confession and Holy Communion, and to pray for the
intention of our Holy Father the Pope; for this last requirement it is
sufficient to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary. Now, what does
praying for the intention of the Pope or bishop or anyone else mean? It
does not mean that you are to pray for the Pope himself, but for
whatever he is praying for or wishes you to pray for. For instance, on
one day the Holy Father may be praying for the success of some missions
that he is establishing in pagan lands; on another, he may be praying
that the enemies of the Church may not succeed in their plans against
it; on another, he may be praying for the conversion of some nation, and
so on; whatever he is praying for or wishes you to pray for is called
his intention.

There are three basic ways of gaining a partial indulgence. A partial
indulgence can be gained by: 1) raising one's heart to God amidst the
duties and trials of life and making a pious invocation, even only
mentally; 2) giving of oneself or one's goods to those in need; 3)
voluntarily depriving oneself of something pleasing, in a spirit of
penance.

A partial indulgence is also granted for reciting various well-known
prayers, such as the acts of faith, hope, charity and contrition, and
for performing certain acts of devotion, such as making a Spiritual
Communion.

To gain an indulgence you must also have the intention of gaining it.
There are many prayers that we sometimes say to which indulgences are
attached, and we do not know it. How can we gain them? By making a
general intention every morning while saying our prayers to gain all the
indulgences we can during the day, whether we know them or not. For
example, there is a partial indulgence granted us every time we devoutly
make the Sign of the Cross or devoutly use an article of devotion, such
as a crucifix or scapular, properly blessed by any priest. Many may not
know of these indulgences; but if they have the general intention
mentioned above, they will gain the indulgence every time they perform
the work. In the same way, by having this intention all those who are in
the habit of going to confession every two weeks are able to gain a
plenary indulgence when they fulfill the other prescribed conditions for
gaining a plenary indulgence, even when they do not know that they are
gaining the indulgence.

Since partial indulgences were formerly designated by specific amounts
of time, you sometimes see printed after a little prayer: An indulgence
of forty days, or, an indulgence of one hundred days, or of a year, etc.
What does that mean? Does it mean that a person who said that prayer
would get out of Purgatory forty days sooner than he would have if he
had not said it? No. I told you how the early Christians were obliged to
do public penance for their sins; to stand at the door of the church and
beg the prayers of those entering. Sometimes their penance lasted for
forty days, sometimes for one hundred days, and sometimes for a longer
period. By an indulgence of forty days the Church granted the remission
of as much of the temporal punishment as the early Christians would have
received for doing forty days' public penance. Just how much of the
temporal punishment God blotted out for forty days' public penance we do
not know; but whatever it was, God blotted out just the same for one who
gained an indulgence of forty days by saying a little prayer to which
the indulgence was attached. But why, you may wonder, did the early
Christians do such penances? Because in those days their faith was
stronger than ours, and they understood better than we do the malice of
sin and the punishment it deserves. Later the Christians grew more
careless about their religion and the service of God. The Church,
therefore, wishing to save its children, made it easier for them to do
penance. If it had continued to impose the public penances, many would
not have performed them, and thus would have lost their souls.



Lesson 22
ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST


238 Q. What is the Holy Eucharist?
A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which contains the body and
blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances
of bread and wine.

When we say "contains," we mean the Sacrament which is the body and
blood, etc. The Holy Eucharist is the same living body of Our Lord which
He had upon earth; but it is in a new form, under the appearances of
bread and wine. Therefore Our Lord in the tabernacle can see and hear
us.

*239 Q. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night
before He died.

"Last Supper," on Holy Thursday night. (See Explanation of the Passion,
Lesson 8, Question 78.)

*240 Q. Who were present when Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist?
A. When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the twelve Apostles were
present.

*241 Q. How did Our Lord institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist by taking bread, blessing,
breaking, and giving to His Apostles, saying: "Take ye and eat. This is
My body"; and then by taking the cup of wine, blessing and giving it,
saying to them: "Drink ye all of this. This is My blood which shall be
shed for the remission of sins. Do this for a commemoration of Me."

"Eucharist" means thanks. Hence this Sacrament is called Eucharist,
because Our Lord gave thanks before changing the bread and wine into His
body and blood, and because the offering of it to God is the most solemn
act of thanksgiving. "Do this"--that is, the same thing I am doing,
namely, changing bread and wine into My body and blood.
"Commemoration"--that is, to remind you of Me, that you may continue to
do the same till the end of time.

*242 Q. What happened when Our Lord said, "This is My body, this is My
blood"?
A. When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the substance of the bread was
changed into the substance of His body. When He said, "This is My
blood," the substance of the wine was changed into the substance of His
blood.

"Substance" literally means that which stands underneath. Underneath
what? Underneath the outward appearances or qualities--such as color,
taste, figure, smell, etc.--that are perceptible to our senses.
Therefore we never see the substance of anything. Of this seat, for
instance, I see the color, size, and shape; I feel the hardness, etc.;
but I do not see the substance, namely, the wood of which it is made.
When the substance of anything is changed, the outward appearances
change with it. But not so in the Holy Eucharist; for by a miracle the
appearances of bread and wine remain the same after the substance has
been changed as they were before. As the substance alone is changed in
the Holy Eucharist, and as I cannot see the substance, I cannot see the
change. I am absolutely certain, however, that the change takes place,
because Our Lord said so; and I believe Him, because He could not
deceive me. He is God, and God could not tell a lie, because He is
infinite truth. This change is a great miracle, and that is the reason
we cannot understand it, though we believe it. Once at a marriage in
Cana of Galilee (John 2) Our Lord changed water into wine. The people
were poor, and Our Lord, His Blessed Mother, and the Apostles were
present at the wedding when the wine ran short; and our Blessed Lady,
always so kind to everyone, wishing to spare these poor people from
being shamed before their friends, asked Our Lord to perform the
miracle, and at her request He did so, and changed many vessels of water
into the best of wine. In that miracle Our Lord changed the substance of
the water into the substance of the wine. Why, then, could He not change
in the same way and by the same power the substance of bread and wine
into the substance of His own body and blood? When He changed the water
into wine, besides changing the substance, He changed everything else
about it; so that it had no longer the appearance of water, but everyone
could see that it was wine. But in changing the bread and wine into His
body and blood He changes only the substance, and leaves everything else
unchanged so that it still looks and tastes like bread and wine; even
after the change has taken place and you could not tell by looking at it
that it was changed. You know it only from your faith in the words of
our divine Lord, when He tells you it is changed.

Again, it is much easier to change one thing into another than to make
it entirely out of nothing. Anyone who can create out of nothing can
surely change one thing into another. Now Our Lord, being God, created
the world out of nothing; and He could therefore easily change the
substance of bread into the substance of flesh. I have said Our Lord's
body in the Holy Eucharist is a living body, and every living body
contains blood; and that is why we receive both the body and the blood
of Our Lord under the appearance of the bread alone. The priest receives
the body and blood of Our Lord under the appearance of both bread and
wine, while the people receive it only under the appearance of bread.
The early Christians used to receive it as the priest does--under the
appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine; but the Church had
to make a change on account of circumstances. First, all the people had
to drink from the same chalice or cup, and some would not like that, and
show disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament by refusing it. Then there was
great danger of spilling the precious blood, passing it from one to
another; and finally, some said that Christ's blood was not in His body
under the appearance of bread. This was false; and to show that it was
false, and for the other reasons, the Church after that gave Holy
Communion to the people under the appearance of bread alone. The Church
always believes and teaches the same truths. It always believed that the
Holy Eucharist under the appearance of bread contained also Our Lord's
blood; but it taught it more clearly when it was denied.

*243 Q. Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the form of bread
and under the form of wine?
A. Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the form of bread and
under the form of wine.

*244 Q. Did anything remain of the bread and wine after their substance
had been changed into the substance of the body and blood of Our Lord?
A. After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into the
substance of the body and blood of Our Lord there remained only the
appearances of bread and wine.

245 Q. What do you mean by the appearances of bread and wine?
A. By the appearances of bread and wine I mean the figure, the color,
the taste, and whatever appears to the senses.

"Senses"--that is, eyes, ears, etc. Thus we have the sense of seeing,
the sense of hearing, the sense of tasting, the sense of smelling, the
sense of feeling.

The Holy Eucharist is the body of Our Lord just as long as the
appearances of bread and wine remain, and when they go away Our Lord's
body goes also. For example, if a church, tabernacle and all, was buried
by a great earthquake, and after many years the people succeeded in
getting at the tabernacle and opening it, and then found in the
ciborium--that is, the vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is kept in
the tabernacle--only black dust, Our Lord would not be there, although
He was there when the church was buried. He would not be there, because
there was no longer the appearance of bread there: it had all been
changed into ashes by time, and Our Lord left it when the change took
place. But if the appearance of bread had remained unchanged, He would
be there even after so many years.

When we receive Holy Communion, the appearance of bread remains for
about fifteen or twenty minutes after we receive, and then it changes or
disappears. Therefore during these fifteen or twenty minutes that the
appearance remains Our Lord Himself is really with us; and for that
reason we should remain about twenty minutes after Mass on the day we
receive, making a thanksgiving, speaking to Our Lord, and listening to
Him speaking to our conscience. What disrespect some people show Our
Lord by rushing out of the church immediately after Mass and Holy
Communion, sometimes beginning to talk or look around before making any
thanksgiving! When you receive Holy Communion, after returning to your
seat you need not immediately begin to read your prayerbook, but may bow
your head and speak to Our Lord while He is present with you. After the
appearances of bread vanish, Our Lord's bodily presence goes also, but
He remains with us by His grace as long as we do not fall into mortal
sin.

*246 Q. What is this change of the bread and wine into the body and
blood of Our Lord called?
A. This change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord
is called Transubstantiation.

"Transubstantiation"--that is, the changing of one substance into
another substance; for example, the changing of the wood in a seat into
stone.

*247 Q. How was the substance of the bread and wine changed into the
substance of the body and blood of Christ?
A. The substance of the bread and wine was changed into the substance of
the body and blood of Christ by His almighty power.

*248 Q. Does this change of bread and wine into the body and blood of
Christ continue to be made in the Church?
A. This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ
continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ through the ministry
of His priests.

249 Q. When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and
wine into His body and blood?
A. Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His
body and blood when He said to His Apostles, "Do this in commemoration
of Me."

250 Q. How do the priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine
into the body and blood of Christ?
A. The priests exercise this power of changing bread and wine into the
body and blood of Christ through the words of consecration in the Mass,
which are the words of Christ: "This is My body; this is My blood."

"Consecration." At what part of the Mass are the words of consecration
pronounced? Just before the Elevation; that is, just before the priest
holds up the Host and the chalice, while the altar boy rings the bell.

When the priest is going to say Mass he prepares everything necessary in
the sacristy--the place or room near the altar where the sacred vessels
and vestments are kept, and where the priest vests. He takes the
chalice--that is, the long silver or gold goblet--out of its case; then
he covers it with a long, narrow, white linen cloth called a
purificator. Over this he places a small silver or gold plate called the
paten, on which he places a host--that is, a thin piece of white bread
prepared for Mass, perfectly round, and about the size of the bottom of
a small drinking glass. He then covers this host with a white card,
called a pall, after which he covers the chalice and all with a square
cloth or veil that matches the vestments. Then he puts on his own
vestments as follows: Over his shoulders the amice, a square, white
cloth. Next the alb, a long white garment reaching down to his feet. He
draws it about his waist with the cincture, or white cord. He places on
his left arm the maniple, a short, narrow vestment. Around his neck he
places the stole, a long, narrow vestment with a cross on each end. Over
all he places the chasuble, or large vestment with the cross on the
back. Lastly, he puts on his cap or biretta. Before going further I must
say something about the color and signification of the vestments. There
are five colors used, namely, white, red, green, violet, and black.
White signifies innocence, and is used on the feasts of Our Lord, of the
Blessed Virgin, and of some saints. Red signifies love, and is used on
the feasts of the Holy Ghost and of the martyrs. Green signifies hope,
and is used on Sundays from the Epiphany to Pentecost, unless some feast
requiring another color falls on Sunday. Violet signifies penance, and
is used in Advent and Lent. Black signifies sorrow, and is used on Good
Friday and in Masses for the dead. As regards the vestments themselves:
the amice signifies preparation to resist the attacks of the devil; the
alb is the symbol of innocence; the cincture of charity; the maniple of
penance; the stole of immortality; and the chasuble of love, by which we
are enabled to bear the light burden Our Lord is pleased to lay upon us.

Vested as described, when the candles have been lighted on the altar,
the priest takes the covered chalice in his hand and goes to the altar,
where, after arranging everything, he begins Mass. After saying many
prayers, he uncovers the chalice, and the acolyte or altar boy brings up
wine and water, and the priest puts some into the chalice. Then he says
a prayer, and offers to God the bread and wine to be consecrated. This
is called the offertory of the Mass, and takes place after the boy
presents the wine and water. Immediately after the Sanctus the priest
begins what is called the Canon of the Mass, and soon after comes to the
time of consecration, and has before him on the paten the white bread,
or host, and in the chalice wine. Remember, it is only bread and wine as
yet. After saying some prayers the priest bends down over the altar and
pronounces the words of consecration, namely, "This is My body," over
the bread; and "This is My blood," over the wine. Then there is no
longer the bread the priest brought out and the wine the boy gave, upon
the altar, but instead of both the body and blood of Our Lord. After the
words of consecration, the priest genuflects or kneels before the altar
to adore Our Lord, who just came there at the words of consecration; he
next holds up the body of Our Lord--the Host--for the people also to see
and adore it; he then replaces it on the altar and again genuflects. He
does just the same with the chalice. This is called the Elevation. The
altar boy then rings the bell to call the people's attention to it, for
it is the most solemn part of the Mass. After more prayers the priest
takes and consumes, that is, swallows, the sacred Host and drinks the
precious blood from the chalice. Then the people come up to the altar to
receive Holy Communion. But where does the priest get Holy Communion for
them if he himself took all he consecrated? He opens the tabernacle, and
there, in a large, beautiful vessel he has small Hosts. He consecrates a
large number of these small hosts sometimes while he is consecrating the
larger one for himself. When they are consecrated, he places them in the
tabernacle, where they are kept with the sanctuary lamp burning before
them, till at the different Masses they have all been given out to the
people. Then he consecrates others at the next Mass, and does as before.
The size of the Host does not make the slightest difference, as Our Lord
is present whole and entire in the smallest particle of the Host. A
little piece that you could scarcely see would be the body of Our Lord.
However, the particle that is given to the people is about the size of a
twenty-five-cent piece, so that they can swallow it before it melts. In
receiving Holy Communion you must never let it entirely dissolve in your
mouth, for if you do not swallow it you will not receive Holy Communion
at all.

Here I might tell you what Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is. The
priest sometimes consecrates at the Mass two large hosts, one he
consumes himself, as I have told you, and the other he places in the
tabernacle in a little gold case. When it is time for Benediction, he
places this little case--made of glass and gold, about the size of a
watch--in the gold or silver monstrance which you see on the altar at
Benediction. It is made to represent rays of light coming from the
Blessed Sacrament. After the choir sings, the priest says the prayer and
goes up and blesses the people with the Blessed Sacrament; that is, when
he holds up the monstrance over the people Our Lord Himself blesses
them. Should we not be very anxious, therefore, to go to Benediction? If
the bishop came to the church, we would all be anxious to receive his
blessing; and if our Holy Father the Pope came, everybody would rush to
the church. But what are they compared to Our Lord Himself? And yet when
He comes to give His blessing, many seem to care little about it.
Because Our Lord in His goodness is pleased to give us His blessing
often, we are indifferent about it. The holy teachers and fathers of the
Church tell us that if we could see the sanctuary at Mass and
Benediction as it really is, we would see it filled with angels all
bowed down, adoring Our Lord. These good angels must be very much
displeased at those who are so indifferent at Mass or Benediction as not
to pay any attention; and above all, at those who stay away. The large
silk cloak the priest wears at Benediction is called the cope, and the
long scarf that is placed over his shoulders the humeral, or Benediction
veil. At the words of consecration, you must know, the priest does not
say "This is Christ's body," but "This is My body"; for at the altar the
priest is there in the place of Our Lord Himself. It is Our Lord who
offers up the sacrifice, and the priest is His instrument. That is why
the priest wears vestments while saying Mass or performing his sacred
duties, to remind him that he is, as it were, another person; that he is
not acting in his own name or right, but in the name and place of our
Blessed Lord.

I have given you in a general way a description of the Mass: let me now
mention its particular parts by their proper names, and tell you what
they are. At the foot of the altar the priest says the Confiteor, a
psalm, and other prayers as a preparation. Then he ascends the altar
steps--praying as he goes--and says the Introit, which is some portion
of the Holy Scripture suitable to the feast of the day. He next says the
Kyrie Eleison, which means: Lord, have mercy on us. He then says the
Gloria, or hymn of praise, though not in all Masses. After the Gloria he
says the Collect, which is a collection of prayers in which the priest
prays for the needs of the Church and of its children. This is followed
by the Epistle, which is a part of the Holy Scripture. Then the
Mass-book is removed to the other side of the altar, and the priest
reads the Gospel--that is, some portion of the Gospel written by the
evangelists. After the Gospel the priest, except in some Masses, says
the Creed, which is a profession of his faith in the mysteries of our
religion. After this the priest uncovers the chalice, and offers up the
bread and wine which is to be consecrated. This is called the Offertory
of the Mass. The offertory is followed by the Lavabo, or washing of the
priest's hands: first, that the priest's hands may be purified to touch
the Sacred Host; and, second, to signify the purity of soul he must have
to offer the Holy Sacrifice. After saying some prayers in secret he says
the Preface, which is a solemn hymn of praise and thanksgiving. The
Preface ends with the Sanctus. The Sanctus is followed by the Canon of
the Mass. Canon means a rule; so this part of the Mass is called the
Canon, because it never changes. The Epistle, Gospel, prayers, etc., are
different on the different feasts, but the Canon of the Mass is always
the same. The Canon is the part of the Mass from the Sanctus down to the
time the priest again covers the chalice. After the Canon the priest
says the Post-Communion, or prayer after Communion; then he gives the
blessing and goes to the other side of the altar, and ends Mass by
saying the last Gospel.

During the Mass the priest frequently makes the Sign of the Cross,
genuflects or bends the knee before the altar, strikes his breast, etc.
What do all these ceremonies mean? By the cross the priest is reminded
of the death of Our Lord; he genuflects as an act of humility, and he
strikes his breast to show his own unworthiness. You will understand all
the ceremonies of the altar if you remember that Our Lord--the King of
kings--is present on it, and the priest acts in His presence as the
servants in a king's palace would act when approaching their king or in
his presence, showing their respect by bowing, kneeling, etc. You will
see this more clearly if you watch the movements of the priest at the
altar while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed.



Lesson 23
ON THE END FOR WHICH THE HOLY EUCHARIST WAS INSTITUTED


251 Q. Why did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?
A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist:

(1) To unite us to Himself and to nourish our souls with His divine
    life.
(2) To increase sanctifying grace and all the virtues in our souls.
(3) To lessen our evil inclinations.
(4) To be a pledge of everlasting life.
(5) To fit our bodies for a glorious resurrection.
(6) To continue the sacrifice of the Cross in His Church.

"To nourish." The Holy Eucharist does to our souls what natural food
does to our bodies. It strengthens them and makes up for the losses we
have sustained by sin, etc. "A pledge," because it does not seem
probable that a person who all during life had been fed and nourished
with the sacred body of Our Lord should after death be buried in Hell.
"To fit our bodies," because Our Lord has promised that if we eat His
flesh and drink His blood, that is, receive the Holy Eucharist, He will
raise us up on the last day, or Day of Judgment. (John 6:55).

*252 Q. How are we united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist?
A. We are united to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist by means of Holy
Communion.

253 Q. What is Holy Communion?
A. Holy Communion is the receiving of the body and blood of Christ.

Holy Communion is therefore the receiving of the Sacrament of Holy
Eucharist.

254 Q. What is necessary to make a good Communion?
A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in a state of
sanctifying grace, to be fasting for one hour, and to have a right
intention.

"Fasting"--that is, not having taken any food or drink for one hour
before the time of Communion. (Water and true medicine do not break the
fast and may be taken at any time.) What, then, are you to do, if,
without thinking, you break your fast? Do not go to Communion at that
Mass; you can remain in church and receive Communion at the following
Mass. Never, never, on any account, go to Holy Communion when you have
broken your fast. Never let fear or shame or anything else make you do
such a thing. It is no shame to break your fast by mistake; but it is a
great sin to knowingly go to Communion after breaking your fast.

"A right intention"--holy and spiritual motive, such as, to obey Our
Lord's command, to receive strength to resist temptation, or to be
united with Our Lord.

255 Q. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin receive the body and
blood of Christ?
A. He who receives Communion in mortal sin receives the body and blood
of Christ, but does not receive His grace, and he commits a great
sacrilege.

"The body and blood," because the appearance of bread and wine is there
after consecration, and he receives it. He who receives the Holy
Eucharist in mortal sin receives Our Lord into a filthy soul. If a great
and highly-esteemed friend was coming to visit your house, would you not
take care to have everything clean and neat, and pleasing to him? And
the greater the dignity of the person coming, the more careful you would
be. But what are all the persons of dignity in the world--kings or
popes--compared with Our Lord, who leaves the beauties of Heaven to come
to visit our soul? and the purest we can make it is not pure enough for
Him. But He is kind to us, and is satisfied with our poor preparation if
He sees we are doing our very best. But oh, what a shame to receive Him
into our soul without any preparation! and more horrible still, to fill
it with vile sins, that we know are most disgusting to Him! No wonder,
therefore, that receiving Holy Communion unworthily is so great a crime,
and so deserving of God's punishment. Why should not the heavenly Father
punish us for treating His beloved Son with such shameful disrespect and
contempt?

*256 Q. Is it enough to be free from mortal sin, to receive plentifully
the graces of Holy Communion?
A. To receive plentifully the graces of Holy Communion it is not enough
to be free from mortal sin, but we should be free from all affection to
venial sin, and should make acts of lively faith, of firm hope and
ardent love.

*257 Q. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?
A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining for one hour
from everything which is taken as food or drink.

{T.N.: The reprint book, upon which this e-text is based, contains the
statement, "published . . . with minor revisions to conform with the new
regulations on fasting and indulgences, etc."}

"Food or drink." If you swallowed a button, for example, it would not
break your fast, because it is not food or drink.

*258 Q. Is anyone ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not
fasting?
A. Anyone in danger of death is allowed to receive Communion when not
fasting.

"Not fasting." But then the Holy Communion is called by another name; it
is called the Viaticum, and the priest uses a different prayer in giving
it to the sick person. When a person dies, he goes, as it were, on a
journey from this world to the next. Now, when persons are going on a
journey they must have food to strengthen them. Our Lord wished,
therefore, that all His children who had to go on this most important of
all journeys--from this world to the next--should be first strengthened
by this sacred food, His own body and blood. The Latin word for road or
way is via, and Viaticum therefore means food for the way. Not only are
persons in danger of death allowed to receive when not fasting, but they
are obliged to receive; and the priest is obliged under pain of sin to
bring Holy Communion to the dying at any hour of the day or night.

When I speak of a great journey from this world to the next, from earth
to Heaven, you must not understand me to mean that it is a great many
miles from earth to Heaven, or that it takes a long time to go to the
next world. No. We cannot measure the distance, nor does it take time to
get there. The instant we die, no matter where that happens, our soul is
in the next world, and judged by God.

*259 Q. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?
A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin,
during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

*260 Q. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?
A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater
aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all graces and
the Source of all good.

*261 Q. What should we do after Holy Communion?
A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord,
in thanking Him for the graces we have received and in asking Him for
the blessings we need.



Lesson 24
ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS


262 Q. When and where are the bread and wine changed into the body and
blood of Christ?
A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ at
the consecration in the Mass.

263 Q. What is the Mass?
A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.

The Holy Sacrifice is called Mass probably from the words the priest
says at the end when he turns to the people and says, "Ite Missa est";
that is, when he tells them the Holy Sacrifice is over.

*264 Q. What is a sacrifice?
A. A sacrifice is the offering of an object by a priest to God alone,
and the consuming of it to acknowledge that He is the Creator and Lord
of all things.

"Sacrifice." From the very earliest history of man we find people--for
example, Abel, Noe, etc.--offering up sacrifice to God; that is, taking
something and offering it to God, and then destroying it to show that
they believed God to be the Master of life and death, and the Supreme
Lord of all things. These offerings were sometimes plants or fruits, but
most frequently animals.

When men lost the knowledge of the true God and began to worship idols
of wood and stone, they began or continued to offer sacrifice to these
false gods. Very often, too, they sacrificed human beings to please, as
they imagined, these gods. They believed there was a god for
everything--a god for the ocean, a god for thunder, a god for wind, for
war, etc.; and when anything happened that frightened or injured the
people, they believed that some of these gods were offended, and offered
up sacrifice to pacify them. They had a temple in Rome called the
Pantheon, or temple of all the gods, and here they kept the idols of all
the gods they could think of or know. At Athens, they were afraid of
neglecting any god whom they might thus give offense, and so they had an
altar for the unknown god. When St. Paul came to preach, he saw this
altar to the unknown god, and told them that was the God he came to
preach about. (Acts 17). He preached to them the existence of the true
God, and showed them that there is only one God and not many gods.

They did not have these idols of wood and stone in their temples for the
same reason that we have images in our churches, because they believed
that the idols were really gods, and offered sacrifice to them, whereas
we know that our images are the works of men. Near the city of Jerusalem
there was a great idol named Molech, to which parents offered their
infants in sacrifice. We know, too, from the history of this country
that the Indians used to send a beautiful young girl in a white canoe
over the falls of Niagara every year, as a sacrifice offered to the god
of the falls. Even yet human sacrifices are offered up on savage
islands. Sometimes certain animals were selected to be heathen gods. The
people who worship idols, animals, or other things of that kind as gods
are called pagans, idolaters, or heathens.

The Israelites, who worshipped the true God and offered Him sacrifices
because He made known to them by revelation that they should do so, had
four kinds of sacrifice. They offered one for sin, another in
thanksgiving for benefits received, another as an act of worship, and
another to beg God's blessing. It is just for these four ends or objects
we offer up the one Christian sacrifice of the holy Mass. In the
beginning the head of the family offered sacrifice--as Noe did when he
came out of the Ark--but after God gave His laws to Moses He appointed
priests to offer up the sacrifices. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was the
first priest appointed, and after him his descendants were priests. When
Our Lord came and instituted a new sacrifice He established the
priesthood of the New Law, and appointed His own priests, namely, the
Apostles, with St. Peter as their chief, and after them their lawfully
appointed successors, the bishops of the world, with the Pope as their
chief. The sacrifices of the Old Law were figures of the sacrifice of
the New Law, and were to cease at its institution; and when the ancient
sacrifices ceased the ancient priesthood was at an end.

265 Q. Is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross.

But how is the Mass a sacrifice? It is a sacrifice because at the Mass
the body and blood of Our Lord are offered to His heavenly Father at the
consecration, and afterwards consumed by the priest. In offering up the
body and blood of Our Lord the bread and wine are consecrated
separately, and kept separate on the altar at Mass to signify their
separation at Our Lord's death in the sacrifice of the Cross, when His
sacred blood flowed from His body. The Holy Eucharist is also a
Sacrament, because it has the three things necessary to constitute a
Sacrament; namely, (1) The outward sign--that is, the appearance of
bread and wine. (2) The inward grace; for it is Jesus Christ Himself,
the Author and Dispenser of all graces. (3) It was instituted by Our
Lord.

The Holy Eucharist is therefore both a sacrifice and a Sacrament. It is
a sacrifice when offered at Mass, and a Sacrament when we receive it and
when it is reserved in the tabernacle.

*266 Q. How is the Mass the same sacrifice as that of the Cross?
A. The Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the Cross because the
offering and the priest are the same--Christ Our Blessed Lord; and the
ends for which the sacrifice of the Mass is offered are the same as
those of the sacrifice of the Cross.

On the Cross the offering was the body and blood of Our Lord; the one
who offered it was Our Lord; the reason for which He offered it was that
He might atone for sin; the one to whom He offered it was His heavenly
Father. Now, at Mass it is the same. The object offered is Our Lord's
body and blood, the one suffering is Our Lord Himself, through the
priest; it is offered for sin, and it is offered to the heavenly Father.
All things are the same, except that the blood of Our Lord is not shed,
and Our Lord does not die again.

*267 Q. What are the ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was
offered?
A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was offered were:
first, to honor and glorify God; second, to thank Him for all the graces
bestowed on the whole world; third, to satisfy God's justice for the
sins of men; fourth, to obtain all graces and blessings.

*268 Q. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the Cross and
the sacrifice of the Mass?
A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On
the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was really slain; in the Mass
there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can
die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate
consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the
Cross.

269 Q. How should we assist at Mass?
A. We should assist at Mass with great interior recollection and piety
and with every outward mark of respect and devotion.

If you were admitted into the presence of a king or of the Holy Father
you would be careful not to show any indifference or disrespect in his
presence. You would not be guilty of looking around or of talking idly
to those near you. Your eyes would be constantly fixed on the great
person present. So should you be at Mass, for there you are admitted
into the presence of the King of kings, our divine Lord. Your whole
attention, therefore, should be reverently given to Him, and to no
other. How displeasing it must be to Him to have some in His presence
who care so little for Him and who insult Him without thought or regard!
If we acted in the presence of any prince as we sometimes act in the
presence of Our Lord on the altar, we should be turned out of his house,
with orders not to come again. But Our Lord suffers all patiently and
meekly, though He will not allow any of this disrespect to go unpunished
in this world or in the next. Knowing this, some holy persons offer up
their prayers and Holy Communions in reparation for these insults, and
try to atone for all the insults offered to Our Lord in the Blessed
Sacrament. They have united in holy society for this purpose, called the
Apostleship of Prayer, or League of the Sacred Heart, now established in
many parishes. If you do not belong to such a society, you should make
such an offering yourself privately.

In the Old Law the people brought to the temple whatever they wished the
priests to offer up for them--sometimes a lamb, sometimes a dove,
sometimes fruit, etc. The offering or sacrifice was theirs, and they
offered it up by the hands of the priests. In the early ages of the
Church the Christians brought to the priests the bread and wine to be
consecrated and offered up at Mass. Now as the bread and wine used at
the Mass must be of a particular kind, namely, wheaten bread and wine of
the grape, there was some danger of the people not bringing the proper
kind: so instead of the people bringing these things themselves, the
priests began to buy them, and the people gave him money for his own
support; and thus you have the origin of offering money to the priest
for celebrating Mass for your intention. The money is not to pay for the
Mass, because you could not buy any sacred thing without committing sin.
The priest may use the money also for the candles burned, the vestments
and sacred vessels, etc., used at the Mass. To buy a holy thing for
money is the sin of simony--so called after Simon, a magician, who tried
to bribe the Apostles to give him Confirmation when he was unworthy of
it. To buy religious articles before they are blessed is not simony, nor
even after they are blessed, if you pay only for the material of which
they are made; but if you tried to buy the blessing, it would be simony.
When the Holy Mass is offered, the fruits or benefits of it are divided
into four classes. The first benefit comes to the priest who celebrates
the Mass; the second, to the one for whom he offers the Mass; the third
benefit to those who are present at it; and the fourth to all the
faithful throughout the world.

*270 Q. Which is the best manner of hearing Mass?
A. The best manner of hearing Mass is to offer it to God with the priest
for the same purpose for which it is said, to meditate on Christ's
sufferings and death, and to go to Holy Communion.

That is, to offer it up for whatever intention the priest is offering
it--for the dead, for the conversion of sinners, for the good of others,
etc.; but especially for the four ends of which I have already
spoken--to worship God, thank Him, etc. "Christ's death," of which it
reminds us. "Holy Communion," if we are in a state of grace, and have
prepared to receive Communion.

You should go to Holy Communion as often as possible, and you should try
every day to make yourself more worthy of that great Sacrament. Think of
it! To receive your God and Saviour into your soul, and to be united
with Him, as the word communion means! The early Christians used to go
to Communion very frequently. The Church requires us to go to Holy
Communion at least once a year, but we should not be satisfied with
doing merely what is necessary to avoid mortal sin. Do we try to keep
away from persons we love? Then if we really love Our Lord should we not
desire to receive Him? All good Catholics should go to Holy Communion at
least once a week, on Sunday. Persons wishing to lead truly holy lives
should go to Communion more often, or even every day.

When we cannot go really to Communion we can merit God's grace by making
a spiritual Communion. What is a spiritual Communion? It is an earnest
desire to receive Communion. You prepare yourself as if you were really
going to Communion; you try to imagine yourself going up, receiving the
Blessed Sacrament, and returning to your place. Then you thank God for
all His blessings to you as you would have done had you received. This
is an act of devotion, and one very pleasing to God, as many holy
writers tell us.

I cannot leave this lesson on the Holy Eucharist without telling you
something of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, now so
universally practiced and so closely connected with the devotion to the
Blessed Sacrament. The Church grants many indulgences, and Our Lord
Himself promises many rewards to those who honor the Sacred Heart. But
what do we mean by the Sacred Heart? We mean the real natural heart of
Our Lord, to which His divinity is united as it is to His whole body.
But why do we adore this real, natural heart of Our Lord? We adore it
because love is said to be in the heart, and we wish to return Our Lord
love, and gratitude for the great love He has shown to us in dying for
us, and in instituting the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, by
which He can remain with us in His sacred humanity. When Our Lord
appeared to Saint Margaret Mary He said: "Behold this Heart, that has
loved men so ardently, and is so little loved in return." The first
Friday of every month and the whole month of June are dedicated to the
Sacred Heart.



Lesson 25
ON EXTREME UNCTION AND HOLY ORDERS


"Unction" means the anointing or rubbing with oil or ointment. "Extreme"
means last. Therefore Extreme Unction means the last anointing. It is
called the "last" because other unctions or anointings are received
before it. We are anointed at Baptism on three parts of the body--on the
breast, the back, and the head. We are anointed on the forehead at
Confirmation; and when priests are ordained they are anointed on the
hands. The last time we are anointed is just before death, and it is
therefore very properly called the last anointing, or Extreme Unction.
But if the person should not die after being anointed would it still be
called Extreme Unction? Yes; because at the time it was given it was
thought to be the last. It sometimes happens that persons receive
Extreme Unction several times in their lives, because they could receive
it every time they were in danger of death by sickness. Suppose a person
should die immediately after being anointed in Baptism or Confirmation,
would the anointing in Baptism or Confirmation then become Extreme
Unction? No. Because Extreme Unction is in itself a separate and
distinct Sacrament--a special anointing with prayers for the sick. Oil
is used in Extreme Unction--as in Confirmation--as a sign of strength;
for as the priest applies the holy oil in the Sacrament, the grace of
the Sacrament is taking effect upon the soul. This Sacrament was
instituted as much for the body as for the soul, as all the prayers said
by the priest while administering it indicate. It is given generally
after a person has made his confession and received the Viaticum, and
when his soul is already in a state of grace; showing that it is in a
special way intended for the body. It must be given only in sickness;
for although one might be in danger of death if the danger did not come
from within, but from without, he could not be anointed. A soldier in
battle, persons being shipwrecked, firemen working at a great fire,
etc., could not be anointed, although they are in very great danger of
death; because the danger is not from within themselves, but from
without. If, however, these persons were so frightened that there was
danger of their dying from the fright, they could then be anointed.

271 Q. What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
A. Extreme Unction is the Sacrament which, through the anointing and
prayer of the priest, gives health and strength to the soul, and
sometimes to the body, when we are in danger of death from sickness.

"Anointing." In this Sacrament the priest anoints all our senses--the
eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, the hands, and the feet--and at the
same time prays God to forgive the poor sick person all the sins he has
committed by any of these. The eyes, by looking at bad objects or
pictures; the ears, by listening to bad conversation; the nose, by
indulging too much in sensual pleasures; the mouth, by cursing, lying,
bad conversation, backbiting, etc.; the hands, by stealing, fighting, or
doing sinful things; the feet, by carrying us to do wrong or to bad
places. I told you already most of our sins are committed for our body,
and the senses are the chief instruments. "Strength to the body," if it
is for our spiritual welfare. If God foresees, as He foresees all
things, that after our sickness we shall lead better lives and do
penance for our sins, then He may be pleased to restore us to health,
and give us an opportunity of making up for our past faults. But if He
foresees that after our sickness we would again lead bad lives, and fall
perhaps into greater sins, then He will likely take us when we are
prepared, and will not restore us again to health. As He always knows
and does what is best for His children, we must in sickness always be
resigned to His holy will, and be satisfied with what He sees fit to do
with us.

*272 Q. When should we receive Extreme Unction?
A. We should receive Extreme Unction when we are in danger of death from
sickness, or from a wound or accident.

*273 Q. Should we wait until we are in extreme danger before we receive
Extreme Unction?
A. We should not wait until we are in extreme danger before we receive
Extreme Unction, but if possible we should receive it whilst we have the
use of our senses.

We should always be glad to receive the grace of the Sacraments. When,
therefore, we are sufficiently ill to be anointed--when there is any
danger of death--we should send for the priest at once. If the sick
person has any chance of recovering, the Sacrament will help him and
hasten the recovery; but if the priest is sent for just when the person
is in the last agony of death, the person could not recover except by a
miracle, and God does not perform miracles for ordinary reasons. If you
are in doubt whether the person is sick enough to receive the last
Sacraments, do not be the judge yourself, send for the priest and let
him judge; and then all the responsibility is removed from you in case
the person should die without the Sacraments. Very often persons are
near death, and their relatives do not know it. The priest, like the
doctor, has experience in these cases, and can judge of the danger.
Again, do not foolishly believe, as some seem to do, that if the priest
comes to anoint the sick person it will frighten him by making him think
he is going to die. It has never been known that the priest killed
anyone by coming to see him; and if these same persons who are now sick
receive the Sacraments in the church from the very same priest, why
should they be afraid to receive them from him in their house? And if
they are so near death that a little fright would kill them, then they
are surely sick enough to receive the Sacraments. The sick person who is
afraid that Extreme Unction will kill him or hasten his death shows that
he has not the proper faith and confidence in God's grace. They who do
not wish to receive Holy Communion or the Holy Viaticum in their houses
do not want Our Lord to visit them. How ungrateful they are! When Our
Lord was on earth the people carried the sick out into the streets to
lay them near Him that He might cure them. Now, He does not require us
to do that, but comes Himself to the sick in the most humble manner, and
they refuse to receive Him. See how ungrateful, therefore, and how
wanting in faith and devotion such persons are! If the sick person is
one who has been careless about his religion, and has for some time
neglected to receive the Sacraments, do not wait for him to ask for the
priest or for his consent to send for him. Few persons ever believe they
are so near death as they really are: they are afraid to think of their
past lives, and do not like to send for the priest, or at least they put
off doing so, frequently till it is too late. The devil tempts them to
put off the reception of the Sacraments, in hopes that they may die
without them, and be his forever. In these cases speak to the sick man
quietly and gently, and ask him if he would not like to have the priest
come and say a few prayers for his recovery. Do not say anything about
the Sacraments if you are afraid he will refuse. Simply bring the priest
to the sick man, and he will attend to all the rest. Even if the person
should refuse--if he has been baptized in the Catholic religion--send
for the priest and explain to him the circumstances and dispositions of
the sick man. It would be terrible to let such persons die without the
Sacraments if there is any possibility of their receiving them. Even
when they refuse to see the priest it generally happens that after he
has once visited them, talked to them, and explained the benefits of the
Sacraments, they are better pleased than anyone else to see him coming
again.

Sometimes it is God's goodness that sends sickness to such persons, to
bring them back to His worship and the practice of their religion. What
does a good father generally do with an unruly child? He advises and
warns it, and when words have no effect, punishes it with the rod, not
because he wishes to see it suffer, but for its good, that it may give
up its evil habits and become an obedient, loving child. In like manner
God warns sinners by their conscience, by sermons they hear, by
accidents or deaths around about them, etc.; and when none of these
things have any effect on them, He sends them some affliction--He brings
them to a bed of sickness. He punishes them, as it were, with a rod.
This He does, not that He may see them suffer, but for their good; that
they may understand He is their Master, the only one who can give them
health; that all the doctors and all the friends and money in the world
could not save them if He determined that they should die. Then they
come to know that the world is not their friend; then they see things as
they really are, and begin to think of the next world, of eternity, etc.
Thus they again turn to God and to the practices of religion. Many
persons who reform and begin to lead good lives in sickness would never
have changed if God had left them always in good health. But you must
not think that all who are sick are so on account of sin. Sometimes very
holy persons are in a state of sickness, and then it is sent them that
they may bear it patiently, and have great merit before God for their
sufferings, and thus become more holy. Again, very small children who
have never sinned are sick, and then it is perhaps that their parents
may have merit for patiently taking care of them. I say that God
sometimes sends sickness to persons living in sin for the purpose of
bringing them back to a better way of living, and in that case their
sickness is for them a great mercy from God, who might have allowed them
to continue in sin till His judgments and condemnation came suddenly
upon them.

274 Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
A. The effects of Extreme Unction are: first, to comfort us in the pains
of sickness and to strengthen us against temptations; second, to remit
venial sins and to cleanse our soul from the remains of sin; third, to
restore us to health when God sees fit.

*275 Q. What do you mean by the remains of sin?
A. By the remains of sin I mean the inclination to evil and the weakness
of the will, which are the result of our sins and which remain after our
sins have been forgiven.

"Remains of sin"--that is, chiefly the bad habits we have acquired by
sin. If a person does a thing very often, he soon begins to do it very
easily, and it becomes, as we say, a habit. So, too, a person who sins
very much soon begins to sin easily. This Sacrament therefore takes away
the ease in sinning and the desire for past sins acquired by frequently
committing them.

*276 Q. How should we receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
A. We should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction in a state of
grace and with lively faith and resignation to the will of God.

*277 Q. Who is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
A. The priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.

The Sacraments that the priest administers in the house are the
Sacraments for the sick; namely, Penance, Viaticum, or Holy Communion,
and Extreme Unction. The other Sacraments may be administered there in
special cases of necessity. You should know what things are to be
prepared when the priest comes to administer the Sacraments in your
house. They are as follows: A small table covered with a clean white
cloth, and on it a crucifix and one or two lighted candles in
candlesticks; some holy water in a small vessel, with a sprinkler which
you can make by tying together a few leaves or small pieces of palm; a
glass of clean water, a tablespoon, and a napkin for the sick person to
hold under the chin while receiving; also a piece of white cotton
wadding, if the priest should ask for it.

Then you may have ready in another place near at hand some water, a
towel, and a piece of bread or lemon for purifying the priest's fingers;
but these things are not always necessary: still, it would be better to
have them ready in case the priest should require them, so as not to
keep him waiting. Every good Catholic family should have all these
things put away carefully in the house. It would be well, though it is
not necessary, to keep a special spoon, napkin, etc., for that purpose
alone. Sometimes persons are taken ill very suddenly in the night, and
when the priest comes they have none of the things they should have; and
if their neighbors are as careless as themselves, they will not have
them either: so the priest is delayed in giving the Sacraments, or is
obliged to administer them in a way that is always disrespectful to Our
Lord. If we would make such preparations for the coming of a friend to
our house, why should we be so careless when Our Lord comes? If a friend
comes when we are not prepared to receive him, we feel very much
ashamed, and make a thousand excuses for our want of thought. Therefore
provide the things necessary for the administration of these Sacraments
in your house, and keep them though they may be seldom if ever required
in your family.

When Our Lord comes to visit your house receive Him with all possible
respect and reverence. Some good Catholics have the very praiseworthy
practice of meeting the priest at the door with a lighted candle when he
carries the Blessed Sacrament, and of going before him to the sickroom.
This can be done where there is only one family living in the house, or
at least in the apartment. All who can do this should do it, because it
is in keeping with the wish of the Church. In olden times, and even now
in Catholic countries, the priest brings the Blessed Sacrament in
procession to the sick. He goes vested as for Benediction, accompanied
by altar boys with lighted candles and bells. The people kneel by the
way as Our Lord passes. Our Lord is carried in procession always in the
church and on the feast of Corpus Christi, on Holy Thursday, and during
the Devotion of Forty Hours. The Church would like to have this solemn
procession in honor of Our Lord every time the Blessed Sacrament is
brought from one place to another. But this cannot always be done in the
streets, because there are many persons not Catholics who would insult
Our Lord while passing along; and in order to prevent this, the priest
brings the Blessed Sacrament to the dying without any outward display.
But we should always remember the very great respect due to Our Lord,
and do all we can to show it when possible.

278 Q. What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
A. Holy Orders is a Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and other
ministers of the Church are ordained and receive the power and grace to
perform their sacred duties.

"Other ministers," means deacons and subdeacons, properly so-called.
When a young man goes to study for the priesthood--after he has
discovered that God has called him to that sacred office--he passes
several years in learning what is necessary, and in fitting himself for
his sacred duties. After some time he receives what is called tonsure;
that is, on the day of ordination the bishop cuts a little hair from
five places on his head, to show that this young man is giving himself
up to God. The tonsure is a mark of the clerical state, and in Catholic
countries it is made manifest by keeping a small circular spot on the
crown of the head shaved perfectly clean. It reminds the cleric or
priest of having dedicated himself to God, and also of the crown of
thorns worn by Our Blessed Saviour. For this reason some of the holy
monks shaved all the hair from their head, with the exception of a
little ring, which resembles very much a wreath or crown of hair
encircling the head. You often see them thus represented in holy
pictures.

After the young student has received the tonsure and studied for a
longer time, he receives the four Minor Orders, by which he is permitted
to touch the sacred vessels of the altar, and do certain things about
the church which laymen have not the right to do, especially to serve
Mass. After more preparation he becomes a subdeacon, and then he may
wear vestments and assist the celebrant at Solemn Mass. At a Solemn Mass
there are three priests in vestments. The priest standing on the
platform of the altar and celebrating Mass is called the celebrant; the
one who stands just behind him, generally one step lower, is called the
deacon, and the one who stands behind the deacon and on the lower step
is called the subdeacon. The one who directs the whole ceremony, and
gives signs to the others when to stand, sit down, or kneel, is called
the Master of Ceremonies.

When speaking of the Mass, I forgot to tell you something about the
different kinds of Masses--that is, different as far as the ceremonies
are concerned, for they are all alike in value. First we have the Low
Mass, such as the priest says every day and at the early hours on
Sundays. It is called low, because there is no display in ceremony about
it. Next we have the High Mass--called Missa Cantata (sung)--at which
the priest and choir sing in turn. Lastly, we have the Solemn High Mass,
at which we have three ministers or priests, and singing by both
ministers and choir, as well as all the ceremonies prescribed by the
Church. When any of these Masses are said in black vestments they are
called Requiem Masses, because the priest offers them for the rest or
happy repose of the soul of some dead person or persons, and the word
requiem means rest. Vespers is a portion of the Divine Office of the
Church. It is sung generally on Sunday afternoon or evening in the
church, and is usually followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
It is not a mortal sin to stay from Vespers on Sundays, even willfully,
because there is no law of the Church obliging you to attend.
Nevertheless all good Catholics will attend Vespers when possible.

To continue about the ministers of the Church: When the subdeacon is
ordained a deacon, he can wear still more of the priestly vestments, and
also baptize solemnly, preach, and give Holy Communion. After a time the
deacon is ordained a priest, and receives power to celebrate Mass and
forgive sins. If afterwards the priest should be selected by the Holy
Father to be a bishop, he is consecrated; and then he has power to
administer Confirmation and Holy Orders, ordaining priests and
consecrating bishops. Thus you see there are grades through which the
ministers of the Church must pass. First the tonsure, then Minor Orders,
then subdeaconship, then deaconship, then priesthood. Nuns, Sisters,
Brothers, etc., are not, as some might think, ministers of the Church,
because they have never received any of the Holy Orders.

The ordained ministers of the Church can perform the duties of any
office for which they have ever been ordained, but not the duties of any
office above that to which they have been ordained. For example, a
subdeacon cannot take the place of a deacon at Mass, nor a deacon the
place of a priest; but a priest may take either of their places, because
he has, at one time, been ordained to both these offices.

Altar boys should never forget that they are enjoying a very great
privilege in being allowed to take the place of an ordained minister of
the Church, and serve Mass without being ordained acolytes.

In olden times princes and noblemen used to seek for this wonderful
favor, and count themselves happy if they secured it. Think of it! To
stand so near our Blessed Lord that they are able to see His sacred body
resting upon the altar, and to offer the wine, which a few minutes later
is changed into His very blood!

*279 Q. What is necessary to receive Holy Orders worthily?
A. To receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary to be in the state of
grace, to have the necessary knowledge, and a divine call to this sacred
office.

"Knowledge"--that is, to be able to learn and to have learned all that a
priest should know.

"Divine call," explained before in the explanation of vocation, a word
that means call. (See Lesson 6, Q. 51.)

*280 Q. How should Christians look upon the priests of the Church?
A. Christians should look upon the priests of the Church as the
messengers of God and the dispensers of His mysteries.

"Messengers." Our Lord said to His Apostles: "As the Father sent Me, I
also send you." That is, as the heavenly Father sent His Beloved Son,
Our Lord, into the world to save men's souls, so Our Lord sends His
Apostles and their successors through the world to save souls. God told
the priests of the Old Law that if they did not warn the people of
coming dangers they would be held responsible for the people; but if
they warned the people and the people did not heed, then the people
would be responsible for their own destruction. So, too, in the New Law
the priests warn you against sin, and if you do not heed the warning the
loss of your soul will be upon yourself. Therefore you should take every
warning coming from the ministers of God as you would from Himself, for
it is really God that warns you against sin, and the priests are only
His agents or instruments. "Dispensers"--that is, those who administer
the Sacraments.

*281 Q. Who can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
A. Bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

"Confer"--that is, give or administer. So can a cardinal, if he be a
bishop, and so can the Holy Father, who is always a bishop, and called
bishop of Rome, while Pope of the whole Church. It will be well here to
give some explanation about cardinals--who they are, and what they do.
In the United States the President has about him ten prominent men
selected by himself, and called his Cabinet. They are his advisers; he
consults them on all important matters, and assigns to them various
duties. The Holy Father, who is also a ruler--a spiritual ruler--not of
one country, but of the whole world, has also a Cabinet, but it is not
called by that name: it is called the Sacred College of Cardinals. There
are seventy cardinals, to whom the Pope assigns various works in helping
him to govern the Church. Some of these cardinals are in different parts
of the world, as our own cardinals right here in America. There are
cardinals in England, France, Germany, Canada, Spain, etc., but a
certain number always remain in Rome with the Holy Father. When a bishop
is made cardinal he is raised in dignity in the Church, but he does not
receive any greater spiritual power than he had when only a bishop. The
cardinals, owing to their high dignity, have many privileges which
bishops have not. Their greatest privilege is to take part in the
election of a new Pope when the reigning Pope dies.

The Pope dresses in white, the cardinals in red, the bishops in purple,
and the priests and other ministers in black. A "Monsignor" is also a
title of dignity granted by our Holy Father to some worthy priests. It
gives them certain privileges, and the right to wear purple like a
bishop. The "Vicar General" is one who is appointed by the bishop in the
diocese, and shares his power. In the bishop's absence he acts as bishop
in all temporal and worldly matters and also in some spiritual things,
concerning the diocese. A diocese is the extent of country over which a
bishop is appointed to rule, as a parish is the extent over which a
pastor is appointed to administer the Sacraments and rule under the
direction of the bishop. Pastors are also called rectors. Pastor means a
shepherd, and rector means a ruler; and as all pastors rule their
flocks, pastor and rector mean about the same.

An archbishop is higher than a bishop, though he has no more spiritual
power than a bishop. The district over which an archbishop rules
contains several dioceses with their bishops, and is called an
ecclesiastical province. The bishops in the province are called
suffragan bishops, because subject in some things to the authority of
the archbishop, who is also called the metropolitan, because bishop of a
metropolis or chief city of the province over which he presides.

The archbishop can wear the pallium, a garment worn by the Pope, and
sent by him to patriarchs, primates, and archbishops. It is a band of
white wool, worn over the shoulders and around the neck after the manner
of a stole. It has two strings of the same material and four black or
purple crosses worked upon it. It is the symbol of the plenitude of
pastoral jurisdiction conferred by the Holy See. Morally speaking, it
reminds the wearer how the good shepherd seeks the lost sheep and brings
it home upon his shoulders, and how the loving pastor of souls should
seek those spiritually lost and bring them back to the Church, the true
fold of Christ.



Lesson 26
ON MATRIMONY


282 Q. What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?
A. The Sacrament of Matrimony is the Sacrament which unites a Christian
man and woman in lawful marriage.

"Christian," because if they are not Christians they do not receive the
grace of the Sacrament.

*283 Q. Can a Christian man and woman be united in lawful marriage in
any other way than by the Sacrament of Matrimony?
A. A Christian man and woman cannot be united in lawful marriage in any
other way than by the Sacrament of Matrimony, because Christ raised
marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

"Lawful." Persons are lawfully married when they comply with all the
laws of God and of the Church relating to marriage. To marry unlawfully
is a mortal sin, in which the persons must remain till the sin is
forgiven. "Sacrament." Before the coming of Our Lord persons were
married as they are now, and even lawfully according to the laws of the
Old Testament or old religion; but marriage did not give them any grace.
Now it does give grace, because it is a Sacrament, and has been so since
the time of Our Lord. Before His coming it was only a contract, and when
He added grace to the contract it became a Sacrament.

*284 Q. Can the bond of Christian marriage be dissolved by any human
power?
A. The bond of Christian marriage cannot be dissolved by any human
power.

"Dissolved"--that is, can married persons ever--for any cause--separate
and marry again; that is, take another husband or wife while the first
husband or wife is living? Never, if they were really married.
Sometimes, for good reason, the Church permits husband and wife to
separate and live in different places; but they are still married.
Sometimes it happens, too, that persons are not really married although
they have gone through the ceremony and people think they are married,
and they may think so themselves. The Church, however, makes them
separate, because it finds they are not really married at all--on
account of some impeding circumstance that existed at the time they
performed the ceremony. These circumstances or facts that prevent the
marriage from being valid are called "Impediments to Marriage." Some of
them render the marriage altogether null, and some only make it
unlawful. When persons make arrangements about getting married they
should tell the priest every circumstance that they think might be an
impediment. Here are the chief things they should tell the
priest--privately, if possible. Whether both are Christians and
Catholics; whether either has ever been solemnly engaged to another
person; whether they have ever made any vow to God with regard to
chastity, the religious life, or the like; whether they are related and
in what degree; whether either was ever married to any member of the
other's family--say sister, brother, or cousin, etc.; whether either
ever was a godparent in Baptism for the other or for any of the other's
children; whether either was married before, and what proof can be given
of the death of the first husband or wife; whether they really intend to
get married; whether they are of lawful age; whether they are in good
health or suffering from some sickness that might prevent their
marriage, etc. They should also state whether they live in the parish,
and how long they have lived in it. They should give at least three
weeks' notice before their marriage, except in special cases of
necessity. They should not presume to make final arrangements and invite
friends before they have made arrangements with their pastor; because if
there should be any delay on account of impediments it would cause them
great inconvenience. Let me take an example of a fact that would render
the marriage invalid or null though the persons performing the ceremony
might not be aware of it. Suppose a woman's husband went to the war, and
she heard after a great many years that he had been killed in battle,
and she, believing her first husband to be dead, married another man.
But the report of the first husband's death turns out to be false, and
after a time he returns. Then the Church tells the woman--and she knows
it now herself--that the second marriage was invalid, that is, no
marriage, because it was performed while the first husband was still
living. She must leave the second man and go back to her husband. You
see in that case the Church was not dissolving or breaking the marriage
bond, but only declaring that the woman and second man were not married
from the very beginning, although they thought they were, being ignorant
of the existing impediment, and the priest also being deceived performed
the ceremony in the usual manner. If it ever happens, therefore, that
you hear of the Church permitting persons, already apparently married,
to separate and marry others, it is only when it discovers that their
first marriage was invalid, and by its action it does not dissolve the
bond of marriage, but simply declares that the marriage was null and
void from the beginning, as you now easily understand. Thus persons
might unwittingly marry with existing impediments that would render
their marriage invalid or illicit. Such things, however, happen very
rarely, for the priest would discover the impediments in questioning the
persons about to marry.

Protestants and persons outside the Catholic Church teach that the
marriage bond can at times be dissolved, but such doctrines bring great
evil upon society. When the father and mother separate and marry again,
the children of the first marriage are left to take care of themselves,
or receive only such care as the law gives them. They are left without
Christian instruction and the good influence of home. Then persons who
are divorced once may be divorced a second or third time, and thus all
society would be thrown into a state of confusion, and there would be
scarcely any such thing as a family to be found. It is bad enough at
present, on account of divorces granted by the laws and upheld by
Protestants; and only for the influence and good public opinion created
by the teaching and opposition of the Catholic Church, it would be much
worse. Again, if husbands and wives could separate for this or that
fault, they would not be careful in making their choice of the person
they wish to marry, nor would their motives be always holy and worthy of
the Sacrament.

285 Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony?
A. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are: first, to sanctify the
love of husband and wife; second, to give them grace to bear with each
other's weaknesses; third, to enable them to bring up their children in
the fear and love of God.

The union and love existing between a husband and wife should be like
the union and love existing between Our Lord and His Church. The grace
of the Sacrament helps them to have such a love. "Weaknesses"--that is,
their faults, bad dispositions, etc. "Bring up their children." This is
their most important duty, and parents receive grace to perform it, and
woe be to them if they abuse that grace! Children should remember that
their parents have received this special grace from God to advise,
direct, and warn them of sin; and if they refuse to obey their parents
or despise their direction, they are despising God's grace. Remember
that nothing teaches us so well as experience. Now your parents, even if
God gave them no special grace, have experience. They have been children
as you are; they have been young persons as you are; they have received
advice from their parents and teachers as you do. If your parents are
bad, it is because they have not heeded the advice given them. If they
are good, it is because they have heeded and followed it. The years of
your youth quickly pass, and you will soon be thrown out into the world,
among strangers to provide for yourselves, and will perhaps have no one
to advise you. If you neglect to learn while you have the opportunity
you will be sorry for it in after life. If you waste your time in
school, you will leave it knowing very little, and an ignorant man can
never take any good position in the world; he can seldom be his own
master and independent; he must always toil for others as a servant. God
gives us our talents and opportunities that we may use them to the best
of our ability, and He will hold us accountable for these. It is good
and praiseworthy to raise ourselves and others in the world if we do so
by lawful and proper means. You may have the opportunity of getting a
good position, and will not be able to take it because you are not
sufficiently educated. Many young men live to be sorry for wasting time
in school, and try to make up for it by studying at night. You cannot
really make up for lost time. Every moment God gives you He gives for
some particular work, and He will require an account from you, at the
last day, for the use you made of your time. Besides, you can learn with
greater ease while you are young. But what shall I say of neglecting to
learn your holy religion? If you neglect your school lessons you will
not be successful in the world as businessmen or professional men; but
if you neglect your religious lessons, you will be miserable, not merely
in this world, but in the next, and that for all eternity. Again, will
you not feel ashamed to say you are a Catholic when persons who are not
Catholics ask you the meaning of something you believe or do, and you
will not be able to answer? When they tell falsehoods against your
religion, you will not, on account of your ignorance, be able to refute
them. Almost the only time you have to learn the truths and practices of
your holy religion is during the instructions at Sunday school or day
school, and after a few years you will not have this advantage. When you
grow up you may hear a sermon, and if you attend early Mass, only a
short instruction, on Sundays; and if you do not know your Catechism,
you will be less able to profit by the instructions given. Therefore the
time to learn is while you are young, have sufficient leisure, and good,
willing teachers to explain whatever you do not understand.

When you attend Sunday school, bear in mind that your teachers have
frequently to sacrifice their time or pleasure for your sake, and that
you should not repay them for their kindness by acts of disobedience,
disrespect, and stubbornness. By spending your time in idleness, in
giving annoyance to your teacher, and in distracting others who are
willing to learn, you show a want of appreciation and gratitude for the
blessings God has bestowed upon you, and please the devil exceedingly;
and as God will hold you accountable for all His gifts, this one--the
opportunity of learning your religion--will be no exception.

286 Q. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily, is it necessary
to be in the state of grace?
A. To receive the Sacrament of Matrimony worthily it is necessary to be
in the state of grace, and it is necessary also to comply with the laws
of the Church.

"The laws," laws concerning marriage. Laws forbidding the solemnizing of
marriage at certain times, namely, Advent and Lent; laws forbidding
marriage with relatives, or with persons of a different religion or of
no religion; laws with regard to age, etc.

*287 Q. Who has the right to make laws concerning the Sacrament of
marriage?
A. The Church alone has the right to make laws concerning the Sacrament
of marriage, though the State also has the right to make laws concerning
the civil effects of the marriage contract.

"Civil effects"--that is, laws with regard to the property of persons
marrying, with regard to the inheritance of the children, with regard to
the debts of husband and wife, etc.

*288 Q. Does the Church forbid the marriage of Catholics with persons
who have a different religion or no religion at all?
A. The Church does forbid the marriage of Catholics with persons who
have a different religion or no religion at all.

*289 Q. Why does the Church forbid the marriage of Catholics with
persons who have a different religion or no religion at all?
A. The Church forbids the marriage of Catholics with persons who have a
different religion or no religion at all because such marriages
generally lead to indifference, loss of faith, and to the neglect of the
religious education of the children.

We know that nothing has so bad an influence upon people as bad company.
Now, when a Catholic marries one who is not a Catholic, he or she is
continually associated with one who in most cases ignores the true
religion, or speaks at least with levity of its devotions and practices.
The Catholic party may resist this evil influence for a time, but will,
if not very steadfast in the faith, finally yield to it, and, tired of
numerous disputes in defense of religious rights, will become more and
more indifferent, gradually give up the practice of religion, and
probably terminate with complete loss of faith or apostasy from the true
religion. We know that the children of Seth were good till they married
the children of Cain, and then they also became wicked; for, remember,
there is always more likelihood that the bad will pervert the good, than
that the good will convert the bad. Besides the disputes occasioned
between husband and wife by the diversity of their religion, their
families and relatives, being also of different religions, will seldom
be at peace or on friendly terms with one another. Then the children can
scarcely be brought up in the true religion; for the father may wish
them to attend one church, and the mother another, and to settle the
dispute they will attend neither. Besides, if they have before them the
evil example of a father or mother speaking disparagingly of the true
religion, or perhaps ridiculing all religion, it is not likely they will
be imbued with great respect and veneration for holy things. There is
still another reason why Catholics should dread mixed marriages. If the
one who is not a Catholic loses regard for his or her obligations,
becomes addicted to any vice, and is leading a bad life, the Catholic
party has no means of reaching the root of the evil, no hope that the
person may take the advice of the priest, or go to confession or do any
of those things that could effect a change in the heart and life of a
Catholic. For all these very good reasons and others besides, the Church
opposes mixed marriages, as they are called when one of the persons is
not a Catholic. Neither does the Church want persons to become converts
simply for the sake of marrying a Catholic. Such conversions would not
be sincere, and would do no good, but rather make such converts
hypocrites, and guilty of greater sin.

*290 Q. Why do many marriages prove unhappy?
A. Many marriages prove unhappy because they are entered into hastily
and without worthy motives.

"Hastily"--without knowing the person well or considering their
character or dispositions; without trying to discover whether they are
sober, industrious, virtuous, and the like; whether they know and
practice their religion, or whether, on the contrary, they are given to
vices forbidden by good morals, and totally forgetful of their religious
duties. In a word, those wishing to marry should look for enduring
qualities in their lifelong companions, and not for characteristics that
please the fancy for the time being. They should, besides, truly love
each other. Again, the persons should be nearly equals in education,
social standing, etc., for it helps greatly to secure harmony between
families and unity of thought and action between themselves.

"Worthy motives." The motives are worthy when persons marry to fulfill
the end for which God instituted marriage. It would, for example, be an
unworthy motive to marry solely for money, property, or other advantage,
without any regard for the holiness and end of the Sacrament. There are
many motives that may present themselves to the minds of persons wishing
to marry, and they will know whether they are worthy or unworthy, good
or bad, if by serious consideration they weigh them well and value them
by their desire to please God and lead a good life.

Every person's motive in getting married or in entering into any new
state of life should be that he may be able to serve God better in that
state than in any other.

*291 Q. How should Christians prepare for a holy and happy marriage?
A. Christians should prepare for a holy and happy marriage by receiving
the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist; by begging God to grant
them a pure intention and to direct their choice; and by seeking the
advice of their parents and the blessing of their pastors.

They should pray for a long time that they may make a good choice. They
would do well to read in the Holy Scripture, in the Book of Tobias (8),
of the happy marriage of Tobias and Sara, and how they spent their time
in prayer both before and after their marriage, and how God rewarded
them. Advice is very necessary, as marriage is to last for life, and is
to make persons either happy or miserable. They should ask advice from
prudent persons, and should try to learn something of the former life of
the one they wish to marry. They should know something about the family,
whether its members are respectable or not, etc. It is an injustice to
parents for sons or daughters to marry into families that may have been
disgraced, or that may bring disgrace upon them. Sometimes, however,
parents are unreasonable in this matter: they are proud or vain, and
want to suit themselves rather than their children. Sometimes, too, they
force marriage upon their children, or forbid it for purely worldly or
selfish motives. In such cases, and indeed in all cases, the best one to
consult and ask advice from is your confessor. He has only your
spiritual interests at heart, and will set aside all worldly motives. If
your parents are unreasonable, he will be a just judge in the matter,
and tell you how to act.

I have now explained all the Sacraments, but before finishing I must say
a word about the Holy Oils. We have seen that oil is used in the
administration of some Sacraments. There are three kinds of oil blessed
by the bishop on Holy Thursday, namely, oil for anointing the sick,
called "oil of the infirm"; oil to be used in Baptism and in the
ordination of priests, called "oil of catechumens" (catechumens are
those who are being instructed for Baptism); the third kind of oil is
used also in Baptism, in Confirmation, and when the bishop blesses the
sacred vessels, altars, etc.; it is called "holy chrism." Therefore the
Sacraments in which oil is used are: Baptism, in which two kinds are
used; Confirmation, Extreme Unction, and Holy Orders.



Lesson 27
ON THE SACRAMENTALS


292 Q. What is a sacramental?
A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to
excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these
movements of the heart to remit venial sin.

It is not the sacramental itself that gives grace, but the devotion, the
love of God, or sorrow for sin that it inspires. For example, a person
comes into the church and goes around the Stations of the Cross. The
stations are a sacramental. In looking at one station he sees Our Lord
on trial before Pilate; in another he sees Him crowned with thorns; in
another, scourged; in another, carrying His Cross; in another,
crucified; in another, dead and laid in the tomb. Before all these
pictures he reflects on the sufferings of Our Saviour, and begins to
hate sin, that caused them. Then he thinks, of his own sins, and begins
to be sorry for them. This sorrow, caused by going around the stations,
brings him grace that remits venial sins. When we receive the Sacraments
we always get the grace of the Sacraments when we are rightly disposed;
but in using the sacramentals, the more devotion we have the more grace
we receive.

"Increase devotion." If we knelt down before a plain white wall we could
not pray with the devotion we would have kneeling before a crucifix. We
see the representation of the nails in the hands and feet, the blood on
the side, the thorns on the head; and all these must make us think of
Our Lord's terrible sufferings. The picture of a friend hanging before
us will often make us think of him when we would otherwise forget him.
So also will the pictures of Our Lord and of the saints keep them often
in our minds.

*293 Q. What is the difference between the Sacraments and the
sacramentals?
A. The difference between the Sacraments and the sacramentals is: first,
the Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the sacramentals were
instituted by the Church; second, the Sacraments give grace of
themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; the sacramentals excite
in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace.

The Church can increase or diminish the number of the sacramentals, but
not the number of the Sacraments.

294 Q. Which is the chief sacramental used in the Church?
A. The chief sacramental used in the Church is the Sign of the Cross.

295 Q. How do we make the Sign of the Cross?
A. We make the Sign of the Cross by putting the right hand to the
forehead, then on the breast, and then to the left and right shoulders;
saying, In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Ghost. Amen.

It is important to make an exact cross, and to say all the words
distinctly. From carelessness and habit some persons do not make the
Sign of the Cross, though they often intend to bless themselves. They
put the hand only to the forehead and breast, or forehead and chin, or
forehead and shoulders, etc. Some do not even touch the forehead. All
these, it is true, are some signs and movements of the hand, but they
are not the Sign of the Cross. Therefore, from childhood form the good
habit of blessing yourself correctly, and you will continue to do it
properly all your life.

296 Q. Why do we make the Sign of the Cross?
A. We make the Sign of the Cross to show that we are Christians and to
profess our belief in the chief mysteries of our religion.

The cross is the banner or standard of Christianity, just as the stars
and stripes--the flag of the United States--is our civil standard, and
shows to what nation we belong.

*297 Q. How is the Sign of the Cross a profession of faith in the chief
mysteries of our religion?
A. The Sign of the Cross is a profession of faith in the chief mysteries
of our religion because it expresses the mysteries of the Unity and
Trinity of God and of the Incarnation and death of Our Lord.

*298 Q. How does the Sign of the Cross express the mystery of the Unity
and Trinity of God?
A. The words: "In the name" express the Unity of God; the words that
follow, "of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" express
the mystery of the Trinity.

*299 Q. How does the Sign of the Cross express the mystery of the
Incarnation and death of Our Lord?
A. The Sign of the Cross expresses the mystery of the Incarnation by
reminding us that the Son of God, having become man, suffered death on
the Cross.

Besides these chief mysteries, we will find, if we think a little, that
the Sign of the Cross reminds us of many other things. It reminds us of
the sin of our first parents, which made the Cross necessary; it reminds
us of the hatred God bears to sin, when such sufferings were endured to
make satisfaction for it; it reminds us of Christ's love, etc.

300 Q. What other sacramental is in very frequent use?
A. Another sacramental in very frequent use is holy water.

301 Q. What is, holy water?
A. Holy water is water blessed by the priest with solemn prayer to beg
God's blessing on those who use it, and protection from the power of
darkness.

The priest prays that those who use this water may not fall into sin;
may be free from the power of the devil and from bodily diseases, etc.
Therefore when they do use the water they get the benefit of all these
prayers, because the priest says: "If they use it, God grant them all
these things."

302 Q. Are there any other sacramentals besides the Sign of the Cross
and holy water?
A. Besides the Sign of the Cross and holy water there are many other
sacramentals, such as blessed candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, images
of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, rosaries, and scapulars.

"Candles," blessed on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed
Virgin (see Butler's Lives of the Saints, Feb. 2, Feast of the
Purification). The Church blesses whatever it uses. Some say beautifully
that the wax of the candle gathered by the bees from sweet flowers
reminds us of Our Lord's pure, human body, and that the flame reminds us
of His divinity. Again, candles about the altar remind us of the angels,
those bright spirits ever about God's throne; they remind us, too, of
the persecution of the Christians in the first ages of the Church, when
they had to hear Mass and receive the Sacraments in dark places, where
lights were necessary that priests and people might see. Again, lights
are a beautiful ornament for the altar, and in keeping with holy things.
Lights are a sign of joy: hence the very old custom of lighting bonfires
to express joy. So we have lights to express our joy at the celebration
of the Holy Mass. Again, if we wish to honor any great person in the
Church or State, we illuminate the city for his reception. So, too, we
illuminate our altars and churches for the reception of Our Lord, that
we may honor Him when He comes in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and is
present at Benediction.

"Ashes" are placed on our heads by the priest on Ash Wednesday, while he
says: "Remember, man, thou art but dust and unto dust thou shalt
return." They are a sign of penance, and so we use them at the beginning
of Lent.

"Palms," to remind us of Our Lord's coming in triumph into Jerusalem,
when the people out of respect for Him threw palms, and even their
garments, beneath His feet on the way, singing His praises and wishing
to make Him king. Yet these same people only one week later were among
those who crucified Him. Do we not also at times honor Our Lord, call
Him our king, and shortly afterwards insult and, as far as we can,
injure Him by sin? Do we not say in the Our Father, "Hallowed, or
praised, be His name," and blaspheme it ourselves?

"Crucifix," if it has an image of Our Lord upon it; if not it is simply
a cross, because crucifix means fixed to the cross.

"Images"--that is, statues, pictures, etc.

"Rosaries," called also the beads. The rosary or beads is a very old and
very beautiful form of prayer. In the beginning pious people, we are
told, used to say a certain number of prayers, and keep count of them on
a string with knots or beads. However that may be, the Rosary, as we now
have it, comes down to us from St. Dominic. He instructed the people by
it, and converted many heretics. In the rosary beads here are
fifty-three small beads on which we say the "Hail Mary" and six large
beads on which we say the "Our Father." In saying the Rosary, before
saying the "Our Father" on the large beads, we think or meditate for a
while on some event in the life of Our Lord, and these events we call
Mysteries of the Rosary. There are fifteen of these events taken in the
order in which they occurred in the life of Our Lord; and hence there
are fifteen Mysteries in the whole Rosary. First we have the five Joyful
Mysteries. (1) The Annunciation--that is, the angel Gabriel coming to
tell the Blessed Virgin that she is to be the Mother of God. (2) The
Visitation, when the Blessed Virgin went to visit her cousin St.
Elizabeth--the mother of St. John the Baptist, who was six months older
than Our Lord. Elizabeth said to her, "Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb"; and the Blessed Virgin answered
her in the beautiful words of the Magnificat, that we sing at Vespers
while the priest incenses the altar. (3) The Nativity, or birth of Our
Lord, which reminds us how He was born in a stable, in poverty and
lowliness. (4) The Presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple.
According to the law of Moses, the people were obliged to bring the
first boy born in every family to the temple in Jerusalem and offer him
to God. Then they gave some offering to buy him back, as it were, from
God. The Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, who kept all the laws, took Our
Lord and offered Him in the temple--although He Himself was the Lord of
the temple. Nevertheless others did not know this, and the Blessed
Virgin and St. Joseph observed the laws, though not bound to do so, that
their neighbors might not be scandalized in seeing them neglect these
things. They did not know, as she did, that the little Infant was the
Son of God, and need not keep the law of Moses or any law, because He
was the maker of the laws. We should learn from this never to give
scandal; and even when we have good excuse for not observing the law, we
should observe it for the sake of good example to others; or at least,
when we can, we should explain why we do not observe the law. (5) The
fifth Joyful Mystery is the finding of the child Jesus in the temple.
All the men and boys, from twelve years of age upward, were obliged,
according to the Old Law, to go up to Jerusalem and offer sacrifice on
the great feasts. On one of these feasts the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph,
and Our Lord went to Jerusalem. When His parents and their friends were
returning home Our Lord was missing. He had not accompanied them from
the city. Then the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph went back to Jerusalem
and sought Him with great sorrow for three days. At the end of that time
they found Him in the temple sitting with the doctors of the law asking
them questions. Our Lord obediently returned with His parents to
Nazareth. At thirty years of age He was baptized by John the Baptist in
the River Jordan. The baptism of John was not a Sacrament, did not give
grace of itself; but, like a sacramental, it disposed those who received
it to be sorry for their sins and to receive the gift of faith and
Baptism of Christ. The eighteen years from the time Our Lord went down
to Nazareth after being found in the temple till His baptism is called
His hidden life, while all that follows His baptism is called His public
life. It is very strange that not a single word should be given in the
Holy Scriptures about Our Lord during His youth--the very time young men
are most anxious to be seen and heard. Our Lord knew all things and
could do all things when a young man, and yet for the sake of example He
remained silent, living quietly with His parents and doing His daily
work for them. Thus you understand what is meant by the five Joyful
Mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity
of Our Lord, the Presentation of the child Jesus in the temple, and the
finding of the child Jesus in the temple. You meditate on one of these
before each decade (ten) of the beads.

Next in order in the life of Our Lord come the five events called the
Sorrowful Mysteries, namely: (1) The agony in the garden, when Our Lord
went there to pray on Holy Thursday night, before He was taken prisoner.
There the blood came out through His body as perspiration does through
ours, and He was in dreadful anguish. The reason of His sorrow and
anguish has already been given in the explanation of the Passion. (2)
The scourging of Our Lord at the pillar. This also has been explained.
What terrible cruelty existed in the world before Christianity! In our
times the brute beasts have more protection from cruel treatment than
the pagan slaves had then. The Church came to their assistance. It
taught that all men are God's children, that slaves as well as masters
were redeemed by Jesus Christ, and that masters must be kind and just to
their slaves. Many converts from paganism through love for Our Lord and
this teaching of the Church, granted liberty to their slaves; and thus
as civilization spread with the teaching of Christianity, slavery ceased
to exist. It was not in the power of the Church, however, to abolish
slavery everywhere, but she did it as soon as she could. Even at present
she is fighting hard to protect the poor Negroes of Africa against it,
or at least to moderate its cruelty. (3) The third Sorrowful Mystery is
the crowning with thorns. (4) The carriage of the Cross to Calvary. It
was the common practice to make the prisoner at times carry his cross to
the place of execution, and over the cross they printed what he was put
to death for. That is the reason they placed over Our Lord's cross
I.N.R.I., which are the first letters of four Latin words meaning,
"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." They pretended by this sign that
Our Lord was put to death for calling Himself King of the Jews, and was
thus a disturber of the public peace, and an enemy of the Roman emperor
under whose power they were. Our Lord did say that He was King of the
Jews, but He also said that He was not their earthly but their heavenly
king. The real cause of their putting Our Lord to death was the jealousy
of the Jewish priests and Pharisees. He rebuked them for their faults,
and showed the good, sincere people what hypocrites these men were. (5)
The last of the Sorrowful Mysteries is the Crucifixion. At the foot of
the Cross our blessed Mother stood on the day of Crucifixion, and it
must have been a very sad sight for Our Lord. She was without anyone to
take care of her; for St. Joseph was dead, and her Son was soon to die.
Our Lord asked St. John, one of His Apostles, to take care of her. St.
John was dear to Christ, and on that account is called the beloved
disciple. He is known to us as St. John the Evangelist. He was the last
of the Apostles to die. At one time he was cast into a cauldron of
boiling oil, but was miraculously saved by God (see Butler's Lives of
the Saints, Dec. 27). He lived to be over a hundred years old, and while
on the island of Patmos wrote the Apocalypse or Revelations--the last
book of the New Testament--containing prophecies of what will happen at
the end of the world. The Blessed Virgin lived on earth about eleven
years after the Ascension of Our Lord. They buried her in a tomb, and
tradition tells us that after her burial the angels carried her body to
Heaven, where she now sits beside her Divine Son. This taking of her
body to Heaven is called the Assumption. This feast was celebrated in
the Church from a very early age. A very strong proof of the Assumption
is that no persons ever claimed to have any part of the body of the
Blessed Virgin as a relic. We have the bodies of some of the Apostles,
especially St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. James transmitted to us; and
certainly if it had been possible the first Christians would have
endeavored to get some portion, at least, of the Blessed Virgin's body.
Surely St. John, who knew her so well, would have given to the church he
established some part of her body as a relic; but since her entire body
was taken to Heaven, it was never possible.

After the Sorrowful Mysteries come the five Glorious Mysteries, and they
are: (1) The Resurrection of Our Lord; (2) The Ascension of Our Lord;
(3) The Coming of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles; (4) The Assumption
of the Blessed Virgin; and (5) The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin in
Heaven. All but the last have been explained in foregoing parts of the
Catechism. In this last Mystery we consider our Blessed Lady just after
her entrance into Heaven, being received by her Divine Son, our Blessed
Lord, and being crowned Queen of Heaven over all the angels and saints.
In saying the Rosary we are, as I have told you before, to stop after
mentioning the Mystery and think over the lesson it teaches, and thus
excite ourselves to love and devotion before saying the "Our Father" and
"Hail Marys" in honor of it. Generally what we call the beads is only
one third of the Rosary; that is, we can only say five mysteries on the
beads unless we go over them three times. If you say your beads every
day you will say the whole Rosary twice a week and have one day to
spare.

On Sundays, except the Sundays of Advent and Lent, we should say always
the Glorious Mysteries. You see, the Mysteries run in the order in which
they happen in Our Lord's life. So on Monday we say the Joyful
Mysteries, on Tuesday the Sorrowful, and on Wednesday the Glorious. Then
we begin again on Thursday the Joyful, on Friday the Sorrowful, on
Saturday the Glorious. In Advent we say the Joyful, and in Lent the
Sorrowful Mysteries on every day. In Eastertime we always say the
Glorious mysteries.

I have told you what the letters I.N.R.I. mean; now let me tell you what
I.H.S. with a cross over them mean. You often see these letters on
altars and on holy things. They are simply an abbreviation for Our
Lord's name, "Jesus," as it was first written in Greek letters. Some
also take these letters for the first letters of the Latin words that
mean: Jesus, Saviour of men. And as the cross is placed over these
letters it can signify that He saved them by His death on the Cross.

"Scapulars." The scapular is a large broad piece of cloth worn by the
monks and priests of some of the religious orders. It extends from the
toes in front to the heels behind, and is wide enough to cover the
shoulders. It is worn over the cassock or habit. It is called scapular
because it rests on the shoulders. The scapular as we wear it is two
small pieces of cloth fastened together by two pieces of braid or cord
resting on the shoulders. It is made thus in imitation of the large
scapular, and is to be worn under our ordinary garments. The brown
scapular is called the Scapular of Mount Carmel. It was given, we are
told on good authority, to blessed Simon Stock by the Blessed Virgin
herself, with wonderful promises in favor of those who wear it. The
Church grants many privileges and indulgences to those who wear the
scapular.

We wear the scapular to indicate that we place ourselves under the
special protection of the Blessed Virgin. We can tell to what army or
nation a soldier belongs by the uniform he wears; so we can consider the
scapular as the particular uniform of those who desire to serve the
Blessed Virgin in some special manner. This wearing of the brown
scapular is therefore a mark of special devotion to the Blessed Virgin
Mary. As it was first introduced among people by the Carmelite Fathers,
or priests of the Order of Mount Carmel, this Scapular is called the
Scapular of Mount Carmel. We have also a red scapular in honor of Our
Lord's Passion; a white one in honor of the Holy Trinity; a blue one in
honor of the Immaculate Conception; and a black one in honor of the
seven dolors of sorrows of the Blessed Virgin. When all these are joined
together (not in one piece, but at the top only) and worn as one, they
are called the five scapulars.

The seven dolors are seven chief occasions of sorrow in the life of our
Blessed Lady. They are: (1) The circumcision of Our Lord, when she saw
His blood shed for the first time. (2) Her flight into Egypt to save the
life of the little Infant Jesus when Herod was seeking to kill Him. (3)
The three days she lost Him in Jerusalem. (4) When she saw Christ
carrying His Cross. (5) His death. (6) When He was taken down from the
Cross. (7) When He was laid in the sepulchre. There are beads called
seven dolor beads constructed with seven medals bearing representations
of these sorrows, and seven beads between each medal and the next. At
the medals we meditate on the dolor, and then in its honor say "Hail
Marys" on the beads.



Lesson 28
ON PRAYER


303 Q. Is there any other means of obtaining God's grace than the
Sacraments?
A. There is another means of obtaining God's grace, and it is prayer.

304 Q. What is prayer?
A. Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God to adore Him,
to thank Him for His benefits, to ask His forgiveness, and to beg of Him
all the graces we need whether for soul or body.

"Hearts," because the mere lifting up of the mind would not be prayer.
One who blasphemes Him might also lift up his mind. We lift up the mind
to know God and the heart to love Him, and in so doing we serve Him--the
three things for which we were created. If we do not think of God we do
not pray. A parrot might be taught to say the "Our Father," but it could
never pray, because it has no mind to lift up. A phonograph can be made
to say the prayers, but not to pray, for it has neither mind nor heart.
So praying does not depend upon the words we say, but upon the way in
which we say them. Indeed the best prayer, called meditation, is made
when we do not speak at all, but simply think of God; of His goodness to
us; of our sins against Him; of Hell, Purgatory, Heaven, death,
judgment, of the end for which we were created, etc. This is the kind of
prayer that priests and religious use most frequently. As you might like
to meditate--for all who know how may meditate--let me explain to you
the method. First you try to remember that you are in the presence of
God. Then you take some subject, say the Crucifixion, to think about.
You try to make a picture of the scene in your own mind. You see Our
Lord on the Cross; two thieves, one on each side of Him, the one praying
to Our Lord and the other cursing Him. You see the multitude of His
enemies mocking Him. Over at some distance you behold our Blessed Mother
standing sorrowful with St. John and Mary Magdalen. Then you ask
yourself--for you must imagine yourself there--to which side would you
go. Over to our Blessed Mother to try and console her, or over to the
enemies to help them to mock? Then you think how sin was the cause of
all this suffering, and how often you yourself have sinned; how you have
many a time gone over to the crowd and left the Blessed Mother. These
thoughts will make you sorry for your sins, and you will form the good
resolution never to sin again. You will thank God for these good
thoughts and this resolution, and your meditation is ended. You can
spend fifteen minutes, or longer if you wish, in such a meditation. The
Crucifixion is only one of the many subjects you may select for
meditation. You could take any part of the "Our Father," "Hail Mary," or
"Creed," and even the questions in your Catechism. Mental prayer,
therefore, is the best, because in it we must think; we must pay
attention to what we are doing, and lift up our minds and hearts to God;
while in vocal prayer--that is, the prayer we say aloud--we may repeat
the words from pure habit, without any attention or lifting up of the
mind or heart.

305 Q. Is prayer necessary to salvation?
A. Prayer is necessary to salvation, and without it no one having the
use of reason can be saved.

We mean here those who never pray during their whole lives, and not
those who sometimes neglect their prayers through a kind of
forgetfulness.

306 Q. At what particular times should we pray?
A. We should pray particularly on Sundays and holy days, every morning
and night, in all dangers, temptations, and afflictions.

"Sundays and holy days," because these are special days set apart by the
Church for the worship of God. In the "morning" we ask God's grace that
we may not sin during the day. At "night" we thank Him for all the
benefits received during the day, and also that we may be protected
while asleep from every danger and accident. We should never, if
possible, go to sleep in mortal sin; and if we have the misfortune to be
in that state, we should make as perfect an act of contrition as we can,
and promise to go to confession as soon as possible. So many accidents
happen that we are never safe, even in good health; fires, earthquakes,
floods, lightning, etc., might take us off at any moment. If you saw a
man hanging by a very slender thread over a great precipice where he
would surely be dashed to pieces if the thread broke, and if you saw him
thus risking his life willfully and without necessity, you would
pronounce him the greatest fool in the world. One who commits sin is a
greater fool. He suspends himself, as I have told you once before, over
an abyss of eternal torments on the slender thread of his own life, that
may break at any moment. Do we tempt God and do to Him what we dare not
to do to our fellowman because He is so merciful? Let us be careful. He
is as just as He is merciful, and some sin will be our last, and then He
will cut the thread of life and allow us to fall into an eternity of
sufferings. "Dangers," whether of soul or body. "Afflictions,"
sufferings or misfortunes of any kind; such as loss of health, death in
the family, etc.

*307 Q. How should we pray?
A. We should pray: first, with attention; second, with a sense of our
own helplessness and dependence upon God; third, with a great desire for
the graces we beg of God; fourth, with trust in God's goodness; fifth,
with perseverance.

"Attention," thinking of what we are going to do. Before praying we
should think for a moment what prayer is. In it we are about to address
Almighty God, our Creator, and we are going to ask Him for
something--and what is the particular thing we need and seek for? No one
would think of going to a store without first considering what he wanted
to buy. He would make, too, all the necessary preparations for getting
it. He would find out how much he wanted, and what it would cost, and
bring with him sufficient money. He would never think of going in and
telling the storekeeper to give him anything. Now it is the same in
prayer. When we have thought of what we want of God, from whom we can
obtain it, and of the reasons why we need it and why God might be
pleased to grant it, we can then kneel down and pray for it. We should
pray to God just as a child begs favors from its parents. We should talk
to Him in our own simple words, and tell Him the reasons why we ask and
why we think He should grant our request. We should, however, be humble
and patient in all our prayers. God does not owe us anything, and
whatever He gives is a free gift. We should not always read prayers at
Almighty God. If you wanted anything very badly from a friend, you would
know how to ask for it. You would never ask another to write out your
request on paper, and then go and read it to your friend. Now, that is
just what we do when we read the prayers that somebody else has written
in a prayerbook. Try, therefore, to pray with your own prayers. Of
course when the Church gives you certain prayers to say--as it does to
its priests in the divine office--or recommends to you such prayers as
the "Our Father," "Hail Mary," and "Creed," you should say them in
preference to your own, because then the Church adds its petition to
yours, and God is more likely to grant such prayers. I mean, therefore,
that we should not always pray from prayerbooks, and hurry through the
"Our Father" that we may give more time to some printed prayer that
pleases us. Our prayer should be a conversation with God. We should,
after speaking to Him, listen to what He has to say to us, by our
conscience, good thoughts, etc.

I must warn you against some prayers that have been circulated by
impostors for the purpose of making money. They pretend that these
prayers were found in some remarkable place or manner; that those who
carry them or say them will have most wonderful advantages--they will
never meet with accident; they will be warned of their death; they will
go directly to Heaven after death, etc. If there were any such wonderful
prayers the Church would surely know of them and commend them to its
children. When you find any prayers of the kind I mention, bring them to
the priest and ask his opinion before you use them yourself or give them
to others. Never buy prayers or articles said to be blessed from persons
unknown to you. Persons selling such things are frequently impostors,
who by suave manners and pious speeches unfortunately find Catholics who
believe them. These persons--sometimes not Catholics themselves, or at
least very bad ones--laugh at the superstition and foolish practices of
Catholics who believe everything they hear about pious books, prayers,
or articles.

In the early ages of the Church, when the enemies of Christ found that
they could not refute His teaching, they began to circulate foolish
doctrines, pretending that they were taught by Christ, and thus they
hoped to bring ridicule upon Christianity. So also in our time many
things are circulated as the teaching of the Catholic Church by the
enemies of the Church, in hopes that by these falsehoods and foolish
doctrines they may bring disgrace and ridicule upon the true religion.
Be on your guard against all impostors, remembering it is a safe rule
never to buy a religious article from or give money to persons going
about from door to door. If you have anything to give in alms, give it
to some charitable institution or society connected with the Church, or
put it in the poor-box, and then you will be sure it will do the good
you intend. Remember, too, that all the religious articles carried about
for sale do not come from Rome or the Holy Land, and you are deceived if
you think so, notwithstanding the assurance of their owners.

"A trust"--with full confidence that God will grant our petitions if we
really need or deserve what we pray for. It is a fault with a great many
to pray without the belief that their prayers will be answered. We
should pray with such faith and confidence that we would really be
disappointed if our prayer was not granted. Once when Our Lord was going
about doing good, a poor woman who had been suffering for twelve years
with a disease, and who, wishing to be healed, had uselessly spent all
her money in seeking medical aid, came to follow Him. (Mark 5:25). She
did not ask Him to cure her, but said within herself, "If I can but
touch the hem of His garment I know I shall be healed." So she made her
way through the throng and followed Our Lord till she could touch His
garment without being seen. She succeeded in accomplishing her wishes,
touched His garment, and was instantly cured. Our Lord knew her desires
and what she had done, and turning around told the people, praising her
great faith and confidence, on account of which He had healed her. Such
also should be our confidence and trust when we pray to God for our
needs.

"Perseverance." We should continue to pray though God does not grant our
request. Have you ever noticed a little child begging favors from its
mother? See its persistence! Though often refused, it will return again
and again with the same request, till the mother, weary of its
importunity, finally grants what it asks.

St. Monica prayed seventeen years for the conversion of her son St.
Augustine. St. Augustine's father was a pagan, and Monica, his wife,
prayed seventeen years for his conversion, and he became a Christian.
Just about that time her son Augustine, who was attending school, fell
in with bad companions and became a great sinner. She prayed seventeen
years more for him, and he reformed, became a great saint and learned
bishop in the Church. See, then, the result of thirty-four years'
prayer: Monica herself became a saint, her son became a saint, and her
husband died a Christian. If St. Monica had ceased praying after ten
years, Augustine might not have reformed. We never know when God is
about to grant our petition, and we may cease to pray just when another
appeal would obtain the object of our prayer. So we should continue to
pray till God is pleased to grant our request. Some say their prayers
are not heard when they mean to say their prayers are not granted; for
God always hears us. But why does He not always grant our request? There
are many reasons: (1) We may not pray in the proper manner, namely, with
attention, reverence, humility, patience, and perseverance; (2) We may
ask for things that God foresees will not be for our spiritual good.
This is true even for things that seem good to us, such as the removal
of an affliction, temptation, or the like. It often happens that God
shows us His greatest mercy in not granting our prayers. Suppose, for
example, a father held in his hand a bright and beautiful but very sharp
instrument, for which his child continually asked. Do you believe the
father would give it if he loved the child? Certainly not. The child
thinks, no doubt, it would be benefitted by the possession of the
instrument, but the father sees the danger. As God is our loving Father,
He acts with us in the same manner. (3) Our prayers are not granted
sometimes that we may learn to pray with proper dispositions, and God
withholds what He intends finally to give, that we may persevere in
prayer and have greater merit. Have you ever observed a mother teaching
her child to walk? What does she do? She goes at some distance from the
child and holds out an object that she knows will be pleasing to it, and
thus tempts it to walk to her. When the child draws near she moves still
farther away, and keeps it walking for some time before giving the
object. This she does, not through unwillingness to give the article,
but in order to teach the child to walk, for she loves to see its
efforts. When it falls, she lifts it up and makes it try again. So, too,
God teaches us to pray; and though He loves us, He withholds His gifts,
that we may pray the longer, and thereby afford Him greater pleasure.

308 Q. Which are the prayers most recommended to us?
A. The prayers most recommended to us are the Lord's Prayer, the Hail
Mary, the Apostles' Creed, the Confiteor, and the Acts of Faith, Hope,
Love, and Contrition.

309 Q. Are prayers said with distractions of any avail?
A. Prayers said with willful distractions are of no avail.

"Distraction"--that is, when we willingly and knowingly think of
something else while saying our prayers. It would be better not to pray
than to pray with disrespect. If there is any time at which we cannot
pray well, we should postpone our prayer: for God does not require us to
say our prayers just at a particular time; but when we do pray, He
requires us to pray with reverence and respect. We would pray well
always if we reflected on the great privilege we enjoy in being allowed
to pray.



Lesson 29
ON THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD


310 Q. Is it enough to belong to God's Church in order to be saved?
A. It is not enough to belong to the Church in order to be saved, but we
must also keep the Commandments of God and of the Church.

We call some commandments the Commandments of God and others the
commandments of the Church. We do so only to distinguish the
Commandments that God gave to Moses from those that the Church made
afterwards. They are all the commandments of God, for whatever laws or
commandments the Church makes, it makes them under the inspiration of
the Holy Ghost, and by God's authority. It would be a mortal sin to
break the commandments of the Church, just as it would be to break the
Commandments of God. You must remember that the Ten Commandments always
existed from the time of Adam, but they were not written till God gave
them to Moses. You know that it was always a sin to worship false gods,
to blaspheme, to disobey parents, to kill, etc.; for you know Cain was
punished by God for the murder of his brother Abel (Gen. 5), and that
took place while Adam was still alive.

Before the coming of Our Lord the Israelites, or God's chosen people,
had three kinds of laws. They had the civil laws for the government of
their nation--just as we have our laws for the people of the United
States. They had their ceremonial laws for their services in the
temple--as we have our ceremonies for the Church. They had their moral
laws--such as the Commandments--teaching them what they must do to save
their souls. Their civil laws were done away with when they ceased to be
a nation having a government of their own. Their ceremonial laws were
done away with when Our Lord came and established His Church; because
their ceremonies were only the figures of ours. Their moral laws
remained, and Our Lord explained them and made them more perfect.
Therefore we keep the Commandments and moral laws as they were always
kept by man. Fifty days after the Israelites left Egypt they came to the
foot of Mount Sinai. (Ex. 19). Here God commanded Moses to come up into
the mountain, and in the midst of fire and smoke, thunder and lightning,
God spoke to him and delivered into his hands the Ten Commandments
written on two tablets of stone.

Every day while the Israelites were traveling in the desert God sent
them manna--a miraculous food that fell every morning. It was white, and
looked something like fine rice. It had any taste they wished it to
have. For instance, if they wished it to taste like fruit, it did taste
so to them; but its usual taste was like that of flour and honey. (Ex.
16).

I said there is no difference between the Ten Commandments of God and
the six commandments of the Church; and there is no difference as far as
the sin of violating them is concerned. But they differ in this: the
Church can change the commandments it made itself, while it cannot
change those that God Himself gave directly.

*311 Q. Which are the Commandments that contain the whole law of God?
A. The Commandments which contain the whole law of God are these two:
first, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, with thy
whole soul, with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind; second,
thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

"As thyself"--that is, as explained elsewhere, with the same kind,
though not necessarily with the same degree, of love. First we must love
ourselves and do what is essential for our own salvation, because
without our cooperation others cannot save us, though they may help us
by their prayers and good works. Next to ourselves nature demands that
we love those who are related to us in the order of parents, children,
husbands, wives, brothers, etc., and help them in proportion to their
needs, and before helping strangers who are in no greater distress.

*312 Q. Why do these two Commandments of the love of God and of our
neighbor contain the whole law of God?
A. These two Commandments of the love of God and of our neighbor contain
the whole law of God because all the other Commandments are given either
to help us to keep these two, or to direct us how to shun what is
opposed to them.

Of the Ten Commandments the first three refer to Almighty God and the
other seven to our neighbor. Thus all the Commandments may be reduced to
the two of the love of God and of the love of our neighbor. The First
Commandment says you shall worship only the true God; the Second says
you shall respect His holy name; and the Third says you shall worship
Him on a certain day. All these are contained therefore in this: Love
God all you possibly can, for if you do you will keep the first three of
the Commandments. The Fourth says: Honor your father--who in the sense
of the Commandment can also be called your neighbor--that is, respect
him, help him in his needs. The Fifth says do not kill him; namely, your
neighbor. The others say do not rob him of his goods; do not tell lies
about him; do not wish unjustly to possess his goods and do not covet
his wife. Thus it is clear that the last seven are all contained in
this: Love your neighbor, for if you do you will keep the last seven
Commandments that refer to him.

313 Q. Which are the Commandments of God?
A. The Commandments of God are these ten:

 1. I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt,
    out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before
    Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness
    of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor
    of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt
    not adore them, nor serve them.
 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
 3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.
 4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
 5. Thou shalt not kill.
 6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 7. Thou shalt not steal.
 8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
 9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

*314 Q. Who gave the Ten Commandments?
A. God Himself gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, and
Christ Our Lord confirmed them.



Lesson 30
ON THE FIRST COMMANDMENT


315 Q. What is the First Commandment?
A. The First Commandment is: "I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have
strange gods before Me."

"Strange gods." The Israelites were surrounded on all sides by pagan
nations who worshipped idols and false gods, and sometimes by mingling
with these people they fell into sin, and, forgetting the true God,
worshipped their idols. Sometimes, too, they were at war with these
pagan nations, and when defeated were led captive into pagan countries
and there fell into the sin of worshipping false gods. It was against
this sin that God cautioned His people in the First Commandment. From
this sin of idolatry among the Israelites we have an example of the evil
results of associating with persons not of the true religion. One would
think that the Israelites, knowing the true God, might have converted
their pagan neighbors to the true religion by the influence of their
teaching and example; but, on the contrary, they lost the true faith
themselves, as nearly always happens in such cases. How do we sometimes
worship false or strange gods? By making dress, money, honor, society,
company, or pleasure our god--that is, by giving up the worship of God
and sinning for their sake, and thus making them god, at least for the
time being, by giving them our heart, mind, and service.

*316 Q. How does the First Commandment help us to keep the great
Commandment of the love of God?
A. The First Commandment helps us to keep the great Commandment of the
love of God because it commands us to adore God alone.

317 Q. How do we adore God?
A. We adore God by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer and sacrifice.

318 Q. How may the First Commandment be broken?
A. The First Commandment may be broken by giving to a creature the honor
which belongs to God alone; by false worship; and by attributing to a
creature a perfection which belongs to God alone.

"Creature"--that is, anything created; anything but God Himself, for all
other persons and things have been created. If one knelt before a king
and adored him, he would be giving to a creature the honor due to God
alone. "False worship"--that is, worshipping God not as He directs us by
His Church, but in some ways pleasing to ourselves. For example, to
sacrifice animals to God would now be false worship; to offer now any of
the sacrifices commanded in the Old Law would be false worship, because
all these were figures of the real sacrifice of the Cross and Mass, and
were to put the people in mind that one day Christ the promised Redeemer
would offer up the one great sacrifice of His own body and blood to blot
out all the sins of the world. And now that we have the real sacrifice
it would be sinful to use only figures, and it would be a false worship
displeasing to God. So, too, all those who leave the true Church to
practice a religion of their own have a false worship, for they worship
God not as He wishes, but as they wish.

Heaven is a reward, and when we see how the saints labored to secure it
we must be ashamed of the little we do for God. Take out of a whole
year--that is, 365 days or 8,760 hours--the time you give to the service
of God, and you will find it very little. Even the time you spent at
Mass and prayers was filled with distraction and little of it entirely
given to God. Since this is true for one year, what will it be for all
the years of your life? Think of them all and you will perceive that
God, who gave you all the time you had, and who on the last day will
demand an exact account of it, will find very little of it spent in His
honor or in His service. Even the time wasted in school and instructions
will all stand against you. Time lost is lost forever, and you can never
make it up. Next to grace, time is the most valuable thing God gives us,
and we should use it well. "Attributing to a creature a perfection" etc.
Persons who go to fortune tellers do this. Fortune tellers are persons
who pretend to know what is going to happen in the future. We know from
our religion that only God Himself knows the future. Neither the angels
nor saints, nor even the Blessed Virgin, know the future. Even they
could not tell your fortune unless God revealed it to them. So when you
go to a fortune teller you place the poor sinful person who is doing the
devil's work above the Blessed Virgin and all the saints and angels, and
make that wretch equal to God Himself. Surely this is a sin, even if you
do not believe these so-called fortune tellers, but go to them merely
through curiosity or with others. Again, we pay these persons for
telling us some foolish nonsense, and thus encourage them to continue
their sinful business. They doubtless laugh at the foolishness of those
who go to them or believe what they say and pay them generously. You
might with as much sense stop a man on the street, ask him to tell your
fortune, and hand him your money, for he would know as much about it as
so-called fortune tellers do. Rarely these sinful people might tell you
something that has happened in your life; but if they do, they merely
guess at it or are aided by the devil. The devil did not lose his
intelligence when driven out of Heaven, and he uses it now for doing
evil. He has vast experience, for he is as old as Adam, or older, and
has seen and known all the men that have lived in the world. He can move
rapidly through the world and easily know what is visibly taking place,
so that, strictly speaking, he could make known to his sinful agents
what is present or past, but never the future. Thus some fortune
tellers, clairvoyants, mindreaders, mediums, or whatever else they call
themselves, who are truly in league with the devil, may by his power
tell you the past of your life to make you believe that they know also
the future. The past and present in your life you already know, and the
future they cannot tell; therefore it is useless as well as sinful to go
to them. I say only it is possible for some fortune tellers to employ
the assistance of the devil, for all of them, with very rare exception,
are clever impostors who take your money for guessing at what they
suspect you will be most pleased to hear.

*319 Q. Do those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in
dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune tellers, and the like, sin
against the First Commandment?
A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who believe in dreams, in
mediums, spiritists, fortune tellers, and the like, sin against the
First Commandment, because they attribute to creatures perfections which
belong to God alone.

"Spells" are certain words, the saying of which persons believe will
effect for them something wonderful--a miraculous cure, for instance, or
protection from some evil. "Charms" are articles worn about the body for
the same purpose. They may be little black beans, little stones of a
certain shape, the teeth of animals, etc. In uncivilized countries the
inhabitants use many of these charms. But you may ask, Are not these
medals, scapulars, etc., that we wear, also charms? No. These things are
blessed and worn in honor of God, of His Blessed Mother, or of the
saints. We do not expect any help from the little piece of brass or
cloth we wear, but from those in whose honor we wear it, and from the
prayers said in the blessing for those who wear it. But they who wear
charms expect the help from the thing itself, which makes their conduct
foolish and sinful, since God alone can protect from evil. Again, such
things as medals, crosses, and scapulars are blessed by the Church and
worn by its consent, and it could never allow all its children to do a
sinful thing. It is good and praiseworthy, therefore, to wear the
blessed sacramentals in God's honor; but even with these holy things we
must be careful not to go too far. It is true the Blessed Virgin will
protect those who wear her scapular; but it would be sinful willfully to
expose ourselves to danger without any necessity, because we wear a
scapular. Thus it would be suicide for a boy who could not swim to
plunge into deep water because, having his scapulars on, the Blessed
Virgin ought to save him by a miracle. Again, it is wrong to look for
miracles from God when natural help will answer. Thus it would be wrong
for a man who broke his leg to refuse to have the doctors set it,
because he wanted God alone to heal it. "Dreams" are caused by the mind
being at work while the body is sleeping or at rest. The mind never
sleeps; it is always awake and working. Thus when we are asleep the
imagination, without the reason to guide it, mixes together a number of
things we have seen, heard, or thought of, and gives us strange scenes
and pictures. Sometimes what we dream of seems to happen; but that is
only because we dream so much that it would be strange if none of the
things ever happened. We will generally dream about whatever was on our
mind shortly before. We read in the Holy Scriptures that God at times
made known His will to certain persons by dreams; as when the king of
Egypt dreamt of the great famine that was to come; or when the angel
appeared in sleep to St. Joseph, telling him to take Our Lord into
Egypt, where Herod the king could not kill him. (Matt. 2).

The dreams mentioned in the Holy Scripture were more frequently visions
than dreams. In a vision the things we see are really present, whereas
in dreams they are not, but we imagine they are. God no longer makes use
of dreams as a means of communicating with His creatures, because His
Church will make known to us His will. He sometimes, however, makes
known certain things to His holy servants on earth in a very special and
private manner: as, for example, when Our Lord appeared to Saint
Margaret Mary and told her He would like to have the devotion to the
Sacred Heart established. We must always believe what the Church tells
us God has made known to it; but when holy people tell us that God
revealed special things to them, we are not obliged to believe what they
say, unless the Church confirms it. I say we are not obliged--that is,
we may if we please; but we would not be heretics and commit sin if we
did not believe all the revelations and wonderful things we find
recorded in the lives of saints, though they may all be true.

"Mediums and spiritists" are persons who pretend they can talk with the
dead in the other world, and learn where they are and what they are
doing. They have figures to move and apparently speak, and other
contrivances to deceive those who confide in them. Their work is all
deception and very sinful. If any of these things could be done, or if
God wished them to be known, He would give the power to the Church
founded by His divine Son, and not to a few sinful men or women here and
there. After a soul leaves the body its fate is hidden from us, and we
can say nothing with absolute certainty of its reward or punishment. No
one ever came back from the other world to give a minute account of its
general appearance or of what takes place there. All that is known about
it the Church knows and tells us, and all over and above that is false
or doubtful. By thinking a little you can see how all these dealings
with fortune tellers, etc., are giving to creatures what belongs to God
alone.

320 Q. Are sins against faith, hope, and charity also sins against the
First Commandment?
A. Sins against faith, hope, and charity are also sins against the First
Commandment.

321 Q. How does a person sin against faith?
A. A person sins against faith, first, by not trying to know what God
has taught; second, by refusing to believe all that God has taught;
third, by neglecting to profess his belief in what God has taught.

"Not trying to know." Thus children who idle their time at Sunday school
or religious instruction, and do not learn their Catechism, sin against
faith in the first way. In like manner grown persons who do not sometime
or other endeavor to hear sermons or instructions, to attend missions or
learn from good books, sin against faith. "Refusing to believe," as all
those do who leave the true religion, or who, knowing it, do not embrace
it. "Neglecting to profess." We may do this by not living up to the
practice of our holy religion. We believe, for example, we should hear
Mass every Sunday and holy day; we should receive the Sacraments at
certain times in the year; but if we only believe these things and do
not do them, we neglect to profess our faith, neglect to show others
that we really believe all the Church teaches, and are anxious to
practice it. Many know and believe what they should do, but never
practice it. Such persons do great injury to the Church, for persons who
do not live up to their holy religion but act contrary to its teaching
give scandal to their neighbor. How many persons at present not
Catholics would be induced to enter the true Church if they saw all
Catholics virtuous, truthful, sober, honest, upright, and industrious!
But when they see Catholics--be they ever so few--cursing, quarrelling,
backbiting, drinking, lying, stealing, cheating, etc.--in a word,
indulging in the same vices as those who claim to have no religion, what
must they think of the moral influence of Catholic faith? Thus they do
great injustice to the Church and the cause of religion, and are working
against our Blessed Lord when they should be working for Him.

The Christian religion spread very rapidly through the world in the
first ages of its existence; and one of the chief reasons was the good
example given by the Christians; for pagans seeing the holy lives, the
kindness and charity of their Christian neighbors, could not help
admiring and loving them, and wishing to be members of the Church that
made them so good and amiable. How many pagans do you think would be
converted nowadays by the lives of some who call themselves Catholics?
Not many, I think. Besides this, the early Christians really labored to
instruct others in the Christian religion, and to make them converts.
Often we find servants--even slaves--by their instructions converting
their pagan masters and mistresses. They all felt that they were
missionaries working for Jesus Christ, and their influence reached where
the priest's influence could not reach, because they came in contact
with persons the priests never had an opportunity of seeing. If all
Catholics had the same spirit, what good they could do! Their business
or duty may often bring them into daily intercourse with persons not of
their faith, and who never knew or perhaps heard any of the beautiful
truths of our holy religion. Yes, Catholics could do much good if they
had only the good will and knew their religion well. I do not mean that
they should be always discussing religion with everyone they meet. Let
them preach chiefly by the example of their own good lives, and when
questioned explain modestly and sincerely the truths they believe.

If you should be asked, for instance: Why do you not eat flesh-meat on
Friday? you should be able to answer: "Because I am a Christian and wish
to keep always before my mind how our Blessed Lord suffered for me in
His holy flesh on that day; and anyone who claims to be a Christian,
ought, I think, to be glad to do what reminds him so regularly and well
of Our Lord's Passion." Such an answer if given kindly and mildly would
silence and instruct your adversary; it might make him reflect, and
might, in time, bring him to the true religion. Sometimes a few words
make a great impression and bring about conversion. St. Francis Xavier
was a worldly young man, learned and ambitious, and he heard from St.
Ignatius these words of Our Lord: "What doth it profit a man if he gain
the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul?" He went home and
kept thinking of them till they impressed him so strongly that he gave
up the world, became a priest and by his labors and preaching in India,
converted to the true religion many thousand pagans. In the lives of the
saints there are many examples of a few words, by God's grace, bringing
men from a life of sin to a life of great holiness.

*322 Q. How do we fail to try to know what God has taught?
A. We fail to try to know what God has taught by neglecting to learn the
Christian doctrine.

*323 Q. Who are they who do not believe all that God has taught?
A. They who do not believe all that God has taught are the heretics and
infidels.

There are many kinds of unbelievers: atheists, deists, infidels,
heretics, apostates, and schismatics. An atheist is one who denies the
existence of God, saying there is no God. A deist is one who says he
believes God exists, but denies that God ever revealed any religion.
These are also called freethinkers. An infidel properly means one who
has never been baptized--one who is not of the number of the faithful;
that is, those believing in Christ. Sometimes atheists are called
infidels. Heretics are those who were baptized and who claim to be
Christians, but do not believe all the truths that Our Lord has taught.
They accept only a portion of the doctrine of Christ and reject the
remainder, and hence they become rebellious children of the Church. They
belong to the true Church by being baptized, but do not submit to its
teaching and are therefore outcast children, disinherited till they
return to the true faith. A schismatic is one who believes everything
the Church teaches, but will not submit to the authority of its
head--the Holy Father. Such persons do not long remain only schismatics;
for once they rise up against the authority of the Church, they soon
reject some of its doctrines and thus become heretics; and indeed, since
Vatican Council I, all schismatics are heretics.

*324 Q. Who are they who neglect to profess their belief in what God has
taught?
A. They who neglect to profess their belief in what God has taught are
all those who fail to acknowledge the true Church in which they really
believe.

There are some outside the Church who feel and believe that the Catholic
Church is the true Church, and yet they do not become Catholics, because
there are so many difficulties in the way. For example, they have been
brought up in another religion, and all their friends, relatives, or
associates are opposed to the Catholic religion. Their business, their
social life, their worldly interests will all suffer if they become
Catholics. So, although they feel they should at once embrace the true
religion, they keep putting off till death comes and finds them outside
the Church--and most probably guilty of other mortal sins. Such persons
cannot be saved, for they reject all the graces God bestows upon them. A
very common fault with such people is to excuse this conduct by saying:
Oh! I was brought up in the Protestant religion, and everyone ought to
live in the religion in which he was brought up. Let me ask: If persons
were brought up with some bodily deformity that their parents neglected
to have remedied while they were young, would they not use every means
themselves to have the deformity removed as soon as they became old
enough to see and understand their misfortune? In like manner, if
unfortunately parents bring up their children in a false religion--that
is, with spiritual deformities, it is the duty of the children to
embrace the true religion as soon as they know it. Again persons will
say: Oh, I believe one religion as good as another; we are all
Christians, and all trying to serve God. If one religion is as good as
another, why did not Our Lord allow the old religions--false or true--to
remain? If one man says a thing is black and another says it is white,
they cannot both be right, for a thing cannot be black and white at the
same time. Only one can be right; and, if we are anxious about the color
of the object, we must try to find which one is right. Just in the same
way all the religions that claim to be Christian contradict one another;
one says a thing is false and another says it is true: one says Our Lord
taught so and so and another says He did not. Now since it is very
important for us to know which is right, we must find out which is
really the Church Our Lord established; and when we have found it we
will know that all the other pretended Christian religions must be
false. Our Lord has given us marks by which we can know His Church, as
we saw while speaking of the marks of the Church; and the Roman Catholic
Church is the only Church that has all these marks. We say that we are
Roman Catholics to show that we are in communion with the Church of
Rome, established by St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles.

*325 Q. Can they who fail to profess their faith in the true Church in
which they believe expect to be saved while in that state?
A. They who fail to profess their faith in the true Church in which they
believe cannot expect to be saved while in that state, for Christ has
said: "Whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My
Father who is in Heaven."

326 Q. Are we obliged to make open profession of our faith?
A. We are obliged to make open profession of our faith as often as God's
honor, our neighbor's spiritual good, or our own requires it.
"Whosoever," says Christ, "shall confess Me before men, I will also
confess him before My Father who is in Heaven."

It is not necessary for us to proclaim in the streets that we are
Catholics; neither need we tell our religion to impudent people that may
ask us only to insult us; but when a real need of professing our faith
presents itself, then we must profess it. Suppose you are stopping in a
hotel in which you are the only Catholic. If flesh-meat is placed before
you on a Friday in Lent you must quietly push it aside and ask for fish
or other food; although by so doing you will show that you are a
Catholic and make a silent profession of your faith. God's honor and
your own good require it, for you must keep the laws of God and of His
Church on every possible occasion. Suppose again there were in the same
hotel some indifferent Catholics, socially your equals or inferiors, who
through human respect were ashamed to go to Mass on Sunday; then you
should publicly go to Mass and even declare that you must go, for by so
doing you would encourage these indifferent Catholics to follow your
example. In that case your neighbor's good requires that you profess
your faith. In a word, you must keep up the practice of your religion
even if by so doing you have to make an open profession of your faith
and suffer for it. But suppose it is something that God or the Church
does not command you to do but only recommends, such as blessing
yourself before meals or some pious practice, you could in public omit
such an action if you pleased without any sin or denial of faith,
because you violate no law.

327 Q. Which are the sins against hope?
A. The sins against hope are presumption and despair.

328 Q. What is presumption?
A. Presumption is a rash expectation of salvation without making proper
use of the necessary means to obtain it.

A person who goes on leading a bad life, and says when warned of his
danger that he is in no hurry to reform, that he will repent some day
before he dies, is always living in and committing the sin of
presumption. It is a great sin, for it is living in open defiance of
Almighty God. Such persons are very seldom given the opportunity to
repent at the last moment, and are, in most cases, called to judgment
when they least expect it. We are all presumptuous sometimes. Do we not
often, when we have fallen into a certain sin, easily repeat the act,
saying to ourselves, now that we will have to confess the sin committed,
the mention of the number of times will not make such difference for it
will not increase our shame and confusion? This is presumption; for we
do not know whether God will ever give us the opportunity of making a
confession. Again, one mortal sin is sufficient to keep our souls in
Hell for all eternity; what then will be our punishment for many mortal
sins? Then there is another thing you should remember: God has fixed a
certain number of sins that He will suffer you to commit before He sends
His punishment. You do not know which sin will complete the number and
be the last. The very sin you are now about to commit may be that one,
and the moment you have committed it, God will call you to judgment,
whether it be night or day, whether you are at home or in the
streets--though perhaps not immediately, but before you commit another
sin. Such a thought alone should keep you from sinning. Moreover, after
confession you strongly resist the first temptation to mortal sin, but
after you have yielded to the first you scarcely make any more
resistance, but easily yield again and again. You should therefore, to
prevent this, go to confession just as soon as you possibly can after
falling into mortal sin. It is bad enough to commit mortal sin, but it
is terrible to be living in that state day and night--always an enemy of
God--losing the merit of all the works you do and yet you must stay in
that state of sin till you go to confession and receive absolution.
Peter the Apostle committed the sin of presumption. (Matt. 26). Our Lord
told him to watch and pray for he would be tempted and yield that night,
but Peter said: "No Lord, I will never deny Thee." Instead of begging
Our Lord's help and grace, he trusted to himself and fell miserably into
sin. He went into dangerous company and that was another cause of his
fall. But afterwards he saw his sin and folly and never ceased to repent
of it.

329 Q. What is despair?
A. Despair is the loss of hope in God's mercy.

Despair is a sin because by it you deny that God is infinitely
merciful--that He is merciful enough to forgive even your many and great
sins if you are truly sorry for them. Judas committed the sin of
despair. After he had betrayed Our Lord, he went and hanged himself,
thus committing, besides the sin of betraying his divine Master, two
other great sins; namely, despair in God's mercy and suicide. If he had
gone to Our Lord and confessed his sin, and implored pardon and promised
penance, can we doubt that He would have forgiven even Judas, as He
forgave Peter, and those that crucified Him, praying that His Father
might not punish them for their sins? Therefore, no matter what sins you
have committed, never lose confidence in God's mercy. See how Our Lord
pardoned the thief on the cross and Mary Magdalen and other sinners. Be
sorry for your sins, and God will hear your prayers. Call upon the
Blessed Virgin, your patron saint, and guardian angel to help you, and
ask others, especially good persons, to pray for you.

*330 Q. How do we sin against the love of God?
A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but particularly by mortal
sin.



Lesson 31
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT--ON THE HONOR AND INVOCATION OF SAINTS


331 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid the honoring of the saints?
A. The First Commandment does not forbid the honoring of the saints, but
rather approves of it; because by honoring the saints, who are the
chosen friends of God, we honor God Himself.

Think of the many helps God gives us to save our souls: an angel to be
always with us upon earth; a saint always praying for us in Heaven, and
besides these all the graces, the Sacraments, the Masses, the prayers,
etc. If then we lose our soul, surely we cannot say, God did not give us
sufficient help. "Invocation" means calling upon them to help us.
Everyone is pleased when his friends are honored. Who is not glad to
hear his parents praised or see them respected? By praying to the
saints, instead of dishonoring God--as Protestants say we do--we really
honor Him more than by praying directly to Himself We show that we
believe in His great dignity, His awful majesty and our own nothingness.
If a poor person wanted to obtain a favor from the President of the
United States, would he go directly to the President himself? No. He
would find someone who had influence with the President, and ask him to
obtain the favor. Why, the very persons that say we should not use the
influence of saints do themselves use the influence of others to obtain
favors. They never go to an enemy of the one from whom they desire the
favor, but to some of his friends, knowing that a person will often
grant a favor for a friend's sake that he would not grant for the sake
of others. Now we do exactly the same when we pray to the saints. They
are the special friends of God. They fasted, prayed, preached, labored,
or suffered death for His honor and glory. He showed them great favors
while they were upon earth. He performed miracles at their request. Will
He deny them now, when they are always present with Him in Heaven--where
they could not possibly sin? He loves to grant them favors; and, as they
do not need any for themselves, He grants them for others through their
intercession. Again men are honored by the praises of their fellowman. A
great general is honored by having all his countrymen praise him; so,
too, God wants His saints honored, for their great spiritual deeds, by
the praise of the children of the Church. God is not annoyed by being
asked for favors. Nothing can trouble Him, for all is done by an act of
His will. He loses nothing by giving, for He is infinite. By praying to
the saints for help we confess that we are too unworthy to present
ourselves to God and address Him--to come before His awful Majesty, and
that we will wait here in the humble attitude of prayer while you, holy
saints, His dearest friends, go into His presence and ask for us the
favors and graces we require.

332 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid us to pray to the saints?
A. The First Commandment does not forbid us to pray to the saints.

We do not pray to them as to God. We never say to them, "Give us this or
that," but always, "Obtain it for us." In all the litanies you cannot
find one petition where we say, even to the Blessed Virgin: "Have mercy
on us," but, "Pray for us," or, "Intercede for us."

333 Q. What do we mean by praying to the saints?
A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their help and
prayers.

*334 Q. How do we know that the saints hear us?
A. We know that the saints hear us, because they are with God, who makes
our prayers known to them.

*335 Q. Why do we believe that the saints will help us?
A. We believe that the saints will help us because both they and we are
members of the same Church, and they love us as their brethren.

*336 Q. How are the saints and we members of the same Church?
A. The saints and we are members of the same Church, because the Church
in Heaven and the Church on earth are one and the same Church, and all
its members are in communion with one another.

*337 Q. What is the communion of the members of the Church called?
A. The communion of the members of the Church is called the communion of
saints.

*338 Q. What does the communion of saints mean?
A. The communion of saints means the union which exists between the
members of the Church on earth with one another and with the blessed in
Heaven and with the suffering souls in Purgatory.

*339 Q. What benefits are derived from the communion of saints?
A. The following benefits are derived from the communion of saints: the
faithful on earth assist one another by their prayers and good works,
and they are aided by the intercession of the saints in Heaven, while
both the saints in Heaven and the faithful on earth help the souls in
Purgatory.

340 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid us to honor relics?
A. The First Commandment does not forbid us to honor relics, because
relics are the bodies of the saints or objects directly connected with
them or with Our Lord.

"Relic" means a thing left. Relics are pieces of the body--bones, etc.
Pieces of saints' clothing, writing, etc., are also called relics.
Pieces of the True Cross, the nails that pierced Christ's hands, etc.,
are relics of Our Lord's Passion. We have no relic of Our Lord's Body
because He took it into Heaven with Him when He ascended. All relics of
the saints must be examined at Rome, by those whom the Holy Father has
appointed for that work. They must be marked and accompanied by the
testimony of the Cardinals, or others who examined them, to show that
they are true relics. It would be superstitious to use anything as a
relic unless we were sure of its being genuine.

341 Q. Does the First Commandment forbid the making of images?
A. The First Commandment does forbid the making of images if they are
made to be adored as gods, but it does not forbid the making of them to
put us in mind of Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother, and the saints.

Protestants and others say that Catholics break the First Commandment by
having images in their churches, because the First Commandment says:
"Thou shalt not make graven images or the likeness of anything upon the
earth," etc. Now, if that is exactly what the Commandment means, then
they break it also, because they make the images of generals, statesmen,
writers, etc., and place them in their parks. They also take photographs
of their relatives and friends and hang them on the walls of their
homes. They do this, they say, and we believe them, to show their
respect and veneration for the persons represented, and not to worship
their images. Now we do no more. We simply place in our churches the
images of saints to show our respect and veneration for the persons they
represent, and not to worship the images themselves. So if we break the
First Commandment, they who make any picture or statue break it also.
Can our accusers not see that they and every citizen do the very thing
for which they reproach us? On Decoration Day they place flowers around
the statue of Washington and other great men. Does anyone believe that
they are trying to honor the piece of metal or stone, or that the metal
or stone statue knows that it is being honored? Certainly not. They do
so to honor Washington or whomsoever the statue represents; and for the
same reason Catholics place flowers and lights around the statues and
images of saints. Every child knows that the wood in the statue might as
well have been a pillar in the Church, and that its selection for a
statue was merely accidental, and hence he knows that the statue cannot
hear or see him, and so he prays not to the statue but to the person it
represents. Again if you can offer a person insult by dishonoring his
image, may we not honor him by treating it with respect? What greater
insult, for instance, could be offered to your deceased father and
yourself than to burn him in effigy, or contemptuously trample his
picture under foot in your presence? Thus they who treat the images of
Christ or His saints with disrespect dishonor Christ and His saints.

Again we may learn our religion by our sight as well as by our hearing,
and may be led by these visible objects to a knowledge of the invisible
things they represent. Let us take an example. A poor ignorant man
enters a Catholic church, and sees hanging there a picture of St.
Vincent de Paul. He can learn the life of the saint from that picture
almost as well as if he read it in a book. He sees the saint dressed in
a cassock, and that tells him St. Vincent was a priest. He sees him
surrounded by little ragged children and holding some of them in his
arms; that tells him the saint took care of poor children and orphans,
and founded homes and asylums for them. He sees on the saint's table a
human skull, and that tells him St. Vincent frequently meditated upon
death and what follows it. He sees beside the skull a little lash or
whip, and that tells him the saint was a man who practiced penance and
mortification. Thus you have another reason why the true Church is very
properly called Catholic; because its teaching suits all classes of
persons. The ignorant can know what it teaches as well as the learned;
for if they cannot read they can listen to its priests, watch its
ceremonies, and study its pictures, by all of which it teaches. The
Protestant religion, on the contrary, is not adapted to the needs of
every class, for it teaches that all must find their doctrines in the
Bible, and understand them according to their lights, giving their own
interpretation to the passages of the sacred text; and thus we come to
have a variety of Protestant denominations, all claiming the Bible for
their guide, though following different paths. If every Protestant has
the right to take his own meaning out of the Holy Scripture, what right
have Protestant ministers to preach the meaning they have found, and
compel others to accept it? The Bible alone is not sufficient. It must
be explained by the Church that teaches us also the traditions that have
come down to us from the Apostles. If the Bible alone were the rule of
our faith, what would become of all those who could not read the Bible?
What would become of those who lived before the Apostles wrote the New
Testament? for they did not write in the first years of their ministry,
neither did they commit to writing all the truths they taught, because
Our Lord did not command them to write, but to preach; and He Himself
never wrote any of His doctrines. Again Catholics are accused of
superstition for keeping the relics of saints. Yet when General Grant
died and was buried in New York, many citizens of every denomination,
anxious to have a relic of the great man they loved and admired,
secured, even at a cost, small pieces of wood from his house, of cloth
from his funeral car, a few leaves or a little sand from his tomb. Now,
if it was not superstition to keep these relics, why should it be
superstition to keep the relics of the saints?

Even God Himself honored the relics of saints, for He has often
performed or granted miracles through their use. We read in the Bible (4
Kings 13:21)--and it is the word of God--that once some persons who were
burying a dead man, seeing their enemies coming upon them, hastily cast
the body into a tomb and fled. It was the tomb of the holy prophet
Eliseus, and when the dead body touched the bones of this great servant
of God, the dead man came to life and stood erect. Here is at least one
miracle that God performed through the relics of a saint.

God does not forbid the mere making of images, but only the making of
them as gods. He gave the Commandments to Moses and afterwards told him
to make images; namely, angels of gold for the temple. (Ex. 25:18). Now,
God does not change His mind or contradict Himself as men do. Whatever
He does is done forever. Therefore if He commanded Moses by the First
Commandment not to make any images, He could not tell him later to make
some. It is not the mere making, therefore, that God forbids, but the
adoring. What He insists upon is: "You shall not adore or serve the
images you make." This is very clear if we consider the history of the
Israelites, to whom God first gave the law. They were the only nation in
the whole world that knew and worshipped the true God, and often, as I
told you, they fell into idolatry and really worshipped images. When
Moses delayed on the mountain with God, and they thought he was not
coming back, they made a golden calf and adored it as a god. (Ex. 32).

The Israelites fell into idolatry chiefly by associating with persons
not of the true religion. Let us learn from their sins never to run the
risk of weakening or losing our faith by making bosom friends and steady
companions of those not of the true religion or of no religion at all.
You are not, however, to treat any person with contempt or to despise
anyone, but to look upon all as the children of God, and pray for those
not of the true religion, that they may be converted and saved.

342 Q. Is it right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ
and His saints?
A. It is right to show respect to the pictures and images of Christ and
His saints, because they are the representations and memorials of them.

343 Q. Is it allowed to pray to the crucifix or to the images and relics
of the saints?
A. It is not allowed to pray to the crucifix or images and relics of the
saints, for they have no life, nor power to help us, nor sense to hear
us.

344 Q. Why do we pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of
the saints?
A. We pray before the crucifix and the images and relics of the saints
because they enliven our devotion by exciting pious affections and
desires, and by reminding us of Christ and of the saints, that we may
imitate their virtues.



Lesson 32
FROM THE SECOND TO THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT


345 Q. What is the Second Commandment?
A. The Second Commandment is: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain.

"In vain"--that is, without necessity.

346 Q. What are we commanded by the Second Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Second Commandment to speak with reverence of
God and of the saints, and of all holy things, and to keep our lawful
oaths and vows.

A very common sin against this Commandment is to use the words and
sayings of Holy Scripture in a worldly or bad sense. The Church forbids
us to use the words and sayings of Holy Scripture to convey any meaning
but the one God intended them to convey, or at least to use them in any
but a sacred sense.

347 Q. What is an oath?
A. An oath is the calling upon God to witness the truth of what we say.

We declare a thing to be so or not, and call God to be our witness that
we are speaking truly. This is one of the most solemn acts that men can
perform in the presence of their fellowman. All the nations of the earth
regard an oath as a most sacred thing, and one who swears falsely is the
vilest of men--a perjurer. God is infinite truth and hates lies. What a
frightful thing then to call Him to sanction a lie!

*348 Q. When may we take an oath?
A. We may take an oath when it is ordered by lawful authority or
required for God's honor or for our own or our neighbor's good.

An oath is generally taken in a court of law when the judge wishes to
find out the truth of the case. We may be a witness against one who is
guilty, or in defense of an innocent person, and in such cases a lie
would have most evil consequences. The judge has a right, therefore, to
make us take an oath that we will testify truly. Officers of the law,
magistrates, judges, etc., take an oath when entering upon their duties
that they will perform them faithfully.

*349 Q. What is necessary to make an oath lawful?
A. To make an oath lawful it is necessary that what we swear be true,
and that there be a sufficient cause for taking an oath.

350 Q. What is a vow?
A. A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do something that is
pleasing to Him.

"Deliberate"--that is, with full consent and freedom. If we are forced
to make it, it is not valid. "To God," not to another; though we may vow
to God that we will do something in honor of the Blessed Virgin, or of
the saints, or for another. "Something pleasing," because if we promise
something that is forbidden by God or displeasing to Him, it is not a
vow. A solemn promise, for instance, to kill your neighbor or steal his
goods could not be a vow. You would commit a sin by making such a vow,
and another by keeping it, for if you promise something you cannot do
without committing sin then you must not keep that promise. We have an
example in the life of St. John the Baptist. King Herod was leading a
sinful life, and St. John rebuked him for it. The wife of the king's
brother--Herodias was her name--hated St. John for this, and she sought
to have him killed. Once when the king had a great feast and all his
notables were assembled, this woman's daughter danced before them, and
the king was so pleased with her that he vowed to give her whatever she
asked. He should have said, if it is something pleasing to God, but he
did not. Her mother made her ask for the head of John the Baptist. The
king was sad, but because he had made the vow or promise he thought he
had to keep it, and ordered St. John to be beheaded and his head brought
to her. (Matt. 14). He was not bound to keep any such vow, and sinned by
doing so.

Again, they also commit sin who become members of such secret societies
as the freemasons or similar organizations, promising to do whatever
they are ordered without knowing what may be ordered; for they sin not
only by obeying sinful commands, but by the very fact of being in a
society in which they are exposed to the danger of being forced to sin.
Such secret societies are forbidden by the Church because they strive to
undermine its authority, and make their rules superior to its teaching.
They also influence those in authority to persecute the Church and its
ministers, and do not hesitate to recommend even assassination at times
for the accomplishment of their ends. Therefore the Church forbids
Catholics to join societies of which (1) the objects are unlawful, (2)
where the means used are sinful, or (3) where the rights of our
conscience and liberty are violated by rash or dangerous oaths.

The Church does not oppose associations founded on law and justice; but
on the contrary, has always encouraged and still encourages every
organization that tends to benefit its members spiritually and
temporally, and opposes only societies that have not a legitimate end.
Therefore you may understand that labor unions and benefit societies in
which persons are leagued together for their own protection or the
protection of their interests are not secret societies, though they may
conduct their meetings in secret.

351 Q. Is it a sin not to fulfill our vows?
A. Not to fulfill our vows is a sin, mortal or venial according to the
nature of the vow and the intention we had in making it.

"Vows"--that is, lawful vows. When a man who is in the habit of getting
intoxicated vows not to take liquor for a certain time, he generally
intends to bind himself only under venial sin; that is, if he breaks
that pledge or promise it will be a venial and not a mortal sin; but he
can make it a mortal sin by intending, when he takes the pledge, that if
he breaks it he will be guilty of mortal sin.

352 Q. What is forbidden by the Second Commandment?
A. The Second Commandment forbids all false, rash, unjust, and
unnecessary oaths, blasphemy, cursing, and profane words.

"Rash"--swearing a thing is true or false without knowing for certain
whether it is or not. "Blasphemy" is not the same as cursing or taking
God's name in vain. It is worse. It is to say or do something very
disrespectful to God. To say that He is unjust, cruel or the like, is to
blaspheme. We can blaspheme also by actions. To defy God by a sign or
action, to dare Him to strike us dead, etc., would be blasphemy. We have
a terrible example of blasphemy related in the life of Julian the
Apostate. An apostate is one who renounces and gives up his religion,
not one who merely neglects it. Julian was a Roman emperor and had been
a Catholic, but apostatized. Then in his great hatred for Our Lord he
wished to falsify His prophecies and prove them untrue. Our Lord had
said that of the temple of Jerusalem there would not be left a stone
upon a stone. To make this false Julian began to rebuild the temple. In
making the preparation he cleared away the ruins of the old building,
not leaving a single stone upon a stone, and thus was instrumental
himself in verifying the words of Our Lord; for while the ruins remained
there were stones upon stones. He wished to defy God, but when he began
to build, fire came forth from the earth and drove back the workmen, and
a strong wind scattered the materials. Afterwards Julian was wounded in
battle, an arrow having pierced his breast. He drew it out, and throwing
a handful of his blood toward heaven, said: "Thou hast conquered, O
Galilean," meaning Our Lord. This was a horrible blasphemy--throwing his
blood in defiance, and calling the Son of God a name which he thought
would be insulting (see Fredet's Modern History, Life of Julian).
Therefore we can blaspheme by actions or words, doing or saying things
intended to insult Almighty God. "Profane words"--that is, bad, but
especially irreverent and irreligious words.

353 Q. What is the Third Commandment?
A. The Third Commandment is: Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

*354 Q. What are we commanded by the Third Commandment?
A. By the Third Commandment we are commanded to keep holy the Lord's Day
and the holy days of obligation, on which we are to give our time to the
service and worship of God.

"Holy days" we are bound to keep holy just in the same manner we do
Sundays--that is, by hearing Mass and refraining from servile works.
Those who after hearing Mass must attend to business or work on those
days should make this known to their confessor, that he may judge if
they have a sufficient excuse for engaging in servile works, and thus
they will avoid the danger of sinfully violating an important law. There
must always be a good reason for working on a holy day. Those who are so
situated that they can readily refrain from servile work on holy days
must do so. And, where it is possible, the same opportunity must be
afforded to their servants.

"Of obligation," because there are some holy days not of obligation. We
celebrate them, but we are not bound under pain of mortal sin to hear
Mass or keep from servile works on such days. For example, St. Patrick's
Day is not a holy day of obligation. The great feast of Corpus Christi
is not a holy day of obligation. Not satisfied with doing only what the
Church obliges us to do on Sundays and holy days, those who really love
God will endeavor to do more than the bare works commanded. Sunday is a
day of rest and prayer. While we may take innocent and useful amusement,
we should not join in any public or noisy entertainments. We may rest
and recreate ourselves, but we should avoid every place where vulgar and
sometimes sinful amusements, scenes, or plays are presented. Even in
taking lawful recreation we may serve God and please Him if we take it
to strengthen our bodies that we may be enabled to do the work He has
assigned to us in this world.

Sunday is well spent by those who, after hearing Mass, devote some part
of the day to good works, such as pious reading, teaching in Sunday
school, bringing relief to the poor and sick, visiting the Blessed
Sacrament, attending Vespers, Rosary, etc. Not that I mean they should
do nothing but pray on Sundays; but they should not give the whole day
to useless enjoyment or idleness, and forget God. Some begrudge God even
the half-hour they are obliged to give to Mass on Sundays: they stand
near the door, ready to be the first out, and perhaps were the last in;
or they come late, and do not give the full time necessary to hear the
entire Mass. Others spend the whole day in reading newspapers,
magazines, or useless--I will not say sinful--books. It is not a sin to
read newspapers, etc., on Sunday; but to give the whole time to them,
and never read anything good and instructive, is a willful waste of
time--and waste of time is sinful. There should be in every family,
according to its means, one or more good Catholic newspapers or
magazines. Not all papers that bear the name of Catholic are worthy of
it. A truly Catholic paper is one that teaches or defends Catholic
truth, and warns us against its enemies, their snares, deceptions, etc.;
one, too, that tells us what is being done in the interests of religion,
education, etc. Besides such a paper there should be a few standard good
books in every family such as the New Testament, the Imitation of
Christ, a large and full catechism of Christian doctrine, etc. On the
other hand, all the books in your house need not be books treating of
religion or piety. Any book that is not against faith or morals may be
kept and read. A book may not be bad in itself, but it may be bad for
you, either because it is suggestive of evil, or you misunderstand it,
and take evil out of it. In such a case you should not read it. At the
present time there are so many bad books that persons should be very
careful as to what they read.

Not only should we keep Sunday well ourselves, but we should endeavor to
have it so kept by others. We must be careful, however, not to fall into
the mistake of some who wish the Sunday to be kept as the Pharisees of
old kept the Sabbath, telling us we must not walk, ride, sail, or take
any exercise or enjoyment on that day. This is not true, for Our Lord
rebuked the Pharisees for such excessive rigor; God made the Sunday for
our benefit, and if we had to keep it as they say we must, it would be
more of a punishment than a benefit.

355 Q. How are we to worship God on Sundays and holy days of obligation?
A. We are to worship God on Sundays and holy days of obligation by
hearing Mass, by prayer, and by other good works.

*356 Q. Are the Sabbath day and the Sunday the same?
A. The Sabbath day and the Sunday are not the same. The Sabbath is the
seventh day of the week, and is the day which was kept holy in the Old
Law; the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the day which is
kept holy in the New Law.

"Old Law" means the law that God gave to the Jews, the New Law, the law
that Our Lord gave to Christians.

*357 Q. Why does the Church command us to keep the Sunday holy instead
of the Sabbath?
A. The Church commands us to keep the Sunday holy instead of the Sabbath
because on Sunday Christ rose from the dead, and on Sunday He sent the
Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.

We keep Sunday instead of Saturday also to teach that the Old Law is not
now binding upon us, but that we must keep the New Law, which takes its
place.

358 Q. What is forbidden by the Third Commandment?
A. The Third Commandment forbids all unnecessary servile work and
whatever else may hinder the due observance of the Lord's day.

359 Q. What are servile works?
A. Servile works are those which require labor rather of body than of
mind.

"Servile"--that is, work which was formerly done by the slaves.
Therefore writing, reading, studying, etc., are not servile, because
they were not the works of slaves.

360 Q. Are servile works on Sunday ever lawful?
A. Servile works are lawful on Sunday when the honor of God, the good of
our neighbor, or necessity requires them.

"Honor of God"; for example, erecting an altar that could not be erected
at another time, so that the people may hear Mass on that day.

"Good of our neighbor"--such as reconstructing a broken bridge that must
be used every day; or clearing away obstacles after a railroad accident,
that trains may not be delayed. "Necessity"--firemen endeavoring to
extinguish a fire, sailors working on a ship at sea, etc.



Lesson 33
FROM THE FOURTH TO THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT


361 Q. What is the Fourth Commandment?
A. The Fourth Commandment is: Honor thy father and thy mother.

362 Q. What are we commanded by the Fourth Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Fourth Commandment to honor, love, and obey
our parents in all that is not sin.

"In all that is not sin," because if our parents or superiors, being
wicked, bid us do things that we know to be certainly sinful, then we
must not obey them under any circumstances. God will not excuse us for
doing wrong because we were commanded. But if, on the contrary, we are
forced in spite of our resistance to do the sinful act, then not we but
they have to answer for the sin. If, however, you simply doubt about the
sinfulness of the act, then you must obey; because you must always
suppose that your superiors know better than you the things that concern
their duty. Even if they should be mistaken in the exercise of their
authority, God will reward your obedience. Besides obeying them, you
must also help and support your parents if they need your assistance.
You must not scoff at or despise them for their want of learning or
refinement, because they perhaps have made many sacrifices to give you
the advantages of which they in their youth were deprived. Do we not
sometimes find persons of pretended culture ignorantly slighting their
plain-mannered parents, or showing that they are ashamed of them or
unwilling to recognize them before others, ungratefully forgetting that
whatever wealth or learning they themselves have came through the love
and kindness of these same parents? Again, is it not sinful for the
children, especially of such parents, to waste their time in school,
knowing that they are being supported in idleness by the hard toil and
many sacrifices of a poor father? Never, then, be guilty of an unkind or
ungrateful act. No matter who they are or what their condition, never
forget those who have helped you and been your temporal or spiritual
benefactors. If you cannot return the kindness to the one who helped
you, at least be as ready as he was to do good to another. It is told of
a great man that, wishing always to do good, he made it a rule never to
stand looking at the effects of a disturbance, disaster, or accident
unless he could do some good by being there.

Wherever you are, ask yourselves now and then, Why am I in this
particular place; what good am I doing here? etc. St. Aloysius when
about to perform any action used to ask himself, it is said, What has
this action to do with my eternal salvation? and St. Alphonsus de
Liguori made a vow never to waste a moment of his time. These were some
of the great heroes of the Church, and this is one of the reasons why
they could accomplish so much for God.

363 Q. Are we bound to honor and obey others than our parents?
A. We are bound to honor and obey our bishops, pastors, magistrates,
teachers, and other lawful superiors.

"Magistrates"--that is, civil rulers, like the president, governor,
mayor, judges, etc.

*364 Q. Have parents and superiors any duties towards those who are
under their charge?
A. It is the duty of parents and superiors to take good care of all
under their charge and give them proper direction and example.

It is so much their duty that God will hold them responsible for it, and
punish them for neglecting it; so that your parents are not free to give
you your own way. They have to do God's work, and, as His agents, punish
you when you deserve it. You should take their punishment as coming from
God Himself. They do not punish you because they wish to see you suffer,
but for your good. Think of the terrible responsibility of parents. Let
us suppose that the parents of a family give bad example; their children
follow their example, and when they become heads of families their
children also will grow up in wickedness: and thus we can go on for
generations, and all those sins will be traced back to the first bad
parents. What is true for bad example is true also for good example;
that is, the good done by the children will all be traced back to the
parents. Sometimes you may be punished when you are not guilty; then
think of the times you were guilty and were not punished. Remember also
how Our Lord was falsely accused before Herod and Pilate, and yet He
never opened His lips to defend Himself, but suffered patiently. God
sees your innocence and will reward you if you bear your trial
patiently. Indeed, we are foolish not to bear all our sufferings
patiently, for we have to bear them anyway, and we might just as well
have the reward that patient suffering will bring us. Those who suffer
should find comfort in this: by suffering they are made more like Our
Lord and His blessed Mother. She lived on earth over sixty years, and
during all that time she seems never to have had any of those things
that bring worldly pleasure and happiness. She was left an orphan when
quite young, and spent her early life in the temple, which was for her a
kind of school; then she was married to a poor old carpenter, and must
have found it very hard at times to get a living. Our Lord was born
while she was away from home in a strange place. After she had returned
and had just settled down in her little dwelling, she had to fly with
St. Joseph into Egypt to save the life of the little Infant Jesus, whom
the king's officers were seeking to kill. In Egypt they were strangers,
among people not of their own nationality or religion, and St. Joseph
must have found great difficulty in providing for them; yet they had to
remain there for some time. Then when our divine Lord was grown to
manhood and could be a great comfort to His Mother, He was seized and
put to death in her presence. Her most beloved and innocent Son put to
death publicly as a criminal before all her neighbors! The same persons
who insulted Our Lord would not hesitate to insult and cruelly treat His
blessed Mother also. At His death He left her no money or property for
her support, but asked a friend, St. John, to receive her into his house
and do Him the favor of taking care of her. She must have often felt
that she was a burden in that man's house; that she had no home of her
own, but was living like a poor woman on the charity of kind friends,
for St. Joseph died before Our Lord's public life began. The Blessed
Mother was, however, obliged to remain upon earth for about eleven years
after Our Lord's Ascension. Thus we see her whole life was one of trials
and sorrows. Now certainly Our Lord loved His Mother more than any other
son could; and certainly also He, being God, could have made His blessed
Mother a queen upon the earth, rich and powerful among men, and free
from every suffering or inconvenience. If, then, He sent her sorrows and
trials, it must have been because these were best for her, and because
He knew that for this suffering here upon earth her happiness and glory
in Heaven would be much increased; and as He wished her to have all the
happiness and glory she was capable of possessing, He permitted her to
suffer. If, then, suffering was good for Our Lord's Mother, it is good
also for us; and when it comes we ought not to complain, but bear it
patiently, as she did, and ask Our Lord to give us that grace.

365 Q. What is forbidden by the Fourth Commandment?
A. The Fourth Commandment forbids all disobedience, contempt, and
stubbornness towards our parents or lawful superiors.

"Contempt." Showing by our words or actions that we disregard or despise
those placed over us. A man who is summoned to appear in court and does
not come is punished for "contempt of court," because he shows that he
disregards the authority of the judge. A thing not very bad in itself
may become very bad if done out of contempt. For example, there would be
a great difference between eating a little more than the Church allows
on a fast-day, simply because you were hungry, and eating it because you
wanted to show that you despised the law of fasting and the authority of
the Church. The first would be only a venial sin, but the latter mortal.
So for all your actions. An act which in itself might be a venial sin
could easily become a mortal sin if you did it through contempt.
"Stubbornness"--that is, unwillingness to give in, even when you know
you are wrong and should yield. Those who obey slowly and do what they
are ordered in a sulky manner are also guilty of stubbornness.

366 Q. What is the Fifth Commandment?
A. The Fifth Commandment is: Thou shalt not kill.

367 Q. What are we commanded by the Fifth Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Fifth Commandment to live in peace and union
with our neighbor, to respect his rights, to seek his spiritual and
bodily welfare, and to take proper care of our own life and health.

"Proper care of our own life." It is not our property, but God's. He
lends it to us and leaves it with us as long as He pleases: nor does He
tell us how long He will let us have the use of it. Thus suicide, or the
taking of one's own life, is a mortal sin, for by it we resist the will
of God. One who in sound mind and full possession of reason causes his
own death is guilty of suicide. But it is sometimes very difficult to
determine whether the person was really sane at the time he committed
the act; hence, when there is any reasonable doubt on that point, the
unfortunate suicide is usually given the benefit of it. It is also a sin
to risk our lives uselessly or to continue in any habit that we are sure
is injuring our health and shortening our lives.

Thus an habitual drunkard is guilty of sin against the Fifth
Commandment, for besides his sin of drunkenness, he is hastening his own
death. So, too, boys or girls who indulge in habits which their parents
forbid are guilty of sin. For example, a boy is forbidden to smoke, and
he does smoke. Now to smoke is not in itself a sin, but it becomes a sin
for that boy, because in the first place he is disobedient, and secondly
is injuring his health. Thus persons who indulge in sinful habits may
commit more than one kind of sin, for besides the sins committed by the
habits themselves, these vices may injure their health and bring
sickness and disease upon their bodies.

368 Q. What is forbidden by the Fifth Commandment?
A. The Fifth Commandment forbids all willful murder, fighting, anger,
hatred, revenge, and bad example.

Therefore it forbids all that might lead to murder. So we can violate
any of the Commandments by doing anything that leads to breaking them.
"Revenge" is a desire to injure others because they injured you.

369 Q. What is the Sixth Commandment?
A. The Sixth Commandment is: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

370 Q. What are we commanded by the Sixth Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Sixth Commandment to be pure in thought and
modest in all our looks, words, and actions.

We should be most careful about this Commandment, because almost every
violation of it is a mortal sin. For example, if you steal only a
little, it is a venial sin; for in stealing the greatness of the sin
will depend upon the amount you steal; but if you do a real bad action,
or think a real bad thought against the Sixth Commandment, it will be a
mortal sin, no matter how short the time. Again, we have more
temptations against this Commandment, for we are tempted by our own
bodies and we cannot avoid them: hence the necessity of being always
guarded against this sin. It enters into our soul through our senses;
they are, as it were, the doors of our soul. It enters by our eyes
looking at bad objects or pictures; by our ears listening to bad
conversation; by our tongue saying and repeating immodest words, etc. If
then, we guard all the doors of our soul, sin cannot enter. It would be
foolish to lock all the doors in your house but one, for one will
suffice to admit a thief, and we might as well leave them all open as
one. So, too, we must guard all the senses; for sin can enter by one
only as well as by all.

371 Q. What is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment?
A. The Sixth Commandment forbids all unchaste freedom with another's
wife or husband: also all immodesty with ourselves or others in looks,
dress, words, or actions.

372 Q. Does the Sixth Commandment forbid the reading of bad and immodest
books and newspapers?
A. The Sixth Commandment does forbid the reading of bad and immodest
books and newspapers.

Reading brings us into the company of those who wrote the book. Now we
should be just as careful to avoid a bad book as a bad man, and even
more so; for while we read we can stop to think, and read over again, so
that bad words read will often make more impression upon us than bad
words spoken to us. You should avoid not only bad, but useless books.
You could not waste all your time with an idle man without becoming like
him--an idler. So if you waste your time on useless books, your
knowledge will be just like the books--useless. Many authors write only
for the sake of money, and care little whether their book is good or
bad, provided it sells well. How many young people have been ruined by
bad books, and how many more by foolish books! Boys, for example, read
in some worthless book of desperate deeds of highway robbery or piracy,
and are at once filled with the desire to imitate the hero of the tale.
Young girls, on the other hand, are equally infatuated by the wonderful
fortunes and adventures of some young woman whose life has been so
vividly described in a trashy novel. As the result of such reading,
young persons lose the true idea of virtue and valor of true, noble
manhood and womanhood, and with their hearts and minds corrupted set up
vice for their model.

Again, these books are filled with such terrible lies and unlikely
things that any sensible boy or girl should see their foolishness at
once. Think, for example, of a book relating how two boys defeated and
killed or captured several hundred Indians! Is that likely? The truth
is, if two Indians shook their tomahawks at as many boys as you could
crowd into this building, every single one of them would run for his
life.

Let me give you still another reason for not reading trashy books. Your
minds can hold just so much good or evil information, and if you fill
them full of lies and nonsense you leave no room for true knowledge.

Do not, therefore, get into the habit of reading foolish story-papers
and cheap novels. Read good books in which you can find information that
will be useful to you all through your life.

If now and then you read story-books for amusement or rest from study,
let them be good story-books, written by good authors. Ask someone's
advice about the books you read--someone who is capable of giving such
advice: your pastor, your teachers, and frequently your parents and
friends. Learn all through your life to ask advice on every important
matter. How many mistakes in life would have been prevented if those
making them had only asked advice from the proper persons and followed
it. Your parents have traveled the road of life before you. Now it is
known to them and they can point out its dangers. To you the road is
entirely new, and it will be only after you have traveled it and arrived
nearly at its end in the latter days of your life that you also will be
able to advise others how to pass through it in safety. This road can be
traveled only once, so be advised by those who have learned its many
dangers by their own experience. You should be very glad that those of
experience are willing to teach you, and if you neglect their warnings
you will be very sorry for it someday.



Lesson 34
FROM THE SEVENTH TO THE END OF THE TENTH COMMANDMENT


373 Q. What is the Seventh Commandment?
A. The Seventh Commandment is: Thou shalt not steal.

Stealing is one of those vices of which you have to be most careful.
Children should learn to have honest hearts, and never to take unjustly
even the smallest thing; for some begin a life of dishonesty by stealing
little things from their own house or from stores to which they are sent
for goods. A nut, a cake, an apple, a cent, etc., do not seem much, but
nevertheless to take any of them dishonestly is stealing. Children who
indulge in this trifling thievery seldom correct the habit in after life
and grow up to be dishonest men and women. How do you suppose all the
thieves now spending their miserable lives in prison began? Do you
believe they were very honest--never having stolen even the slightest
thing--up to a certain day, and at once became thieves by committing a
highway robbery? No; they began by stealing little things, then greater,
and kept on till they made stealing their business and thus became
professional thieves. Again, the little you steal each day does not seem
much at the time, but if you put all the "littles" together you may soon
have something big, and almost before you know it--if you intend to
continue stealing--you may have taken enough to make you guilty of
mortal sin. If you intended to steal, for instance, only a small amount
every day for the whole year, you would at the end have stolen a large
amount and committed a mortal sin. There are many ways of violating the
Seventh Commandment. Workmen who do not do a just day's work, or
employers who cheat their workmen out of wages earned; merchants who
charge unjust prices and seek unjust profits; dealers who give light
weight or short measure or who misrepresent goods; those who speculate
rashly or gamble with the money of others, and those who borrow with no
intention or only slight hope of being able to pay back, all violate
this Commandment. You violate it also by not paying your just debts or
by purchasing goods that you know you will never be able to pay for.
Moreover, besides the injustice, it is base ingratitude not to pay your
debts when in your power to do so. The one who trusted or lent you
helped you in your need and did you a great favor, and yet when you can
you will not pay, and what is worse, frequently abuse and insult him for
asking his own. Though such dishonest and ungrateful persons may escape
in this world, they will not escape in the next, for Almighty God will
make them suffer for the smallest debt they owe.

Again, others often suffer for the dishonesty of those I have mentioned,
for when some good person who really intends to pay is in great need and
wishes to borrow or be trusted, he is refused because others have been
dishonest. Everyone should pay his debts, and even keep from buying
things that are not really necessary till he is thus enabled to pay what
he owes. You must pay your just debts even before you can give anything
in charity.

374 Q. What are we commanded by the Seventh Commandment?
A. By the Seventh Commandment we are commanded to give to all men what
belongs to them and to respect their property.

"Respect their property"--that is, acknowledge and respect their rights
to their property and do nothing to violate these rights.

375 Q. What is forbidden by the Seventh Commandment?
A. The Seventh Commandment forbids all unjust taking or keeping what
belongs to another.

"Taking," either with your own hands or from the hands of another; for
the one who willingly and knowingly receives from a thief the whole or
part of anything stolen becomes as bad as the thief. Even if you only
help another to steal, and receive none of the stolen goods, you are
guilty. There are several ways of sharing in the sin of another; namely,
by ordering or advising him to do wrong; by praising him for doing wrong
and thus encouraging him; by consenting to wrong when you should oppose
it--for instance, a member of a society allowing an evil act to be done
by the society when his vote would prevent it; again, by affording
wrongdoers protection and means of escape from punishment for their evil
deeds. This does not mean that we should not defend the guilty. We
should defend them, but should not encourage them to do wrong by
offering them a means of escape from just punishment. We share in
another's sin also by neglecting to prevent his bad action when it is
our duty to do so. For example, if a police officer paid for guarding
your property should see a thief stealing it and not prevent him, he
would be as guilty as the thief. Your neighbor indeed might warn you
that the thief was stealing your goods, but he would not be bound in
justice to do so, as the officer is, but only in charity, because it is
not his duty to guard your property. Parents who know that their
children steal and do not prevent them or compel them to bring back what
they stole, but rather encourage them by being indifferent, are guilty
of dishonesty as well as the children, and share in their sins of theft.
But suppose you did not know the thing was stolen when you received it,
but learned afterward that it was, must you then return it to the proper
owner? Yes; just as soon as you know to whom it belongs you begin to sin
by keeping it. But suppose you bought it not knowing that it was stolen,
would you still have to restore it? Yes, when the owner asks for it,
because it belongs to him till he sells it or gives it away. If you have
bought from a thief you have been cheated and must suffer the loss. Your
mistake will make you more careful on the next occasion. Suppose you
find a thing, what must you do? Try to find its owner, and if you find
him give him what is his, and that without any reward for restoring it,
unless he pleases to give you something, or unless you have been put to
an expense by keeping it. If you cannot find the owner after sincerely
seeking for him, then you may keep the thing found. But suppose you kept
the article so long before looking for the owner that it became
impossible for you to restore it to him, either because he had died or
removed to parts unknown during your delay--what then? Then you must
give the article or its value to his children or others who have a right
to his goods; and if no one who has such a right can be found, you must
give it to the poor, for you have it unjustly--since you did not look
for the owner when it was possible to find him--and therefore cannot
keep it.

376 Q. Are we bound to restore ill-gotten goods?
A. We are bound to restore ill-gotten goods, or the value of them, as
far as we are able; otherwise we cannot be forgiven.

"Ill-gotten"--that is, unjustly gotten. "Value." It sometimes happens
that persons lose or destroy the article stolen, and therefore cannot
return it. What must be done in such cases? They must give the owner the
value of it. However, when you have stolen anything and have to restore
it, you need not go to the owner and say, "Here is what I stole from
you." It is only necessary that he gets what is his own or its value. He
need not even know that it is being restored to him, unless he knows you
stole it; and then it would be better for your own good name to let him
know that you are making amends for the injustice done. Therefore, no
one need have any excuse for not restoring what he has unjustly, because
he has only to see that it is returned in some way to its owner, or to
those who have the next right to it, or to the poor. But you must
remember you cannot make restitution by giving to the poor if you can
restore to the proper owner. You must restore by giving to the poor only
when the owner cannot be found or reached. Some persons do not like the
duty of restoring to the proper owner, and think they satisfy their
obligation by giving the ill-gotten goods to the poor; but they do not.
You cannot give even in charity the goods of another without being
guilty of dishonesty. If you wish to be charitable, give from your own
goods. It is a sin to delay making restitution after you are able to
restore. You must restore just as soon as you can, because the longer
you keep the owner out of his property and its benefits, the greater the
injury you do him and the greater the sin. One who, after being told by
his confessor to make restitution, and promising to do so, still delays
or keeps putting off, runs the risk of being guilty of sacrilege by
receiving the Sacraments without proper dispositions. But suppose a
person cannot restore; suppose he lost the thing stolen and has not the
value of it. What must he do? He must have the firm resolution of
restoring as soon as he possibly can; and without this good resolution
he could not be absolved from his sins--even if he had not the real
means of restoring. The good intention and resolution will suffice till
he has really the means; but this intention must be serious, otherwise
there will be no forgiveness.

377 Q. Are we obliged to repair the damage we have unjustly caused?
A. We are bound to repair the damage we have unjustly caused.

378 Q. What is the Eighth Commandment?
A. The Eighth Commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false witness against
thy neighbor.

Either in a court, while we are acting as witnesses, or by telling lies
about him at any other time.

379 Q. What are we commanded by the Eighth Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Eighth Commandment to speak the truth in all
things, and to be careful of the honor and reputation of everyone.

"Reputation." If it be a sin to steal a man's money, which we can
restore to him, it is certainly a much greater sin to steal his good
name, which we can never restore, and especially as we have nothing to
gain from injuring his character. It is a sin to tell evil things about
another--his sins, vices, etc.--even when they are true. The only thing
that will excuse us from telling another's fault is the necessity to do
so in which we are placed, or the good we can do to the person himself
or others by exposing faults. How shall you know when you have injured
the character of another? You have injured another's character if you
made others think less of him than they did before. If you have exposed
some crime that he really committed, your sin is called detraction; if
you accuse him of one he did not commit, your sin is calumny; and if you
maliciously circulate these reports to injure his character, your sin is
slander. But how shall you make reparation for injuring the character of
another? If you have told lies about him, you must acknowledge to those
with whom you have talked that you have told what was untrue about him,
and you must even compensate him for whatever loss he has suffered by
your lies: for example, the loss of his situation by your accusing him
of dishonesty. But if what you said of him was true, how are you to act?
At every opportunity say whatever good you can of him in the presence of
those before whom you have spoken the evil.

380 Q. What is forbidden by the Eighth Commandment?
A. The Eighth Commandment forbids all rash judgments, backbiting,
slanders, and lies.

"Rash judgment"--that is, having in your mind and really believing that
a person is guilty of a certain sin when you have no reason for thinking
so, and no evidence that he is guilty. "Backbiting"--that is, talking
evil of persons behind their backs. You would not like your neighbor to
backbite you, and you have no right to do to him what you would not wish
him to do to you. Besides, everyone hates and fears a backbiter; because
as he brings to you a bad story about another, he will in the same
manner bring to someone else a bad story about you. It is certainly an
honor to be able to say of a person: "He never has a bad word of
anyone"; while on the other hand, he must be a despicable creature who
never speaks of others except to censure or revile them. Never listen to
a backbiter, detractor, or slanderer--it is sinful. Another way of
injuring your neighbor is revealing the secrets he has confided to you.
You will tell one friend perhaps and caution him not to repeat it to
another; but if you cannot keep the secret yourself, how can you expect
others to keep it? Again you may injure your neighbor by reading his
letters without his consent when you have no authority to do so. This is
considered a crime in the eyes even of the civil law, and anyone who
opens and reads the letters of another can be punished by imprisonment.
It is a kind of theft, for it is stealing secrets and information that
you have no right to know. It is dishonorable to read another's letter
without his consent, even when you find it open. To carry to persons the
evil things said about them by others so as to bring about disputes
between them is very sinful. The Holy Scripture (Rom. 1:29) calls this
class of sinners whisperers, and says that they will not enter into
Heaven--that is, as long as they continue in the habit. If ever, then,
you hear one person saying anything bad about another, never go and tell
it to the person of whom it was said. If you do, you will be the cause
of all the sin that follows from it--of the anger, hatred, revenge, and
probably murder itself, as sometimes happens.

*381 Q. What must they do who have lied about their neighbor and
seriously injured his character?
A. They who have lied about their neighbor and seriously injured his
character must repair the injury done as far as they are able, otherwise
they will not be forgiven.

382 Q. What is the Ninth Commandment?
A. The Ninth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

383 Q. What are we commanded by the Ninth Commandment?
A. We are commanded by the Ninth Commandment to keep ourselves pure in
thought and desire.

384 Q. What is forbidden by the Ninth Commandment?
A. The Ninth Commandment forbids unchaste thoughts, desires of another's
wife or husband, and all other unlawful impure thoughts and desires.

*385 Q. Are impure thoughts and desires always sins?
A. Impure thoughts and desires are always sins, unless they displease us
and we try to banish them.

386 Q. What is the Tenth Commandment?
A. The Tenth Commandment is: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

"Covet" means to long for or desire inordinately or unlawfully. If I
should desire, for example, my friend to be killed by an accident, in
order that I might become the owner of his gold watch, I would be
coveting it. But if I desired to have it justly--that is, to be able to
purchase it, or another similar to it, that would not be covetousness.

387 Q. What are we commanded by the Tenth Commandment?
A. By the Tenth Commandment we are commanded to be content with what we
have, and to rejoice in our neighbor's welfare.

388 Q. What is forbidden by the Tenth Commandment?
A. The Tenth Commandment forbids all desires to take or keep wrongfully
what belongs to another.



Lesson 35
ON THE FIRST AND SECOND COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH


389 Q. Which are the chief commandments of the Church?
A. The chief commandments of the Church are six:

1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
2. To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
3. To confess at least once a year.
4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter time.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us
   within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses,
   nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.

390 Q. Is it a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holy day of
obligation?
A. It is a mortal sin not to hear Mass on a Sunday or a holy day of
obligation, unless we are excused for a serious reason. They also commit
a mortal sin, who, having others under their charge, hinder them from
hearing Mass, without a sufficient reason.

"Serious reason"--that is, a very good reason, such as sickness,
necessity of taking care of the sick, great danger of death, etc. Some
persons when they go to the country in the summer believe themselves
excused from hearing Mass because the church is a little further from
them or the Mass at more inconvenient times than in the city. When they
are in the country they are bound by the same obligations as the
Catholics who live in that parish the whole year round, and they must go
to Mass as these do, even if it is more inconvenient than in the city.
Persons who have it in their power to select their own summer resort,
should not, without great necessity, select a place where there is no
Catholic church, and where they will be deprived of Mass and the
Sacraments for several months, and where there is danger of their dying
without the Sacraments. Some excuse themselves from going to Mass
because they are too tired to rise in the morning. They should be
ashamed to give such an excuse. Was our Blessed Lord not tired when He
carried His Cross? He was tired, for He fell under it several times. And
where was He going? To Calvary, to offer up the bloody sacrifice of the
Cross for you. Will you plead fatigue as an excuse when you come to be
judged by Him? Others again have a great habit of coming late for Mass.
No matter at what hour the Mass may be, they will always be late; and I
am afraid these persons will also be too late to enter Heaven. By coming
late they show disrespect to Our Lord and distract others; and to avoid
doing so, they should, when late, take a place in the rear of the
church. When you are very late for one Mass, you should wait for the
next--at least, for as much of the next as you did not hear in the
first. You should not, however, begrudge a little extra time to God. To
hear Mass properly, you should be in your place a few minutes before the
priest comes out, and make up your mind what blessing you will ask, or
for what intention you desire to hear the Mass.

"Having others under their charge." Some parents are very careless about
their children attending Mass, especially on holy days. Now, they must
remember that in such neglect the sin will be theirs as well as the
children's. Again, masters and mistresses do not at times give their
workmen and servants sufficient opportunity to hear Mass, above all on
holy days. All masters and mistresses must remember that they are bound
not only to give their servants an opportunity to hear Mass, but they
are bound as far as they conveniently can to see that they embrace the
opportunity, just as they should see to their children in such matters.
Catholics having in their employ others, such as engineers, drivers,
conductors, etc., must make some arrangement between their men by which
they will be able to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. The same
holds good for companies and corporations having under their charge a
large force of men who are obliged by circumstances to work on Sundays.

*391 Q. Why were holy days instituted by the Church?
A. Holy days were instituted by the Church to recall to our minds the
great mysteries of religion and the virtues and rewards of the saints.

For just the same reason that the government has legal holidays. What
would the people of this country know or think at the present time about
the Declaration of Independence, and all connected with it, if they did
not celebrate from childhood every year, on the Fourth of July, the
great day on which their forefathers claimed to be free and independent
from the nation that was persecuting them? The Fourth of July keeps
alive in our memory the struggles of our ancestors of one hundred years
or more ago--their great battles, their sufferings and triumph, the
blessings they secured for us, and for which we praise them. In like
manner, the feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord keeps us in mind of
the sad condition in which we were before Our Lord redeemed us, and how
He liberated us from the slavery of the devil and secured for us so many
wonderful blessings. Again, what would we remember about George
Washington if we did not celebrate his birthday? That holiday keeps
before our minds the life and actions of that great man and all he did
for our benefit. So, too, when we celebrate every year the feast of a
saint in the Church, it keeps before our minds his works and all that he
did for God and the Church, and makes us anxious to imitate his virtues.
On every day in the year the Church honors some mystery of our holy
faith or some saint by saying Mass all over the world in honor of the
feast, and by obliging the priests and bishops to say the divine office
for the same purpose. The feast-day of a saint is generally the day on
which he died; because that is considered the day on which he entered
into Heaven--the day on which he was born into the new world.

The "divine office" is a collection of prayers, hymns, lessons, and
psalms which every priest and bishop must read every day of his life. As
it is said each day in honor of some particular mystery or saint, the
greater part of it differs for each day. The prayers are to God, asking
some grace or blessing in honor of the saint--generally such graces as
were granted to the saint. The hymns are in the saint's honor; the
lessons are parts of the Holy Scripture, or an account of the saint's
life; and the psalms are those beautiful poems that King David composed
and sang to God. The divine office is the prayer of the universal Church
for its children, and if a priest neglects to say it he commits a mortal
sin. It takes about an hour to say the whole divine office, but it is
not intended to be said all at once. It is so divided that it is said at
three times in the day. The part called "Matins" and "Lauds" is said
very early in the morning and before Mass. The part called "Little
Hours" is said later in the day; and the part called "Vespers" and
"Compline" is said in the afternoon. See, therefore, how anxious the
Church is for the good of its children, when it makes its bishops,
priests, and religious pray daily for all the faithful, and send up in
one voice the same prayer to the throne of God.

*392 Q. How should we keep the holy days of obligation?
A. We should keep the holy days of obligation as we should keep the
Sunday.

393 Q. What do you mean by fast-days?
A. By fast-days I mean days on which we are allowed but one full meal.

According to the traditional Catholic method of fasting, one may eat
"one full meal" each day with meat included, plus two smaller meatless
meals, both of which together do not equal the one full meal. No eating
between meals is allowed, although drinking beverages such as coffee and
tea are allowed and are not considered to break the fast. (Milk, juice,
and soft drinks are also considered not to break the fast, although they
are in fact foods and mitigate the effects of the fast and work contrary
to its intent because they satisfy one's hunger to some extent, since
they have food value.) They, therefore, who follow the above regulations
obey the Catholic method of fasting. Today the prescribed days of fast
for the whole Church are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (these are also
days of abstinence). However the Church today says that the meaning of
the law of fasting during Lent remains, although the extent of the
obligation has been changed. In other words, Lent remains as a season of
penance in the Church, but how it is to be observed is greatly up to the
individual, though no one may think himself excused from all penance
whatsoever, and those who are in the fasting age group should still
practice the Church's form of fasting, since fasting is a primary and
very efficacious form of penance.

Those who, for sufficient reasons, are excused from the obligation of
fasting, are not on that account freed from the law of abstinence, for
all who have reached their fourteenth birthday are bound to abstain from
flesh-meat on days when it is forbidden--Ash Wednesday and the Fridays
of Lent. The following persons are excused from fasting: (1) those who
are not yet twenty-one or who have begun their sixtieth year (from their
59th birthday onward); (2) those whose infirmity, condition, or
occupation renders it impossible or dangerous for them to fast. If you
think you should be excused from fasting or abstaining, state your
reasons to your confessor and ask his advice. On a fast-day, therefore,
you have to look both to the quantity and the kind of food, while on a
day of abstinence--as the Fridays in Lent other than Good Friday--you
have to look only to the kind.

394 Q. What do you mean by days of abstinence?
A. By days of abstinence I mean days on which we are forbidden to eat
flesh-meat, but are allowed the usual amount of food.

395 Q. Why does the Church command us to fast and abstain?
A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain in order that we may
mortify our passions and satisfy for our sins.

"Mortify our passions," keep our bodies under control, do bodily
penance. Remember it is our bodies that generally lead us into sin; if
therefore we punish the body by fasting and mortification, we atone for
the sin, and thus God wipes out a part of the temporal punishment due to
it.

*396 Q. Why does the Church command us to abstain from flesh-meat on Ash
Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent and to abstain from flesh-meat or do
some other chosen penance on the other Fridays of the year?
A. The Church commands us to abstain, from flesh-meat on Ash Wednesday
and the Fridays of Lent and to abstain from flesh-meat or do some other
chosen penance on the other Fridays of the year in honor of the day on
which Our Saviour died.



Lesson 36
ON THE THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH


397 Q. What is meant by the command of confessing at least once a year?
A. By the command of confessing at least once a year is meant that we
are obliged, under pain of mortal sin, to go to confession within the
year.

"Within the year"--that is, the time between your confessions must never
be longer than a year, or, at least not longer than the period between
the beginning of one Eastertime and the end of the next. All persons who
have attained the age of reason are bound to comply with this precept,
and parents should remind their children of it.

*398 Q. Should we confess only once a year?
A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a good life.

Some seem to think that they need not go to confession if they have not
committed sin since their last confession. Two graces are given in
penance, as you already know: one, to take away the sins confessed, and
the other, to strengthen us against temptation and enable us to keep our
good resolutions. Now, as we are always tempted, we should go frequently
to confession to get the grace to resist. The saints used to go to
confession very frequently, sometimes every day. They used to go when
tempted, to obtain the grace to resist and to expose their temptations
to their confessor and ask his advice. Again the Holy Scripture tells us
that the just man falls seven times; and "just man" in Holy Scripture
means a very good man, that is, one doing for God, his neighbor, and
himself what he ought to do. St. Joseph is called in the Scripture a
"just man," and he was the foster-father of Our Lord. Now, if the good
man falls seven times, he must arise after each fall; for if he did not
get up after the first fall, he could not fall the second time. This
teaches us that we all commit some kind of sin, at least, and have
always something to confess if we only examine our conscience closely.
It teaches us also that when we have the misfortune to fall into sin, we
should rise as quickly as possible.

*399 Q. Should children go to confession?
A. Children should go to confession when they are old enough to commit
sin, which is commonly about the age of seven years.

"To commit sin"--that is, when they know the difference between good and
evil.

400 Q. What sin does he commit who neglects to receive Communion during
the Easter time?
A. He who neglects to receive Communion during the Easter time commits a
mortal sin.

401 Q. What is the Easter time?
A. The Easter time is, in this country, the time between the first
Sunday of Lent and Trinity Sunday, inclusive.

Trinity Sunday is the eighth Sunday after Easter. Therefore the whole
Easter-time is from the first Sunday of Lent--that is, seven weeks
before Easter--to Trinity Sunday, eight weeks after it, or fifteen weeks
in all; and anyone who does not go to Holy Communion sometime during
these fifteen weeks commits mortal sin.

402 Q. Are we obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors?
A. We are obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors, and to
bear our share in the expenses of the Church and school.

And any charitable institution connected with the Church. The Holy Land
was divided among the tribes of Israel, who were the descendants of the
twelve sons of Jacob. Now, one of these twelve tribes was made up
entirely of priests and persons who served in the temple of God, called
Levites. They received none of the land, but were to be supported by the
other eleven tribes. All the people were obliged by the law to give what
they called first-fruits, and tithes--that is, one tenth of their income
in goods or money each year to the temple for its support and the
support of those who served it. In the New Law no definite amount is
assigned, but every Christian is left free to give what he can to God's
Church according to his generosity. But if God left you free, should you
therefore be stingy with Him? Moreover, all that we have comes from God,
and should we return Him the least and the worst? For every alms you
give for God's sake He can send you a hundred blessings; and what you
refuse to give to His Church or poor He can take from you in a thousand
ways, by sending misfortunes. We read in the Bible (Gen. 4) that Adam's
sons, Cain and Abel, both offered sacrifice to God. Abel's sacrifice was
pleasing, but Cain's was not. Why? Because, as we are told, Cain did not
offer to God the best he had, but likely the worst; or at least, he
offered his sacrifice with a bad disposition. Then when he saw that his
brother's sacrifice was pleasing to God, being filled with jealousy, he
killed him; and in punishment God marked him and condemned him to be a
wanderer on the face of the earth. We are told he was always afraid of
being killed by everyone he saw. See, then, what comes of being
unwilling to be generous with God. What we give Him He does not need,
but by giving, we worship and thank Him. Do not people in the world
often give presents to those who have done them a favor, that they may
thus show their gratitude? Now, God is always doing us favors, and why
should we not show our gratitude to Him by giving generously in His
honor? When we give to the orphans, etc., we give to Him; for He says:
"Whatsoever you give to these little ones you give to Me." Again, when
Our Lord tells what will happen on the Day of Judgment (Matt. 25:31,
etc.), He says, the Judge will divide all the people of the world into
two bodies; the good He will place on His right hand and the wicked on
His left. Then He will praise the good for what they did and welcome
them to Heaven; but to the wicked He will say, "Depart from Me, because
when I was hungry you gave Me not to eat; when I was thirsty you gave Me
not to drink; you clothed Me not," etc. And then the wicked shall ask,
when did we see You in want and not relieve You? He will tell them that
He considered the poor just the same as Himself; and as they did nothing
for His poor, they did nothing for Him.

*403 Q. What is the meaning of the commandment not to marry within the
third degree of kindred?
A. The meaning of the commandment not to marry within the third degree
of kindred is that no one is allowed to marry another within the third
degree of blood relationship.

"Third Degree." What relatives are in the third degree? Brother and
sister are in the first degree; first cousins are in the second degree;
second cousins are in the third degree. Therefore all who are second
cousins or in nearer relationship cannot be married without a
dispensation from the Church allowing them to do so. A dispensation
granted by the Church is a permission to do something which its law
forbids. Since it made the law, it can also dispense from the observance
of it. The Church could not give permission to do anything that God's
law forbids. It could not, for example, give permission to a brother and
sister to marry, because it is not alone the law of the Church but God's
law also that forbids that. But God's law does not forbid first or
second cousins to get married; but the Church's law forbids it, and thus
it can in special cases dispense from such laws. God's law is called
also the natural law. You must be very careful not to confound the
marriage laws that the Church makes with the marriage laws that the
State makes. When the State makes laws contrary to the laws of God or of
the Church, you cannot obey such laws without committing grievous sin.
For instance, the State allows divorce; it allows persons to marry again
if the husband or wife has been sentenced to imprisonment for life; it
does not recognize all the impediments to marriage laid down by the
Church. Such laws as these Catholics cannot comply with; but when the
State makes laws which regard only the civil effects of marriage, such
as refer to the property of the husband or wife, the inheritance of the
children, etc., laws, in a word, which are not opposed either to the
laws of God or of His Church, then you may and must obey them; for the
authorities of the government are our lawful superiors, and must be
obeyed in all that is not sin. What we have said with regard to the
marriage laws is true for all the rest. Thus the civil court might, on
account of some technicality, free you legally from the payment of a
debt; but that would not free you in conscience from paying what you
justly owe. Again, the court might legally decide in your favor in an
unjust suit; but that would not give you the right in conscience to keep
what you have thus fraudulently or unjustly obtained.

*404 Q. What is the meaning of the command not to marry privately?
A. The command not to marry privately means that none should marry
without the blessing of God's priests or without witnesses.

If persons wishing to be married suspect that there is any impediment
existing between them, they should express their doubts and the reasons
for them to the priest.

Here it is well for you to know that if any Catholic goes to be married
before a Protestant minister, he is, by the laws of the Church in the
United States, excommunicated. [In 1966 the penalty of excommunication
for this offense was lifted by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith. Yet it remains a mortal sin for a Catholic to attempt to
marry outside the Catholic Church, and such a "marriage" will be
invalid.] You must know excommunication means cut off from the communion
of the Church and the body of the faithful; cut off from the Sacraments
and from a share in all the holy Masses and public prayers offered by
the Church throughout the world. It is a punishment the Church inflicts
upon its disobedient children who will not repent but persist in
wrongdoing. If they die willfully excommunicated, they die in mortal
sin, and no Mass or funeral prayers can be publicly offered for them;
nor can they be buried in consecrated ground. Besides the
excommunicated, there are others who cannot be buried in consecrated
ground: namely, infants or others who have not been baptized; those who
deliberately committed suicide; those who have publicly lived sinful
lives and evidently died in that public sin; and all persons who are not
Catholics. If a Catholic who is not publicly a sinner dies suddenly, we
cannot judge that he is in mortal sin; and hence such a one may be
buried in consecrated ground.

It is the desire of the Church that all its faithful children should be
buried in the ground which it has blessed for their remains; and
wherever it is possible Catholics must have their own burying ground.

*405 Q. What is the meaning of the precept not to solemnize marriage at
forbidden times?
A. The meaning of the precept not to solemnize marriage at forbidden
times is that during Lent and Advent the marriage ceremony should not be
performed with pomp or a nuptial Mass.

Persons may be married at these times quietly, wherever it is not
positively forbidden by the laws of the diocese.

*406 Q. What is the nuptial Mass?
A. The nuptial Mass is a Mass appointed by the Church to invoke a
special blessing upon the married couple.

It is a Mass especially for them and cannot be said for anyone else. At
the most solemn parts of the Mass the priest turns to them and prays
that God may bless their union.

*407 Q. Should Catholics be married at a nuptial Mass?
A. Catholics should be married at a nuptial Mass, because they thereby
show greater reverence for the holy Sacrament and bring richer blessings
upon their wedded life.

The Church wishes to give to the marriage of its children observing its
laws all the solemnity possible, and to impress its dignity and sanctity
so deeply upon their minds that they may never forget the solemn promise
made at the altar of God. The thought of that day will keep them from
sin. On the other hand, the Church shows its great displeasure when
Catholics do not keep its laws, but marry persons not of their own
religion. At a mixed marriage the couple cannot be married in the
church, nor even in the sacristy; the priest cannot wear a surplice or
stole or any of the sacred vestments of the Church; he cannot use holy
water, or the Sign of the Cross; he cannot bless the ring or even use
the Church's language--Latin. Everything is done in the coldest manner,
to remind Catholics that they are doing what is displeasing to their
mother the Church.

Again the Church wishes its children to prepare for the Sacrament of
Matrimony just as they would prepare for any other Sacrament--Penance,
Holy Eucharist, Holy Orders, etc. Imagine a boy going up for First
Communion laughing, talking, or gazing about him, without any thought of
the great Sacrament he is about to receive; thinking only of how he
appears in his new clothing, of those who are present, etc., and
spending all his time of preparation not in purifying his soul, but in
adorning his body! Think of him returning from Holy Communion and
immediately forgetting Our Lord! Now, Matrimony is deserving of all the
respect due to a Sacrament, and hence the Church wishes all its children
to be married at Mass; or at least in the morning. It does not like them
to marry in the evening, and go to the reception of the Sacrament as
they would to a place of vain amusement. For on such occasions they
cannot show the proper respect in the church, and possibly turn the
ceremony into an occasion of sin for all who attend; for they often seem
to forget the holiness of the place and the respect due to the presence
of Our Lord upon the altar. Indeed it should be remembered, at whatever
time the marriage takes place, that conduct, dress, and all else must be
in keeping with the dignity of the place and the holiness of the
Sacrament, and the women should not come into the Church with uncovered
heads.



Lesson 37
ON THE LAST JUDGMENT AND THE RESURRECTION, HELL, PURGATORY, AND HEAVEN


408 Q. When will Christ judge us?
A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last
day.

"Immediately." In the very room and on the very spot where we die, we
shall be judged in an instant, and even before those around us are sure
that we are really dead. When we have a trial or judgment in one of our
courts, we see the judge listening, the lawyers defending or trying to
condemn, and the witnesses for or against the person accused. We are in
the habit of imagining something of the same kind to take place in the
judgment of God. We see Almighty God seated on His throne; our angel and
patron saint giving their testimony about us--good or bad--and then we
hear the Judge pronounce sentence. This takes place, but not in the way
we imagine, for God needs no witnesses: He knows all. An example will
probably make you understand better what really takes place. If you are
walking over a very muddy road on a dark night, you cannot see the
spattered condition of your clothing; but if you come suddenly into a
strong light you will see at a glance the state in which you are. In the
same way the soul during our earthly life does not see its own
condition; but when it comes into the bright light of God's presence, it
sees in an instant its own state and knows what its sentence will be. It
goes immediately to its reward or punishment. This judgment at the
moment of our death will settle our fate forever. The general judgment
will not change, but only repeat, the sentence before the whole world.
Oh, how we should prepare for that awful moment! See that poor sick man
slowly breathing away his life. All his friends are kneeling around him
praying; now he becomes unconscious; now the death rattle sounds in his
throat; now the eyes are fixed and glassy. A few minutes more and that
poor soul will stand in the awful presence of God, to give an account of
that man's whole life--of every thought, word, and deed. All he has done
on earth will be spread out before him like a great picture. He will,
towards the end of his life, have altogether forgotten perhaps what he
thought, said, or did on a certain day and hour--the place he was in and
the sin committed, etc.; but at that moment of judgment he will remember
all. How he will wish he had been good! How, then, can we be so careless
now about a matter of such importance, when we are absolutely certain
that we too shall be judged, and how soon we know not. When you are
about to be examined on what you have learned in school or instructions
in six months or a year, how anxious you are in making the necessary
preparation, and how you fear you might not pass, but be kept back for a
while! How delighted you would be to hear that a very dear friend, and
one who knew you well, was to be your examiner! Prepare in the same way
for the examination you have to stand at the end of your life. Every day
you can make a preparation by examining your conscience on the sins you
have committed; by making an act of contrition for them, and resolving
to avoid them for the future. You should never go to sleep without some
preparation for judgment. But above all, try to become better acquainted
with your Examiner--Our Lord Jesus Christ; try by your prayers and good
works to become His special friend, and when your judgment comes you
will be pleased rather than afraid to meet Him.

409 Q. What is the judgment called which we have to undergo immediately
after death?
A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the
Particular Judgment.

"Particular," because one particular person is judged.

410 Q. What is the judgment called which all men have to undergo on the
last day?
A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last day is called
the General Judgment.

"General," because every creature gifted with intelligence will be
judged on that day--the angels of Heaven, the devils of Hell, and all
men, women, and children that have ever lived upon the earth. The Holy
Scripture gives us a terrible account of that awful day. (Matt. 24-25).
On some day--we know not when, it might be tomorrow for all we know--the
world will be going on as usual, some going to school, others to
business; some seeking pleasure, others suffering pain; some in health,
others in sickness, etc. Suddenly they will feel the earth beginning to
quake and tremble; they will see the ocean in great fury, and will be
terrified at its roar as, surging and foaming, it throws its mighty
waves high in the air. Then the sun will grow red and begin to darken; a
horrid glare will spread over the earth, beginning to burn up. Then,
says the Holy Scripture, men will wither away for fear of what is
coming; they will call upon the mountains to fall and hide them; they
will be rushing here and there, not knowing what to do. Money will be of
no value then; dress, wealth, fame, power, learning, and all else will
be useless, for at that moment all men will be equal. Then shall be
heard the sound of the angel's great trumpet calling all to judgment.
The dead shall come forth from their graves, and the demons rush from
Hell. Then all shall see our Blessed Lord coming in the clouds of Heaven
in great power and majesty surrounded by countless angels bearing His
shining Cross before Him. He will separate the good from the wicked; He
will welcome the good to Heaven and condemn the wicked to Hell. The sins
committed shall be made public before all present. Imagine your feelings
while you are standing in that great multitude, waiting for the
separation of the good from the bad. To which side will you be sent? Our
Lord is coming, not with the mild countenance of a saviour, but with the
severe look of a judge. As He draws nearer and nearer to you, you see
some of your dear friends, whom you thought good enough upon earth, sent
over to the side of the wicked; you see others that you deemed foolish
sent with the good, and you become more anxious every instant about the
uncertainty of your own fate. You see fathers and mothers sent to
opposite sides, brothers and sisters, parents and children, separated
forever. Oh, what a terrible moment of suspense! How you will wish you
had been better and always lived a friend of God! The side you will be
on depends upon what you do now, and you can be on the better side if
you wish. Do, then, in your life what you would wish to have done at
that terrible moment. Learn to judge yourself frequently. Say this, or
something similar, to yourself. "Now I have lived twelve, fifteen,
twenty, or more years; if that judgment came today, on which side should
I be? Probably on the side of the wicked. If then I spend the rest of my
life as I have lived in the past, on the last day I shall surely be with
the wicked. If my good deeds and bad deeds were counted today, which
would be more numerous? What, then, must I do? It will not be enough for
me simply to be better for the future--I must try also to make amends
for the past. If a man wishing to complete a journey on a certain time,
by walking a fixed number of miles each day, falls behind a great deal
on one day, he must not only walk the usual number of miles the next,
but must make up for the distance lost on the previous day. So in our
journey through this life we must do our duty each day for the future,
and, as far as we can, make up for what we have neglected in the past.

*411 Q. Why does Christ judge men immediately after death?
A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or punish them
according to their deeds.

412 Q. What are the rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls
after the Particular Judgment?
A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men's souls after the
Particular Judgment are Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell.

413 Q. What is Hell?
A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they
are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful
torments.

"Deprived of the sight of God." This is called the pain of loss, while
the other sufferings the damned endure are called the pain of
sense--that is, of the senses. The pain of loss causes the unfortunate
souls more torment than all their other sufferings; for as we are
created for God alone, the loss of Him--our last end--is the most
dreadful evil that can befall us. This the damned realize, and know that
their souls will be tortured by a perpetual yearning never to be
satisfied. This is aggravated by the thought of how easily they might
have been saved, and how foolishly they threw away their happiness and
lost all for some miserable pleasure or gratification, so quickly ended.

Besides this remorse, they suffer most frightful torments in all their
senses. The worst sufferings you could imagine would not be as bad as
the sufferings of the damned really are; for Hell must be the opposite
of Heaven, and since we cannot, as St. Paul says, imagine the happiness
of Heaven, neither can we imagine the misery of Hell. Sometimes you will
find frightful descriptions of Hell in religious books that tell of the
horrible sights, awful sounds, disgusting stenches, and excruciating
pains the lost souls endure. Now, all these descriptions are given
rather to make people think of the torments of Hell than as an accurate
account of them. No matter how terrible the description may be, it is
never as bad as the reality. We know that the damned are continually
tormented in all their senses, but just in what way we do not know. We
know that there is fire in Hell, but it is entirely different from our
fire; it neither gives light nor consumes what it burns, and it causes
greater pain than the fire of earth, for it affects both body and soul.
We know that the damned will never see God and there will never be an
end to their torments. Now, all this is contained in the following: Hell
is the absence of everything good and the presence of everything evil,
and it will last forever. Now, a priest coming out to preach on Hell
would not say to the people: "Hell is the absence of everything good and
the presence of everything evil, and it will last forever," and then
step down from the altar and say no more. He must give a fuller
explanation to those who are unable to think for themselves. He must
point out some of the evils present in Hell and some of the good things
absent, and thus teach the people how to meditate on these dreadful
truths. If, then, you bear in mind that there is nothing good in Hell
and it will last forever, and often think of these two points, you will
have a holy fear of the woeful place and a deep sorrow for your sins
which expose you to the danger of suffering its torments.

It should be enough, therefore, for you to remember: there is nothing
good in Hell, and it will last forever. Think of anything good you
please and it cannot be found in Hell. Is light good? Yes. Then it is
not in Hell. Is hope good? Yes. Then it is not in Hell. Is true
friendship good? Yes. Then it is not in Hell. There the damned hate one
another. There the poor sufferers curse forever those who led them into
sin. Hence, persons should try to bring back to a good life everyone
they may have led into sin or scandalized by bad example.

414 Q. What is Purgatory?
A. Purgatory is the state in which those suffer for a time who die
guilty of venial sins, or without having satisfied for the punishment
due to their sins.

"Punishment"--that is, temporal punishment, already explained to you.
After the general judgment there will be Heaven and Hell, but no
Purgatory, for there will be no men living or dying upon the earth in
its present condition to go there. All will be dead and judged and sent
to their final abodes. Those in Purgatory are the friends of God; and
knowing Him as they do now, they would not go into His holy presence
with the slightest stain upon their souls; still they are anxious for
their Purgatory to be ended that they may be with God. They suffer, we
are told, the same pains of sense as the damned; but they suffer
willingly, for they know that it is making them more pleasing to God,
and that one day it will all be over and He will receive them into
Heaven. Their salvation is sure, and that thought makes them happy. If,
therefore, you believe any of your friends are in Purgatory, you should
help them all you can, and try by your prayers and good works to shorten
their time of suffering. They will help you--though they cannot help
themselves--by their prayers. And oh, when they are admitted into
Heaven, how they will pray for those that have helped them out of
Purgatory! If you do this great charity, God will, when you die, put in
some good person's heart to pray for you while you suffer in Purgatory.
There must be a Purgatory, for one who dies with the slightest stain of
sin upon his soul cannot enter Heaven, and yet God would not send him to
Hell for so small a sin. But why does God punish those He loves? Why
does He not forgive everything? He punishes because He is infinitely
just and true. He warned them that if they did certain things they would
be punished; and they did them, and God must keep His promise. Moreover
He is just, and must give to everyone exactly what he deserves.

*415 Q. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in Purgatory?
A. The faithful on earth can help the souls in Purgatory by their
prayers, fasts, almsdeeds; by indulgences, and by having Masses said for
them.

*416 Q. If everyone is judged immediately after death, what need is
there of a general judgment?
A. There is need of a general judgment, though everyone is judged
immediately after death, that the providence of God, which, on earth,
often permits the good to suffer and the wicked to prosper, may in the
end appear just before all men.

"Providence of God." Sometimes here on earth we see a good man always in
want, out of employment, sickly, unsuccessful in all his undertakings,
while his neighbor, who is a very bad man, is wealthy and prosperous,
and seems to have every pleasure. Why this is so we cannot understand
now, but God's reason for it will be made known to us on the Day of
Judgment. Sometimes the wicked do good actions here on earth--help the
poor, or contribute to some charity, for instance; and as God on account
of their wickedness cannot reward them in the next world, He rewards
them chiefly in this world by temporal goods and pleasures. For all
their good deeds they get their reward in this world, and for the evil
their punishment in the next. The good man who suffers gets all his
reward in the next world, that even his sufferings here atone partly for
the evil he has done.

A second reason for a general judgment is to show the crimes of sinners
and the justice of their punishment; also that the saints may have all
their good works made known before the world and receive the glory they
deserve. On earth these saints were sometimes considered fools and
treated as criminals, falsely accused, etc., and now the whole truth
will stand out before the world. But above all, the general judgment is
for the honor and glory of Our Lord. At His first coming into the world
He was poor and weak; many would not believe Him the Son of God, and
insulted Him as an impostor. He was falsely accused, treated shamefully,
and was put to death, many believing Him guilty of some crime. Now He
will appear before all as He really is--their Lord and Master, their
Creator and Judge. How they will tremble to look upon Him whom they have
crucified! How all those who have denied Him, blasphemed Him, persecuted
His Church, and the like, will fear when they see Him there as Judge!
How they will realize the terrible mistake worldlings made!

417 Q. Will our bodies share in the reward or punishment of our souls?
A. Our bodies will share in the reward or punishment of our souls,
because through the Resurrection they will again be united to them.

*418 Q. In what state will the bodies of the just rise?
A. The bodies of the just will rise glorious and immortal.

We honor the dead body and treat it with great respect because it was
the dwelling place of the soul and was often nourished with the
Sacraments; also because it will rise in glory and be united with the
soul in the presence of God forever. For these reasons we use incense
and holy water when the body is to be buried, and even bless the ground
in which it is laid. "Faithful departed" means all those who died in a
state of grace and who are in Heaven or Purgatory. They may be in
Purgatory, and so we pray for them. We pray that they may "rest in
peace"--that is be in Heaven, where they will have no sufferings.

*419 Q. Will the bodies of the damned also rise?
A. The bodies of the damned will also rise, but they will be condemned
to eternal punishment.

420 Q. What is Heaven?
A. Heaven is the state of everlasting life in which we see God face to
face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness.

The most delightful place we could possibly imagine as Heaven would not
be near what it really is. Everything that is good is there and forever,
and we shall never tire of its joys. All the pleasures and beauties of
earth are as nothing compared with Heaven; and though we think we can
imagine its beauty and happiness now, we shall see how far we have been
from the real truth if ever we reach this heavenly home.

"God face to face"--that is, as He is. We shall not see Him with the
eyes of the body, but of the soul. That we may see with our natural
eyes, two things are necessary: first, an object to look at, and
secondly, light to see it. Now, to see God in Heaven we need a special
light, which is called the "light of glory." God Himself gives us this
light and thus enables us to see Him as He is. This beautiful vision of
God in Heaven is called the "beatific vision," and thus our whole life
in Heaven--our joy and happiness--consists in the enjoyment of the
beatific vision.

*421 Q. What words should we bear always in mind?
A. We should bear always in mind these words of Our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ: "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and
suffer the loss of his own soul, or what exchange shall a man give for
his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with
His angels: and then will He render to every man according to his
works."

What does it benefit the poor creatures in Hell to have been rich, or
beautiful, or learned, or powerful? If they had been good, it was all
that was necessary to escape all their sufferings. Is there anything on
earth that they would not give to be released? Why, then, did they sell
their souls for so little while on earth? The present is the only time
you have to merit Heaven and escape Hell. The past you cannot recall,
and of the future you are not sure. Then use the present well and decide
daily whether you wish to be in Heaven or in Hell.


NOTE--Wherever in the foregoing pages explanations have been omitted
after certain questions or answers it is because the matter they contain
has been explained in some preceding question, or is to be explained in
some following question, or is clear enough in itself without
explanation. The explanations of such questions or answers can be easily
found by referring to the index.



QUESTIONS ON THE EXPLANATIONS


The Lord's Prayer

  1. Who made the Lord's Prayer?
  2. Why do we say "our" and not "my" Father?
  3. Why do we call God "Father"?
  4. What person of the Blessed Trinity is meant by "Father" in the
     Lord's Prayer?
  5. Was God called "Father" before the time of Our Lord? Why?
  6. Why do we say "Who art in Heaven," if God is everywhere?
  7. What does "hallowed" mean?
  8. What do we ask for by "Thy kingdom come"?
  9. What does "Thy kingdom" mean here?
 10. Who do God's will in Heaven?
 11. What do we ask for by "our daily bread"?
 12. Why do we say "daily"?
 13. What do "trespasses" mean?
 14. What do we mean by "as we forgive those who trespass against us"?
 15. What example did Our Lord give?
 16. What is temptation?
 17. Does God tempt us to sin?
 18. Is it a sin to be tempted?
 19. Are there any tempters besides the devil?
 20. Should we seek temptation?
 21. What does "Amen" mean?
 22. What does "Christian" mean?
 23. What makes us Christian?
 24. What does "doctrine" mean?


The Angelical Salutation

 25. How many parts in the Hail Mary?
 26. What part did the Angel Gabriel make?
 27. When did he make it?
 28. How did Mary know what the angel's words meant?
 29. What part of the Hail Mary did St. Elizabeth make?
 30. Who was St. Elizabeth's son?
 31. Why is Mary called "blessed amongst women"?
 32. What part of the Hail Mary did the Church make?
 33. What does "hail" mean?
 34. Why do we say "full of grace"?
 35. Why is Mary called "holy"?
 36. Why do we need Mary's prayer at the hour of death?
 37. What is the Angelus?
 38. What does "the Word" mean?
 39. What does "made flesh" mean in the third part of the Angelus?
 40. What is the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?
 41. Are there other litanies besides the Litany of the Blessed Virgin?


The Apostles' Creed

 42. What is a creed?
 43. Who were the Apostles?
 44. Were the Apostles bishops or priests?
 45. How do you know?
 46. Who were the disciples of Our Lord?
 47. Why did the Apostles make the creed?
 48. How many articles or parts in the Apostles' Creed?
 49. What does "Creator" mean?
 50. By what names is Our Lord called?
 51. How many sons had God the Father?
 52. Why do we say "died" instead of "was killed"?
 53. Why do we say "He was buried"?
 54. Is Limbo the same as Purgatory? Why?
 55. Who were in Limbo at the time Our Lord was crucified?
 56. Name some good men who lived before Christ.
 57. Did Our Lord's body descend into Limbo?
 58. Was Our Lord three full days in the holy sepulchre?
 59. How can you prove they could not put Our Lord to death unless He
     permitted it?
 60. Why do we say "right hand of God" when God has no hands?
 61. What do you mean by "judge the living and the dead"?
 62. Who are "the living"?
 63. Who are "the dead" mentioned here?
 64. What are ghosts?
 65. Are there any?
 66. What do you mean by the "Church Militant"?
 67. Who are its members?
 68. Who are the enemies of our salvation?
 69. Why does the devil wish to keep us out of Heaven?
 70. What do we mean when we say "the world" is one of our spiritual
     enemies?
 71. Have all the saints their bodies in Heaven?
 72. Who are in Heaven in their bodies at present?
 73. What is meant by our "concupiscence"?
 74. Which tempts us most to sin, our soul or our body? Why?
 75. Why did God leave concupiscence in us?
 76. What do we mean by "the Church Suffering"?
 77. Who are its members?
 78. Why are souls in Purgatory?
 79. What do you mean by "the Church Triumphant"?
 80. Who are its members?
 81. Are there any saints in Heaven whose names we do not know?
 82. Who are saints?
 83. What is the difference between a saint and an angel?
 84. Why does the Church canonize holy persons?
 85. Does canonization make the person a saint?
 86. How does the Church canonize a saint?
 87. Explain the "communion of saints."
 88. What is the difference between beatification and canonization?
 89. How is the resurrection of the body possible?
 90. What is death?
 91. What does "life everlasting" mean?
 92. How many fathers had Our Lord? Who were they?
 93. How many mothers had He?
 94. Of what religion was Pontius Pilate?
 95. Are all in Heaven saints?


The Confiteor and Acts

 96. In how many ways can we sin?
 97. What should we think of when we say the Confiteor?
 98. What is the substance of the "act of faith"?
 99. Why do we find different acts of faith?
100. What is the substance of the "act of hope"?
101. What is the substance of the "act of love"?
102. Do an "act of love" and an "act of charity" mean the same?
103. How do you show that they are the same?
104. What makes us help others?
105. How may we be charitable to our neighbor?
106. What is the substance of the "act of contrition"?
107. What does "grace" at meals mean?
108. Why should we say grace at meals?
109. Why should we be content with our food?
110. Is the Apostles' Creed an act of faith?
111. Did John the Baptist institute the Sacrament of Baptism?
112. In giving Baptism, can one pour the water and another say the
     words?


CATECHISM


Lesson 1

113. What is a catechism?
114. What does our Catechism contain?
115. Why should we learn the Catechism?
116. What do we mean by the "end of man"?
117. For what end was man created?
118. In what respect are all men equal?
119. What is "woman"?
120. In the first question, what does "world" mean?
121. What is a creature?
122. Is every invisible thing a spirit?
123. Of what use is reason to us?
124. What makes man different from all other animals?
125. Have any brute animals reason?
126. How do you know brute animals have not reason?
127. Can we learn all truths by our reason alone?
128. What is revelation?
129. What is "free will" in man?
130. Have brute animals "free will"?
131. Why is it necessary for us to know God?
132. What does "worship" mean?
133. How do we know when we love God above all?
134. Does the Apostles' Creed contain all the truths we must believe?
135. Name some truths not mentioned in it.
136. Is a tree a creature?


Lesson 2

137. What is a spirit?
138. What does "infinite" mean?
139. Why does God watch over us?
140. Why is it necessary for God to watch over us?
141. Why must God be "just" as well as "merciful"?


Lesson 3

142. What does "supreme" mean?
143. When are two persons said to be equal?
144. From whom does authority come?
145. Is there any difference in the ages of God the Father and God the
     Son?
146. Do first, second, and third in the Blessed Trinity mean that one
     person was before the other?
147. Why must we believe mysteries?
148. Must we understand everything we believe?


Lesson 4

149. How may the things God created be classed?
150. Why did God create angels?
151. If angels have no bodies, how can they appear?
152. Are the angels all equal in dignity?
153. How many classes of angels are there?
154. What did the Archangel Michael do?
155. What did the Archangel Gabriel do?
156. Who gave the angels their names?
157. What are the duties of the angels?
158. What does our angel guardian do for us?
159. How do you know that the angels offer our prayers and good works to
     God?
160. Give a short history of Tobias.
161. What do we mean by "Jacob's ladder"?
162. Are there other guardian angels besides the guardian angels of
     persons?
163. Name some persons to whom angels appeared.
164. Were angels ever sent to punish men?
165. If God watches over us, why should angels guard us?
166. What was the devil's name before he was cast out of Heaven?
167. Why was he cast out?
168. Is the Blessed Virgin only a creature? Why?


Lesson 5

169. How did God create Eve?
170. What relation was Eve to Adam?
171. Were Adam and Eve created at the same time?
172. What was the "Garden of Paradise"?
173. How did Adam commit his first sin?
174. How was Eve tempted to disobey God?
175. In what way do we sometimes imitate Eve's conduct?
176. Why does the devil tempt us?
177. What were the effects of Adam's sin?
178. Why do we suffer for the sin of our first parents?
179. What did Adam lose by his sin?
180. What do you mean when you say Adam's will was weakened by sin?
181. Can we always overcome temptation if we wish?
182. Why was the Blessed Virgin preserved from Original Sin?


Lesson 6

183. How is sin divided?
184. In what ways can we commit actual sin?
185. What is a sin of omission? Give an example.
186. How is Heaven a reward?
187. How can we merit it?
188. Are all religions equally good? Why?
189. What do you mean by a person's "vocation"?
190. How are we to know our vocation?
191. How should parents act with regard to their children's vocation?
192. When is a soul said to be dead?
193. How can we judge whether a thing is sinful or not?
194. What is a material sin?
195. Why is it wrong to judge others guilty of sin?
196. Why does venial sin lessen the love of God in our hearts?
197. Why are pride, covetousness, etc., called "capital sins"?
198. What is meant by our "predominant" or "ruling" sin?
199. What is pride?
200. Why should we take care of our bodies?
201. What sins follow pride?
202. What is covetousness?
203. What sins follow covetousness?
204. What is lust?
205. What sins follow lust?
206. What is gluttony?
207. What kind of sin is drunkenness?
208. How can we commit gluttony by eating?
209. How can we commit gluttony by drinking?
210. What sins does the drunkard commit?
211. What three great sins should you always guard against?
212. Why are drunkenness, dishonesty, and impurity so dangerous?
213. What is envy?
214. How do we commit the sin of sloth?
215. How can we best destroy sin in our souls?
216. Should we cease striving to be good, if we seem to be making no
     improvement? Why?


Lesson 7

217. What does "incarnation" mean?
218. What does "redemption" mean?
219. Who are slaves?
220. How were we in slavery by the sin of Adam?
221. What price did Our Lord pay to redeem us?
222. Did Our Lord leave us any means of being redeemed more than once?
223. What does "abandon" mean?
224. Has Heaven really gates?
225. What are the "gates of Heaven"?
226. Is Our Lord now in Heaven as God or as man?
227. Who was Our Lord's foster-father?
228. What is a foster-father?
229. How many years from the time Adam sinned till the Redeemer came?
230. Why did God allow so long a time to pass before redeeming us?
231. What was the Deluge?
232. When and why did God send it?
233. Who were saved from the Deluge? How?
234. What animals did Noe have in the Ark?
235. What were the "clean animals"? Name some.
236. Why did he have more "clean" than "unclean" animals?
237. How long did Noe spend in making the Ark?
238. How old was Adam when he died?
239. Who was the oldest man?
240. What was his age?
241. How did the Deluge come upon the earth?
242. How long did the Ark float upon the waters?
243. How did Noe learn that the waters were going down?
244. What was the condition of men before the coming of Our Lord?
245. When and to whom did God promise the Redeemer?
246. What did the prophets foretell about Christ?
247. Why was the Redeemer not welcomed by all when He came?
248. What day of the year is Annunciation Day?
249. How could the good people of the Old Law be saved by the merits of
     Christ, when Christ was not yet born?
250. In what kind of a stable was Our Lord born?
251. Why did the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph go to Bethlehem before
     the birth of Our Lord?
252. Who were the Magi?
253. What brought them to Bethlehem?
254. Why did King Herod wish to find the Infant Jesus?
255. On what feast do we commemorate the adoration of the Magi?
256. At what time of the year is the Epiphany?
257. What is the feast of "Holy Innocents"?
258. When does it come?
259. Give a short history of Our Lord's life.
260. What do we mean by His "hidden life"?
261. What do we mean by His "public life"?
262. How old was Our Lord when He began His public life?
263. What do we know of Our Lord's hidden life?
264. Why did He lead a hidden life for so many years?
265. Does "mankind" mean men or women?
266. Had Our Lord any brothers or sisters?
267. What did the Angel Gabriel say at the Annunciation?


Lesson 8

268. What do you mean by Our Lord's "Passion"?
269. When did it begin and when did it end?
270. Give an account of Our Lord's Passion.
271. Where was Gethsemani or the Garden of Olives?
272. Who went into it with Our Lord?
273. What did Our Lord do in this garden?
274. What else happened there?
275. What caused Our Lord's sufferings in the garden?
276. Why could Christ's body suffer greater pain than ours?
277. What do we mean by the "agony in the garden"?
278. Who betrayed Our Lord?
279. How did the Jews act unjustly in the trial of Our Lord?
280. What was the "scourging at the pillar"?
281. What was the "crowning with thorns"?
282. What happened at the death of Our Lord?
283. Where was Calvary?
284. Why were no criminals put to death in Jerusalem?
285. How was the temple of Jerusalem divided?
286. What was the "Holy of Holies"?
287. What was the "Ark of the Covenant," and what did it contain?
288. Of what were the ark and its contents figures?
289. What was the veil of the temple?
290. Why was this veil rent asunder at the death of Our Lord?
291. What does Calvary mean?
292. Why was Our Lord crucified between thieves?
293. Why do we call one of these the "penitent thief"?
294. Why did Christ suffer more than was necessary?
295. What is a sepulchre?
296. How was Our Lord buried?
297. What did the Jews count the beginning and the end of their day?
298. Was the Jewish religion ever the true religion?
299. What is a miracle?
300. What does a miracle prove?
301. What miracles did Our Lord perform?
302. What was His greatest?
303. What are the qualities of a glorified body?
304. Show that Our Lord's body had all these qualities.
305. What was the "Transfiguration of Our Lord"? Describe it.
306. Who were present at it?
307. What happened on the way to Emmaus?
308. What benefit is derived from Thomas the Apostle doubting the
     resurrection of Our Lord?
309. Will all who rise on the last day have glorified bodies?
310. What does the "stigmata of Our Lord" mean?
311. Did anyone ever have it?
312. Was Our Lord visible to everyone during the forty days after His
     resurrection?
313. About how many times and to whom did He appear during the forty
     days?
314. Describe Our Lord's Ascension.
315. Did Christ always live at Bethlehem?


Lesson 9

316. Did the Holy Ghost ever appear?
317. When and under what forms?
318. What does Whitsunday mean?
319. What does Pentecost mean?
320. What effect did the coming of the Holy Ghost have upon the
     Apostles?
321. How many temples had the Jews?
322. What was a "synagogue"?
323. What was done in the synagogues?
324. How did the synagogues differ from the temple?
325. What did the feast of the Pasch or Passover commemorate?
326. Give a short history of Moses.
327. How did the Israelites come to be in Egypt?
328. Give an account of their sufferings in Egypt.
329. How were they delivered or liberated?
330. Give a short account of Joseph and his family.
331. Why did Joseph's brothers wish to put him to death?
332. What did they do to hide their crime?
333. What did the King of Egypt dream?
334. What did his dream mean?
335. What do we learn from the life of Joseph in Egypt?
336. How was Moses saved on the bank of the Nile?
337. What was the "burning bush" that Moses saw?
338. Why did God command Moses to remove his shoes before coming to the
     "burning bush"?
339. Who went with Moses to deliver the Israelites?
340. What signs did God give to Moses to show King Pharao?
341. What did the king's magicians do?
342. What were "the ten plagues of Egypt"?
343. Describe each plague.
344. Why did God send them?
345. What was the "Paschal Lamb"?
346. Of what was it a figure?
347. What happened to the Israelites and Egyptians at the Red Sea?
348. How long were the Israelites in the desert?
349. What was the "manna"?
350. Why were the Israelites so long in the desert?
351. What do you mean by the "gift of tongues"?
352. Why did God perform more miracles in the first ages of the Church
     than now?
353. How and where was St. Peter put to death?
354. How did the other Apostles die?
355. St. Paul?
356. What did the Apostles prove by suffering death for their faith?


Lesson 10

357. What do we mean by an effect?
358. What does "supernatural" mean?
359. What is merit?
360. What is a virtue?
361. What is a vice?
362. Does habit excuse us for the sins committed through it?
363. When will habit excuse us for the sin?
364. Why do we believe revealed truths?
365. Who is our neighbor?
366. What example did Our Lord give to explain this?
367. How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?
368. Why should we love our neighbor?
369. Can we merit the grace of perseverance?


Lesson 11

370. When did men begin to speak different languages?
371. Who were the prophets?
372. Give a short history of religion before the time of Christ.
373. What are the chief works of the Church?
374. Why are our churches holy?
375. What are the catacombs, and why were they made?
376. What are altar stones?
377. Why are relics placed in them?
378. How many general persecutions of the Church were there?
379. Tell what you know of these persecutions.
380. What lessons do we learn from the sufferings of the early
     Christians?
381. Who are "lawful pastors"?
382. Could anyone be Pope without being Bishop of Rome?
383. What does "vicar" mean?
384. Why are Catholics called Roman?
385. How could a Protestant be saved?


Lesson 12

386. What is an attribute?
387. What is authority?
388. Why is it sinful to resist lawful authority?
389. What does "cathedra" mean?
390. Why is the bishop's church called cathedral?
391. How do we know when the Pope speaks "ex cathedra"?
392. What is required that the Pope may so speak?
393. Is the Pope infallible in everything he says?
394. What do you mean by "faith and morals"?
395. How many Popes from St. Peter to Pius XI?
396. Why should we have the greatest respect for the opinions of the
     Holy Father on any subject?
397. Why must the Pope sometimes speak on political matters?
398. Can the Pope commit sin?
399. What do we mean by the "temporal power" of the Pope?
400. How did he acquire it, and how did he lose it?
401. Why has he need of it?
402. How is the "temporal power" useful to the Church?
403. What is "Peter's pence"?
404. Does the Church change its doctrines?
405. How can you show that the Church is one in government and doctrine?
406. What is the hierarchy of the Church?
407. Could a person be a Catholic and not believe all the Church
     teaches?
408. Why are Protestants so called?
409. Why does the Church use Latin as its language?
410. Why does the Church define some truths?
411. Does the Church by defining truths make new doctrines?
412. Give a short history of Luther.
413. Why was he cut off from the true Church?
414. Why did many follow him?
415. How did the first Protestants act towards the Church?
416. What foolish excuses do some give for not becoming Catholics?
417. Why must the true Church be visible?
418. Who are heathens?
419. Who were the "publicans" mentioned by Our Lord?


Lesson 13

420. What three things are necessary to make a Sacrament?
421. What is the outward sign in Baptism?
422. Why is water used in Baptism?
423. What is the outward sign in Confirmation?
424. Why is oil used in Confirmation?
425. What is the use of the outward sign in the Sacraments?
426. In what ways does the life of the soul resemble the life of the
     body?
427. What does a "Sacrament of the dead" mean?
428. In what ways can we commit sacrilege?
429. What is the sacramental grace given in Penance?
430. What are the "right dispositions" for Penance, for Holy Eucharist?
431. What is conditional Baptism, and when is it given?
432. Can all the Sacraments be given conditionally?
433. What is the outward sign in Matrimony?
434. Can a bishop give all the Sacraments?
435. Can a priest?
436. Can a person receive all the Sacraments?
437. Can any of the Sacraments be given to the dead?


Lesson 14

438. What is an heir?
439. Why is the Bible called the Old and New Testament?
440. What does the Old Testament contain?
441. What does the New Testament show?
442. What is the difference between Baptism and Penance in the remission
     of the guilt and punishment?
443. Could a person gain an indulgence immediately after Baptism? Why?
444. What does the "temporal punishment" for sin mean?
445. Where will persons go who have never sinned and who die without
     Baptism?
446. What do we mean by "the ordinary minister" of a Sacrament?
447. Can you baptize an infant when its parents are unwilling?
448. What is private Baptism?
449. How is it given?
450. What ceremonies are used in solemn Baptism?
451. What do they signify?
452. What is the baptistery?
453. What do we mean by the "pomps" of the devil?
454. What is martyrdom?
455. Who are catechumens?
456. What is necessary that persons may be really martyrs?
457. What is meant by "patron saint"?
458. On what day is a saint's feast kept by the Church?
459. What does "sponsors" mean? Who are sponsors by proxy?
460. With whom do godparents contract relationship?
461. What names should be given in Baptism?


Lesson 15

462. What does balm in the chrism signify?
463. Why should we be proud of the Catholic religion?
464. When are we required to profess our religion?


Lesson 16

465. Why is the devil wiser than we are?
466. Who made the Beatitudes?
467. Where did Our Lord generally preach?
468. What do the Beatitudes teach?
469. How is a person "poor in spirit"?
470. How can the rich be "poor in spirit"?
471. Explain the other Beatitudes.


Lesson 17

472. How does the institution of Penance show the goodness of Our Lord?
473. What is absolution?
474. How do you know Our Lord could forgive sins?
475. How does the power to forgive sins imply the obligation of going to
     confession?
476. How do we prepare for confession?
477. What is the best method of examining our conscience?
478. What is the most important part of the Sacrament of Penance?
479. What kind of sorrow should we have for our sins?
480. When should you say the penance given in confession?


Lesson 18

481. When is our contrition perfect?
482. What is attrition?
483. How many kinds of occasions of sin are there?
484. Why must we avoid occasions of sin?


Lesson 19

485. Who is a "duly authorized" priest?
486. How can a dumb man make his confession?
487. What can one do who cannot remember his sins in confession?
488. How can persons whose language the priest cannot understand confess
     if they are in danger of death?
489. Is it wrong to accuse ourselves of sins we have not committed?
490. Why is it foolish to conceal sins in confession?
491. How were the ancient Christian churches divided?
492. How did the early Christians do penance?
493. Explain the temporal and eternal punishment for sin.
494. Is your confession worthless if you forget to say your penance?
495. What is Lent?
496. What is almsgiving?
497. How can we distinguish between spiritual and corporal works of
     mercy?
498. When are we obliged to admonish the sinner?
499. What were the Crusades?
500. Why were they commenced?
501. How many Crusades were there?
502. How long did they last?
503. Why were those who took part in these expeditions called Crusaders?
504. What is a pilgrim?
505. How have we been relieved from doing many of the works of mercy
     ourselves?
506. Who are religious?
507. What is a hermit?
508. What is a general confession?
509. When and why should we make it?
510. Who are scrupulous persons?


Lesson 20

511. When is it well to add to our confession a sin of our past life?
512. What duties does the priest perform in the confessional?
513. Show how he is judge, father, teacher, and physician.
514. Why is it well to confess always to the same priest?
515. Can you have half your sins forgiven?
516. When will perfect contrition blot out mortal sin?


Lesson 21

517. How does God reward us for good works done in a state of mortal
     sin?
518. Is it easy to gain a plenary indulgence? Why?
519. What works are generally enjoined for indulgences?
520. What does praying for a "person's intention" mean?
521. How can we have the intention of gaining an indulgence?
522. What does "an indulgence of 40 days," etc., mean?
523. Why did the early Christians do more severe penance than we do?
524. Are indulgences attached to anything but prayers?


Lesson 22

525. What does "Eucharist" mean?
526. What is the difference between Holy Eucharist and Holy Communion?
527. What did Our Lord do at the marriage in Cana?
528. Is Our Lord's body in the Holy Eucharist living or dead?
529. How do you know you receive both the body and the blood of Our Lord
     under the appearance of bread alone?
530. Why does the Church not give the Holy Eucharist to the people under
     the appearance of wine also?
531. Could it do so? Did it ever do it?
532. How long does Our Lord remain in the Holy Communion?
533. What is the ciborium?
534. At what part of the Mass are the words of consecration said?
535. What are the parts of the Mass?
536. What is the sacristy?
537. What does the priest prepare for Mass?
538. What is the chalice?
539. What is the paten?
540. What is the purificator?
541. What is the pall?
542. What is the host?
543. Where does the priest get the host?
544. What are the different vestments used at Mass called?
545. What do they signify?
546. What is the "Offertory" in the Mass?
547. When does the "Canon" of the Mass begin?
548. What is the "Elevation" in the Mass?
549. Where does the priest get the Blessed Sacrament he gives to the
     people?
550. What is the tabernacle?
551. What is Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament?
552. What is the monstrance used at Benediction?
553. Why should we be anxious to attend Benediction?
554. What is the cope?
555. What is the humeral, or Benediction veil?
556. Why does the priest wear vestments?
557. What do their colors signify?
558. Can Holy Communion be given in the afternoon?
559. What is the Holy Eucharist called when received by a person who is
     not fasting?
560. Can the priest say Mass in the evening? Why?
561. Why does the priest genuflect, etc., during Mass?


Lesson 23

562. What should we do if we break our fast before Holy Communion?
563. When is Holy Communion called the "Viaticum"?
564. Who offered the first Sacrifice of the Holy Mass?


Lesson 24

565. When is the Holy Eucharist a sacrifice?
566. When a Sacrament?
567. What was the temple of the Pantheon in Rome?
568. Who are pagans, idolaters, heathens?
569. How many kinds of sacrifice had the Israelites?
570. How is the Mass a sacrifice?
571. What is the league of the Sacred Heart?
572. Why was it established?
573. What was the origin of offering the priest money for celebrating
     Mass for your intention?
574. What is the sin of simony?
575. Why is it so called?
576. How are the fruits of the Mass divided?
577. What is a spiritual Communion?
578. How is it made?


Lesson 25

579. What does "unction" mean?
580. How often in their lives are Catholics anointed?
581. Is it called Extreme Unction even when the person recovers after
     receiving it?
582. What parts of the body are anointed in Extreme Unction?
583. When should the priest be sent for in cases of sickness?
584. What should you do if the sick Catholic does not wish or refuses to
     see the priest?
585. How is sickness a benefit to some?
586. What Sacraments are never given in the Church?
587. What things should you prepare when the priest is coming to give
     the Viaticum or Extreme Unction in your house?
588. How is the Blessed Sacrament carried to the sick in Catholic
     countries?
589. Who are the "other ministers of the Church," besides bishops and
     priests?
590. What is the tonsure?
591. Of what does the tonsure remind the priest?
592. What are the duties and privileges of these other ministers of the
     Church?
593. How many kinds of Masses are there?
594. Do they differ in value, one being better than another?
595. Who is meant by the "celebrant" of the Mass?
596. What does the "master of ceremonies" do?
597. What is a Requiem Mass?
598. Why is it so called?
599. What is Vespers?
600. Is it a mortal sin to be willingly absent from Vespers?
601. Will Vespers take the place of Mass on Sundays for those who do not
     attend Mass?
602. Who are cardinals?
603. What are their duties?
604. Who is a monsignor?
605. Who is a vicar general?
606. What is a diocese?
607. What is a parish?
608. Does "rector" and "pastor" mean the same?
609. What do we mean by "Suffragan Bishops"?
610. What is the pallium?
611. Who can wear it?


Lesson 26

612. When are persons lawfully married?
613. When was marriage first instituted?
614. What sin is it to marry unlawfully?
615. What are "impediments to marriage"?
616. What things should persons tell the priest when they are making
     arrangements for marriage?
617. Can persons marry invalidly without knowing it?
618. What evils follow divorce?
619. Why should children study?
620. What is meant by the "civil effects of marriage"?
621. What are the chief evils of "mixed marriage"?
622. What is a "mixed marriage"?
623. When are motives for marriage "worthy"?
624. How should persons make a choice for marriage?
625. How are parents sometimes guilty of injustice to their children in
     case of marriage?
626. What is holy oil?
627. When is it blessed?
628. Can a priest bless it in case of necessity?
629. How many kinds of holy oil are there?
630. For what are they used?
631. In the administration of what Sacraments is oil used?
632. Can persons receive the Sacrament of Matrimony more than once?
633. Where and at what time of the day should Catholics be married?
634. What is balm?
635. Was there any Sacrament of Matrimony before the time of Our Lord?
636. Were the people of the Old Law validly married?
637. How did their marriage differ from Christian marriage?


Lesson 27

638. Can the Church change the number of sacramentals? Why?
639. Why is it necessary to bless yourself properly?
640. When are candles blessed in the Church?
641. Of what do candles on the altar remind us?
642. When are ashes blessed in the Church?
643. Of what do they remind us?
644. Of what do the palms remind us?
645. What is the difference between a cross and a crucifix?
646. What is the Rosary?
647. How do we say the beads?
648. What is meant by "Mysteries of the Rosary"?
649. How many Mysteries of the Rosary are there?
650. How are they divided?
651. Name the different Mysteries of the Rosary.
652. What is the Magnificat?
653. Who baptized Our Lord?
654. Was the baptism of John the Baptist a Sacrament? Why?
655. To whom did Our Lord give an example by His hidden or private life?
656. What did the Church do for slaves?
657. What do the letters "I.N.R.I." over the Cross mean?
658. Did Our Lord claim to be king of the Jews?
659. Why was Our Lord put to death?
660. With whom did the Blessed Virgin live after the death of Our Lord?
661. Who was St. John the Evangelist?
662. What is the Apocalypse?
663. About how long did the Blessed Virgin live on earth after the
     Ascension of Our Lord?
664. What is meant by the "Assumption" of the Blessed Virgin?
665. What proof have we of it?
666. On what days are the different Mysteries of the Rosary said?
667. What does "I.H.S." with a cross over it mean?
668. What is the scapular, and why do we wear it?
669. What is the brown scapular called?
670. How many kinds of scapular are there?
671. What are the "seven dolors" of the Blessed Virgin? Name them.
672. What are the seven dolor beads?
673. What are "religious orders"?
674. What vows do the members of religious orders take?
675. Why were religious orders founded?
676. Why are there different kinds of religious orders?


Lesson 28

677. How many kinds of prayer are there?
678. What is "meditation"?
679. What should we do before praying?
680. What do you know of St. Monica?
681. Of St. Augustine?
682. Why does God not always grant our prayers?
683. If prayer is necessary for salvation, how can infants be saved who
     die without having prayed?


Lesson 29

684. Were people obliged to keep the Commandments before the time of
     Moses?
685. How many kinds of laws had the Israelites?
686. When were these laws abolished?
687. How were the Commandments given to Moses?
688. What was manna?
689. What is the difference between the Commandments of God and the
     commandments of the Church?
690. What does "love thy neighbor as thyself" mean?


Lesson 30

691. How did the Israelites come to worship false gods?
692. How do we sometimes worship strange gods?
693. What are "fortune tellers"?
694. Why is going to fortune tellers a sin?
695. What are spells, charms?
696. Are medals, scapulars, etc., worn about us charms?
697. What are dreams?
698. Did God ever use them to make known His will?
699. Why does He not use them now?
700. What are mediums and spiritists?
701. How do bad Catholics do injury to the Church?
702. Why did the Christian religion spread so rapidly?
703. Who are atheists, deists, infidels, heretics, apostates, and
     schismatics?
704. Are all religions equally true?
705. Why is presumption a great sin?
706. How are we frequently presumptuous?
707. Are heretics Christians?


Lesson 31

708. What help does God give us to save our souls?
709. How do we honor God by praying to the saints?
710. What is a relic?
711. Have we any relics of Our Lord's body? Why?
712. Why does the Catholic religion suit all classes of persons?
713. Why are there so many kinds of Protestants?
714. Does the Bible contain all the truths of our religion?
715. How did God honor the relics of saints? Give an example.
716. When did the Jewish religion cease to be the true religion?


Lesson 32

717. Is it a sin to use the words of Scripture in a bad sense?
718. What is a perjurer?
719. Why was John the Baptist put to death?
720. Why is it sinful to be a member of a secret society?
721. When is an oath rash?
722. What is the difference between blasphemy and cursing?
723. Can we blaspheme by action?
724. Tell what happened to Julian the Apostate.
725. Are there any holy days not of obligation?
726. How is the Sunday well kept?
727. What is a real Catholic newspaper?
728. What books should be found in every Catholic family?
729. What is meant by the Old Law?
730. What by the New?
731. Are we bound to keep an unlawful oath?


Lesson 33

732. What do we mean by "magistrates"?
733. What should we remember when we are unjustly punished?
734. How does suffering make us more like to Our Lord and His Blessed
     Mother?
735. Why did the Blessed Virgin suffer so many trials upon earth?
736. What is contempt?
737. What is stubbornness?
738. Why is suicide a mortal sin?
739. What is revenge?
740. Why should we be most careful about the Sixth Commandment?
741. Why should we guard against bad reading?
742. Why should we seek advice?


Lesson 34

743. In how many ways may we violate the Seventh Commandment?
744. Why is it unkind and ungrateful not to pay our debts?
745. Is the receiver of stolen goods as bad as the thief?
746. In how many ways may we share in the sin of another?
747. If you bought an article not knowing that it was stolen, would you
     be obliged to give it up to its owner?
748. What must you do with anything you find?
749. What must you do if you have lost or destroyed the article you
     stole?
750. Can we always make restitution by giving to the poor?
751. Is it a sin to delay making restitution?
752. What must a person do who cannot restore?
753. What will excuse us for telling another's faults?
754. How can you know when you have injured the character of another?
755. What is detraction?
756. What is calumny?
757. What is slander?
758. How can you make reparation for injuring another's character?
759. Are you bound to do so?
760. What is "rash judgment"?
761. What is backbiting?
762. Is it sinful to listen to backbiting, slander, etc?
763. Why is it wrong to tell another's secrets or read another's
     letters?
764. What does "covet" mean?


Lesson 35

765. What is meant by a "serious reason" for missing Mass?
766. What excuse do some give for not hearing Mass?
767. Why is it wrong to come late for Mass?
768. On what day do we keep a saint's feast?
769. What is the "divine office"?
770. How is it divided?
771. Who are excused from fasting?
772. Who are obliged to abstain from flesh-meat on fast-days and days of
     abstinence?
773. Is every fast-day a day of abstinence?


Lesson 36

774. Why should we go to confession even when we have not committed sin
     since our last confession?
775. When is Trinity Sunday?
776. How was the Holy Land divided?
777. Who were the "Levites" in the Old Law?
778. What were "first fruits" and tithes in the Old Law?
779. Why was Cain's sacrifice displeasing to God?
780. What relations are within the third degree of kindred?
781. What is a "dispensation" granted by the Church?
782. What is meant by the "natural law"?
783. When can we obey the laws that the State makes with regard to
     marriage?
784. What is "excommunication"?
785. What effect has it?
786. Who are excluded from Christian burial?
787. How does the Church show its displeasure when Catholics marry
     persons not Catholics?
788. How should persons prepare for marriage?
789. Are women ever allowed in the Church with their heads uncovered?
790. Can the priest say a "nuptial Mass" for a husband or wife after
     their death?


Lesson 37

791. Where will the particular judgment be held?
792. How will it take place?
793. Will the sentence given at the particular judgment be changed at
     the general judgment?
794. How can we daily prepare for judgment?
795. Who will be judged at the general judgment?
796. How will the general judgment take place?
797. What do we mean by the "pain of loss"?
798. What by the "pain of sense" that the damned suffer?
799. Why can we not imagine the sufferings of Hell?
800. How does the fire of Hell differ from our fire?
801. Will there be a Purgatory after the general judgment?
802. Why must there be a Purgatory now?
803. If God loves those in Purgatory, why does He punish them?
804. Why do we show respect to the bodies of the dead?
805. What does "faithful departed" mean?
806. What does "rest in peace" mean?
807. What does "seeing God face to face" mean, if God has no face?
808. What is the beatific vision?
809. Of what does our happiness in Heaven consist?
810. How long will Purgatory last?



GENERAL INDEX


A
                                                        QUESTION
Absolution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Acolyte  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Actual grace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
Adoration of the Magi  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Advice necessary and useful  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Agony in the garden  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Alb  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Alms to the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Almsgiving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Altar boys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Altars and altar stones  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Amice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Ancient Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  35
Angelus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Angelical Salutation
Anger  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Annunciation Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
Apocalypse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Apostles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Apostate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Apostolicity of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Apparitions of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  90
Archbishop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Ark of Noe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Ark of the Covenant  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Ascension of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91
Ashes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Atheist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Attributes of the Church . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 12, title
Attrition  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 198
Authority  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123


B

Backbiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Bad company  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Bad example  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
Baptism of blood and desire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Baptism in case of necessity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Baptism of St. John  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Beads  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Bearing wrongs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Beatific vision  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420
Beatification  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Beatitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Benefits of the Sacrament of Penance . . . . .  Lesson 17, title
Biretta  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Birth of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Bishop of Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Blasphemy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Blessed Sacrament carried to the sick  . . . . . . . . . . . 277
Bloody sweat of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Body of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
Body of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Breaking the fast for Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254
Burial of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Burning bush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97


C

Cain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Cain's sacrifice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Call of Abraham  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Calumny  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Calvary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Candles, why used  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Canonization of saints . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Canonical penance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Capital sins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Caravansary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Cardinals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Carrying stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Catacombs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Catechumens  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Catechism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 1, title
Cathedral  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Catholic books and newspapers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Catholicity of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Causes of unhappy marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Celebrant of Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Census-taking in olden times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Chalice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Changing water into wine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Character in Baptism, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Charitable institutions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Charity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Act of Love
Charms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Chasuble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Choice of persons in marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Church, Militant, Triumphant, Suffering  . . The Apostles' Creed
Church instituted by Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Ciborium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Cincture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Cities of ancient times  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Color of the vestments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Communion of saints  . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Commandments of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 29, title
Concealing sins in confession  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Concupiscence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
Condition of the world before Christ . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Confession necessary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
Confessor's duties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
Confusion of tongues . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Consecrated ground . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Consecration in the Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Contempt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
Contrition . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Converts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Cope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Coronation of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Corporal works of mercy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Covetousness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Creation of Adam and Eve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
Crowning with thorns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crucifixion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crucifix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Cruelty of the Romans  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Crusades . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


D

Danger of living in sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 272
Day of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Days of abstinence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394
Deacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Dead body  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Dead souls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
Death  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Death of St. John the Baptist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Debts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 377
Definition of Dogma of Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Degrees of kindred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Deist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Deliverance of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  95
Deluge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Descent of the Holy Ghost  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Despair  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329
Detraction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Devil  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Diocese  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Disciples  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Disciples on the way to Emmaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Dishonest persons  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Dispensations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Disrespect to parents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Distraction at prayer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
Divine Office  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Division of the Holy Land  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Divorce or separation in marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Doubt of Thomas the Apostle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Dreams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Dress at weddings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407
Dress of the hierarchy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Drunkenness  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Duty to parents  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364


E

Egyptian bondage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Elevation in the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
End of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 1, title
Envy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Epiphany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 36, title
Equality among all men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22
Eternity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Evils of divorce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Evil effects of scandal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Examination of conscience  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Example of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Ex cathedra  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Excommunication  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Excuses for not embracing the true religion  . . . . . . . . 324
Excuses for not attending Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Extreme Unction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Extreme Unction, to whom it can be given . . .  Lesson 25, title


F

Faith  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
Faithful departed  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Fall of the angels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Fall of Adam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  43
False worship  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Fast-days  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 393
Feasts of the Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Feasts of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Final perseverance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
Finding of Our Lord in the Temple  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
First Protestants  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Flight into Egypt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Forgiveness of sins  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Forgiveness of injuries  . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Fortune tellers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Foster-father  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
Fraternal correction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Free will in man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Frequent Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Fruits of the Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269


G

Gates of Heaven  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
General confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Gift of tongues  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Gladiators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Glorified bodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Gluttony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
God, our Father  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Gods of the pagans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Golden calf  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Gratitude to benefactors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
Guardian angel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36


H

Hasty marriages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
Heaven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 420
Heaven a reward  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Heirs of Heaven  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Hell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Help to salvation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Heretics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Herod  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Hidden life of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Hierarchy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
History of the Israelites in Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Holy days  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Holy Ghost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Holy Innocents' feast  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Holy of holies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Holy oils  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Holy Orders  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Holy Sepulchre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Holy water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Holiness of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130
Honoring the saints  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
How to meditate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Human sacrifice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Humeral, or Benediction veil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250


I

"I.H.S." with a cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Images in the churches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
Immaculate Conception  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
Impediments to marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Impurity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
Incarnation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Indefectibility of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Indifferentism in religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231
Infallibility of the Pope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124
Infidel  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Injuring the character of others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
"I.N.R.I." on the Cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Instinct of animals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Intention at Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Intention of the Pope  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Intention to gain indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
Interpretation of the Holy Scriptures  . . . . . . . . . . . 129


J

Jacob, father of the twelve tribes . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Jacob's vision and the ladder  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
Jehova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
John the Evangelist  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Joseph in Egypt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Journey of the Israelites in the desert  . . . . . . . . . .  97
Judgment, particular and general . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 408
Julian the Apostate  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 352
Justice of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20


K

Kinds of indulgences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Kinds of Masses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Kinds of scapulars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Kingdom of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Knowledge of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6


L

Late-coming to Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390
Latin language in the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Lawful marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
Laws made by the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
Laws of the Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 29, title
League of the Sacred Heart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Lent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
Levites  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Life of Christ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Life of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364
Limbo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Litanies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  The Angelical Salutation
Lives of the early Christians  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Lost time  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Louise Lateau  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Love of our neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Lucifer or Satan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  38
Lust . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Luther . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132


M

Magi or Wise Men . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Magistrates  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 363
Mahomet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Man  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Maniple  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Manna  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310
Manner of confessing our sins  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Manner of examining our conscience . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Manner of giving absolution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Marks of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Marriage at Cana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Marriage before a Protestant minister  . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Master of Ceremonies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Meaning of forty days' indulgence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
Meditation or mental prayer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Mercy of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  20
Merit  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Minister of Baptism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
Ministers of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Minor Orders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Miracles, true and false . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Mixed marriages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 289
Molech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Monks  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
Monsignor  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Moses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Murder of infants or abortion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Mystery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
Mysteries of the Rosary  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302


N

Names in Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Names of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  66
Natural state of man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154
Necessary servile works  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
Necessity of religious instruction . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Neighbor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Newspapers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Noe's Ark  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Nuns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


O

Oath . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Obedience to parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284
Observance of Sunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Occasion of sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Offertory in the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Offering called "stipend" for Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Ostensorium or monstrance  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Outward signs of the Sacraments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136


P

Palestine  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
Pall for the chalice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Pallium  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Palms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Pantheon in Rome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Paradise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  40
Parish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Parts of the Divine Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Parts of the Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Pasch  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Paschal lamb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Passage of the Red Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Passion of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Passover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 17, title
Pastor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Paten  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Patron saint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Payment of debts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373
Penance given in confession  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Penitent thief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  82
Penitents of the early ages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Pentecost  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Perfection of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Persecution of the Christians  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
Persons excluded from Christian burial . . . . . . . . . . . 404
Peter's pence  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Pharao's dream . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Pilgrim  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Plagues of Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Pledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 351
Plenary indulgence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
Poor in the true Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Pope in politics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 304
Preaching of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
Predominant sin  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Preparation for confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Presence of God at our prayers . . . . . . . . . . . . Confiteor
Presentation in the temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Preservation of creatures by God . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  17
Presumption  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 328
Priests  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Pride  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Promise of the Redeemer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
Proof of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin  . . . . . . . 302
Prophets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Providence of God  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416
Public life of Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
Public profession of faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 326
Purgatory  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 414
Purificator  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Purpose of amendment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191


Q

Qualities of a good prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307


R

Rash judgment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Reading bad books or papers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
Reading good books or papers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 354
Reading the letters of others  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Real presence in the Holy Eucharist  . . . . . . . . . . . . 238
Reason . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Receiving stolen goods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Rector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Redeemer promised  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
Redemption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Relics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 340
Religious orders and communities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Respect at Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Respect in church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
"Rest in peace"  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
Restitution  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Resurrection of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Resurrection of the body . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Revelation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Revenge  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368
Rosary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302


S

Sabbath of the Jews  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
Sacramental grace  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
Sacramentals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Sacraments in which oil is used  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
Sacraments of the dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140
Sacraments of the living . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
Sacred Heart of Jesus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Sacrifice  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Sacrilege  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144
Saints . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Apostles' Creed
Salvation out of the Catholic Church . . . . . . . . . . . . 121
Sanctifying grace  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Saracens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
Scandal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Scapulars  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Schismatic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323
Scourging at the pillar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
Scrupulous persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
Secret societies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
Secrets  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380
Seven dolors of the Blessed Virgin . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Seven dolor beads  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
Sickness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
Sign of the Cross  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 295
Simony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269
Sin, Original, actual, mortal, venial  . . . . . . . .  Lesson 6
Sins against faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
Slander  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
Slavery  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lesson 7, title
Sloth  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
Soul like to God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Soul, importance of saving one's . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Spells . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Spiritual Communion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
Spiritual life resembles bodily life . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Spiritual works of mercy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 222
Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Sponsors by proxy  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Spread of the Protestant religion  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
St. Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63
St. Joseph's Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
St. Monica and St. Augustine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
St. Patrick's Day  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
Stable at Bethlehem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  75
State laws for marriage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 403
Stealing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Stigmata of Our Lord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Stole  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Strange gods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315
Sub-deacon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Sufferings of the damned . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413
Suicide  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 367
Supernatural gifts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103


T

Temple of Jerusalem  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Temporal power of the Pope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Temporal punishment  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218
Temptation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Lord's Prayer
Testament, Old and New . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
Thanksgiving after Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 245
Things prepared for Mass . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250
Things prepared for Viaticum and Extreme Unction . . . . . . 277
Time given to God's service  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318
Time valuable in youth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322
Tithes and first-fruits in the Old Law . . . . . . . . . . . 402
Tobias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
Tonsure  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Tower of Babel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Lesson 11, title
Transfiguration of Our Lord  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
Transubstantiation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 242
Two natures in Christ  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  65


U

Unity of the Church  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Unworthy Communion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
Use of sacramentals  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292
Using the sayings of Holy Scripture in a profane sense . . . 340


V

Veil of the temple . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
Vespers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Vestments, their names and signification . . . . . . . . . . 250
Viaticum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258
Vicar general  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281
Vice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Virtue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
Visibility of the Church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
Visible and invisible head of the Church . . . . . . . . . . 116
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin . . .  The Angelical Salutation
Vocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  51
Vow  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350


W

Warning against impostors  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Ways of sharing in another's sin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
Whitsunday . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  97
Who offered sacrifice in ancient times . . . . . . . . . . . 264
Who cannot be sponsors at Baptism  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Why children should study  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285
Why God does not always grant our prayers  . . . . . . . . . 307
Why holy days were instituted  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
Why sickness is sometimes sent . . . . . . . .  Lesson 25, title
Why there are different religious orders . . . . . . . . . . 302
Woman with issue of blood  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307
Works necessary to gain indulgences  . . . . . . . . . . . . 237
World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Worship of God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9





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