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Sunday School Teacher s 



Baltimore Catechism 










jii)tt ODbfitat 


Censor Librorum 



Archbishop of New York 


Copyright, 1908, by JOSEPH F. WAGNER, New York 


HE Author s larger work on the Catechism, entitled: 
in three volumes, has met with much encouraging 
approval and is in use in many places. In response 
to numerous requests to compile from this work a compendium, 
especially designed for the use of Sunday School teachers, the 
present volume is offered with that purpose in view. 

It has been thought advisable to number the questions in 
rotation, and an asterisk (*) is prefixed to questions not con 
tained in the smaller Baltimore Catechism. 

Regarding the Questions on the Explanation appended to 
the lessons, they are designed to rehearse essential points, and 
their extent is measured by the importance which the particular 
matter has for Sunday School pupils. The answers are not to 
be memorized, but should be formulated by a pupil with some 
aid from the teacher, and then repeated by other pupils. The 
purpose is a double one, to compel attention and to impress 
vital truths strongly upon the pupil s mind. 




The Lord s Prayer 7 

The Angelic Salutation 18 

The Apostles Creed 25 

The Confiteor 28 

An Act of Faith 28 

An Act of Hope 42 

An Act of Love 48 

An Act of Contrition 51 

The Blessing Before Meals 51 

Grace After Meals 51 

The Manner in which a Lay Person is to Baptize in Case of Necessity 52 


Lesson First On the End of Man 54 

Lesson Second On God and His Perfections Gl 

Lesson Third On the Unity and Trinity of God 92 

Lesson Fourth On Creation 98 

Lesson Fifth On Our First Parents and the Fall 109 

Lesson Sixth On Sin and Its Kinds 114 

Lesson Seventh On the Incarnation and Redemption 124 

Lesson Eighth On Our Lord s Passion, Death, Resurrection and 

Ascension 143 

Lesson Ninth On the Holy Ghost and the Descent Upon the 

Apostles 159 

Lesson Tenth On the Effects of the Redemption 170 

Lesson Eleventh On the Church 185 

Lesson Twelfth On the Marks and Attributes of the Church 190 

Lesson Thirteenth On the Sacraments in General 197 

Lesson Fourteenth On Baptism 202 

Lesson Fifteenth On Confirmation 210 

Lesson Sixteenth On the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost 215 

Lesson Seventeenth On the Sacrament of Penance 218 

Lesson Eighteenth On Contrition 231 

Lesson Nineteenth On Confession 241 


Lesson Twentieth On the Manner of Making a Good Confession 256 

Lesson Twenty-first On Indulgences 257 

Lesson Twenty-second... On the Holy Eucharist 263 

Lesson Twenty-third On the Ends for Which the Holy Eucharist Was 

Instituted 274 

Lesson Twenty-fourth... On the Sacrifice of the Mass 287 

Lesson Twenty-fifth On Extreme Unction and Holy Orders 299 

Lesson Twenty-sixth.... On Matrimony 309 

Lesson Twenty-seventh.. On the Sacramentals 312 

Lesson Twenty-eighth ...On Prayer 319 

Lesson Twenty-ninth On the Commandments of God 326 

Lesson Thirtieth On the First Commandment 329 

Lesson Thirty-first The First Commandment On the Honor and Invo 
cation of Saints 336 

Lesson Thirty-second From the Second to the Fourth Commandment 343 

Lesson Thirty-third From the Fourth to the Seventh Commandment 359 

Lesson Thirty-fourth From the Seventh to the End of the Tenth Com 
mandment 381 

Lesson Thirty-fifth On the First and Second Commandments of the 

Church 398 

Lesson Thirty-sixth On the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Command 
ments of the Church 405 

Lesson Thirty-seventh... On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection Hell, 

Purgatory and Heaven 410 

Sunday School Teacher s 
Explanation of the Catechism 

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 tempta 
tion, but deliver us from evil. Amen. 

Of the many different prayers the most excellent, the most 
sublime, the best is Our Father, the Lord s Prayer. 

This prayer is the most excellent, 1. On account of its origin; 
2. Because of its form. 

1. On account of its origin, for it comes from our divine 
Saviour Jesus Christ Himself. When the Apostles and disciples 
begged Jesus to teach them how to pray, He said: "When you 
pray, then pray thus : Our Father, who art in heaven/ " etc. 

2. The Our Father is the most excellent prayer on account of 
its form, for it contains in a few brief words the most important 
and profound truths. It is a prayer suitable for every necessity 
and circumstance of life, and is understood by every one. 

For this reason it is particularly effective. It is the universal 
prayer of the entire Christian Church in all parts of the world, 
and is regarded as a Sacramental. 

The Lord s Prayer contains a short preface and seven pe 

The words, "Our Father, who art in heaven," are the preface. 
Then follow seven petitions. 

If we take a glance in general at the contents of the Our 
Father we find there reference to God s glory, His kingdom, His 
will, solicitude for the necessary temporal goods, deliverance 
from temptations and sin, from temporal and eternal evil. 


Our task upon earth is: To know God and to love Him. ^To 
this the first petition refers: "Hallowed be Thy name/ 

Furthermore, it is our duty to glorify God, to strive after 
God s kingdom "in heaven, as well as for the spreading of God s 
kingdom upon earth. The second petition is, therefore : "Thy 
kingdom come." The fulfilling of His holy Will leads us to 
heaven, the kingdom of God. For this reason we pray in the 
third petition : "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 5 
For our support upon earth we stand in need of temporal things, 
such as food, clothing, etc. Hence we pray for these in the 
fourth petition: "Give us this day our daily bread." It may 
happen that we repay God s paternal goodness with ingratitude 
and sin. And, as sin closes heaven against us, we pray, in the 
fifth petition, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that 
trespass against us." We desire God to guard us, not only 
from sin itself, but also from the occasion of sin; therefore we 
pray, in the sixth petition, "Lead us not into temptation." 
Finally, in the seventh petition, we pray to be delivered from all 
evil of soul and body. 


Why is the Our Father the most excellent of prayers? 1. On 
account of its origin. 2. Its contents, and 3. Its effectiveness. 

What do you know of its origin? from whom does it come? It 
comes from Jesus Christ, the Son of God Himself. 

What do you know of its contents? It contains in brief words the 
most important and most profound truths; it is a prayer suitable 
for every condition of life, and is intelligible to every Christian. 

What does the Lord s Prayer contain? It contains a short preface 
and seven petitions. 

What do you call its preface? T/hese words: "Our Father, who 
art in heaven." 

THE PREFACE. What does the word Father remind us of? 

That God is our Father, and that we, therefore, ought to pray 
to Him with childlike reverence, love, and confidence. 

We are told to pray to God and call Him Father, to express 
our childlike reverence. Although God is our loving Father, 
still He is also the Supreme Lord of heaven and earth, and this 
fills us with holy reverence. This reverence should not be servile, 
but childlike. We. should pray to God with love, for as a father 
is filled with infinite love for the child, so also the child should 

the Preface with regard to these questions. 


be filled with love for his father. The father s love for his 
child should inspire the latter with confidence that the divine 
Father will hear the prayer if it is for the child s welfare. God 
requires this love from us. He desires to be called Father. 

Why do we say Our Father, and not My Father? 

Because, as God is the Father of all men, we all are His chil 
dren, and should, therefore, love one another as brothers, and 
pray for one another. 

All men, rich and poor, high and low, prince and pauper, are 
alike before God, children of one Father, brothers and sisters. 
For this reason we do not pray in a selfish manner for ourselves 
alone, but for all of us. St. Augustine says : "We should gather 
from these words that our neighbor s welfare should concern us 
as much as our own." Thus the first two words of the Our 
Father preach to us the great commandment of the love of God 
and of our neighbor. 

Why do we add the words, "Who art in heaven" ? 

To call to our mind, 1. That God, though He is everywhere, 
dwells especially in heaven, where we hope to see Him one day 
face to face. 2. That we are but pilgrims upon earth, and that 
our true country is in heaven; and, 3. That when we pray, we 
must detach our hearts from all earthly things, and raise them 
up to heaven. 


Of what does the word Father remind us? That God is our 
Father, and that we should pray to Him, therefore, with reverence, 
love, and confidence. 

If we call God Father, what, then, are we? We are His children. 

How ought we, as children, to pray to Our Father? With child 
like reverence, love, and confidence. 

Why do we say Our Father and not My Father? Because God is 
the Father of all men, and we, therefore, as brothers and sisters 
should pray for one another. 


The Pious Shepherd. A priest was one day traveling through the 
mountains of France when he perceived a boy at a little distance, 
feeding his sheep on the hillside. He went to speak to him. "My 
child," said he, "you must feel very lonely all day here by yourself." 
"Oh, no, father," said the boy, "I am not at all lonely, for I have 
always something to do." "And what do you do?" rejoined the 
priest. "I have a beautiful prayer that I say/ replied the child. "Is 


it such a very long one," said the priest, "that you are busy all day 
saying it?" "No, father," replied the boy, "it is a very short one. 
and yet I can never get to the end of it." "How is that?" asked the 
priest; "but first tell me what prayer you say." "It is the Our 
Father," said the shepherd; "but when I first say the words Our 
Father, who art in heaven, I come to a stop and can go no further." 
"Why so?" asked the priest. "Because I can not help crying," re 
plied the child, "when I think of these words. Is it possible, I say 
to myself, that I can have God for my Father God, who made that 
beautiful sky, that bright sun, those lofty mountains, and all the 
grand universe! And yet I know that it is true, and that He allows 
me, a poor shepherd boy, to call Him by the name of Father, and He, 
on His part, loves and cherishes me as if I were His only child. 
Then, when I think of all this, I begin to weep, and can not get on 
with my prayer. See, father," continued the boy, pointing with his 
finger over the valley, "see, there is the little village where I live. 
It is very small, and has only a few poor cottages. My family is 
the poorest of all, and yet I can call God my Father as truly and am 
as much loved by Him as if I were the greatest gentleman in the 
city. I am a child of God just the same as he. This it is which 
makes me weep, and hinders me from finishing the prayer." "My 
boy," replied the priest, much moved; "do as you have been doing, 
and God will love and bless you." So saying, the good father went 
on his way, praising Almighty God, who has hidden the mysteries of 
His goodness from the proud and worldly wise, and has revealed 
them to His chosen little ones.. 

THE FIRST PETITION: "Hallowed be thy Name!" 

In the first petition we ask that the name of God may not be 
profaned or blasphemed, that God may be rightly known, loved, 
and honored by us and by all men. God, His omnipotence, jus 
tice, and goodness should be made known and glorified. To this 
end God created the visible world, so that in created things we 
may perceive His glory and magnitude, and praise His holy 

But not only by us shall the name of God be hallowed, but 
also by others. 

The first petition includes our desire, 1. That others also may 
not profane the name of God ; 2. That they, too, may attain to a 
knowledge of the true God; and, 3. Glorify God evermore in 
word and deed. 


What do we ask for in the first petition, "Hallowed be Thy name"? 
That the name of God may never be profaned or blasphemed, but that 
God may be rightly known, loved, and honored by us and by all men. 



The Swearer and the Our Father. A certain man had the bad 
habit of swearing often on the most trifling account. He was cured 
of it in a very singular way by a little girl of five or six years old. 
The child, unable to hear without indignation the sacrilegious words 
uttered by this man, one day asked her mother if she thought Mr. 
So-and-so said the Lord s Prayer every day. The mother answered 
that she did not know. The little girl was determined to make sure, 
and watching him closely, she one day really perceived him saying 
the Lord s Prayer. Scarcely an hour after, the most revolting blas 
phemies were heard from him again. The little girl then went up to 
him and said with serious air: "Mr. So-and-so, you said the Lord s 
Prayer this morning, and asked that God s name be hallowed?" 
"Well, yes! but why do you ask the question?" "Why, how could 
you pray to God that way, when you abuse His holy Name all day 
long and thus grievously offend Him?" The culprit, not expecting 
any such question, especially from a little child, felt the blush rising 
to his forehead; and, what is better, he was never after heard to 

THE SECOND PETITION: "Thy kingdom come!" 

In the second petition we ask: 1. that the kingdom of God, 
the Church, may be more and more extended upon earth; 2. 
that the kingdom of divine grace and love may be established in 
our hearts, so that, 3. after this life we may all be admitted into 
the kingdom of heaven. 

The Saviour Himself called the Church upon earth His king 
dom; sometimes He spoke of the kingdom of God in us. We 
pray also for the kingdom of truth God s kingdom outside us ; 
the kingdom of grace and justice the kingdom of God within 
us; and the kingdom of salvation the realm of God above us. 

The kingdom of God upon earth, the Church, is extended prin 
cipally by missionary work. For this reason we should, 1. Sup 
port the Church to the best of our ability; 2. Thank God fre 
quently and with our whole heart, that He has, without any 
merit on our part, admitted us into this kingdom; 3. Ask God 
for the grace to persevere in this kingdom; 4. Promise God to 
establish the kingdom of virtue and justice in ourselves and to 
strengthen it evermore. God Himself desires to dwell in us and 
reign in us, therefore, we should, above all things, seek the king 
dom of God and His justice. 

There is yet another kingdom, the kingdom of sin, of vice, 
and the evil spirit. This kingdom must be exterminated, de 
stroyed, annihilated. 


We ask, further, that God may lead us after this life into the 
kingdom of everlasting bliss. This kingdom, however, accord 
ing to Jesus own words, suffers violence, i. e., it takes labor 
and effort to attain it. 

And not only during life, but at the hour of death as well, we 
should pray, "Thy kingdom come," i. e. f "Admit us into Thy 
heavenly kingdom." 


What is the second petition? It is: "Thy kingdom come." 
Of how many kinds is the kingdom of God? The kingdom of God 
is of three kinds: 1. The kingdom of God outside us or about us, the 
Catholic Church. 2. The kingdom of God in us, the kingdom of love 
and grace. 3. The kingdom of God over us, heaven, eternal bliss. 

What else do we pray for in the words: "Thy kingdom come"? 
We pray God that after this life He may conduct us into the kingdom 
of eternal bliss. 

THE THIRD PETITION. In the third petition we ask 
that we and all men may do the will of God on earth, as faith 
fully and cheerfully as the angels and saints do it in heaven. 

If we wish to attain eternal happiness in the kingdom of God, 
a condition and a means thereto is the fulfilling of God s will. 
Jesus said, "Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord ! shall 
enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of 
my heavenly Father." God revealed to us in the Old Law His 
holy will, in the Ten Commandments, and Jesus, in the New 
Law, has reaffirmed the Ten Commandments. Jesus said, "I 
am not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to bring 
them to perfection." The divine Will should be done promptly, 
faithfully, and cheerfully, as the angels and saints do it in 
heaven. This we are unable to do without God s grace, the 
more so as our wills, in consequence of original sin, are in 
clined more to evil than to good. We should, then, not only 
make a resolution to do God s will, but we should also pray to 
God for the grace thereto. This petition reminds us also of the 
sufferings that God sends us in His wisdom. In such sufferings 
we must pray with Jesus in the Garden of Olives, "Father, not 
my will, but Thine be done." 



What is the third petition? "Thy will be done on earth as it is 
in heaven." 

What does Jesus say concerning this? "Not every one that says 
to me, Lord, Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he 
that doeth the will of my heavenly Father." 

THE FOURTH PETITION. We ask in this petition that 
God give us all that is necessary for our soul and body. As man 
consists of body and soul, so has he two kinds of necessities: 
corporal and spiritual. For this reason Jesus teaches us to ask 
for the necessities of the body and of the soul, with the words, 
"Give us this day our daily bread." This petition, however, is 
not to be taken as if we were merely to ask for bread or for 
our bodily nourishment, but by the word bread is understood 
everything that belongs to our corporal wants and welfare, for 
man can, as a rule, do good only while he is in strength and 
good health. There are people who have everything in abund 
ance, and they may think they have nothing to ask for. But 
they also are subject to adversity and illness, as well as the poor 

The word give in this petition does not mean that we expect 
God to look after our needs without effort on our own part. 

We only ask in humility that God may bless our labor with 
good results. You know there are some poor people who, no 
matter how hard they work, do not seem able to get along. God 
in His wisdom knows what is best for all of us; still we may 
pray to be blessed with success. 

We say, Give us, praying not only for ourselves, but also for 
others. We ask for bread, not for costly food, but only for that 
which is most necessary. We add to our petition the word 
to-day, so as to remind us that our heart ought not to be occu 
pied with undue solicitude for the morrow, but that we ask God 
for that which we need to-day. The words of Holy Scripture 
remind us of this, "Let us not be solicitous for the next day, 
for each day has its own cares." 

Besides the bread as nourishment of our body, there is a 
bread for the soul, manna, the bread of heaven, the most Holy 
Eucharist. We also should desire this bread, and we ask God 
for this, too. The Word of God also is nourishment for the 


soul, for Jesus says, "Man lives not only from bread, but from 
every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." "I am 
the Bread of Life, they who come to me will not hunger for 
evermore." Let us, then, pray confidently and devoutly for 
that which we require daily for body and soul, and let us cheer 
fully share what we have with the poor. 


What is the fourth petition? "Give us this day our daily bread." 

What do we ask for in the fourth petition? We ask that God 
would give us all that is daily necessary for our soul and body. 

What do we need for our soul? We need forgiveness of our 
sins, and God s grace to practise good. 

What are our necessities for the body? We need food, clothing, 
dwelling, health. 

Which necessities stand higher, those of the soul or those of the 
body? The necessities of the soul. 


Hermann, the Tailor. There lived in a village in Germany a tailor 
whose name was Hermann. For twenty years this good man sup 
ported his family by working at his trade, and during all that time 
they never knew what want was. He also had, by his good example 
and by watchful care, taught his children to serve God in this world, 
that they might be happy with Him forever in the next But in the 
year 1770 hard times came over the country, and the good Hermann 
was without work. Very soon he had to sell even the furniture of 
the house to buy bread for his little ones. At last even this failed 
him, and one morning he rose from his bed without knowing where 
he was to find a morsel of food for his famishing children. He was 
surrounded by them crying for bread, and holding out their little 
hands to him. "O father, we are so hungry," they cried, "give us 
something to eat." These words pierced his very heart. To console 
them he said: "I have nothing just now to give you, my dear chil 
dren, but try and have a little patience till mid-day, and then we 
shall have enough to eat." "But where will it come from?" they all 
cried out. He pointed with his finger toward heaven; and then 
rising up, he left them that they might not see his tears. He went 
into the next room, and, falling down on his knees, prayed in these 
words: "O my Lord, who has taught me to ask of you: give us this 
day our daily bread, shall I have the grief to see my little ones die 
of hunger before my eyes? Thou, who givest food to the birds of 
the air, come and help us, for now is the time of great need." As he 
was ending this prayer, one of the children came running to tell ham 
that there was some one at the door who wanted to speak to him. 
It was a lady who came to ask him to make clothing for her three 
sons, who were to assist at a marriage in a few days. To induce 
him to do the work quickly, she brought him a little present, which 


she said would likely be acceptable in these hard times. She took 
from a basket she was carrying- in her hand, a loaf of bread, some 
meat, a little bag of flour, and other articles of food. Hermann then 
told the lady of the sad state to which they had been reduced, and 
how he had that very hour promised his children food, without 
knowing- whence it was to come. The lady was moved to tears at 
his story and his pious confidence in God. Before going- away she 
told him that as long as the hard times lasted she herself would 
provide for him and his family. Who can describe the joy of that 
happy family and their gratitude to God for His Fatherly assistance. 
They sat down to table, and after begging the blessing of God, they 
partook with joy of the food that He had sent in answer to their 

THE FIFTH PETITION: "Forgive us our trespasses, as 
we forgive them that trespass against us." 

This petition consists of two parts: a supplication and a 
promise. The supplication says, "Forgive us our trespasses !" 
The promise is, "As we forgive them that trespass against us. 

The faults we have committed should fill us with sorrow and 
contrition. In contrition we should ask forgiveness. Further 
more, we pray not only for the forgiveness of our own sins, but 
also for the forgiveness of our neighbor s sins. To obtain for 
giveness of our sins, and to remove the enmity between us and 
God, the chief condition is that we promise God earnestly and 
sincerely that we forgive those that have offended us. He, there 
fore, who has not the intention and the sincere will to forgive 
his enemy from his heart, lies in his prayer. This petition 
should banish all hatred, all ill will, all animosity from our 
hearts, so that we may deserve God s grace and mercy. 


What is the fifth petition in the Our Father? "Forgive us our 
trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." 

When we ask God to forgive us our trespasses, what do we mean? 
Our sins. 

What do we add to the petition for forgiveness of our sins? The 
promise that we, too, will pardon those who offend us. 

What will happen to those that would not forgive their enemies? 
God will not forgive them, either. 


St. John and the Nobleman. We read in the life of St. John, 
Patriarch of Alexandria, surnamed the Almoner on account of his 
extraordinary charity, that he had on several occasions tried in 


vain to reconcile to each other two noblemen who had quarreled and 
lived in a state of mortal enmity. At length, despairing of moving 
them by words and entreaties, he sent for the one who showed the 
greatest degree of obstinacy, inviting him to come to his house and 
assist at the Mass which he was about to celebrate in his private 
oratory. The nobleman accepted the invitation, and on his arrival 
the Saint began the Mass, and proceeded as far as the Pater Noster, 
or Our Father, which it was the custom, at that time, for those who 
assisted at the Mass, to recite along with the priest. St. John 
accordingly began it, and the nobleman said it with him; but as 
soon as he reached the fifth petition, the Saint came to a full stop, 
and left the nobleman to finish it alone. Then, turning to him, he 
exhorted him earnestly to weigh the meaning of the words he had 
pronounced; that there, in the vary presence of Jesus Christ, he had 
implored God to pardon him or not, according as he forgave or 
refused to forgive his enemy. The nobleman was so struck with 
this reflection, that he fell at the Saint s feet, promising to dismiss 
all thoughts of revenge, and to go at once and ask his enemy s for 
giveness. As soon as the Mass was ended he proceeded to do 
as promised, and from that moment became a sincere friend of his 
former adversary. 

THE SIXTH PETITION: "Lead us not into temptation." 

We ask that God remove from us all temptations, all occasions 
of sin, or, at least, give us sufficient grace to resist them. 

The resistance to temptation causes a struggle, and every 
struggle tires us. Therefore, we must be on our guard, in order 
that temptation may not overcome our strength. Jesus exhorts 
us to this with the words, "Watch ye and pray, that ye enter not 
into temptation." If we ask God to avert temptation from us, 
we must, of course, not wilfully seek out occasions of sin, be 
they persons or places, remembering the words, "He who seeks 
the danger shall perish in it." If we have God to help our own 
earnest effort we can not fail to gain the victory ; hence, we must 
beg God s assistance. 

Why does God permit us to be tempted ? 

1. To keep us humble; 2. To increase our zeal for virtue and 
our merits. 

Everything that God sends us tends to our good, and His 
paternal love does not permit anything to happen to His chil 
dren which is not best for them. Thus temptation teaches us to 
know our weaknesses, leads us to self-knowledge, and to con 
fidence in God. Without temptation there would be no combat; 
without combat no victory. Holy Scripture says, "God will not 


tempt you above your strength." Every temptation which man 
overcomes increases his merits. 

Precaution requires watchfulness in temptation. To watch 
fulness we must add prayer, that God may give us strength to 
overcome temptation. The best way to combat temptations by 
inclination is to practise the opposite virtues. The temptation 
to unbelief should be met by an act of faith; the temptation to 
intemperance by fasting, etc. 


What is the sixth petition of the Our Father? "Lead us not into 

What are temptations? They are inducements to commit sin. 

What must we do so as not to yield to temptation? We must 
struggle against it. 

What ought we to do to diminish exterior temptation? We should 
avoid those places and persons where and through whom we might 
be led into sin. 

THE SEVENTH PETITION: "Deliver us from evil." 

We pray that God preserve us from all evil of soul and body, 
especially from sin and eternal damnation. 

"From evil" means from that which separates us from God. 
Everything is good that corresponds to God s holy will and leads 
us to God. We call also the sufferings of this world evils, because 
they are the consequences of sin. We ask, then, in the seventh 
petition that God will preserve us from the real evil sin and 
its disastrous consequences, eternal damnation, and temporal 
evils, as sickness, war, poverty, famine, etc. We should not, 
however, put this request unconditionally, but only on con 
dition that if it is best for us, which God in His wisdom alone 

At the end of the Our Father, as also of other prayers, we 
join the word "Amen." This means "So be it!" This little 
word expresses our confidence and our ardent desire to be heard. 
We may be confident of being heard because God by virtue of 
His omnipotence can give us every good, by virtue of His good 
ness will give us every good, and by virtue of His faithfulness 
intends to give us every good. 

The desire of being heard lies in prayer itself, for if we did 
not so desire we would not pray. 


The application of this instruction is that we should say the 
Lord s Prayer with reverential attention, remembering that we 
have received it from our divine Redeemer Himself. We may 
not only recite the entire Our Father, but repeat its particular 
petitions on suitable occasions, for instance, "Thy will be done !" 
"Hallowed be thy name," or "Lead us not into temptation." 


What is the seventh petition? "Deliver us from evil." 

What means to deliver? Deliver means to set free. 

From what do we ask God to deliver us? From all evil and 

What is really only evil? Evil is really only that which separates 
us from God, namely, sin. 

What else is called evil by mankind? Sickness, poverty, war, 
famine, etc. 

What are these earthly evils? They are the consequences of 
original sin. 

For what should we pray with regard to earthly evil? For 
patience to bear with resignation the sufferings of this world if God 
wills that they should visit us. 

How did Jesus pray in His agony in the garden? He said: 
"Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass away from me; yet 
not my will, but thine be done." 

The Angelic 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. 

The prayer usually added to the Our Father, namely, the Hai] 
Mary, also called the Angelic Salutation, is a prayer said in 
honor of the Mother of God. 

This prayer is called the Angelic Salutation because it begins 
with the words which the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary at the 
annunciation. It is called also the Ave Maria, from its first 
Avoids in the Latin version, or Hail Mary, its beginning in our 

You must know that we do not adore the saints, but pray to 
them for their intercession with God. The Angelic Salutation 
is almost as old as Christianity, for since the earliest Christian 
times the words of the angel and of St. Elizabeth, which it also 
contains, have been used in praying to the Blessed Virgin. As 


the Our Father is the most excellent,, sublime,, and most beautiful 
of prayers because taught to us by our divine Saviour Him 
self, after it the Angelic Salutation is most worthy of our par 
ticular regard. For in it we use the words with which the angel 
delivered his message from God, and the words which, by divine 
inspiration, Elizabeth spoke to the Blessed Virgin : "Blessed art 
thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb !" The 
form of this prayer is as sublime as its origin. Of its effective 
ness St. Bonaventure says, "As often as you greet Mary she 
greets you in return," i. e., she is ready to give us consolation 
and the blessings which she asks and obtains for us of her 
divine Son. 

Why do we add the Hail Mary to the Our Father? 

That the Blessed Mother of God may support our weak prayer 
by her powerful intercession with her divine Son. When we 
beseech God Almighty, we feel that we are unworthy of His 
graces and blessings; besides, our prayer is often imperfect and 
wanting. For this reason we pray to the Blessed Mother of God, 
that she, whose prayers are most potent, may support our sup 
plication by her intercession. We confess, also, in adding the 
Hail Mary to the Our Father, that the veneration of Mary is 
rightfully joined to the glorification of her divine Son, and pro 
fess our Catholic faith before those who deny to the Blessed 
Virgin and Mother of God the due honor, of which she once 
prophetically spoke, "Behold, from henceforth all generations 
shall call me blessed." 

The Hail Mary is composed of two parts a prayer of praise 
and a prayer of supplication. 

The prayer of praise is composed 

1. Of the words of the angel, "Hail (Mary) full of grace, the 
Lord is with thee ; blessed art thou among women" ; and, 2. Of 
the words of St. Elizabeth, "And blessed is the fruit of thy 
womb," to which we add the name Jesus. 

The second part of the Hail Mary consists of a prayer of 
supplication, added by the Church, "Holy Mary, Mother of 
God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. 

The angel Gabriel spoke the words mentioned when he an 
nounced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would become the 


Mother of God (Luke i, 28). The word "hail" is an expression 
of respect and of greeting, out of regard to the exalted dignity in 
which Mary was to participate. 

The name Mary signifies Star of the Sea. 

She is indeed a star of the sea, which as a guiding star shines 
for us upon the stormy sea of this world, in dangers and tempta 
tions, in doubt, anxiety, and need. 

Why do we address Mary by the words, "Full of grace"? 

1. Because Mary was filled with grace even before her birth; 
2. Because she always increased in grace; and, 3. Because she 
brought forth the Author and Origin of all graces. 

Mary is full of grace because the Lord has poured out upon 
her the entire fulness of His grace. 

"In truth," exclaims St. Augustine, "to whom should the 
Lord grant more graces than to her who was deemed worthy to 
conceive, and to give birth to, the Author of grace ?" 

St. Thomas Aquinas says, "The Blessed Virgin received such 
fulness of grace that she stands next to the Author of grace." 

This fulness of grace was received by Mary not only at her 
birth, but even before her birth. For this reason the Catholic 
Church declares as an article of faith the dogma that Mary 
was conceived and born without sin, that she was not burdened 
with original sin such as is the fate of other human beings. This 
article of faith is commemorated in the Feast of the Immaculate 
Conception. Hence, the Catholic Church calls Mary the Mother 
of divine grace, a spiritual vessel. 

2. The grace with which Mary was gifted increased without 
ceasing. As a growing tree spreads forth its boughs and 
branches, so did Mary always grow in grace. 

3. Mary is called full of grace, also, because she gave birth to 
the Author and Dispenser of all graces. 

Why do we say, "The Lord is with thee"? 

Because God is, in a most particular manner, with the Blessed 
Virgin, wherefore she is justly called the Chosen Daughter of 
the Heavenly Father, the true Mother of the divine Son, and 
the Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Ghost. By grace the soul is 
united to God, and as Mary was full of grace, so also was God 
through His grace united with her in a most particular manner. 


God is with all the just ; however, as Mary was just in the high 
est degree, therefore God was with her in a special manner. 

St. Bernard says, "The Lord is with thee, as a father with his 
daughter whom he carefully protects; as a bridegroom with his 
spouse whom he dearly loves; as a king with his consort whom 
he holds in high esteem." 

What is the meaning of the words, "Blessed art thou among 
women" ? 

They mean that Mary is the most favored of all the daughters 
of Eve, because: 1. She was chosen before all to be the Mother of 
God ; 2. She alone is Mother and Virgin at the same time ; and, 
3. She was made the instrument through which salvation came 
to mankind. 

The angel as well as Elizabeth called Mary blessed ; blessed 
will she be called for all times, as she herself foretold, "Behold, 
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, for he that 
is mighty hath done great things unto me." It was said of her, 
too, in the Bible, "Blessed art thou, above all women; thou art 
the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel, the honor of our 

Mary is blessed because it was she who, on account of her vir 
tues, was chosen from among thousands to be the Mother of 
the Saviour of the world. How many exalted ladies, daughters 
of kings and of princes, would have considered themselves most 
fortunate had they been selected for this great dignity ! And 
Mary in all her humility was chosen. 

St. Bonaventure says, "God might have created a greater 
world, a more stupendous sky, but never a greater Mother than 
is the Mother of God." 

But Mary is most blessed to the whole human race, for she 
brought salvation. 

Why do we add these words, "Blessed is the fruit of thy 
womb, Jesus"? 

To show that the veneration of Mary is inseparable from the 
adoration of Christ, and that we praise the Mother for the sake 
of the Son. 

Jesus was united for the greater part of His life on earth with 
His Mother Mary. The shepherds found the Infant Jesus with 
His Mother. Jesus was subject to her. In response to her wish 


He performed His first miracle, at the marriage of Cana. She 
stood beneath the Cross when Jesus died. As Jesus and Mary 
were inseparable in life, so also is the veneration of Mary in 
separable from the adoration of the Son of God. 

When we think of our Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ, 
how can we fail to think, quite involuntarily, of His Mother? 

Derision of the saints is an indirect derision of God, who dis 
tinguished them ; so also is abuse of His Mother really an abuse 
of Christ Himself. Those words contain the actual reason for 
her veneration. If, on account of her exalted virtues, she de 
serves to be called blessed among women, yet the real reason 
of her veneration is the fact that her Son is Jesus Christ, the 
Redeemer of mankind. 

The prayer of supplication is composed of the words added 
by the Church, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us 
sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen." 

In the first of these words we emphasize once again the high 
dignity, the sanctity and purity of Mary, and then we implore 
her powerful intercession, i. e., in our present need and danger, 
in all anxieties and afflictions, but particularly in the last and 
most momentous hour of our life, the hour of death, which 
decides our fate for all eternity. 

Why were these words added by the Church? 

To rsmind us that we should invoke the assistance of the 
Blessed Virgin Mary, frequently and in all our affairs, but 
especially for a happy death. 

Mary is not only the Mother of God ; she is also our Mother. 
As such she knows our cares, our sufferings, our troubles, our 
needs, our anxiety, and she is ever ready to help us, through her 
intercession with God. For this reason we may, with confidence, 
turn to her and invoke her aid. We should, however, not only 
call upon her when in need, but we should venerate her at all 
times, be ever her loving and grateful children, and strive to 
imitate her great virtues. The Mother of God is particularly 
our help at the hour of death; she fortifies us in that terrible 
struggle, aids us to combat the last temptations of the evil one, 
and, as St. Jerome says, accompanies our souls before God s 

There is besides the Hail Mary another form of prayer par- 


ticularly recalling the mystery of the Incarnation and Mary s 
part in it. It is called the Angelus. It also is considered by the 
Church of particular merit, and the bell is rung three times a 
day to remind the faithful to say this prayer. The text is : 

"The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary. And she con 
ceived of the Holy Ghost." Then a Hail Mary is said. 

"Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me ac 
cording to thy word." Another Hail Mary. 

"And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt among us." 
Finish with a Hail Mary. 

Why do we say this prayer? 

1. To give thanks to God for the Incarnation of Christ; 2. To 
honor the Blessed Virgin, and to recommend ourselves to her 

What other prayers do we say especially to honor and invoke 
Mary ? 

1. The Eosary; 2. The Litany of Loretto; and, 3. The Salve 
Regina, and others. 

1. The Rosary. The Rosary is divided into, (a) The joyful 
mysteries; (b) The sorrowful mysteries; (c) The glorious mys 

These three connected are called the whole Rosary, or Psalter, 
because it consists of one hundred and fifty Hail Marys, as the 
Psalter numbers one hundred and fifty Psalms. The Rosary 
dates from the time of St. Dominic, who, in the fifteenth cen 
tury, introduced it to obtain Mary s intercession against the 
heretics of that time. 

The incessant repetition of the Hail Mary in the Rosary 
renders our supplication particularly earnest and intense, and 
the commemoration of the mysteries has for its purpose to im 
press the s me profoundly upon our mind and heart. 

This form of prayer is called a Rosary, or wreath of roses, 
because our many salutations are joined together like a wreath 
of roses. The joyful mysteries are, as it were, the green leaves; 
the glorious mysteries, the roses; and the sorrowful mysteries, 
the thorns. 

2. The Litany of Loretto. So called because it was first 
prayed in the Grace Chapel at Loretto. 

3. The Salve Regina, a beautiful prayer which you all should 


know. There are also some other well known prayers to the 
Blessed Virgin, like the Memorare of St. Bernard, and others. 

Let us close this instruction by resolving to honor the Blessed 
Virgin in a most particular and childlike manner, to implore 
her assistance in all necessities and troubles, and to strive 
eagerly to imitate her virtues. 


Why is this prayer called the Angelic Salutation? Because it 
begins with the same words with which the angel saluted Mary 
when he brought to her the message that she was to be the mother 
of God. 

When we pray to God, what do we know well? We know that 
because of our sins we are unworthy of the grace and assistance of 

For what reason, therefore, do we invoke the mother of Jesus? 
That she may join in our prayer and intercede for us with God. 

What other purpose have we in adding the Hail Mary to the Our 
Father? We thereby profess our faith in the powerful intercession 
of Mary. 


The Criminal and the Hail Mary. A certain murderer had been 
condemned to death, and although the day of his execution was near, 
he refused to make his peace with God. A Jesuit father employed 
all manner of means to convert him: prayers, tears, exhortations 
all to no effect. At length the priest said: "Let us say the Hail Mary 
together." The prisoner, just to get rid of his visitor, consented, and 
no sooner had he begun to pray when tears began to fall from his 
eyes, and he made his confession, full of contrition and humility. 
Blessed Mary had obtained for him the grace of repentance, and he 
went to his death with a little statue of Our Lady in his hands. 

"Mary, Help Me!" A young man, who had many times fallen 
into grievous mortal sin, went to confession. The good priest was 
greatly grieved on learning that the youth had fallen so often. But 
to encourage him the priest said: "My son, I will tell you an easy 
means of overcoming the temptations to which you have so often 
yielded; if you do what I tell you, you will never fall again." "O my 
father," the youth replied, "tell me what it is, for with my whole 
heart do I desire to overcome these evil habits." "Place yourself 
entirely under the protection of the Blessed Virgin," said the priest, 
"say a Hail Mary every morning and every evening in honor of her 
immaculate purity, and whenever you are tempted to do evil, say to 
her at once, O Mary, help me, for I am thine. " The young man 
followed this advice, and with his own earnest effort and the help 
of the Blessed Virgin he was entirely delivered from his evil habits. 


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 con 
ceived 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 be 
lieve 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, or profession of faith, is, as the word implies, a 
formula whereby we affirm our belief in certain religious truths. 
This Creed is called the Apostles Creed because it has come 
down to us from the Apostles. 

It contains, in twelve articles, the things which we as Cath 
olics must above all know and believe, namely, the fundamental 
truths of the Christian faith. The Apostles Creed consists of 
twelve parts. Each part is complete in itself, but in connection 
with the other parts it forms a chain. Now, as we can not take 
away a part of a chain without breaking it, neither can we 
take away any article of the Apostles Creed without making 
our faith deficient. 

The first article treats of God the Father Almighty, Creator 
of heaven and earth. 

Articles second to seventh treat of Jesus Christ, the only 
Begotten Son of God, our Lord, His life, passion and death, 
His Eesurrection and Ascension. 

The eighth to the twelfth treat of the Holy Ghost, and what 
He accomplishes in the Church and by the Church. 

Another summary can be made by dividing the Apostles 
Creed into four chief parts, namely : 

1. God, as Creator of the world, angels and men. (I article.) 

2. God as our Eedeemer. (II to VII articles.) 

3. God as our Sanctifier, through the Holy Ghost. (VIII, IX 
and X articles.) 

4. God as our last end and Saviour, in the four last things of 
man. (XI and XII articles.) 

Holy tradition tells us concerning the origin of the Apostles 
Creed that the Apostles composed it before they separated to go 


into the world, so as thereby to hold fast to the unity of the 
Catholic faith. 

The Apostles Creed is an act of faith. We should therefore 
say it frequently and devoutly because it puts before us briefly 
the truths of Catholic belief, and serves thereby to strengthen 
and fortify our faith, especially in temptations against the 

The Apostles Creed is composed in its twelve parts as fol 

1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven 
and earth, 

2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, 

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin 

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and 
was buried. 

5. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from 
the dead. 

6. He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God 
the Father Almighty. 

7. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the 

8. I believe in the Holy Ghost; 

9. The Holy Catholic Church; the communion of Saints; 

10. The forgiveness of sins, 

11. The resurrection of the body, 

12. And life everlasting. Amen. 

We should not forget the other beautiful symbolical profession 
of faith, which the Catholic Church has in her feast days, which 
she celebrates throughout the year in memory of the most im 
portant mysteries of the Christian faith. 

The feasts of the Annunciation and Christmas, for instance, 
are solemn professions of the third article of the Creed. 

Holy Week is a solemn profession of the fourth article. 
Easter is a solemn profession of the fifth, the feast of the 
Ascension is a solemn profession of the sixth, Pentecost a solemn 
profession of the eighth, and the feast of All Saints and All 
Souls a solemn profession of the ninth article. 

In the course of the Catechism we shall have occasion to con- 


sider more closely each article of faith and shall learn exactly 
the meaning of each of them. 


Of what have we spoken? Of the Apostles Creed. 

Why is it called the Apostles Creed? Because it comes down 
from the Apostles. 

With what intention did they compose the Creed? So as to 
preserve the unity of the faith. 

What does the Apostles Creed contain? It contains the funda 
mental truths of the Catholic religion. 

How is the Apostles Creed divided? Into twelve articles, or 
truths of faith. 

To what did I compare the Apostles Creed? To a chain, which 
consists of twelve links. 

What happens when one of the links is taken from a chain? 
The chain loses its connection, it is broken. 

What do we mean by this comparison? We mean that if we do 
not believe every article of the Creed, our Christian faith is not 

Does the Apostles Creed contain everything that a Catholic 
Christian must believe? No, it does not contain everything that we 
Catholics must believe. 

Tell me, for instance, a Catholic doctrine which is not in the 
Apostles Creed? That Jesus Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist. 

What does the Apostles Creed contain? It contains only the 
fundamental truth of our Catholic faith. 

What must we also believe in addition to the truths contained in 
the Apostles Creed? Everything that our Holy Church teaches. 

What other professions of faith does the Catholic Church practise? 
A symbolical profession of faith. 

What do we mean by that? We mean the different feasts which 
the Catholic Church celebrates throughout the year. 


A Martyr of the Creed. St. Peter of Verona, who lived at the 
time of the Manichean heresy, had always shown great zeal in learn 
ing, professing and preaching the Creed. The Manicheans, whom he 
steadfastly opposed, contrived to put him out of their way. Lying 
in wait for him along a road one night, an assassin fell upon him 
and struck him with his ax. St. Peter, though seriously injured, 
began his favorite prayer, the Apostles Creed, and dipping his finger 
in the blood flowing from his wounds found strength to write on the 
ground the word Credo, I believe. The assassin, thereby still more 
enraged, then stabbed him, and St. Peter gave up his soul to God 
while reciting the Creed. 


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, and 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 a beautiful prayer, which the priest says at the be 
ginning of the Mass, asking that the Lord may cleanse his heart 
for the worthy celebration of the Holy Sacrifice. It is also said 
by the altar boys, in the name of the faithful, just before the 
priest comes down from the altar to administrate Holy Com 
munion. It is most beneficial to recite this prayer every even 
ing before going to bed and follow it by an examination of con 
science, especially with regard to the sins committed during the 
day. You should form this pious and salutary habit now, and, 
if kept up through life, the promise of everlasting life made to 
those that are truly penitent, will be also fulfilled in you. 

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. 

The Church teaches that faith is a virtue infused by God into 
our souls, by which we believe, without doubting, what God has 
revealed, and also what He proposes by His Church to our belief. 

Herein is contained : 

1. That faith is a virtue granted to us by God, a present, and 
a gift of God s grace; also that a man and Christian has not 
faith of himself. 

2. That we not only must believe what God has revealed, but 
also what He has proposed to our belief through His Holy Cath 
olic Church. 


3. That we must believe all this undoubtingly, firmly, uncon 
ditionally, and not think that this or that which faith teaches us 
could be otherwise. 

Why must we believe what God has revealed? Because God 
is the eternal and infallible truth. God is the eternal truth, 
because He has ever, that is from eternity, revealed only the 
truth. God is infallible truth because He can neither err nor 
lie, nor make a mistake. What means, "All that God has re 
vealed"? It means all that God has made known for our 
salvation by the patriarchs and prophets, and later by His 
Son Jesus Christ and the Apostles. God, in His infinite love 
for mankind, wished by revelation to become, as it were, our 
Teacher. He wished to impart to us in the plainest and most 
complete manner all that which would render us happy for time 
and eternity. This communication of God to mankind for their 
salvation is called Revelation. Revelation is divided into the 
revelation of the Old Law and the revelation of the New Law. 

By the Old Law we mean the time before the coming of Jesus 
Christ, and by the New Law the time after Jesus Christ. By 
the revelations of the Old Testament we mean those revelations 
which were given to mankind before the coming of Jesus Christ. 
In the Old Testament God revealed Himself to our first parents 
in Paradise, then to the righteous Noe, the obedient and peace- 
loving Abraham, then to Moses, and the prophets. But to fill up 
the measure of His love, God revealed Himself in the New 
Testament by His Beloved Son Jesus Christ and His messen 
gers, the Apostles. 

The Old Law lasted, as you know, from the creation of the 
world until the birth of Jesus Christ, and embraces a period of 
more than four thousand years. Since the coming of Jesus 
Christ over nineteen hundred years have passed. The question is, 
therefore: "Do we still know to-day what God has revealed?" 
Answer: "Yes, we know it still." "How did what God has re 
vealed come down to us?" "What God has revealed has come 
down to us partly written and partly by word of mouth ; written 
in Holy Scripture or in the Bible; verbally by Tradition. We 
divide, therefore, the revelations of God into the written and the 
unwritten Word of God. The written Word of God is Holy 
Scripture, or the Bible; the unwritten Word of God is Tradition 


or verbal delivery." "What is the Holy Scripture ?" "The Holy 
Scripture is a collection of books which were written by the 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and acknowledged by the Church 
as the Word of God." 

a ls it enough to believe only those doctrines which are con 
tained in Holy Scripture?" "No, we must also believe Tra 
dition., i. e. 9 those revealed truths which the Apostles preached, 
but did not commit to writing. St. Paul, therefore, exhorts the 
first Christians by saying: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and 
hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word 
or by our epistle" (II Thess. ii, 14). 

The unwritten Word of God is called Tradition because it has 
been handed down in the Catholic Church from the time of the 
Apostles to the present day. But why must we believe Tradition, 
as well as what is contained in the Holy Scripture? Because 
Catholic Tradition was revealed by God, as well as that which is 
contained in the Holy Scripture, and only differs from it inas 
much as it is not written down in the Bible. 

The holy evangelists wrote only a brief sketch of the life, 
works and teachings of Jesus. 

Tradition is even necessary, because it can and does determine 
how a passage of Holy Scripture must be interpreted, when there 
exists a doubt about it, i. e., about its interpretation. In this 
sense all the Councils of the Church express themselves, in par 
ticular the fourth Council of the Church at Constantinople, 
which expressly teaches : "We must accept with reverence and 
observe the laws and institutions of the Apostles and of the 
Catholic Church, whether they be written down or preserved by 

That we may venerate Tradition, it is necessary to know 
through whom Tradition has been handed down to us, namely, 
the Holy Fathers of the Church. These men, who by the 
sanctity of their lives as well as by their eminent gift of teach 
ing distinguished themselves, have always been acknowledged by 
the Church as authentic witnesses to Tradition. 

"What, then, must the Catholic Christian in general believe ?" 
"He must believe all that God has revealed and the Catholic 
Church proposes to his belief, whether it be contained in the 
Holy Scripture or not." 


The proof of this, that we must believe the teaching of the 
Catholic Church, as to what God has revealed, we take from 
Holy Scripture. Jesus said to His Apostles: "He that heareth 
you, heareth me." He, then, who hears the Church, hears Jesus 
Christ,, and whoever hears Jesus Christ hears God. 

"Why is it necessary that the Catholic Church should propose 
the revealed truths to our belief?" The Catholic Church takes 
the place of Jesus Christ upon earth. For He said expressly to 
His Apostles : "As the Father hath sent Me, so do I send you." 
Wherefore He granted them the assistance of the Holy Ghost. 

"How can we infallibly know alone from the Catholic Church 
what God has revealed?" 

1. "Because it is from the Catholic Church only that we have 
the Scripture and Tradition which contain the Divine Kevela- 
tions. The heads of the Catholic Church, as the lawful successors 
of the Apostles, collected the Holy Scriptures most carefully, with 
the assistance of the Holy Ghost, and guarded them conscien 
tiously, that not one of these writings should become falsified." 

2. "Because it is through the Catholic Church alone that we 
infallibly know the true meaning of the Scripture and Tra 

The Holy Scripture is not easily understood, it must be ex 
plained by some one. Therefore, Jesus said to His Apostles : 
"Go ye and teach/ Many passages of Holy Scripture can be 
interpreted differently. Only the appointed teacher can explain 
the true and right meaning. 

May no one, then, presume to explain the Scripture and Tra 
dition contrary to the interpretation of the Catholic Church? 

No, for this would be as if he understood the Scripture and 
Tradition better than the Holy Ghost, who inspires the Church 
with the true understanding of it. The Holy Ghost, who inspired 
the Apostles when they wrote the Holy Scriptures, is to-day still 
the Helper of the Catholic Church, so that she may explain the 
right meaning of the Holy Scripture. If each individual were to 
interpret the Holy Scripture as he liked, by degrees its truth 
would bg lost and faith would no longer have a firm foundation. 
It is therefore necessary that the teaching office of the Catholic 
Church should give us the right meaning of the Holy Scripture. 



What is faith? It is a virtue infused by God into the soul. 

What is the meaning 1 of this? The Christian does not possess 
the virtue of faith of himself, it is a free gift of God. 

In what does this virtue granted by God consist? It consists in 
this, that we believe without doubting whatever God has revealed, 
and what the Catholic Church proposes to our belief. 

How must we believe all this? We must believe it without 

How did what God has revealed come down to us? What God 
has revealed has come down to us partly written, and partly by 
word of mouth; written in the Holy Scripture and verbally by 

What else is Holy Scripture called? It is called the Bible. 

Has everything been written down that Jesus and the Apostles 
taught? No, not all has been written down. 

How did those teachings and revelations which were not written 
come down to us? By Tradition, or word of mouth. 

Must we believe Tradition as undoubtingly as we do Holy 
Scripture? Yes, we must believe Tradition as firmly as we believe 
Holy Scripture. 

For what reason? Because Tradition contains the revealed truths 
as well as Holy Scripture does. 

May any one interpret the Scripture and Tradition contrary to 
the Church s meaning? No; for that would be pretending to under 
stand the Scripture and Tradition better than the Holy Ghost, who 
inspires the Church with the right understanding of the same. 


The Princess Dream. There was once a princess who had been 
taught in her childhood the truths of Faith, but, like many others, be 
gan in after years to neglect her religion, and gradually to lose her 
faith, because she claimed she could not believe in anything that she 
could not see with her own eyes. One night she had a dream: She 
seemed to be walking alone in a forest, when suddenly she came upon 
a blind man seated at the door of his cottage. "Have you always been 
blind?" she asked. "Yes," he replied, "from my birth." "Then you 
have never seen the beautiful sun and its light." "No," he answered, 
"and I have not the faintest idea what it is like, but I firmly believe 
that it must be very beautiful." Then becoming very serious, he 
added: "You say you will not believe unless you see and under 
stand: learn from my example, that many things you can not see 
are just as true as those things you do see and understand." The 
princess awoke and took to heart the profitable lesson which her 
dream had taught her. 

The Protestant Reduced to Silence. "What is there to guarantee 
to you the infallibility of your Tradition?" said a Protestant one day 
to a priest. "Hand me a Bible," said the latter. The Protestant 
gave him the book, which the priest opened and examined, and then 
laid down, saying with feigned indignation: "I asked you for a Bible, 


sir, not that book of fables you here offer me." "The book I gave 
you," said the Protestant, greatly scandalized, "is the great Book 
of books, containing the old and the new covenant of God with men." 
"And how do you know that this book is the divine work of which 
you speak, and not a book of fables invented some time or other in 
the olden days?" "How do I know it? Why, by the infallible testi 
mony of our forefathers who from age to age have transmitted this 
book to us as the Word of God." "Ah, you admit, then, an infallible 
tradition, you who protest against Tradition in the Church!" 


Having explained to you the object of faith, let us now con 
sider the necessity of faith. 

In general those things are necessary for man which he abso 
lutely must have, without which he can not possibly exist. For 
instance, air is absolutely indispensable to life. Without air 
man could not live. 

Furthermore, food is necessary for man s existence. With 
out food he would starve. 

In the same way as there are things necessary for the welfare 
of the body, so are there things necessary for the welfare of the 
soul, and one of these is faith. 

Faith is indispensably necessary for salvation. Holy Scrip 
ture says : "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Faith 
is, as we have already heard, the foundation stone upon which 
our holy religion is built; it is, as St. Augustine says, the soul 
of Christian virtue. It is the ladder by which, as it were, we 
climb up to salvation, the key with which we can open heaven. 
Without faith we can do nothing to merit eternal life. Without 
faith it is impossible to please God. The proof of this we draw 
from Holy Scripture. The Apostle St. John says: "He who 
believeth not is already judged." That means in other words: 
"Those who do not believe bear already within them the sentence 
of condemnation." 

And the evangelist St. Mark says : "He who believeth not will 
be condemned." Those therefore who do not believe will be 
shut out from communion with God, from the Vision of God, 
and eternal bliss ; their lot will be eternal damnation. 

It is decidedly not a matter of indifference as to which faith 
we confess ; for it is not every faith that gives salvation ; only the 
true faith, which Christ the Lord has taught us, will save us. 


We draw the proofs of this also from Holy Scripture. Christ 
says: "He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but 
he that believeth not in the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath 
of God abideth on him." Jesus therefore promises eternal life 
to those who believe in Him, and says of those who do not believe 
in Him that the wrath of God will remain upon them. 

In another part of Holy Scripture Christ says: "I am the 
Way, the Truth and the Life." Christ here calls Himself the 
Way, because it is only through Him, and through belief in 
Him, that we can attain to our supreme aim, which is heaven. 

Christ calls Himself the Truth, because His teaching is the 
only divine, and the only true teaching. Jesus calls Himself 
the Life, because we can obtain eternal life only through His 
teaching. , . 

In another place Christ says: "No one cometh to the Father 
but through me;" that is to say, by faith in Jesus Christ and 
by obeying His teaching. 

The true faith, which Christ the Lord and His Apostles 
taught, is opposed to false faith, or heresy. 

Whatever is contrary to truth is falsehood. Those doctrines 
therefore are false which are not in accordance with the teaching 
of Jesus and His Apostles, and those, of course, which are op 
posed to the doctrines of Jesus, and proceed from men who 
have fallen away from His doctrines. 

"But why does that faith alone save us which Christ the Lord 
has taught?" 

"Because without this faith we can have no part in Christ; 
without Christ there is no hope of salvation." 

As no one can reach his goal by the wrong path, so is it im 
possible to obtain salvation by any other but the right path; 
that is, by the true faith as taught by Christ. 

Here, too, Holy Scripture affords us the proof : St. John says : 
"There is no other name given to man under heaven, whereby 
he may be saved." 

Jesus says : "He who is not with me, is against me. He who 
gathereth not with me, scattereth." And the Apostle St. Peter 
spoke: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of 
eternal life." 

It would therefore be a sin to maintain that any and every 


faith could save us; for then God need not have given us any 
revelation, and our forefathers might just as well have remained 
heathens. God would not have needed to send His only Be 
gotten Son into the world, if it mattered so little which faith 
we had. There is only one true faith, and this true faith is 
possessed by the Catholic Church alone. She has always pre 
served it without error, as a heavenly treasure confided to her. 
There are besides the Catholic Church numerous other re 
ligious bodies, but they have received their doctrine not from 
Jesus and the Apostles, but from men who had fallen away from 
Christ and from the true faith. 

Thus in the sixteenth century Luther, and Henry VIII, fell 
away from the Catholic Church, by rejecting the doctrines of 
Indulgences, of Purgatory, and of the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, and teaching that faith alone was necessary for salva 
tion. Their followers are called Protestants. 

When a false doctrine finds adherents, then sects arise, that 
is, separate parts or cuttings. 

The holy doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, says of the 
sects : "All sects fell away from the Catholic Church like useless 
twigs which fall off the vine." 

Everyone, therefore, who is a member of the Catholic Church 
can not thank God enough for the great grace of being born in 
the Catholic Church. 

Through the Catholic Church we are members of that body 
of which Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour and Eedeemer, is 
Himself the Head. We are thereby members of a Church which 
is conducted and ruled by the Holy Ghost Himself. 

Through the Catholic Church we participate in the blessings 
and graces of that Sacrifice which is renewed daily upon our 
altars in an unbloody manner the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Through the Catholic Church we stand, as members of the 
Church Militant, in communication with the Church Triumph 
ant, the saints in heaven, who constantly pray for us at the 
throne of God. 

We are thereby children of a loving Mother, the Church, who 
never forsakes us during our whole life, who welcomes us at our 
birth through Holy Baptism, and accompanies us to the grave; 
who comforts us in crosses and sufferings and even in the great- 


est conflicts; who does not abandon us in the hour of death, 
when she bestows on us the last Sacraments and Holy Viaticum. 
Is it not a great grace to be a member of the Catholic Church? 

Melanchthon, a follower of Luther, himself gave a strik 
ing proof of this truth, although he had fallen away from 
the Catholic Church. 

When his mother asked him upon her death bed whether she 
should embrace the new faith, or remain in the old, he answered 
her : "The new doctrine is easier to live in, but the old faith is 
best to die in." 

The Catholic faith resembles a precious treasure, a priceless 
pearl. He who possesses a precious treasure, a priceless pearl, 
guards it with anxious solicitude that this treasure may not be 
stolen from him. We should rejoice that we are children of the 
Catholic Church. But we should not be so in name only, but 
in the fullest sense of the word. 

Although conscious of possessing the truth, we must never 
scorn those of other faith; they may be of the best intention, 
and many of them are just and righteous people. They are 
brought up to look upon their faith as the right one, and in 
the course of their lives, with God s grace, they may yet accept 
the Catholic faith. 


"Is faith necessary for salvation?" Yes, faith is indispensably 
necessary for salvation. 

Which faith must we have to attain to everlasting bliss? The 
true faith. 

Which is the true faith? The true faith is that taught us by 
Christ the Lord. 

What is a doctrine which is contrary to the true doctrine of Jesus? 
It is false. 

From whom do false doctrines proceed? From men who have 
fallen away from the Catholic Church. 

If, then, the faith taught by Jesus Christ is the only one which 
leads to salvation, what would it be if anyone were to affirm that 
every faith leads to salvation? It would be a sin. 

Why has the Catholic Church alone the true faith taught by 
Christ? Because the Catholic Church alone has received this faith 
as a heavenly treasure confided to her by Christ Himself through 
His Apostles, and has always preserved it unchanged. 

How should we behave toward those who are not of our faith? 
We should be kind and tolerant toward them. 

In what does true Christianity consist? In not only believing 
what Jesus has taught, but in also leading a Christian life like Christ. 



Our faith should be: 1, general; 2, firm; 3, living; and 4, 

1, General: Our faith is general when we not only believe 
some things, but everything which Christ has taught and the 
Catholic Church proposes for our belief. 

I shall give you a few examples. Suppose a person believes 
in God the Father, and in God the Son, but not in the Holy 
Ghost, his faith would not be general. Another one believes in 
heaven and hell, but not in purgatory. His faith is not general. 
Or someone doubts the institution by Christ of one or other of 
ttie Sacraments. His faith is not general. 

Our faith must, 2, be firm. Anything is firm which with 
stands assaults. Thus a great tree stands firm. The most 
violent storm is unable to uproot it. The rock also stands firm 
in the sea. The waves and breakers dash upon it, as if they 
would crumble it to pieces, but it does not move. Our faith 
is firm when we believe without wavering in the least. True 
faith doubts not. It believes the truth which it can not see, and 
which it can not fully comprehend and grasp with its mind. A 
firm faith not only believes the revelations which are contained 
in Holy Scripture, but those also which have been handed 
down to us by tradition. Such was the firm faith of Noe. 
Without hesitation he built the Ark, and feared not that the 
flood would overwhelm it. And so was the faith of Abraham. 
He was ready to sacrifice his only son, and he did not doubt the 
promise that God would make him the head of a great people. 
The centurion of Capharnaum likewise had a firm faith. He did 
not doubt that Christ could cure his servant, even without- see 
ing him or laying His hands upon him. Therefore Jesus said : 
"Verily, I have not found so great (firm) faith in Israel." Still 
a doubt may arise within us, against our will, as a temptation, 
and that is not a sin, if we immediately oppose it with the deter 
mined will to believe everything which God has revealed and 
which the Catholic Church proposes to our belief. We are 
obliged to avoid persons, places and occasions which might 
arouse in us doubt of our faith. 

Our faith should be, 3, living. Living is contrary to lifeless, 


dead. Our faith is living when we live according to it; that is 
to say, do good and avoid evil, as the faith bids us. 

If a person believes that God is omnipotent, omniscient and 
just, he must avoid anything that will offend God, otherwise 
his faith is without life, is dead. 

If a person believes that the authority of God is absolute, he 
must obey it, or his faith is dead. If we believe that the Church 
is a house wherein God dwells, our behavior therein must be 
edifying, otherwise our faith is dead. A living faith resembles 
a fruitful tree; it has leaves, blossoms, and fruit. But a dead 
faith resembles a withered tree; it has neither leaves, nor 
blossoms, nor fruit. 

Holy Scripture relates to us the parable of the unfruitful tree 
upon which the Lord looked for fruit, but never found any. At 
last He ordered the barren tree to be cut down and burnt. 

Our faith should also be, 4, steadfast. 

Those persons are steadfast who can not be made to change 
their just views and principles, and whose righteous will can not 
be bent. That man is steadfast in the faith who neither by prom 
ises, threats, nor even martyrdom itself is induced to fall away 
from his faith. We have examples of this in the holy Martyrs. 
No pain, torture, or suffering can be imagined that these Martyrs 
did not have to undergo for the sake of their faith. They re 
mained steadfast; with cheerful courage they endured every 
thing rather than give up their faith. 

In the year 1590, in Japan, twenty thousand Christians were 
crucified, or burnt, but they were all steadfast in the faith, they 
all met death courageously. He who is not steadfast in the faith 
resembles a reed which is driven by the wind hither and thither. 
The- steadfast faith, however, is like the rock in the sea which 
is immovable even in the most violent storm. 


How must our faith be? It must be: 1, general; 2, firm; 3, living; 
4, steadfast. 

Are all doubts against faith a sin? No. 

Which doubts against faith are not sins? Those which come to 
us against our will. 

What should we do when doubts about faith arise in us against 
our wills? We should immediately oppose them with a determined 


will to believe everything that God has revealed and the Catholic 
Church proposes to our belief. 

When is our faith living? Our faith is living when we live up 
to it, i. e., do good and avoid evil as our faith prescribes. 

What is contrary to a living faith? A dead faith. 

When is our faith dead? When we do not live up to it. 

What leads to falling away from the faith? 1. Pride and an 
over-curious reasoning about the mysteries of our holy religion. 

As pride exalts itself above all things, and humbles itself at 
nothing, it will not subject itself to the light of faith. It speaks 
as the Egyptian king Pharao once did when he asked: "Who 
is the Lord whom I ought to obey ? I know of none." 

As water extinguishes a flame, so does pride extinguish the 
light of faith. It was pride which caused the fall of our first 
parents ; they wanted to be like God. It was pride which blinded 
the heretics and schismatics of all times and caused them to 
stray away from the true doctrine. Pride was also the cause 
of the fall of the bad angels, and cast them into hell. Over- 
curious reasoning about the mysteries of our holy religion con 
sists in this, that a person wishes to grasp, comprehend and 
fathom with his mind the inscrutable mysteries of our holy 
religion. But this is impossible here below. 


The essence of God is inscrutable, the mysteries of our holy re 
ligion are incomprehensible. The legend tells us how St. Augustine, 
the great Doctor of the Church, was reproved, because he tried to 
search into the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity. He was walk 
ing on the seashore, when he beheld a little boy who was busily 
pouring the water of the sea into a little hole. "What are you doing 
there?" St. Augustine asked the child. 

The child replied: "I am trying to put the sea into this little hole." 
"My dear child!" said St. Augustine, "you are surely not so foolish 
as to imagine that possible?" The child replied, however: "As im 
possible as it is for me to pour the sea into this little hole, so is it 
just as impossible for you to investigate the mystery of the Most 
Blessed Trinity." With these words the child vanished. It was an 
angel, who at God s command was to teach St. Augustine that man s 
reason, with all its penetration, is not capable of sounding a mystery 
of our holy religion. We may, however, reflect upon the mysteries 
of our holy religion so as to render them plainer and clearer to us. 

The second cause which leads to falling away from faith is : 
Neglect of religious duties. Under this head belong: the fre- 

40 AN ACT OF F. 

quent reception of the Sacraments, diligent hearing of the word 
of God, attending the services of the Church, and especially 
prayer. The more lukewarm a Christian is in fulfilling his 
religious duties, the more he strays away from God, until finally 
he falls away from God entirely. This sort of person is like a 
stone that rolls down a mountain. It rolls quicker and quicker,- 
until at last nothing can stop it in its descent. Just as it dis 
turbs everything in its way, and draws other stones in its path 
with it into the abyss, so is it not sufficient for a fallen away 
Catholic to go to ruin himself, but he seeks to draw others with 
him to perdition. 

Worldly-mindedness, and a vicious life, lead also to a falling 
away from Catholic belief. Worldly-mindedness is chiefly di 
rected toward the satisfying of sensual desires, according to 
the words of the Apostle: "Everything that is in the world is 
concupiscence of the eyes, concupiscence of the flesh, and the 
pride of life." As, however, money is necessary for the satis 
fying of desires and passions, an undue love of money is as a 
rule connected with it, that passion which seeks only after the 
possession of transitory goods. Thereby the human heart clings 
more and more to Mammon, which ensnares the whole soul, and 
disturbs, or at last stifles, every divine emotion. For this reason 
Holy Scripture says: "We can not serve God and Mammon." 
And in another part Holy Scripture says: "Those who wish 
to become rich fall into temptation, and into the snares of 

That worldly-mindedness does not agree with a religious mode 
of living is to be gathered from the words which Christ ad 
dressed to the young man : "If thou wilt be perfect, go, and sell 
what thou hast, and give it to the poor, and come, follow me." 
A vicious life also leads to a falling away from God. A person 
who is addicted to sin and vice will have nothing to do with the 
faith, for it tells him : "There is a just God who will punish 
vice in eternity." Very many persons fall away from the faith 
rather than abandon their vicious lives. The idol of the miser 
is money, of the glutton food and drink, of the unchaste the sat 
isfying of his sensual desires. Such men give up their faith in 
God, and set up their passion as their idol, to which they sacri- 


fice their time and strength, conscience and honor, health and 
life, peace and comfort, even their eternal salvation. 

Another cause of falling away from God is the reading of bad 

As natural poison kills the body, and as a poisonous snake by 
his bite causes death and destruction, so it is with bad books. 
They make youth acquainted with vice and represent it as virtue, 
they excuse vice and make virtue ridiculous. They tear away 
with force the root of all good from the human heart, disturb 
therein faith, hope and charit} r , and the desire for everything 
exalted, and lead finally to an entire apostasy from God. 

Finally, associating with bad persons leads to a falling away 
from God. "He who touches pitch denies himself." It is not 
enough for the unbelievers to throw themselves into the abyss, 
they drag others with them. 

In what way should we show particularly that our faith is 
firm and steadfast? 

By never denying it, not even in appearances. 

To deny one s faith means, either from fear of men or love 
of gain or other reasons, to deny being a Catholic. We deny our 
faith in appearance when we behave exteriorly as if we were not 
Christians, though we wish to remain Christian at heart. 

It is a denial of the faith when we are ashamed to make the 
sign of the Cross in the presence of others, to kneel down at the 
elevation or in presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament, or to 
observe the days of fasting and abstinence, and so on. A good 
Catholic confesses his faith, upon reasonable occasion, in words 
and deeds, and does not allow himself, through the fear of man 
or other causes, to deny his faith. He is mindful of Christ s 
words: "Everyone that confesses me before men, I will also 
confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that 
shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my 
Father who is in heaven." Of him who is ashamed of his 
Saviour, who has suffered so much on account of his sins, the 
Saviour will also be ashamed when He again comes at the end 
of the world in His glory. 

In conclusion let me ask you, dear children, to value your 
holy Faith more than anything else on earth. The Church 
teaches only what is good, she points out the way to heaven, she 


leads us to eternal happiness. The teaching of the Church is 
not man s word, it is God s. And the word of God is the 
foundation upon which alone we can erect the edifice of our 
eternal salvation. The Word of God is the star which illumines 
the path to our heavenly country. The word of God is the 
anchor, to which we must make fast the ship of our earthly 
life, that it may not be wrecked in the assault of sin and 
passions. The word of God is the invisible hand by which God 
will conduct us into the kingdom of everlasting peace. He who 
holds fast all his life to the teaching of the Church, will not go 
astray, but will find the way to eternal salvation. 

The Blessed Cure of Ars and the Protestant. The Blessed Cure 
of Ars once gave a religious medal to a Protestant who visited him. 
The Protestant exclaimed: "Your Reverence, you have given a 
medal to one who is a heretic, at least from your point of view. But 
although not of the same religion, I hope we shall both one day 
meet in Heaven." The saintly priest took the gentleman s hand in 
his own, and answered, "Alas! my friend, we can not be together in 
Heaven, unless we have begun to live together in this world. Death 
makes no change in that. As the tree falls so shall it lie. Jesus 
Christ has said, He that does not hear the Church, let him be to 
thee as a heathen and a publican, And again, There shall be one 
fold and one shepherd, when He made St. Peter the chief shepherd 
of His flock." Then, in a voice full of sweetness, the priest added, 
"My dear friend, there are not two ways of serving Jesus Christ; 
there is only one good way, and that is to serve Him as He Himself 
wishes to be served." These words sank deeply into the Protestant s 
heart, and led him finally to renounce the errors in which he had 
been brought up, and to become a fervent Catholic. 

An Act of Hope 

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

The second of the three theological virtues is hope. To hope 
means in general to expect something good, promised us by 
another. Hope presupposes, therefore: 

1. That some one has promised us something good. 

2. That he who has promised this has also the means of ful 
filling his promise. 

3. That he, furthermore, will remain true to his promise. 
First of all, then, we ask the question, "What are we to hope 


for from God?" Because man consists of body and soul, he has 
therefore two different kinds of wants: bodily wants and wants 
of his soul. Our body requires for its preservation chiefly nour 
ishment. The wants of our soul are: 1. God s grace for the 
practise of good; and, 2. Forgiveness of our sins. 

The grace of God is necessary for us, because without it we 
can not begin, or accomplish, even the least thing for our salva 
tion. The forgiveness of sin is necessary for us: 1. Because, as 
Scripture says, "Nothing denied can enter into heaven" : and, 
2. Because all the good that we do in the state of sin has no 
merit for heaven. 

"Has man the right to hope for something good from God?" 
Yes. 1. Because nothing evil can come from God the all-holy; 
and, 2, Because God has given us, through His Son Jesus Christ, 
the promise, "Ask, and you shall receive; knock, and it shall be 
opened unto you; everything that you ask the Father in my 
name, that he will give unto you." Hope is a fruit of faith. For 
this reason the Apostle Paul says, "Faith is the substance of 
things to be hoped for" (Heb. xi, 1). 

Now let us ask, is God able to give us what is needed for soul 
and body? 

Most certainly; for He is Almighty. That which all mankind 
and the powers of the earth are not capable of doing, even with 
their united strength, is possible to God in His omnipotence. 

And will God give us what is best for us ? 

Yes; for He is all love and goodness. And as our aim is to 
obtain eternal happiness in the vision of God, therefore God is 
willing to give us the means of attaining that aim. 

Will God keep His promise? 

Of that there can be no doubt, for God is faithful. He fulfils 
what He promises. 

Does God know what is best for us? 

Yes; for nothing is hidden from His wisdom. From many 
examples in sacred history we see how God knows how to turn 
to good even that which appears to men to be an affliction. I will 
only remind you of Joseph and his brethren, of the child Moses, 
of Aman and Mardochai, of Susanna, etc. 

How should we hope in God? 

1. With childlike confidence. As a little child is convinced 


that nothing bad can come from his beloved father, so should we 
be convinced that nothing bad can come from God, and that God 
will most surely give us what we ask for if it is good for us. 

2. We must not be wanting in co-operation. To what pur 
pose should God have given us the grand powers of soul and 
body, but that we actively assist in working out our salvation? 
What superiority would man have over the animals which God 
sustains without their co-operation ? After Jesus had healed the 
man born blind, by touching him with spittle and earth, He 
required from him, "Go to the pool of Siloe and wash thyself," 
Jesus bade Peter, on the lake of Genesareth, "Cast thy nets for 
a catch !" 

These examples plainly show that God demands our co-opera 

3. We should not by sin place an obstacle to divine love and 
grace. If some one wishes to visit me and to bring me a present, 
and I should refuse him admittance to my house by bolting the 
door, then I shall, of course, not receive the gift intended for 
me. By sin we drive away from us the Most Holy, and with 
Him also those blessings which God had intended for us. 

May bad men, like sinners and evildoers, also hope for some 
thing good from God ? 

Yes, for God rejects no sinner who turns to Him with con 
trition and repentance, asking grace and pardon. How edifying 
for the sinner is the parable of the lost sheep that the shepherd 
sought and found ! How consoling for him the parable of the 
prodigal son whom the father went out to meet, and having 
forgiven him, folded him in his arms and pressed him to his 
breast ! 

How may we sin against hope? 

1. By despair. 2. By distrust. 3. By presumption and false 

The first and greatest sin against hope in God is, therefore, 
despair, i. e., the absence of all hope. To this state of despair 
come great sinners who imagine that God will no longer help 
them. Therefore, they are completely discouraged and without 
hope. The result of such despair is very often suicide. The 
state of utter discouragement, the thought to be forsaken and 
rejected by God, is so terrible and awful for man that he often 


lays hands upon himself and becomes a suicide. An example 
of this is Judas, the Apostle. Jesus had chosen him to be one 
of the favored disciples, but Judas, for thirty pieces of silver, 
delivered his Master and Benefactor into the hands of the ene 
mies, to be crucified. Judas could not long endure the upbraid- 
ings of his guilty conscience ; he took a rope and hanged himself. 
The cause of most suicides, of which, alas, there are so many 
in these days, is despair. Hence it is necessary to consider from 
what sources despair arises. 

1. (a) A frequent reason is want of religious training. From 
this arises gross ignorance in regard to religion and morals. The 
result of this gross ignorance is often a vicious, criminal life, 
followed by the complete ruin of mind and body, weariness of 
life, and despair. 

(b) Adverse circumstances and sudden misfortunes. Many 
persons are so visited with sufferings as if all bitterness was 
gathered upon their heads, there to exhaust itself. Under such 
conditions the Christian should remember that "When there is 
greatest need the help of the Almighty is nearest." The most 
violent storm, -may it rage the whole night and ravage every 
thing, has, nevertheless, its bounds. 

Another cause of despair is sometimes a prolonged painful 
malady, a state of extreme weakness, also melancholy, sadness, 
disease of the mind. In no case are we allowed to condemn 
the unfortunate person who in despair takes his own life. God 
it is, who, according to the words of Scripture, searches the 
heart; to Him alone belongs the office of Judge. 

2. Another sin against hope in God is distrust, when our hope 
is wavering, when it is mixed with doubt as to whether God can 
or will help us. When the Israelites in the desert had no water, 
God commanded Moses to strike the rock with his staff. Moses, 
instead of obeying with firm trust in the Lord, doubted and was 
filled with distrust as to whether God really could help. As a 
punishment for this he was not to see the promised land except 
from afar ; he was not to enter it. 

3. When do we sin by presumption and false confidence? 

(a) When, relying on the mercy of God, we continue to sin 
without fear, or delay our repentance to the end of our life. 


(b) When we rashly and without good reason expose ourselves 
to a great danger, expecting that God will protect us. 

That person, therefore, is presumptuous who continues to sin 
without fear and puts off from one day to another his repentance, 
i. e., amendment of his life ; who continues thus in sin from year 
to year, from youth to manhood, from manhood to old age. This 
is a great crime against God and against oneself; for who gives 
man the assurance that he will live until to-morrow? How 
terrible is the lot of such a man to be cut off suddenly by an 
unprovided death, and on account of his many and grievous sins, 
and, therefore, through his own fault, to be damned for all 

Truly God s mercy is boundless. He Himself has said, "If 
your soul is as black as night with sins, I will wash it as white 
as snow." But this sentence only expresses God s willingness to 
forgive the contrite and repentant sinner. The presumptuous 
man, however, has not the necessary spirit of contrition and re- 
pentence. He desires God, as it were, to reveal to him by a 
special sign the proximity of his death, so as to summon him to 
repentance. Another way in which we may, by presumption or 
false confidence, sin against hope is the demand of miracles, 
when, for instance, a person voluntarily exposes himself to a 
great danger, and expects God to save him from this danger by 
a miracle. For instance, a person would presumptuously jump 
from a high tower to find out whether God will save him by a 
miracle; or take poison; all this with the intention of demand 
ing from God to save them by miracle. Thus was Jesus tempted 
by His adversaries to perform a miracle. But He answered, 
"This perverse nation demands a sign of me, but none other will 
be given them than that of the Prophet Jonas." Jesus also was 
thrice tempted by Satan, but just as many times was Satan re 
pulsed. It has happened thousands of times that God has de 
livered men from evident danger of death because they trust 
ingly had recourse to Him. But in such cases these people were 
endangered without any fault of their own, or they braved the 
danger to do a necessary and good deed, as for example a fire 
man who at risk of his life saves a child from burning to death. 

When ought we most particularly arouse hope in God? 

In the hour of discouragement and affliction, in great suffer- 


ings, in temptations and anxieties, in danger of sinning. Then 
the hope in God s assistance will revive our courage and our 
strength; we shall thereby be encouraged not to leave all to 
God, but to do also on our part everything that lies in our 

In what manner may we also hope for temporal goods from 

As far as they help us, or, at least, do not hinder us, in our 
endeavor to obtain eternal salvation. Temporal goods are so 
called: 1. Because they only last for a time; and, 2. Because 
they are only of use to us for a time. Amongst these temporal 
goods we count our life, our health, our sound limbs, our senses, 
money, real estate, clothing, and so forth. All these things are 
transitory and have only a value for us as long as we live upon 
earth. Temporal possessions have a real value only then, when 
we employ them for the salvation of our souls in works of 
charity and mercy. Without temporal goods man can not live, 
for he needs food and clothing; he must have shelter, and he 
has many other necessities which are bought with money. We 
may, therefore, also hope that God will give us such temporal 
goods as are necessary for us. Jesus Himself showed us the 
need of temporal goods by paying the tax. For how much may 
we ask of God? Only for as much as is necessary for life, not 
for riches and abundance. Holy Scripture says, "Those who 
desire to be rich fall into temptation and into the snares of 
Satan." "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God" 
(Mark x. 25). Jesus taught us to ask only for our daily bread. 


What means to hope? To hope means to expect something good 
promised us by another. 

How should we hope in God? 1. With childlike confidence. 2. We 
should not be wanting in co-operation. 3. We should place no ob 
stacle to God s grace by sin. 

How do we sin against hope? 1. By despair and distrust. 2. By 
presumption and false confidence. 

What ought we to hope from God? Everything good for body and 
soul, the pardon of our sins, and eternal salvation. 

Why must we hope through the merits of Jesus Christ? Because 
we of ourselves, on account of our sins, have merited nothing from 


How far may we also hope for temporal goods from God? As far 
as they help us, or at least do not hinder us, to obtain eternal 

When ought we particularly place our hope in God? In great 
dangers and adversities, in temptations, at the hour of death. 


"God has Forsaken Us!" There was once a young man lying 
dangerously ill. He was the only hope of his aged parents, who 
were very poor, and his brothers and sisters were all too young to 
work. They had tried various medicines to cure him, but all in vain; 
he became weaker every day, and very soon it was apparent to 
everyone that there was no longer any hope of his recovery. As 
the parents were lamenting over their adversity a neighbor hap 
pened to come to inquire about the sick youth. "He is dying," they 
said, "there is no longer any hope; we have done everything that 
we knew of to make him better, but all in vain," and they began to 
weep bitterly. "Have you asked God to restore him to health?" said 
the neighbor. "Oh, no," they answered, "God has forsaken us alto 
gether." "How can you say God has forsaken you, since you have 
never asked Him to come to your assistance? You believe in your 
hearts that God can help you, yet you have not asked Him to do so. 
Where is your hope in Him? It is not sufficient to believe that God 
can assist you; you must also act according to your belief. Ask God, 
therefore, to make your son well again; most certainly He will do 
so, if He sees that it will be for his good." After these words of 
gentle reproof, the unhappy parents knelt down and prayed to God 
to restore their son to health if it were His blessed will. This they 
continued to do for several days, and at last they had the happiness 
to see him get stronger and finally rise from his sick bed. 

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 third of the theological virtues is the love of God, or 

To love some one means to live entirely for him, to think of 
him, to do everything to please him, and to avoid everything 
that displeases him. To love God, accordingly, means to live 
entirely for God, always to think of Him, to do what pleases 
Him, and to avoid everything that is displeasing to Him. 

What is the love of God ? 

A virtue granted us by God by which we love Him, the 


Supreme Good, with our whole heart, and seek to please Him by 
fulfilling His holy will. 

This answer means two things : 1. That man has not the love 
of God of himself, but that it is a virtue infused into his soul 
by God; and, 2. That this love shows itself by a complete sur 
render of oneself to God, through the fulfilment of His holy 
Will, of His holy commandments. 

What sins are chiefly opposed to the love of God ? 

In general all mortal sins, but in particular, 1. Indifference 
and aversion to God and divine things. 2. Hatred of Him and 
of His paternal dispensations. 

First of all every mortal sin is a sin against the love of God. 
By mortal sin is understood a grievous sin, by which we lose the 
grace of God, and render ourselves deserving of eternal damna 
tion. Mortal sins are serious offenses against God in important 
matters, committed with deliberation. God is not only the most 
holy and perfect Being, but He is also our best Friend and 
Father, our greatest Benefactor, to whom, therefore, we owe the 
greatest gratitude. He who commits a sin, particularly a mortal 
sin, forgets God s benefits and the gratitude due to his greatest 
Benefactor. We sin particularly against the love of God through 
indifference and coldness. Indifferent persons do not ask them 
selves from whence come the things they receive, whether from 
God or some one else ; they do not reflect how unhappy we should 
be if God should withdraw His hand from us ; they regard not 
the past nor the future, and are content with what satisfies their 

This condition of indifference and coldness may have two 
sources: 1. A superficial and worldly knowledge of God and His 
perfections; and, 2. A too great attachment to worldly things. 
No one, however, can serve two opposite masters ; he will love the 
one and hate the other. Holy Scripture exhorts us not to 
incline our hearts to sensuality, by saying, "Love not the world 
nor the things which are in the world" (I John ii, 15). 

From indifference there springs in time an aversion to God, 
and to divine things ; for instance, to prayer, to the receiving of 
the Sacraments and all works pleasing to God, to the hearing of 
His word, alms-giving, fasting, etc. All spiritual life is extinct 
in such persons; they resemble a withered plant. Their aversion 


will also extend to God s servants, the priests, and to virtuous 
and good people. 

A still greater sin against the love of God is hatred of Him 
and of His paternal dispensations. As love is the most exalted 
of the theological virtues, so also hatred of God is the most 
grievous sin ; for although every sin is an indirect offense against 
the love of God, yet the hatred of God is directly aimed at God 
Himself. This hatred of God is not only a turning away from 
the service of God, but it is a turning away from God Himself. 

Our faith teaches that God is omniscient and in His infinite 
wisdom sends sufferings and tribulations to man because they 
are beneficial for him, as we see by the examples of Tobias, Job, 
Lazarus, etc. God treats mankind as a physician will treat his 
patients. Bitter drugs are not pleasant to take; they are re 
pugnant to the sick man. After, however, he has been cured by 
them he thanks the physician for them. Some persons seem to 
foolishly think that God sends them sufferings and tribulations 
because He desires to torture and torment them. How sinful 
and absurd is such a thought ! How is it possible or conceivable 
that God in His boundless love could torture mankind, His 
children? Those who presume this of God, instead of thank 
ing Him and praising His wisdom, will get rebellious and 
maddened against God; yes, they will even curse Him. Those 
who harbor such hatred, enmity, and malice toward God are in 
great danger to die in this hatred and enmity and be lost for all 
eternity. Pray to God daily, therefore, that He may instil in 
your hearts the spirit of His love, so that you may live in His 
love, practise all your doings in His love, die in His love, and 
through the love of God be eternally united with Him. 


What does It mean to love? To love means to live entirely for 
some one, to think only of him, to do everything to please him and 
avoid whatever displeases him. 

What is the love of God? It is a virtue infused by God into our 
soul by which we give ourselves up, with all our heart, to Him, the 
sovereign Good, in order to please Him by fulfilling His will, and to 
be united with Him. 

Through what does our love of God show itself? It shows itself 
through a complete surrendering of ourselves to God by fulfilling 
His holy Will. 

What sins are chiefly opposed to the love of God? In general, 


all mortal sins; but in particular, 1. Indifference and aversion to God 
and divine things; and 2. Hatred of Him and of His paternal 

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. 

This prayer should be said in confession while the priest 
pronounces absolution. Also after your daily examination of 
conscience, before going to sleep. 

The Blessing Before Meals 

f Bless us, O Lord! and these Thy gifts, which we are about to 
receive from Thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen. 

Grace After Meals 

i 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. 


The Robe of St. Aphraates. St. Aphraates was born in Persia, 
but he became a hermit near Edessa, in Turkey. Anthemus, am 
bassador from the kingdom of Persia, thought to please the Saint 
by bringing him a precious garment from that country. Presenting 
him with the garment he said: "Father, people always love what 
comes from their own country; here is a fine garment made in your 
country, which I thought would give you pleasure." St. Aphraates, 
whose vow of poverty would not allow him to accept such a precious 
gift, and not wishing to offend his kind friend, took it, laid it aside 
and spoke of something else. Finally he said to Anthemus: "My 
lord, there is one thing that gives me a great deal of trouble." "What 
is it, father?" "I have an old servant who has served me some six 
teen years, and to whom I am much attached; now there comes 
another who urges me to take him in place of the other, under pre 
tense that he is from my own country. It seems to me that it is 
unjust to dismiss the one without any fault on his part, just merely 
to take the other." "You are very right, father; if I were in your 
place I would do as you do; why, indeed, should you discard him 
who has long served you faithfully, to take another simply because 
he is from your own country?" "That is what I wanted to know, 


my lord; take away, then, the garment you have given me, for I 
have one that has served me sixteen years and is still good, so I 
can not leave it off to put on another." Anthemus admired this 
clever answer, and appreciated the hermit s good reasons to refuse 
the gift. This story is very much to our purpose God has Loved us 
from the first, and He has never done anything but good; why, then, 
should we quit His service and depart from Him to attach ourselves 
to creatures who can not possibly do us any lasting good and very 
likely do us harm? 

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." 

Who can validly baptize? Any person in case of necessity. 
At all other times only priests, to whom the care of souls is 
given, are allowed to baptize. Baptism may be administered 
validly by any person if matter and form are correctly observed. 
Thus the love and goodness of God has provided that the Sacra 
ment most necessary for our salvation may be within the reach 
of all who desire it. No one, however, can administer Baptism 
to himself. As before stated, Baptism may be given validly by 
any one when necessity requires, that is, when the child, or 
adult, is in danger of death and it is impossible to secure the 
presence of a priest. Outside of such a case Baptism should be 
administered only by a priest, as Our Lord appointed the priest 
to be the dispenser of the Sacrament. When lay Baptism is to 
be given a man should be chosen to give it in preference to a 
woman, a Christian rather than an unbeliever. The ceremonies 
of Baptism may be dispensed with in a baptism of necessity, 
but later on, when the danger of death is past, these ceremonies 
are to be supplied. Then Baptism is to be repeated by the 
priest, conditionally, with the words: "If thou art not already 
baptized, then I baptize thee," etc. This is done for greater 
security, because Baptism is so necessary a Sacrament, and in 
the hurry and excitement of lay Baptism, an error may have 

What sort of water should be used in Baptism? Any natural 


water will do for the validity of Baptism. However, whenever 
possible, baptismal water, or water blessed for that purpose, 
should be used. 

Natural water is river, spring, or rain water. No artificial 
water can be used ; for instance, no toilet waters, such as cologne 
or other scented or prepared waters, etc., nor can any other 
liquids, such as wine, milk, etc., be used in baptizing, because 
Christ has made water the outward sign of Baptism. 

What intention must he have who baptizes? He must have 
the intention to administer the Sacrament of Baptism; that 
is, to do what the Church does, and what Christ has ordained. 
The intention to administer the Sacrament may be formed at 
the moment of baptizing, or beforehand, providing it perseveres 
to the time of administration of the Sacrament. 


Lesson First 


By the end of man we understand in this instance the purpose 
for which man is created, the aim for which he is to strive. 

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

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 body and soul, and made 
to the image and likeness of God. 

Man is the noblest of God s creatures upon earth because God 
has endowed him with such faculties that he is exalted above all 
other creatures of earth. Even in his body God has distinguished 
man. The bodies of animals are turned toward the ground, but 
man stands there erect. He looks up to heaven, the place to 
which he owes his being, and for which he is destined. Man 
alone of all creatures has the gift of speech to communicate 
his thoughts and feelings to others. God placed man as ruler 
over the earth and other visible creatures when He said to him, 
"Rule over the fishes of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and all 
living creatures that move upon the earth" (Gen. i, 28). 

But the faculties of the soul are far greater than those of the 
body. Adam and Eve were the first human beings, because there 
existed none before them. God Himself named them; Adam 
really means "man of earth," because God formed him out of 
the earth; and Eve means "mother of the living," because all 
mankind descend from her. 

How did God make the first man? "God formed a body of 
the slime of the earth, and breathed an immortal soul into it, 
and the first man was made" (Gen. ii, 7). This has a pro 
found significance. 



God formed the body of the first man from the earth to re 
mind us that we are one day to return again to dust and earth, 
in the grave. This admonishes all men to humility, particularly 
those who think a great deal of their beauty and are so proud 
of it. These persons should think of the rose, which blooms to 
day and to-morrow is withered. 

The soul of man, however, is, as it were, God s breath, a part 
of the Divine nature. This fact obliges us to strive not only to 
preserve the purity of our soul, but to become more and more 
like to God. 

Of what did God form Eve? Of a rib of Adam, whilst he 
was sleeping. 

God wished hereby to teach Adam that he should look upon 
Eve as part of himself, and that he should be of one heart and of 
one mind with her. 

*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 to God because it is a spirit that will 
never die, and has understanding and free will. 

God distinguished man at his creation from all other creatures 
"by creating him to his own image" (Gen. i, 27). 

When a child resembles its father or mother, people say, "He 
is the image of his father, or mother." If, therefore, man is an 
image of God, he must have something about him which makes 
him like unto God. Man can not be like God with regard to his 
body, because God has no body. Man, therefore, must resemble 
God in his soul. Holy Scripture affords us a proof that the first 
man was made to the image of God. God said, "Let us make 
man to our image and likeness" (Gen. i, 26). How was the 
first man the image of God? By being endowed with natural 
and supernatural gifts, which make him resemble God. By 
natural gifts we understand those which belong to the complete 
ness of our human nature, with which God endowed us when He 
created us. To these natural gifts belong, in the first place, 
body and soul, our five senses, and the powers of the soul, under 
standing, reason, and free will. 

By supernatural gifts, on the other hand, we understand those 


Divine gifts which we do not possess naturally. They are for us 
particular gifts of grace granted by God to lead us to a more 
exalted communion with Him, i. e., to holiness and righteous 

In what do the natural gifts consist ? Especially in this, that 
the human soul is (1) an immortal spirit, (2) endowed with 
understanding, reason, and free will. 

1. The soul is a spirit; that is to say, an invisible, bodiless 
being. This being is immortal, which means it can never die ; 
its existence has no end. Holy Scripture says, "God created 
man immortal, according to the image which is His likeness He 
created him." Unfortunately there are men, unbelievers, who 
maintain that man s soul dies with his body. These men place 
themselves on a level with animals. 

2. Man s soul is endowed by God with understanding, memory 
and free will. With understanding: man can think, and can 
lift himself up to God and the supernatural ; because of his 
free will he is able to will and to desire. Free will is necessary 
to man, for if the freedom of man s will were withdrawn, we 
should have to admit that God compelled him to act as he does. 
Now, if he were forced by God to do good, there would be no 
merit for him. God can not force men to evil, because He is holy. 

In what did the supernatural gifts consist? Especially in: 
1. Sanctifying grace; 2. Freedom from inclination to sin; 3. 
Freedom from hardships, suffering and death. 

1. Man possessed originally sanctifying grace, i. e., he was 
pure, holy, innocent, righteous, and pleasing to God; he was a 
child and an heir of God. 

2. Man was not tempted by bad desires. His desires and 
inclinations were uncorrupted; they were subject to the soul, 
and the soul was subject to God. The reason knew God, and 
the will only desired that which was right and good. Man s 
whole spiritual life was directed to God; it sought its joys and 
happiness in God alone. It lived wholly for God and in God. 

3. Man was not subjected to hardships and sufferings, nor to 
death. He was neither to know nor feel the hardships of human 
life; hunger and thirst, heat and cold, want and privation, 
fatigue, sickness and misfortune were unknown to him. He was 
to be immortal, and not subject to death. 


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 for 
ever in the next. 
*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 


A. We must take more care of our soul than of our body, 
because in losing our soul we lose God and everlast 
ing happiness. 

Man has been placed by God in this world with an aim set 
for him which he must endeavor to reach, with all the powers of 
his mind and body. Instead of the end and aim of man, we 
may also say the vocation of man. Everything created by God 
has a purpose or vocation. You will understand this better in 
regard to sensible things. For instance, the sun is there to light 
the day, the moon is there to illumine the night, flowers are 
there to gladden man by the splendor of their colors, or by their 
delicious perfume, the birds are there to entertain us with their 
sweet songs or to be useful in other ways. Water quenches our 
thirst, it serves for washing, cooking ; you may take any created 
thing you like each one has its purpose, its vocation. 

Man is superior to animals, plants and stones; he is a nobler 
creature and must have a nobler vocation. Eegarding man s 
vocation the Catechism says in answer to the question: "Why 
did God make you ?" "God made me to know Him, to love Him, 
and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him for 
ever in the next." 

These four vocations of man stand together in the most inti 
mate union, because one proceeds from the other. Our first 
vocation, then, is this: "to know God." We can learn to know 
some one : 

1. By his exterior, that is to say, by his person. 

2. Interiorly, that is to say, by his character and disposition. 
We learn to know some one personally if we see him several 

times, and we learn to know his disposition and his character if 
we associate with him for some length of time. God being a 


pure spirit and having no body, we can only learn to know Him 
by His Being, His perfections. God has given to man powers of 
the soul, reason and understanding wherewith he may learn to 
know Him. 

What are the means by which we arrive at the knowledge of 

1. By observing created things, the visible world. 

2. By the voice of conscience. 

3. By revelation. 

It is, therefore, the duty of every Christian to draw the 
knowledge of God from these three sources. 

We are exhorted thereto by the holy Apostle Paul with these 
words: "Be fruitful in every good work, and increase in the 
knowledge of God." Now, when we know God in His infinite 
perfections and in his boundless goodness, this knowledge of 
God leads us first of all to the esteem and love of God. He 
who knows God and His perfections will esteem Him as the 
Supreme Good ; he will have an ardent desire to please Him, and 
to be united with Him for ever ; that is, to possess Him eternally. 

Out of this ardent love and sacrifice to God there arises of 
itself obedience toward God, for when we really love some one we 
gladly and willingly fulfil his wishes. This cheerful fulfilling 
of the divine Will and laws, this unconditional subordination and 
subjection of man s will to the will of God is called serving God. 

Therefore the Apostle St. John says : "We thereby see that we 
know God if we keep His commandments." And God says 
in Holy Scripture: "He who has my commandments and 
keeps them, he it is that loveth me." To serve God, therefore, 
is to do His holy Will. But how should we serve God? Not 
from servile fear, but with childlike love. We should not be 
driven to serve God through fear of punishment, but from child 
like love. So as to encourage men to fulfil the divine Will, God 
promises them heaven, that is, to share with them that bliss which 
He Himself enjoys. Those who do not want to know God, who do 
not love Him and serve Him, will be cast off by God forever. 

The punishment of the wicked consists, therefore, in this, 
that they will be banished and rejected by God, and not only 
for a certain length of time, but forever, so that from this con 
dition of banishment there is no deliverance. Therefore, you 


see, dear children, how necessary it is to know God, to love Him 
and serve Him. 

One might think that all men would be reasonable enough to 
perceive the necessity of knowing God, of loving Him and serv 
ing Him, but such is not the case. If we look around us in the 
world we find that many persons strive more eagerly after other 
things than after the knowledge and love of God ; namely, after 
the possession of temporal goods and the satisfying of their 
sensual desires and inclinations. Such people are called children 
of the world, and of them Holy Scripture says : "Everything that 
is in the world is pride of the eye, pride of the flesh and the 
pomp of life." I exhort you, children, not to be deluded by the 
example of these worldly persons! All the pleasures of this 
world can not procure for you a true and lasting satisfaction. 
True happiness is found only in the knowledge, love and service 
of God, as well as in union with God. Just observe closely the 
life of these worldly persons. How they run and hunt after the 
possession of temporal goods! How they worry night and day 
so as to become rich and thereby obtain the means of enjoying 
themselves. And when they have enjoyed all the pleasures 
which this world offers, what have they left? Nothing. And if 
they had become possessed of all the wealth and treasures of this 
earth, could they take the least thing with them into eternity? 
Certainly not. Many of these worldly people never think 
about God; they do not pray to Him; they seldom or never 
go to church; they never listen to the Word of God; they 
are lukewarm about receiving the Sacraments; they go to Con 
fession and Holy Communion seldom or not at all. All spiritual 
life is dead within them. Their whole existence is nothing but 
work and amusement. They resemble the foolish virgins, who 
went to meet the bridegroom and took lamps with them, but no 
oil. By the oil we are to understand the good works which we 
should practise, the good example which we should let shine 
before our fellowmen. But as the foolish virgins could not enter 
into the marriage feast, so also will those persons be shut out 
from the vision of God and the bliss of heaven, who their whole 
life long care only for their body and temporal affairs, but not 
for their soul and their eternal welfare. 


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. 

We must, therefore, 

1. Believe everything that God has revealed. 

2. Keep all the commandments God has commanded us to 

3. Make use of the means of grace God has ordained for our 

The first requisite, then, is this: that we believe everything 
that God has revealed, for faith teaches us what our aim and 
vocation is upon earth, and what awaits us in the next life. 
However, faith without works (like a body without a soul) is 
dead. Consequently our faith must bear fruit, and show itself 
in works. The fruit of a living faith is the fulfilling of the will 
of God obedience. For that reason we must, secondly, keep the 
commandments which God has given us to keep. Therefore, 
Jesus once spoke these memorable words: "Not every one 
that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, but they who do the will of my Father." Now, as weak 
men we are incapable of keeping the commandments of God by 
our own strength; we need supernatural assistance. Therefore, 
God comes to help us with His graces. Those who wish to re 
ceive them must make use of those means of grace by which man 
is made a partaker in God s graces, namely, the holy Sacraments. 

10. Q. Plow shall we know the things which we are to be 


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

11. Q. Where shall we find the chief truths which the Church 

teaches ? 

A. We shall find the chief truths which the Church 
teaches in the Apostles Creed. 

12. Q. Say the Apostles Creed. (See page 25.) 



Of what did we speak to- day? Of the end of man, or, in other 
words, of the aim and vocation of man. 

How many aims are there? There are two kinds of aims, natural 
aims, and supernatural aims. 

What is understood by vocation? By vocation is understood the 
purpose for which a thing is intended. 

As man is the noblest of all creatures, what about his vocation? 
It must be the noblest. 

Is man in this world merely to eat, sleep, work, and so on? No, 
man has a higher vocation, because he is the chief of all creatures. 

Why is man the principal, creature of God? Because he has an 
immortal soul to enjoy God forever. 

What will become of those who refuse to know, love, and serve 
God? God will cast them from Him. 

For how long? For all eternity. 

Why ought you to attend religious instruction with diligence and 
attention? That we may know God rightly, learn to love and serve 
Him and thereby attain our highest aim. 


The Man and His Horse. A missionary on his travels saw one 
day a man grooming his horse. He stopped for a rest and asked the 
man how much time he spent over his horse. "About two hours a 
day," he replied. "That seems a great deal," said the priest, "no 
wonder he looks so superb. And how much, may I ask, do you give 
each day to your soul, to sanctify it and make it perfect?" "Not 
much, I fear; I say my prayers in the morning, and on Sundays 
generally go to Mass." "Then, my dear man," remarked the mis 
sionary, "if I belonged to you, I would rather be your horse than 
your soul." 

"Save Your Soul!" Otto, the Emperor of Germany, on his way 
to Rome, passed near the dwelling-place of a hermit, named Nilus, 
known throughout the country for his holiness of life. The Emperor 
called on the hermit, and when leaving said: "Ask of me whatever 
you wish, and I will give it to you." "All I ask, Emperor," said the 
Saint, "is that you save your soul; take care of your soul; for though 
you are Emperor, like all other men you must die, and like them you 
will be judged; therefore, save your soul." The Emperor, much 
astonished at this unexpected answer, proceeded on his journey, but 
he never forgot the hermit s words. In after years he often recalled 
them, and acted upon them. In the end he died a holy death, be 
cause he had taken good care of his soul. 

Lesson Second 


Before we take up the questions of the Catechism in this 
lesson, let us "consider first of all why we believe in God. 


When some one builds a house his first care is directed toward 
placing that house upon solid foundation. The firmer the 
foundation is, so much firmer will the house be that is built 
upon it. 

The foundation upon which our holy religion is built is the 
belief in the existence of God. By faith in the existence of God 
is understood that we firmly and undoubtingly believe that there 
is one God, an eternal, invisible, most perfect and Supreme 

Without this belief in the existence of God the whole struc 
ture of our religious teaching would fall to pieces, for whosoever 
does not believe in the existence of God will not believe in God s 
revelations. A man who does not believe in the existence of 
God will not fear God ; neither will be keep His commandments, 
he will sin without fear. You see then that our entire religious 
teaching rests upon the belief in the existence of God. 

In order to found this belief firmly within you let us consider 
the proofs for the existence of God. There are six principal 
ones, namely: 

1. The creation of the world. 

2. The preservation of the world. 

3. The order of created things above and below. 

4. The voice of conscience. 

5. Revelation. 

6. The fact that all the peoples of the earth believe in a 
Supreme Being. 

The first proof is the creation of the world. Children, you 
all like to be in the open air, you rejoice in beautiful flowers, 
and in the song of birds. You enjoy playing in the green 
fields and meadows; in summer time you like to sit under the 
shade trees, and you like to look for wild berries. You have 
seen the gentle light of moon and stars. Dear children, it is not 
sufficient to look at created things in a superficial manner, and 
to think: this is a flower, that is a bird, that is a tree, there the 
moon, and the stars. We must reflect whence or from whom 
they all came. It could never occur to a reasonable man that all 
these things existed of themselves. For instance, no house can 
rise up of itself. Masons, carpenters and other workmen have 
to be employed. If, then, not even a house, however small, could 


erect itself of its own power, how is it possible that the great wide 
world and everything it contains could come into existence of 

If it is an assured fact, then, that nothing can exist of itself 
we might ask: Was everything that exists created by man? 

We will take five, ten, twenty, fifty, or a hundred workmen, 
and bid them to make a flower, a blade of grass, a fly, or even a 
grain of sand. What would they accomplish? Nothing. In 
stead of a hundred workmen, let us take a thousand or all the 
artisans of the whole world; we will give them all tools and 
materials they require ; would they be able to produce the tiniest 
plant? Certainly not. Now if the visible creation, or created 
things, do not exist of themselves, and all men of the entire 
earth are unable to create anything, there must be a Being who 
produced the visible creation. Behold, children, this Supreme 
Being, this Creator of all things, is God. 

The second proof of the existence of God is : the preservation 
of the world. Whatever has been placed there, or will be placed 
there, by man, is only for a time. Things that appeared to have 
been made for centuries perish. But what God has created will 
last as long as it seems good to Him. Although the beauties of 
nature pass away every year, still this perishableness is only 
temporary; for after a few months nature awakens again from 
the frozen sleep of winter, to new glory and beauty. 

The third proof of the existence of God we will also take from 
the visible natural creation. By attentively observing the works 
of God we shall see that every creature is subordinate to an 
other. Man is above the animals, animals above plants, plants 
above stones, living creatures above inanimate ones, and the 
more perfect above the less perfect. We must then conclude 
from this that a creator must be above all creatures, that above 
all created earthly beings there must be a supreme, perfect Being, 
namely, God. 

The fourth proof is the voice of conscience. If, for instance, 
some one is about to do wrong, he hears an inner voice which 
warns him not to do so. If he does not listen to the warning, 
and sins, then this inner voice reproaches him bitterly; he 
feels within him fear and perturbation ; he is afraid without 
knowing of whom, and peace and content have vanished from his 


heart. But, on the other hand, when some one has done a good 
work he feels an interior contentment within his heart, a delight 
and a happiness which it is impossible to describe, the inner 
voice expresses praise and approval. 

This inner voice which praises or blames us is conscience. 
There must be a Supreme Being who has placed this voice within 
us, and this Supreme Being is God. 

The fifth proof of the existence of God is Eevelation. God has 
revealed Himself to men; that is to say, He has made Himself 
known to them. God said to our first parents in Paradise : "Eat 
not the fruit of the forbidden tree. If you eat therefrom you 
shall die." When, notwithstanding this, they sinned, God made 
known to them His displeasure, and ordained the punishment. 
Later God revealed Himself to Cain. "Why art thou so angry 
and why is thy countenance fallen ? Behold, if thou doest good, 
thou art as dear to me as thy brother Abel." 

Again, God revealed Himself to Noe : "Make thee an ark, for 
I will bring the waters of a great flood upon the earth to destroy 
all flesh." To Abraham God revealed Himself several times : 
"Walk before me," said God to him, "and be perfect." When 
Abraham was about to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, to God, God 
said to him: "I will bless thee, and thou shalt be filled with 
blessings. All the people of the earth shall be blessed in thee." 

God revealed Himself to the Israelites in the Old Law through 
Moses, to whom He gave the Ten Commandments upon Mount 

In the New Law God revealed Himself to men by His Son 
Jesus Christ. 

But if God has thus revealed Himself to men, it is proof that 
God exists, for only a being who is really existing can reveal 

The sixth proof of the existence of God is seen in the fact that 
all the peoples of the whole world believe in the existence of a 
Supreme Being. The savages call Him Manitou (the great 
spirit), the Mohammedans call Him Allah, the Jews call Him 
Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, but we Christians call Him God. The 
ancient Greeks and Romans believed even in numerous gods, 
because they had the idea that the operations of the Supreme 
Being were so infinite that one God was not sufficient for them. 


There are people who to this day look upon the sun and the 
fire as gods and worship these elements, so profoundly is the 
belief in the existence of a Supreme Being founded among all 
the peoples of the earth. While, therefore, the idea of a Supreme 
Being is different with many people, sometimes obscure and con 
fused, still the fact that man s nature instinctively acknowledges 
that there must be a Supreme Being, is a proof that there must 
be a God. 

I have, then, by incontestable proofs proved to you the exist 
ence of God. 

Notwithstanding this, and although the visible world alone is 
sufficient to prove this belief, there are still men so blinded as 
to deny the existence of God. Holy Writ calls these men fools, 
when it says: "The fool only says in his heart: There is no 

It is possible that later in life you may meet persons of this 
kind. I consider it my duty to draw your attention to this, and 
to warn you against associating with them. Believe them not, 
and accept none of their maxims ! Be all the more faithful and 
firm in your belief in the existence of God. This faith will 
encourage you to learn to know God better, the knowledge of 
God will lead you to the love of God, the love of God to be obedi 
ent to Him, as well as to fear Him. The fear of God will pre 
serve you from sin and be an incentive to virtue and piety. 
Thus your belief in the existence of God will become the basis 
and foundation of your eternal salvation. 


What does it mean to believe in the existence of God? It means 
to believe firmly that there is a God, a Supreme Being-. 

Why is the belief in the existence of God the basis or foundation 
of our whole religious teaching? Because our whole religious teaching 
rests upon this belief. 

Could the whole creation, the boundless universe exist of 
itself? No. 

Perhaps the visible world was made by men and artisans? No; 
it was not made by men p and artisans. 

How do you know this? Because neither one nor any number 
of artisans are capable of creating the least thing in the visible world. 

If then the visible world neither exists of itself, nor was created 
by man, what must we conclude? That there is a Supreme Being 
who created everything. 

Who is this Supreme Being? This Supreme Being is God. 



The Astronomer s Globe. A famous astronomer, wishing to con 
vince a friend who doubted the existence of God, had a magnificent 
new globe placed in the room where he soon expected his friend. 
The latter arrived, and, admiring the globe, asked whence it 
came and who had made it. "Oh!" replied the astronomer, "it be 
longs to no one, no one has made it, and it dropped in there quite 
by chance." "You are jesting," said the visitor; but the other in- 
sisted he was serious. When at last he saw his friend was some 
what annoyed, he took occasion to address him thus: "You will not 
believe that this globe exists of itself, and came there by chance, 
and you really think the heavens and the stars are the results of 
pure chance." This simple argument convinced the friend of the 
folly to doubt the existence of a Creator. 

(Questions 13 and 14 deal with the existence and the nature of 

13. Q. What is God? 

A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect. 

The word "God" means "good," and because God is infinitely 
good, or also the supreme good, therefore He is called by prefer 
ence good or God. To the question : "What is God ?" the Cate 
chism answers : "God is a spirit infinitely perfect." This ex 
planation of the nature of God is, however, only an imperfect 
one, because the actual nature of God is unfathomable, as we 
learn from the passage of Holy Scripture: "Thou art great, 
God, and thy thoughts are inaccessible." Moses once said to 
God : "Lord, show me thy glory;" and God answered him : "Thou 
canst not see my face, and live." (Exod. xxiii.) 

Why do we call God a spirit ? We call God a spirit because He 
has understanding and free will, but no body. 

The characteristics of a spirit are therefore understanding 
and free will, without body. Understanding is the power of 
thinking : the will is the power to wish and to desire, and as a 
spirit has no body it is an invisible being to us. 

Holy Scripture says: "God is a spirit and they that adore 
Him, must adore Him in spirit and in truth" (John iv, 24). 
As God is the most perfect spirit, He must therefore have the 
highest degree of understanding and the most perfect will. If 
God has no body, why does Holy Scripture speak of God s eyes, 
ears, hands, etc. 

It speaks thus so that human beings may more easily under 
stand. These expressions are not to be taken literally but in a 


figurative sense. When Holy Scripture speaks of the eyes of 
God, "The eyes of the Lord are on them that fear Him" (Ps. 
xxxii, 18) ; and, "for the eyes of the Lord behold all the earth" 
(II Chron. xvi, 9), the omniscience and providence of God are 
thereby meant. 

When Holy Scripture speaks of the ears of God, "Give ear 
unto my prayer!" (Ps. xvi, 1), the willingness of God to hear 
our prayers is intimated. When Holy Scripture speaks of God s 
hands, "Thou openest thy hand, and fillest with blessing every 
living creature" (Ps. cxliv, 16), it is to denote the infinite gen 
erosity and goodness of God. When Holy Scripture says, 
"Heaven is my throne, and the earth my footstool" (Isaias Ixvi, 
1), it expresses thereby the omnipresence and immensity of 
God. The expression, "mouth of God," signifies His veracity; 
the expression, "finger of God," His wisdom, with which He 
rules and directs all things ; and the expression, "heart of God," 
His infinite paternal love for mankind. Why do we say that 
God is an "infinitely perfect spirit"? We say this because 
God is not only in a certain measure good, like creatures, but 
unites all good qualities in Himself without measure or num 
ber. We call perfect that which is not wanting in anything, 
absolutely without either blemish or fault. God is, however, 
more than perfect. He is infinitely perfect, for in Him is found 
united every imaginable good without measure. For this reason 
God says: "I am God, and there is no God beside, neither is 
there the like to me" (Is. xlvi, 9). The angels, for instance, 
are good and perfect spirits; but their holiness and perfection 
can not even in the least degree be compared with the perfection 
of God. Their perfection as compared with God s is as a clear 
lamplight compared with the brilliancy of the majestic sun, or 
as a drop of water compared with an immense ocean. The 
attributes or perfections of God are: God is eternal and un 
changeable, omnipresent, all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful; He 
is infinitely holy and just; infinitely good, merciful, and long- 
suffering; infinitely true and faithful. 

14. Q. Had God a beginning? 

A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always 
will be. 


The first divine attribute is eternal. The Catechism asks: 
Had God a beginning ? and answers : God had no beginning ; He 
always was and He always will be. Something without begin 
ning and without end we call eternal. Holy Scripture says: 
"Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world 
was formed; from eternity to eternity Thou art God" (Ps. 
Ixxxix, 2). Eternity is an existence without beginning and 
without end. Eternity is for us an unfathomable thing. Just 
think of a carload full of sand; if an angel were to come once 
every thousand years and take away just one of the little grains 
of sand, by the time the whole carload would thus have been 
carried away not even a single minute of eternity would have 

The existence of God has no bounds in the past and no bounds 
in the future. He is always. No period of time can be imagined 
from which we could say: "From that moment God s existence 
began." As we can not say of the surface of a ball here it be 
gins, and there it leaves off, neither can we say of God: "He 
had His beginning here, or, He shall end there." As the most 
perfect Being, God must be absolutely eternal, for if His exist 
ence had had a beginning, there must be a more exalted, more 
perfect, mightier Being who called God into existence. He 
would then have been created by a higher Being and upon him 
dependent, therefore He would no longer be God. The eternal, 
which has no beginning and no end, is opposed to transitory : i. e., 
everything which has a beginning and, sooner or later, will come 
to an end. Take for example a building, even a church. There 
was a time when it was not, and a time will come when it will 
be no more. Look at the earth ! There was a time when it was 
not there, and a time shall come when it shall be no more. Be 
ings which have had a beginning, but will have no end, are called 
immortal ; for instance, angels, and the souls of men. These had 
a beginning, they were called into existence by God, but they 
will have no end. Besides God no one is eternal ; this perfection 
belongs to God alone. 

The second perfection of God is, He is unchangeable. Some 
thing is unchangeable, which, in its being as well as in its char 
acteristics and exterior appearances, does not and can not change, 
which remains always the same. Unchangeable is the opposite 


to changeable. That is changeable, which in its nature, in its 
parts and characteristics is subject to change, to alteration. How 
changeable the weather is, for instance! One hour the sun 
shines brightly, and the next brings storm and rain. How 
changeable the earth is in its different seasons. In the winter 
it is covered with snow and ice, in summer with flowers. In the 
spring it awakens to a new life, in the autumn it dies again. 
How changeable is man ! A person is in good health to-day, to 
morrow he may be sick. To-day a pupil is diligent, to-morrow 
idle and lazy. To-day we have a friend, he may be an enemy 
to-morrow. To-day a man is rich, in a year s time he may be a 
beggar. Everything in this world is changeable and sub 
ject to alteration. God alone changes not. He is: 

a. Unchangeable in His nature, and 

b. Unchangeable in His decrees. 

God is unchangeable in His nature; He can neither increase 
nor decrease in His perfections, He can not gain new perfec 
tions, nor can He lose the perfections which He possesses. 

c. God is also unchangeable in His decrees ; that means : What 
God in His eternal wisdom" has once determined, remains fixed 
for all eternity. Therefore God says through the Prophet Isaias : 
"My counsel shall stand, and all my will shall be done" (Is. 
xlvi, 10). 

The thought that God is eternal should encourage us to place 
our confidence in God, and not in temporal or perishable things, 
like riches, honors, ability, beauty, the favor of men, etc., etc. 
All these things are only transitory, they have no lasting and 
real worth. God alone remains eternally all-powerful, He can 
always help us; He remains eternally good, He desires to help 
us; He remains eternally faithful, He will always help us. We 
may and should therefore place our whole confidence in Him. 

The thought that God is eternal should encourage us to desist 
from evil. When God says : "Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
but my words shall not pass away," it is an earnest exhortation 
to the sinner to cease from evil and to think of the eternal 
chastisement which awaits those who break God s laws. 


Whence does the name "God" come? The name God comes from 


What, then, does the word "God" mean? That He is exceedingly 
good, the supreme good. 

Why do we call God a Spirit? We call God a Spirit because He 
has understanding and free will, but no body. 

Are there other spirits besides God? Yes, there are other spirits 
besides God. 

Who are they? Angels, and the souls of men. 

What is the difference between these and God? These spirits 
are not perfect, as God is. 

You say that God is a spirit. But Holy Scripture speaks of God s 
eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. Does that mean that God has a body? 
No, Holy Scripture only speaks thus so as to make it easier for us 
to understand. 

Why do we call God infinitely perfect? Because God is not, like 
creatures, good only in a certain measure, but He unites in Himself 
all good qualities without measure or number. 

Is it possible to think of, or name a perfection which God has not? 
No, God has all perfections in Himself. 

Name some of the attributes, or perfections, of God. God is 
eternal, unchangeable, omnipresent, omniscient or all-knowing, all- 
wise, all-powerful; He is infinitely holy and just, infinitely good, 
merciful, long-suffering; infinitely true and faithful. 

Are there other creatures besides God which are eternal? No, be 
sides God there are no other beings which are eternal. 

Are not the angels and the souls of men eternal? They are only 

Why are they not eternal, as they will have no end? Because 
they have had a beginning. 


Where God Is and Is Not. A man among other things asked a 
little boy the question: "Where is God? Tell me where God is and 
I will give you an orange!" The child replied: "I will give you two 
oranges if you will tell me where God is not!" 

(Questions 15-18 on the Omnipresence and All-Knowledge of God.) 
15. Q. Where is God? 
A. God is everywhere. 

God is everywhere. God is in heaven, on earth, over the earth, 
under the earth, in the church, in the school, in your houses, on 
the street, in the fields, in the forest, etc., and there is no place 
where God is not. Man can be in only one place at a time, never 
in two or more places at once. If, for instance, you are in school 
you can not at the same time be in the street or in the field. 
But with God it is not so, He is everywhere at the same time. 
He is omnipresent, that means present everywhere. The 
Psalmist David says: "Where shall I go from thy spirit? If I 


ascend into heaven, thou are there, and if I descend into the 
abyss thou art also there." In the Acts of the Apostles, it is 
said : "God is not far from every one of us ; for in Him we live, 
and move, and are" (Acts xvii, 27, 28). Hence God is every 
where. He is consequently a witness, a beholder of everything 
which is done in all places, day and night, secretly and publicly. 

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 
can not be seen with bodily eyes. 

17. Q. Does God see us? 

A. God sees us and watches over us. 

18. Q. Does God know all things ? 

A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, 
words, and actions. 

If a child does not behave well in church, if it talks, and 
laughs, if it is inattentive in school, idle and troublesome, if it 
is disobedient at home, rude, and unkind, God is a witness of 
it all. 

Whoever imagines that he has done something in secret, of 
which no one knows, deceives himself, therefore. 

God also knows all things. He knows all things perfectly and 
from all eternity. He knows all things past, present, and future, 
even our most secret thoughts. 

God knows all things perfectly : no error, or deception, or con 
fusion is possible with Him. God knows the past, that means 
everything that all men at all times and in all places ever 
thought, said or did ; good or bad. God knows the present, that 
means: He knows what is being thought, said or done by all 
men, good or bad, at this very moment in all places. God knows 
the future, which means: He knows what will be thought, said, 
and done by all men good or bad, at all times and in all places. 

God alone knows all things. In the Old Law the prophets 
foretold many important events long beforehand ; but not of 
themselves, not by their own knowledge, but by God s inspira 
tion and revelation. At the present time, too, there are many 
learned men who by diligent study have obtained a rich treas 
ure of knowledge; but they do not know everything, nor do 


they know it of themselves, their knowledge is very incomplete; 
it is limited to certain scientific subjects, or to certain countries, 
persons, and past historical events, but of the future they know 
nothing whatever. How very limited man s knowledge is may 
be seen from the fact that he knows very little of the present, 
or that even which goes on in his vicinity. For instance, when 
man sleeps he does not know what takes place around him; as 
little does he know the thoughts of those who are in his pres 
ence. Of the future man does not even know what the next 
minute will bring, not to speak of the coming hours or days. A 
man may believe that he can foretell something that will happen 
in the future; he is only conjecturing on human events which 
may happen or may not. When, for instance, the sky is covered 
with black clouds, we suppose that it will soon rain. If a person 
leads a worldly and sensual life we presume that he will fall sick 
and die an early death. If a person squanders his income, we 
may suppose that he will come to beggary, and so on. But if a 
person claims to foretell the future from cards or from the hand 
he is a deceiver and commits grievous sin against God, who 
alone knows the future. 

That God knows all things is proved by history. God knew 
the sin of our first parents in paradise; the intentions of Cain 
and Abel in offering the first sacrifice, the hatred of Cain toward 
his brother Abel and the murder of the latter. Jesus knew that 
His friend Lazarus was dead ; that Judas would betray Him, and 
that Peter would deny Him. He knew the secret sins of the 
Samaritan woman at Jacob s well, and the secret thoughts of 
the Pharisee, to whom He said: "Why dost thou think evil in 
thy heart?" 

God according to His perfections must be all-knowing, for, if 
by virtue of His justice He is to punish the wicked and reward 
the good, it is absolutely necessary that He should know what 
evil and what good man has done. 

To what should the thought that God knows all things in 
cite us? 

1. It should keep us from evil. In the same way as a thief is 
afraid of committing a robbery before witnesses, and as a child 
fears to sin in the presence of its parents or other persons, so 
should we in a greater degree fear to sin before the eyes of 


our omnipresent God, of our just Judge. Thus were the Egyp 
tian Joseph, and the chaste Susanna, preserved from great sin 
by the remembrance of God s omnipresence and omniscience. 
Tobias gave this exhortation to his son: "My son! all the days 
of thy life have God in thy heart, and avoid consenting to a 
sin !" 

2. The thought of God s omnipresence and omniscience should 
encourage us to do good in secret. Persons who do good in 
secret resemble the violet. This little flower blooms only in 
secret, under hedges and bushes, and yet it sends forth its per 
fume. So should we strive to do good quietly and hiddenly, and 
always remember that God, the omnipresent and omniscient, 
knows all things. We must not do as the Pharisees, who did 
good in public only to be seen and praised by man. Princess 
Elizabeth of Thuringia was a model of virtue ; she went into the 
huts of the poor at night to take them alms. Not everyone can 
be a prince or princess, still the opportunity is given to every 
body to do good quietly and in secret. Do not let these oppor 
tunities pass by unused. God, who sees all, will one day reward 
them publicly. 

3. The thought of God s omnipresence and omniscience, 
should console us in difficulties and troubles. When we, though 
innocent, are abused, when persons are unkind to us and perse 
cute us, the thought that God is omniscient should give us 
courage and consolation. The pious sufferer Job, abandoned by 
his wife and accused of sins by his friends, said : "Behold my 
witness is in heaven, and He that knoweth my conscience is on 
high" (Job xvi, 20). King David said: "Though I should 
walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, 
for thou art with me" (Ps. xxii, 4). As St. Chrysostom was 
about to be exiled by the Empress Eudoxia, he said : "You may 
send me where you will, out into the world, I shall find God 
everywhere !" 

What should we be moved to do by the thought that God is 
everywhere and that He knows all things? It should make us 
avoid sin, even in secret, and should encourage us to do good in 

There is another of God s perfections His wisdom. "What 
means: God is all-wise?" "God is all-wise means that He 


knows how to dispose all things in the best manner, in order to 
attain His end." 

We call those persons wise who in everything they do have not 
only a good purpose, but also use the best means to attain their 
end. God being infinitely holy, can wish only that which is 
good, and on account of His wisdom He knows the best means 
to attain that which He desires. We are led to a knowledge of 
God s wisdom: 1. By the consideration of the entire visible 
creation and its arrangements. By visible creation is understood 
not only the earth with its creatures, like men, animals, plants, 
stones, etc., but the whole universe, sun, moon and stars. You 
have of course seen the stars at night? What there appear to 
be little stars, are all enormous bodies like our earth, some 
larger, some smaller. A number of them, called suns or fixed 
stars, are stationary, whilst others, called planets and comets, 
are in perpetual motion. And yet each of this vast multitude 
of moving bodies has its own course and does not interfere with 
any other. Our earth, upon which we live, is a planet. It 
revolves around itself in twenty-four hours and this causes day 
and night. Again, in a period of three hundred and sixty-five 
days it travels around the sun, and this causes the four seasons : 
Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. If it was always day 
there would be no time for rest. If it was always Summer the 
earth would lose its fruitfulness, and if it was always Winter the 
earth would not bring forth anything and men would starve. 
If great heat were suddenly changed into severe cold it would 
be very injurious to the lives and health of mankind. But the 
wisdom of God has arranged it in such a way that in Spring the 
weather becomes gradually warmer, and in Autumn gradually 

God s wisdom reveals itself in the arrangement of our bodies. 

Just observe your body, that wonderful structure, with which 
the most artistic work of man can not be compared. Exteriorly 
there is the flesh, covered with skin. The body is not merely a 
lump of flesh, for in that case it would be without frame and 
support. It is sustained by bones. Through them it can hold 
itself erect ; through them it can move and stand up. They give 
firmness to the body, as its exterior covering, flesh and skin, 


give to it beauty and grace. Observe the beautiful exterior 
shape of your body ! It is crowned by the head in which are 
placed almost all the organs of the senses. In front of it is 
placed the smojoth face, with its noble forehead, and beneath 
this the movable eyes. In them is mirrored the invisible soul, 
which gives life to the body. The head rests upon the slender, 
flexible neck from which on either side slope the shoulders and 
the arms, which are finished off by the well made hands. For 
movement, the arms are furnished with many joints, which 
render them useful in thousands of works. What symmetry 
exists in all parts of the human body ! How supple and how 
easily moved is every part of the whole! Observe the several 
organs of the senses ! The eyes are placed high up in the head, 
so that man may look about him as far as possible. The wisdom 
of the Creator gave man two eyes, so that if he should lose one, 
he would still have one left. The senses of smell and taste in 
nose and mouth are near one another, so that man by the sense 
of smell can convince himself whether that which he eats is 
wholesome. The mouth is also the organ of speech, by which we 
express our thoughts to others. Our food which serves to 
nourish our body is taken into the mouth, to the stomach, after 
it has first been chewed by the teeth. And thus every part of 
the human body is a witness and a proof of the wisdom and 
omnipotence of God. As our bodies have been wisely arranged 
by God, so has every other creature been wisely designed by 
God. In spite of this there are men who in their blindness find 
fault with created things, and I shall relate to you a very 
instructive story about a peasant who wanted to be more clever 
than God Himself, and was taught better in a very striking 


A peasant was resting beneath the shade of an oak tree. Before 
him he saw a field in which large pumpkins were growing, and 
above his head he noticed the little acorns hanging from the ma 
jestic oak. 

"Ah," said the peasant, "how absurd! Those large pumpkins grow 
on little plants, and these little insignificant acorns upon an im 
mense oak tree! If I had created the world, the acorns would grow 
in the fields, and the pumpkins on large trees." 

No sooner had he so spoken when an acorn dropped down from 
the tree upon his nose and had enough force from falling to make 


the nose smart. The peasant was startled, and said to himself: "If, 
instead of an acorn, a pumpkin had fallen down I should have been 
killed." Thereafter this peasant never thought of finding fault again 
with God s works. 

2. God s wisdom shows itself in history. With what infinite 
wisdom God shaped the destiny of the Egyptian Joseph ! His 
brothers had sought his ruin, and God s wisdom so arranged it 
that he became the Governor of Egypt. How miraculously God 
saved the life of Moses ! God s wisdom ordained that the king s 
daughter should walk by the banks of the river, that she might 
see the little basket, and order it to be fetched up. God touched 
her heart, so that she took pity upon the boy, carried him to the 
palace, and had him brought up at the royal court. How 
miraculously were the lives of Mardochai and the chaste Su 
sanna saved ! God often makes use of lowly and insignificant 
creatures to carry out His intentions for man s welfare. Of this 
I shall give you an example. 


A certain Prince had a great dislike for flies and spiders, and in 
his indignation he frequently asked why God should have created 
such troublesome insects. This Prince had to go to war, and upon 
one occasion he had to flee from his enemies. In his flight he came 
to a forest, where he lay down exhausted beneath a tree, and fell 
fast asleep. One of the enemy s soldiers found him there and drew 
his sword to kill him. At that very moment a fly stung the Prince 
so violently on the cheek that he awoke. He drew his sword, and 
the soldier fled. Then he hid himself in a cave in the forest. A 
spider spun its web over night across the entrance to the cave. 
The following morning two of the enemy s soldiers who sought him 
came to the mouth of the cave. The Prince overheard what they 
said to one another. "He can not have gone in there, else he would 
have broken the spider s web." They withdrew. Thus a fly and a 
spider had saved the Prince s life. 

God s ways are not our ways, and God s thoughts are not our 
thoughts. Thus God sends man sickness, sterile years, destruc 
tive thunder storms, hail storms, floods, war, famine, infectious 
diseases among men and animals, plagues of various kinds, 
vermin, weeds. In all these visitations God has His wise inten 
tions, and even though we do not at once understand them, 
everything serves for our good. When people are sick they send 
for the doctor, who orders medicines which often taste bitter. 


Our soul likewise is often in need of a physician to heal it. This 
doctor is God. The drugs which He uses to cure us are the 
tribulations He sends us, which not infrequently are very heavy. 
But just as bitter drugs restore our bodily health, so do the 
afflictions which God sends us benefit our soul. 

19. Q. Can God do all things? 

A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or im 
possible to Him. 

In order that God may execute His wise purposes and decrees 
He must also have power, He must be omnipotent, and thus we 
come again to a new attribute of God, His omnipotence. What 
means: "God is omnipotent"? God is omnipotent means that 
He can do anything ; He has only to will, and the thing is done. 
The Holy Scripture says : "Nothing is impossible to God." The 
omnipotence of God is an article of faith. That God is omnipo 
tent, or almighty, is proved : 

1. By creation. All the scientists of the whole earth are not 
capable of imitating the smallest object in the natural creation, 
for instance, a grain of sand, a blade of grass. God, however, 
called into existence and created everything that is, the vast 
universe with its millions upon millions of creatures, out of 
nothing. He said : "Let it be !" and it was. 

2. By the preservation of the world. As man is not capable 
of creating anything, neither is he able to preserve that which 
is created. But God not only called the world into existence, 
He also preserves it. He makes the world to continue as long as 
it pleases Him. Many thousands of years have already passed 
since God called the world into existence, and it is still as beau 
tiful as if it existed only since yesterday. 

3. By miracles. When Pharao, King of Egypt, refused to 
let the Israelites leave, God sent great plagues upon Egypt, to 
force Pharao to let the Israelites depart. All the water was 
turned to blood, the fish died in it, and no one could drink any 
of it. Then the bloody water became alive with .snails, and man 
and beast were tormented by them. Again a terrible cattle 
plague broke out all over Egypt. Camels, oxen, asses and sheep 
died in great numbers. Boils and swellings came out upon man 
and beast. Then God sent a thunderstorm the like of which had 


never been known in the memory of man. After this was added 
a cloud of locusts to eat up everything that was left after the 
storm. They were so numerous that they obscured the sun. At 
last an impenetrable darkness covered the land, which lasted for 
three days, during which people could not see one another, and 
no one could move from the place where he was. At last God 
sent an angel, who killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians in 
one night. God worked as great wonders in the desert as He 
had in Egypt. He gave the Israelites water from a rock, and 
rained down bread and manna from heaven. By the power of 
God the three youths were preserved in the fiery furnace; Elias 
was saved from starvation, a raven bringing him food every day. 
By God s omnipotence Daniel was saved from death in the 
lions den, and Holy Scripture tells us of many other miracles 
and proofs of the omnipotence of God. 

To what should our belief in God s infinite power and infinite 
wisdom incite us? 

1. It should incite us to place our confidence entirely in God. 
In His infinite goodness God wills only good to His creatures, 
and in virtue of His omnipotence He possesses the means to 
carry out that which in His wisdom He has determined upon. 
This should incite us to an unlimited confidence in God. Holy 
Scripture says : "Put not your trust in the children of men, in 
whom there is no salvation. Blessed is he whose hope is in the 
Lord his God" (Ps. cxlv, 3, 5). 

2. When God sends us tribulations we should be resigned to 
His Holy Will. A physician has many remedies at his service. 
He knows which are the remedies that will restore health to 
the patient. Thus God sends many afflictions upon mankind, 
which He is convinced in His wisdom will serve for their best. 
Therefore the Psalmist David says : "Commit thy way to the 
Lord, and trust in Him, and He will do it" (Ps. xxxvi, 5). 

3. The thought of God s omnipotence and wisdom should 
keep us humble. Many persons are proud of their works, and 
what are they in comparison with God s works? And if men 
have produced great things, worthy of admiration, who gave 
them the powers of mind and body to enable them to do so? 
Everything that man is, he is only by God s grace. All that 


he has is only a gift from God. These thoughts ought to keep 
us humble. 

4. The thought of God s omnipotence should deter us from 
doing evil. What an awful crime it is for a sinner to resist his 
Father, his Creator, his Benefactor, yea, the Supreme Lord of 
heaven and earth, and to say to Him as it were: "I know Thy 
laws, but I despise them. I know Thy commandments, but I 
will not keep them. I know Thy power, but I am not afraid of 
Thee." What a terrible thing it is to fall into the hands of this 
Almighty Judge who can punish us so terribly ! 

5. The thought of God s omnipotence should fortify us in 
the hour of death. Death is an awful thing. In great agony 
the soul separates itself from the body. The consciousness of 
grave and corruption, of judgment and retribution causes to 
the dying great anguish of mind. Who gives strength, then, 
to take the difficult step into eternity? Who will forgive the 
sins which will accuse us before the tribunal of God? It is 
God, in whose paternal hands we leave all that is temporal, to 
pass through the portals of eternity. He it is who in His grace 
and mercy can remit our sins, and it is through God s omnipo 
tence that we can enter into the abode of eternal peace. 


We have heard, then, that God has the best intention with all 
mankind. Now what is needed to attain these intentions? God 
must have also the power to attain His purposes. 

Has God this power? Yes, God has this power. 

Why has He this power? Because He is almighty or omnipotent. 

What means: God is omnipotent? God is omnipotent means that: 
"He can do anything, and has only to will and the thing is done." 

In w r hat way do we see that God is omnipotent? 1. By the crea 
tion of the world. 2. By the preservation of the world; and, 3. By 

Out of what did Gt>d make the whole world? Out of nothing. He 
said only: "Let it be!" and it was. 

What does the Holy Scripture say of God s omnipotence? The 
Holy Scripture says: "Nothing is impossible to God." 

To what should our belief in God s infinite power and infinite 
wisdom incite us? It should incite us to place all our confidence 
in God. 

Why? Because God always can help us, desires to help us, and 
will help us. 


The Viceroy and the Warrior. A poor Indian warrior was one 
day brought before the Viceroy of the Spanish Indies, accused of 


plotting against him. The poor man tried to prove his innocence, but 
everything seemed to go against him, and he was condemned to 
death. Seeing there was no longer any hope, he fell on his knees, 
and reverently put his hand on the hilt of the sword the Viceroy 
had at his side. "Noble conqueror," he exclaimed, "how could I be 
guilty of such a crime, seeing this sword always at thy side! How 
could I dare to attempt the crime I am accused of, knowing that with 
one blow thou couldst strike me dead!" These words of the war 
rior seemed to prove his fear of the Viceroy s power, they seemed to 
prove his innocence, and obtained his release. This is but a feeble 
image of our nothingness and misery before God, who could in a 
moment take our lives and cast us into hell for a single grievous 
sin against Him. 

20. Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful ? 

A. God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely 

Two further attributes, or perfections, of God are His holiness 
and justice. To say : God is holy, means that He loves and wills 
only what is good i. e., what is agreeable to His perfections 
and that He abhors all that is evil. God s Will is as perfect as 
God Himself, it is therefore impossible that God can will or love 
anything evil. Every sin, even if it is only a small one, is an 
object of detestation in the sight of God. Hence He loves only 
what is to be eternally loved the good ; and He hates what 
alone is to be eternally hated the evil. God loves the good 
means, He delights and is well pleased with good. God hates 
evil, means, He has the greatest dislike for it. A sinner con 
sequently can not be endured in the sight of God. 

Men, indeed, love too, but they do not always love what they 
ought to love. They take pleasure sometimes in vain and worth 
less things, and even in bad and sinful ones ; of vain things men 
love finery and dress, money and earthly possessions ; of sinful 
things men indulge in intemperance, impurity, lying, etc. On 
the other hand many persons have a hatred for that which they 
ought to love ; for instance, for right and justice, for virtue and 

Holy Scripture says of God s holiness: "Thou hast loved 
justice, and hated iniquity" (Ps. xliv, 8). 

God shows His holiness : 

1. By His commandments and prohibitions. In all His 
commandments God orders only that which is good, and 


prohibits only that which is evil. Everything that God has 
commanded or prohibited in the Old and Xew Law, proves that 
God has no other desire than that good should be spread abroad 
among mankind, and that sin and evil as the root of all mis 
fortune should be avoided among men. 

2. By the voice of conscience. You have been told that the 
voice of conscience calls to man constantly, "Do good and avoid 
evil I" Conscience is God s voice, and as this voice urges us to 
holiness, therefore God, who placed it within us, must be holy. 

3. By His demeanor toward the good and toward the bad. In 
the entire Holy Scriptures God shows His love always for the 
good, and He rejects the wicked. Therefore, Holy Scripture 
says: "The eyes of the Lord behold the just, and His ears are 
attentive to their prayer/ Thus God loved Abel and looked 
down upon his sacrifice with pleasure. Thus God loved Noe ? 
and saved him in the ark at the great flood, whilst the wicked 
men were destroyed from the face of the earth. Thus did God 
love Abraham and Lot, and saved them while the wicked cities 
of Sodom and Gomorrah were consumed by fire, and their 
sinful inhabitants killed. 

God s holiness animates us to become like Him. We, too, 
should love nothing but the good, and abhor nothing but evil. 
If this is hard for us, we should think of the saints of heaven 
who have gone before us, and have given us by their holiness 
such beautiful examples. No particular state of life is necessary 
to lead a holy life, pleasing to God; we can live a good life in 
every station of life, as the saints have proved. 


What means God is holy? God is holy means that He loves and 
wills only what is good i. e., what is agreeable to His perfections, 
and that He abhors all evil. 

What is therefore impossible in virtue of God s holiness? It is 
impossible that God should love evil and abhor good. 

What is every sin in the sight of God? Every sin is an object 
of displeasure in the sight of God. 

What, on the other hand, is every good action in the sight of God? 
An object of delight. 


The Handsome Youth and the Hideous Corpse. How much God 
detests sin may become apparent from the following legend. Once 
an angel accompanied a saintly hermit on his pilgrimage. Crossing 


a desert they found at the wayside a human corpse, considerably 
advanced in a state of decomposition. The corpse emitted a hor 
rible stench, and the hermit, to escape the stench, covered his nose 
with a cloth. The angel inquired for the reason of this action, and 
the hermit explained that he desired to avoid the sickening odor, 
as it might make him faint. Soon after this they met on their way 
a handsome youth, attired in beautiful gowns, and seated on a fine 
horse. It was the angel now who used a cloth as if to protect him 
self against a disagreeable odor. The hermit, not noticing any rea 
son for this, was much astonished, and asked his companion to 
explain his action. The angel answered: "This handsome youth 
may seem an agreeable sight to your eyes, but his soul is steeped 
in sin, and to God and the Blessed his sins emit a stench infinitely 
worse than the stench of yonder corpse." 

God not only loves the good, He also rewards it; He not only 
abhors evil, He also punishes it. This is another attribute of 
God His justice. What means: "God is just"? God is just 
means that He rewards and punishes men according to their 
deserts. God, therefore, in virtue of His justice, can not punish 
the good, and reward the wicked. That God rewards and 
punishes according to our deserts, has, therefore, but one mean 
ing. It means: God rewards even the smallest and least good, 
and punishes even the smallest and least evil. That God is just 
we see from Holy Scripture. Our first parents, as a punishment 
for their sin, were driven out of Paradise. After slaying his 
brother, Cain led a restless life of torment, more terrible than 
death. Joseph s brethren suffered in the great famine. The 
Israelites in the desert made for themselves a golden calf and 
practised idolatry. For punishment they were obliged to remain 
in the desert for forty years, until a better race had grown up 
among them. Susanna was saved from death, her accusers, 
however, were stoned. Daniel remained among the lions un 
touched, while his calumniators were devoured. The haughty 
minister Aman wished to bring Mardochai to the gallows, but 
he himself was hanged thereon. 

With what does God reward the good even in this life? 

1. With interior peace. You, dear children, have certainly 
already performed some good deed, given an alms, or practised 
some other good work. How happy and delighted you felt! 
What an inexpressible gladness and joy did you experience ! 
Behold, this is the first reward which God gives us : an inward, 
heavenly peace. 


God rewards good also, 2, with temporal blessing. For this 
reason God said to Abraham: "Because thou hast done this 
(offered up thine only soon, Isaac, to Me in sacrifice) I will 
bless thee, and thou shalt abound in blessings." So did God 
favor Jacob, too, with temporal blessings. He became rich in 
the service of Laban. 

How does God punish evil even in this world? 

1. With an uneasy conscience. God grant that you may 
never experience the tortures of a bad conscience. Men with 
a bad conscience have no rest; all joy has departed from them, 
even sleep flees the bed of the wicked. The wicked are tor 
mented by remorse of conscience, as by a gnawing worm. Thus 
was Judas driven to commit suicide. 

2. With temporal afflictions. The sons of Heli were killed 
for their father s offense. The servant of the Prophet Eliseus, 
whose name was Giezi, was afflicted with leprosy for his lies. 
Absalom, who took the field against his father, lost his life on 
an oak tree. Kore, Dathan and Abiron were swallowed up by 
the earth because they were disobedient to Moses. King Herod s 
body was devoured by worms while he still lived. The boys of 
Bethel, who reviled the Prophet Eliseus, were torn to pieces 
by wild animals. The sick man at the pool had been made to do 
penance for thirty-eight years for sins committed in his youth. 

Yet there still remains much good in the world that is unre 
warded, and much evil that is not punished. But as God re 
wards all good and punishes all evil there must be a state of 
perfect retribution. Perfect retribution will not be made until 
the soul is in the other world; there is, however, even in this 
life, no true happiness for the wicked, and no true unhappiness 
for the just. All good, therefore, that is not rewarded in this 
world, and all evil that is not punished in this world, will find 
its retribution in eternity. Certainly in this world many wicked 
persons seem to do well, and many good people seem to fare 
badly. However, this state of things is only transitory. For if 
we could look into the heart of the good person we should find 
that he is not quite unhappy, and if we could see into the bad 
man s heart we should find that he was not really happy. This 
state is only a transitory one ; the years which are allotted to us 
here below pass very quickly, and only on the other side of the 


grave will perfect retribution be made. Therefore Jesus says to 
the good man: "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward will be 
great in heaven ?" Jesus, the son of God Himself, had to die like 
a criminal upon the Cross, although He could say of Himself; 
"Who amongst you can accuse me of sin?" It must not con 
found us or make us waver in faith if we see that sometimes the 
good have it hard here and the godless often have success. We 
should look beyond to that place where every one will receive 
his reward, or his punishment, according to his deserts. 

1. The thought of God s justness should deter us from evil 
and sin. 

The severity of hell s punishments may be gathered from 
the words of Scripture : "A fire that is never extinguished, and 
a worm that gnaws eternally/ The punishments of hell appear 
still more terrible because they endure eternally. This circum 
stance, and the thought that there is no possible deliverance 
from hell, ought to inspire man with fear. For this reason we 
should remember in every temptation to evil the chastisement 
which awaits the sinner in the next life. 

2. The remembrance of God s justice should encourage us to 
be virtuous, and to persevere in good. A great reward awaits 
the virtuous in the next world ! Holy Scripture says : "Eye 
hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into 
the heart of man what God has prepared for those that love 
Him." This unspeakable happiness God will give to all those 
who have deserved it. 

3. We should endeavor to imitate God s justice, that is, to 
esteem and reward good wherever we find it, and on the other 
hand to despise evil wherever we find it. And if our conscience 
is satisfied with us, and can not reproach us with any sins, we 
must not be proud of. our supposed righteousness. We should 
say, like St. Paul: "I have worked much (done much good) 
but not I, but the grace of God in me." For perfection it is 
necessary that we do good and avoid evil, not to be seen or 
praised by men, as the Pharisees did, but for the love of God. 
It is God who will judge us, and He knows the most secret 
recesses of our hearts. All good is worthless in the sight of 
God if we do it only from motives of self-interest. We should 
also be careful in our judgment of other people. It is not for 


us to judge our neighbor, God alone exercises that office. He is 
all-wise and He alone can decide as to a person s worth or 
worthlessness. Many a person whom we may not consider good, 
is so in God s sight. Man is not always what he appears on the 
outside. And as God alone searches the heart and veins, so must 
we leave to God the judgment of our fellow-beings. 


What means: God is just? God is just means that He rewards 
and punishes men according to their deserts. 

Whom will God reward? God will reward the good. 

Whom will he punish? He will punish the wicked. 

How will God reward the good and punish the wicked? Accord 
ing to their deserts. 

What, then, is impossible on account of God s justness? It is im 
possible that God should punish the good and reward the wicked. 

What good will be rewarded, and what evil will be punished? All 
good, even the very least, will be rewarded, and all evil, even tho 
least, will be punished. 

Of what should we be particularly careful in all our good works? 
That we do not do them to be seen or praised of men. 

Who did good to be seen and praised by men? The Pharisees. 

What ought we to do in judging others? We should be very 
careful in our judgment of others. 

To whom alone does the judgment of others belong? It belongs 
to God alone. 

Why? Because He alone is all knowing and knows the intentions 
of each one. 

What words of Holy Scripture may here be used? "Man beholds 
that which is on the outside, but the Lord sees the heart." 

Among God s attributes are, furthermore, His goodness, 
mercy, and long-suffering. God loves mankind ; He desires that 
all men should be happy, and to make them happy He confers 
innumerable blessings upon them. 

The blessings which God heaps upon mankind are twofold: 
1. Material blessings; and, 2, Spiritual blessings. 

Material blessings, for instance, are: Life, health, success in 
our studies and undertakings, etc. Spiritual blessings are: 
Understanding, by which we know and think; free will, by 
which we are able to choose; the forgiveness of our sins, by 
which we become again the children of God, the grace of God, 
the practise of good, and everlasting bliss. 

This goodness of God extends even to animals. The sparrow 
on the roof and the worm in the dust receive from God what they 


require, just as man does. How great God s blessings are, 
of what value they are to mankind, is thought of by few. For 
what sum of money would any of you part with your hearing or 
speech ? 

The greatest proof, however, of His love, which God has 
given mankind, is that He delivered His own Son to death for 
the salvation of sinners. Through sin man had separated him 
self from God, rebelled against his Supreme Lord, and for 
feited all God s love and goodness. Instead of withdrawing His 
hand altogether from ungrateful humanity, God again turns to 
them in love and kindness and gives His only begotten Son in 
sacrifice, so as to lift up fallen man. For this reason Holy 
Scripture says: "By this hath the charity of God appeared 
toward us, because God hath sent His only begotten Son in to 
the world, that we may live by Him." 

From God s goodness toward us there arise for us various 
duties : 

1. We ought to be very grateful to God, our best Father, for 
the many blessings which He gives us. We thank a person for 
a small gift; for instance, for a piece of bread, for a drink of 
water, etc. Why should we not thank God, who has lavished so 
many, and such great blessings upon us? 

2. We ought to make good use of God s blessings. With our 
eyes we should gladly look at that which is good, with our ears 
we should gladly listen to the Divine Word, with our mouth we 
should pray willingly and proclaim the praises of God ; with our 
feet we should cheerfully go wherever we can do good ; with our 
hands we should work diligently, and give alms generously from 
our temporal possessions. 

3. We should not lightly estimate God s gifts, and we should 
strive to imitate God s goodness by being good and kind toward 
our fellowmen. None of God s gifts are insignificant. Often 
has a person s life been saved by a crust of bread or a drink of 
water! We should be good and kind toward our fellowmen. 
The more a person is blessed by God with prosperity, the more 
opportunity he has of giving alms and doing good. Even a poor 
person can give of the little he has to those still poorer than 
himself, or he can assist them by doing some work for them. 
Therefore Holy Scripture says: "Hast thou much, then give 


much; but if thou hast only a little, give then gladly of that 

We have heard that God is good to all men, not only to the 
good, but also to the wicked. 

God shows His goodness toward wicked men who do not de 
serve His love and goodness, by mercy and long-suffering. 

God is merciful means that He is disposed to avert all evil 
from His creatures, and therefore willingly pardons all truly 
penitent sinners. The sinner is required to ask for the love 
and mercy of God; to acknowledge his misdeeds; to repent 
sincerely and truly; to promise amendment; to avoid sin and 
its near occasions, and to try and make good what harm he has 
done by his sins. 

That God is merciful is proved : 1. By the distinct utterance 
of Holy Scripture : "As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not 
the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his 
way, and live" (Ez. xxxiii, 11). 

The Psalmist David says: "As high as the heavens are above 
the earth, so powerful is his mercy to those who fear him." 
And in another place: "Gracious and merciful is the Lord." 

2. By many examples from Holy Scripture. Our first parents 
sinned in Paradise, yet God had mercy upon them and promised 
them a Redeemer. 

The inhabitants of the city of Ninive had sinned grievously 
against God, yet God had mercy upon them and did not destroy 
their city. King David sinned grievously against God, yet God 
announced forgiveness to him by the Prophet Nathan, because 
he did penance. 

Achab, in a penitential spirit, clothed himself in a hair shirt, 
and fasted, and God turned away the punishment. 

Jesus said to the penitent Magdalen: "Thy sins are forgiven 
thee !" 

To the thief upon the cross Jesus said : "This day shalt thou 
be with me in Paradise." 

The relation of the sinner to God is beautifully and feelingly 
described in the parable of the prodigal son. The wicked son 
rebels against his father, forsakes him, and wanders about the 
world. God punishes him with adversity; repentant, he takes 
counsel with himself and says: "I will arise and go to my 


father." He puts his resolve into execution, returns to the 
parental roof and throws himself penitently at his father s feet. 
The father lets mercy take the place of justice, he does not re 
buke him ; he opens his arms and presses him to his heart. Thus 
should every sinner understand and acknowledge how grievously 
he has offended God ; every sinner should arise and return to his 
heavenly Father, then God will open His fatherly arms and 
receive him into His favor again. The mercy of God should 
encourage us (1) to turn to God, full of hope, even after most 
grievous sins and faults ; (2) to be merciful and forgiving toward 
those who have offended us. Holy Scripture says : "And if your 
sins are as red as scarlet I will wash them whiter than snow." 
If a heavy weight of sin bears us to the ground, we ought not 
despair, but turn to God, seeking mercy, and He will not reject 
us. But as God is merciful to us, so should we be merciful 
toward those who have offended us, otherwise we lie every time 
we say, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who 
trespass against us." 


How does God prove His love toward wicked men? By mercy and 
long-suffering 1 . 

What means: God is merciful? God is merciful means: that He 
pardons all truly penitent sinners. 

Does God pardon all sinners without exception? No, only the 
penitent ones. 

What, then, must the sinner do in order to obtain God s forgive 
ness? (1) He must acknowledge his misdeeds; (2) He must repent 
of them sincerely; and (3) he must be resolved to sin no more and 
to make restitution if necessary. 

God shows His goodness toward wicked men also by His long- 
suffering. God is long-suffering means, that He often waits a 
long time before He punishes the sinner, in order to give him 
time for repentance. When a man commits a sin He deserves 
divine chastisement. But God does not send this chastisement 
at once, although He has the right and the power to do so, and 
through this postponement of the merited punishment man 
gains time to realize his misdeeds, and to turn back to God. For 
this reason, then, Holy Scripture says: "Thou overlookest the 
sins of men for the sake of repentance" (Wis. xi, 24). 



Holy Scripture gives us many proofs that God is long-suffering. 
In the time of Noe God gave the sinners one hundred and twenty- 
one years in which to amend and be converted; when, however, they 
did not do this, for punishment He let the flood descend upon them. 

The Prophet Jonas, at God s command, admonished the inhabitants 
of the City of Ninive that in "Forty days Ninive will be destroyed." 
They profited by the time of grace, did penance, and were converted 
from their evil ways. 

As a parable of God s long-suffering we may also quote the story 
of the unfruitful tree. Holy Scripture tells us: A rich man had 
planted a fig-tree in his vineyard. Every year he came to see if any 
fruit had appeared upon it, but he never found any. Then, displeased, 
he said to the gardener, "Behold, these three years I come seeking 
fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down, therefore, why 
doth it take up the ground?" But the gardener said: "Let it alone 
this year also, until I dig about it, and dung it; if happily it bear 
fruit; but if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." 

The unfruitful tree is an image of the sinner; he brings forth 
no good fruit, no works of piety and virtue, and is deserving of 
death. But the gardener pleads for him for one more year s 
respite, and promises during this time to do everything in his 
power. Thus does God leave no means untried to lead the 
sinner to better ways. But if he pays no heed to God s offers 
of grace he is then a hardened sinner, and has only himself to 
blame if he is lost eternally. Although God is so long-suffering, 
it would be extremely dangerous for a sinner to put off his re 
pentance and amendment until death; for who can tell when 
and where we shall die? Who can give us assurance of what 
the next hour will bring to us? Does any one know, when he 
goes to bed at night in good health, whether he will live to see 
the morning? We should learn from this to amend while there 
is yet time, and not to put off our repentance. 

God exhorts men also by ordinary events to penance and 
amendment. For instance, we meet a funeral. Involuntarily 
the thought strikes us : "You, too, must die one day ! You had 
better prepare before it is too late." Or we pass a cemetery. 
Involuntarily we think: "Who knows what day I shall be borne 
to the grave; the Lord give that I may not die in my sins and 
be lost for all eternity !" 



What means: God is long-suffering? God is long-suffering means: 
that He waits a long time before He punishes the sinner, in order 
to give him time for repentance. 

What does every man deserve for the sins he has committed *> 
Every man deserves punishment for the sins he has commtited. 

What purpose has God in His long-suffering? He wishes to give 
the sinner time to do penance. 


Providence Justified. A famous preacher had just concluded a 
sermon on Providence, when a man came and said, "I have heard 
your sermon, but I am a living proof of the contrary of what you 
have said. For me there is no Providence! I have a wife and fam 
ily, and work hard to support them. I ve done no harm to anyone, 
and for twenty years I have tried to love God as a good Christian; 
but all in vain; I feel ready to drown myself, for I have bills due the 
end of the month, and am quite unable to meet them. I am lost, 
and would rather die than live!" "Well, my good man, you your 
self shall become proof of the Providence of God! How much do 
you owe?" "Nearly 2,000 francs." "Then here are 2,500; this sum 
was given me only this morning for the relief of the unfortunate. 
Go, pay your bills, and remember there is a Providence!" 

It remains for us to consider the final two of the divine per 
fections, namely, that God is true and faithful. God is true 
means that He reveals nothing but truth, because He can 
neither be mistaken nor lie. God s truthfulness is due to His 
holiness. By virtue of His sanctity God hates everything that 
is evil, therefore He hates untruthfulness and lies. By virtue of 
His omniscience He knows the truth, and by virtue of His truth 
fulness He reveals only truth. With God, therefore, there can 
be no question of error or lies. For this reason Holy Scripture 
says: "God is not as a man, that He lies." "Lying lips are an 
abomination to the Lord." 

Men sometimes say an untruth because they do not know the 
truth, and they sometimes lie because they do not want to speak 
the truth. 

This is not the case with God. It is impossible for God to lie. 
God is not only true, but He is also faithful. God is faithful 
means that He surely keeps His promises and His threats. God s 
faithfulness is due to His truthfulness. As God is truthful in 
His revelations, so is He truthful in His promises. He fulfils 
the good which He promises, but He also fulfils the threats 
which He makes. 



The faithfulness of God is proved by many examples from sacred 
history. God threatened our first parents: "If you eat of the fruit 
of the forbidden tree you shall surely die." And so it happened. The 
sinners at the time of Noe were threatened by God with a flood if 
they did not amend. God executed this threat. God made many 
promises to Abraham. First God promised to lead him into a tend 
flowing- with milk and honey. Furthermore, God promised him that 
He would multiply his descendants as the stars of heaven, and 
finally God promised him that from his descendants the Redeemer 
should come. All these promises were kept by God. God promised 
the Israelites happiness and blessing if they kept His command 
ments faithfully, and God kept His promise. 

God promised Jacob that He would lead him back to the country 
of his fathers, and He kept this promise. 

God promised to Simeon that he should not see death before he 
would behold Christ, the promised Messias, and God fulfilled His 

God threatened the inhabitants of Jerusalem, through His only 
begotten Son, with destruction and ruin, if they did not profit by 
the time of visitation and grace, and God fulfilled his threat. 

God s truth and faithfulness should incite us: 

1. To imitate God s truth and faithfulness. We imitate God s 
truth by never telling a lie, neither in jest or in earnest, or in 
malice, remembering the words of Holy Scripture : "Lying lips 
are an abomination to the Lord." We imitate God s faithfulness 
by always keeping our promises. If we know we can not keep a 
promise we should not make it, and if made we ought to keep 
it, except if we have promised to do something wrong. A prom 
ise of that nature must not be kept. 

2. We ought to believe implicitly in the revelations of God, 
and steadfastly confide in His promises. Abraham affords us a 
model of strong faith and firm confidence. 

God s faithfulness should incite us also to zealously keep the 
commandments of God, so that the promises of God may be ful 
filled in us. The reward for good, and punishment for evil, 
which God promised to others, applies to us also. A beautiful 
example of this is given to us by the Machabee brothers. With 
steadfastness did they look on, while one after another of their 
nuniber was led to death by the executioner, and with what 
anguish must their mother s heart have been torn ; yet they 
wavered not. Such tortures are not our lot, hence we ought to 


fulfil the commandments of God all the better, confiding in 
the Lord s promises: "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is 

Lesson Third 

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, can not have an equal. 

By belief in one God Christianity is distinguished from 
heathendom. The heathens believed in many gods, Christians 
believe in only one God. We have proofs that there is only one 
God (a), from reason, and (b) from revelation. The proofs 
from reason are these : The attributes of God can only be united 
in one Being. Several beings can not possess the same divine 
perfections. By the presence of several gods in the governing 
of the world, disturbances would arise, for if one god willed 
this, another god would will something else. Hence arises- the 
necessity that there should be only one God to rule. The fol 
lowing are proofs from Holy Scripture : Upon Mount Sinai God 
said : "I am the Lord thy God !" not : We are the Lords thy 
Gods! Furthermore: "Thou shalt have no strange gods before 
me." Another verse of Scripture says : "I am God, and there is 
no other god, and none is like unto me." 

23. Q. How many persons are there in God 9 

A. In God there are three divine persons really distinct, 
and equal in all things the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost. 

The three divine persons are: God the Father, God the Son, 
and God the Holy Ghost. They are called divine persons be 
cause each one of them is true God. In their totality or union 
they are called the Most Holy Trinity. 


The word "person" must not be confounded according to 
natural ideas with the words "human person." The word "per 
son" means in this case a Being existing of Himself who knows 
that He exists, and possesses understanding and freedom. Our 
holy religion teaches us that in God there are three persons 
(neither more nor less) namely, the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. 

Our human understanding would never have arrived at this 
had not God Himself revealed that there were three persons. 

Holy Scripture has it very plainly in the New Testament 
that there are three persons in the Godhead. 

The Archangel Gabriel said to Mary: "Behold thou wilt bear 
a Son . . . the power of the Most High will overshadow 
thee, the Holy Ghost will descend upon thee, and therefore also 
the Holy that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of 

When Jesus was baptized in the Jordan the heavens above 
Him were opened, the Holy Ghost hovered visibly over Him 
in the form of a dove, and from the clouds was heard the voice 
of God : "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 
When Jesus sent forth His disciples He said to them: "Go ye 
therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." At an 
other time Jesus said : "When the comforter (the Holy Ghost) 
whom I shall send from the Father, shall come, He will give 
testimony of me." St. John says: "There are three that give 
testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word, and Holy Ghost, 
and these three are one." 

It has always been an article of faith in the Catholic Church 
that in the one true God there are three divine persons. The 
Catholic Church administers all the holy Sacraments in the 
name of the Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. All 
the prayers of the Church conclude with the words: "Through 
Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee in the unity of the Holy 
Ghost, livest and reignest, for ever and ever. Amen." The 
holy sign of the Cross was always used, and so was the form of 
blessing: May the Most Holy Trinity bless thee; God the 
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. 


24. Q. Is the Father God? 

A. The Father is God and the first person of the Blessed 

I. Of the divinity of the Father St. Paul writes : "One God 
and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in us all." 
But the Father is also a divine person. He is mentioned, 
namely, in Holy Scripture as the person who created the world, 
who sent the Son to redeem us, and from whom, as also from 
the Son, proceeds the Holy Ghost. These actions were under 
taken by a free, reasonable and independent Being, therefore 
God the Father must be a particular person of the Godhead. 

25. Q. Is the Son God? 

A. The Son is God and the second person of the Blessed 

II. The Son is true God. This article of faith was confirmed 
by the Council of Nice, where Jesus Christ was called "of the 
same substance with the Father," and "true God of true God." 
The contrary doctrine was rejected and condemned by the 
Church as heresy. 

The divinity of Jesus is proved further by His own expres 
sions. "I and the Father are one." "He who sees me, sees also 
the Father." "Whatsoever the Father doeth, in the same way 
doeth the Son also, that they may honor the Son, as they honor 
the Father." When Christ was asked publicly and solemnly by 
the chief justice, "Art thou Christ, the Son of God?" and life 
or death depended upon His answer, He replied : "I am." Jesus 
proved this statement by His miracles and prophecies, of which 
we shall speak later. 

26. Q. Is the Holy Ghost God? 

A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third person of the 
Blessed Trinity. 

III. The Holy Ghost is also true God. This we know from 
distinct sentences of Holy Scripture. Jesus said to His disciples : 
"Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen." 
Peter said to Ananias and Saphira: "You have not lied to a 
man; but to God the Holy Ghost." 


The divinity of the Holy Ghost was confirmed at the Council 
of Constantinople by the institution of the Creed which is said 
by the priest in the Mass, and which says in part: "I believe 
in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and life-giver, who proceedeth from 
the Father and the Son; who, together with the Father and the 
Son, is adored and glorified ; who spake by the prophets." Per 
fections are here given to the Holy Ghost which only belong 
to God ; consequently He must then be God. St. Matthew says : 
"Whosoever speaks against the Holy Ghost, will neither be for 
given in this world nor in the next." Therefore, if a blasphemy 
is threatened with so severe a punishment, the Holy Ghost must 
be God. 

27. Q. What do you mean by the Blessed Trinity? 

A. By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in three divine 

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 sub 

*30. Q. Can we fully understand how the three divine persons 

are one and the same God? 

A. We can not fully understand how the three divine 
persons are one and the same God, because this is d 

*31. Q. What is a mystery? 

A. A mystery is a truth which we can not fully under 

"Why are the three persons but one God ?" Because all three 
persons have one and the same indivisible nature and sub 

The three divine persons have one nature and substance 
means in other words : "They have the same attributes and per 
fections. Each of the three persons is God, because each one 
has the divine nature and substance, but they are not three 
Gods, but only one God." 

None of the three persons is older than another, that is to say, 


the Father was not before the Son, and the Father and the Son 
were not before the Holy Ghost, but all three were from eternity. 
All three persons are equally powerful, good, and perfect. No 
person is superior to the others, no person has perfections which 
the others have not, and all perfections are possessed equally by 
the three divine persons, in the same measure. As God the 
Father is almighty, good, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, just, 
merciful, long-suffering, wise, true, and faithful, so also in equal 
measure are the Son and the Holy Ghost. How are the three 
divine persons distinct from one another? By this: "That the 
Father is begotten of no one, nor proceeds from any one; the 
Son is begotten of the Father; and the Holy Ghost proceeds 
from the Father and the Son. 7 

But although we say: the Son was begotten of the Father, 
still He is not a creature of the Father, and does not stand there 
fore upon a lower step of perfection, but He has the same divine 
attributes as the Father. You must not think, therefore, that 
the Father existed first, that then the Father begot the Son, 
and that from both Father and Son proceeded the Holy Ghost, 
for there was not a moment in which the Son and the Holy 
Ghost did not exist, otherwise they would not be eternal or so per 
fect as God the Father. "But if the Son is begotten of the Father, 
and the Holy Ghost proceeds from both, why, then, is none of the 
divine persons older than the others?" Because the Son is 
begotten from all eternity, and the Holy Ghost also proceeds 
from all eternity. The begetting of the Son and the proceed 
ing of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, did not 
take place in time, but in eternity, and as we can not understand 
eternity, we therefore can not comprehend or fathom the way 
that this begetting and proceeding happened. It remains for 
us a mystery which we must accept with childlike humility. 

Although all three divine persons have only one nature and 
substance, and are only one God, to each of the three divine per 
sons is attributed a special work for the happiness of mankind ; 
to the Father the Creation ; to the Son the Eedemption ; and to 
the Holy Ghost the Sanctification ; although these works are 
also common to all three persons. It would therefore be errone 
ous for any one to believe that the Father accomplished the 


Creation alone, the Son the Redemption alone, and the Holy 
Ghost the Sanctification alone. That these individual opera 
tions should be attributed by preference to a particular person 
happens only for a more exact distinction of the three divine 
persons themselves. The Son and the Holy Ghost therefore 
participate in the Creation, the Father and the Holy Ghost in 
the Redemption, and the Father and the Son in the work of 
Sanctification. What do we call this mystery of one God in 
three persons? The mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity. 

Can we understand this mystery? "It is impossible for our 
feeble understanding, which can only imperfectly comprehend 
created things, to understand a mystery which is infinitely ex 
alted above all created things." 

We mortal and weak men know only that which God has 
thought good to reveal to us; everything else remains for us a 
mystery. Even holy men like St. Augustine were unable to 
search into this mystery, to fathom and to comprehend it. We 
are even unable to give an account of much that we can see with 
our eyes, and, as it were, grasp with our hands ; for instance, we 
can not explain the magnet, nor electricity, and many similar 
things. Hence Holy Scripture says: "Thou art great, God, 
and inaccessible to our thoughts." 

We must never forget what thanks we owe to the Most 
Blessed Trinity for the inestimable blessings of Creation, Re 
demption, and Sanctification. In remembrance of this we 
celebrate the feast of the "Holy Trinity." 


What are the three Divine Persons called? They are called: God 
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. 

Why are they called Divine Persons? Because each one of these 
three Persons is true God. 

What are these three Divine Persons called in their totality or 
union? The Most Blessed Trinity. 

What does the Catholic Church teach of the Trinity of God? She 
teaches that in the one true God there are three different divine 
persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

How does the Catholic Church, therefore, administer all the holy 
Sacraments? In the name of the Blessed Trinity, the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost. 

Is each one of the three Persons God? Yes, the Father is true 
God, the Son is true God, and the Holy Ghost is true God. 



Believing and Understanding. A good and clever little boy, named 
Antony, traveling in a bus, raised his cap as they passed before a 
church, whereupon another passenger said: "I see you go to church; 
what do you learn there?" "I ve learnt the chief mysteries of re 
ligion." "Mysteries! Don t you know, my boy, that we must never 
believe unless we understand? That s my principle, at any rate." 
"Then," said Antony, "tell me why your little finger moves when 
you make it?" "It moves because I will it, and because the life that 
is in me makes it move!" "But why does it move?" "Because I 
will it!" "Yet your ears won t move when you will it. How is that?" 
This ended the conversation, for the passenger saw that young 
Antony was getting the best of it, both in argument and applause. 

Lesson Fourth 

*32. Q. Who created heaven and earth, and all 

A. God created heaven and earth, and all things. 
*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-power 
ful will. 
34. Q. Which are the chief creatures of God? 

A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men. 

To create means to produce something out of nothing. For 
instance, men can produce different things, but not in the way 
that God does. When men want to make anything, they require 
time, tools, material, laborers, and strength. The mason, for 
instance, builds a wall out of stones and cement; the locksmith 
makes a lock out of iron; the carpenter makes tables, chairs, 
and other articles; the baker bakes bread, made of flour, salt 
water, and yeast, in a hot oven. But no man has ever produced 
anything out of nothing. God alone can do that by virtue of 
His omnipotence. All the men and artists of the entire world 
are not capable of making the least of the things which God has 

By these words, "heaven and earth, and all things," the whole 
visible and invisible world is meant, as mountain and valley, land 


and sea, sun, moon, stars, men and animals, plants and stones. 
When the world is spoken of, you must not imagine that only 
the earth upon which we live is the world. The stars that you 
see at night twinkling in the sky are bodies similar to our 
earth, and belong to the universe. Besides the visible world or 
visible things, God has also created invisible beings, namely, the 
angels. There was no matter before creation out of which God 
could have created the world; it only exists by His almighty 
Will. God said, "Let it be !" and it was ! Therefore Holy Scrip 
ture says: "Thou hast created all things; and for thy will they 
were and have been created" (Apoc. iv, 11). We have already 
learned that the work of creation is principally attributed to 
God the Father; this must be understood not as if the Son and 
the Holy Ghost did not participate in it, but that the Triune 
God is the author of the whole universe. But why did God 
create the world? He is infinitely rich and happy in Himself, 
and needs nothing besides Himself. What then could have in 
duced Him to create the world? Only His goodness. He de 
sired not only to be happy Himself, but He wished that other 
beings should be happy. Therefore God created the angels and 

In how many days did God create .the world? In six days. 
On the first day God said, "Let there be light/ and God thereby 
divided the light from the darkness. 

On the second day God separated the waters from the waters, 
and made the atmosphere and the air of the earth which carries 
the clouds and the vapors over it. 

On the third day God divided the waters from the solid land. 
There arose seas, rivers, brooks, and springs; and dry land upon 
which He caused to grow grass, herbs, bushes, and trees, in 
their different kinds. 

On the fourth day God created the "lights" in the heavens 
in their wonderful order and their course according to fixed 
laws, the sun, the moon, and the stars. 

On the fifth day God created the beasts of the waters and the 
birds of the air. 

On the sixth day God created the tame and wild animals of 
the earth that live upon the land. And after having adorned 
the world in this .manner, and arranged it as a dwelling-place 


for mankind, God created the masterpiece of creation man. It 
is here a question of six days of creation. By this you need not 
imagine our days, that last from one midnight to the other, for 
by one of these days of creation we may understand a period of 
time of maybe thousands of years. It only shows how and in 
what succession God gradually, that is to say, by degrees, cre 
ated the world. Hence sacred history tells us that God rested 
on the seventh day, although God was not fatigued by the cre 
ation and therefore did not need to rest. It only means that 
God ceased to create. 

Why, then, did God create the world? (1) For His glory, 
and, (2) for the good of His creatures. God created the world, 
firstly, for His glory; that means, with the intention of reveal 
ing His divine attributes by visible things, and, first of all, His 
omnipotence, wisdom, and goodness. In this way the creation 
is, as it were, an open, living book, in which we may read the 
greatness, the power, the wisdom, and glory of God; a mirror 
in which we may behold His greatness. Therefore, the 
Psalmist says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the 
firmament proclaims the works of His hands." God created 
the world, secondly, for the good of His creatures, particularly 
for man s use. Each object of creation is useful to another. 
For instance, rain promotes the growth of plants, and plants 
serve as food for man and beast. Everything that you see by 
preference serves man for his food, for his clothing, or his 
health, his service, use, or pleasure. In order that creation may 
continue to exist, and not perish, God preserves the world and 
governs it. 

God preserves the world means : He causes it to continue in 
the manner He pleases, and as long as He pleases. The world 
lias already existed many thousand years, and every spring it 
awakens to new beauty and fresh glory. Regularly the night 
follows the day ; dew and rain still give earth its power to pro 
duce fruit; spring, summer, autumn, and winter follow one 

God governs the world means: He takes care of all things, 
orders all things, and directs all things to the end for which He 
created them. God takes care of all things, of the imperfect and 
least of creatures as well as of mankind. God takes care of the 


worm in the dust, of the sparrow upon the roof, of the worthy 
and the unworthy, of the good and the bad. He gives food to 
man and beast; sunshine and rain to plants. 

God orders and directs all things. He directs not only man 
kind as a whole, but each individual to that end which he is to 
attain according to His infinite wisdom. We see this most 
clearly from Holy Scripture. Joseph in Egypt was sold into 
slavery by his brethren; God, however, so ordered it that he 
became the governor in Egypt. Moses was placed in a basket 
of rushes and left on the banks of the Nile. He would have 
starved and perished, but God so directed the footsteps of the 
king s daughter, that she found the child Moses ; her heart was 
touched that she took him to her house and had him brought up 
at the royal court. How miraculously the Israelites were saved 
through Esther, how miraculously were the plans of the proud 
Aman brought to naught ! In the history of the New Testa 
ment, also, the providence of God is abundantly shown. When 
the three wise men came to Jerusalem to seek the child Jesus, 
Herod dissembled and begged the Magi that they should tell 
him where they would find the child Jesus. God s Providence, 
however, frustrated his plan (Herod wanted to kill the child 
Jesus), for an angel appeared to the three wise men, in a dream, 
and warned them not to return to Herod in Jerusalem. In 
the same way an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and bade 
him flee into Egypt. This belief in Divine Providence is also 
confirmed by reason. Since God is all-knowing, nothing in 
creation lacks His attention. He wishes good to all creatures. 
He knows the best means to reach His end, and because He is 
almighty He can execute that which He has determined upon 
as good. This care of God s in preserving and governing the 
world is called Divine Providence. Nothing happens by acci 
dent; all things are directed by God s Providence. But even 
with this care of God for us we must not be idle. It is not 
sufficient to place an unlimited confidence in God, because He 
can help, desires to help, and will help us ; we must on our 
part co-operate with Him. But if God orders and directs all 
things, why, then, is there so much evil done? Does He will it? 
No, God wills not the evil; but He permits it (1) because He 


has created man with a free will, and (2) because He knows 
how to turn evil into good. 

God can never will evil, for He is holy, and everything evil is 
contrary to His holiness. He permits it, however; that is to 
say, He lets it happen, He does not prevent it (1) because He 
has created man with a free will, by virtue of which man can 
choose good or evil. If man had no free will, he would be 
obliged to do everything good by compulsion, and therefore 
would have no merit. God therefore permits evil, although He 
could prevent it by His omnipotence. Moreover, God s omnipo 
tence and wisdom is so great that He knows how to turn evil 
into good. "We find this confirmed not only in Holy Scripture 
for instance, the history of Joseph in Egypt but also profane 
history affords us examples of it. 

If God takes care of all things, why, then, is there so much 
suffering? There is so much suffering: Firstly, that the sinner 
may amend his ways and not perish forever; and, secondly, that 
the just man may more abound in merits, and thus obtain a 
greater reward in heaven. 

There are, therefore, sufferings which the wicked have de 
served, and undeserved sufferings which God sends to the just. 
The school of suffering, or the way of the Cross, is the way to 
heaven. If man lived on in continual good health, in wealth, 
and pleasures, his heart would probably be estranged from God, 
and turn toward the enjoyments of this world, and he would 
lose sight of his supreme end, eternal blessedness. Sufferings, 
however, lead man back to God; they teach him to think of 
God and to pray to Him. The sufferings of this world are 
inflicted by God upon mankind always with the best intentions. 
Want and misery, poverty and privation, for instance, make 
men industrious and thrifty. A man who is just recovering 
from a severe illness prizes his health far more than one who 
has never been sick. As gold is purified by fire, so is man puri 
fied by sufferings and tribulations. For the sinner they are a 
rod of correction, an exhortation for his conversion and turning 
back to God. As long as the prodigal son had money which 
he could squander, he never thought of returning to his home. 
But when hunger and want befell him he decided to return to 
his father. 


Common sufferings, therefore, which befall whole countries 
and nations, as war, famine, infectious diseases, etc., are sign 
posts of God s acts of mercy which serve for our good. We must 
never presume to murmur and to complain at the divine dis 
pensation, for God knows best what tends to our salvation. To 
murmur at God s decrees is called a presumption, and rightly 
so. We shortsighted men do not know God s intentions; it 
is a proof of distrust to murmur at God. It is also foolish 
ness. What good does it do to murmur and complain in suffer 
ing ? Does it help us, or is it of any use whatever ? On the con 
trary, the more impatient a person is in suffering, the more 
difficult it is for him to bear the suffering. 


Why is God called "Creator of heaven and earth"? Because God 
created the whole world, the heavens and earth, and all that is in 

What does create mean? To create means to produce something 
out of nothing. 

Who alone can create, i. e., produce something out of nothing? 
God alone can do this. 

Can not men also produce many things? Yes, but not in the way 
God does. 

When men undertake to make something, what do they require 
for it? They require time, workmen, material, tools, etc. 

What has God created? The whole world, heaven and earth, and 
all that is in them. 

How did God create all things? By His almighty will. 

What does Holy Scripture say about this? God said: "Let there 
be," and it was. 


"Who Made the Devil?" "Who created the angels?" was the 
question one day asked of some children. The answer was easy: 
God. "But who made the devil?" There was the difficulty? They 
thought, reflected, and thought again, when the smartest of them 
exclaimed, "God created him angel, and he made himself a devil." 

35. Q. What are angels? 

A. Angels are pure spirits without a body, created to 

adore and enjoy God in heaven. 
*36. Q. Were the angels created for any other purpose? 

A. The angels were also created to assist before the throne 
of God and minister unto Him ; they have often 
been sent as messengers from God to man; and are 
also appointed our guardians. 


*37. Q. Were the angels, as God created them, good and 

happy ? 

A. The angels, as God created them, were good and 

To the visible world belong those creatures of God which we 
can see and which we can perceive by the other senses. But 
there is also an invisible world, i. e., creatures of God which we 
can not see, nor perceive with the other senses, namely innumer 
able spirits, called angels. The word angel signifies in general a 
messenger, or ambassador of God. In the general sense we 
understand by angels those immortal spirits, which are the 
noblest of God s creatures, dwell in His heavenly glory, and 
participate in His blessedness. They are spirits, because though 
they are equipped with reason, understanding, and free will, 
they have no visible body. They are innumerable because in 
different parts of Holy Scripture there is mention of legions of 
them. Jesus Himself said, "If I should ask my Father, he 
would send a legion of angels to my assistance." In the 
Old Testament the Prophet Daniel says, "A thousand 
times a thousand waited upon him, and ten thousand 
times a hundred thousand stood before him." The existence of 
angels, however, is not only proved by Holy Scripture, but also 
by visible apparitions of angels. An angel appeared to Lot, and 
said to him, "Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters, that 
you may not perish also with the sinful city." The angel of the 
Lord appeared to Elias, touched him, and said, "Arise and eat !" 

The young Tobias was accompanied on his journey by an 
angel. An angel announced to Zacharias that his prayer for a 
son had been granted. An angel brought the message to Mary 
that she would become the mother of God. At the tomb of 
Jesus an angel said to the weeping women, "Be not afraid." 
Angels appeared to the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem 
and announced to them the birth of Jesus. In the garden of 
Olives an angel strengthened the Saviour in His agony. Peter, 
when bound with chains in a dungeon, was delivered by an 

In what state were the angels when God created them ? They 
were all good and happy, and endowed with excellent gifts. 


The angels were created and destined to participate in the 
divine glory, to praise God, and to be blessed in His vision; 
therefore they must have been good and happy. 

The glorious gifts with which God has endowed them are: 
1. Their supreme knowledge of God; 2. Their ardent love of 
God ; and 3. Their prompt and joyful obedience. 

The angels, however, in regard to their perfections, are not all 
of equal rank. Therefore, we distinguish nine choirs of blessed 
spirits, namely: 1. Angels; 2. Archangels; 3. Virtues; 4. 
Powers; 5. Principalities; 6. Dominations; 7. Thrones; 8. 
Cherubim; 9. Seraphim. 

*38. Q. Did all the angels remain good and happy ? 

A. AH 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. 

The angels who rebelled against God were hurled into hell. 
They are called devils, or evil spirits. The angels received at 
their creation, besides the other glorious gifts, also freedom of 
will, and of their own free choice were to make themselves 
worthy of blessedness. God placed them in the state of proba 
tion, and they did not all stand this probation. Many misused 
their freedom, and fell away from God. As a punishment for 
their sin, they were cast by God into hell, as appears from Holy 
Scripture, "God spared not the angels that sinned, but delivered 
them drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell unto tor 
ments" (II Peter ii, 4). The name given to the chief of 
the devils is Satan. 

The good angels love us, they protect us in soul and body, 
pray for us, and exhort us to do good. 

I. They protect us in soul and body. We are, for instance, at 
all times exposed to dangers, even bodily dangers, whereby our 
life may be imperiled, and to dangers of the soul, whereby we 
are tempted to sin. Our holy religion teaches us that the angels 
stand by our side to protect us in all dangers. Holy Scripture 
says, "He hath given His angels charge over thee, to keep thee 
in all thy ways" (Ps. xc, 11). Already in the Old Law we find 
protecting angels spoken of. When Agar s son was on the point 


of fainting God sent an angel ; Agar beheld a spring of water 
and gave the boy to drink. Angels rescued Lot from the horrible 
death by burning with the city of Sodom. Elias, the prophet, 
was obliged to nee away from Jezabel into the desert, and he 
was in danger of starvation. Then an angel of the Lord brought 
him food, and said, "Arise and eat !" The three youths in the 
fiery furnace were preserved from the flames by an angel of 
the Lord. Angels delivered the Apostle from the dungeon. 

The angels take far greater care of our souls than of our 
bodies. Our soul is destined for heaven and eternal happiness. 
Our soul is one day to participate in the blessedness and vision 
of Cod. Therefore, they watch over us, that "the child of 
malice," the tempter, may not injure us; for they desire noth 
ing more ardently than that we too, like themselves, may be 
happy and blessed. When St. Agnes was a girl of thirteen 
years, she was asked to sacrifice to the heathen idols; but 
nothing could move her to deny her Christian faith. By the 
assistance of her guardian angel she was -enabled steadfastly to 
resist all temptations, and she cried out to her tormentors, 
"Depart from me, my guardian angel stands by my side." 

II. They pray for us, and because they are God s friends, 
and stand around His throne, it is certain that God will hear 
their prayers. 

III. They exhort us to do good. As often as temptation ap 
proaches us, as often as the evil spirit tries to ensnare us in his 
toils, so often do they exhort us to shun evil. And as often as 
the opportunity occurs for us to do good, they speak to us en 
couragingly. Thus did the angels encourage the Apostles, 
"Go in, step up and speak to the people in the temple the. word 
of life." When we have sinned, the angels exhort us in particu 
lar to do penance so as to save our soul from perdition. The 
angels who are specially given to man for his protection are 
called Guardian Angels. We must venerate them with great 
devotion, be thankful to them, and readily follow their 
admonitions. Children can show their veneration and grati 
tude toward their holy guardian angels, by praying to 
them frequently and devoutly. Let every child take care that 
his guardian angel is not obliged to turn sorrowfully away from 
him. As long as you venerate and obey your holy guardian 

C RE ATI OS 107 

angel, he will be your friend, your protector, and your advocate. 
The good angels are opposed by the bad angels or spirits. Our 
holy religion teaches us of the bad spirits that, through hatred 
and envy, they lay snares for us, to plunge us into eternal per 
dition. This is proved by the tempting of our first parents in 
Paradise. In their envy the evil spirits could not bear to see 
how happy our first parents were. The devil ensnared them 
with lies and deceit, and in this manner brought about the fall 
of God s image. Why does God permit the wicked spirits to lay 
snares for us? He permits it because He knows how to make 
their snares serve unto His own honor and to the salvation of 

The temptations and snares of the evil one warn us to be 

Therefore the Apostle says, "Your adversary, the devil, as a 
roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour" (I 
Peter v, 8). As the lion watches for his prey and thirsts for 
blood, so do the evil spirits watch for their victims among men. 
This fact exhorts to vigilance and prayer, for Jesus says, "Watch 
and pray, that you may not fall into temptation." 

But above all things we must know and believe that the 
evil spirits have no power over us, unless we ourselves give it to 

Holy Scripture says, "It God is for us, who can be against 
us?" We must, therefore, be steadfast and persevere in our 
combat against evil. Whosoever perseveres unto the end shall 
be saved. 

In conclusion, I must tell you that man can become either 
like a good, or like an evil spirit. Man resembles the good 
spirits when he imitates their good qualities: when he loves 
God fervently and obeys Him as readily and promptly as the 
angels do in heaven. Furthermore, when we strive to be an 
angel to our fellowmen, when we pray for them, when we exhort 
them to do good, and warn and restrain them from evil : in par 
ticular, when we are a guardian angel to children. See, chil 
dren, many of you must have a little brother or sister to take 
care of. You will become thereby the visible guardian an^el, as 
it were, of your little brothers and sisters. We can also imitate 
the evil spirits. Those who hate God instead of loving Him, 


who revolt against Him and commit sin, who hate their fellow 
creatures and strive to injure them, and lead and tempt others 
into sin, they are devils in human form. We ought to shudder 
at this fearful thought : a devil in human form. 

Remember daily your holy guardian angel and recommend 
yourself to him in all dangers of soul and body. Avoid saying 
or doing anything contrary to holy modesty in his presence. In 
commemoration of this beautiful doctrine, that every one has 
received a guardian angel from God, we celebrate the Feast of 
the Guardian Angels. What an elevating and consoling thought 
it is for us that an angel accompanies us and protects us in an 
invisible manner; that a heavenly being stands at our bedside 
and guards us! 


What does the word angel mean? It means a messenger or am 
bassador of God. 

In what way are the angels distinguished from God? They are 
creatures of God, and had a beginning, and are not as perfect as God. 

Did the angels all remain good and happy? No; many rebelled 
against God and were hurled into hell. They are called devils 
evil spirits. 

How was it possible that angels could sin? At their creation 
they received from God free will. 

How did a part of the angels misuse this? For evil. 

What was their punishment? They were hurled into hell. 

What are those angels called who are given to man for his per 
sonal protection? They are called guardian angels. 

Have, then, only little children guardian angels? No; every 
human being has a guardian angel. 

If we let our holy guardian angel lead us, where will he lead us 
to? To heaven. 

What is our duty toward our holy angel guardian? We should 
venerate him with great devotion, be thankful to him, and readily 
follow his admonitions. 


"Holy Angel, Pray for Her!" In September, 1843, in a small vil 
lage in the Tyrol, a joiner was piling up some wood to a considerable 
height, when suddenly the whole mass of timber toppled over, bury 
ing under its heap his little daughter, some three years of age. 
The parents first words were, "Holy angel of our child, pray for 
her!" They hastened to remove the wood, with every precaution, 
though fully expecting to find their child crushed to death, but 
imagine their joy and gratitude on finding their little girl had not 
even received a scratch. Her guardian angel had miraculously pro 
tected the child. 


Lesson Fifth 


39. Q. Who were the first man and woman? 

A. The first ma.i and woman were Adam and Eve. 

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. 
*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. 
*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 

43. Q. Did Adam and Eve remain faithful to God? 

A. Adam and Eve did not remain faithful to God; but 
broke His command by eating the forbidden fruit. 

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 

By the sin which they committed they lost all their super 
natural gifts, thereby plunging themselves and the whole human 
race into the greatest misery. When we possess a precious thinsr, 
and know its value, we are very careful not to lose it. Adam 
and Eve did not do this. They transgressed God s command 
ment, ate of the forbidden fruit, and not only lost thereby their 
own supernatural gifts, but plunged themselves and their 
descendants into the greatest misery. What sin did they com 
mit? They believed the serpent more than God, and they ate 
of the forbidden fruit. God had revealed His will expresslv to 
our first parents, and said to Adam, "Eat of all the trees in the 


garden, but of that tree in the middle of the garden thou shalt 
not eat. If thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." But the 
evil spirit said to them, "You will not die, you will become like 
unto God." Adam and Eve allowed themselves to be deceived 
by the evil spirit, and ate of the forbidden fruit. This sin of 
our first parents was a crime against gratitude and obedience. 
Man owed gratitude to God for the great gifts with which he 
was endowed, and as God was his creator and Lord, he owe.d 
Him obedience. But our first parents set aside everything, re 
belled against God, and transgressed His holy commandment. 

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 


*46. Q. What other effects followed from the sin of our first 

parents ? 

A. Our nature was corrupted by the sin of our first 
m parents, which darkened our understanding, weak 
ened our will, and left in us a strong inclination to 
47. Q. What is the sin called which we inherit from our first 

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 soul. 

Sin, with its fatal consequences, has passed from Adam to all 
mankind, insomuch that we now all come into this world 
burdened with sin. Holy Scripture says, "By one man sin 
entered into this world, and by sin, death; and so death passed 
upon all men, in which all have sinned" ("Rom. v, 12). The 
fault, as well as the punishment, of the first sin is inherited 
continually, from the first man created unto the last. 

What do we call this sin in which we are all born? We call 


it original sin, because we have not actually committed it, but 
have inherited it from our first parents, who were the origin or 
source of all mankind. 

For Adam and Eve the first sin was an actual personal sin, 
because they committed it in person. But for us it is an in 
herited sin, because we did not commit that sin in person. Every 
human being, therefore, at his birth finds himself in a state of 
original sin, i. e., he comes into the world burdened with original 
sin, and only by the merits of Jesus Christ can he be purified 
from original sin, in Holy Baptism. As children not only 
inherit their parents fortune but their debts also, so did our 
first parents transmit to us the sad debt of original sin. 

What fatal consequences have, with original sin, passed to all 

1. Their disgrace before God, and their loss of the right to 
inherit the kingdom of heaven. 

2. Ignorance, evil desires, and inclination to evil. 

3. Hardships, pain, infirmity and death. 

1. By disgrace, we understand the displeasure of God; for by 
virtue of His sanctity, God is pleased with good and displeased 
with evil. It is a loss when, either through our own fault or 
that of another, we lose something valuable. The precious 
possessions which were lost by the first sin were ( 1 ) the grace of 
God, and (2) the heirship to the kingdom of heaven. By sin 
our first parents separated themselves from God, passed out of 
communion with Him, lost the good will and the sonship of 
God, and with it the inheritance to the kingdom of heaven, 
because anything unholy and sinful can not be united with 

2. Ignorance, evil desires, and inclination to evil. While be 
fore their sin God granted to our first parents a more exalted 
knowledge of Himself, after sinning they were ignorant of the 
most important truths of salvation. While our first parents 
before sinning willed only good, after their sin their desires and 
inclinations were prone to evil. Although man s free will was 
not lost by sin, still it was weakened and inclined to evil. 

3. All sorts of hardships, pain, infirmities, and at last death. 
Before sin Paradise produced of itself everything that our first 
parents required, after their sin they had to earn their bread 


in the sweat of their brow. While before sin earth was a Para 
dise to them, after sin it was a place of tribulation and suffer 
ing. Before sin they led a joyful life in union with God, after 
sin they were subjected to all the hardships of human life, 
hunger and privation, heat and cold, sickness and suffering, and 
death. As a terrific storm lays waste a beautiful garden, as a 
senseless barbarian destroys a glorious work of art, thus was 
the image of God destroyed in our first parents, and their para 
dise was ravaged. The consequences of the first sin were so 
tremendous that they not only concerned man, but extended to 
the earth. God said to Adam, "Cursed is the earth in thy work; 
thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and in the sweat 
of thy brow thou shalt eat thy bread." 

*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. 

The whole earth participated in the curse of the first sin, 
which to this day still burdens it. 

What would have become of man if God had not shown him 
mercy? No one could have received grace or have been saved. 
After the fall man was dead spiritually; he could not help him 
self, by his own power he could not return to his former state of 
grace. Like a branch cut off from the grapevine, so was man 
separated from God. Furthermore he owed to divine justice for 
the sin committed a satisfaction which he could not make. Be 
yond help, as if in a deep abyss, which offered no escape, helpless 
as a ship that has lost its anchor, sails, and masts, so was man 
irretrievably lost, if God had not taken pity upon him. 

How did God show mercy to man? "He promised him a 
Saviour, who, by a full satisfaction, should take sin away from 
him, and regain for him grace and the right of inheriting the 
kingdom of heaven" (Gen. iii, 15). He promised man a Re 
deemer who would make amends for the harm done by sin, and 
render complete satisfaction to the outraged majesty of God, 
restore the disfigured image of God in man, illumine again the 
obscured understanding, fortify the enfeebled will, raise up 
a^ain fallen man, and thereby destroy the kingdom of sin. 


What was the fate of the just persons who lived before the 
coming of Christ? They had indeed merited heaven by their 
faith, and their good works, but they could not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven before the Redeemer, but only with Him. 

Original sin, which had such fatal consequences for mankind, 
is a warning to us to avoid sin, and to resist temptation. If 
man was so severely punished for transgressing only once the 
divine commandment, how severely will those persons be pun 
ished who sin against God daily and even frequently during 
the day? Adam and Eve would not have sinned if they had 
fled from the tempter, and not believed his words. 

50. Q. Was any one 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 Im 
maculate Conception. 


Why is man the noblest of all creatures? Because God has granted 
him certain faculties which place him above all other creatures. 

How were our first parents called? God called them Adam and 

How did God distinguish man at his creation? By creating him 
to His own image. 

With what natural gifts has God endowed man s soul? With 
understanding, reason, and free will. 

In what did the supernatural gifts consist? 1. The first man 
possessed sanctifying grace. 2. His senses never rebelled against 
reason. 3. He was never to be subjected to hardships and suffer 
ings, nor to death. 

Did our first parents preserve these supernatural gifts? No; by 
the sin which they committed they lost them and plunged themselves 
and the whole human race into the greatest misery. 

What descends from our first parents upon all men? The guilt 
and the punishment of the first sin. 

What, then, does every man bring with him at his birth into this 
world? Original sin. 

Can original sin be removed from us? Yes; by the merits of 
Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Baptism. 


Lesson Sixth 


51. Q. Is original sin the only kind of sin? 

A. Original sin is not the only kind of sin; there is an 
other kind of sin, which we commit ourselves, called 
actual sin. 

52. Q. What is actual sin? 

A. Actual sin is any wilful thought, word, deed, or omis 
sion contrary to the law of God. 

The law of God is expressed in the commandments of God 
and the commandments of the Church. We must keep the com 
mandments because of the respect, love, and gratitude which we 
owe God and His Church. If we, in our thoughts, words, or 
works, act contrary to the divine Will and contrary to the com 
mandments, such a wilful violation of a commandment is called 
sin. These two essentials, therefore, constitute sin : There must 
be a violation of a commandment, and this violation must be 
wilful or voluntary. 

We may commit actual sin in various ways, namely: 1. Ac 
tively, by bad thoughts, desires, words and actions. 2. Passively, 
by the omission of the good which we are bound to do. 

53. Q. How many kinds of actual sin are there? 

A. There are two kinds of actual sin mortal and venial. 

There are two different kinds of sin : Grievous sin, also called 
mortal sin, and lesser or venial sin. 

Our reason will tell us that there must be a difference between 
the sin that is committed by murder and that committed by 
stealing an apple. There is a difference between great sins, that 
break the friendship between God and man, and lesser sins, 
which violate this friendship, but do not break it. 

54. Q. What is mortal sin? 

A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of 

*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. 
*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 con 
sent of the will. 

We commit a grievous or mortal sin when we transgress a 
divine law in an important matter with full knowledge of our 
duty and perfectly free will. 

Grievous sins are also called mortal or deadly sins, because 
these great sins deprive the soul of its supernatural life, that is, 
of sanctifying grace, and deliver the soul to eternal death, to 
everlasting damnation. 

The soul as an immortal spirit can not die in the same man 
ner as the body dies, but as the body loses its natural life when 
the soul leaves it, so does the soul lose its supernatural life when 
sanctifying grace is expelled from it through grievous sin. The 
soul is dead in the state of mortal sin; it is cut off from the 
eternal source of life God; it is dead for heaven, because it 
can not do anything meritorious for its salvation, and if a per 
son dies in this state, his soul goes to eternal damnation. 

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 suf 
ficient reflection or full consent of the will. 
*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. 

A venial sin is committed when we transgress a divine law in 
an unimportant matter, or not quite voluntarily. A transgression 
is not quite voluntary when, with our understanding, we do not 
sufficiently perceive the evil, or, with our will, we do not fully 
consent to it. Mortal sins must be confessed, venial sins we are 


not obliged, but permitted and advised to confess. The con 
fession of venial sins, though not necessary, is considered very 
wholesome. It frequently happens that some one considers a 
sin to be only venial, when in reality it is a mortal sin. We 
should, therefore, be very conscientious in confessing, and when 
in the least doubtful as to whether a certain sin is mortal or 
venial, we must confess it. Pardon for venial sins can also be 
gained outside of the confessional, by hearing Mass, receiving 
the Sacraments, by fasting, almsgiving, and other good works. 
We should not only fear mortal sin, but every sin, as the great 
est evil which can befall us upon earth. We should be deterred 
from committing sin by considering its malice and evil conse 
quences. The malice of sin consists of: 1. A grievous disobedi 
ence against God, our Supreme Lord. 2. A shameful ingrati 
tude toward God, our greatest Benefactor and loving Father. 
3. A detestable infidelity toward our most amiable Eedeemer. 

Mortal sin is an insolent and grievous disobedience against 
God, our Supreme Lord. Imagine the insolence of man, the 
creature, revolting against his Creator and Preserver, as if to 
tell Him: I know what Thou hast commanded, but I will not 
do it; I know that Thou art my Creator and Preserver, but I 
don t care. Just as insignificant and miserable as a worm is, com 
pared to man, even more insignificant and miserable is man in 
comparison with God, and this miserable, insignificant, and im 
potent man has the audacity to offend God, the Supreme Master, 
of whom Holy Scripture says: "Heaven is His throne and the 
earth His footstool." As man may crush with his foot the poor 
worm, so can God annihilate and destroy men. But God does 
not wish the sinner s death. He desires him to live and to 

As God is an infinite Being, so is the sin against Him an 
infinite offense. Sin is also an act of shameful ingratitude 
toward God, our greatest Benefactor and loving Father. If we 
contemplate the value of our natural gifts, we must acknowledge 
how immeasurable God s goodness and love is toward us. Re 
member of what great value are to us our senses, the gifts to 
hear, to see, to speak, our health, and our sound limbs ! With 
what fatherly love does He provide for us every day ! He pre 
serves the sinner even at the very moment when, with the fullest 


justification, He might annihilate the wretch instantly. Still 
more precious are the supernatural gifts that God bestows upon 
us, even wishing us to share His own eternal bliss. If some one 
approaches you with even a small gift, you will say, "Thank 
you," but toward God, his greatest Benefactor, man is for 
getting gratitude. 

Sin is, furthermore, a detestable infidelity toward Jesus, our 
most loving Redeemer. In holy Baptism we made a promise to 
our Eedeemer, and renewed this promise at our first Holy 
Communion, the promise to flee from sin and to renounce the 
devil and all his works ; yet the sinner breaks this promise and 
crucifies anew his Saviour, who shed for him His Blood and 
gave for him His life. 

Most conclusively of all, the malice of an offense against God 
is proved by its punishment. The wicked angels sinned but 
once, by revolting against the Almighty, and they were cast away 
from the glory of heaven forever and ever. Our first parents 
succumbed just once to temptation, by eating of the forbidden 
fruit, and they were driven from Paradise forever. What, then, 
will happen to those who offend God frequently? Each mortal 
sin deserves eternal punishment. This consists of the eternal 
separation from God, the everlasting loss of heavenly bliss and 
the neverending tortures which body and soul must suffer in 
hell. Holy Scripture says : "They shall go into eternal fire/ 7 

The malice of mortal sin is made apparent by the bitter 
Passion and death of Jesus. As an atonement for the sins of 
man God demanded the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son; as 
an atonement for the sins of the whole world God crushed in 
suffering His Beloved Son. How terrible, then, must mortal 
sin appear in the eyes of the Lord ! 

The consequences of mortal sin are threefold: 1. It separates 
us from God and deprives us of His love and friendship. 2. It 
robs us of all merits and of our heirship to heaven. 3. It draws 
upon us the judgments of God in this world, and, in the other, 
eternal damnation. 

In the state of sanctifying grace man is intimately united 
with God. This connection ceases at the moment when man 
commits a mortal sin. God is most holy, and as such can not 
remain united to a sinner. Sin severs the band which unites 


man with God; it dissolves the friendly relationship between 
God and man ; it puts hatred in the place of love, enmity in the 
place of friendship. 

All good deeds done by man in the state of grievous sin have 
no merit for heaven. The soul is loaded down by mortal sin as 
with a heavy burden, which man alone can not lift. It has 
fallen under the ban of the punishing justice of God, in this as 
well as in the other world. St. Ambrose says: Can there be a 
more terrible punishment for the sinner than a bad conscience? 
The loss of all our possessions, the most loathsome diseases, 
even bitter death, are less terrible. Holy Scripture says: "They 
that commit sin and iniquity are enemies of their own soul." 

We should avoid not only mortal, but also venial sin, because 
it also is an offense against God, and hinders many graces which 
God intends to give us. Venial sin also brings many punish 
ments of God upon us and leads by degrees to grievous sin. 
Venial sin is an offense and a disobedience toward God, and 
whoever loves God with his whole heart and soul will be careful 
not to commit even a venial sin. Venial sins do not destroy 
supernatural life, like mortal sins, but they put a stain upon 
the soul; they lessen the beauty and purity of it, increase our 
passions, weaken our good will, and are an obstacle in our 
progress to perfection. A person who is lukewarm, and careless 
about small or venial sins, will soon lose all abhorrence for 
mortal sin. It is, moreover, sometimes hard to draw the line 
between venial and mortal sins. 

Jesus gives us the remedy for the avoidance of all sin by 
exhorting us : "Watch ye and pray !" We must watch over our 
selves, over our sensual desires and inclinations, over our inter 
course with our fellowmen, and must pray to God for strength 
and assistance that we may not be led into temptation and for 
strength to avoid it. 


What is sin? Sin is a wilful violation of the divine law. 

What is necessary to make an action sinful? It must be a wilful 
and knowing violation of divine law. 

In how many ways may we sin? We may sin actively by bad 
thoughts, desires, words, and actions, also passively by the omission 
of the good which we are bound to do. 


Are all sins equally great? No; there are grievous sins, also 
called mortal, and there are lesser or venial sins. 

When do we commit mortal sin? We commit mortal sin when 
we wilfully violate the law of God in an important matter. 

Why are grievous sins called mortal sins? Because grievous sin 
deprives the soul of its supernatural life, that is, of sanctifying grace, 
and renders it guilty of eternal death, of everlasting damnation. 

What merit have the good works which we do while in the state 
of sin? They have no merit for heaven. 

What punishment does mortal sin deserve? Mortal sin deserves 
eternal damnation. 

What do we lose by committing mortal sin? We lose the grace 
of God and eternal salvation. 

How do we commit venial sin? By transgressing the will of God 
in an unimportant matter only, or not quite voluntarily. 

Must mortal sins be confessed? Yes; all mortal sins of which 
we are conscious must be confessed. 

Must venial sins be confessed? It is not necessary, but permis 
sible and advisable to confess them. 

By what good works can we obtain pardon for our venial sins 
outside of Confession? By hearing Mass, receiving the Sacraments, 
fasting, and almsgiving. 

In what does the malice of mortal sin principally consist? Mortal 
sin is, 1. A grievous disobedience of God, our Supreme Lord; 2. A 
shameful ingratitude toward God, our greatest Benefactor and lov 
ing Father; 3. A detestable infidelity toward our most amiable 

What did Jesus do for sinful man? Jesus left heaven, shed His 
blood, suffered unspeakable tortures, and gave His life on the Cross, 
all for our sake. 

Could there be any greater love than this? No; there could not 
be greater love. 

How many times did the wicked angels sin? Only once. 

What was their punishment? They were driven from heaven and 
cast into hell. 

And our first parents: How many times were they disobedient to 
God s commandment? They were disobedient just once. 

How were they punished for this one sin? They were driven out 
of Paradise. 

What conclusion may we draw from all this? We may under 
stand how wicked and how deserving of punishment an offense 
against God is. 

59. Q. Which are the chief sources of sin? 

A. The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, covetous- 
ness, lust, anger , gluttony, envy, and sloth; and 
they are commonly called capital sins. 

There are certain chief sources, or particular kinds, of sin 
which ought to be known in all their gravity in order that they 
may be avoided: First of these should be mentioned the seven 


capital or deadly sins. Then there are the six sins against the 
Holy Ghost, the four sins crying to heaven for vengeance, and 
nine sins that may be committed by being accessory to another 
person s sins. 

The first kind, the seven capital sins, are: 1. Pride. 2. 
Covetousness. 3. Lust. 4. Anger. 5. Gluttony. 6. Envy. 
7. Sloth. They are called capital sins because they are the 
principal sources of other sins. 

I. Pride. We sin by pride by being too vain of ourselves, 
by not giving, on this account, God the honor due to Him, and 
by despising our neighbor. 

II. Covetousness. We sin by covetousness when we inordi- 
nated seek and love money or other worldly goods, and are 
uncharitable to those in distress. Just as pride is an inordinate 
desire for honor, fame, and distinction, so is covetousness an 
inordinate desire for temporal goods. Our Lord taught us in the 
"Our Father" to ask only for our daily bread, our absolute 
necessity, and not for wealth and superabundance. Scripture 
says: "Those that will become rich fall into temptation and 
into the snare of the devil." 

III. Lust. We sin by lust when we indulge in immodest or 
impure thoughts, desires, words, or acts. 

IV. Anger. We sin by anger when we are unduly exasper 
ated at that which displeases us, fly into a passion, and suffer 
ourselves to be carried away by a violent desire of revenge. 

Anger is a capital sin, because it is the cause of many sins 
against the Fifth Commandment. Our divine Lord Himself 
taught that anger and the sins arising therefrom are deserving 
of punishment, when He said that "whosoever is angry with his 
brother shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever 
shall say to his brother, Eaca, shall be in danger of the council, 
And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell 

V. Gluttony. We sin by gluttony by excessive or too 
luxurious eating or drinking. Scripture says: "Their god is 
their belly." Man needs food and drink for the preservation of 
life, but to eat and drink more than necessary is a sin. It is 
particularly a, great sin to become intoxicated by the immoderate 
use of alcoholic drinks. 


VI. Envy. We sin by envy by being vexed and grieved at 
our neighbor s success or good fortune and by rejoicing at his 
ill luck. Scripture says: "By the envy of the devil death came 
into the world, and they follow him that are of his side." 

VII. Sloth. We sin by sloth when, by aversion to labor and 
exertion, we neglect to do the work to which we are dutifully 
bound. There are two kinds of sloth, or laziness, the laziness 
of the body and the laziness of the mind. Bodily laziness seeks 
to avoid the necessary labor and takes delight in idleness. 
Spiritual laziness shows itself in lukewarmness in whatsoever 
concerns the service of God. God says: "I would thou wert 
cold or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold 
nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth." 


An Image of the Seven Deadly Sins. A certain young man in 
crossing- the forest was attacked by a frightful monster, which in 
shape resembled a lion, but had seven heads like those of a serpent. 
Rushing at him from beneath a bush where it had been lurking, 
it raised aloft its seven heads, from each of which darted forth a 
venomous tongue, which filled the air with horrible hissings. The 
youth, who was both brave and strong, was not disconcerted. Hav 
ing no other weapon than a hatchet which he carried in his waist, 
according to the custom of the country, he drew it forth and rushed 
at the savage monster. At the first blow he cut off four of its heads, 
at the second he struck off other two, and at the third he would 
certainly have completed his victory by cutting off the remaining 
head had not the hatchet unfortunately slipped from his hand and 
fallen upon the ground. At the same moment the beast, enraged by 
the wounds it had received, rushed furiously upon him, bit him, 
stung him, and seized him in its claws. In vain did the unhappy 
man struggle and call for help; his cries were unheard, and the 
savage beast, dragging him into its den, gave him as food to its 
young ones. The hatchet represents virtue. Perdition is the certain 
lot of him whose virtue fails in the combat with even one of the 
deadly sins. 

Of particular kinds of sin we must mention, furthermore, the 
six sins against the Holy Ghost, and the four sins crying to 
heaven for vengeance. 

The six sins against the Holy Ghost are: 1. Presumption of 
God s mercy. 2. Despair. 3. Resisting the known Christian 
truth. 4. Envy at another s spiritual gifts. 5. Obstinacy in 
sin. 6. Persistent impenitence. 

1. Presumption of God s mercy. We all know that God is 


merciful. He is ready to pardon the penitent sinner. But if 
any one should attempt to persist in sinning, with the thought 
and reliance that God will finally pardon his sins, this is pre 
sumption and a grievous sin, because it abuses the forbearance 
and mercy of God. 

2. Despair is the sin opposite to the sin of presumption. The 
presumptuous person relies too much upon God s mercy and the 
despairing one too little. Presumption denies God s justice; 
despair denies His mercy. To despair means to give up all 
hope for God s mercy and to consider it impossible to obtain 
pardon and gain salvation. Despair frequently takes hold of 
those having led a sinful life, and often leads to suicide. 

3. Resisting the known Christian truth. This sin is com 
mitted by those who, well knowing the truth revealed by God, 
wilfully and maliciously deny, falsify, or slander these truths. 
Those who, from ignorance, are not cognizant of the divine 
truths, do not, of course, commit this sin ; but those who, con 
trary to their better knowledge, refuse to accept the true faith 
commit a grievous sin. 

4. Envy at another s spiritual gifts. Envy in itself is a capi 
tal sin, and it becomes a sin against the Holy Ghost when we 
begrudge our neighbor his supernatural gifts. Thus was Cain 
envious of Abel, because God looked upon the latter s sacrifice 
with great favor. 

5. Obstinacy in sin. This sin he commits who persists in sin, 
notwithstanding the warning of his own conscience, and despis 
ing the commandments of the Church, refusing to follow the 
directions of confessors, parents, and superiors, given for the 
good of his salvation. 

6. Persistent impenitence. He is impenitent who keeps on 
living in unrepentance, and who does not do what is necessary 
for obtaining the forgiveness of sin. Those also are impenitent 
who retain ill-gotten goods, who do not make good the damage 
which they caused, who do not recall slander they spread, and 
those who continue to live in hatred and enmity. 

Why are these sins called sins against the Holy Ghost ? They 
are sins against the Holy Ghost because by them we resist in ah 
especial manner the Holy Ghost, despising, rejecting, or abusing 
His particular grace. We should particularly avoid them, be- 


cause they obstruct the entrance of God s grace into the heart, 
and, therefore, hinder our conversion, or render it very difficult. 

The four sins crying to heaven for vengeance are: 1. Wilful 
murder. 2. Sodomy. 3. Oppression of the poor, of widows and 
orphans. 4-. Defrauding laborers of their deserved wages. 

These sins are called sins crying to heaven for vengeance on 
account of their great malice. The Lord said to Cain, when he 
had murdered his brother Abel: "The voice of thy brother s 
blood crieth to me from the earth, which hath opened her mouth 
and received the blood of thy brother." 

Finally there are the nine sins committed by being accessory 
to another s sin. 

How may we become accessories of another s sin? 1. By 
counsel. 2. By command. 3. By consent. 4. By provocation. 
5. By praise or flattery. 6. By silence. 7. By connivance. 8. 
By assisting. 9. By defense of the wrong done. 

1. By counsel. We are guilty of this sin when counseling 
others to commit a sin, even then if the other person should, 
after all, not commit the sin. The gravity of this sin depends 
upon the gravity of the sin advised. 

2. By command. This sin is committed by superiors, em 
ployers, etc., who order those subject to them to do wrong. We 
must not obey orders to do wrong. We must obey God rather 
than men. Those who command a wrong are as responsible for 
the consequences as the one actually doing the wrong. 

3. By consent. This sin is committed by those who, by their 
permission, cause a sin to be committed, and by those who do 
not prevent a sin, although they might have done so. 

4. By provocation. We can, by word and example or in other 
ways, induce others to sin. This sin was committed by Puti- 
phar s wife when she tempted the virtuous Joseph to sin. Guilty 
of this sin are all those who sell or lend bad books or pictures to 
others, who provoke others to anger, who tempt others to sin 
by talk, actions, lack of clothing, etc. 

5. By praise or flattery. This sin is committed by those who 
applaud evil in others, or deride the good. 

6. By silence. Parents commit this sin, and generally those 
in authority, who remain silent when seeing the sins of those in 
their charge. This sin is also committed by children who are 


silent about sinful acts of other children, instead of revealing 
them to their parents or teachers as they are in duty bound to do. 

7. By connivance. If exhortations and admonitions uo not 
avail, punishment must be resorted to by teachers and superiors 
for the suppression of sin in their charges. By neglecting this 
they commit this sin. 

8. By assisting. This sin is committed by those who procure 
for others the place, opportunity, and assistance for the com 
mission of their sins. 

9. By defense of the ill done. When a person has done wrong 
and another says: "He was right; I should have done the same 
thing," he thereby defends the sin of this person and commits 
sin himself. 

Let us, therefore, avoid not only sin of our own, but also 
avoid participating in the sins of others. Make the resolution 
every day to detest sin as the greatest evil and to shun it, but 
also make the resolution to hinder as much as possible sin in 
others, in order that there may be less sin in the world. 


A Silent Command. The Roman King Tarquinius Superbus fur 
nishes an example of committing sin by directing others to sin. His 
son Sixtus, having been victor in battle, sent a messenger to Tar 
quinius with the question what should be done with the prisoners. 
Tarquinius listened to the messenger, but did not utter a word in 
reply. However he went about in the garden, where he had received 
the messenger, and decapitated a number of flowers. The messenger 
returned without an answer, but reported to Sixtus his father s 
action, from which Sixtus understood that he was to have his 
prisoners decapitated, which was then done. 

Lesson Seventh 


60. Q. Did God abandon man after he fell into sin? 

A. God did not abandon man after lie fell into sin, but 
promised him a Redeemer, who was to satisfy for 
man s sin and reopen to him the gates of heaven. 


When did the promised Eedeemer come? 

About four thousand years after the creation of the world. 

Why did the Eedeemer come only after four thousand years ? 

Because the world was to experience first into what profound 
misery it was plunged by sin, and that no one could save it but 
God. If the Eedeemer had come directly after the fall, this 
blessing would not have been appreciated. 

What was the condition of the world at that time? 

The whole universe was steeped in idolatry and in all kinds 
of vice, the Jews alone knew the true God. The greater part 
of mankind had separated themselves from the knowledge and 
worship of the one true God, they had fallen into idolatry and 
all those vices which paganism and idolatry bring in their train, 
as impurity, adultery, sensuality, drunkenness, hatred, malice, 
etc. At this time appeared the promised Messias, Saviour, and 

61. Q. Who is the Redeemer? 

A. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the 
Redeemer of mankind. 

The Eedeemer whom God promised, and sent to us, is the 
Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord. God foretold by the 
prophets, whom He inspired, the merciful advent of a Eedeemer, 
the Messias, as well as the time and place of His birth. This 
Messias promised by God and foretold by the prophets is Jesus 
Christ, the only begotten Son of God, our Lord. While the Jews 
are to our day still expecting the promised Messias, we confess 
in the second article of the Creed that He has actually appeared, 
in the person of our Divine Saviour Jesus Christ, therefore that 
God s promise has been fulfilled. This Eedeemer is not a 
creature created by God, but He is the only begotten Son of 

The name Jesus signifies Saviour, or Eedeemer. Jesus is 
indeed our Saviour, for after our first parents brought down 
by sin so much misery and unhappiness of body and soul 
upon us, Jesus brought us salvation, namely, reconciliation with 
God, blessing, grace, and peace. This name was not given to 
Him by man, nor by accident merely, but by the command of 


The angel said to Mary at the Annunciation, "Thou shalt 
call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their 
sins" (Matt, i, 21). In Holy Scripture other names are given to 
Him also, and they should serve to remind us of the graces of 
which we become partakers through Him. He is called, for in 
stance, the Good Shepherd, the Way, the Truth, the Life, Medi 
ator and Intercessor with the Father, Son of David, the Word 
that was made flesh, etc. 

The word Christ in Hebrew Messias signifies anointed. 

Jesus is called The Anointed because in the Old Law the 
prophets, high priests, and kings were anointed with oil, and 
Jesus is our greatest Prophet, Priest, and King. The word 
Christ comes from the Greek and means the same as the Hebrew 
word Messias. In the Old Law the prophets were anointed be 
cause they were in many respects the ambassadors of God. The 
priests and kings were anointed because the priests offered sacri 
fice to God, and the kings ruled the people in God s stead. 

Jesus is the greatest Prophet, because He reveals mysteries, 
but not as the prophets of the Old Law did, by divine revela 
tions, but by virtue of His divine knowledge. 

He is also the greatest Priest, for He not only sacrificed Him 
self for us upon the Cross, in a bloody manner, but He also 
sacrifices Himself daily for us, upon our altars, in an unbloody 

He is the greatest King, for as God He is the King of kings, 
the Sovereign to whom the earth and all created things are 
subject. Hence Jesus said, "All power is given to me in heaven 
and upon earth," and, "My kingdom is not of this world." 

The Jews themselves called Him King, and Pilate caused to 
be written over the Cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the 
Jews." From the name "Christ" is derived the name. "Chris 
tian." We are then also God s anointed, but only if we live 
as Jesus taught us by word and example. 

Why is Jesus Christ called the "only Son of God"? 

Because Jesus Christ is the only true and real Son of God 
from eternity, of one nature and substance with God the Father. 
This means, that in Jesus Christ there dwell the same perfec 
tions, and in the same degree, as in God the Father. 

Are we not also children of God? 


Yes, we are children of God, but not by nature and from all 
eternity; we are only children adopted by grace. Our adoption 
as children of God is only an act of His mercy and compassion. 

How do we know that Jesus Christ is the Messias, or Re 
deemer, promised by God? 

We know it because in Him has been fulfilled all that the 
prophets have foretold of the Redeemer. 

The prophecies of the prophets concerning the time and place 
of his birth, the circumstances of His life, passion, and death 
were so exactly fulfilled in Jesus Christ that no possible doubt 
can exist as to whether Jesus Christ was really the promised 
Redeemer. Hence He Himself said to the Jews, "Search the 
Scriptures, and the same are they that give testimony of me" 
(John v, 39). 

62. Q. What do you believe of Jesus Christ? 

A. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the sec 
ond person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and 
true man. 
*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. 

Whence do we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and 
true God? 

We know it (1) from the prophecies; (2) from the testimony 
of His heavenly Father; (3) from His own testimony; (4) 
from the teaching of the Apostles; and (5) from the doctrine 
of the Catholic Church. 

What do the prophets say? 

They call the promised Redeemer "God God with us, the 
Saint of saints, the Wonderful the Father of the world to 

Isaias says of Him, "Take courage and fear not ... 
God Himself will come and will save you." Further, "Behold 
a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be 
called Emmanuel (God with us)." 

What is the testimony of His heavenly Father? 
^ At the baptism of Christ in the Jordan, and at His Trans 
figuration on Mount Thabor, a voice from heaven was heard 


saying, "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 
God the Father Himself, therefore, has twice testified publicly 
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 
What is the testimony of Christ? 

1. Christ testified that He is the Son of God, and the true 
God, like His Father, when He said : 

(a) "I and the Father are one" (John x, 30). 

(b) "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also" (John 
xiv, 9). 

(c) "All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine" (John 
xvi, 15). 

(d) "What things he (the Father) doth, these the Son also 
doth in like manner" (John v, 19). 

(e) "That all men may honor the Son as they honor the 
Father" (John v, 23). 

(/) When Peter said to Jesus, "Thou art Christ, the Son of 
the living God!" (Matt, xvi, 6), and when Thomas said to 
Him, "My Lord, and my God!" (John xx, 28), Our Saviour 
confirmed the faith and the declaration of both Apostles. 

2. Jesus confirmed His testimony by the holiness of His life, 
as well as by miracles and prophecies. 

3. He sealed His testimony with His death. When Jesus 
was required before the tribunal to say whether He was the 
Son of God, He solemnly affirmed that He was Christ, the Son 
of God; that He sat at the right hand of God, and that He 
would come on the clouds of heaven and upon this proclama 
tion He suffered death. 

What do the Apostles teach of Jesus Christ? 
The Apostles explicitly teach: 

1. That Jesus Christ is true God. 

St. John says, "We know that the Son of God is come. This 
is the true God and life eternal." The Apostle St. Paul says, 
"Christ who is over all things, God blessed for ever." 

2. That He possesses all the fulness of the Godhead, and the 
infinite perfections of God. St. Paul says, "In him (Christ) 
dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporally" i. e., sub 
stantially. "In him (Christ) were all things created in heaven 
and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or domina- 


tions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him 
and in him, and he is before all, and by him all things consist." 

3. That all creatures should adore Him. "In the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on 
earth, and under the earth; and every tongue should confess 
that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father." 
"Let all the angels of God adore him." 

When Jesus calmed the storm on Lake Genesareth, they all 
fell down and adored Him, saying, "Thou art truly the Son of 
God !" When Jesus bowed His head upon the Cross, the earth 
quaked and the sun was darkened, so that even the pagan cen 
turion cried aloud, "Verily, this was the Son of God." 

What does the Catholic Church teach of Jesus Christ? The 
Catholic Church has at all times believed and taught that Jesus 
Christ is true God, and of one substance with God the Father. 
In defense of this fundamental Christian doctrine, she com 
posed, at the Council of Nice, a special Creed, and excommuni 
cated those who taught the contrary. The holy martyrs also 
professed this belief and suffered for its sake indescribable tor 
ments, even death itself. The duration of the Church for over 
nineteen hundred years is a proof of the divinity of Jesus and 
His teaching. 

Why is Jesus Christ called our Lord? 

Jesus Christ is called, and is, our Lord, (1) because as God 
He is the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth; (2) because 
as Redeemer He has bought us with His Blood. The Blood of 
Jesus Christ was the ransom, the price, with which we were 
bought. In this way we became His property, therefore He is 
our Lord. 

The doctrine and belief in the divinity of Jesus is, together 
with the belief in one God, the foundation, the chief and funda 
mental teaching of Christianity. If Christ is not God, His doc 
trine is not divine. As a house can not stand firmly without 
a foundation, so is the divinity of Jesus the foundation of 

In commemoration of the Holy Name we celebrate the Feast 
of the Holy Name of Jesus. St. Anthony of Padua says, "When 
thou art tempted by the evil one, invoke the Holy Name of 
Jesus. Say to him in the name of Jesus, Depart from me ! " 



Of what did we speak to-day? Of the Redeemer whom God prom 
ised and sent to us, the only Son of God, Jesus Christ, Our Lord. 

As what did Jesus Christ then come to us? As our Redeemer. 

What does the word Jesus signify? It signifies Saviour or Re 

What else is Jesus called? The Word that was made flesh. 

Why? Because Jesus came down from heaven and became 

What does the word Christ signify? Christ means anointed. 

Why is Jesus called the anointed? Because in the Old Law the 
prophets, high priests and kings were anointed with oil, and Jesus 
is our greatest Prophet, Priest and King. 

Why is Jesus Christ called the "only Son of God"? Because 
Jesus Christ is the only true and real Son of God from eternity, of 
one nature and substance with God the Father. 

What does this mean? That Jesus Christ has the same Divine 
nature as God the Father, and the same perfections. 

Are we not children of God also? Yes, but not by nature and 
from eternity; we are only adopted children by grace. 

How do we know that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer promised by 
God? We know it because in Him has been fulfilled all that the 
prophets have foretold of the Redeemer. 

Where was Jesus born? At Bethlehem, as the prophets had 

Whence do we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and true 
God? 1. From the prophecies. 2. From the testimony of His 
heavenly Father. 3. From His own testimony. 4. From the teaching 
of the Apostles. 5. From the doctrine of the Catholic Church. 

What is the doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus in our faith? It is 
the foundation, the ground work of our Christian faith. 

For what reason? If Jesus was not God, His doctrine would be 
human and not Divine. 

What should we learn from the lesson of to-day? 1. Always to 
believe firmly in the Divinity of Jesus; and 2. Always to invoke the 
Holy Name of Jesus with veneration and confidence. 


The Stable of Bethlehem. The grotto of Bethlehem still exists, 
and over it is built the large Church of the Nativity. A flight of 
sixteen steps leads down to the grotto. It is a natural cave, which 
has been lined throughout with marble, by the piety of the faithful. 
The floor is also of marble, in the center of which is a silver star, 
placed there in 1717, on which are engraved in Latin the words: 

"Here Jesus Christ was Born of the Virgin Mary." 
Kings, emperors, saints, and thousands of pilgrims have read them, 
and have knelt on this spot to adore Him who was born there. 
Many have left behind them tokens of their faith and piety, and 
thirty-two lamps are constantly kept burning on the very place 
where the true Light of the world was born. 


*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. 

To become our Redeemer, and to accomplish the work of 
reconciliation between God and the sinful human race, it was 
necessary that Jesus should become man; He had to take a 
human body and a human soul like ours, but He remained God, 
for man alone could render no satisfaction to the offended 
majesty of God. The Incarnation of the Son of God, however, 
did not take place in the natural way, but through the operation 
of the Holy Ghost, and is therefore a mystery to us, because 
it happened in a supernatural, miraculous, incomprehensible 

It is incomprehensible to us: 1. How the second person of 
the Godhead, the Son of God, took upon Himself our complete 
human nature, namely, a human body and a human soul and 
united it with Himself in one person, and 2. How this was 
operated by the Holy Ghost, through a virgin, who, nevertheless, 
was and always remained a virgin. 

What is our belief concerning Jesus Christ, when we believe 
in the mystery of the Incarnation ? We believe that Jesus Christ 
is both true God and true man, that He is God-man : He is God 
from eternity, and became man in time. Jesus Christ, there 
fore, in His Incarnation did not cease to be God, He remained 
God as He was from eternity, and only united the divine nature 
with the human. His body was therefore not merely an ap 
parent body, but Jesus Christ was at the same time true God 
and true man. That Jesus Christ is true God like the Father, 
we have already learned. We have still to prove that He was 
also true man, that He had a human body and human soul as 
we have. 

1. Jesus had a human body, for He Himself spoke of His 
body to the Jews: "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I 
will raise it up." Of the anointing of His body by Mary 
Magdalen He said : "She anoints my body for the burial." 

Jesus speaks further of His body to His disciples: "Behold 


my hands and my feet, it is I myself : feel and see : for a spirit 
hath not flesh and blood." 

Jesus had also human wants, as hunger, thirst, sleep, etc. 
After He had fasted in the desert forty days He was hungry. 

On the Cross Jesus cried out : "I thirst !" During the storm 
on the Sea of Galilee, His disciples awoke Him from sleep. 

The body of Jesus was subject to suffering and death. He 
was scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to the Cross by 
His hands and feet, His side was pierced by a lance, out of 
which blood and water flowed. 

2. Jesus had also a human soul. It says in Scripture that 
Jesus grew in wisdom and in grace before God and men. As 
God, Jesus could not "grow in wisdom" because He is wisdom 
itself ; these words, then, can only have reference to the faculties 
of His human soul. 

*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. 
*66. Q. Is Jesus Christ more than one person? 

A. No, Jesus Christ is but one divine person. 

How many natures are there, then, in Jesus Christ? There 
are two natures in Jesus Christ, the divine and the human. For 
this reason we sometimes use the name God-man, instead of 
Jesus Christ. 

You _must not have an erroneous idea about this, for instance 
that the Godhead dwelt in a human body as a vivifying spirit. 
No ! Jesus Christ was at the same time true God and true man 
and both natures were inseparably united in the one person of 
the Son of God. 

Are there also two persons in Jesus Christ? 

No; Jesus Christ is only one divine Person; for the two 
natures are inseparably united in the one person of the Son of 

There are not therefore two Christs a divine and a human; 
but the one and the same Christ is at the same time true God 
and true man in one person. As a man consists of two parts, a 
body and a soul, therefore of two substances, a corporeal and a 
spiritual, and is only one person, so has Christ two natures, the 


divine and the human, yet He is only one and the same divine 

*67. Q. Was Jesus Christ always God? 

A. Jesus Christ was always God, as He is the second per 
son 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. 

From whom did the Son of God take His human nature? 
From Mary, the purest of virgins; therefore she is also called 
Mother of God. 

This truth is proven by the Annunciation of the angel : "The 
Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most 
High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which 
shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." 

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary is therefore the Mother of 
God, in the sense that Mary bore the God-man, that He took 
the human nature from her. If, therefore, Jesus Christ was 
God, Mary also was the Mother of God. In remembrance of 
this we celebrate every year, on March 25, the Feast of Annunci 

Why is Mary called "the purest of virgins"? Because she 
always remained a virgin, incomparably pure and entirely un- 
defiled, not only before, but also at and after the birth of the 
Divine Child. 

Mary therefore never lost her virginity, neither at the birth of 


the Divine Child nor afterward; she remained throughout her 
whole life an incomparably pure virgin, for the purity of no 
virgin can be compared to Mary s purity. 

Had Jesus Christ also a human father ? As man Jesus Christ 
had no father; for Joseph, the virgin-spouse of Mary, was only 
his foster-father. Joseph, the spouse of Mary, is called the 
father of Jesus, but he was only His foster-father. Joseph be 
stowed upon the child Jesus the same care and love as a father 
does for his natural son, and he looked after His natural wants, 
as food, clothing, dwelling, and so forth. 

Furthermore, Joseph was the protector of the Virgin Mother 
Mary, that he might protect her honor from the persecution and 
evil aspersions of the Jews. To commemorate the high dignity 
of the foster-father of Jesus we celebrate every year, on March 
19, the feast of St. Joseph. He is a worthy model of what every 
father should be to his family, and how he should bring up his 
children, namely, in piety and the fear of God. That Joseph 
was only the foster-father of Jesus, and not his natural father, 
follows from the words of Scripture: "Jesus being (as it was 
supposed) the Son of Joseph," that is to say, the people were of 
that opinion, but in reality it was not so. 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph together are called the Holy Family, 
and in these holy names many Christians implore confidently 
for protection and help in great danger. 

The sin of our first parents, as an offense to the supreme 
majesty of God, required either an infinite punishment or an 
infinite satisfaction. As all mankind are sinners, and born in 
sin, no man, therefore, could render sufficient satisfaction to the 
divine justice. Yet God, the all-good and all-merciful, did not 
wish the death of the sinner. Jesus came to be Mediator be 
tween God and sinful humanity. By His passion, by the inno 
cent Blood which He shed upon the Cross, and by His death 
thereon, He willed to accomplish the work of reconciliation. 
But as He could not suffer and die as God, He had to become 
man, to take a human body and a human nature. The mys 
terious Incarnation of the Son of God is especially remembered 
in the beautiful prayer called the Angelus, which is said thrice 
daily, morning, noon, and evening, at the sound of the bell. In 
the first part of the Angelus we have the Annunciation by the 


angel, in the second Mary s answer, and in the third part the 
fulfilment of the promise in the words, "And the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us." 


What did we learn to-day? That Jesus, by the operation of the 
Holy Ghost, became man, that is to say that He took a body and a 
soul like ours. 

How, therefore, did the Incarnation of the Son of God take place? 
Through the operation of the Holy Ghost. 

Did Jesus accordingly become Incarnate in a natural manner? 
No, it took place in a supernatural and miraculous manner. 

Can we comprehend how the Son of God became man? No; we 
can not comprehend. 

What do we call all those things which man can not comprehend 
or grasp with his understanding? We call them mysteries. 

What do we call this mystery? The Incarnation of the Son of 

Although we can not comprehend the mystery of the Incarnation 
what must we do? We must believe it. 

What, then, do we believe when we believe the mystery of the 
Incarnation? We believe that Jesus Christ is at the same time true 
God and true man. He is God from all eternity and He became man 
in time. 

Was Jesus, however, only a human being like you or I, merely 
a human person? No; Jesus was not merely man. 

Why not? Because He was God and man at the same time. 

How many natures are there in Jesus Christ? There are two 
natures in Jesus Christ: the Divine nature because He is God and 
the human nature because He is man. 

Of what erroneous opinion did I warn you? That Jesus was God 
according to His soul, and man according to His body. 

What is really right? That Jesus Christ is at the same time true 
God and true man. 

What follows therefrom? That the Divine and human natures 
are united in the one Person of Jesus Christ. 

Are there two Persons in Jesus Christ? No; Jesus Christ is only 
one Divine Person. 

From whom did Jesus Christ the Son of God take human nature 
Prom Mary, the purest of virgins, and hence she is called the 
Mother of God. 

Why is Mary called the purest of virgins? Because she always 
remained a virgin incomparably pure and entirely undefiled. Not 
only before but also at and after the birth of the Divine Child. 

Had Jesus Christ also a father? As man, Jesus Christ had no 
father, for Joseph, the virgin-spouse of Mary, was only His foster- 

What does that mean? Joseph cared for the Child Jesus like a 
natural father; he procured food and clothing for Him, and every 
thing else that He required. 

Why did the Son of God become man? That He might be able 
to suffer and die for us; for as God He could neither suffer nor die. 


For what reason did Jesus desire to suffer and to die? To re 
deem us and to reconcile us to God. 

What, then, did Jesus evince for mankind in suffering and dying 
for them? He showed His great love for them. 

If Jesus had not become man, if He had not redeemed us, could 
we have entered into heaven? No; heaven would have been closed 
against us. 

What, then, do we owe Our Redeemer Jesus Christ for His In 
carnation? The greatest gratitude. 

*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 was promised 

to them as a Redeemer. 
*73. Q. How could they be saved who lived before the Son rf 

God became man? 
A. They who lived before the Son of God became man 

could be saved by believing in a Redeemer to come, 

and by keeping the Commandments. 

74. Q. On what day was the Son of God conceived and made 


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. 

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. 

Jesus, then, was born in a stable. He, the Son of the Most 
High, before whom all should bend the knee, in heaven, upon 
earth, and under the earth, He was born in a stable. He, before 
whom kings and thrones tremble, appears in direst poverty and 
want, for the consolation of the poor and to show them how they 
should bear poverty in patience. I will relate briefly for you the 
events from the Scriptures : Mary and Joseph dwelt in Nazareth, 
where they lived by the work of their hands. Then a command 
of the Emperor Augustus was published that all subjects of the 
countries belonging to the Roman empire must be enrolled. 
Consequently every one was obliged to return to the city of their 
race. , Joseph and Mary were descendants of the royal house of 


David; they were obliged, therefore, to journey to Bethlehem, 
which was David s birthplace. So long a journey was very 
difficult for them at this time, particularly for the Virgin 
Mother. Still in obedience to the emperor they started at once 
upon the journey. They arrived at Bethlehem late at night. 
Fatigued by the journey they sought a resting place, only to be 
refused shelter everywhere, on account of the many strangers 
present and also on account of their poverty. On the outskirts 
of the town there was a cave, which served to the shepherds as a 
meeting place and as a stable for their flocks. Thither Joseph 
and Mary went, and in this miserable place Jesus Christ the 
Saviour of the world was born. Mary wrapped the Infant in 
swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger, as there was no 
better place. In commemoration of this great event we celebrate 
the feast of Christmas. The Church s celebration of this feast 
differs greatly from the celebration of other feasts. On this 
feast, for instance, the priest offers up the holy sacrifice of the 
Mass three times. The triple offering of the Mass reminds us 
of the triple birth of Jesus: 1. From His heavenly Father, 2. 
From Mary the Virgin, and 3. In the hearts of all good men. 
Christmas is a joyful festival for every one. It is customary to 
exchange Christmas presents at that season, and for the children, 
even the very youngest, it is a time of rejoicing. A Christmas 
tree is decorated for the children, upon which is hung every 
thing that will please them most. This Christmas tree has a 
twofold significance. First of all it reminds us of the tree in 
Paradise, through which Eve was tempted to sin; also of the 
tree of the Cross upon which Our Saviour redeemed us. 

At the birth of Jesus God wished to reveal His Son s divinity 
by miraculous happenings and occurrences. 

God chose as the first adorers of His Divine Son shepherds, 
men not tainted with the pride and vanity of the world, in whom 
dwelt the spirit of humility, of charity, and of patience, senti 
ments which Jesus came from heaven to preach. After the 
shepherds there came, led by a wonderful star, the three kings 
from the East, probably from Arabia. At first the star con 
ducted them to Jerusalem, so that the birth of Jesus might be 
made known to the Jews, and then to Bethlehem, and when 
they found the Divine Infant, they prostrated themselves before 


Him, and offered Him presents of gold, frankincense, and 

The wise men offered gold because Jesus was King; incense 
because He was God, and bitter myrrh because He was man, and 
as such would have much to suffer. 

How did the shepherds and the Magi learn of the birth of 
Jesus ? 

The shepherds learned of the birth of Jesus by an angel and 
the Magi by a wonderful star. 

From the adoration of the shepherds at the crib originates 
the beautiful custom of placing at Christmas a crib in the 
church, for the edification of young and old. This pious cus 
tom was introduced by St. Francis of Assisi, who was a special 
venerator of the Infant Jesus. To stimulate his devotion, the 
idea occurred to him of building a crib, in which lay the image 
of the Infant Jesus, surrounded by Joseph and Mary, angels 
and shepherds. The idea met with general approbation and 
widespread imitation. 

To commemorate the adoration of the Christ Child by the 
Magi we celebrate on January 6 of every year the feast of the 

*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. 
*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 teachings and example. 

What happened to Jesus a few weeks after His birth? On 
the fortieth day Jesus was presented in the Temple at Jerusalem. 

In commemoration of this we celebrate the feast of the Puri 
fication, or Candlemas Day. 

Mary, although the Mother of God, fulfilled conscientiously 
the obligations which were imposed upon her by the law of 
Moses. On the fortieth day after His birth Mary presented her 
only begotten Son to God in the Temple at Jerusalem, and at 
the same time made the prescribed offering. She was too poor 
to offer a lamb. She gave, therefore, in humility, the offering 
customary among the poor : a -pair of young doves. 


Inspired by the Holy Ghost, Simeon, a God fearing and just 
man, then entered the Temple. Kejoicing he took the Infant in 
his arms and exclaimed, looking with gratitude up to heaven: 
"Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, Lord, according to thy 
word, in peace : because my eyes have seen thy salvation, which 
thou hast prepared before the face of all thy people, a light to 
the revelations of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people 

Enlightened by the spirit of prophecy Simeon likewise fore 
told of the Divine Child : "Behold, this child is set for the ruin 
and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which 
shall be contradicted, and thy own soul a sword shall pierce." 

Since Jesus upon this occasion was called by Simeon the light 
for the enlightenment of the heathen, candles are blessed upon 
this feast of Mary s Purification. 

Did the Child Jesus remain always at Jerusalem or in Juda? 
No; Joseph and Mary fled with the Child into Egypt, because 
King Herod sought His life. 

Where did Jesus live after His return from Egypt? He 
lived, until thirty years of age, in His parents house, and He 
was subject to them. During this time Jesus lived under the 
eyes of His parents at Nazareth. He helped them in their work, 
and He was subject to them. What a beautiful and commend 
able example for a child ! 

Why did Jesus wish to be subject ? To teach children obedi 
ence toward their parents. In the same way that Jesus was 
obedient to His heavenly Father, even unto death upon the 
Cross, He also desired to be obedient and subject to His Mother 
Mary, and to His foster-father, Joseph, and show children how 
they should obey their parents. 

When twelve years old Jesus went with His parents to Jeru 
salem, and remained there three days in the Temple. The dis 
tance from Nazareth to Jerusalem was about ninety miles. 
Although the journey was long and difficult Jesus accompanied 
His parents joyfully. 

This should put those to blush, who live near the church and 
yet do not care to go there. Jesus listened to the Doctors of 
the Temple, questioned them, and answered their questions. 

If the services of the Church are to bring forth good fruit in 


us, we must be devout and attentive during the same. What a 
beautiful example Jesus has given to those children and persons 
who misbehave in church, who talk, laugh, nudge one another, 
and disturb other people. 

We see from the story of Jesus that He must have led a quiet, 
modest, and toilsome life. What a glory for Joseph and Mary 
to have spent those years on earth in the intimate association 
and guardianship of Jesus. 


Of what have we spoken to-day? Of the life of Jesus Christ 
upon earth. 

Where was Jesus Christ born? At Bethlehem, in a stable. 

What feast does the Catholic Church celebrate in commemoration 
of this event? The feast of Christmas. 

Upon what date? The 25th of December every year. 

When Jesus was thirty years old He repaired to the Eiver 
Jordan, where he made John baptize Him, and thereupon went 
into the desert, where He fasted for forty days and forty nights. 

To prepare mankind for the appearance of the Redeemer, 
there had appeared, six months before, John, the son of Zachary 
and Elizabeth, as the Precursor of the Messias, to prepare the 
way for Him. John s sermons were earnest an<J severe. "Do 
penance/ said he, "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For 
now the ax is laid to the root of the tree." John created a 
great sensation in the whole land, and numbers of people went 
out to the Jordan to hear him. Those who believed in His 
teaching were baptized by John. The exterior washing with 
water was a symbol that the interior should be cleansed from 
sin. Jesus also came to John and allowed Himself to be bap 
tized by him. But as Jesus was about to enter the water, John 
sought to prevent Him by saying: "I ought to be baptized by 
Thee; and comest Thou to me?" But Jesus said: "Suffer it 
now, for so it becometh us to fulfil all justice." Then John sub 
mitted, and Jesus was baptized by him in the Jordan. As He 
was baptized the heavens were opened. The Holy Ghost hovered 
visibly above Him in the form of a dove, and remained upon 
Him. And the voice of God the Father was heard from heaven, 
saying : "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 


Though Jesus as the Son of God did not require Baptism, 
He allowed Himself to be baptized in order: 

1. To show His great humility. 

2. To approve and confirm the baptizing by St. John. 

3. That He might Himself practise that which He exhorted 
others to do. 

From the Jordan Jesus went into the desert. A desert is a 
barren tract of land. There Jesus spent forty days and nights 
in prayer and contemplation, to prepare Himself for His great 
mission. After He had fasted forty days Satan approached 
Jesus and said: "If thou be the Son of God, command that 
these stones be made bread." Jesus answered him : "Man liveth 
not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of 
the mouth of God." Then the devil took Jesus up into the 
holy city, on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said: "If thou 
be the Son of God, cast thyself down ; for it is written : That he 
hath given his angels charge of thee; and in their hands shall 
they bear thee up, lest, perhaps, thou hurt thy foot against a 
stone." Jesus said to him : "It is written again : Thou shalt not 
tempt the Lord thy God." Again the devil took Him up into 
a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the 
world and the glory of them, and said : "All these will I give 
thee, if, falling down, thou wilt adore me." Then Jesus said 
"Depart from me, Satan, for it is written: The Lord thy God 
thou shalt adore and him only shalt thou serve." The devil fled 
full of fear and the angels came and rejoiced at Jesus victory. 

The story of the temptation of Jesus has a very deep signifi 
cance. Christ wished to be tempted because He desired to be 
like men in all things; further He desired to show that no 
temptation is unconquerable, and that those who are severely 
tempted should not be perplexed and discouraged as if some 
thing unusual had befallen them. After Jesus left the desert, 
He began to teach publicly and to gather disciples about Him, 
from among whom He chose twelve as His constant com 
panions, and named them His Apostles, or messengers. It was 
custom and law among the Jews that no one could come for 
ward as a teacher until he was thirty years of age. Jesus, who 
submitted to every law like a model of obedience, waited for the 
arrival of this period. He gathered about Him disciples who 


listened to His divine doctrine. Thus two of John s disciples 
followed Jesus. Jesus turned to them and said: What are ye 
seeking? They answered: Master, where dost thou dwell? 
Jesus said : Come and see. And they went and stayed that day 
with Him. Jesus said to Peter and his brother Andrew : "Fol 
low me and I will make you fishers of men." In the same way 
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, followed Him. These 
disciples were for three years the witnesses of His teachings and 
miracles. They were men of humble rank, untaught, simple in 
their nature, who through the instruction of their Lord and 
Master, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, received the 
knowledge and the courage for their calling. 

These chosen ones were sent forth into all parts of the world 
to announce the Gospel to all men. All of them, except St. 
John, died a martyr s death, and gave their blood and their 
life for the truth of their teaching. 

What did Jesus teach? He taught everything that we must 
believe, hope and do in order to be saved. 

In what way did Jesus prove that His doctrine was true and 
divine ? 

He proved that His doctrine was true and divine: 

1. By the holiness of His life. 

2. By miracles and prophecies. 

From what do we perceive the holiness of His life? 

Jesus was pure from all sin, the most perfect model of all 
virtues, full of charity toward all men, even toward His bitterest 
enemies, and He was obedient to His heavenly Father even unto 
death upon the Cross. 

What are miracles? 

Miracles are certain extraordinary works which can not be 
accomplished by natural forces, but only by the omnipotence of 
God. Miracles, therefore, surpass the powers of naUire created 
by God. When the doctor orders for a patient natural remedies, 
and the sick person regains his health by degrees, this is natural. 
But if we say to a very sick man, "Arise and be well !" and he 
rises from his bed cured ; or if we tell a dead man in the grave 
to arise! and he rises alive from the tomb as Lazarus, for in 
stance such are miracles. Some of the miracles that Jesus 
worked are: He turned water into wine; with five loaves He 


fed over five thousand persons ; with a word He calmed the 
wind and waves ; He healed all kinds of sicknesses, drove out the 
devil, raised the dead to life, etc. 

Jesus confirmed also the divinity of His doctrine by prophe 

That which will happen in the future is hidden from us. We 
can in certain cases guess many things that will happen, but we 
can not determine them beforehand with certainty. God alone 
can do this. When therefore Jesus prophesied and His prophe 
cies were fulfilled, it is a proof that He is God. For instance, 
Jesus said that Judas would betray Him, that Peter would deny 
Him. Jesus told the Samaritan woman the secret of her heart, 
and to His disciples, that He would be delivered up to the chief 
priests and scribes, and by them condemned to death. Again 
Jesus foretold His Resurrection, the coming of the Holy Ghost 
and the persecutions, and the eternal duration of His Church. 

Lesson Eighth 


78. Q. What did Jesus Christ suffer? 

A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, 
was crowned with thorns, and was crucified. 

On account of His Passion and death for mankind Jesus is 
called by St. John the "Lamb of God who taketh away the sins 
of the world." The Israelites, we are told, on the day of atone 
ment took two lambs, which by the laying on of hands were sup 
posed to take away the sins of the Israelites. One of these lambs 
was slaughtered, but the other was driven into the desert. This 
sacrificial lamb of the old covenant was the prototype of Jesus 
in the new covenant, because He took upon Himself the sins of 
the whole world, i. c., the sins of all mankind, and He died for 
us. It says of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures: "He was sacri- 


ficed," and again, "He gave Himself up to death," and both 
expressions are right. 

(a) He was sacrificed, that means, delivered up to death, 1. 
By the false Apostle Judas, who betrayed Him; 2. By the 
Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who condemned Him, innocent, 
to death ; 3. By the boundless malice of the Jews, who demanded 
His death, and finally, 4. By His heavenly Father, out of com 
passion toward us fallen, sinful men, that He might become our 
Saviour and Redeemer. 

(b) Jesus, however, also sacrificed Himself of His own free 
will, to make satisfaction to the divine justice and to save us 
from everlasting death. 

Did Christ suffer as God or as man ? 

Jesus Christ suffered as man that is, according to His 
human nature. 

As God, Jesus could not suffer or die, He must therefore 
have suffered according to His human nature as man. 

Jesus suffered inexpressibly during His whole life. Finally 
He was made prisoner, reviled, spit upon, scourged, crowned 
with thorns, and at last nailed to the Cross. 

The whole life of Jesus was a continual chain of sufferings 
and afflictions. At His birth in the stable at Bethlehem, He 
suffered from cold and exposure, poverty and humiliation. Dur 
ing His flight into Egypt Jesus endured the hardships of the 
journey. Until His thirty-third year He shared with His 
parents hard work and poverty. 

In His public life, during the three years of His teaching, 
He was continually exposed to the hatred, enmities, and perse 
cutions of the Pharisees and Jews, who even sought His life. 

His soul was filled with a great sorrow that so many persons 
should remain deaf and hardened to His sacred teaching, al 
though His miracles gave testimony to His divinity. Filled 
with anguish He beheld the approaching misery and ruin of His 
enemies and of the city of Jerusalem, because He shed tears 
over them upon more than one occasion. But His sufferings 
reached their height in the last two days of His life. Rightly, 
therefore, is Jesus called the King of Martyrs. 

Of His sufferings during the last two days of His life Scrip 
ture relates the following: "After Jesus had eaten the Paschal 


Lamb, and instituted the last supper, He spoke for some time 
with great affection to His Apostles. He promised them the 
Holy Ghost as comforter. Thereupon He repaired with His 
disciples to the Mount of Olives, in the Garden of Gethsemani, 
to pray. There His whole Passion passed before His soul. A 
great agony fell upon Him, and His sweat ran down upon the 
ground as drops of blood. "Father/ He prayed, "if it be possi 
ble let this chalice pass from me ! Yet not my will, but thine be 

Meanwhile Judas, the betrayer, approached with a number 
of armed men. Jesus let Himself be taken prisoner, bound 
and led before the judge. Here He was mocked, spit upon, and 
struck in the face with clenched fists, then He was declared by 
the high priests deserving of death. He was delivered by them 
to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who in turn sent Him to 
King Herod, but He was acknowledged by both to be innocent. 
Still He was scourged and crowned with thorns, and finally by 
the persistent importunities of the high priests and the Jewish 
people, who preferred the murderer Barabbas to Him, He was 
condemned to death upon the Cross. To increase His suffer 
ings Jesus was compelled, though weak and bleeding from many 
wounds, to carry the Cross Himself to Mount Calvary. Ex 
hausted and weakened, He sank three times to the ground under 
its heavy weight, but was always driven on again with blows and 
kicks. At last a passer by, Simon of Cyrene, was made to help 
carry the Cross. 

When He arrived at Mount Calvary the soldiers and His 
brutal executioners tore the clothes from His body and crucified 

79. Q. On what day did Christ die? 
A. Christ died on Good Friday. 
*80. Q. Why do you call that day "good" on which Christ 

died so sorrowful a death? 

A. We call that day good on which Christ died because 
l)y 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. 


*82. Q. How did Christ die? 

A. Christ was nailed to the Cross and died on it between 
two thieves. 

Mount Calvary, near the city of Jerusalem, is called also 
Golgotha, or Place of Skulls, from the bodies and skulls of the 
executed buried there. Crucifixion as a means of death was 
considered at the time the most ignominious death and the 
most painful. The Saviour selected it to teach us that for the 
sake of virtue we should not fear the most ignominious death. 

Jesus was crucified between two criminals, thieves. This 
happened : 

1. That the prophecies might be fulfilled: He is reckoned 
among evil doers. 

2. As a prototype. The penitent thief who repented his mis 
deeds upon the cross and found mercy, signifies just and peni 
tent persons whom Jesus saves at the judgment and whom He 
will place at His right hand. The impenitent thief prefigures 
persons who die hardened in their sins, and who will be eternally 
damned by God. 

How long did Jesus hang upon the Cross ? 

For three hours Jesus hung upon the Cross in the most ter 
rible agony of body and soul, until He bowed His head, and 

What Jesus suffered during these three hours can not be 
expressed in words. Jesus was fastened to the Cross with nails 
driven through His hands and feet, upon them hung the whole 
weight of His body, and the slightest motion increased His 
sufferings indescribably. Besides, the body of Jesus was already 
covered with wounds from the scourging, the crowning with 
thorns, the carrying of the Cross, and other ill-treatment He 
had received. To this inexpressible suffering of the body were 
now added the blasphemies of the Jews and His enemies. "He 
helped others," they cried, "but He can not help Himself." 
"If Thou art the Son of God, descend from the Cross !" Par 
ticularly memorable are the seven last words which He spoke 
upon the Cross, in which He gave us most excellent teaching 
and admonition. 

I. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" 


Thus did Jesus pray for His enemies, to teach how we should 
forgive our enemies and pray for them. 

II. Jesus said to the repentant thief: "This day thou shalt 
be with me in Paradise !" to teach us that even the greatest 
sinners find mercy with God when they turn to Him repent 

III. To Mary Jesus said : "Behold thy son !" and to John : 
"Behold thy mother!" to teach us to care for our parents with 
affection until death. 

IV. "My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?" We 
should in all afflictions and abandonment take our refuge in God. 

V. When Jesus was tormented with a burning thirst He 
cried aloud : "I thirst !" So should we thirst after the source of 
eternal salvation, after virtue and justice, after union with God 
in celestial bliss. 

VI. "It is consummated !" Our Saviour had finished the 
work of His mission, the redemption of the world, the victory 
over death and hell. So should we not relax in our efforts until 
our work is ended by death. 

VII. "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit !" How 
consoling for us that at the end of a good life we can commend 
our soul with confidence into God s hands. 

We also profess in the fourth article of the Creed that Jesus 
died and was laid in the grave. Enemies of the Catholic Church, 
and members of other churches, doubt, or even deny, the actual 
death of Jesus, and say that Jesus was taken down from the 
Cross and laid in the tomb in apparent but not actual death. 

That Jesus really died upon the Cross we know from the fol 
lowing proofs : 

1. The Evangelists say unanimously that Jesus departed 
(died) upon the Cross; 

2. The rage of His enemies was so great that they could only 
be satisfied with His death ; 

3. The executioners did not break His limbs, as was usual 
with others put to death, because they were satisfied that Jesus 
was really dead; 

4. When a soldier pierced His side, blood and water flowed 
therefrom, a sign that death had actually taken place. 

5. Pilate would certainly not have allowed Jesus to be taken 


down from the Cross and laid in the grave had it not been 
proved that He was really dead. 


Why did Jesus voluntarily give Himself up to suffering and death? 
To redeem mankind. 

Was Christ compelled to do this by His Heavenly Father? No; 
lie did it of His own free will. 

Why did He not suffer as God? Because God can not suffer. 

What did Jesus suffer? Jesus suffered unspeakably all His life 
long. At last He was mocked, spit upon, scourged, crowned with 
thorns, and finally nailed to the Cross. 

What did Jesus suffer, for instance, at His birth in the stable at 
Bethlehem? He endured cold, exposure, poverty, and humiliation. 

What did Jesus suffer at His flight into Egypt? The hardships 
of the journey. 

What did Jesus endure during His public teaching office? The 
hatred of the Jews, the enmities and persecutions of the Pharisees 
and His other enemies. 

When did Jesus suffer the most? During the last two days of 
His life. 

Where did His passion begin? At the institution of the Last 

What did He suffer then what must have grieved Him greatly 
upon this occasion? The leave-taking from His Apostles, the du 
plicity and betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter, and the timidity 
of His disciples. 

To where did Jesus repair after He had taken leave of His 
disciples? He went to the garden of Gethsemani, on the Mount 
of Olives. 

What befell Him there? The agony of death. 

How great and terrible was this agony? It was so great that He 
sweated blood. 

What happened when Jesus was condemned to death innocently? 
He was led to the place of execution. 

How was Jesus still further tortured on the way? He was made 
to carry His own Cross to Calvary. 

What took place on the way because of His weakness? He fell 
three times under the weight of the Cross. 

What happened to Jesus when He arrived at the place of execu 
tion upon Mount Calvary? He was stripped of His garments and 
nailed to the Cross. 

How long did Jesus hang upon the Cross? For three hours Jesus 
hung upon the Cross in the most awful sufferings of body and soul, 
until He bowed His head and died. 

Who was crucified with Jesus? Two thieves. 

Whom did these two thieves prefigure? The penitent thief 
signifies those persons who will be pardoned by God at the last 

And the impenitent thief? The impenitent thief signifies those 
who will be damned by God on the last day. 


Did Jesus really and truly die? Yes. His soul was truly sepa 
rated from His body. 

What took place at the death of Jesus? At His death the sun 
was darkened, the earth quaked, the rocks were split, the graves 
opened and the dead arose. 

What then did these miracles at the death of Jesus prove? They 
prove that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. 

83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die? 

A. Christ suffered and died for our sins. 

In order to satisfy divine justice for our sins, and to redeem 
and save us. 

Jesus knew by virtue of His divine omniscience into what 
great misery mankind had fallen through sin; to propitiate the. 
infinite majesty of God an infinite satisfaction was necessary, 
which no man or no finite being could render. Man s misery 
grieved Him. In His compassion and kindness toward mankind 
He left heaven, became incarnate, suffered and died for us, in 
order to render satisfaction to the divine justice, to redeem man 
and to save him. 

For what sins has Christ given satisfaction? 

For the sins of the whole world, namely, for original sin and 
all the other sins of mankind. 

Jesus by His death atoned for those sins which as general 
guilt oppress the whole human race, as well as for those which 
one commits personally. By the sins of "the whole world" we 
understand the sins of all mankind. Jesus took upon Himself 
the sins and the eternal punishment for sin of all mankind and 
removed them by His Passion and death. He effaced them 
completely, blotted them out as if they had never taken place. 

From what has Christ redeemed us by His sufferings and 
death ? 

He has redeemed us, 1. From sin ; 2. From the slavery of the 
devil who had subdued us by sin; and 3. From eternal damna 
tion, which we had deserved by sin. 

What more has Christ gained for us through His sufferings 
and death? 

He has, 1. Reconciled us with God; 2. Reopened heaven to 
us; and 3. Merited abundant graces for us, in order to enable 
us to lead a holy life and to obtain eternal happiness. 


It was not sufficient for Jesus, by His Incarnation, to become 
our brother, by His death of sacrifice our Lord and Redeemer, 
He wished by His merits to be also our blessing, the cause of our 
eternal salvation. 

Has Christ merited grace and eternal salvation for those only 
who will really be saved? 

No; He has merited it for all men, without exception, as He 
died for all without exception. 

A heretic named Calvin has taught, namely, that God had 
destined a part of mankind, without their fault, to eternal 
damnation; the other part, without their merit, to everlasting 
happiness. The former, therefore, might do as much good as 
they would, they would still be damned, and those destined to 
blessedness might do as much evil as they wanted to, they would 
still go to heaven. This is a heresy contrary to the justice of 
God. How could it be possible that God would eternally damn 
good men, and make bad men eternally happy? God has not 
only created and destined all men for eternal happiness, but 
Jesus also died for all men, and all men obtain as much grace 
as they will need to save them. 

If Christ has merited eternal salvation for all men, why, then, 
are not all saved? 

Because not all do, on their part, what is necessary for obtain 
ing salvation; that is, because they do not all believe, keep the 
commandments, and use the means of grace. If, therefore, all 
men are not saved, the fault lies with them, and not with God. 
If you offer bread to a hungry man, it is his own fault if he 
refuses it and starves. If you offer water to a thirsty man, and 
he will not take it, it is certainly his own fault if he is parched 
with thirst. 

If, then, any one wants to be saved, he must not fold his 
hands idly in his lap, but he must co-operate with God s graces ; 
he must believe, keep the divine commandments and make use 
of the means of grace which Christ has ordained for our salva 
tion. For this reason also Holy Scripture says : "Not every one 
that saith to me Lord ! Lord ! shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven, but only he who doth the will of my heavenly Father." 
Neither is heaven opened for us at our mere wish, but we must 
advance toward the grace of God and co-operate with it. 


*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. 

The bitter Passion and death of Jesus Christ obliges us to love 
Him and show our gratitude to Him. Unloving and ungrate 
ful -is the man who forgets or does not value the graces and 
blessings of which he is made partaker through the Passion and 
death of the Son of God. We have certain means at hand to 
remind us thereof. Above all, the crucifix reminds us of the 
death of Jesus. 

Crucifixes may be found in many places: in churches, at 
home, and in some countries in the streets and byways. The 
Stations of the Cross likewise remind us of the story of Christ s 
sufferings. The celebration of Good Friday reminds us of the 
day upon which our Divine Redeemer died, for which reason also 
the Church has set Friday apart as a day upon which to abstain 
from flesh meat, partly to recall to our memory the Passion of 
Jesus, partly to give us an opportunity to return thanks to Our 
Saviour for His sufferings. 

Never forget the exceeding great love which moved Jesus to 
come from heaven to this earth, to become Incarnate, and on 
account of our sins to suffer so much and so severely. But let 
this love be living in you, and promise to live for Him who died 
for your sake. Avoid sin, for in Jesus sacrifice of expiation 
you can see what a terrible thing sin is in God s sight. The 
Passion of Jesus and His agonizing death upon the Cross should 
make your own adversities seem but small to you, for Jesus 
suffered innocently; men, however, usually deserve what they 


Why did Jesus will to suffer and die? Jesus willed to suffer and 
die to make satisfaction to the divine justice for our sins and 
thereby to redeem and save us. 

By what was the justice and majesty of God so grievously out 
raged? By original sin and innumerable personal sins of men. 

What had all men lost by sin? The grace and love of God. 

What had mankind deserved for their sins? They merited ever 
lasting punishment. 


What did Christ do to efface our guilt before God? He took 
upon Himself the guilt and the punishment of all sins and He died 
for us. 

What did Jesus prove for us by His death and Passion? Jesus 
proved how great His love for men was. 

What did Jesus become for us through His death? Jesus became 
the sacrifice of expiation for the sins of the whole world. 

For what sins has Christ given satisfaction? For the sins of the 
whole world, original sin and all the other sins of mankind. 

Could no one but Christ make full reparation for our sins? No; 
no one could do this. 

Why not? Because the justice of God demanded an infinite 
satisfaction, which a finite being could not give. 

From what has Christ redeemed us by His sufferings and death? 
He has redeemed us 1. From sin; 2. From the slavery of the devil; 
and, 3. From eternal damnation. 

*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 wait 
ing for Him. 

What means He descended into hell? 

It means that the soul of Jesus after His death descended to 
the place where the souls of the just who died before Christ were 
detained, also called Limbo. 

The word hell has, according to Scripture and the language of 
the Church, a threefold meaning : 

(a) It is generally understood to mean the place where the 
damned, i. e., those who die in mortal sin, suffer eternally. 
From this hell there is no redemption. 

(b) It signifies sometimes the place where souls who departed 
in venial sin must remain for a time, namely, Purgatory, until 
God vouchsafes to admit them to everlasting happiness. 

(c) It signifies the place where the just souls who departed 
this life before Christ awaited the day of redemption. 

Why were the souls of the just detained in Limbo ? 

"Because heaven was closed through sin, and was first to be 
opened by Christ." It is an article of faith that original sin 
shuts us out from the vision of God. After the fall of our first 


parents, the celestial Paradise, heaven, was closed, even to the 
just souls of the Old Law. 

When Jesus made satisfaction to God for the sins of the world, 
heaven was reopened to man. 

*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. 

1. To comfort and set free the souls of the just; 

2. To show forth His power and majesty even there in the 
lower regions. 

For centuries and centuries the souls of these just must have 
pined in Limbo, shut out from the vision of God. As one 
parched with thirst longs for water, so did those just souls in 
their sadness and affliction long for union with God. There 
fore, after Jesus had accomplished His sacrifice of expiation 
upon the Cross, His soul betook itself into Limbo, to announce 

to these just souls their deliverance. 

i . " , - f 

*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. 
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. 

Upon the third day the soul of Jesus was reunited with His 
body and Jesus arose gloriously from the grave, as He foretold 
when he said: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will 
raise it up." 

In commemoration of this we celebrate Easter Day. Scrip 
ture relates to us the following about the Resurrection of Jesus : r 
"On the morning of the third day (after the death of Jesus) 
there was a great trembling of the earth. An angel of God 
descended from heaven, approached the tomb, rolled back the 
stone and seated himself thereon. His countenance dazzled like 
lightning and his raiment was whiter than snow. The guards 


were benumbed with fright and fell upon the ground as if dead. 
But Jesus came forth glorious and immortal from the grave." 
Of the Eesurrection of Jesus you must know : 

1. That Jesus was not awakened by God, but that He rose 
from the grave through His own power. We shall ris^ from the 
grave also at the last day, but not like Jesus, by our own power, 
but through the omnipotence .of God. 

2. That the body of Jesus after His Eesurrection was incapa 
ble of suffering and immortal. Therefore we say that Jesus 
arose from the dead with a glorified body, a body like that which 
the disciples beheld at His transfiguratipn upon Mount Thabor. 
Still Jesus retained in His glorified body the marks of His 
wounds, as a proof that He rose again with that same body 
which had suffered and died. 

Did the enemies of Jesus know that He intended to rise 
again ? 

Yes; Jesus had foretold it; for this reason they sealed the 
tomb, and placed a guard before it. 

If the grave had not been guarded they could have said that 
the dead body of Jesus had been stolen. But through a wise 
dispensation of God all suspicion of a deception was avoided. 
The soldiers keeping guard were witnesses of His Eesurrection. 

One irrefutable proof that Jesus really rose again from the 
dead is that His disciples often saw Him after His Eesurrec 
tion, touched Him, ate, spoke, and conversed with Him, and 
suffered death to confirm His Eesurrection. 

Holy Scripture enumerates ten appearances of Jesus after 
His Eesurrection. One disciple of Jesus, Thomas, doubted His 
Eesurrection. Jesus convinced him, however, and said: "Put 
in thy finger hither (into the place of the nails), and see my 
hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side" 
(John xxii, 27). 

Thus Jesus appeared to two disciples who were going to 
Emmaus, explained the Scripture to them, sat at table with 
them, blessed the bread, broke it and gave it to them. 

The Apostles proclaimed His Eesurrection everywhere and 
gave their lives for this truth. 

Peter said fearlessly to the Jews: "You nailed him to the 


Cross by the hands of the ungodly and put him to death. God 
has awakened him ; of this we are all witnesses." 

Jesus remained forty days upon earth after His Eesurrection. 

During this time He conferred upon His Apostles, especially 
upon Peter, various powers and instructions for the good of His 
Church. He gave them the power to remit sins or to retain 

When He appeared to His disciples as they were fishing on 
Lake Tiberius He conferred upon Peter the guardianship of His 
Church with the words : "Feed my lambs ! Feed my sheep !" 

At a subsequent appearance upon a mountain in Galilee He 
gave them the power and the command to proclaim the Gospel 
to the whole world, and to baptize the faithful, and He promised 
them perpetual assistance until the end of the world, namely, the 
Holy Ghost. 

What effect ought the doctrine of the Eesurrection of Jesus 
to produce in us? 

It ought, 1. To strengthen our belief in His divinity, and our 
hope of our own future resurrection; and, 2. To incite us to 
rise from the death of sin to a new and holy life. 


What means "He descended into hell?" It means that the soul 
of Jesus Christ, after His death, descended into "Limbo" i. e,, 
to the place where the souls of the just who died before Christ were 

Does it mean that hell where the souls of the damned are? No; 
it does not mean that hell. 

Why were the souls of the departed just in Limbo? Because 
through sin heaven was closed against them, and was only to be 
opened by the death of Christ. 

What means heaven was closed? It means that no one could 
enter into heaven. 

Through what was heaven closed against mankind? Through 
the sin of our first parents. 

Why did Christ descend into Limbo? 1. To comfort and set free 
the souls of the just; and 2. To show forth His power and majesty 
even there in the lower regions. 

Did the soul of Jesus remain always in Limbo? No, upon the 
third day it united itself to His body, and Jesus rose gloriously 
from the grave. 

What feast has the Catholic Church instituted to commemorate 
the Resurrection of Jesus? Easter Day. 

Did Christ rise from the grave through His own power or was 


He aroused from death by God? Christ rose from the dead by His 
own power. 

How was this possible? Because Jesus as God is omnipotent. 

What difference is there between the Resurrection of Jesus and 
our own future resurrection? Jesus rose from the grave by His own 
power, but we shall one day rise from the grave through God s 

*90. Q. How long did Christ stay on earth after His Resurrec 

A. Christ stayed on earth forty days after His Resurrec 
tion to show that He was truly risen from the dead, 
and to instruct His Apostles. 

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. 

After His Resurrection Jesus still remained forty days upon 
earth. During this time He appeared often to His disciples, 
gave them various commissions and promises, and the command 
that they should not leave Jerusalem before they had received 
the Holy Ghost. On the fortieth day after His Resurrection He 
led them to the Mount of Olives. Here He lifted up His hands, 
blessed them, and rose up before their eyes higher and higher, 
until a cloud of light hid Him from their sight. 

When we say: a Jesus ascended into heaven by His own 
power," we mean without assistance or co-operation from others. 
With the same power and omnipotence with which He rose from 
death, He also ascended into heaven. It means that Jesus 
ascended into heaven with soul and body. But as body and soul 
only make one person, one might think that Jesus ascended into 
heaven according to His human nature only; this is not so. At 
His Ascension the divine nature was not separated from the 
human. Jesus therefore ascended into heaven as God and as 

Jesus foretold His Ascension in various parts of Scripture. 
He said : "In my Father s house there are many mansions, I go 
to prepare a place for you." And again : "I go to my God and 
to your God." 


"It is expedient for you that I go; for if I go not, the Com 
forter will not come to you." 

Did Christ ascend alone into heaven? 

No; He took with Him the souls of the just whom He had 
liberated from Limbo. 

Where did Christ ascend into heaven? 

On Mount Olivet, before the eyes of His disciples. This also 
has its significance. On the same spot where His disciples saw 
Him in a bloody sweat of agony, in that same place were they 
to behold Him in His power and glory. From the same spot 
where His Passion commenced, from that same place did He 
desire to enter into His glory. 

Jesus ascended into heaven before the eyes of His disciples 
so that all of them could give testimony of it. 

For what purpose did Christ ascend into heaven ? 

1. To take possession of His glory. 

2. To be our Mediator and Advocate with the Father. 

3. To prepare a place for us. 

I. The sojourn of Jesus upon earth was only transitory. His 
mission was accomplished, mankind redeemed, the Church 
founded, and thereby the corner stone of the kingdom of God 
was laid. 

II. Jesus wishes to be our Mediator and Advocate with God. 
Therefore St. John says : "But if any one has sinned, so have we 
an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Just One, and 
He is the expiation for our sins." 

III. To prepare a place for us also. The words of Jesus, 
"In my Father s house there are many mansions. I go to pre 
pare a place for you, that where I am, you also may be," have 
reference to this. What a sweet consolation, what infinite love 
lies in these words of Jesus. He not only desired to accom 
plish the work of man s redemption, but He desired Himself to 
prepare a place in heaven for us, so that we might not be sepa 
rated from Him, but be eternally united with Him. How un 
grateful, therefore, would that person be who would despise this 
abode prepared for him by Jesus? But for us it is an en 
couragement to become worthy of being accepted into the 
heavenly mansions ; for Jesus says : "Not every one that saith to 


me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he 
who doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." 

If we would enter heaven with Jesus we must also work and 
struggle with Him. We must detach our hearts from that 
which is earthly, and reflect that our home is not here, but 
beyond, in eternal life. In this life we are only pilgrims and 
strangers, we shall only find peace in our true home, which is 

*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. 

What means: "Sitteth at the right hand of God"? It means 
that Christ, as man also, is exalted above all created things, and 
participates in the power and glory of the Divine Majesty. Ac 
cording to His divinity Jesus was always united with God. But 
now also as man, according to His human nature, He enjoys 
the glory with His Father in heaven due Him as God-man for 
the great work of the redemption of mankind. 

As men honor others by letting them sit upon the right (the 
place of honor) we apply this expression in this case to heavenly 
things, and thereby make it understood that Jesus Christ as man 
is in continual, peaceful and undisturbed possession and par 
ticipation in the divine power and glory, and that the glory of 
Jesus is in no way distinct from the glory of the Father. 

In commemoration of the Ascension of Jesus we celebrate the 
Feast of the Ascension, forty days after Easter, because Jesus 
after His Resurrection remained forty days upon earth. 


What do the words "Ascended into heaven" teach us? That Jesus 
Christ by His own power went up into heaven with soul and body. 

What means: Jesus Christ ascended into heaven by His own 
power? It means without help or co-operation of any one. 


Why could Jesus ascend into heaven by His own power? Be 
cause as God He is omnipotent. 

Why did Christ ascend into heaven? To take possession of His 

But if Jesus Christ is God He must have been in possession of 
His Divine glory from all eternity? He took possession of His glory 
according to His human nature. 

What means Jesus sits at the right hand of God? It means 
the glory of Jesus is in no wise different from the glory of God the 

Which festival of the Church reminds us of the Ascension of 
Christ? The Feast of the Ascension. 

Upon what day is this feast celebrated? Upon the fortieth day 
after Easter. 

Lesson Ninth 

94. Q. Who is the Holy Ghost? 

A. The Holy Ghost is the third person of the Blessed 

The Holy Ghost is the third person of the Blessed Trinity, 
true God with the Father and the Son. 

The Holy Ghost is a person of the Godhead. He thinks 
exactly as God, wills and acts as God, and the same perfections 
belong to Him, and in the same measure, as to the Father and 
the Son. 

When we say: The Holy Ghost is the third person, we do not 
mean that the Father and the Son have a pre-eminence, for in 
the Blessed Trinity no person is older, none greater, none more 
powerful, and none more perfect than the others. 

The Holy Ghost is therefore only called the third person to 
distinguish Him from the two others. The following is a proof 
that the Holy Ghost is true God, like the Father and the Son. 
When Ananias tried to lie to Peter, the latter said to him: 
"Thou hast not lied to a man, but to God the Holy Ghost." 

In Holy Scripture attributes are given and ascribed to the 
Holy Ghost which belong only to God; for instance, 1. Omnip 
otence : "The Holy Ghost shall descend upon thee and the power 
of the Most High overshadow thee; for with God nothing is 


2. Omnipresence : "The spirit of the Lord fills the whole uni 
verse" (Ps. cxxxviii, 7-10). 

3. Omniscience: "For the spirit searcheth all things, even 
the profound things of God" (I Cor. ii, 10). 

The Athanasian Creed says: "The Father is God, the Son 
is God, and the Holy Ghost is God." 

The Church confirms this belief in the divinity of the Holy 
Ghost by the celebration of the feasts of Pentecost and of Holy 
Trinity, and also by the universal prayer of the Church : "Glory 
be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost." 

*95. Q. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed? 

A. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the 


*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. 

The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son, as 
from one source. 

You must not imagine that this proceeding of the Holy Ghost 
from the Father and the Son is a finite one, that there was a 
beginning, but it is an eternal one, because the Holy Ghost 
is from all eternity, like the Father and the Son. Why is the 
third person of the Blessed Trinity in particular named the 
"Holy Spirit," since the appellation of "Spirit" and "Holy" 
equally belongs to the first and second persons? 

Because the Holy Ghost sanctifies us by His grace, communi 
cates to us sanctity of the spiritual life of grace, makes us pleas 
ing to God, aids us in all good, grants us strength to love God, 
to renounce that which is earthly, and even to accomplish that 
which is most difficult for the kingdom of God, wherefore He 
is also named Sanctifier and Vivifier. Still you must not under 
stand this as if the Father and Son did not participate therein, 
for you have already learned that the works of creation, re 
demption and sanctification are common to all three persons of 
fhe Godhead. 

This is apparent from the Scriptural text : "You are washed, 
you are sanctified, you are justified, in the name of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, and in the spirit of our God" (I Cor. vi, 11). 


*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 

Whitsunday, or Pentecost. 
*98. Q. How did the Holy Ghost come down upon the 

A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles in the 

form of tongues of fire. 

"When did Christ send down the Holy Ghost upon His 

Upon Whitsunday, when in the form of fiery tongues He 
descended upon the Apostles. Particularly remarkable are the 
circumstances under which He descended upon the Apostles. 
On account of the celebration of the Jewish feast of Pentecost, 
there were assembled at Jerusalem thousands of Jews from all 
parts of the world. There arose a sound like the roaring of a 
mighty windstorm. This was to draw the attention of the 
assembled multitude so that the minds of all present might be 
prepared for the preaching of St. Peter. 

The Holy Spirit appeared over the head of each of the 
Apostles, in the form of a fiery tongue. Fire gives warmth and 
light. The tongue is the instrument of speech. The Apostles, 
so fearful, shortly before, that they closed their house, felt them 
selves suddenly fortified by the miracle and able to speak foreign 
languages. Glowing with holy zeal, they began at once to preach 
Christ crucified, and to inflame the hearts of their listeners. 
Animated by a holy zeal they went forth into all parts of the 
universe, to propagate the doctrine of Christianity. From this 
time the Holy Ghost has never left the Catholic Church, for 
Jesus said : "When I shall have gone, I will send you another 
Comforter who will always remain with you until the end of the 

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. 
#101. Q. Will the Holy Ghost abide with the Church for 

A. The Holy Ghost will abide with, the Church for ever, 

and guide it in the way of holiness and truth. 

What are the operations of the Holy Ghost in the Catholic 
Church? He teaches, sanctifies, and directs her in an invisible 
manner until the end of the world. The Holy Ghost, therefore, 
is the invisible teacher of the Church in her infallible office of 
teacher. He remains with the Church, preserves her from all 
error, and enlightens her to teach only that which harmonizes 
with the doctrine of Jesus and His Apostles. 

The Holy Ghost sanctifies the Church, i. e., gives her the 
fulness of His grace, so that all her members, when they co 
operate earnestly with the means of salvation offered them 
(prayer and the Sacraments) may be sanctified. The Holy 
Ghost also directs and rules His Church, i. e., He causes her to 
be at all times infallible in her doctrines, wise in her arrange 
ments, and careful in the furthering of the salvation of her 

What graces does the Holy Ghost dispense to souls? 

He enlightens them, sanctifies, fortifies, and consoles them, for 
which reason He is named Sanctifier and Comforter. 

The operations of the Holy Spirit showed themselves particu 
larly in the Apostles and martyrs, and every Christian can per 
ceive their effects in himself, when he invokes the Holy Spirit 
witli faith and confidence, and renders a cheerful obedience to 
His inspirations. 

What are in particular the gifts of the Holy Ghost? 

These seven: 1. Wisdom; 2. Understanding; 3. Counsel; 4. 
Fortitude; 5. Knowledge; 5. Godliness, or Piety; and 7. The 
fear of the Lord. 

1. The gift of wisdom enlightens us to consider earnestly every 
thing that concerns God and our eternal beatitude. It exhorts 
and encourages us to take the greatest delight in heavenly 
things, to despise everything earthly and perishable, and to 


direct our thoughts, desires, words and works only to that which 
is heavenly. 

2. By the gift of understanding we discern revealed truth 
which the sensual man can not comprehend. Through this gift 
we perceive that Divine Providence rules and directs all the oc 
currences of this world, we discern our high and holy destiny, 
as well as the true and right means which will lead us to God 
and our eternal salvation. By this great gift of God we are 
made aware of the horror of sin, especially mortal sin, which 
may cause our eternal ruin. 

3. The gift of counsel. By virtue of our free will we ought to 
act freely and execute the will of God upon earth. Through 
original sin, however, our perception has been darkened and our 
will to do good enfeebled. It is the gift of counsel that moves 
us to do right, to do that which is according to God s good 
pleasure, for the temporal and eternal salvation of ourselves 
and of our fellowmen. The gift of counsel enables us to counsel 
others as to what is best for them. 

4. The gift of fortitude. To will and to do good is joined 
with self-denial and hardships. The gift of fortitude gives us 
courage, strength, and perseverance to overcome our sensual 
desires, to deny ourselves, and to persevere in that which is 
good, and to execute it, no matter how difficult it may be. The 
holy martyrs were particularly endowed with this fortitude, for 
they endured the greatest tortures for the love of Jesus with 
out a murmur or complaint. 

5. The gift of knowledge. By this gift we receive the ability 
to employ everything that we know about natural truths, and 
everything that we meet with in this world, for the salvation of 
our soul. By it we are instructed in the mysteries and duties 
of our salvation, and we can also instruct others who are ignor 
ant. The gift of true knowledge does not make us proud, for 
it is humble and finds its happiness not in exterior honors, but 
in the improving and ennobling of man. 

6. The gift of piety. It consists therein that we have at all 
times a holy joy in intercourse with God, in humble prayer, 
that we strive to please God our infinitely loving Father, and 
only desire to live before God and with God. 

7. The gift of the fear of God. There is a servile and a 


childlike fear. Servile fear trembles only before God s just 
chastisements. A true and childlike fear of God., however, con 
sists in a holy awe of doing anything to offend or displease God, 
whereby we should lose the love and friendship of God. The 
fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the surest standard 
of the Christian life. 


Who is the Holy Ghost? The Holy Ghost is the third Person of 
the Blessed Trinity, true God with the Father and the Son. 

In what way does the Holy Spirit aid us to know God and to 
serve Him? He enlightens our reason, that we may the better under 
stand the doctrine of Jesus, and inflames our heart that we may 
also obey it. 

Where is this grace of illumination and strengthening communi 
cated to us? In the Catholic Church, to which Christ has, for that 
very purpose, promised and sent the Holy Ghost. 

What are the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost? 1. Wisdom. 2. 
Understanding. 3. Counsel. 4. Fortitude. 5. Knowledge. 6. Piety. 
7. The Fear of the Lord. 

How long will the Holy Ghost remain in the Catholic Church? 
Until the end of the world. 

Whence do you know this? From Holy Scripture, which says: "I 
will send you a Comforter who will remain with you until the end of 
the world." 

How long does the Holy Ghost remain in the souls of the just? 
As long as they preserve them free from all grievous sin. 

When do we receive the Holy Ghost for the first time? In Holy 

When do we receive Him again? In the Sacrament of Con 

What drives the Holy Ghost out of our souls? Sin. 

Why is this? Because the Holy Ghost is holy and loves only 
good and abhors evil. 

After the Apostles had received the Holy Ghost they went 
forth into the whole world, preaching and baptizing, and gath 
ered into congregations all those who believed and were baptized. 
Jesus not only came for the men of His time, but for the people 
of all times, and not only for the people of one nation, but for 
the people of the whole universe. As He Himself only taught in 
the land of Juda, He chose in the early days of His teaching 
twelve simple, honest, and truth loving men, who were con 
tinually with Him and witnessed His teachings and miracles. 

These men, called Apostles or messengers, were to continue 
for all mankind the work of redemption which Jesus had accom- 


plished. They were to go into all parts of the earth with 
the message of the kingdom of Christ, and offer to all who 
wished to he saved the graces of His death of atonement. For 
this reason, before His Ascension, Jesus commanded His 
Apostles to "Go, and teach all nations, baptizing them," etc. 
The Apostles with a holy zeal carried out this injunction of 
their Lord and Master, and went into all lands. Peter went 
first of all to Antioch, afterward to Rome; Mark went to Alex 
andria ; Luke taught in Italy, Dalmatia, Macedonia, and Egypt ; 
Bartholomew in Persia, Arabia, and the East Indies; John in 
Samaria and Asia Minor; Paul in Asia Minor, Greece and other 
countries ; Andrew went to Scythia and Thrace ; Thomas taught 
the Parthenians, Medes, and Persians; Philip preached in 
Phrygia, to announce and spread the teachings of Jesus. 

Those who accepted the teaching of Jesus were baptized and 
belonged to the Catholic Church. The newly converted were 
formed into congregations. 

There arose then in many places communities of Christians 
whose rulers were the Apostles. 

When the communities of Christians increased, the Apostles 
chose elders from among them, ordained them to be bishops., 
and appointed them as rulers of the new Christian communi 
ties, with the commission that they should likewise ordain and 
appoint others. 

When the number of the faithful increased, the Apostles could 
not themselves announce the teaching of Jesus in the many com 
munities. They were obliged, therefore, to appoint other rulers 
and to confer upon them their authority. 

Were all these several communities united with one another? 

Yes; they were all closely united with one another, and 
formed one great Christian community, under one common 
head, St. Peter. 

The several Christian communities, therefore, were not to be 
separated, dispersed members, but they were to be members of 
one body and form an indissoluble whole. 

What did they call this great community of Christians under 
one common head? 

The Catholic, that is to say, the universal Church, or, in 
short, the Church. 


By the word Church, in this sense, you must not imagine a 
stone building, but a society and community of all true believing 
Christians of whom the Apostle St. Peter was the common head. 
The Acts of the Apostles give us a proof of this. When the 
Apostles wished to give laws for the Church, they associated 
themselves with St. Peter. He presided, and they all submitted 
to his decision. In Holy Writ the Church has other names 
given to her : for instance, the Bride of Christ. As bride and 
bridegroom are inseparably united, so inseparably is the Church 
united with Jesus, her heavenly bridegroom. The Church is 
called also the Body of Christ, i. e., members of Christ, because 
He Himself is the invisible Head of the Church. She is called 
also a flock, because Jesus the good Shepherd leads her. 

What, then, is the Church even at the present time? 

The Church is the same congregation of all the faithful, who, 
being baptized, profess the same doctrine, partake of the same 
Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one 
visible head, the Pope. 

The Church, therefore, is the union, the congregation, the 
society of the people of the whole earth who are baptized in the 
name of Jesus, who profess the faith taught by Jesus, live ac 
cording to His doctrine, partake of the means of salvation in 
stituted by Him, and acknowledge the Pope at Home as their 
visible head and as the representative and successor of the 
Apostle St. Peter, to whom all bishops are subject. 

Was the Church thus organized by the Apostles? 

No; she was thus organized by Jesus Christ, her Founder; 
the Apostles were only the instruments by which He accom 
plished His will. 

Christ said : "All power is given to me in heaven and in 
earth." "As the Father hath sent me, I also send you." From 
Him, therefore, proceeds all power, all authority, and the com 
mission to accomplish His will. Jesus founded and instituted 
His Church, the kingdom of God on earth. He gave her her 
laws and her organization, but He made the Apostles the instru 
ment of His will. They do not act, therefore, in their own 
name, but in the name of Jesus Christ. St. Paul says : "Every 
one takes us for servants of Christ and dispensers of His mys 
teries." A servant, however, does not accomplish his own will, 


but the will of his master. The Apostles, therefore, were in 
struments of whom God made use to propagate in the world His 
holy Christian Church. 

How did Jesus Christ organize His Church?? 

By conferring His own power upon the Apostles, and sending 
them forth everywhere: 1. To preach; 2. To baptize; 3. To 
govern those who were baptized, under the supremacy of St. 

The Apostles and their successors, therefore, have their 
power from Jesus Himself. Before Christ ascended into 
heaven, He said to His Apostles: "All power is given to me in 
heaven,- and in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things what 
soever I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all 
days, even to the consummation of the world." Christ conferred 
herewith His authority upon His Apostles and declared what 
they were to do in virtue of this authority, namely: To pro 
claim His doctrine to all nations, to dispense the graces of the 
Redemption through Baptism, and to introduce everywhere His 
laws, His commandments. He had already said to His Apostles, 
"As the Father hath sent me, I also send you/ When He had 
said this He breathed upon them and said : "Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; 
and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." With these 
words Jesus conferred upon His Apostles the power to forgive 
sins, which belongs to God alone. Jesus demands also from men 
the same obedience toward the Apostles and their successors as 
for Himself. He says : "He that heareth you, heareth me : and 
he that despiseth you, despiseth me." 

The threefold office, which, together with His power, Christ 
conferred upon the Apostles is the teaching, the priestly, and 
the pastoral office. 

1. The teaching office consists in the full power to preach the 
divine doctrine, to condemn heresies, and to decide religious 

2. The priestly office consists in the full power to offer the 
Sacrifice of the Mass, to administer the Sacraments, to conse 
crate and to bless. 


3. The pastoral office consists in the full power to rule the 
Church, consequently to make laws and inflict punishments. 

Why were the Apostles to exercise their office only under the 
supreme authority of St. Peter? 

Because Christ appointed St. Peter to be His representative 
upon earth,, and the visible head of the whole Church. 

How do we learn that Christ has appointed St. Peter to be 
the Supreme Head of His Church ?^ 

We learn it from this : 1. That Christ built His Church upon 
Peter, as upon the true foundation stone; 2. That He gave him 
in particular the keys of the kingdom of heaven; 3. That He 
commissioned him alone to feed His whole flock. 

Jesus once asked His disciples whom they considered Him to 
be; thereupon Peter, speaking for the others, said: "Thou art 
Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered him: 
"Thou art Peter (a rock), and upon this rock I will build my 

Christ gave to Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven with 
the words : "And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be 
bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, 
it shall be loosed also in heaven." These keys signify the su 
preme authority in the Church. Jesus wished to confirm by this 
exterior token that He conferred upon Peter the highest author 
ity in the Church. Peter alone was commissioned to govern the 
whole flock with the words : "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep." 

Peter really exercised the office of the Head of the Church 
after the Ascension of Jesus, and was also always recognized as 
the head by the Apostles and by the whole Church. 

Was the office of a supreme Head of the Church to cease 
after the death of St. Peter? 

No; if the Church was to continue as Christ had established 
it, the Rock also on which He had built it, and the supremacy 
of a Head which He Himself had ordained to govern it, had to 

Now, if it was necessary for the Church to have a Head when 
the number of her members was still small, how much more 
necessary is it when the Church is extended and spread over 
the whole world. 


Who has been the visible Head of the Church since the death 
of St. Peter? 

The Holy Father, the Pope, who is the legitimate successor 
of St. Peter in the Episcopal See of Rome. 

St. Peter died a martyr s death at Rome., and hence every 
Bishop of Rome is a successor of St. Peter. The word Pope 
comes from Papa, meaning Father; hence we also say Holy 
Father instead of Pope, or, Father of Christendom. 

Was the threefold office, which was common to all the 
Apostles, to continue at all times? 

Yes; according to the appointment of Christ, it was to pass 
over from the Apostles to their successors, and to continue in 
them, without interruption, to the end of the world. 

How do we know this appointment of Christ? 

From the words which He spoke when He conferred the 
office upon them : "And behold, I am with you all days, even to 
the consummation of the world;" which evidently can not be 
understood to have been said to the Apostles alone, since they, of 
course, were not to live to the end of the world. 

Who are the successors of the Apostles? 

The Bishops who are rightly consecrated, and are in com 
munion with the Head of the Church, the Pope i. e., the 
Bishops of the Catholic Church. The Apostles chose "elders" 
to be Bishops to whom they communicated their authority, 
amid prayer and the laying on of hands, and this ordination 
has been preserved from the time of the Apostles until our 
time, and it will continue until the end of the world. The 
Bishops, therefore, when they are rightly consecrated, have the 
same authority and the same power as the Apostles had. This 
power, however, they only use in constant communion with the 
Pope as legitimate successor of the Apostle St. Peter. 

As successors of the Apostles the Bishops have the obligation : 
1. To instruct, and to cause to be instructed, the faithful of the 
diocese intrusted to them, and to care for the preserving of a 
pure faith, by opposing everything contrary to the faith of the 
Church ; 

2. To dispense the Holy Sacraments, or to have them dis 
pensed by their representatives; and 

3. To make arrangements for the celebration of divine 


worship, to uphold ecclesiastical discipline, and above all to 
promote the spiritual welfare of their flocks. 

Through whom do the Bishops exercise their office in the par 
ticular parishes of their diocese? 

Through the priests or pastors ordained by them after the 
example of Christ, who, besides the twelve Apostles, chose 
seventy-two disciples to preach His doctrine. 

When the doctrine of Jesus became more and more propa 
gated the Bishops could no longer in their own person preach 
and dispense the Sacraments to all. They appointed, therefore, 
assistants in several places; these are the priests or pastors who 
in the name of the Bishop preach the Gospel and dispense the 
Sacraments, and in general care for the spiritual welfare of the 
faithful in their congregations. A priest can only exercise the 
duties of the priesthood when he has been expressly sent or 
authorized for that purpose by his lawful Bishop. 

By what means are unity and good order maintained in the 
whole Church? 

By this: That laymen are subordinate to the priests, the 
priests to the Bishops, and the Bishops to the Pope. 

Lesson Tenth 


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. 

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 

By divine grace we understand here a supernatural help or 
gift received from God for the purpose to work out our salva 


Let us first understand the idea of grace. This word denotes 
the kindly feeling of a superior toward his inferior, and also 
the operations of this gracious feeling, namely, benefits result 
ing to the inferior out of this feeling. 

This grace of God is an internal help or gift. Internal means 
something within us in this case within our soul. The grace 
of God is, furthermore, a supernatural help or gift. The 
word supernatural is used to show that it is beyond the powers 
of created nature, coming from the Creator Himself. 

God grants us His grace through the merits of Jesus Christ. 
We know from the instructions on faith that our first parents, 
by their fall, lost God s love and grace, and that the wrath of 
God upon our first parents is inherited by all their descendants. 
Some one, therefore, had to redeem mankind and obtain for 
them again God s grace. Because a finite being could not 
appease the offended infinite majesty of God, therefore Jesus 
Christ, the Son of God Himself, reconciled mankind with God 
again, and on account of His merits God gives His grace to man. 

God grants us His grace for our eternal salvation. Our life 
in this world should only be a time of preparation and probation. 
Our real vocation is a higher one; we are called to take part, 
with God, in celestial bliss, and in order that we may attain this 
beautiful and exalted aim, God kindly grants us His grace, His 

104. Q. How many kinds of grace are there? 

A. There are two kinds of grace, sanctifying grace and 
actual grace. 

There are two kinds: 1. Actual grace, or the grace of assist 
ance, called also transient grace ; and, 2. The grace of sanctifica- 
tion or justification, called also sanctifying or habitual grace. 
We shall first explain the idea of assistance. He who gives help 
in time of danger or need, gives assistance. We men are, from 
every point of view, weak, especially in the power to work out 
our salvation. Hence Almighty God comes to our assistance 
with His help. That is transient which lasts only for a time. 
That which is transient is opposed to that which lasts and 
endures. Actual grace is transient, that is to say, it lasts only 
for a time, while there is occasion for it, while sanctifying 


grace is permanent and remains in the soul, provided man com 
mits no mortal sin. 

105. Q. What is sanctifying grace? 

A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul 
holy and pleasing to God. 

Sanctifying grace is a gratuitous supernatural gift, which 
God communicates to our souls, by which from sinners we are 
made just, children of God and heirs of heaven. 

Sanctifying grace is, therefore, a gratuitous, or free, gift. 
Whatever man deserves in any way, that is his due, his merit. 
The grace of God, however, can not he merited. It is, further 
more, a supernatural gift; it is not, therefore, part of man s 
being and creature, but it is an independent and special gift of 
a higher kind. Through the sin of our first parents we are born 
in sin, and from this state of disgrace we are by this grace trans 
ferred into the state of favor and are received by God as His. 
children. It is, furthermore, a promotion of man into asso 
ciation with the divine nature. 

Sanctifying grace is, in contrast with actual grace, a perma 
nent gift, a lasting state of the soul. It is, therefore, called the 
supernatural life of the soul. 

Sanctifying grace is imparted to us by the Holy Ghost. Yet 
this is not to be understood as if God the Father and God the 
Son did not take part in our sanctification, but the works of 
charity, and, therefore, the work of sanctification, are attributed 
in a special manner to the Holy Ghost. 

Sanctifying grace produces an entire change in us, trans 
forming us from sinners into just, into children of God, and 
heirs of heaven. It purifies man from all sin, so that in the just 
there is no longer anything that deserves damnation, and with 
this grace is joined the friendship of God and the heirship 
of heaven. 

In the same way as iron when heated in the fire retains its 
substance and its nature, but acquires the heat, the appearance, 
and other qualities of fire, so does man in the state of grace still 
remain man, yet he shares in the divine attributes, hence he 
can say with the Apostle: "I live, yet not I, but the grace of 
God in me." 


Why is sanctifying grace called a gratuitous gift? 

Because it is an entirely free gift received from the com 
passionate love of God. 

No dead person can raise himself to life again; God alone 
can give life natural and supernatural. God, from pure love 
and mercy, has called man to a supernatural life, and bestows 
it upon him without his merit, just as He bestowed the natural 
life. God grants us His grace without merit of ours, because 
there is nothing, neither faith nor good works, that would merit 
the grace of justification. Grace can never be merited because 
man, to obtain real supernatural merit, must be already in the 
state of sanctifying grace. 

Why is sanctifying grace called also "grace of justification" ? 

Because by sanctifying grace man is justified that is, he 
passes from the state of sin to the state of righteousness and 
holiness. Justification does not only mean the remission of 
sins, not merely an external favor of God s, or imputing of 
Christ s righteousness, but it renders a man just or righteous. 
It actually justifies man, that is, makes man just. Justification 
means : To again place one, who has been guilty of sin, in the 
state of innocence. 

What then does the justification of the sinner include? 

Justification includes: 1. Purification from all sins, grievous 
at least, together with the remission of eternal punishment ; and, 
2. Sanctification. 

As there is a cleansing of the body from defilement, by soap 
and water, so is there also a spiritual purification, consisting in 
God s justifying us, effacing and actually wiping out our sins, 
and not, as heretics teach, only covering up our sins. 

Besides the remission of sin, we receive also the remission of 
the deserved eternal punishment. 

A further result of our justification is the sanctification of our 
inner self. God s sanctity consists in this: that God loves the 
good and hates and abhors the evil, and God s grace operates 
in us in a like manner by making us also love the good and hate 
and abhor evil. 

To renew means to give something new for something old. 
The grace of God destroys in man not only the old life of sin, 
and remits the eternal punishment, but imparts also a new life 


of grace, a supernatural life of holiness, and confers the right to 
heaven. Holy Writ says: "You are washed, you are sanctified, 
you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the 
Spirit of our God" (I Cor. vi, 11). 

What precedes the justification of the sinner? 

Preventing grace, which enlightens the sinner, and incites 
him to turn to God. God could let man go to perdition in his 
sins, but God "desires not the death of the wicked, but that the 
wicked should turn from his way and live" (Ezech. xxxiii, 11). 
His love and mercy are, as it were, greater than His justice. 
God approaches the sinner, as it were, to move him to return. 
The father might have turned the prodigal son from the house, 
but he did not. Here apply the following words of Holy Scrip 
ture: "Behold, I stand at the gate and knock." What infinite 
love ! The Creator goes to meet the creature, the Master goes 
to the servant, God to man, the eternal Judge to the offender, 
to save him from perdition. 

In what way does preventing grace operate? It enlightens 
man and incites him to turn to God. 

The understanding of man is clouded and darkened. The 
sinner stands on the brink of an abyss that threatens him with 
eternal death, and he perceives it not. Preventing grace incites 
the sinner to turn to God. What persons have to be urged? 
Those who are sunk in heedlessness. To what must the sinner 
be urged? To turn to God. Why must the sinner turn back? 
Because he is on the path that leads to ruin and because it is 
difficult for him to abandon his sins and begin a better life. 
The sinner resembles a man who tarries in a house threatened 
with collapse. The foolish man has to be removed by force from 
the awful death which threatens him. 

*106. Q. What do you call those graces or gifts of God by 
which we believe in Him, hope in Him, and love 

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, find charity. 

What must the sinner do on his part in order to attain to 


He must, with the assistance of grace: 

1. Believe, hope, and begin to love God, and repent his sins. 

2. Eeceive the Sacrament of Baptism, or if he is already bap 
tized, the Sacrament of Penance. 

107. Q. What is faith? 

A. Faith is a divine virtue by which we firmly believe 
the truths which God has revealed. 

Man has by sin voluntarily turned away from God. If 
desirous to obtain justification, he must voluntarily return to 
God. This he can not do without preventing grace. Several 
stages precede justification, especially: 

1. Faith, which is the foundation of our salvation. "He that 
cometh to God must believe" (Heb. xi, 6). The sinner must 
be convinced that the way of sin leads to hell, and that he can 
only be saved therefrom by returning to God. 

2. To faith must be joined also hope, the hope of forgive 
ness ; for he who has it not is in despair. 

3. Hope of forgiveness incites the sinner to love Him who 
had the right and the authority to punish him, but grants him 
pardon instead. 

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. 

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 neigh 
bor as ourselves for the love of God. 

To love contrition is naturally joined, for he who acknowl 
edges that he has offended his greatest Benefactor will repent 
his misdeeds. 

Repentance will urge him to cleanse his heart from sin by 
receiving the Sacrament of Baptism, or Penance, and leading a 
better life. 

Faith, hope, love, repentance, and good resolutions are all in 
vain if the sinner does not receive the Sacrament of Baptism, 


or of Penance. All men come into the world burdened with 
original sin, from which they are cleansed in the Sacrament of 
Baptism. Man, however, commits actual, personal sins, not in 
herited, and these are ordinarily remitted in the Sacrament of 

But for all these steps to sanctification, man needs actual 
grace, the grace of assistance. 

What does the sinner receive in the Sacrament of Baptism or 
Penance ? 

He receives sanctifying grace, whereby he is actually made 
just, acceptable to God, a child of God, and heir of heaven. 

Through either of these two holy Sacraments the sinner is 
actually made just, that is, his sins are not merely covered over 
and the punishment due them remitted, but the sins are utterly 
wiped out and effaced, as completely as if they had never been 
committed. Hereby also the original relation between God and 
man is renewed: man is again a child and friend of God, and 
with the friendship of God he obtains again his title to the 
kingdom of heaven. 

How long does sanctifying grace remain in the soul of the 
justified man? 

As long as he does not commit mortal sin. 

Do venial sins also banish God s grace? 

No; they do not, but they lessen its operations. 

What fruits may the justified man produce by the help of 
grace ? 

He may perform meritorious works. 

What of those works which although good in themselves are 
committed in mortal sin? 

They have no merit for heaven. 

What accordingly must a man do if he has had the mis 
fortune to commit a grievous sin? 

He must again place himself in a state of grace through the 
Sacrament of Penance. Without the love of God there is no 
merit ; the sinner has not the love of God, consequently his good 
works are without merit or value. 

Is the good which a man does in the state of sin quite use 
less? No; on the contrary, it is very useful in order to obtain 


from the divine compassion the grace of conversion and the 
averting of temporal punishment. 

Through good works which man performs in the state of 
sin, he obtains more easily the grace of conversion. Thus King 
Nabuchodonosor was exhorted by the Prophet Daniel to practise 
good works : "Reduce thou thy sins with alms, and thy iniquities 
with works of mercy to the poor; perhaps God will forgive thy 
offenses" (Dan. iv, 24). 

An example is also furnished in the instance of the in 
habitants of the City of Ninive, who by penance saved them 
selves from the temporal ruin which threatened them. 


The Soul in the State of Grace. St. Catherine of Siena was per 
mitted by God to see the beauty of a soul in the state of grace. It 
was so beautiful that she could not look on it; the brightness of 
that soul dazzled her. The blessed Raymond, her confessor, asked 
her to describe to him, as far as she was able, the beauty of the soul 
she had seen. St. Catherine thought of the sweet light of the morn 
ing, and of the beautiful colors of the rainbow, but that soul was far 
more beautiful. She remembered the dazzling beams of the noon 
day sun, but the light which beamed from that soul was far 
brighter. She thought of the pure whiteness of the lily and of the 
fresh snow, but that is only an earthly whiteness. The soul she 
had seen was bright with the whiteness of heaven, such as there 
is not to be found on earth. "My father," she answered, "I can not 
find anything in this world that can give you the smallest idea of 
what I have seen. Oh! if you could but see the beauty of a soul in 
the state of grace, you would sacrifice your life a thousand times to 
save a lost soul. I asked the angel, who was with me, what had made 
that soul so beautiful, and he answered me, It is the image and 
likeness of God in that soul, and the divine grace which made it so 
beautiful. " 

We learned that only those good works of ours which we per 
form in the state of grace are meritorious for heaven. 

Whence do the good works which we perform in the state of 
grace derive their meritorious value? From the infinite merits 
of Jesus Christ, whose living members we become through sanc 
tifying grace. 

Holy Scripture says : "There is salvation in none other but in 
Jesus." All the good works which we perform in the state of 
grace are united to the merits of Jesus Christ, who by His 


death upon the Cross obtained for us the grace of God, and 
thereby placed us in a position to perform meritorious works. 

Is every Christian bound to do good works ? Yes ; for "Every 
tree that doth not yield good fruit shall be cut down, and cast 
into the fire" (Matt, iii, 10). 

The word bound means that we are compelled. As we are 
bound to do good works, he who does them not may expect 
eternal damnation. This is taught us by our divine Saviour in 
the parable of the barren fig-tree. Also in the parable of the 
wise and foolish virgins, and that of the idle servant. It is 
taught us also in the description of the last judgment, where 
the omission of works of mercy is given as deserving damnation. 
We learned in our lessons on the doctrine of faith that we are 
upon earth to serve God, and to merit heaven by good works. 
For this reason God has granted us powers of body and powers 
of soul, and for this reason God also grants us His grace. 

How many kinds of good works are there? They may be 
divided into works which are of obligation, and works which 
are merely counseled. 

The good works to the performance of which we are obliged, 

1. Those prescribed by the commandments of God and the 

2. Those to which a certain relation or vocation oblige ; as, for 
instance, those of parents and children, employers and em 
ployees, etc. 

The ordinary duties of the Christian, and the special obliga 
tions of our state of life, must always have preference over 
voluntary good works. The Christian, however, should not con 
tent himself merely with practising the good works which he is 
bound to do, but also voluntarily perform others. 

What other good works does Holy Scripture especially recom 

Praying, fasting, and alms; by these we understand works of 
devotion, mortification, and charity. Holy Scripture says: 
"Prayer is good with fasting and alms, more than to lay up 
treasures of gold" (Tob. xii, 8). 

What does God especially regard in our good works? 


Our good intention, by which we may obtain from God great 
reward even for small works. 

By good intention is understood the good disposition we have 
in doing something good. Some do good from vanity, so as to 
be seen and praised by others, as the Pharisees did ; others again 
do good from selfish motives, and there are others who do good 
from the noblest of all motives : for the love of God. An act 
good in itself loses its entire value if it is performed with an 
unworthy motive. Hence Holy Scripture tells us the story of 
the widow s mite, of which Jesus said that in the eyes of God 
it has a greater value than the large offering of the Pharisee, 
who gave his donation with the intention of being seen and 

What is a good intention? 

The purpose or positive act of the will, to serve God and to 
honor Him. 

Our intention is good, therefore, when we, 1. Have the will 
to serve God, to do His will, to keep His commandments, and 
to fulfil our duties; 2. When we have the will to glorify God 
and to increase His honor. Every intention is good that arises 
from faith and love. 

When should we make a good intention? 

We ought to do so several times a day, and especially every 

How may we make a good intention? 

By saying: "0 my God, I offer up to Thee all my thoughts, 
words, and deeds, for Thy honor and glory." 

What means must we particularly use in order to obtain 
grace ? 

The Holy Sacraments and prayer. 

Since we know that without grace we can not begin the least 
thing meritorious for salvation,, or continue, arid accomplish 
am^thing, we must inquire for the way and means by which we 
may be placed in the possession of grace. 

The Catechism gives us two means : 

1. The Holy Sacraments, and 2. Prayer. 

Do both these means give us grace in the same manner and 
in the same measure? 

No; the Sacraments produce grace in us; prayer obtains it 


for us; through the Sacraments we receive those special graces 
for which they were instituted; while because of prayer we 
obtain all sorts of graces, except those which can be obtained 
only by the Sacraments. 


Why is sanctifying grace a supernatural gift? Because it does 
not belong to the natural gifts, which God grants to every man at 
his creation. 

Mention some of the natural gifts. Bod^ and soul, understand 
ing, reason and free will. 

How was the divine resemblance destroyed in the soul of man? 
By the sin of our first parents. 

What did all mankind lose through original sin? They lost the 
grace and friendship of God and their title to the kingdom of heaven. 

In what way may they regain these lost gifts? By sanctifying 

Who imparts sanctifying grace to us? The Holy Ghost. 

Why do we say that the Holy Ghost imparts sanctifying grace? 
Because the works of charity and sanctification are attributed in a 
special way to the Holy Ghost. 

Do the Father and Son also take part in our sanctification? Yes; 
the Father and the Son also take part in it. 

What does sanctifying grace do in us? From sinners it makes 
us just, children of God, heirs of heaven. 

What does every man become through sin? An enemy of God. 

But what does he become through sanctifying grace. A child of 
God and an heir to the kingdom of heaven. 

Why is sanctifying grace called a gratuitous gift? Because it is 
a perfectly free gift from the compassionate love of God.* 

Do we merit this gift from, God? No; we do not merit it. 

Who, by His death upon the Cross, merited and obtained for us 
the grace of God? Our divine Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Why is sanctifying grace also called the grace of justification? 
Because through sanctifying grace man is justified, that is, from a 
state of sin he is reinstated in a state of justice and holiness. 

What precedes the justification of the sinner? Preventing grace, 
which enlightens the sinner and incites him to turn to God. 

How does God s grace incite man to turn to God? By the voice 
of conscience, by hearing the word of God, by sufferings and afflic 
tions, and other occurrences. 

What might God in His justice do to the sinner? God might 
allow him to die in his sins. 

Why does not God do this? Because God does not wish the death 
of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live. 

What must the sinner do on his part, in order to attain to justi 
fication? He must, with the assistance of grace, voluntarily turn to 
God, and believe all that God has revealed, especially that we are 
justified by Jesus Christ. 


To what will repentance lead the sinner? To the desire to be 
reconciled with God. 

What else must man do to possess sanctifying grace? He must 
receive the Holy Sacraments for the forgiveness of sins. 

Which Sacraments are these. The Sacraments of Baptism and 
of Penance. 

What does man receive in either of these Sacraments? He 
receives sanctifying grace, whereby he is made really just, pleasing 
to God, a child of God, and heir of heaven. 

What must man do that sanctifying grace may remain in him? 
He must not commit a mortal sin. 

Do venial sins also drive God from our souls? Venial sins do 
not drive God from our hearts, but they are obstacles to the opera 
tions of divine grace.- 

Can man in the state of mortal sin do no good? Yes; he can do 
good, but without merit for heaven. 

What good works are meritorious in the sight of God? Only those 
good works which we perform in the state of grace. 

What do we merit for ourselves by good works performed in the 
state of grace? We merit: 1. An increase of sanctifying grace. 2. 
Eternal happiness. 

Whence do the good works which we perform in the state of 
grace derive their intrinsic value or meritoriousness? Prom the 
infinite merits of Jesus Christ, whose living members we are through 
sanctifying grace. 

Now as the merits of Jesus Christ alone render our good works 
meritorious for salvation do not our good works cease entirely to be 
of themselves meritorious? No; our good works have also a merit 
of their own. 

Is every Christian bound to do good works? Yes; for "every 
tree that doth not yield good fruit shall be cut down, and cast into 
the fire." 

And he who in spite of this will not do good, what has he to 
expect? Eternal perdition. 

Which good works are strictly commanded? 1. Those good works 
imposed upon Christians by the commandments. 2. Those to which 
a person is obliged on account of his position or calling. 

What does God especially regard in our good works? Our good 
intention, by which we obtain from God great reward even for small 

What means must we particularly use in order to obtain grace? 
The Holy Sacraments and prayer. 

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 


1. Actual grace enlightens our understanding. Understand 
ing is the power of the soul to know and to understand. That 
which is dark can be enlightened. Our understanding, or 
intellect, became darkened and clouded through the sin of our 
first parents, and when we wish to know that which is profitable 
and necessary for our salvation, our understanding must be 
enlightened by the assistance of divine grace. Actual grace, 
therefore, is an internal light for our understanding whereby we 
perceive what is profitable and necessary for our eternal salva 

2. Actual grace, or the grace of assistance, further operates 
upon our will. The will is the power of the soul to desire and to 
choose. Man may choose two kinds of things : the good, which is 
rewarded with heaven, and the evil, which is punished with hell. 
Since our will is corrupted through original sin, it is far more 
inclined to evil than to good. Man s will is also enfeebled 
through original sin; he lacks the strength successfully to resist 
temptation. By the grace of assistance our will is moved and 
strengthened to avoid evil, and to wish and to do good. 

We distinguish, therefore, 1. An enlightening, and, 2. An 
inciting or strengthening grace. 

*111. Q. Is grace necessary to salvation? 

A. Grace is necessary to salvation, because without grace 
we can do nothing to merit heaven. 

It is so necessary to us that without this grace we can neither 
begin, continue, nor accomplish the least thing toward our salva 

The necessity of actual grace is clearly expressed in Holy 
Writ. It says : "For it is God who worketh in you, both to will 
and to accomplish" (Phil, ii, 13). St. Paul the Apostle ex 
claims : "I have labored more abundantly than all they ; yet not 
I, but the grace of God with me" (I Cor. xv, 10). The grace of 
God is necessary for the beginning of all good ; it must precede 
all the good that we think of, speak, or do ; it incites man thereto. 
It must, furthermore, accompany all good works, must help man 
perpetually thereunto, and is necessary for perseverance in 

Does God give His grace to all men? 


Yes; God gives to all men sufficient grace to enable them to 
keep the commandments and to work out their salvation. Holy 
Scripture says : "God will have all men to be saved, and to come 
to the knowledge of truth" (I Tim. ii, 4). 

What must we do, on our part, in order that the grace of God 
may tend to our salvation? 

We must not resist it, but faithfully co-operate with it. Holy 
Scripture says: "We do exhort you, that you receive not the 
grace of God in vain" (II Cor. vi, 1). 

*112. Q. Can we resist the grace of God? 

A. We can and unfortunately often do resist the grace 
of God. 

To resist means to oppose or fight against something. Sup 
pose a man falls into the water and is about to drown. We hold 
a hand out to him, or throw him a rope. He, however, refuses 
all means of assistance. You see, dear children, just as such a 
man acts in regard to the saving of temporal life, so may persons 
act in regard to the saving of their eternal souls ; they stubbornly 
reject all efforts of God to save them. Instead of resisting, 
men must co-operate with God s grace; they should listen to 
God s inspirations, grasp the helping hand of God, and hold 
on to it. 

But how can weak and impotent men resist the Almighty 
God? Can man resist the grace of God? Most certainly; God s 
grace does not force the human will; it leaves it free. It is 
necessary that good be done entirely from free will, for if man 
were compelled by God to do good he would have no merit; the 
good would not be willed or done by man, but by God, and man 
would only have been the instrument. In the same way as man 
can eo-operate with God s grace, so also can he do the opposite 
and resist divine grace. 

Moses said to the Israelites, upon Mount Sinai, before giving 
the Commandments : "To-day if you shall hear his voice, harden 
not your hearts" (Psalm xciv, 87). A hardened heart is deaf 
and without feeling for the suggestions and inspirations of God. 

To what should the consideration of the grace of assistance 
lead us? 1. To the knowledge of our own frailty and helpless 
ness. 2. To the realization of the fact that, as of our own 


strength we can not begin, continue, or accomplish the least 
thing toward our eternal salvation, we must pray frequently and 
fervently to God for His grace of conversion and perseverance, 
thank Him most fervently for the graces received, and prize the 
same above everything temporal. 

*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. 

If men will open the door to the good Lord, He will visit 
them and take up His abode with them, unite them intimately to 
Himself and remain with them for time and eternity. 


In what does actual grace, or the grace of assistance, consist? It 
consists in this: that God enlightens our understanding and inclines 
our will to avoid evil, and. to will and to do that which is good. 

Upon which powers of the soul does the actual grace of God 
operate? It operates: 1. Upon the understanding, which it en 
lightens. 2. Upon the will, which it inclines to avoid evil, and to 
will and to do good. 

When God calls us what must we do? We must listen to His 

Is the grace of assistance necessary to us? It is so necessary 
that without it we can not do the least thing toward the beginning, 
continuation, or accomplishment of our salvation. 

Does God give His grace to all men? Yes; God gives to all men 
sufficient grace that they may work out their salvation. 


Resistance to Grace. In the days of St. Francis Borgia, there 
lived in Spain a gentleman who gave himself up to very great sins. 
Suddenly, in the midst of his evil ways, a terrible illness came upon 
him. He had near him some friends who had remained faithful to 
God. When they saw his sickness was dangerous, they spoke to 
him of the necessity of being reconciled to God, lest death should 
come and take him away unprepared. But he laughed at them and 
said: "There is plenty of time. Besides, I am not so ill as you 
imagine." His friends continued to speak to him of the necessity 
of making confession, saying to him that the doctors had declared 
his case hopeless. As soon as the young man heard that word 
confession, he burst forth into angry words, and said that he would 
never make confession, even although he was sure that death was at 
hand. St. Francis Borgia was told about the man s obstinacy, and 
seeing the danger he was in of losing his soul, knelt down before a 
crucifix and besought our dear Lord, with tears in his eyes, not to 
allow that soul to perish. As he was thus praying for the poor 


sinner, a voice seemed to come forth from the Crucifix, saying, "Go, 
Francis, and visit him and exhort him to repent." So Francis went 
immediately with great joy, thinking that, as God Himself had sent 
him, he was sure of obtaining the gentleman s confession. But 
although he spoke to him for a long time, the sinner would not 
hear of making a confession. The saint left the room and returned 
to the Church. He knelt down as before and prayed with still 
greater fervor for his conversion. The same voice again seemed 
to speak to him, "Go back once more to the dying man; take your 
Crucifix with you: he certainly must have taken a firm resolution to 
lose his poor soul, if his heart is not melted at the sight of the 
sufferings I underwent for him*" St. Francis returned to the sick 
man s room, who still refused to listen to him. Francis then, taking 
the Crucifix he had brought with him, placed it before the dying 
man s eyes. At that moment, by a miracle of God s mercy, the 
figure on the Cross appeared as if covered with wounds and blood, 
as Jesus Himself was when dying on the Cross. "Ah! my son," 
said the saint, "look how Jesus loves you, although you have so 
grievously sinned against Him! Oh! do not refuse this special 
grace." But all his exhortations were in vain. The man refused to 
accept this great grace, and St. Francis saw him die in his sins, a 
victim to his obstinacy in refusing to make use of what God had, in 
uch a special manner, sent him for his salvation. 

Lesson Eleventh 


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 His Redemption 
are the Church and the Sacraments. 

115. Q. What is the Church? 

A. The Church is the congregation of all those who pro 
fess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacra 
ments, and are governed by their lawful pastors 
under one visible Head. 

116. Q. Who is the invisible Head of the Church? 

A. Jesus Christ is the invisible Head of the Church. 

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. 


*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. 
*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. 
*120. Q. Why did Christ found the Church? 

A. Christ founded the Church to teach, govern, sanctify, 
and save all men. 

Christ has established the Church that by her He might lead 
all men to eternal salvation. 

This fact shows how great a love Jesus Christ has toward us 
men. He did not deem it sufficient to die the death of atone 
ment upon the Cross, but He also wished to give to the future 
generations the possibility of going to heaven. God wills that 
through His Church all human beings should obtain salvation, 
and that the fruits and graces of the death of atonement of 
Jesus Christ should be a benefit to all men unto the end of the 
world. The Church was to prevent for all time the separation 
of mankind from God. By the establishment of the Church 
Jesus Christ wished to unite all mankind into one holy body, of 
which He was the head. 

What has Jesus provided so that the Church may be enabled 
to serve this purpose? 

He has entrusted to His Church His doctrines, the means of 
His grace and power, and the assistance of the Holy Ghost. 

Christ then has given His Church these things for obtaining 
the object of her establishment, namely: 

1. His doctrine; 

2. His means of grace; 

3. His power. 

4. The assistance of the Holy Ghost. 

I. The doctrine of Jesus shows us the way to heaven, it 
teaches us what good we must do and what evil we must avoid 
to obtain eternal salvation. To assist our human weakness and 


to help us and strengthen us to love and do the good, and to hate 
and avoid the evil, Jesus has: 

II. Transmitted to His Church the means of grace estab 
lished by Him, so that every one who thirsteth for the divine 
grace may be satisfied. 

III. To insure to His Church eternal duration, Jesus has 
endowed her with His powers, particularly with the power of 
appointing Bishops as legitimate successors of the Apostles. 

IV. Christ has furthermore given to His Church the special 
assistance of the Holy Ghost, so that she might perpetually pre 
serve the divine doctrine uncorrupted, rightly administer the 
means of grace, and exercise her powers for the salvation of 

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 re 

mains out of it can not be saved. 

Who teaches us this? 

Jesus Christ Himself, with the words : "If he will not hear the 
Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." Every 
one, therefore, who does not submit to the teachings of faith and 
morals of the Church can have no part in her prayers and treas 
ures of grace and no part in God. As Jesus Christ says : "He 
that believeth not, shall be condemned." What do we profess 
by the words: "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church"? We 
profess to believe that Jesus Christ has established an infallible 
Church, which we must hear and obey without reserve if we 
would obtain eternal salvation, and that this is no other than the 
Roman Catholic Church. 


For what end has Christ established the Church? Christ has 
established the Church that by her He might lead all men to 
eternal salvation. 

What has Jesus provided so that the Church may be enabled to 
serve this purpose? He has given her the assistance of the Holy 

To what purpose has Christ given His teachings to the Church? 
The teachings of Christ tell us what is the will of God, what we 
must believe, what good we must do, and what evil avoid. 

But as we are too weak of ourselves to fulfil the Gospel of Christ, 


what more has Christ entrusted to His Church? He has entrusted 
to her His means of grace. 

What are these means of grace? The Holy Sacraments. 

What is it our duty to do to obtain salvation? It is our duty to 
be at all times obedient children of the Catholic Church, i. e., to 
believe in her teachings, to use her means of grace, and to keep her 

If anybody does not submit to Mother Church what consequences 
will he have to suffer? He will exclude himself from the Catholic 


Image of the Church. Of the Catholic Church God is the Founder, 
Jesus Christ the Saviour, the Holy Ghost the Sanctifler, the 
Blessed Virgin the Queen, and the angels the protectors. The 
Pope is the head, the cardinals the counsellors, the bishops the 
pastors, and the priests the voice. The martyrs are her witnesses, 
and the doctors her light. The confessors strengthen her, the re 
ligious orders uphold her, the virgins are her adornment, and the 
faithful her children. Baptism is her cradle, Confirmation her 
strength, the Eucharist her food, Penance and Extreme Unction her 
remedies. Order is her jurisdiction, and Matrimony her nursery. 
Faith is the gate of the Church, the admission to her custody. The 
Jews are her living witnesses, the conversion of men her prayer. 
The Blessed Trinity is the object of her adoration, the Son of God 
her sacrifice, the liturgical ceremonies her attire. The earth is 
her place of exile, the Cross her lot, heaven her country. Scandals 
are her sorrow, repentance her joy, the pardon of sins her liberality. 
Jesus Christ is her spouse, and His presence her honor. The end 
of the world will be her coronation day. Her struggles are on the 
earth, her sufferings in purgatory, and her triumph in heaven. 

Lesson Twelfth 


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 suc 
cessors of the Apostles, have to teach and to govern 
the faithful. 

Q. What do you mean by the infallibility of the Church? 


A. By the infallibility of the Church I mean that the 
Church can not err when it teaches a doctrine of 
faith or morals. 

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 pro 
claims to all the faithful a doctrine of faith or 

*126. Q. What do you mean by the indefectibility of the 

A. By the indefectibility of the Church I mean that the 
Church, as Christ founded it, will last till the end 
of time. 
*127. Q. In whom are these attributes found in their fulness? 

A. These attributes are found in their fulness in the 
Pope, the visible Head of the Church, whose in 
fallible authority to teach Bishops, priests, and 
people in matters of faith or morals will last to the 
end of the world. 

There might arise the doubt whether the doctrines given 
by Jesus have been preserved pure and uncorrupted through 
these many centuries, and the question will arise, by whom was 
this done, and we answer : 

By the Infallible Teaching Body of the Church. Infallible is 
he who can not fail. The Church is infallible in her doctrines 
because in her teaching she can not fail. This infallibility is 
not human, but is the work of the Holy Ghost, who enlightens 
and governs the Church. By the decisions of this teaching body 
there are kept away from the Catholic Church all doctrines 
which are contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ and His 

\Yho composes this infallible teaching body? 

The Pope and the Bishops united with him. The Pope is 
the legitimate successor of the Apostle St. Peter, and the Bishops 
are the legitimate successors of the other Apostles. In the same 
way as the Apostles taught under the leadership of St. Peter, 
so do the Bishops under the leadership of the Pope, and so do 


they form with him the infallible teaching body of tne Church. 

If there is a teaching Church, there must also be a Church to 
be taught, subject to the teaching Church, To this learning 
Church belong the laymen. It is their duty to submit to the 
decrees of the infallible Church. 

Why is the teaching Church infallible? Because, by the 
assistance of the Holy Ghost, she is secure against erring, in 
matters of faith and of morals. 

As I told you before, the infallibility of the Church is not the 
work of man, but the action of the Holy Ghost, who leads, en 
lightens, and governs the Church. The Church as an infallible 
teaching body in her edicts is only an organ, an instrument, of 
the Holy Ghost. 

This infallibility extends to matters of faith and morals, i. e., 
the Catholic Church by virtue of her infallibility can never 
assert a doctrine of faith or morals which is contrary to the 
divine teachings of Jesus Christ. 

Who assures us that the teaching Church can not err? 

Christ Himself, who has given us the threefold promise, that 

1. He will be with her all days, even to the consummation of 
the world. 

2. That the Spirit of Truth shall abide with her forever, and 

3. That the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. 
Firstly: Jesus Christ has given to His Church the promise 

that He Himself will remain with the teaching office all days 
unto the end of the world. Therefore Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, the eternal truth, is in His Church. If, then, God can not 
fail, the Church can not fail, because God is with her. 

Secondly: Jesus Christ has given the promise that the Spirit 
of Truth shall be with the teaching office unto all eternity. 

Thirdly: Jesus has given His Church the promise that the 
powers of hell shall not prevail against her. This promise has 
been confirmed by the existence of the Church for now over 
nineteen hundred years, and has been especially proved by her 
continuance through the many persecutions. 

What must we do, then, when any disputes arise in matters 
of faith? We must abide by the decisions of the teaching body 
of the Church. As the weak are led by the strong, as the child 
is led by its mother, so must the faithful accept with confidence 


the edicts of the teaching body of the Church in the full con 
viction that this teaching body is assisted by th e Holy Ghost, 
and can speak nothing but the truth. 

The most learned men have submitted to the decisions of the 

What else are we bound to do to merit eternal salvation? 

To merit salvation we are bound to be ever obedient chil 
dren of the Catholic Church,, i. e., to believe in her doctrines, 
to make use of her means of grace and to obey her command 

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 
*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. 

A church that claims to be the true Church of Christ must 
therefore bear the above mentioned four marks, and where this 
is not the case, then she is not the true Church of Christ. The 
first mark of the true Church of Christ is unity. Unity exists 
in a community when one wills what the others will; when all 
members mutually pursue the same end. Unity is opposed to dis 
union. A society is disunited when one member wills one thing 
and another something else. The Catholic Church is one because 
she has at all times and everywhere : 1. The same faith, 2. The 
same sacrifice and the same Sacraments; 3. One common head. 

Above all things the Catholic Church is one in her faith. She 
has at all times and in all places taught the same doctrine which 
has come down to her from Jesus and His Apostles, and there 
has never been a time in the Catholic Church when she has ever 
taught anything contrary to the doctrine of Jesus and His 
Apostles. Whoever teaches other doctrines persists in heresy, 
and excludes himself from the Catholic Church. For instance, 
we believe that there is only one God, in three persons, the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Now, the Catholics in 


China believe this as well as the Catholics of other countries, 
and as we Catholics here, because the Catholic Church is one 
in her doctrine. The Catholic Church teaches that after this 
earthly life there is another life which will last eternally, where 
an eternal reward awaits the good, and eternal punishment 
awaits the wicked. This is believed by the members of the 
whole Catholic Church, because she is one in her doctrine. As 
there is only one sun for our earth which illumines and heats 
our whole world, so is there in the Catholic Church only one 
faith, only one doctrine. Let us tak^, for example, the Protest 
ant denomination. There are Lutherans, Episcopalians, Quak 
ers, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. ; each sect has a 
different belief. Is that unity in faith? Most certainly not. 
And our unity in faith can never be destroyed ; for through the 
infallible teaching office of the Church Jesus lias made it im 
possible that a false doctrine or heresy can be taught by the 
Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is also one in her 
sacrifice and in her Sacraments. The sacrifice everywhere 
offered up in the Catholic Church is the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, and throughout the whole world, where there are Catholic 
priests, it is offered up. The Catholic Church is one also in her 
Sacraments. At all times and in all places there have in our 
Church never been more, nor less, than seven Holy Sacraments ; 
not, therefore, in one place nine or ten, and in another place 
three, four, or five, but in the whole Catholic Church there are 
seven Holy Sacraments. 

Finally the Church is one also in her Head. At all times and 
in all places the Roman Pontiff has been acknowledged as the 
visible Head of the Church, and all the Bishops, priests, and 
laity of the Catholic world have acknowledged the duty of obedi 
ence toward him. 

*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 holi 
ness of so many thousands of its children. 

The Founder of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ the Son 
of God Himself, He who could say to the Jews : "Who among you 


can accuse me of sin ?" The doctrine also of the Catholic Church 
is holy. She makes us resemble God, teaches us to do good and 
to shun evil,, and leads us thereby to our own sanctification. 

1. Nowhere in the Catholic Church shall we find that any 
thing good is forbidden, or anything bad commanded. 

2. To lead us to holiness the Catholic Church dispenses the 
means of salvation instituted by Jesus Christ, the Holy Sacra 
ments, preaches the Divine Word to us, offers up for us the 
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and neglects nothing that can serve 
for our sanctification. 

3. Lastly, the Catholic Church is holy because there have 
always been saints in her. All members of the Catholic Church 
without exception are sanctified through Holy Baptism, i. e., 
they are consecrated to God, and called to holiness. Besides this 
many members have attained to perfect sanctity, which has been 
confirmed by God in miracles. Who can count the army of holy 
martyrs or the multitude of holy virgins? Unfortunately some 
members of the Catholic Church lead unholy lives, but the 
Church ceases as little on that account to be holy as a man with 
a deaf ear, a blind eye or a crippled finger ceases to be a man. 

Does a gold coin lose its value by falling in the mud? Does 
a precious stone lose its value by getting soiled? Christ Him 
self has compared His Church to a field in which wheat and 
cockle grows, to a net which gathers in good and bad fish, to a 
wedding banquet at which the worthy and unworthy take part. 
For this reason Christ Himself has instituted, for those who fall, 
the Holy Sacrament of Penance, through which they may again 
become holy and upright. We see, therefore, from all this that 
the Catholic Church is holy. 

*131. Q. How is the Church Catholic or universal? 

A. The Church is Catholic or universal because it sub 
sists in all ages, teaches all nations, and maintains 
all truth. 

1. The Church has always been from the time of Christ, i. e., 
for more than nineteen hundred years there has not been a single 
day or hour that she ceased to be. Through this miracle the 
promise of Jesus is fulfilled : "And behold I am with you all 
days until the end of the world." The Catholic Church, then, 


has existed for more than nineteen hundred years. The greatest 
storms were incapable of destroying her, the greater the persecu 
tion, the more brilliantly did she shine. Other religious congre 
gations, who also call themselves churches, fell away from truth, 
and are therefore not Catholic. 

2. The Catholic Church is spread everywhere. This is testi 
fied to by the two hundred millions of Catholics in all parts of 
the globe. 

3. The Catholic Church spreads more every day. 

Those men who go fearlessly into the remotest parts of the 
earth and preach the Gospel of Jesus to the heathen and cannibal 
at peril of their lives are called missionaries. 

*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. 

(a) The origin of the Catholic Church leads us back to the 
Apostles. Christ founded and built His Church upon the 
Apostles, and particularly upon the Apostle Peter. It was to 
the Apostles that Christ transferred His own power, with the 
commission to consecrate others, and the Holy Ghost was to be 
their helper until the end of the world. The Apostles made use 
of this power, and as in a chain the links reach from the first 
to the last, so does the Catholic Church go back to the time of the 
Apostles. This is not the case with non-Catholic religions, for 
they originated in the later centuries through apostacy from the 
true Church. The doctrine of the Catholic Church is Apostolic, 
for it contains only those truths which she received from the 
Apostles, and the Apostles from Christ. No doctrine contrary 
to the doctrine of the Apostles can find admittance or propaga 
tion in the Catholic Church. Therefore St. Paul the Apostb 
says to the faithful of Ephesus : "You are built upon the founda 
tion of the Apostles" (Eph. ii, 20). 

(b) The Catholic Church is Apostolic, furthermore, because 
her rulers, Pope and Bishops, are the legitimate successors of 
the Apostles. The Apostles received their Apostolic mission 
from Christ and gave it to their successors with the power to 


concentrate and appoint others. Thus the Apostolical mission 
of the Apostles is transmitted to their legitimate successors until 
the end of the world. 

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. 

If none but the Eoman Catholic Church has the marks of the 
one Church of Christ, what follows? 

That the Roman Catholic Church alone is the true Church 
established by Jesus Christ. There is only one truth, only one 
true doctrine, only one way which leads to life. Hence Jesus 
said : "I am the way, the truth, and the life ; no one cometh to 
the Father but through me/ As therefore there is only one 
truth, there can also be only one true Church, and this is the 
Eoman Catholic, for she alone bears the marks of the true 
Church of Christ. She alone is one, she alone is holy, she alone 
is Catholic, she alone is Apostolic. Non-Catholic religions have 
not a single one of these marks, therefore they can not claim 
that they belong to the true Church of Christ. 

*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 Catho 
lic by the Holy Ghost, the spirit of love and holi 
ness, who unites and sanctifies its members 
throughout the world. 


What do we mean when we say that the teaching body of the 
Church is infallible? That it can not err in doctrines of faith and 

Who forms this infallible teaching body? The Pope and the 
bishops of the Catholic Church united with him. 


Why especially these? Because they are the rightful successors 
of the Apostles. 

Why is this teaching body declared infallible? Because on 
account of the assistance of the Holy Ghost it can not err in matters 
of faith and morals. 

Is then the infallibility of the Church the work of man or the 
work of God? It is the work of God the Holy Ghost. 

What is understood by a mark? By a mark is understood a 
characteristic or quality whereby one thing is distinguished from 

Of what marks have we spoken to-day? Of the four marks of 
the Catholic Church: 1. That she is one. 2. That she is holy. 3. 
That she is Catholic. 4. That she is apostolic. 

With what intention does the Catechism mention the four marks 
of the Catholic Church? That we may learn to know and distinguish 
the true Church of Christ from non-Catholic denominations. 

Did not Christ found several Churches? No; Christ founded only 
one Church, as He taught only one faith. 

Now if none but the Catholic Church possesses these four marks 
or characteristics of a true Church of Christ, what is the conse 
quence? That the Roman Catholic Church alone is the true Church 
founded by Christ. 


The Map of the World. In a certain school a teacher had pre 
pared for his pupils a large map of the world on which were shown 
all the countries of the earth. He had marked with a red cross upon 
the map every country, and island, and place where the Catholic 
religion was established, and the pupils saw at a glance that it was 
everywhere, even in the lands of perpetual snow, and in the midst 
of pagan kingdoms. So that there was scarcely an islet rising out 
of the ocean but was marked with a red cross. "See, my children," 
he said, "these crosses on the map tell you where you will find the 
Catholic Church. Go to any of these places you choose, and you will 
find the same Church as you have at home, the same truths taught, 
the same Sacrifice offered up, the same Sacraments administered, 
and all obeying one head, our holy father the Pope. Ah; truly there 
is no blessing so great as that of being a member of the one true 


Lesson Thirteenth 

136. Q. What is a Sacrament? 

A. A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted "by Christ 
to give grace. 

What does the word Sacrament mean ? 

It means a sacred sign, a holy action, something mysterious 
(hidden) and holy. The Holy Sacraments have a mysterious 
significance, and contain a hidden grace to effect our inner 
sanctification ; for this reason we always speak of them as Holy 

A Sacrament is, then, an outward sign. We call sign some 
thing which leads us to the knowledge of a certain fact. Thus 
we learn from the sign of footsteps in the soil that somebody has 
passed that way, leaving behind these imprints. What we see is 
visible. Something, then, takes place at the administering of 
the Holy Sacraments that we can see or appreciate by our senses. 
Thus we see, for instance, at Holy Baptism, how the priest pours 
water over the infant and we hear him say the words : "I baptize 
thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. Amen." 

We see in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar how the priest 
takes the Sacred Host and places it upon the tongue of the com 
municant, and so forth. In every Sacrament we have what is 
called the matter and the form. Thus in Baptism, water is the 
matter, and the words, said while the water is being poured, are 
the form. Matter and form must be closely united. Thus a 
baptizing priest, or in case of necessity a baptizing lay person, 
must say the prescribed words while pouring the water, neither 
before nor after. 

To the question which has sometimes arisen, "Why has Jesus 
Christ connected the administration of the Sacraments with 
visible signs ?" the Church answers : 

1. Christ Himself made use of certain signs when conferring 
spiritual and corporal benefits on people ; for instance : "He spat 
on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay 
upon the eyes of the man born blind." 


2. Man is a material being and, accordingly, needs material, 
visible signs. 

3. God intended, in His inscrutable wisdom, visible creation 
to be the medium of divine grace given to man. 

What is necessary to constitute a Sacrament ? 

Three things are necessary to constitute a Sacrament, namely : 

1. A visible sign. 

2. An invisible grace. 

3. Institution by Jesus Christ. 

These three points are absolutely necessary for the constitu 
tion of a Sacrament. If one of the three is missing, there is no 

What graces do the Sacraments effect? 

1. They bestow, or increase, sanctifying grace. 

2. Each Sacrament communicates other, special, or sacra 
mental graces, tending to the end for which it has been in 

If the Holy Sacraments had no other purpose than to impart 
sanctifying grace, there would have been no necessity for seven 
Sacraments; one Sacrament would have been sufficient. How 
ever we find in each Sacrament a special grace, not to be found 
in any other Sacrament. 

How must we receive the Sacraments in order that they may 
produce these graces in us? 

We must prepare ourselves well for them, and receive them 

What sin does he commit who receives one of the Sacraments 

He commits a very grievous sin, called a sacrilege. 

Does not the efficacy of the Sacraments also depend on the 
worthiness or unworthiness of those who administer them? 

No ; for the Sacraments derive their efficacy from the merits 
of Jesus Christ, by whom they were instituted, and not from the 
one who administers them. Good wine remains good wine 
whether served in a vessel of gold or in a cup of the poorest 

137. Q. How many Sacraments are there? 

A. There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, 
Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy 
Orders, and Matrimony. 


How do we know that there are seven Sacraments ? 

We know this because the Church, "which is the pillar and 
ground of the truth," has at all times taught and used these 

Our Lord Jesus Christ has instituted just as many Sacra 
ments as are necessary for the supernatural life of man. For 
as in his natural life man is first born, then grows up, acquires 
strength, is supplied with nourishing food, in order to preserve 
life and to increase his strength, etc., so is he, 1. Born in Bap 
tism to the supernatural life ; 2. Gains in Confirmation strength 
and growth; 3. Eeceives in Holy Communion a divine nourish 
ment; 4. Finds in Penance a remedy to heal the diseases of the 
soul, and to restore him to the state of grace; and 5. Gets in 
Extreme Unction assistance and strength against despair and the 
last assaults of the devil. 6. By Holy Orders, the power of 
administering the means of grace necessary to the supernatural 
life is continued; and 7. In Matrimony the union between man 
and wife is blessed, so that, being sanctified themselves, they 
may also teach their children to lead a holy life, and thus help 
them to attain eternal 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. 
*139. Q. What grace do the Sacraments give? 

A. Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and 

others increase it in our souls. 
*140. Q. Which are the Sacraments that give sanctifying 

grace ? 

A. The Sacraments that give sanctifying grace are Bap 
tism and Penance; and they are called Sacraments 

of the dead. 
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. 
Q. Which are the Sacraments that increase sanctifying 

grace in our soul? 


A. The Sacraments that increase sanctifying grace in 
our soul are: Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Ex 
treme 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 Sac 
raments of the living? 

A. Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, 
Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called Sacra 
ments of the living, because those who receive them 
worthily are already living the life of grace. 

They are called the Sacraments of the living because, in order 
to receive them, we must have supernatural life that is, sancti 
fying grace. One of these, the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, 
may, in case of necessity, be received without due preparation. 

The ceremonies which are used in the administrations of the 
Sacraments have by the Church, under the guidance of the Holy 
Ghost, been ordained for the increase of our devotion and 

The word ceremony means an exterior form accompanying a 
solemn act. The eternal signs belonging to the Sacraments were 
not instituted by the Church, but by Jesus Christ Himself, and 
the Church can not and will not change anything in these signs. 
But the Church has added certain ceremonies especially intended 
to remind us of the sanctity and importance of the Sacraments. 

*144. Q. What sin docs he commit who receives the Sacra 
ments of the living in mortal sin? 

A. He who receives the Sacraments of the living in mor 
tal sin commits a sacrilege, which is a great sin, 
because it is an abuse of a sacred thing. 
*145. Q. Besides sanctifying grace do the Sacraments give 

any other grace? 

A. Besides sanctifying grace the Sacraments give an 
other 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 


147. Q. Do the Sacraments always give grt 

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

148. Q. Can we receive the Sacraments more than once ? 

A. We can receive the Sacraments more than once, ex 
cept Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders. 
*149. Q. Why can we not receive Baptism, Confirmation, and 

Holy Orders more than once? 

A. We can not receive Baptism, Confirmation, and TIolij 
Orders more than once, because they imprint a 
character in the soul. 

*150. Q. What is the character which these Sacraments im 
print in the soul? 
A. The character which these Sacraments imprint in the 

soul is a spiritual mark which remains for ever. 
*151. Q. Does this character remain in the soul even after 


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. 

The Sacraments which can be received only once are Baptism, 
Confirmation, and Holy Orders. These can be received only 
once because they imprint upon the soul a character, or spiritual 
mark, which remains forever, and which consecrates and dedi 
cates the recipient in a special manner to the service of God. 

The Holy Fathers call this indelible character a holy, inex 
tinguishable seal. The spiritual mark imprinted upon our soul 
in Baptism is that of a child of the Kingdom of God; in Con 
firmation that of a soldier of Christ, and in Holy Orders that of 
a leader in the combat. 

But the reception of this spiritual mark imposes upon us the 
duty of preserving ourselves undefiled by sin, and of fulfilling 
faithfully the duties of a child of the Kingdom of God, of a 
soldier of Christ, or of a priest. 


What is necessary to constitute a Sacrament? 1. A visible sign. 
2. An invisible grace. 3. The institution by Jesus Christ. 


Are all three necessary? Yes; all three are necessary. 

What graces do the Sacraments confer? 1. They communicate 
or increase sanctifying grace. 2. Each Sacrament communicates 
other special graces according to the end for which it has been 

What are ceremonies? They are exterior forms, which in the 
administration of the Sacraments are used together with the signs 
instituted by Christ. 

How were they handed down to us? They were handed down to 
us by the Church. 

Under whose guidance did the Church create them? Under the 
guidance of the Holy Ghost. 

And for what purpose? For the purpose of increasing our devo 
tion and reverence. 


Neglect of the Sacraments. A certain holy and zealous priest, ad 
dressing his people, said to them: "Many sick persons repair to cele 
brated watering places and health resorts, at very great expense 
and inconvenience, in order to obtain the cure of some disease! 
In the Sacraments we have admirable sources for all the ills of 
the soul; and these sources of grace invariably cure all those who, 
with proper dispositions, have recourse to them. And yet how many 
spiritually sick are among us, who do not avail themselves of those 
admirable waters, flowing through the Sacraments out of the 
Saviour s fountains, for the cure of all maladies of the soul!" 

Lesson Fourteenth 


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. 

Baptism is the first and most necessary Sacrament, because 
without it we can not be saved and can not receive validly any 
of the other Sacraments. 

Through Baptism man becomes a member of the Church of 
Christ. If we are not united to Jesus Christ in His Church we 
can not partake of His merits. 

Baptism is the most necessary Sacrament because, without it, 


no one can enter the Church in order to be saved. Holy Bap 
tism is, as it were, the door to our spiritual life. 

If one is to be received into the Church, i. e., into the com 
munity of Christians, into community with Christ, he must 
first receive the Holy Sacrament of Baptism. There are many 
things necessary for man s natural life: food, drink, clothing, 
shelter, and, the most necessary of all, air. Baptism is so abso 
lutely necessary for our salvation that even if we are innocently 
deprived of it, we are excluded from eternal salvation. Christ 
says : "Verily, I say unto you, unless a man be born again of 
water and the Holy Ghost, he can not enter into the Kingdom of 

Baptism is a Sacrament, because we find in it the three things 
necessary to constitute a Sacrament. 

1. A visible sign : water poured on the head of the person to 
be baptized (the matter), and the utterance of the words: "I 
baptize thee," etc. (the form). *2. An invisible grace, namely, 
the remission of original sin, and, in adults, also of all actual 
sins which may have previously been committed. 3. Its insti 
tution by Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Why do we say that we are baptized by water and the word of 
God? Because Baptism is administered by pouring water over 
the head of the person to be baptized, while at the same time, 
the words are pronounced: "I baptize thee in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The pouring 
of water is a symbol of the purification of the soul which takes 
place in Baptism. 

To give Baptism validly, it is essentially necessary that the 
water which is used should touch the body or head, in such a 
manner that it can be called an ablution. Matter and form must 
necessarily be intimately connected. Christ Himself gave the 
form when He said: "Going, therefore, teach ye all nations; 
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and 
of the Holy Ghost." These words must be spoken exactly as 
prescribed during the act of pouring out the water, neither 
before nor after the act. The Church has never changed the 
form, and any deviation from the form, in words or action, will 
make Baptism invalid. 


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. 

Why do we say that in Baptism we are cleansed from all sin ? 
Because in Baptism original sin, and all sins committed before 
Baptism, are forgiven. 

Adults as well as infants may be baptized. The latter obtain 
the remission of original sin, because they have not yet com 
mitted any actual sin. Adults obtain not only the remission of 
original sin, but also remission of actual sins committed before 

An adult person must be duly prepared for the reception of 
this Sacrament and must repent of his actual sins. If he has 
no sorrow for the sins actually committed, he receives Baptism 
unworthily and his sins will not be forgiven him. The effects of 
the Holy Sacrament of Baptism are as follows: 

1. The remission of all sins: (a) Of original sin in the case 
of infants, (b) Of original sin and of actual sin in the case of 

2. The remission of temporal and eternal punishment due 
to sins. 

3. The infusion of sanctifying grace, and of the theological 
virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Also of the gifts of the 
Holy Ghost. 

4. All sacramental graces necessary for Christian life. 

5. The right of receiving all other Sacraments. 

6. The imprinting of an indestructible spiritual sign. 

7. A spiritual relationship : (a) Between the baptizer, the 
baptized, and the latter s parents, (b) Between the sponsors, 
the baptized, and the latter s parents. 

Eternal, as well as temporal punishment of sin is remitted in 
Baptism. This explains the fact that the Church does not 
mourn over the death of an infant that has not yet been able to 
commit actual sin. The priest wears, at the infant s funeral, a 
white stole instead of a black one, and expresses in his prayer 
his confidence that the soul of the infant has gone direct to 


Although guilt and punishment of sin are taken away by Bap 
tism, there still remains: 1 The tendency to sin. 2. The law 
of death and suffering. 

The tendency to sin is not sin, although it originates from sin 
and excites us to sin. These consequences of sin remain in man, 
and by subduing this tendency we gain great merit. 

As a Christian, and as a member of the body of Christ, the 
baptized person receives an indelible spiritual character, which 
distinguishes him from all unbaptized, and for this very reason 
a person can be baptized but once. 

154. Q. Is Baptism necessary to salvation? 

A. Baptism is necessary to salvation, because without it 
we can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. \ 

155. Q. Who can administer Baptism? 

A. The priest is the ordinary minister of Baptism; but 
in case of necessity any one who has the use of 
reason may baptize. 

Who can validly baptize ; Any person in case of necessity. At 
all other times only priests, to whom the care of souls is given, 
are allowed to baptize. Baptism may be administered validly by 
any person if matter and form are correctly observed. Thus the 
love and goodness of God has provided that the Sacrament most 
necessary for our salvation may be within the reach of all who 
desire it. No one, however, can administer Baptism to himself. 

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. 

The ceremonials of Baptism may be dispensed with in a Bap 
tism of necessity, but later on, when the danger of death is past, 
these ceremonials should be supplied. Then Baptism will be 
repeated conditionally with the words : "If thou art not already 
baptized, then I baptize thee," etc. This is done for greater 
security, because Baptism being so necessary a Sacrament, and 
in the hurry and excitement of lay Baptism, an error might 
have occurred. 

What sort of water should be used in Baptism ? Any natural 


water will do for the validity of Baptism. However, whenever 
possible, baptismal water, or water blessed for that purpose, 
should be used. 

Natural water is river, spring, or rain water. No artificial 
water can be used ; for instance, no toilet waters, such as cologne, 
or other scented or prepared waters, etc., nor can any other 
liquids, such as wine, milk, etc., be used in baptizing, because 
Christ has made water the outward sign of Baptism. 

What intention must he have who baptizes? He must have 
the intention to administer the Sacrament of Baptism; that is, 
to do what the Church does, and what Christ has ordained. The 
intention to administer the Sacrament may be formed at the 
moment of baptizing, or beforehand, providing it perseveres to 
the time of administration of the Sacrament. 

What do we promise God in Holy Baptism? We promise: 1. 
To believe the Catholic doctrine firmly and steadfastly. 2. To 
carefully avoid sin and evil occasions, and to lead a God-fearing 
life. In Holy Baptism we make an agreement with God, and 
promise to believe the Catholic doctrine firmly and steadfastly 
firmly, that is, to believe all her doctrines without the slightest 
doubt; and steadfastly, that is, the baptized is not to allow him 
self to be drawn away from his faith, neither by dangers, nor 
death, nor promises, etc. For this reason the one baptized is asked 
the question : "What dost thou ask of the Church of God ?" and, 
he, or his sponsors, answer, "Faith." Then the Apostles Creed is 
recited with the priest. Having thus asked for faith as a precious 
gift, we ought to keep it carefully. The one baptized promises, ^ 
further, to avoid sin and the occasions of sin. Hence, he is 
asked in Holy Baptism : "Dost thou renounce Satan and all his 
works?" and answers: "I do renounce them." This answer he 
makes (if not an adult) through his sponsors. But it is not 
enough to avoid sin and the occasions of sin. Our faith must 
also bear fruit, like a good tree, in order that it may not be cut 
down and cast into the fire. Although the one baptized may only 
be an infant, still the baptismal vows are made for him by his 
sponsors and the baptized is obliged to keep these vows during 
his whole life. In order that our baptismal vows may not be 
forgotten, we should frequently renew them, especially when re 
ceiving our first Holy Communion, at missions, etc. 


*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 
*159. Q. What is Baptism of desire? 

A. Baptism of desire is an ardent wish to receive Bap 
tism, and to do all that God has ordained for our 

Baptism of desire is an earnest wish and determination to 
receive Baptism in an instance where actual Baptism is not 
possible, to do all that God has ordained for our salvation, ac 
companied with contrition and pure love of God. By Baptism 
of desire, for instance, the penitent thief upon the Cross was 
saved. The desire for Baptism may be: (a) Explicit, as, for 
instance, in the case of a person who dies before Baptism; (b) 
implicit, that is, a desire to make use of the necessary means of 
salvation, and a determined will to do so. 

*160. Q. What is Baptism of blood? 

A. Baptism of blood is the shedding of one s blood for 

the faith of Christ. 
*161. Q. Is Baptism of desire or of 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 im 
possible to receive the Baptism of water. 

What is Baptism by blood ? Martyrdom for the sake of Christ. 
When one suffers death or receives fatal injury for the sake of 
Christ, and thus publicly professes his belief in Christ, he re 
ceives the Baptism of blood. Even with children martyrdom 
takes the place of Baptism of water, as may be seen in the 
veneration of the Holy Innocents, who suffered martyrdom by 
order of King Herod. 


Our Lord said : "He that shall lose his life for me, shall find 
it" (Matt, x, 39). 

*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. 

*164. Q. Why are godfathers and godmothers given in Bap 
tism ? 

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 god 

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. 

What should sponsors be particularly mindful of? Sponsors 
should bear in mind that they become, as it were, the spiritual 
parents of the baptized infant, therefore: 1. They should be 
good Catholics themselves. 2. They should take care that the 
child is instructed in the Catholic religion, especially if his 
natural parents neglect this duty, or should be prevented from 
performing it ; and 3. They must remember they can not marry 
their God-child or one of his parents. 

The custom of taking sponsors at Baptism comes down from 
the earliest times. The sponsor takes upon himself the obliga 
tion to see that the child fulfils the baptismal vows. In choos 
ing sponsors parents should not be actuated by motives of am 
bition, but should choose sponsors capable of fulfilling the neces 
sary duties. Each sponsor must have been baptized and have 
attained the age of reason. 

Father or mother should not baptize their own child, in case 
of need, except it be impossible to secure the help of others. 


What is the state of those children who die without Baptism? 
They can not attain to supernatural happiness, for Baptism is 
absolutely necessary for salvation. 

Yet we may be assured that children who at their death have 
only the stain of original sin upon their soul, will not be pun 
ished as the lost souls who have sinned personally. It is gen 
erally supposed that these children enjoy natural happiness with 
out the pain of loss. Nothing, however, has been revealed as to 
this. When, therefore, infants die before they have received 
Baptism, parents should console themselves with the thought 
that God is just and does not condemn innocent children to hell. 
On the other hand, there should be no delay in having the child 
baptized. This should be attended to within a week of the 
child 9 a birth. 

The child to be baptized is to be taken to Church, accom 
panied by the sponsors. The child always receives the name of 
some saint in Holy Baptism, so that it may have a model for 
imitation, and an incentive to live a holy life. 


Why is Baptism the first of the Sacraments? Because without 
it we can not receive any other Sacrament validly, and it must, there 
fore, precede all the other Sacraments. 

Why is Baptism the most necessary Sacrament? Because without 
Baptism no one can enter the Church in order to be saved. 

If we are deprived of Baptism, even innocently, are we also ex 
cluded from eternal salvation? Yes. 

What does Jesus say about the necessity of Baptism? He says, 
"Verily, I say unto you, unless a man be born again of water and 
the Holy Ghost, he can not enter into the kingdom of God." 

What is Baptism? Baptism is a Sacrament in which we are 
cleansed from all sin and regenerated and sanctified in Christ unto 
life everlasting. 

Why is Baptism a Sacrament? Because we find in it the three 
things necessary to constitute a Sacrament. 

Tell me the visible sign, matter, and form. Water, and the pour 
ing out of it, is the matter, and the utterance of the words, "I bap 
tize thee in the name of," etc., is the form. 

Name the invisible grace. The remission of original sin, and, in 
adults, also of all actual sins committed before Baptism. 

What cleansing does Baptism cause in us? The cleansing from 
original sin, and from all sins committed before Baptism. 

How must matter and form be united in Baptism? While the 
water is being poured the prescribed words must be pronounced. 

When did Christ give the commandment to baptize? Before His 
ascension, when He said to His Apostles: "Going, therefore, teach 


ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the 
Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt, xxviii, 19). 

Who can validly baptize? Any person in cases of necessity; ordi 
narily only priests are allowed to baptize. 

What intention must he have who baptizes? He must have the 
intention of baptizing that is, to do what the Church does, or what 
Christ has ordained. 


Louis XV and His Children. Religion makes no distinction be 
tween the rich and the poor. Cleansed and regenerated by the same 
Sacrament, they have an equal right to the same favors, and he 
who is the most faithful to his baptismal engagements is the great 
est in the eyes of God. This is the lesson which Louis XV one day 
inculcated in his children. Two of his sons had received only 
private Baptism at the time of their birth. At the age of seven or 
eight the sacred ceremonies were supplied. The king, their father, 
called for the baptismal parochial register in which their names 
were inserted. On opening it, he pointed out to them the name 
which immediately preceded theirs it was the son of a very poor 
man. "You see, children," remarked the father, "in the eyes of 
God all ranks and conditions are equal; He allows no distinction 
except that made by religion and virtue. One day you will be dis 
tinguished and powerful in the "eyes of the world, and this boy may 
not even be known; but if he prove more virtuous than you, he will 
b3 the greater and the more illustrious in the eyes of God." 

Lesson Fifteenth 

166. Q. What is Confirmation? 

A. Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we re 
ceive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect 
Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. 

Who teaches us that Christ has instituted the Sacrament of 
Confirmation? The infallible Catholic Church, in accordance 
with the Holy Scriptures, with the doctrine of the Holy Fathers, 
and with the practise of the earliest times. 

St. Paul says (in II Cor. i, 21, 22) : "He that confirmeth us 
with you in Christ, and that hath anointed us, is God : who also 
hath sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts." 


When the disciples of Ephesus had been baptized in the name 
of the Lord Jesus,, Paul imposed his hands on them, and the 
Holy Ghost came down upon them, and they "spake with tongues 
and prophesied." 

The Apostles imparted the blessing of the Holy Ghost by the 
imposition of hands. Xow, this they could not do through them 
selves, but only by the power and command of Jesus Christ. He 
Himself must, therefore, have instituted the Sacrament of 
Holy Confirmation. 

What are the effects of Confirmation? 1. Confirmation in 
creases sanctifying grace in us. 2. It gives us the Holy Ghost 
to enable us to fight against evil and to grow in virtue; and 3. 
It imprints upon us, as soldiers of Christ, a spiritual mark which 
can never be effaced. 

Holy Scripture says: "He that confirmeth us with you in 
Christ, and that hath anointed us, is God: who also hath sealed 
us and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts." 

1. Confirmation is, as you have learned in a previous lesson, a 
Sacrament of the living, increasing the sanctifying grace which 
is already present in the soul. 

2. It gives us the Holy Ghost. Although the Holy Ghost 
dwells already in the soul through Baptism, yet in Confirmation 
we receive an especial communication of the Holy Ghost. "Then 
they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy 

The sacramental grace of the Sacraments gives strength, 
makes firm; hence the word "Confirmation." The holy Pope 
and Martyr St. Melchiades describes the effect of Confirmation 
compared with that of Baptism in the following manner: "In 
Holy Baptism the Holy Ghost gives us the fulness of grace so 
that we many regain our lost innocence, and in Confirmation 
He gives us the grace to acquire the completion of Christian 
justice. In Baptism we are washed and cleansed from sin; in 
Confirmation we are given strength to withstand the tempta 
tions of sin." 

We need strength: 1. To fight against evil. 2. To grow in 

Those who through Baptism have become Christians are like 
new-born infants frail and weak. Through Confirmation, how- 


ever, they are fortified against all the assaults of the world and of 
Satan. But not only are we strengthened to fight against evil, 
but also to grow in virtue. We see in the Apostles what forti 
tude the Holy Ghost imparts. They had hidden themselves, 
fearing the Jews would put them to death; but when the Holy 
Ghost had descended upon them they went among the Jews un 
flinchingly and preached Christ crucified, fearing neither perse 
cution nor death. 

3. Confirmation, furthermore, imprints an ineffaceable spirit 
ual mark. This mark (character) which Confirmation im 
prints the seal is that of a soldier of Christ, whose duty it is 
to combat against all visible and invisible enemies of Jesus 

167. Q. Who administers Confirmation? 

A. The Bishop is the ordinary minister of Confirmation. 

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. 

The Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, have the power to 
confirm; in urgent cases, however, the Pope can delegate this 
power also to a priest who is not a Bishop. This power is, for 
instance, conferred by the Holy Father upon missionary priests 
when, on account of great distances, it would be impossible for 
the Bishop to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. 

The Bishop gives Confirmation by extending his hands over 
the candidates for Confirmation, and praying that the Holy 
Ghost may come down upon them; then he lays his hand upon 
each one in particular and anoints him with holy chrism; con 
cluding by giving to all in common the Episcopal Benediction. 
The outward signs, therefore, of Confirmation are : the laying 
on of hands, the anointing, and the prayer of the Bishop. To 
these actual and necessary signs the Church has also added 
various ceremonies to symbolize the meaning and efficacy of the 
Sacrament. At Confirmation the Bishop lays his hands upon 
the candidate s head. This laying on of the hand betokens that 
an especial power from heaven descends upon the one confirmed. 


The laying of the hand upon something implies that we take 
possession of it. Thus the laying on of hands should remind us 
that we are made the property of the Church, and the property 
of Our Saviour. 

*169. Q. What is holy chrism? 

A. Holy chrism is a mixture of olive-oil and balm, con 
secrated l)y the Bishop. 

The anointing at Confirmation is done with chrism that has 
been blessed by the Bishop on Holy Thursday. 

What does the oil signify? The oil signifies the strengthen 
ing of the soul for the combat against the enemies of our salva 

Oil is a symbol of power and strength. In ancient times 
athletes rubbed their bodies with oil. This made their limbs 
strong, supple, nimble, so that their opponents could not easily 
lay hold of them. Confirmation should make us strong in faith 
and in virtue, and remind us that Satan should not be allowed 
to gain a hold on us through his temptations. When oil is 
poured on paper or other materials it penetrates them thor 
oughly, and can not be taken out of them. Thus will Con : 
firmation leave on us an indelible spiritual mark. 

Why is sweet-scented balm mixed with the oil? To signify 
that the confirmed soul receives the grace to remain undefiled 
from the corruption of the world and to spread abroad by a 
pious life the sweet odor of virtue. Not only the sinner is an 
object of divine displeasure, but also the lukewarm Christian. 
Our work is not by any means complete when we merely keep 
ourselves free from sin; we must also produce fruits of virtue. 
The sinner decomposes, so to speak, in the corruption of the 
world. Balm protects the body from decomposition, and so 
should Confirmation protect the soul from the corruption of the 
world. As the balm exhales sweet odors, so should our good 
virtues exhale the sweet odor of goodness around us. The mixing 
of the two substances signifies that in Confirmation we receive 
the fulness of divine grace. 

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 con 
firm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
*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 con- 
firmed must openly profess and practise his faith, 
never be ashamed of it, and rather die than 
deny it. 

It is said of the Saints, in the Apocalypse of St. John, that 
they bear the name of Jesus and of God the Father written upon 
their foreheads. Societies, clubs, etc., have as a symbol of their 
aims and purposes signs and inscriptions. The most beautiful 
sign for a Christian is the sign of his redemption : the Cross ; it 
is a sign of honor and victory at which we should always rejoice 
and of which we should never be ashamed. 

*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 everything, 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 

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 

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. 


Is Confirmation necessary for salvation? Confirmation is 
not absolutely necessary for salvation, yet it would be a sin not 
to receive it through negligence or indifference. 

Every baptized person can receive Confirmation. 

In the explanation of Holy Baptism we have learned that it 
forms, so to say, the portal to the edifice of our salvation, and 
that it imparts to us the right to receive the other Holy Sacra 
ments. Therefore, children, even in their most tender years, may 
receive Confirmation. Such, indeed, was the practise in the 
earliest centuries of Christianity. In our own times it is usual 
to give Confirmation to children when they are soon to leave 
school and enter public life. 

How should Confirmation be received ? The recipient should : 

1. Be in a state of grace and pray fervently for the gifts of 
the Holy Ghost. 

2. Promise God to live and die as a good Christian. 

Lesson Sixteenth 

*176. Q. Which are the effects of Confirmation? 

A. The effects of Confirmation are an increase of sancti 
fying grace, the strengthening of our faith, and 
the gifts of the Holy Ghost. 
*177. Q. Which are the gifts of the Holy Ghost? 

A. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are wisdom, under 
standing, 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. 
*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 dis 
cover 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 wilt of God in all things. 
*182. Q. Why do we receive the gift of counsel? 

A. We receive the gift of counsel to warn us of the de 
ceits of the devil, and of the dangers to 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. 
*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. 

The gifts of the Holy Ghost we have already considered in 
the lesson on the divinity of the Holy Ghost. t 

*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 com 


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. 
*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. 

Why are sponsors, or godfathers and godmothers, required in 
Confirmation ? That they may present to the Bishop those who 
are to be confirmed, and afterward advise and help them in 
their spiritual combat. 
fSee page 162. 


The sponsor lays his right hand on the right shoulder of the 
person to be confirmed. The sponsor in Confirmation undertakes 
the same duties as the sponsor in Baptism. He must himself 
have been confirmed,, and must be of the same sex as the person 
to be confirmed. The sponsor in Baptism should not also be the 
sponsor in Confirmation for the same person. 


Why is Confirmation a Sacrament? Because in Confirmation 
there is present everything which belongs to a Sacrament. 

What is that? 1. An outward sign. 2. An invisible grace. 3. The 
institution by Jesus Christ our Lord. 

For what does Confirmation give strength? For the combat 
against evil, and for growth in good. 


Fortitude. Among the numerous confessors of the faith who, 
during the last century, courageously underwent torments and death 
in China, the name of Michael Mi is deserving of special mention. 
He was arrested, along with his aged father-in-law, Anthony, on 
the charge of being concerned in the concealment of a priest, who 
was taken and who suffered with them. Poor old Anthony, on the 
verge of seventy, shuddered at the sight of the instruments of 
torture displayed before the tribunal, but Michael encouraged him 
by reminding him of the eternal reward which they were about to 
purchase so cheaply, at the price of a few short and passing suffer 
ings. "And as to the stripes which you dread, fear not, father," 
said he, "I will offer myself to endure them in your place." Ac 
cordingly, after he himself had been flogged without mercy, so that 
his whole body was a mass of wounds and blood, he, of his own 
accord, lay down again upon the ground, saying to the judge, "My 
father is aged and infirm; take pity on him, and suffer me to be 
flogged in his stead." And when this was permitted, he with the 
greatest joy endured a second scourging, nor did a groan or sigh 
escape him while his wounds were being reopened, and his flesh again 
torn and rent asunder. After many examinations and cruel tor 
ments, the three confessors of the faith were at length condemned 
to be beheaded, and they set out, with serene and joyful counte 
nances, for the place of execution. Michael Mi distinguished him 
self especially by his undaunted courage. "Give me some money," 
said the executioner to him, "and I will promise to cut off your 
head at a single blow, so that you may have less to suffer." "Cut 
it into a hundred pieces if you like," said the Christian hero, "it 
matters not, provided that you manage somehow to cut it off. As 
for money, I have plenty at home, but I would rather that it should 
be given to the poor." So saying, he bent his head to receive the 
fatal stroke, and went to receive the triple crown of faith, charity, 
and filial piety. 


Lesson Seventeenth 


187. Q. What is the Sacrament of Penance? 

A. Penance is a Sacrament in which the sins committed 

after Baptism are forgiven. 
*188. Q. How does the Sacrament of Penance remit sin, and 

restore to the soul 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. 

The Sacrament of Penance is that Sacrament in which the 
priest, by virtue and power of his office, forgives sins, provided 
the sinner is heartily sorry for them, sincerely confesses them, 
and is willing to perform the penance imposed upon him. By 
penance in general is understood repentance and sorrow, also the 
means of obtaining pardon for sins committed. Penance is also 
the name of the Sacrament instituted by Christ for the forgive 
ness of sins. If man steadfastly persevered in the state of grace 
received in Baptism, there would be no need of a special Sacra 
ment for the forgiveness of sins. However, Our Lord knew the 
frailty and weakness of man s nature, corrupted by original sin, 
and, therefore, He instituted the Sacrament of Penance, where 
by those who fall into sin, after Baptism, may become justified. 

The institution of this Sacrament is for us a most consoling 
fact, for the opportunity is offered of having the soul set free 
from the burden of sin.. 

The Catechism calls Penance a Sacrament, and with perfect 
right, for it was instituted by Christ, it has exterior signs, and 
it bestows inward grace. 

Does the priest truly remit the sins, or does he only announce 
that they are remitted? 

The priest does truly and really remit the sins in virtue of 
the power given to him by Christ. 

The priest can not remit sins by his own power and author 
ity, but he does so as the representative of Christ in obedience to 
the Lord s bidding to bind and loose, which privilege is im- 


parted to him at his consecration as a priest. Jesus breathed 
upon His Apostles before His ascension, as a sign that this power 
should pass over to them, for He said to them, "As the Father 
has sent me, so do I send you : whose sins you shall forgive, they 
are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are re 

To the priest thereby the authority of judge is transferred, 
that he may decide who shall receive the remission of their sins 
and who shall not. We must lay particular stress upon this 
fact, because the Protestants, departing from the true doctrine 
of the Catholic Church, teach that sins are not really blotted 
out, but merely forgotten by God, and, therefore, not punished. 
The Church meets this false doctrine and declares positively that 
the priest does really and truly remit sins, and that the sins 
so remitted are completely wiped out. 

*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 the 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 for 
given them; whose sins you shall retain, they are 

*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 for 
giving sins by hearing the confession of sins, and 
granting pardon for them as ministers of God and 
in His name. 

When did Christ give to His Apostles and their successors 
the power of remitting sins? 

He did it after His Resurrection, when He breathed upon the 
Apostles and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you 
shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall 
retain, they are retained." 

Did not Christ impart this power to the Apostles. alone? 

No; He imparted it also to all those succeeding the Apostles 


in the priesthood, as the Church has always believed and taught. 
The work of His redemption, as well as the Sacraments insti 
tuted by Him, were not to be the work of a brief period of time, 
but should endure until the end of the world. For this reason 
it is obvious that Jesus conferred the power to forgive sins, not 
only upon the Apostles, but "also upon their successors. The 
power to forgive sins was not a personal distinction granted to 
His Apostles alone, but this power and the institution of the 
Sacrament of Penance were a manifestation of His love toward 
all men and an arrangement for the good of all mankind to last 
for all times. The priest receives jurisdiction, i. e., the power 
to rule, from the Bishop. As the Pope has jurisdiction over the 
whole Church, so has the Bishop jurisdiction over his diocese, 
the pastor over his parish. The priest must receive jurisdiction 
from the Bishop, authorizing him to hear confessions. 

Can all sins be forgiven by the Sacrament of Penance? 

Yes; all the sins we have committed after Baptism can be 
forgiven, if we confess them with the necessary disposition of 

Christ died for all men. God wills that all men should be 
saved; consequently Christ left to His Church the power to 
remit sin. When Holy Scripture says of certain sins that they 
will not be remitted, this is not for lack of ecclesiastical author 
ity, but only as a consequence of the great gravity of sin itself, 
which brings the sinner to oppose God s grace, and, therefore, 
makes his conversion so difficult that he is seldom saved. The 
indispensable condition for the forgiveness of sins is invariably 
that the sinner heartily repents of his sins, confesses them with 
sincerity and makes the resolution to amend and to make restitu 
tion. He who does not have the requisite dispositions of re 
pentance can not make a valid confession. 

This circumstance, that all sins can be forgiven, even the most 
grievous, imposes upon us a double obligation: 1. To thank God 
for this great grace; and, 2. Not to lose courage and hope of 
forgiveness when we have had the misfortune to commit grievous 
sin. While all sins can be remitted there are certain grievous 
sins that can not be remitted by every priest. These are what are 
called reserved cases, that is, cases left for decision to the Bishop 
or the Pope. This is not a restriction of that power of the Church 


whereby she has the right and the power to forgive or remit all 
sins without exception, but only a restriction of priestly juris 
diction. And even in such reserved cases any priest may hear 
confession and give absolution for the reserved sins if there be 
danger of death, so anxious is our Holy Church to prevent the 
loss of souls. 

Why must we confess our sins in order to have them forgiven ? 

Because Christ ordained it so when He instituted the Sacra 
ment of Penance. 

We prove this, 1. By His own words: "Whose sins you shall 
forgive," etc. Unless we declare and confess our sins, and lay 
bare the condition of our soul to the priest, he can not know 
whether, in virtue of the judicial power which God has con 
ferred on him, he is to forgive or to retain our sins. Some may 
say that they confess in secret to God, but this is not sufficient. 
It is no doubt bitter and distasteful for some persons to reveal 
their numerous sins to the priest. In their case it is well to 
think of the maxim, If you were not ashamed to commit sin, you 
ought not be ashamed to confess it. 

2. Besides, the priest ought to know the spiritual condition of 
the penitent; this is only possible when the penitent reveals his 
faults. The priest is not only judge in confession, but also 
teacher and physician of the soul. If he is to render assistance, 
then the evils from which the penitent suffers must be made 
known to him. 

3. At all times there has been a confession of sins, as demon 
strated in the following examples: 

a. Adam in paradise was required by God to confess his 

b. In the Book of Proverbs we read, "He that hideth his sins 
shall not prosper, but he that shall confess, and forsake them, 
shall obtain mercy" (Prov. xxviii, 13). 

c. In the Old Law, for certain sins and transgressions certain 
sacrifices were prescribed as atonement. The Israelites, there 
fore, had to confess to their priests, who prescribed the cor 
responding sacrifice. 

d. The Apostles required confession. "If we confess our sins, 
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us 
from all iniquity." 


e. Confession was practised in the Church at all times since 
the Apostles. This is testified to by the fact that some of the 
oldest Councils, as the Councils of Carthage, 397; of Angers, 
453; of Rheims, 639, etc., made regulations for the hearing of 

Innumerable testimonies of the Fathers and Church historians, 
furthermore, prove that confession was considered essential, and 
that it was universally practised in the Church. Tertullian com 
pares those who, from false shame, will not confess their sins. 
to sick persons who suffer and perish from a secret malady, 
because they will not speak of it to the physician. 

St. Jerome says : "If the sick man is ashamed to discover the 
wounds of his soul to the physician, he can not be cured." Thus 
likewise St. Cyprian, St. Basil, St. Gregory the Great, and 

f. The Sacrament of Penance is by its nature a most 
blessed institution, for it is the beginning of amendment. 1. 
Confession leads, through examination of conscience, to self- 
knowledge. 2. The severity of the tribunal of Penance fright 
ens us from many sins. 3. The sinner is obliged to make res 
titution for what has been unjustly obtained, for slander, and 
other injuries to others. 

Is, then, the Sacrament of Penance necessary for salvation to 
all those who have grievously sinned ? 

It is necessary for salvation to all those who have committed 
grievous sin after Baptism. 

Holy Scripture itself says, "Nothing unclean can enter 
heaven/ Those, therefore, who die burdened with grievous sin 
have no hope of entering heaven, for without possessing sanctify 
ing grace we can not be heirs of heaven. As Baptism is neces 
sary for all mankind, so Penance is necessary for all who have 
committed grievous sin after Baptism. 

Considering the many dangers with which man is surrounded, 
and knowing that we may at any moment be called before the 
judgment seat of God, we should frequently receive the Sacra 
ment of Penance. The Church, indeed, commands that the Holy 
Sacrament of Penance should be received at least once a year 
(during Paschal time). But this commandment is only for 
those tepid persons who without it would probably not go to 


confession at all, and good Christians are expected to approach 
the Sacrament of Penance several times a year. 

Can the Sacrament of Penance be supplied by other means ? 

Under circumstances which render the receiving of the Sacra 
ment of Penance impossible, it can be supplied by an act of 
supernatural and perfect contrition, and a firm resolution to 
confess our sins as soon as an opportunity offers. 

The contrition required for this act must be a supernatural, 
perfect one, i. e., we must be contrite because we have offended 
God, whom we should love above all things. Should afterward 
confession become possible, it will be necessary to receive the 
Sacrament of Penance. 

What are the effects of the Sacrament of Penance? 

1. It remits the sins committed after Baptism. 

2. It remits the eternal, and at least a part of the temporal, 
punishment due to our sins. 

3. It restores, or increases, sanctifying grace; and, 

4. It also confers other particular graces to enable us to lead 
a holy life. 

1. The first effect of the Sacrament of Penance is, therefore, 
the remission of all sin committed after Baptism, mortal as well 
as venial sins. 

2. With the forgiveness of sin is always united the remission 
of the eternal punishment. It is possible also that all temporal 
punishment is remitted in reward for our great sorrow and 
sincere penance. 

3. The Sacrament of Penance with the remission of mortal 
sin imparts sanctifying grace, and with it anew the adoption of 
God and the heirship of heaven. Likewise the merits acquired 
in a former state of grace are made to live again, having died 
while we were in the state of sin. If we have not committed 
mortal sin, and, therefore, not lost sanctifying grace, the Sacra 
ment of Penance will effect an increase of sanctifying grace in 
us. Grace is not imparted in the same measure to all, but ac 
cording to the merit of our preparation. 

4. The Sacrament of Penance grants still other graces, help 
ing to a devout life. The sinner not only receives sanctifying 
grace again, but is also strengthened anew for the combat against 
sin, so that he may start a new and better life. 


Hence with the worthy reception of the Sacrament of Penance 
is united a perceptible consolation., an inexpressible peace, in 
terior happiness and confidence, and this in such a degree that 
sick persons are often favorably affected in their bodily con 
dition by the reception of this Sacrament. If we have had the 
misfortune to commit grievous sin, we should not delay to re 
ceive the Holy Sacrament of Penance. 


Which Sacrament must we receive, if we are in mortal sin, in 
order to be freed from sin? The Sacrament of Penance. 

Why is this Sacrament necessary? Because man, inclined to evil, 
readily falls into sin. 

Who remits sin? The ordained priest. 

In whose place does he remit sin? In God s place. 

Under what conditions? That the sinner is heartily sorry for 
his sins, sincerely confesses them, and has the earnest will to amend 
his life and to perform the penance imposed upon him. 

Why is Penance a Sacrament? Because we find in the Sacrament 
of Penance the essentials necessary to a Sacrament, namely: 1. An 
outward sign. 2. An invisible grace, and 3. The institution by Jesus 

How is it possible that a priest, who is only a human being, can 
forgive grievous offenses against God? In virtue of the power con 
ferred upon him by Christ. 

When is this power conferred upon the priest? When he re 
ceives the Sacrament of Holy Orders. 

Can all sins, even the most grievous, be remitted? Yes; all sins 
can be forgiven, if the sinner heartily repents of them, confesses 
them, and makes the required reparation. 

Is, then, the Sacrament of Penance necessary for salvation to all 
those who have sinned? It is necessary for salvation to all those 
who have committed grievous sin after Baptism. 

Can the Sacrament of Penance never be supplied by other 
means? Under circumstances which make the reception of the 
Sacrament of Penance impossible, it can be supplied by perfect 
contrition, and a firm resolution to confess our sins as soon as an 
opportunity offers. 


The Hermit and the Robber. A certain hermit, who had lived 
for many years in great repute for sanctity, began at length to enter 
tain proud thoughts of his virtues. He was setting out one morning 
to visit a neighboring church, when he beheld, seated on the banks 
of a river, a man, who appeared to be weeping bitterly. On approach 
ing him he perceived that this man was a notorious robber, the 
terror of the country. The hermit was about to retrace his steps, 
when the man advanced to meet him, threw himself at his feet, 
confessed his crimes, and begged to know if he might ever hope for 
pardon. The hermit, astonished and shocked at hearing the recital 


of so many enormous sins, and, comparing them with his own inno 
cent and blameless life, began to swell with pride, and, in tones of 
indignation, exclaimed: "Dost thou hope for pardon, thou wicked 
sinner? Sooner shall roses bloom upon this dry staff, than a Just 
God grant forgiveness to such sins as thine!" So saying, he turned 
away, leaving the poor sinner on the brink of despair. The hermit 
had not proceeded far when the staff which he carried in his hand 
became rooted in the ground. He endeavored to pull it out, but it 
resisted all his efforts. Then he beheld bud, and leaf, and flower 
sprout forth, until at last the dry stick was laden with beautiful 
roses; and at the same time he heard a voice whispering. "Sooner 
shall roses bloom on the barren staff than a good God refuse mercy 
to the repenting sinner, or grant it to the proud one." Pilled with 
shame and contrition, the hermit fell on his knees, and, with many 
tears, begged pardon for his sin; then, rising, he once more en 
deavored to release his staff. This time it yielded to his grasp, and, 
bearing it in his hand, he returned in haste to the spot where he had 
left the robber. "See, brother," said he, showing him the staff all 
covered with roses, "the wonder which God has worked to convince 
me of my fault, and you of His tender mercy. Fear not that God 
shall refuse to pardon you. In the Church He has left an abundant 
fountain of grace, His Precious Blood, in which he who sincerely 
repents may wash away the blackest crimes. Come, then, with me 
to my cell, that together we may avail ourselves of this means of 
grace, and bewail our sins for the rest of our lives." Much com 
forted, the robber followed the hermit to his cell. Here they planted 
the staff before the door, and it grew into a beautiful bush, the sight 
of which served as a continual encouragement to persevere in a 
spirit of humility, and firm hope in the divine mercy. 

191. Q. What must we do to receive the Sacrament of Pen 

ance 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 


4. We must confess our sins to the priest. 

5. We must accept the penance which the priest gives us. 

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. 

The sinner in the sacred tribunal of penance is not only the 
culprit, but he is his own accuser. The one who has to pronounce 


judgment upon him is the priest. This judgment, therefore, 
can only be right and the confession valid if the confession of 
the sinner is true. Confession presupposes the knowledge of our 
faults. The first thing for the sinner to do, after the grace of 
God has aroused and impelled him to penance, is to examine his 

I will give you an illustration: One of the most complicated 
pieces of machinery is a watch. When the watchmaker is called 
upon to repair a broken watch he must, in order to find out what 
is wrong, take it apart and examine the contents minutely, and 
for this purpose he makes use of a magnifying glass. The sinner 
must be just as careful to obtain the knowledge of his faults. 
He must examine his heart, his every thought, wish and desire, 
he must account to himself for all his bad words and works, as 
well as for the omission of good ; he must bring up before him 
all the duties he had to fulfill, so as to find out whether there 
has been a violation of any of them, and in what manner. Man, 
by examining his conscience, should learn to know himself and 
his faults, as well as the entire condition of his soul, in order 
that through the knowledge of the number and magnitude of his 
sins he may be moved to contrition. If he has never been to 
confession, then he must examine his conscience from the time of 
his Baptism or when he began to know sin. If he has been to 
confession before, then he must examine his conscience from the 
last valid confession. 

*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 examina 
tion 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. 

We should implore the assistance of the Holy Ghost, that He 
may give us the grace rightly to know, to repent of, and to confess 


our sins. As we need for every good work the blessing of God, so 
should the first step which the sinner takes on the path to pen 
ance be to implore the assistance of the Holy Ghost, that He may 
enlighten him. When we look for a lost article in the dark we 
fetch a light, so as to be able to look more carefully. The 
spiritual light of our conscience is the grace of the Holy Ghost. 
St. Basil rightly observes, "Nothing is harder than to know 
oneself." Without the assistance of the Holy Ghost we should 
not be able to know our failings, nor to regard them as sins and 
offenses against God. Not only our understanding and intellect 
require divine grace, but also our will, so that we may detest evil 
with our whole soul and make the steadfast resolution to re 
nounce it. The examination of conscience, therefore, must begin 
with prayer, with the invocation of the Holy Ghost. 
In what manner should we examine our conscience ? 

1. We should first of all inquire when it was that we last made 
a good confession, and whether we performed the penance then 
imposed upon us; and, 

2. We should recall to mind the commandments of God and of 
the Church, the obligations of our state of life, and the different 
kinds of sin, carefully examining in what way, and how often, 
we have offended God by thought, word, action, and omission. 

When, therefore, we have been to confession before, we must 
examine when we last went to confession and whether the con 
fession was a good one, i. e. } whether we examined our con 
science properly, and had true contrition and an earnest resolu 
tion, whether we deliberately omitted to mention a grievous sin, 
whether we have performed the penance imposed and made 
restitution for injury occasioned by our sins. If one or more 
confessions were not valid, then we must examine our con 
science as far back as the last good confession. If, however, 
without fault of ours, we have omitted a grievous sin, we have 
only to mention that sin and the fact that we had forgotten to 
confess it; the confession was not-invalid on that account. Then, 
in thought we should go through the commandments of God 
and of the Church, by asking ourselves at each commandment 
whether we have sinned against it in thought, word, and act, 
or through any omissions. 

How may we facilitate this examination? 


By examining our conscience every day, and by going fre 
quently to confession. The daily examination of conscience 
should take place at night before going to sleep. It is to the 
sinners own interest not to remain away too long from con 
fession. No one can tell in the evening whether he will be alive 
the next morning. Neither is it known to us whether the man 
ner of our death will be such that we shall be able to repent of 
our sins and confess them. 

Furthermore, it is a good thing to remember where we have 
been and in whose company. You children are often at home 
with your parents. What sins do you commit against them? 
Do you not obey them at times, or do you do so unwillingly? 
Do you take money secretly from your parents? Do you lie to 
them ? " Do you deride and ridicule them, or do you get angry 
at them when receiving a merited punishment? Are you rude 
and ill-tempered to your brothers and sisters? 

You go to the house of God, to the church. You know how 
irreverently some of you behave, how you talk and laugh, push 
one another, get distracted at your prayers, and how, when the 
word of God is being preached and instructions given, you have 
thought of other things. Then, in school. What sins do you com 
mit there ? Some children are disrespectful and impudent to the 
teacher, ill-mannered toward other children. Some children are 
even bad enough to steal small articles from classmates, as, for 
instance, pencils, pens, and other things. 

In this way you examine your consciences, and if you take the 
necessary care and are really earnest about it, it is not likely that 
you will omit a grievous sin. 

Must we also examine ourselves on the number and circum 
stances of our sins ? 

Yes ; at least when they are mortal sins. 

We must add the circumstances because they often render a 
mortal sin more grievous. For example, a bad boy throws a 
stone at his mother, but confesses merely, I have thrown a stone 
at somebody, although the fact that it was his own mother makes 
the sin a greater one. A person says simply, "I have stolen/ 
when he has really stolen a chalice from the church, which makes 
the theft a more serious crime. Circumstances, therefore, may 
greatly increase the sin. 


Against what faults are we to guard in the examination of 
conscience ? 

1. We must not examine ourselves hastily and superficially: 
2. We must not try and conceal our favorite sins from our 
selves; and, 3. We must not become too scrupulous. 

Some people treat the examination of conscience very lightly. 
They give but a few minutes to it, even if they may not have 
been to confession for a year. They are satisfied if they know 
some sin or another. This is an inexcusable, culpable, and sin 
ful laxity. Others, on the contrary, torment themselves for 
hours and days, making the examination a torture. They run 
the danger of neglecting other parts of the Sacrament because 
of their excessive scrupulousness in examining their conscience. 
Some people examine themselves about all their faults, but just 
their favorite faults they do not appreciate, and conceal them 
from themselves by self-deception. We should carefully avoid 
these faults in examining our conscience. In order not to 
examine our conscience hurriedly and superficially, we should 
take proper time, and use the necessary diligence and zeal. 
Exactly how much time we should take for this purpose can not 
be determined. Those who frequently go to confession every 
week or fortnight need not be so long in examining their con 
science as those who go only rarely. The longer, therefore, we 
have not been to confession, the more duties we have had to fulfil, 
the more godless we have lived, the more time we should take to 
examine our conscience. God requires of us nothing more than 
zeal and diligence in the examination of our conscience, and no 
more than we are capable of doing. This applies also to the sick 
persons who, on account of their weakness, may find the examin 
ation of conscience difficult. 

St. Ignatius recommends examining the conscience at least 
once each day at night. How careful people are in regard to 
their temporal affairs, how minutely they make up their ac 
counts! And how much more solicitous we should be concern 
ing the affairs of our conscience, as w r e may be required at any 
time to appear before the judgment seat of God. 


What is the first one of the five points necessary for the worthy 


reception of the Sacrament of Penance? The examination of con 

Why must the sinner examine his conscience? Because the sinner 
must accuse himself in the tribunal of penance. 

What does it mean to examine our conscience? It means to 
reflect earnestly upon our sins, so that we may know them well. 

To whom must the penitent accuse himself? To the priest. 

When is the priest alone able to pronounce a right sentence? 
When the penitent s accusation is true and complete. 

What must, therefore, precede the accusation on the penitent s 
part? The knowledge of his transgressions. 

How does the penitent obtain this knowledge? By examining his 

How should the sinner reflect upon his sins? Seriously and at 

What should we recall to our memory? All the sins that we 
have committed by thought, word, deed, or omission since our last 
valid confession. 

From what time should we examine our conscience? If we have 
already been to confession, then we must examine our conscience 
from the last time we made a good confession; but if it is our first 
confession we must go back to the time of our Baptism, or to the 
time when we began to know what was allowed and prohibited, 
good and evil. 

How must we begin the examination of conscience? By implor 
ing the assistance of the Holy Ghost, for without His grace we 
can neither know our sins rightly nor repent and confess them, as 
it is necessary for our salvation. 

In what manner should we examine our conscience? 1. We 
should recall to mind when we last made a good confession, and 
whether we performed the penance then laid upon us. 2. We should 
go through the commandments of God and the Church, and through 
the obligations of our state of life, the different kinds of sin, care 
fully examining in what way and how often we have offended God by 
thought, word, action, and omission. 

Why must we remember when we made our last good confes 
sion? Because unworthy confessions must be made over again if 
we hope for pardon. 

What should we do when remembering a sin that was omitted in 
a previous confession, but not purposely? Mention it in our next 

It is not sufficient in examination of conscience to know what 
sins we have committed. We must also remember something else, 
what is that? We must examine our conscience as to the number 
and circumstances of our sins. 

What means: As to the number? I must know how many times 
I have committed a sin. 

Concerning what circumstances must we examine our conscience? 
Concerning those which increase a sin. 

A thief steals the last loaf of bread from a poor widow. This is 
a circumstance which greatly augments the sin. 



St. Angela of Foligno. St. Angela of Foligno had in her youth 
the misfortune to conceal some sins in confession. Fear and shame 
closed her lips for some years, when one day she fervently invoked 
the aid of St. Francis of Assisi, toward whom she felt great devo 
tion. He appeared to her in her dream and pointed out the con 
fessor she was to go to. Next morning she followed his advice and 
with true repentance made a general confession, and so repaired the 
past. She now felt intense joy in the heart, and advanced rapidly 
in virtue, till at length, through God s mercy, she died in the odor 
of sanctity. 

Lesson Eighteenth 

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. 

Contrition is a sincere sorrow for our sins, and a detestation 
of them, with a firm purpose not to sin again. After the sinner 
has examined his conscience with the assistance of divine grace, 
and has recognized rightly the number and gravity of his sins, 
he must, through faith and divine grace, be led to contrition. 
This is a necessary element of the Sacrament of Penance, be 
cause without contrition no forgiveness of sins is possible, while 
a supernatural, perfect contrition can supply for confession in 
case of need. 

Contrition comprises three things. They are: 1. A sorrow of 
the soul ; 2. A detestation of our sins ; and, 3. A resolution not 
to sin again. It comprises also a resolution for amendment. 
Sorrow alone is not contrition. Contrition is a sorrow of the 
soul arising from the knowledge of sin being an offense against 
God, united to a true hatred and detestation of sin. It contains, 
not only the firm purpose of not sinning again, but also a 
hatred of past sins. Contrition, in the actual sense of the word, 
means grinding, crushing. Contrition of the soul means, there 
fore, that in acknowledgment of its many faults it feels itself 


crushed under a weight of guilt. "A sacrifice to God is an 
afflicted spirit; a contrite and humble heart, God, thou will 
not despise" (Ps. i, 19). 

Contrition must produce an entire change of disposition in 
man. That which he loved formerly (sin) he must henceforth 
hate, and what until now he has hated (the good God) he must 
love in the future. Contrition, therefore, is the beginning of a 
new life. This can only take place with the help of divine grace. 
Only with the grace of God can man really renounce the idols 
he formerly served, the sins of the flesh and the pride of life. 

Contrition brings with it hope of forgiveness, for as God in 
His justice punishes the unrepentant sinner, so in His goodness 
and mercy He pardons the contrite sinner. Such was the con 
trition of Magdalen, who bathed the feet of Jesus with tears 
of penitence ; of Peter who bitterly bewailed his denial of Jesus ; 
and of the humble publican in the Temple. 

*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. 

We must not merely grieve for our sins in words, but we must 
also detest them in our heart as the greatest evil, and sincerely 
wish we had not committed them. 

Interior is the opposite of exterior. Our contrition is ex 
terior if we show sorrow merely with our lips or eyes, while our 
heart is not moved. Interior contrition consists not merely in 
exterior penitential tears, sighs, and works of penance, but in 
the detestation of the will for all sin. St. Augustine says : "The 
tear of penance is only a daughter of contrition." Whether 
contrition has been true and interior will be proved by our enter 
ing on a better life. 

*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. 

*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 all our mortal 
sins without exception. 

We must have sorrow for all the sins we have committed, or 
at least for all mortal sins. If, therefore, a person repents of 
some mortal sins, but not of others, contrition is not universal, 
and his sins are not forgiven. For the validity of confession it 
is sufficient to repent of the mortal sins committed, but the 
confession is worthless when only some mortal sins are repented 
of and not all. It is self-evident that we should take the great 
est pains in preparing ourselves for confession in order to arouse 
in our hearts a sincere and true contrition for all the sins com 

If a penitent has no sorrow for his venial sins, would his con 
fession be nevertheless valid? 

If he has to confess venial sins only, and is not truly sorry 
for at least one of them, his confession is not valid. 

If, then, we confess our sins, without true repentance, a most 
essential part is lacking, and our confession is null. Not only 
do we not receive the forgiveness of our sins, but we commit a 
new mortal sin a sacrilege. Whoever has true contrition will 
repent of all his sins without exception. 

The sorrow for our sins must arise not from the consideration 
of their natural evil consequences, but from supernatural mo 
tives; namely, because we have offended God, lost His grace, 
deserved hell, etc. 

*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, T 
mean that we should grieve more for having of 
fended God than for any other evil that can be 
fall 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. 

If a thief repents of his sin only because he has brought im 
prisonment upon himself, then his contrition is merely natural. 
If the prodigal only repents of his sins because they have reduced 
him to poverty and misery; if the murderer repents of his awful 
deed only because he must suffer for it with his life; if the 
worldling only repents of his sinful excesses because he has 
brought upon himself infirmity and disease, their repentance 
is merely natural, and as such has no value for the forgiveness 
of sins. Contrition, therefore, is natural when it has reference 
only to natural things, or when it arises from natural motives. 
Our contrition must be sovereign, i. e., it should have reference 
to God. Supernatural and sovereign contrition arises from 
faith and love of God. 

Sorrow for our sins on account of their natural consequences 
has no value for the salvation of our soul. Those who have 
only a natural contrition may nevertheless remain hardened in 
enmity toward God. What then should we do in order to obtain 
supernatural and sovereign contrition? We should: 1. Earn 
estly ask God for His grace, and 2. We should seriously call to 
our mind what faith teaches us concerning the malice of sin and 
its supernatural consequences. Supernatural contrition is some 
thing which man can not give himself, but it must come from 
God; therefore, we must pray to God for it. Holy Scripture 
says : "Ask and ye shall receive." 

*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. 
*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 de 
serve hell; or because sin is so hateful in itself. 
*205. Q. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy con 
fession ? 

A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy con 
fession, but we should endeavor to have perfect 

Contrition is perfect when it arises from perfect love, i. e., 
when we detest sin more than all other evils, for the reason that 
it offends God, the Supreme Good. 

When is contrition imperfect? When our love is not perfect, 
and when, therefore, our fear of hell and of the loss of heaven, 
or our sense of the heinousness of sin itself causes us to detest 
sin and to resolve to offend God no more. 

Our good works are most pleasing to God when we practise 
them from pure love of Him. 

Perfect contrition does not, indeed, exclude less perfect mo 
tives but it rises above them, has not them in view, but solely 
and alone the love of God, so that the soul no longer thinks of 
the loss of heaven, of the punishments of hell, etc., but only of 
God, whom it loves, and has offended by sin. It forgets itself, 
as it were, not thinking of its fate, but only of God, the object 
of its love. This one perfect motive is in itself strong enough 
to impel it to detest sin above all things, and it does not require 
the hope of heaven nor the fear of hell. 

To attain a perfect love and contrition we should ponder how 
much God deserves to be loved by us, His goodness, His infinite 
perfections, and how we, through sin, have despised His love 
and driven Him from our hearts. Although this contrition 
out of perfect love of God is the most exalted and best, yet the 
imperfect contrition is in no wise to be rejected, but is good and 
wholesome, because it also makes us beware of sin. It is called 
imperfect not because it is defective or not a supernatural con 
trition, but only as compared with the more exalted perfect con 
trition, and because it has not the power to liberate from sin 
Ayithout the Sacrament of Penance, as perfect contrition has. 
The Saviour Himself exhorts us to be afraid of the punishments 


of sin : "Fear those who have the power to plunge body and soul 
into hell/ 

Imperfect contrition is salutary because it really makes us 
afraid of eternal punishment. To be sure, this fear ought not 
to be a servile one, which merely dreads the punishment but not 
the guilt. Hence St. Augustine says : "He who sins not, merely 
for fear of hell, is not afraid of sinning, but of burning in hell ; 
he would do what ought not to be done, but he does not do it 
because it can not be safely done." To fear there must always 
be united the love of God ; at least, the beginning of love. This 
fear, therefore, must be a filial one, i. e., of a kind which fears 
not alone the punishment, but also the sin and guilt, because 
they offend God and deserve His punishment. While it is not 
necessary for the remission of sin that we should have perfect 
contrition, we should, however, strive to obtain it. 

Imperfect contrition suffices for the worthy reception of the 
Sacrament of Penance. But in case of danger, when confession 
is impossible, imperfect contrition does not suffice to supply for 
the Sacrament of Penance, for this purpose a perfect contrition 
is needed. It is not always easy to awaken perfect contrition. 
Nevertheless we should at all times strive to arouse a perfect 
contrition, because the more perfect our contrition is, the more is 
our repentance meritorious and acceptable to God, and the more 
certainly it obtains pardon. The greater and more thorough our 
contrition is, the more gladly will God forgive us, the easier we 
shall obtain the remission of temporal punishment for sin, and 
receive more strength from God to amend our lives. 

When should we make an act of perfect contrition, even out 
side of the Sacrament of Penance? 1. In danger of death; and, 
2. As often as we have the misfortune to commit a mortal sin 
and can not immediately go to confession. 

As perfect contrition can supply for the Sacrament of Pen 
ance in a case of necessity, we should in such case not fail to 
make an act of perfect contrition. We should do this also if 
possible at the hour of death and in dangerous illness. Further, 
also, when attacked by temptation to sin. Those who reflect 
upon the hideousness and the consequences of mortal sin will 
more easily be able to avoid it. He who examines his con 
science every night should also awaken contrition for having 


offended his Lord and God. We are at every moment in God s 
hands, and He may, during any time, night or day, call us from 
this life. 

When must we make the act of contrition in the Sacrament of 
Penance? We must make it before our confession, or at least 
before the priest gives us absolution. 

Can contrition ever be supplied for in case of necessity? No; 
contrition is so necessary that it can not be supplied for by 
anything or under any conditions. Contrition is indispensably 
necessary for every one for the remission of mortal sins com 
mitted after Baptism for the obtaining of eternal salvation. 


Why should we strive to awaken a perfect supernatural con 
trition? Because the more perfect our contrition is, the more it is 
meritorious and pleasing to God, and the more certain of obtaining 

When should we make an act of perfect contrition outside of the 
Sacrament of Penance? When in danger of death, and when we 
have had the misfortune to commit a mortal sin and can not at 
once go to confession. 

At what other time should we make an act of perfect contrition? 
When retiring at night. 

When must we make the act of contrition in the Sacrament of 
Penance? We must make it before entering the confessional or at 
least before the priest gives us absolution. 

Can contrition be supplied for by anything else? No; contrition 
is so necessary that it can not be supplied for under any circum 

For whom, then, is contrition necessary? For every one who 
would obtain pardon for mortal sins committed after Baptism. 


The Girl s Mistake. A girl was once listening to a sermon. 
Among other things she heard the priest say, that if people want to 
make a good confession they must be more sorry for their sins than 
for anything else. When the sermon was over the people went 
away. The girl remained behind. She went to the priest and said, 
"Please, your reverence, I think I made a bad confession." "Why 
do you think so?" answered the priest. "I will tell you," said the 
girl. "You said in your sermon to-day that if we want to make a 
good confession our sorrow for sin must be greater than our sorrow 
for anything else. When I went to confession I remember that I 
did not cry for my sins. But when my poor mother died I remem 
ber that I cried very much. So I am afraid that my sorrow for my 
mother s death was greater than my sorrow for my sins." "Answer 
me one question," said the priest. "Tell me, if you could bring your 
mother back to life again by committing a mortal sin, would you 


commit a mortal sin?" "Oh, no," said the girl, "I would not commit 
a mortal sin for anything." "Then," said the priest, "you love God 
really more than your mother." "Yes," answered the girl reluctantly. 
"Then do not be afraid. Although you cried for your mother s death 
and did not cry for your sins, yet you were really in your heart more 
sorry for your sins than for your mother s death." 

206. Q. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning no 


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. 

Contrition must include the good resolution to sin no more 
and to amend our lives. But there must be present also the hope 
of forgiveness, otherwise man, with the knowledge of the num 
ber and magnitude of his sins, would despair. If confession 
would mean for us only a cleansing from sin, without the deter 
mination to sin no more, then there is no true contrition and no 
good resolution of amendment. 

What is a resolution of amendment ? It is a sincere determin 
ation to amend our life and to sin no more. While contrition 
is more a matter of the heart, the resolution of amendment is 
an act of the will. This resolution must be sincere; we must 
earnestly intend to change our lives and to become better Chris 
tians. The more sins become habitual, the more difficult it is 
to cease committing them. 

What qualities must our resolution of amendment have ? The 
resolution must be: 1. Interior or sincere. 2. Universal; and 
3. Supernatural. Interior, as you have already heard, is the 
opposite of exterior. Our good resolution is merely exterior 
when it is made only with the lips, the heart taking no part in 
it. Our resolution must also be a determined one. Earnestness 
is the opposite of levity. The resolution of amendment must be 
earnestly meant, so that we may not deceive ourselves, but re 
solve honestly to employ the means to amendment, energetically 
and effectually, so that it will really induce us to observe these 
means faithfully. To be sure, there will still arise the apprehen 
sion that perhaps we shall relapse again into sin, but if we are 
honestly determined to do our very best to avoid sin and amend 


our lives, we have the necessary resolution of amendment. We 
must in this regard never forget that of ourselves we can do 
nothing, but we can do all things with the help of divine grace. 
In order to make a determined resolution and to keep it, we 
should renew it every day at our morning and night prayers, 
and at the examination of conscience we should ask ourselves as 
to whether we have kept our resolution or not. 

Our resolution must be universal, i. e., it must include all 
sins. If one addicted to drink, for example, would resolve to 
renounce all sin except drunkenness, his resolution would not be 

Our resolution must also be supernatural. The supernatural 
motives which should move us to contrition, love of God, loss of 
heaven, the punishments of hell, must also produce the resolu 
tion of amendment. Our resolution would arise from natural 
motives if we, for instance, determine to avoid sin so as not to 
injure our health, or to escape punishment by law, etc. 

What will he be determined to do who forms a proper resolu 
tion of amendment? He will be determined: 1. To avoid at 
least all mortal sins, as well as the occasions of sin. 2. To use 
the means necessary for amendment. 3. To make due repara 
tion for whatever injury he may have done to his neighbor by 
his sins. The sinner must be determined at least to avoid all 
mortal sin, for sin is the greatest evil upon earth, inasmuch as 
it sunders the union between God and man, and draws down 
upon the sinner the punishments of God. 

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. 

For children the most frequent occasion of sin is idleness, 
hence the proverb : "Idleness is the beginning of every vice." 
Grown people are threatened with danger to sin, for instance, 
in dance halls, saloons, etc. Company where talebearing, 
calumnies, and defamation are indulged in should be avoided, 
also where modesty and good morals are not observed. Should 
we be unable to avoid the near occasion of sin, then we must be 
at least most careful that we are not overcome by temptation. 
Prayer is one of the best means for amending our lives, for 


temptation is sometimes strong and we are but weak and unable 
to do anything without God s help. Therefore we should often 
pray and frequently make the resolution so to live as the thought 
of God s omniscience and omnipresence requires of us. 

Our resolution must further be directed to the repairing of 
any injury we may have caused to others. We must (a) restore 
or otherwise repair whatever injury our neighbors property has 
received through us, and (b) make good any reputation that has 
suffered at our hands. If we are unable to make restitution at 
once, we must have the earnest intention to do so as soon as 

What should they consider who will not avoid the near 
occasion, or will not desist from their habitual sins? That the 
priest s absolution will be of no avail to them, but will aggravate 
their guilt. For the validity of absolution it is always necessary 
that the essential points of the Sacrament of Penance, the good 
resolution included, be present. If the good resolution to avoid 
sin is lacking our sins can not be remitted. He who has not the 
firm resolution of renouncing his sins makes an unworthy and 
invalid confession and increases his guilt by sacrilege. 


Why must the hope of forgiveness be united to contrition? Be 
cause otherwise the sinner would despair. 

What must necessarily be also united to contrition? The resolution 
x of amendment. 

What is the resolution of amendment? It is a sincere determina 
tion to amend our life and to sin no more. 

Whence arises the good resolution? From true contrition. 

If a person really and truly repents of his sins, what will he 
resolve to do? He will resolve to sin no more. 

In what does the good resolution differ from contrition? Con 
trition is a matter of the heart, the good resolution is an act of the 

About what should we be thoroughly in earnest? About amend 
ing our lives and avoiding sin and the near occasion of it. 

To what should our resolution still further extend? We should 
have the earnest desire to repair whatever injury we have caused 
by sin. 


The Bundle of Sticks. A monk, told by a young man that he had 
tried to correct all his faults, but without success, replied: "I am 
not surprised; take that bundle of sticks and break it in two." 


After one or two useless efforts, the young man replied it was im 
possible. "So it is," said the monk: "but untie it, separate the 
sticks and you ll be able to break them separately. So with your 
faults; attack all at one time you can do nothing with them; take 
them one by one, and you will succeed." 

Lesson Nineteenth 

208. Q. What is confession? 

A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly author 
ized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgive 

Why must we confess our sins in order to have them for 
given ? 

Because Christ ordained it so when He instituted the Sacra 
ment of Penance. In our previous lesson we learned the proofs 
of this fact; they were: 

1. His own words: "Whose sins you shall forgive/ etc. Un 
less we declare and confess our* sins, and lay bare the con 
dition of our soul to the priest, he can not know whether, in 
virtue of the judicial power which God has conferred on him, 
he is to forgive or to retain our sins. Some may say that 
they confess in secret to God, but this is not sufficient. It is 
no doubt bitter and distasteful for some persons to reveal 
their numerous sins to the priest. In their case it is well to 
think of the maxim: If you were not ashamed to commit sin, 
you ought not to be ashamed to confess it. 

2. Besides, the priest ought to know the spiritual condition 
of the penitent; this is only possible when the penitent reveals 
his faults. The priest is not only judge in confession, but also 
teacher and physician of the soul. If he is to render assistance, 
then the evils from which the penitent suffers must be made 
known to him. 

3. At all times there has been confession of sins, as demon 
strated in the following examples : 


a. Adam in paradise was required by God to confess his 

b. In the Book of Proverbs we read, "He that hideth his sins 
shall not prosper, but he that shall confess, and forsake them, 
shall obtain mercy" (Prov. xxviii, 13). 

c. In the Old Law, for certain sins and transgressions certain 
sacrifices were prescribed as atonement. The Israelites, there 
fore, had to confess to their priests, who prescribed the cor 
responding sacrifice. 

d. The Apostles required confession. -"If we confess our 
sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to 
cleanse us from all iniquity." 

e. Confession was practised in the Church at all times since 
the Apostles. This is testified to by the fact that some of the 
oldest Councils, as the Councils of Carthage, 397; of Angers, 
453; of Rheims, 639, etc., made regulations for the hearing of 

Innumerable testimonies of the fathers and Church historians, 
furthermore, prove that confession was considered essential, and 
that it was universally practised in the Church. 

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. 

Must we also confess venial sins? 

We are not obliged to confess our venial sins, yet it is good 
and salutary to do so. 

Venial sins may also be effaced in other ways ; for instance, by 
good works, by Holy Communion, by assisting with devotion at 
Holy Mass, and other devout exercises. Nevertheless, it is good 
and salutary to confess venial sins, because sometimes a sin 
taken by us for venial may be really a mortal sin. Although 
venial sins do not exclude us from the kingdom of heaven, yet 
they retard our entrance. Furthermore, venial sins lead easily 
to mortal sins. 

If we are doubtful as to whether something is a mortal or a 
venial sin, what are we to do ? 

We must by all means confess it. 


Confession is the sorrowful declaration of our sins to a priest, 
in order to obtain absolution from him. 

To go to confession means in general to receive the Holy 
Sacrament of Penance. 

*210. Q. Which 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. 

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. 

Q. When is our confession sincere? 

A. Our confession is sincere, when we tell our sins hon 
estly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor ex 
cusing them. 

When is our confession sincere therefore? 

When we accuse ourselves just so as we believe ourselves guilty 
before God, without concealing, or disguising, or excusing. 

What should the penitent consider if he is ashamed to make a 
sincere confession? 

He should consider, 1. That a confession which is not sin 
cere procures him neither remission of sins nor peace of con 
science ; but that confession, and the communion which follows 
it, are additional grievous sins sacrileges and deserve eternal 
damnation ; and, 2. That it is much better for him to confess 
his sins to one priest, bound by secrecy, than to live always 
uneasy in sin, to die unhappy and to be put to shame at the last 
day before the whole world. 

*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. 

It is said to be entire when nothing is lacking, nothing con 
cealed. Our confession, therefore, is entire when we do not 


knowingly or purposely omit any mortal sin, but confess all 
mortal sins committed, together with their number and the 
necessary circumstances. We have learned the reason why the 
number should be mentioned, for by this it may be decided 
whether a sin is habitual or only an occasional sin of frailty. 

It is necessary also for the entirety of confession that all the 
necessary circumstances should be confessed, i. e., such facts or 
characteristics which render a sin more grievous than it is in 

214. Q. What should we do if we can not remember the num 
ber of our sins? 

A. If we can not remember the number of our sins, we 
should tell the number as nearly as possible, and 
say how often we may have sinned in a day, a week, 
or a month, and how long the habit or practise has 

What must we do, if we do not recall the number rightly? 

We must state it as well as we are able, and say, for instance, 
"I have committed this sin about so and so many times a day, a 
week, or a month." 

It is not sufficient to confess our sins thus : "I have committed 
the sin often, very often, frequently, very frequently," etc. Those 
who examine their consciences earnestly and sincerely will be 
enabled to give the number of their sins precisely, or at least 

What sort of circumstances must we confess? 

We must, 1. Confess especially such circumstances as change 
the nature or aggravate the guilt of our sins; and, 2. Mention 
in general everything by which the confessor may be enabled to 
judge rightly of the state of our conscience, so as to put us on 
our guard against relapsing into sin. 

There are circumstances which have no bearing upon the na 
ture of sin, as, for instance, whether pears, apples, or peaches 
were the fruit stolen, or whether a white or a colored boy was 
the one ill-treated. If, however, to steal apples we had to break 
into the garden, or we stole an article from a church, then we 
must remember that such circumstances aggravate the sin. 


We will now place in order the circumstances to be considered : 

a. The person, for instance in a case of calumny or assault, 
whether the person was a priest, father, mother. 

b. The object, for instance in case of theft, whether much or 
little has been stolen, property of the poor, or of the Church. 

c. The place where we have sinned, for instance in the church 
or other consecrated place, in school. 

d. The means made use of. 

e. The intention. 

f. The time in which sin was committed. 

g. The consequences resulting from our sin. 

If a person has stolen church property, wished his parents 
death, injured some one by telling a lie, it would not be sufficient 
for him to confess merely that he had stolen, wished ill to some 
persons, or had told a lie. Therefore, we must mention the 
extent of the injury done to our neighbor, whether with or with 
out intent, whether the occasion of sin still continues, and also 
should mention whether we have confessed the evil habit often 
before and never corrected it. If we confess a sin and omit a 
grievous circumstance, our confession is just as invalid as that 
of a person who purposely conceals a mortal sin. 

What must we observe in mentioning the circumstances ? 

1. We must not mention any person by name; 2. We must 
refrain from all needless details and stories; and, 3. We must 
express ourselves as modestly and decently as the nature of the 
sin allows. 

We must relate our own sins, not the sins of others, nor throw 
the blame upon others in order to spare ourselves. If we have 
sinned with others, then we must say, "I have stolen fruit with 
others, injured property," etc. 

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 for 
given; but it must be told in confession if it again 
comes to our mind. 


216. Q. Is it a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal 

sin in confession? 

A. It is a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin 
in confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the 
Holy Ghost, and make our confession worthless. 

217. Q. What must he do who has wilfully concealed a mortal 

sin in confession? 

A. He who has wilfully concealed a mortal sin in con 
fession must not only confess it, but must also 
repeat all the sins he has committed since his last 
worthy confession. 

By receiving a Sacrament unworthily we become guilty of a 
sacrilege. If we do not confess our sins sincerely, we commit an 
additional mortal sin, a blasphemy, because we offend God by 
the misuse of a Sacrament instituted by Jesus for the forgive 
ness of sins. Unrest and remorse of conscience torments those 
who have made an unworthy confession. They have not another 
happy moment, and are fearful every moment that God will 
call them away in their sins. What is brief humiliation in the 
seclusion of the confessional, before a priest bound to secrecy, 
compared to the awful shame at the last judgment before the 
whole world, before our parents, brothers and sisters, before 
superiors and inferiors ! Reflect, furthermore, that the confessor 
to whom you confess is also a human being, who must confess, 
just as you do, his sins and shortcomings to another priest. The 
confessor is bound to the strictest secrecy, by the seal of con 
fession, which he is not allowed to break under any circum 
stances, even if threatened with death, as seen by the example of 
St. John Nepomucene, who preferred to suffer death rather than 
reveal facts learned by him in the confessional. The humiliation 
which we undergo in the confessional by self-accusation is a most 
powerful means to prevent us from sinning. In the early times 
the Christians confessed their sins publicly. How much easier 
it is to reveal our sins to a priest in private. St. Bonaventure 
says: "Those sins for which you have most occasion to blush 
should be revealed first." 


What must we do if we have omitted something in confession 
which we were obliged to declare ? 

If we have omitted it without fault, it is only required to 
mention it in the next confession. 

If we have omitted it through our fault, either because we 
were ashamed to confess it or because we did not carefully ex 
amine our conscience, we must repeat the whole last confession 
and as many before the last as were made invalid by the omission. 

The Catechism distinguishes whether we omit a sin without 
fault through forgetfulness and excitement, or whether we omit 
it purposely. In the first case, we need only repeat the sin in 
the next confession; in the latter case, we must repeat the con 
fession, or confessions, in which we omitted the sin. Those who 
commit the grievous sin of wilful omission expose themselves to 
the great danger of being unexpectedly called from this life by 
Almighty God, through a sudden death, and of being eternally 

Our confession must be clear so that the confessor can under 
stand everything well and clearly see the state of our conscience. 

That which is clear is intelligible. When, therefore, our con 
fession is not clear it is unintelligible. If a person were to make 
his confession indistinctly, mutter it, or express himself in such 
a way that the confessor can not understand him, and hence can 
not judge him, then the confession is not clear. If one thinks 
that he can make a good confession in this manner, he is very 
much mistaken. Neither must we speak too quickly, but in such 
a way that the confessor may hear and understand everything 

Would our confession be clear if we accused ourselves only 
in general terms ? If, for example, we said : We have not loved 
God, we have thought, or spoken, evil ? 

By no means ; we must distinctly name and specify the sins. 

What is a general confession ? 

A general confession is one in which we repeat all, or some, 
of our former confessions. 

When is a general confession necessary? 

Whenever we have reason to fear that our former confessions 
have been invalid, either through want of sincerity, or of sorrow 


and resolution, or through a culpable negligence in the examin 
ation of our conscience. 

Our confessions are unworthy: 

1. When we do not examine our conscience at all, or not with 
the necessary care and solicitude. 

2. When we either have no contrition or when our contrition 
did not possess the requisite qualities. 

3. When we do not make the resolution to amend our lives, 
or when this resolution is not complete, sincere and earnest. 

4. When we do not give up or avoid the near occasion to sin 
when in a position to do so. 

5. When we do not forgive all our enemies, without excep 

6. When we do not repair to our best ability the injury we 
have done to our neighbor s property or character, or do not 
take back the calumny. 

7. When we either omit or are silent about a mortal sin or its 
essential circumstances. 

If, for any of these reasons, we have made a bad confession, 
we have not received absolution from God, although we may 
have received it from the priest, and a general confession must 
be made. But even when not obliged to do so, a general con 
fession is at times advisable and salutary, and your confessor 
will be glad to answer your inquiry as to whether you -should 
make one. 

When especially is a general confession useful and advisable?, 

1. As a preparation for first Communion; 2. On entering 
upon a new state of life; 3. In dangerous illness; 4. At the 
time of a jubilee and of a mission. 

If we have made a good general confession before, we 
need not repeat this over again, but only make our confession 
from the time of our last general confession. General con 
fessions are particularly recommended to those persons who, 
without being scrupulous, have doubts about their former con 
fessions, have lived frivolously, and now earnestly desire to be 
converted to God. 

It is not difficult to make a general confession. We should 


just reflect upon how we have fulfilled our duties toward God, 
toward our neighbor and ourselves,, how we have sinned in this 
respect; we should call to mind the sins of our life since child 


Why must we confess our sins to a regularly appointed priest? 
Because he only has the power to bind and loose. 

As the priest has not only the power to loose, but also the power 
to bind, what follows? It follows that the sinner must make the 
priest acquainted with his transgressions. 

For what reason? In order that the priest may decide whether 
he should remit or retain. 

If a mortal sin is not remembered, is it also forgiven in confes 
sion? Yes; if the confession was worthy, mortal sins not remem 
bered are forgiven with those confessed. 

Why do we have to mention the number of our sins? In order 
that the priest may be able to decide whether a sin is habitual or 
one of frailty. 

What would our confession be if we did not mention the number 
of our sins at all? Our confession would not be entire. 

What else must we mention besides the number? The necessary 
circumstances, i. e., those facts or characteristics which render a 
sin more grievous. 

What sort of circumstances must we confess? We must: 1. 
Especially confess such circumstances as change the nature or 
aggravate the guilt of our sins, and 2. Mention in general everything 
by which the confessor may be able to judge rightly of the state 
of our conscience, and thus put us on our guard against relapsing 
into sin. 

What does he do who purposely omits a circumstance which 
aggravates the sin? He has confessed as unworthily and invalidly 
as if he had wilfully omitted a mortal sin. 

What should we avoid in confession? The mention of any one 
by name and all needless talk and stories. 

Must we also confess venial sins? We are not obliged to confess 
venial sins, yet it is good and salutary to do so. 

Why is it not necessary to confess venial sins? Because these 
may be effaced by other means. 

By w r hat means? By good works, by receiving Holy Communion, 
by devoutly assisting at Mass, and other pious exercises. 

When, however, w r e are in doubt whether a sin is venial, what 
ought we to do? We must by all means confess it, because we may 
easily take a grievous sin to be venial. 

What should the penitent consider if he is ashamed to make a 
sincere confession? He should consider: 1. That a confession which 
is not sincere procures him neither remission of sins nor peace of 
conscience, but that the confession, as well as the Communion which 
follows it, are additional mortal sins, deserving eternal damnation; 
and 2. That it is much better for him to confess his sins to a priest, 
bound by secrecy, than to live always in sin, to die an unhappy 


death, and to be put to shame at judgment day before the whole 

May a priest reveal anything heard in confession? A priest is 
never, and under no conditions, allowed to reveal anything from 

What is the inviolable secrecy of confession called? The seal of 

Who must observe the secrecy of confession? The* priest, and 
also other persons who accidentally overhear something said in 

How strict is the obligation imposed upon the priest by the seal 
of confession? It is of the strictest kind. The priest must therefore 
choose death rather than break the seal of confession. 


Mgr. Cheverus and the Protestant Lady. The confidence inspired 
by Mgr. Cheverus, Bishop of Boston, was such that a great number 
of Protestant ladies of rank and position came to open to him their 
hearts, and to reveal to him the secrets of their consciences. One of 
them one day said that the precept of confession would for ever 
prevent her embracing the Catholic faith. "No, no," said the Bishop, 
very gently, "you haven t as much repugnance for confession as you 
imagine: on the contrary, you feel the need and value of it. All 
these weeks past, you have been coming to me and making con 
fession without suspecting it. Confession is nothing but making 
known the troubles of your conscience, as you have been doing, to 
receive my advice." 

218. Q. Why does the priest give us a penance after confes 
sion ? 

A. The priest gives us a penance after confession, that we 
may satisfy God for the temporal punishment due 
to our sins. 
*219. Q. Does not the Sacrament of Penance remit all punish- 

men due to sin? 

A. The Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punish 
ment due to sin, but it does not always remit the 
temporal punishment which God requires as satis 
faction for our sins. 
*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 falling again. 


. 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, fast 
ing, almsgiving, all spiritual and corporal worfcs 
of mercy, and the patient suffering of the ills of 

The final condition for a worthy confession is the acceptation 
of the penance imposed by the priest. 

We have already heard that we are not able to render complete 
satisfaction to God for the numerous and grievous sins with 
which we have offended Him, but that Christ has made complete 
satisfaction for us. We, however, must and can render some 
satisfaction with God s grace, for in the same way as the merits 
of the good works which we perform in a state of grace come 
from the merits of Christ, so also the penitential works, which 
we perform in the state of grace, receive through the satisfaction 
of Christ the power to merit for us a remission of temporal pun 
ishment for sin. We are obliged to render satisfaction after 
confession by performance of the penance enjoined by the 
priest, as also by repairing, to the best of our ability, whatever 
wrong we have done or inflicted upon others; in other words, 
we must make restitution. 

For what purpose does the priest impose a penance upon us? 

1. To obtain remission of the temporal punishment due for 
our sins ; and, 2. For the amendment of our life. The penances 
laid upon us by the Church are, therefore, a punishment, a 
deserved chastisement for the evil deeds committed. 

Penance on our part is not only demanded by divine justice, 
it also teaches us to be careful, vigihnt, and afraid of sinning. 
Furthermore, penance will destroy evil habits by a practise of 
the opposite virtues. Thus, for instance, fasting is not only a 
penance agreeable to God, but also a cure for intemperance, and 
sensuality; humble prayer is a corrective for pride; almsgiving 
an antidote for avarice. 

God always remits the eternal punishment with the sin, but 
He does not always remit the temporal punishment due for it. 
In the Sacrament of Baptism is remitted with sin all punishment, 


temporal and eternal., but not so in the Sacrament of Penance. 
Thus did God remit, through the intercession of Moses, the sins 
of the people of Israel when they had fallen into idolatry, hut 
He did not remit temporal punishment in their case, and, con 
sequently, they were not allowed to enter into the Promised 

What is the temporal punishment due to our sins ? 

It is the punishment which we must suffer either here on 
earth or in purgatory. Temporal punishment, therefore, may 
either be expiated in this world, by penance and other good 
works, as patient endurance of sufferings, also prayers, fasting, 
almsgiving, etc., or it must be expiated in purgatory. 

It is safe to say that the sufferings in purgatory will be greater 
than those of this world. How much of the temporal punish 
ment will be remitted to us in confession depends upon the pro 
foundness of our contrition and upon the worthy preparation. 

We should be all the more willing to perform the penance 
imposed upon us, and even to increase voluntarily our peniten 
tial works, when we remember that in former times penances 
were far more severe. Grievous sins committed publicly were 
punished by public penances. 

Is the confession invalid if the penitent does not perform the 
penance enjoined? 

If after confession he does not perform the penance, which in 
confession he sincerely intended to perform, the confession is not 
rendered invalid, but he commits a new sin, and deprives himself 
of many graces. 

If, however, in confession a person has not the intention to 
perform the penance, then the confession is invalid. 

When should we comply with the penance enjoined ? 

If the confessor has fixed no particular time for it, the best 
way is to comply with it directly, before we may fall again into 

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. 


*223. Q. Which are the chief corporal ivories 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. 

Should we perform that penance only which the confessor 

We should endeavor to satisfy the divine justice by other 
voluntary penitential works. 

If, for instance, our confessor imposes prayers for a penance, 
let us add to them almsgiving, etc. Eealizing that we have de 
served great punishment for our many sins, we should persevere 
steadfastly in prayer, assist at Mass as often as possible, fast, 
practise works of mercy, and impose mortifications upon our 
selves. We practise penance especially by bearing our suffer 
ings patiently and for the love of God, whereas murmuring and 
impatience in suffering deprive us of the fruit of satisfaction. 

If we neglect to do penance for temporal punishment in this 
world, then it will have to be done after death in purgatory. 
How foolish are persons who would not prefer the lesser to the 
greater evil ! Here upon earth we may do penance easily and 
without suffering, by good works, and obtain fresh merit for our 
selves. In purgatory, however, our penance will be accomplished 
by great suffering, and there we can obtain no merit, but only 
render satisfaction to divine justice. 

Are we, after confession, under no other obligation than to 
do penance? 

We are also obliged : 

1. To repair to our best ability any scandal we may have 
given and any injury we may have unjustly done to our neigh 
bor; and, 

2. To employ the necessary means not to relapse into sin, and 
to amend our life. 

We have, therefore, not made nearly enough satisfaction if 
we only do the penance enjoined upon us by the priest; but we 
must also make restitution; for instance, by restoring the prop 
erty we have stolen or unjustly acquired, repairing injury 
wrongly done to others, retracting calumny, asking pardon for 


insults, reconciliation with our enemies, and avoiding the near 
occasion for sin. 

We must make restitution according to our ability. Unfor- 
"tunately, there are wrongs the consequences of which can not be 
repaired. He, for instance, who deprives another of life can not 
restore the life. How can a tradesman fully make good the 
injury done by dishonest dealing? How is a person who, by 
arson, has reduced valuable property to ashes, to repair the 
injury done ? Nevertheless, we are bound to do all in our power 
to make due reparation. We are also obliged to employ the 
right means to amend our lives. What are these means? 

1. In the first place, there must be the firm desire and resolu 
tion to amend our lives at any cost. 

2. This determination should be frequently renewed, par 
ticularly at our night prayers. 

3. Every evening we should examine ourselves as to whether 
we have kept this resolution. 

4. We must pray to God for His assistance. 

5. It is salutary to read and meditate upon the lives of the 
saints, who strove to live free of sin. 

6. We should keep in mind the consequences that will result if 
we continue to live in sin and how it will be more and more 
difficult for us to reform the older we grow in sin. 

Should the confessor give a penance which you could not at 
present perform, you may ask him to give you another penance 


Has not Christ made full satisfaction for our sins? Yes; Christ 
has abundantly satisfied for our sins; nevertheless He requires that 
we also make satisfaction in union with Him. 

Of which work of satisfaction is question here? Of the penance 
enjoined upon us by our confessor. 

What else belongs to a complete satisfaction? That we repair 
the injury occasioned by our sins. 

What else is necessary? The amendment of our lives. 

Is this amiendment easy or difficult? It is difficult. 

What is particularly difficult? 1. The laying aside of bad habits. 
2. The avoidance of the near occasions of sin. 

How can we only accomplish our amendment? By the grace of 

For what purpose does the confessor impose a penance on us? 
1. To obtain remission of the temporal punishment, and 2. For the 
amendment of our life. 


When God remits sin, does He also remit all punishment due on 
account of it? With sin God always remits the eternal punishment, 
but He does not always remit the temporal punishment. 

In which Sacrament is the eternal as well as the temporal pun 
ishment of sin remitted? In the Sacrament of Baptism. 

Give me an example from Bible history showing that temporal 
punishment is demanded by God. Through the intercession of 
Moses God remitted the sin of the people of Israel, yet they were not 
allowed to enter the Promised Land. 

What is the temporal punishment due to our sins? It is that 
punishment which we have to suffer either here on earth or in 

Where, then, may temporal punishment be expiated? Here on 
earth and in purgatory. 

How may it be expiated in this world? By penitential and other 
good works, such as praying, fasting, and almsgiving. 

Is it easier to expiate temporal punishment in this world or in 
the next? In this world. 

How much of the temporal punishment is remitted in confession? 
That depends upon the sinner s contrition and preparation. 

What are the consequences of our not performing the penance 
enjoined? 1. We commit a sin, and 2. We deprive ourselves of many 

When should we comply with the penance enjoined? Imme 
diately after confession. 

Why immediately? In order that we may not forget or 
neglect it. 

Are we after confession under no other obligation than to do the 
prescribed penance? We are also obliged, 1. To repair to the best 
of our ability scandal we may have given and injury we may have 
unjustly done to our neighbor; 2. To employ the necessary means 
not to relapse into sin, and to amend our life. 


The Gold Ring. A man of noble rank, but unhappily a great 
sinner, felt, at length, touched by grace, a desire to be converted; 
but as he was too well known in France, he went to Rome, with 
the intention of making his confession to the Sovereign Pontiff 
himself. Pope Pius VI actually heard his confession, and was 
even edified by the excellent dispositions manifested; and yet 
when it came to the imposing of penance, the foreign nobleman 
would accept none of those which the Pope gave him. None w r as to 
his liking. He was too weak to fast, he said; he had not time to 
read or pray much; to retire into solitude to devote himself to 
pious meditations, or even to make a pilgrimage to some venerated 
shrine, all that his occupations did not permit. The Pope, in his 
wisdom, then gave him, for his whole penance, a gold ring, on which 
were engraved the Latin words "Memento Mori," which means, 
"Remember thou shalt die." He imposed it on him to wear this 
ring on his finger, and to read at least once a day the words en 
graved upon it. The nobleman went away well pleased to have 
so light a penance, but soon the matter became more serious. The 


daily sight of that ring penetrated him with the thought of death, 
so that he ceased not to say within himself: "Alas! since I am con 
demned to die, what have I to do here below except to prepare for a 
good death? What doth it profit me to spare my health which death 
will soon take from me altogether? What use is it to pamper my 
body and take such care of it, since it is to rot in the ground?" 
When he had made these reflections for some time, no penance 
appeared too painful for him. He thenceforward accepted all those 
that were imposed upon him, and persevered till death in this happy 

Lesson Twentieth 


*224. Q. What should we do on entering the confessional 1 ? 

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. 
. Q. Which are the first things we should tell the priest 
in confession ? 

A. The first things we should tell the priest in con 
fession are the time of our last confession, and 
whether we said the penance and went to Holy 

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 Com 
munion we should confess all the mortal sins we 
have since committed, and all the venial sins we 
may wish, to mention. 

*227. Q. What must we do when the confessor asks us ques 

A. When the confessor asks us questions we must answer 
them truthfully and clearly. 

Q. What should we do after telling our sins? 

A. After telling our sins we should listen with atten 
tion to the advice which the confessor may think 
proper to give. 


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. 

Upon leaving the confessional we should retire to a pew, thank 
God for the grace received of the forgiveness of sins, make a 
promise to lead a life more pleasing to Him, and remain a short 
while in devout meditation. 

What are we to do if we should not receive absolution ? 

We should humbly submit to the decision of the confessor, 
follow obediently his instructions, and, by true amendment, ren 
der ourselves worthy of it at a future time. Of course, it is 
understood that when absolution has not been received we can 
not go to Holy Communion. 

Lesson Twenty-first 


231. Q. What is an indulgence? 

A. An indulgence is the remission in whole or in part 
of the temporal punishment due to sin. 

We learned that in the Sacrament of Penance with sin the 
eternal punishment is remitted, but not all of the temporal 
punishment which we may have to suffer in this world or in 
purgatory. For this expiation of temporal punishment the 
Catholic Church comes to our assistance with the granting of 

How does the Church remit the punishment due to our sins ? 

By making compensation to the divine justice for us from 
the inexhaustible treasure of the merits of Christ and His saints. 


You have already heard that the offending of the infinite majesty 
of God requires an infinite satisfaction or expiation. This 
atonement was rendered by Jesus Christ through His Passion 
and death. His satisfaction is inexhaustible, because it has 
infinite merits. To this satisfaction which Jesus has rendered 
are added also the abundance of merits of the Blessed Virgin 
and the saints. This work of satisfaction of Christ and the 
merits of His saints form an inexhaustible and infinite treasury 
of spiritual goods and graces which belongs to the entire Church 
and which can be turned over by her to individual members. The 
merits of the saints have their merit only from the satisfaction 
of Christ. The merits of Christ are not prejudiced thereby ; 
on the contrary, they appear all the more glorious, as they grant 
so high a merit to the works of the saints that they can be ap 
plied to us. 

From whom has the Catholic Church the power of granting 
indulgences ? 

From Jesus Christ, who made no exception when He said to 
Peter "Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed in 
heaven" (Matt, xvi, 19). 

1. The power to loose, or the power of the keys, is a general 
one, which refers to all those bonds and obstructions which 
may prevent the faithful from entering into heaven. To these 
belong also those temporal punishments which have still to be 

2. Jesus has given the commission to His Church to continue 
His work until the end of the world. The Church, by the power 
which has been imparted to her by the Holy Ghost, makes use 
of it in the distribution of indulgences. 

3. Indulgences were used in the Church from the earliest 
times. The following is a proof of this : The Apostle Paul 
excommunicated a public sinner at Corinth. After he had 
suffered his punishment for a year the Apostle Paul granted 
him an indulgence, by exempting him from the remaining pen 
ance. In the first centuries of Christianity the punishment was 
often remitted to penitents, or the time of their punishment 

The right to grant indulgences for the entire Church belongs 


to the Pope; the Bishops are allowed to grant a partial indul 
gence in individual cases. 

What must we believe with regard to indulgences? 

We must believe: 

1. That the Catholic Church has power to grant indulgences; 

2. That the use of them is very salutary to us. 

The Council of Trent has declared these two points articles 
of faith, in these words: "The Holy Synod teaches and com 
mands that the use of indulgences, which is very salutary for 
the Christian people, shall be upheld in the Church and imposed, 
with the excommunication of those who aver that they are 
unnecessary, or that the Church has not the power to grant 

Indulgences are salutary, for they encourage the sinner to 
make his peace with God and to do penance; they promote the 
frequent and worthy reception of the Holy Sacraments of Pen 
ance and the Eucharist; they promote devotion and zeal in 
prayer among the faithful ; they induce a living faith, cause 
hope to be strengthened and charity to be kindled ; they pro 
mote compassion for the poor and needy, and lay the foundation 
for many virtues. 

*232. Q. Is an indulgence a pardon of sin or a license to com 
mit 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 can not gain an indulgence. 

There has hardly been any other doctrine of the Catholic 
Church so much abused as the doctrine of indulgences. The 
Church has been falsely accused of selling indulgences; ignor 
ance and malice again have slandered the Church with the alle 
gation that indulgences remit sins already committed or to be 
committed. Remember, therefore, that indulgences do not remit 
sins, but the temporal punishment due to an already forgiven 

233. Q. How many kinds of indulgences are there? 

A. There are two kinds of indulgences plenary and 


234. Q. What is a plenary indulgence ? 

A. A plenary indulgence is the full remission of the 
temporal punishment due to sin. 

235. Q. What is a partial indulgence? 

A. A partial indulgence is the remission of a part of 
the temporal punishment due to sin. 

What is meant by an indulgence of forty days, or of seven 
years ? 

A remission of such a debt of temporal punishment as a per 
son would discharge if he did penance for forty days or seven 
years, according to the ancient canons of the Church. 

There are also local indulgences which can only be gained at 
certain places of pilgrimage, or places favored particularly by 
divine grace. These are only granted by the Pope for their 
appointed places. There are, furthermore, personal indulgences 
granted only to an individual under certain conditions, as the 
indulgence at the point of death. 

*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. 
237. Q. What must we do to gain an indulgence? 

A. To gain an indulgence we must be in the state of 
grace and perform the works enjoined. 

What is generally required to gain an indulgence? 

It is required, 1. That we are in the state of grace; and, 2. 
That we perform properly the good works prescribed for the 
gaining of the indulgence. 

1. The first requisite, therefore, is this, that we are in a state 
of sanctifying grace. In a state of mortal sin or in a state of 
disgrace we are a dead member of the body of the Church. The 
temporal punishment, therefore, can not be wiped out until, first 
of all, the sins are forgiven. We must, first of all, receive 
worthily the Sacrament instituted for the forgiveness of sins. 


2. Furthermore it is necessary for gaining an indulgence that 
we perform properly the good works prescribed. 

The good works prescribed are, as a rule, the following: 

a. The worthy reception of the Holy Sacrament of Penance 
and the Holy Eucharist. 

b. One or more visits to one or several churches. 

c. The performance of prescribed prayers with the required 

d. Fasting and almsgiving. 

With the announcing of an indulgence it is always made 
known what is required for the gaining of the same, so that we 
may know exactly what to do. 

Can indulgences also be rendered available to the souls in 
purgatory ? 

Yes ; all those which the Pope has expressly declared to be so 
applicable. The Pope has jurisdiction only over the Church 
Militant, over the living. Indulgences, however, can be applied 
to the departed by way of intercession. 

What is a jubilee indulgence, and what is remarkable about it ? 

The name is derived from the jubilee year of the Jews, every 
fiftieth year, in which work in the fields was discontinued, slaves 
received their freedom and property which had been alienated 
reverted to the original owner or his heirs. In like manner in 
the new law of grace a spiritual jubilee is celebrated. At first 
it took place every hundred years; later every fifty years; and 
now every twenty-five years. It is proclaimed at Rome with 
great solemnity and inaugurated with imposing ceremonies by 
the opening of four sealed doors of the principal church. Dur 
ing this time of grace the faithful are earnestly exhorted to new 
zeal in penance and to an amendment of life by devotions in 
churches and numerous penitential works. 

Although taking part in the jubilee is not enjoined under 
pain of sin, yet it certainly shows great indifference on the part 
of the faithful if they do not accept this solemn invitation of 
the Church to profit of her treasures for our salvation. It is 
to be noted that during the time of a jubilee other indulgences 
can not be gained by the living, but they can be gained for the 
dead ; during this time all indulgences without exception may be 
applied to the dead. 


What is an indulgence at death? 

The indulgence at death, usually called general absolution, is 
a plenary indulgence, which is granted to the faithful when 
dying. It is administered after the last Sacraments have been 
received at the approach of death. The dying should while re 
ceiving it awaken acts of contrition, charity, and resignation, 
and frequently and devoutly pronounce the sweet Name of Jesus. 


What is granted by an indulgence? Remission of temporal pun 

Are sins ever forgiven by indulgences? No; sins are never for 
given by indulgences. 

Where are sins committed after Baptism forgiven? In the Sac 
rament of Penance. 

Where is the eternal punishment of sin remitted? Also in the 
Sacrament of Penance. 

What, however, is not entirely remitted by the Sacrament of 
Penance? The temporal punishment is not entirely remitted. 

Who comes to our assistance in the expiating of temporal punish 
ment? The Catholic Church. 

In what way does she come to our assistance? By granting 

What is, above all, necessary for the gaining of an indulgence 
with regard to sins? The sins must already have been forgiven in 
the Sacrament of Penance. 

How does the Church remit the punishment due to our sins? By 
making for us compensation to the divine justice from the inex 
haustible treasury of the merits of Christ and His saints. 

From whom has the Catholic Church the power of granting 
indulgences? From Jesus Christ, who made no exception when He 
said: "Whatsoever you shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also 
in heaven." 

To what does the power to loose in the Church refer? It refers 
to all those bonds and obstacles which would prevent the faithful 
from entering- heaven. 

What is required to gain an indulgence? It is required: 1. That 
we are in a state of grace. 2. That we properly perform the good 
works prescribed for the gaining of an indulgence. 

Can indulgences also be rendered available to the souls in purga 
tory? Yes; all those which the Pope has expressly declared to be 
applicable to them. 

Is the gaining of an indulgence sufficient to release a soul from 
the sufferings of purgatory? We do not know that, of course. 

What is meant by a jubilee indulgence? It is a plenary indulgence 
which the Holy Father grants every twenty-five years. 

When we have the opportunity to gain an indulgence, what should 
we do? We should strive to gain every indulgence, either for our 
selves or the souls in purgatory. 



Visit to a Prison. Supposing we went to a large prison and 
found a number of unhappy men laden with chains, condemned to 
hard and painful work for ten, twenty or forty years, or perhaps for 
life. We say to them: "The King, in his goodness, is willing to 
shorten the time of your punishment, or even to remit it altogether, 
on condition of your saying a short prayer, or doing some simple 
work of piety, short and very easy. If you accept the condition, 
the doors of the prison will be opened to you and you can at once 
rejoin your family." Would there be one of these prisoners to re 
fuse such easy conditions? Such prisoners are the poor souls, all 
debtors to the justice of God. The prison is purgatory. The suffer 
ings of this life are as nothing to the sufferings of purgatory. These 
we can shorten or escape altogether by the gaining of indulgences. 
Who can fail to see how salutary is the practise of trying to gain 

The First Crusade. In 1095, Pope Urban II presided over the 
Council of Claremont. To induce the faithful more efficaciously to 
take up the Cross, he granted remission of punishment due to sin, 
to all who would join the Crusade for the deliverance of the Holy 
Land, and who would die in Christian sentiments in the expedition. 
This is the first plenary indulgence we read of in Church history. 

Lesson Twenty-second 


238. Q. What is the Holy Eucharist? 

A. The Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament which con 
tains the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of 
Our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearances of 
bread and wine. 

The Holy Eucharist is also called the Most Blessed Sacra 
ment, because while in the other Sacraments God s grace is 
imparted to us, in the Holy Eucharist we receive the Author and 
Dispenser of all graces, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The 
doctrine of the Holy Eucharist is divided into three parts : 

1. The Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. 

2. Holy Communion, and 

3. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 


The first part, which we shall now consider, treats of the 
Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. 

The Holy Eucharist is the true Body and the true Blood of 
Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is really and substantially present 
under the appearance of bread and wine, for the nourishment of 
our souls. 

The bread and wine, therefor^ do not merely represent Jesus 
Christ, they do not merely indicate Him, they are not merely 
a semblance, but they are the true Body and the true Blood of 
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is really Himself, there 
is no deception ; He is present in His divinity and His humanity^., 
with all His divine attributes, in His entire perfection. He is 
the same Jesus who as an infant was born in the stable at Beth 
lehem, worshiped by the shepherds, and presented by Mary in 
the Temple at Jerusalem ; He is the same Jesus who for thirty- 
three years lived upon earth, worked miracles, suffered and died 
for us upon the Cross, who was laid in the grave, rose again, 
gloriously ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right 
hand of God the Father Almighty, the Son of God Himself, as 
God and man, with body and soul, with flesh and blood. And 
though Christ is present in millions of parts of the world, in 
millions of consecrated Hosts upon our altars, it is the same true 
Jesus Christ who, through the miracle of Transubstantiation, 
is present on every altar under the appearances of bread and 
wine. Various names are given to the Holy Eucharist, such as : 

1. Blessed, or Most Holy, Sacrament, because it contains 
Jesus Christ Himself, the Author of all Sacraments, and of all 

2. The Sacrament of the Altar, because it is on the altar that 
the miracle of Transubstantiation takes place; on the altar that 
Christ dwells in our tabernacles. 

3. Sacred Host (sacrifice), because it is the perpetual sacri 
fice for the sins of the world. 

4. Eucharist, i. e., sacred remembrance. Jesus instituted this 
Sacrament at the Last Supper as a perpetual remembrance. 

5. The true Paschal Lamb, because the Jewish Paschal lamb 
was only a figure of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus is the Lamb 
that takes away the sins of the world. 

6. Manna, truly heavenly bread, which came down from 


heaven upon the earth. The manna in the desert was a proto 
type of the true celestial bread of the New Testament. 

7. Bread of Angels, because in receiving it we ought to be as 
free from sin as the angels. 

8. Corpus Christi, or Body ofe- Christ. 

9. Holy Communion, because^ Jesus instituted it to be the 
food of our souls, to unite us niost intimately with Himself. 

Is there in the Holy Eucharist all that is requisite for consti 
tuting a Sacrament? Yes; 1. The outward sign, i. e., the ap 
pearances of bread and wine; 2. The invisible grace Jesus 
Christ Himself, the Author and Dispenser of all graces; and, 3. 
The institution by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Eucharist 
has from all ages been called and reverenced as a Sacrament. 

1. The forms of bread and wine are the outward sign of the 
Sacrament. We say the forms, because of the substance of 
bread and wine nothing remains. Their appearances, however, 
are the outward, material, perceptible signs. 

2. There is present an invisible grace, Jesus Christ Himself 
indeed, the abundance of all graces. The outward signs, the 
forms of bread and wine, indicate nourishment and strengthen 
ing of our souls. And for this, the nourishing and strengthen 
ing of our souls, is Jesus ever present in this Sacrament. 

3. The Holy Eucharist was instituted by Jesus Christ Him 
self for all time. With the priestly power, He also gave the 
command to celebrate this mystery continually as He Himself 
had done: "Do this for a commemoration of me." The first 
Christians continued the breaking of bread in the community 
according to the command of Christ, and we to-day do the same. 

*239. Q. When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? 

A. Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Sup 
per, the night before He died. 
*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, bless 
ing 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 commemora 
tion of me." 

When did Jesus Christ institute this Sacrament? 

He instituted it at the Last Supper, the evening before His 
bitter Passion. He was about to make the great sacrifice for 
the redemption of the world, therefore He wished to give the 
greatest proof of His love, and, as His testament, to leave Him 
self as God and man until the end of the world. 

How did He institute it? 

Jesus took bread, blessed it, and broke and gave it to His 
disciples, saying: "Take ye, and eat: this is my body." After 
that, in like manner, He took the chalice with wine in it, blessed 
and gave it to His disciples, saying : "Drink ye all of this : this 
is my blood. Do this for a commemoration of me." 

*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 sub 
stance 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. 

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

A. J esus Christ is whole and entire both under the form 
of bread and under the form of wine. 

Q. Did anything remain of the bread and wine after 
their substance had been changed into the substance 
o,f 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. 


What became of the bread and wine when Jesus pronounced 
these words over them: "This is my body, this is my blood"? 
The bread was transformed into the true Body, and the wine 
became the true Blood of Jesus Christ. To transform means to 
make out of one substance another entirely different. For in 
stance, at the marriage in Cana, Jesus, by His omnipotence, 
transformed water into wine. The Church calls this trans 
formation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, 
Transubstantiation. At the words of consecration the substance 
of bread and wine has ceased to exist. 

After the words which Christ spoke over the bread and wine, 
there remained of bread and wine nothing but the species or 
appearance. The very same takes place at the consecration in 
Holy Mass; at the words of the priest the appearances of bread 
and wine remain, but without the substance of bread and wine, 
It must not be so understood as if Christ was present in the 
bread at the same time with the substance of the bread; no, the 
bread has actually ceased to be bread, and the wine has actually 
ceased to be wine. Christ is there under the appearances of 
bread and wine. When, therefore, the Holy Eucharist is called 
"Bread," or the "Consecrated Bread," it is so referred to as the 
nourishment of our soul. 

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. 
*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. 
*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. 

What is understood by the appearances of bread and wine? 


All that which the senses perceive of bread and wine; as form, 
color, taste, smell, etc. 

According to the testimony of our senses, the Holy Eucharist 
appears to be just what it was before the consecration, namely, 
bread and wine; it looks, tastes, and smells the same as before; 
it produces the same effects upon our senses as real bread would 
produce. These are, then, the appearances or forms of bread 
and wine. 

How do we know that Christ with the words: "This is my 
body ; this is my blood," gave to the Apostles His true Body and 
His true Blood? We know it: 

1. Because Christ promised His disciples that He would give 
them His real flesh to eat and His real blood to drink, and be 
cause He, at the Last Supper, expressly declared that what He 
gave them as food and drink was really His Body and His 

2. Because the Apostles and the Catholic Church believed 
and taught this doctrine from the beginning of the Church. The 
institution of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar was a ful 
filment of a preceding promise. Christ once fed in the desert, in 
a miraculous manner, five thousand people with a few loaves of 
bread and fishes. When, on the following day, the people came 
to Him, Jesus used the opportunity to talk to them of the still 
more wonderful food of the soul. "I am the bread of life. Your 
fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the 
bread which cometh from heaven, that if any man eat of it he 
may not die. I am the living bread which came from heaven. 
If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever, and the bread 
which I will give is my flesh for the life of the world" (John 
vi, 48-52). As the Jews took these words in their literal sense, 
they said: "How can he give us his flesh to eat?" And Jesus 
said unto them: "Amen, amen, I say unto you: Except you eat 
the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood, you shall not 
have life in you, for my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is 
drink indeed" (John vi, 53, 54, 56). 

In this promise the Saviour expresses beyond doubt that He 
gives us in truth His flesh and His blood, that He Himself is 
present wholly and substantially in the Blessed Sacrament, for 
He says plainly: "He who eateth me," etc., and "Whoso eateth 


my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him; 
the same shall live by me." It is a mystery which we can not 
grasp with our weak understanding, but which we must accept 
humbly. The words of institution of the Holy Eucharist 
strengthen our belief. "This is my body ! This is my blood." 
Could Jesus have expressed Himself clearer and more distinctly ? 
He who would give another sense to these words would make 
Jesus act untruthfully. 

3. The Apostles and the Catholic Church have always believed 
and taught this. Thus do the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, 
and John, as well as the Apostle Paul (the latter in his first 
letter to the Corinthians), relate the institution of the Holy 
Eucharist in perfect conformity. St. Paul the Apostle says dis 
tinctly: "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not 
the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread which we 
break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord ? For he 
that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judg 
ment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." The 
constant belief of the Catholic Church shines forth through her 
ceremonies of divine worship. In the earliest days of Christi 
anity the Holy Eucharist was kept with the greatest caution in 
order that it might not be desecrated. In consequence of the 
belief in the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the 
Church commands that every one (with the exception of the 
sick) must receive Holy Communion fasting from the previous 

Several Church Councils (that of Nice and the Lateran) de 
clare most emphatically the doctrine of the presence of Christ 
in the Holy Eucharist, and that of Trent threatens with ex 
communication those who teach otherwise. Finally, the fathers 
and the Church historians of all the centuries express belief in 
the presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Thus St. Ignatius, 
a disciple of the Apostles and a martyr, says that the Eucharist 
is the flesh of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, who suffered for our 
sins. In the same way St. Justin the Martyr, St. Irenaeus, 
Tertullian, St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, proclaim: "The 
bread and the wine which, before the invoking of the Most Ador 
able Trinity, was none other than bread and wine, and after this 
invocation the Body and Blood of Christ." St. Ambrose says: 


"This food which thou receiveth, this living Bread that came 
down from heaven, preserves unto the nourishment of eternal 
life, and whoso eats of it will not die eternally, for this is the 
Body of Christ." St. Augustine warns : "The Body of the Lord 
enters the Christian s mouth. He who partakes unworthily, 
receives certainly the Lord s Body, but to his perdition." 


What are the outward signs of the Holy Eucharist? The ap 
pearances of bread and wine. 

What is the invisible grace? Jesus Christ Himself, the Author 
and Dispenser of all graces and all the special graces He confers. 

What are the words of institution of the Holy Eucharist? "Do 
this for a commemoration of me." 

How long will Jesus be present in the Blessed Sacrament? Until 
the end of the world. 

Did Christ give to His Apostles the power to transform bread 
and wine into His Sacred Flesh and Blood? Yes; He gave them that 
power with these words: "Do this for a commemoration of me." 

Upon what occasion did Jesus institute the Holy Eucharist? At 
the Last Supper, the evening before His bitter Passion. 

What means transubstantiation? It means to transform one 
substance into another. 

What is present before transubstantiation? There is present 
bread and wine. 

Is bread and wine present after transubstantiation? No; there 
is present neither bread nor wine. 

What then is present? The true Body and the true Blood of 
Jesus Christ. 

What is still present of the bread and wine? The appearance 

What, therefore, takes place during transubstantiation? A 
miracle takes place. 

Is our weak human understanding capable of comprehending a 
miracle? No; it can not comprehend it. 


St. Tharcisius, the First Martyr of the Eucharist. A child was 
the first to have the honor of martyrdom for the cause of the Real 
Presence. One day some pagan soldiers met him while he was 
carrying the Blessed Sacrament to his home, as was not unusual in 
the early days of persecution. They seized him and threatened to 
illtreat him, unless he made known what it was he was carrying; 
but he would never betray the Sacred Species. So they struck him 
with sticks and stoned him to death. They searched his body and his 
garments, but God permitted that they should find nothing. 

A Conversion at Marseilles. An English Protestant was visiting 
a Church in Marseilles. Through curiosity, or perhaps in the hope 


of surprising some Catholic contradicting in his acts his profession 
of faith in the Real Presence, he hid behind one of the columns to 
see, without being seen, what went on in the Church. The Masses 
were over, and he was alone. As he expected, the Sacristan came 
shortly to attend to some matters in the sanctuary. This was a 
man of real piety anl lively faith, and, thinking himself alone in the 
Church, whenever he passed before the tabernacle, he made a most 
profound and prolonged genuflection. At this sight of true faith and 
devotion the Protestant felt his heart soften within him; he laid 
aside his prejudices, studied the Catholic religion and was not long 
in embracing it. 

*248. Q. Does this change of bread and wine into the body 
and blood of Christ continue to be made in the 

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 

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 the Apostles, "Do this in commemoration of 

At the Last Supper the Saviour instituted the Blessed Sacra 
ment in which He willed to remain with His people until the 
end of the world. For not only did He promise to His Apostles 
and disciples, but He promised to all men that He would give 
them His flesh and blood. He had, therefore, to make provision 
for the continuance of this work of His omnipotence and love. 
For this reason He conferred the power upon His Apostles "to do 
this" i. e., to do the same as He Himself had just done, namely 
to change the bread and wine into His sacred flesh and blood. 
Now, when Jesus gives a command to do something which is a 
work of divine power, it is certain that He also grants the 
necessary divine power. Jesus spoke here only to the Apostles, 
who are called, therefore, the dispensers of God s mysteries. He 
conferred the priestly authority upon the Apostles as the priests 
and Bishops of the Church. They were, as priests, to prepare 
and offer up the sacred mystery in commemoration of Him, in 


remembrance of His Passion and death. The faithful did not 
receive this power, but they could take part in the sacrifice and 
receive the Holy Eucharist in memory of the Passion and death 
of Jesus Christ. 

To whom did this power pass from the Apostles ? 

It passed from the Apostles to the Bishops and priests. A 
Bishop, a priest, or even a deacon can distribute Holy Com 
munion. During the times of persecution even laymen were 
allowed to reserve the Holy Eucharist and to administer it to 
themselves. But the act of Transubstantiation, or the consecra 
tion of the Holy Eucharist, is for priests only. The power which 
Christ granted directly to His Apostles was to continue in His 
Church. The Bishops and priests are the successors of the 
Apostles. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders power is conferred 
upon priests to change the bread and wine into the body and 
blood of Jesus Christ. No one else can ever have this power. 

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: (f This is my body; this is my 

How do Bishops and priests exercise this power? They exer 
cise it at Mass, by pronouncing over the bread and wine the 
words : "This is my body, this is my blood." 

The priest at the altar represents Jesus Christ; he speaks and 
acts in His name; hence he says also: "This is my body, this 
is my blood/ not : "This is the body of Jesus Christ, this is the 
blood of Jesus Christ." Christ is the one priest of the New 
Law. He changes the substance of the bread and wine as at the 
Last Supper. The priest speaks in the person of Jesus Christ, 
and the words of Christ work the change. At the moment, 
therefore, when the words are uttered: "This is my body," the 
bread is changed into the body of the Lord, and by the words: 
"This is my blood," the wine is changed into the blood of 
Christ. This change takes place during the ceremony of Holy 


Is there, then, after the consecration, no longer bread and 
wine on the altar ? Xo ; there is then on the altar the true body 
and the true blood of Jesus Christ, under the appearances of 
bread and wine. As a true and real change of the bread and 
wine takes place, so after the consecration the true body and the 
true blood of Jesus Christ are present upon the altar, under the 
appearances of bread and wine. Christ Himself is wholly and 
substantially present in His divinity and His humanity. 

How long does Christ remain present under the appearances 
of consecrated bread and wine? As long as these appearances 
continue to exist. 

Christ has united His presence to the outward signs of the 
appearances of bread and wine ; He is therefore present after the 
consecration as long as the appearances of bread and wine are 

Whether, therefore, the Holy Eucharist is upon the altar dur 
ing or after Holy Mass, or reserved in the tabernacle, or taken 
to the dying or sick, or carried in solemn procession, Christ is 
always present as long as the appearances of bread and wine are 

Is only the body of Christ present under the appearance of 
bread, and only the blood of Christ present under the appear 
ance of wine ? Xo ; under the appearance of each of these sub 
stances is present Christ, entire and undivided, as He is entire 
and undivided in heaven. 

Under the appearance of bread not only is the sacred body 
contained, and under the appearance of wine not only the sacred 
blood, but in each species Christ is present entire and undivided. 

The body of the Lord which is signified by the words of con 
secration: "This is my body!" and present under the appear 
ance of bread is the true and glorified body of the Lord as 
lie is enthroned at the right hand of His Father in heaven. 
This glorified body is no longer capable of suffering, it is living 
and glorified, and consequently united to His Blood, and Jesus 
Christ is truly and substantially present under the appearance 
of bread. So, too, after the consecration of the chalice, not 
only the blood, but also the body of Jesus Christ is present. 
Whoever, therefore, receives the Holv Eucharist only under one 


form (be it under the form of bread or of wine), has received, 
entire and undivided, really and substantially, the entire body of 

When the priest breaks or divides the Sacred Host, does he 
also break the body of Christ ? No ; he breaks or divides the ap 
pearances only : the body of Christ itself is present in each part, 
entire and living, in a true, though mysterious, manner. 

The form of bread, therefore, may be large or small, the 
Sacred Host may be broken or divided into three, five, ten, one 
hundred, or more parts, it makes no difference. Likewise, in 
every drop of the consecrated wine is Jesus Christ present, en 
tire and undivided. Following the example of Christ, in the 
early times the priests consecrated only one large loaf of bread, 
and this was broken and divided among the faithful. When, 
therefore, the priest breaks the Sacred Host, he only breaks or 
divides the appearances, and the glorified body of Jesus is pres 
ent in any and every part, entire and undivided. 

The omnipotent Saviour, who walked upon the waters and 
passed through closed doors, who of His own power rose from 
the grave and ascended into heaven, is not subject to laws of 
nature, which He made and which He can revoke as He sees 

What does the Eeal Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy 
Eucharist require of us ? We are bound to visit Him f requentty, 
and to adore Him with profound humility and awe, and with 
ardent love and gratitude. 

Lesson Twenty-third 


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 soul with 
His divine life. 


2. To increase sanctifying grace and all virtues in our 


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. 

The inexpressible love of Our Lord and Saviour for mankind 
moved Him to institute the Holy Eucharist. He willed to re 
main with us until the end of the world. The same love that 
called man into existence, and saved him from rejection after 
his fall, this same divine love it was that impelled Our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ to institute this Holy Sacrament. He 
wished to be with us and to remain with us, as our Saviour, as 
Teacher, Physician, Friend, and as our Deliverer in all our perils 
of body and soul. 

For so great a love we can not sufficiently praise and glorify 
Jesus. Hence we should endeavor to remain always united to 
Him, to visit Him frequently, and to worship Him most humbly. 

At the consecration in Holy Mass, first the Body and then the 
Blood of Jesus are raised and shown to the faithful for adoration. 
A ring of the bell announces the approach of the supreme mo 
ment in which Jesus descends from heaven in an invisible 
manner and takes up His abode with His divinity and His 
humanity under the forms of bread and wine. 

The faithful fall upon their knees, the organ is silenced, in 
the house of God reigns holy awe. 

When the Holy Eucharist is carried to the sick, all present in 
the sickroom fall on their knees to adore their Saviour. 

The presence of Christ requires of us that we should visit Him 
often. If we think it our duty to visit friends, relations, the sick 
and dying, why should we not also visit frequently Our Lord and 
Saviour, who has done so much for us ? We find in Him every 
thing that we stand in need of : Counsel, comfort, assistance, 
fortitude. By our visits to the Blessed Sacrament our love for 
Jesus will ever increase and we shall become better for it. As 
often as we visit the Blessed Sacrament, and as often as we assist 
at Holy Mass, we should make a spiritual communion, i. e., we 
should have the fervent desire of receiving the Holy Eucharist. 


We should show our reverence for the Blessed Sacrament by 
taking part in the sacramental processions which may take place 
in our churches, for instance, on the Feast of Corpus Christi. 
This festival was introduced in the middle of the thirteenth cen 
tury. It is intended as a solemn festival of thanksgiving for the 
institution of the Blessed Sacrament, a day of rejoicing and 
happiness. The Council of Trent calls the Feast of Corpus 
Christi a triumph of truth, victorious over unbelief and heresy. 

Upon certain solemn occasions the Church exposes the Blessed 
Sacrament for the adoration of the faithful; as, for instance, 
during Forty Hours Devotion, on the first Friday of the month, 

Is Christ present in the Holy Eucharist only that He may be 
with us in His divine and human nature? He is present there 
for two other reasons : 

1. That He may offer Himself for us in the Holy Sacrifice of 
the Mass ; and 2. That in Holy Communion He may give Him 
self to us for the nourishment of our souls. 

Hence the Council of Trent says: "Christ has in this Sacra 
ment poured out for mankind all the treasures of His love. It 
was not enough that in it He would dwell among us, and be the 
food of our souls upon our earthly pilgrimage, He wished to be 
there for the glory of His heavenly Father, the perpetual Sacri 
fice of Holy Mass in the New Law." It remains for us, there 
fore, to consider Holy Communion, and then the Holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass, which we shall do in our following instructions. 


To whom did Jesus promise His body as food, and His blood as 
drink, to His Apostles and His disciples, or to all mankind? To all 

If all mankind was to receive Christ s Body and Blood, what 
power must necessarily be given to His Apostles and disciples? The 
power of doing the same as He had done at the Last Supper, viz., 
of changing bread and wine into His Body and Blood. 

What power did Jesus therefore confer upon His Apostles? The 
priestly or sacerdotal power. 

To whom did this power pass from the Apostles? It passed from 
the Apostles to their successors, the Bishops and priests. 

Who alone can consecrate the Holy Eucharist? Only those who 
have been ordained priests. 

By which Sacrament do priests receive the power to consecrate? 
By the Sacrament of Holy Orders. 


Why was this power to pass from the Apostles to the Bishops 
and priests? Because Jesus desired that His means of grace, the 
Holy Sacraments, should exist until the end of the world. 

Whose place does the priest take at Holy Mass? He takes the 
place of Jesus Christ. 

In whose name does he speak and act? He speaks and acts in 
the name of Jesus. 

What does the priest say at the consecration? He says: "This 
is my Body! This is the chalice of my Blood!" 

What does the priest not say at the consecration? He does not 
say: "This is the Body of Jesus! This is the Blood of Jesus!" 

Who, then, performs the change, the priest or Jesus? Jesus per 
forms the change. 

What is present upon the altar after the words of consecration? 
The true Body and the true Blood of Jesus Christ. 

When does this change take place? In Holy Mass. 

At what moment? At the consecration. 

What is done when the consecration takes place? The Sacred 
Host and the chalice with the precious Blood are elevated for the 
adoration of the faithful. 

When only may the priest consecrate? Only during Holy Mass. 

Is there, then, after the consecration, bread and wine on the 
altar? No; there is then on the altar the true Body and the true 
Blood of Jesus Christ under the appearances of bread and wine. 

What has taken the place of the bread and wine? The true Body 
and the true Blood of Jesus Christ. 

Under what forms? Under the forms of bread and wine. 

How does this change take place? In an invisible manner by 
the power of God. 

Can we, with our feeble human understanding, comprehend how 
this happens? No; we can not comprehend it. 

*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. 

The word communion means union. To communicate means 
to unite. That the Holy Eucharist was instituted as the food of 
souls we know from Our Lord s own words, "My flesh is meat 
indeed, and my blood is drink indeed." Jesus even commanded 
the partaking of His sacred flesh and blood with the words, 
"Take ye and eat !" Our divine Saviour is already united with 
us by remaining with us in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. 


But we are united with Him in a much more intimate manner 
when He comes and takes up His abode in our body. Tn Holy 
Communion we are not only united with Christ, but also with 
all the faithful who receive Holy Communion, which is evident 
from the words of St. Paul,, "For we being many are one bread, 
one body, all that partake of one bread" (I Cor. x, 17). 

Was it God or the Church that commanded us to receive Holy 
Communion? It was God who commanded it, and the Church 
likewise, for Christ, our Lord, says expressly, "Amen, amen, I 
say unto you : Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and 
drink his blood, you shall not have life in you" (John vi, 54). 

In early Christian times the faithful received daily, later only 
every Sunday. Because of the increasing laxity of Christians, 
the Church first made it of obligation for the faithful to receive 
Holy Communion at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, under 
pain of excommunication. Later the Church established the 
commandment to receive at least once a year, during Paschal 
time. Realizing what Holy Communion is, it is incredible that 
many Christians should be so negligent about receiving it. 

Must we also drink the chalice in order to receive the Blood 
of Christ ? No ; for under the appearance of bread we receive 
not only the Body, but also the Blood of Christ. You have been 
told that under either form of bread or wine Christ is present 
wholly and undivided. Under the appearance of bread His true, 
living, and glorious Body is present, and united with it is His 
sacred Blood. It is, therefore, plain that under the appearance 
of bread we receive not only the Body, but also the Blood of 
Jesus Christ. 

That we may receive the Holy Eucharist under one form only 
is made plain from the words of Christ : "He that eateth me shall 
also live for my sake." "I am the living bread. He that eateth 
this bread shall live forever." He thus gives the same promise 
for the partaking of His sacred Body under the appearance of 
bread as for its reception under both species. And St. Paul im 
poses the same punishment upon the unworthy reception under 
one or both appearances by saying, "Whosoever shall eat this 
bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty 
of the Body and of the Blood of the Lord." 

The Church has professed this to be her belief by distributing 


Holy Communion under one form. This was particularly the 
case in times of persecution when the faithful were permitted to 
take the Blessed Sacrament to their homes, and to administer the 
Sacrament to themselves. 

At the Council of Trent the Church proclaimed the law that 
Holy Communion was to be received by the laity under one form 
only, and that a departure from this rule without authority from 
the Church was not allowed. Those who did not believe in the 
undivided presence of Jesus under the one form of bread were 
threatened with excommunication. 

For what reason does the Catholic Clrarch give Holy Com 
munion to the faithful under one kind only, under the form of 
bread ? 

1. To prevent the Precious Blood from being profaned, since, 
under the appearance of wine, it would easily be spilled, es 
pecially" when a great number of persons receive. 

2. The danger of profanation w r ould be still greater if the 
Precious Blood under the form of wine were carried to the sick. 

3. Because some persons dislike wine and can not take it. 

4. Many would object to drinking out of a chalice from which 
many others had partaken. 

5. Finally, by receiving Holy Communion under one form 
only, heretics who declare it necessary to receive under both 
forms are severely rebuked. 

But why, then, did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist under 
both forms? 

Because He instituted it not only as a Sacrament, but also as 
a sacrifice for which both forms are required. 

The Sacrifice of the Mass was prefigured in the Old Law by 
the sacrifice of Melchisedech, who offered bread and wine. The 
forms of bread and wine in the Mass represent the death of Jesus 
upon the Cross. This representation would be wanting if only 
one of the forms were present, for in the Sacrifice of the Mass 
the destruction of the gift of sacrifice, which took place upon the 
Cross, the shedding of blood and the death of Jesus are repre 

What graces does Holy Communion impart to our souls ? 

1. It unites us most intimately with Christ and increases sanc 
tifying grace in us. 


2. It weakens our evil inclinations and gives us a desire and 
strength to combat them, and to do good. 

3. It cleanses us from venial sin and preserves us from mortal 
sin ; and, 

4. It is to us a pledge of our future resurrection and ever 
lasting happiness (John vi, 55). 

254. Q. What is necessary to make a good Communion? 

A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in 
the state of sanctifying grace, and to be fasting 
from midnight. 

For the more worthy reception of Holy Communion we should 
endeavor, 1. To cleanse our soul even from venial sin; and., 2. To 
excite in our heart sentiments of fervor and devotion. Our 
reverence for the Holy Eucharist and consideration for our salva 
tion require that we should prepare ourselves as worthily as 
possible for Holy Communion. In proportion to the degree of 
our worthiness Holy Communion confers more or less grace upon 
us. For God is all holy, and as such abhors the least sin. For 
this reason we ought to be very careful, particularly during the 
time which elapses between our Confession and Communion, so 
as not to stain our soul with even venial sin. 

255. Q. Does he who receives Communion in mortal sin re 

ceive the body and blood of Christ? 

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

He who receives Holy Communion unworthily that is, in 
the state of mortal sin brings damnation upon himself. God is 
all holy, and whosoever would receive Him into his heart must 
be worthy, must be free from grievous sin. For this reason a 
worthy Communion must be preceded by a valid confession. 
Should any one knowingly and purposely omit a mortal sin in 
confession, it is rendered invalid, and a subsequent Communion 
would be unworthy. Those who receive unworthily, in a state of 
mortal sin, do not receive the graces of Communion and commit 
a great crime against God. Holy Scripture says, "Whosoever 


shall eat this bread or drink this chalice of the Lord unworthily 
shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord; he 
eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the 
body of the Lord." The Ark of the Covenant brought happiness 
and blessing upon the pious Israelites, but misfortune and a curse 
upon the impious Philistines. 

What sin does he commit who dares to receive unworthily? 
Like Judas, he commits a horrible sacrilege. Judas was, as you 
know, that one ef the twelve Apostles who betrayed Jesus for 
thirty pieces of silver. Judas had made an agreement with the 
scribes and Pharisees to deliver Jesus up to them. Yet with this 
plan of treason in his heart he ate with Jesus at the Last Supper, 
and when Jesus revealed to the Apostles present that one of their 
number would betray Him, he, with the rest, asked, "Lord, is it 
I ?" And the Lord answered, "Yes ; it is." These words of the 
Saviour s did not touch him, and he went from the supper to the 
Garden of Olives, where he betrayed Jesus with a kiss. 

Certain judgment awaits those who receive unworthily. We 
read with horror of the hatred which the Jews bore Jesus and of 
how they clamored for His death with cries of "Crucify him! 
Crucify him !" The person who receives unworthily joins these 
enemies of Christ and ventures to seek the destruction of God. 

What is frequently the consequence of an unworthy Com 
munion in this life? Especially hardness of heart. 

Hardness of heart consists in the lack of desire on the part of 
the sinner to amend his life. He becomes perfectly indifferent 
to his soul s salvation or damnation. This hardness causes the 
sinner to die unrepentant and to be lost eternally. God punished 
King Baltassar for his sacrilege, and Heliodorus and Oza, who 
irreverently touched the Ark of the Covenant. How much more 
severely will not God punish the sacrilege which is committed 
upon His own sacred Body and Blood ! 

If a person has received unworthily, can he obtain forgiveness, 
and what must he do ? 

The Catholic Church teaches that God is willing to pardon 
even the greatest sinner and the worst crimes if repented of and 

If any one, therefore, should have had the awful misfortune of 
committing this crime he must repent of it and make a general 


confession, including the time since his last valid Confession and 
Communion. And this ought not to be postponed, so as not to 
run the risk of dying in sin. 


What is Holy Communion? Holy Communion is receiving the 
Body and Blood of Our Lord. 

Has Jesus left the receiving of Holy Communion to our discre 
tion, or has He made it an obligation? Jesus has expressly com 
manded us to receive. 

With what words? With the words: "Take ye and eat." 

Is Holy Communion as indispensable for salvation as Baptism? 
No; it is not. 

How often at the very least is it commanded in our times? At 
least once a year, during Paschal time. 

Is this command of the Church to be so interpreted that we may 
receive not more than once a year? No; we should receive fre 

Must we also drink the chalice in order to receive the Blood of 
Christ? No; for under the appearance of bread we also receive 
His Blood. 

Why does the Catholic Church give Holy Communion to the 
faithful under one form only? Because of the danger of profanation 
if the chalice were passed to them. 

Give another reason. Many persons have a dislike for wine or 
can not take it. 

Still another reason? Many persons are averse to drinking from 
a common chalice for sanitary reasons. 

But why then did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist in both 
kinds? Because He instituted it not only as a Sacrament, but also 
as a sacrifice, for which both kinds are required. 

What must absolutely precede a worthy Communion if we are in 
mortal sin? A valid confession. 

What sin do those commit who dare to receive unworthily? Like 
Judas, they commit an awful sacrilege. 


The Boy in the Fire. It was the custom at Constantinople in 
the sixth century, at times when the Blessed Sacrament was re 
newed in the Ciborium, to distribute to young and innocent children 
the Sacred Hosts which remained from the last Consecration. It 
happened one day that a little Jewish boy was brought from 
school along with other children for this purpose, and he received 
Communion along with them. On reaching home, his father ques 
tioned him as to the cause of his returning so late from school. The 
child simply related what had happened, whereupon the father, 
blinded by fury, and carried away by bitter hatred of the Chris 
tian religion, seized the child and flung him into the redhot furnace 
where glass was being melted. The mother, unaware of what had 


happened, on discovering her loss filled the house with her lamenta 
tions, seeking everywhere her missing child. On the third day, hap 
pening to pass by the furnace, she heard a voice calling her by 
name. On opening the furnace door, she beheld her child seated in 
the midst of the flames, alive and uninjured, and not appearing to 
suffer the least inconvenience from the raging element. Having 
clasped him in her arms, she asked him how it was that he was not 
burnt up in the midst of the red-hot coals. "Mother," said he, "a 
lady dressed in purple often came to me during these three days, 
and threw water round me to put out the fire. She also brought me 
food." The whole city was soon filled with the news of this miracle, 
which resulted in the immediate conversion of the child and his 
mother. The unhappy father, however, continued hardened in his 
infidelity, and was eventually condemned to death by the Emperor 
Justinian for the attempted murder of his child. 

*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. 

Does venial sin render our Communions unworthy? 

No; but it lessens the graces we would otherwise receive. 
Venial sin does not separate us from God, and is, therefore, not 
an obstacle to our union with God. But it draws the soul to 
things created. It is an inordinate inclination for something 
other than that for which the soul is created, and thus places an 
obstacle to the complete and undivided surrender of the soul to 
God. It prevents the entire union of the soul with God, and so 
diminishes the fruits of Holy Communion. 

How can we excite sentiments of fervor and devotion in our 

By pious meditation and devout exercises ; by prayer, zeal, and 
devotion. We should meditate particularly upon that infinite 
love of which the Holy Eucharist is so signal a proof ; for there 
is no greater love than this, that Jesus should give Himself to 
us as our food. It is also commendable on the days of Con 
fession and Communion to perform some special work of pen 
ance, give alms, fast, mortify ourselves in some way or another, 
visit and console the sick, etc. 


Q. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion? 

A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the ab 

staining from midnight from everything which is 

taken as food or drink. 
*258. Q. Is any one ever allowed to receive Holy Communion 

when not fasting? 
A. Any one in danger of death is allowed to receive 

Communion when not fasting. 

Who are dispensed from the command of fasting before Holy 
Communion? Those dangerously ill, who receive the Blessed 
Sacrament as viaticum, i. e., as a preparation for their journey 
into eternity, and those seriously sick for more than one month. 

Though God beholds the interior dispositions of our soul, yet 
reverence and respect for God should be manifested exteriorly. 
When we approach Holy Communion we should also be dressed 
decorously, at the same time avoiding vanity or extravagance in 

The Israelites who were to receive the Ten Commandments 
from Sinai had to prepare themselves for three days for this 
solemn celebration, and gathered at the foot of the mountain 
dressed in holiday attire. In Holy Communion we receive more 
than they we receive even the Son of God Himself. 

How should we approach the altar rail to receive Holy Com 
munion ? 

With greatest reverence, our hands joined, and the eyes cast 
down. The demeanor of a person at the altar rail should express 
the reverence and respect with which he or she approaches his 
or her Lord and Saviour. Edification of the congregation re 
quires this external reverence, but still more the presence of the 
Son of God in the Sacrament. The clasped hands are an evi 
dence of our piety, and the eyes cast down manifest our humility, 

Before Holy Communion is distributed the server recites the 
Confiteor, the priest gives general absolution and then says, "Be 
hold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world !" 
Then he says three times, "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou 
shouldst enter under my roof," etc. After that Holy Com 
munion is distributed. 

If through an accident the Sacred Host should fall from the 


priest s hand, the communicant must on no account attempt to 
touch it, as only the consecrated hands of the priest may do this. 
When the priest approaches us we should hold the head erect, 
open the mouth and extend the tongue a little, so that the priest 
can conveniently lay the sacred particle upon the tongue. We 
should strive to swallow the Sacred Host at once and not keep it 
long in the mouth. We must not bite it with the teeth. Should 
it adhere to the roof of the mouth, we must loosen it by move 
ment of the tongue; never touch it with the finger. 

*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. 

Who is required to receive Holy Communion ? 

As a rule every Catholic having reached the age of discretion, 
after freeing himself of grievous sin which he may have com 
mitted. Formerly Holy Communion was given even to very 
young children. Now, however, it is deemed better to let the 
children make their first Communion at the age of about twelve. 

Why are the children carefully prepared for their first Com 
munion ? 

Because the first Holy Communion is a most important act in 
a person s life, and because a worthy first Communion oftentimes 
preserves from making subsequent unworthy Communions. 

*260. Q. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often? 

A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as noth 
ing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to 
receive the Author of all grace and the Source of 
all good. 

How often should the faithful receive? 

The faithful should receive at least three times a year, on the 
principal festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. 

It is the fervent wish of Holy Mother Church that \ve should 
receive frequently, even daily, and unite ourselves in the Sacra 
ment of love to Jesus Christ that we may attain to greater virtue 
and perfection. 

Holy Communion is distributed upon every day in the year, 


except Good Friday. Cases of sickness or accident excepted, 
Holy Communion can be received only in the church. 

Ought we to abstain from frequent Communion under the 
pretext that we are not worthy ? 

This is by no means a valid excuse. Even if we must consider 
ourselves unworthy to receive Jesus, we may not remain away 
from the Lord s table, for how can we possibly make progress in 
perfection if we do not receive Jesus and His grace? Make the 
resolution now to approach frequently the Sacraments and to 
partake of the bread of angels worthily and devoutly. In Holy 
Communion we receive the most supreme good, the Son of God 
Himself. Frequently and fervently, therefore, should we go to 
Jesus, to unite ourselves with Him in the Sacrament of love. 
Fear not only an unworthy, but also a Communion without 
proper devotion, and endeavor from one Communion to another 
to become more and more worthy of this priceless grace. 

*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 grace 
we have received, and in asking Him for the bless 
ings we need. 


Does venial sin render our Communion unworthy? Venial sin 
does not render it unworthy, but it diminishes the graces which 
would otherwise come to our souls. 

How can we excite sentiments of fervor and devotion in our 
hearts? By pious meditation and devout exercises. 

What ought we particularly to meditate upon during Holy Com 
munion? Upon the infinite love of Jesus for mankind. 

How must we prepare ourselves as to the body? We must be 
fasting since midnight and be suitably dressed. 

When is the command to fast dispensed with? In the case of 
persons dangerously ill. 

What is a Spiritual Communion? It is a fervent desire for the 
actual reception of Holy Communion. 

How should we approach the altar rail to receive Holy Com 
munion? With the greatest reverence, with hands joined, and eyes 
cast down. 

If the Sacred Host should slip from the priest s fingers, who 
alone may touch it? Only the priest. 

What ought we to do if the Sacred Host should adhere to the 
roof of the mouth? We ought to remove it with the tongue, but not 
with the fingers. 



The Devout Communicant. We read in the life of St. Aloysius 
Gonzaga, that being permitted by his confessor to receive Holy Com 
munion every Sunday, he divided the week between his thanksgiving 
and preparation, consecrating three days to each. The same is 
related of another devout soul, who, in arranging his devotions, 
observed the following plan: Sunday, the day of his Communion, 
was spent by him in union and interior converse with our Blessed 
Lord. Monday was a day of thanksgiving for the rich treasure 
which he had received. On Tuesday he continually offered and 
consecrated himself to God. Wednesday was spent in constant 
petitions to Our Lord for his own wants and those of the Church. 
On Thursday he began his preparation for his next Communion, 
spending that day entirely in acts of faith and adoration. Friday 
was a day of humiliation and contrition, but of hope and confidence 
in the divine mercy. Finally, Saturday was devoted to acts of love 
and desire. 

Lesson Twenty-fourth 


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. 
2G3. Q. What is the Mass? 

A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and 

blood of Christ. 
*64. 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 tJie Creator and Lord of all things. 

A sacrifice in a religious sense is a visible gift, offered to God, 
to glorify and to worship Him as the Supreme Lord. In a gen 
eral sense, "to sacrifice" means to give up something valuable. 
There may be in this sense interior and exterior, visible and in 
visible, sacrifices. In another sense, however, we understand by 
a sacrifice an outward, visible gift, withdrawn from ordinary 
use, to be consecrated to God. To the proper and complete idea 
of a sacrifice pertain the following four points: 

1. A visible gift, for "every priest is ordained to offer gifts 
and sacrifice." 


2. A priest, who sacrifices and who is appointed to do this. 
"Xo one can take this dignity upon himself except the one who 
is called thereunto by God, as Aaron." 

3. The offering of the gift to God alone, to honor and worship 
Him as the Supreme Lord. 

4. The sacrificial gift must in some manner be destroyed, or 
consumed, as a token of our complete dependence upon God, the 
Lord over life and death. 

Have there been sacrifices at all times? Yes; there have 
been. Under the Old Law they were strictly commanded by 
God Himself. 

It is natural for man to make known by outward signs the 
love and reverence he bears for some one. Children deprive 
themselves of things in order to give their parents presents. Man 
offers sacrifice to the Supreme Lord of heaven and earth to mani 
fest his love and adoration for Him by exterior, visible signs. 
All nations of the earth offer sacrifice. The sons of our first 
parents, Cain and Abel, offered a sacrifice to God Cain sacri 
ficed the fruits of his fields, Abel the firstlings of his flock. Noe 
sacrificed animals, so did Abraham; Melchisedech, the high 
priest, offered bread and wine. The heathens sacrifice animals 
to their imagined gods. In the time of the Patriarchs, they 
themselves were the sacrificial priests. It was in the time of 
Moses that a special tribe (Levi) was set apart for sacrificial 
service, and it was definitely regulated what, how, when, and by 
whom sacrifice should be offered. 

The sacrifice of the Old Law was partly bloody, partly un 

(a) The bloody sacrifices were: 1. The burnt offering. This 
was an animal offered up daily, night and morning; hence it 
was called the perpetual sacrifice. The blood of the victim was 
poured about the altar; the body of the animal, however, was 

2. Peace offerings, which according to the intention were sacri 
fices of thanksgiving or of petition. 

3. Expiatory sacrifices for the atonement of sins, at which 
the altar also was sprinkled with blood. A special sacrifice of 
expiation took place on the great Feast of Atonement. Two he- 
goats were brought in, one was slaughtered, and its blood 


sprinkled on the Ark of the Covenant, the other was driven into 
the wilderness. 

(b) The unbloody sacrifices were either offerings of food ? 
drink, or incense. 

Why were the sacrifices of the Old Law abolished? Because, 
they were only figures of the immaculate sacrifice of the New 
Law, and were, therefore, not to last longer than the Old Law 

As all other usages of the Old Law, so also the sacrifices which 
God had ordained through Moses, were only figures which were to 
refer to, and make preparation for, something to come. As 
soon as the fulfilment took place, and the object itself appeared 
in place of the figure, naturally the figure ceased to exist. 

What is the sacrifice of the New Law? The sacrifice of the 
New Law is the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, who by His 
death on the Cross offered Himself to His heavenly Father 
for us. 

As no creature could efface and atone for the guilt of sin with 
which man was burdened, God sent His only begotten Son into 
the world, so that as God-man He could offer such sacrifice of 
atonement as alone could render complete satisfaction to divine 
justice. Christ loved us, and offered Himself for us as a gift and 
sacrifice to God as a sweet odor. Jesus sacrificed Himself volun 
tarily : no one could have taken His life if He had not willed to 
offer it up. He offered it as an immaculate sacrifice to God. 
Jesus is therefore at once the sacrifice and the officiating priest 
of the New Law. Instead of the blood of the sacrificial animal, 
the Blood of Jesus flowed, and the Cross was the altar upon which 
Jesus offered up His Blood for the salvation of mankind. 

The death of Jesus upon the Cross was a true sacrifice, for: 
1. Christ there offered Himself to His heavenly Father as a 
visible gift, to glorify Him and to render satisfaction to His 
justice for the sins of man. 2. Christ offered Himself volun 
tarily: He is Himself the Priest who for this was sent by the 
Father into the world. 3. He offered His Body and His Blood 
to God as atonement for the sins of man. 4. The destruction 
of the gift of sacrifice took place in the death of the Lord. In 
tli is sacrifice is contained in a most perfect manner everything 
that the sacrifice, and particularly the sacrifice of the Old Law, 


prefigured and indicated. It was the most perfect sacrifice of 
atonement. It was the most exalted sacrifice of praise, for no 
other sacrifice could so glorify God as the sacrifice of the Son of 
God. No other oblation could be as agreeable to God as thanks 
giving, or mightier as a petition for us than the sacrifice of His 
only begotten Son. As this sacrifice unites in itself all others, 
and, as regards the oblation, is of infinite value, it follows that it 
suffices for all times and for all men, and that no other sacrifice 
is necessary. 

Was all sacrifice to cease with the death of Christ ? No ; there 
was to be in the New Law of Grace a perpetual sacrifice, in order 
to renew continually that which was once accomplished on the 
Cross, and to apply the fruits of the sacrifice of the Cross to our 

That in the New Law of Grace a perpetual sacrifice was to 
exist may be gathered from the Old Law. The Old Law had a 
perpetual sacrifice, all nations offered sacrifices continually, and 
it is essential to the worship of God that man should continually 
offer Him sacrifice. 

Although the sacrifice of the Cross once accomplished was 
sufficient for all time, yet not the remembrance of a remote sacri 
fice only was to remain with men, but the sacrifice was to be 
ever present with them, and that which had been acquired for 
all men upon the Cross was, by a perpetual renewal of this sac 
rifice, to be applied also to each one. 

Was such a sacrifice promised to us by God ? Yes ; even in the 
Old Law it was prefigured by the sacrifice of Melchisedech, and 
was foretold by the Prophet Malachias : "I have no pleasure in 
you (Jews), saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will not receive a 
gift of your hand ; for from the rising of the sun even -to the 
going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every 
place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean 
oblation" (Mai. i, 10, 11). In this prophecy it is clearly ex 
pressed that: 

1. The Jewish sacrifice was to be abolished by God. 

2. In its place a new sacrifice was to be offered, which should 
be a clean sacrifice, and, as the Hebrew expression indicates, an 
oblation. This sacrifice was to be offered up to God perpetually 
among all nations, and in all places. 


This prophecy certainly does not apply to the bloody sacrifice 
of the Cross, which is not offered at all times and in all places, but 
was only offered once, upon Golgotha. This prophecy applies, 
however, perfectly to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

The sacrifice of Melchisedech was a figure of the Sacrifice of 
the Mass. Melchisedech was King of Salem, prince and priest, 
and as such he was a type of Jesus Christ. Melchisedech offered 
up bread and wine. His sacrifice was an offering of food. Jesus 
Christ was to institute a more exalted sacrifice. 

Which is the perpetual sacrifice foretold by Malachias? It is 
the Sacrifice of the Mass. 

By whom was the Sacrifice of the Mass instituted ? It was 
instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. 

At the Last Supper Christ Himself celebrated the Holy Sac 
rifice of the Mass for the first time, and gave also to His Apostles 
the power and command to continue to celebrate it. Christ at 
the Last Supper offered up Himself to His heavenly Father un 
der the appearances of bread and wine. He said : "This is my 
body, which shall be offered up for you. This is the chalice of 
my blood, which shall be shed for you/ By the separated species 
Jesus here evidently represents His death, which certainly was 
a sacrifice. He celebrates it beforehand, gives even now His 
Body and His Blood for us. He offers Himself for us to His 
heavenly Father, to whom He looks up, whom lie thanks, to 
whom also He offers Himself upon the Cross. We find here at 
the Last Supper the same parts which form the chief parts of 
the Mass, as: Offertory, Consecration, Communion. Without 
sacrifice the figure of the Holy Eucharist, the Paschal Lamb, 
would not be exactly fulfilled. Jesus instituted the Supper of 
the lS T ew Law as sacrifice and Sacrament for all time, by saying 
to His Apostles : "Do this in commemoration of me." 

For this reason the Council of Trent declares : "Whoever sup 
poses by the words: Do this in commemoration of me/ Christ 
did not ordain the Apostles as priests, or did not intend that they 
and other priests should offer up His Body and Blood, let him 
be anathema (excommunicated)." 

Has Mass always been celebrated, from the time of the Apostles 
and their successors? Yes; for even among the first Christians 


it was said that: "They persevered in the community of the 
breaking of bread." 

St. Paul the Apostle writes: "We (Christians) have an altar, 
whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle,, i. a., 
the Jews" (Heb. xiii, 10). If the Christians had an altar, they 
must also have had a .sacrifice. St. Paul said to the heathens: 
"You can not take part in the table of the Lord and in evil 
spirits." (Because the heathens offered sacrifices to evil 
spirits) . 


Have there been sacrifices at all times? Yes; there have been 
sacrifices from the beginning of the world, and under the Old Law 
they were strictly commanded by God Himself. 

Why were the sacrifices of the Old Law abolished? Because they 
were only figures of the sacrifice of the New Law, and were, there 
fore, not to last longer than the Old Law itself. 

What is the sacrifice of the New Law? The Son of God Him 
self, Jesus Christ. 

Did Jesus offer Himself voluntarily or was He compelled thereto? 
He offered Himself voluntarily, as He can not be compelled. 

Which was the altar upon which the High Priest sacrificed Him 
self? It was the Cross. 

Could there have been a sacrifice more agreeable to God? No. 

Was not the sacrifice made by Jesus on the Cross sufficient for 
the redemption of the world? Yes. 

Why, then, did Jesus institute the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? 
As a remembrance and renewal of His death upon the Cross. 

Who instituted the Sacrifice of the Mass. Jesus Christ Himself, 
at the Last Supper, with the words, "Do this in commemoration of 

What did Jesus wish to imply by these words? Jesus wished to 
say that the Apostles and their successors were to do the same as 
He Himself had done. 

Who, therefore, offered up the first Mass? Our divine Saviour 
Jesus Christ. 

Did the Apostles also celebrate Mass? Yes; they celebrated it. 

What are still preserved from the earliest times of Christianity? 
Altars, chalices, priestly garments, pictures, etc. 

What proof is given by the existence of these things? That 
Holy Mass has been offered up from the time of Jesus up to our 
own times uninterruptedly. 

Is, then, Holy Mass an institution of modern times? No; it is 

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. 


Q. How is the Mass tlie same sacrifice as that of the 

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. 

*267. Q. What were the ends for which the sacrifice of the 
Cross was offered? 

A. The ends for which the sacrifice of the Cross was 
offered: were 1st, To honor and glorify God; 2d, 
To thank Him for all the graces bestowed on the 
whole world; 3d, To satisfy God s justice for the 
sins of men; 4th, To obtain all graces and blessings. 

The sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice as that of the 
Cross; different only in the manner of offering. 

The difference is only in the manner in which the sacrifice is 
offered, not in the nature of the sacrifice. 

He, therefore, who offers the sacrifice of the Mass and He who 
is offered are one and the same. We know that the priest is 
Christ s representative, and that at the consecration he says the 
words : "This is my body, this is my blood." Christ speaks and 
consecrates, not the priest, but Christ through him. The Victim 
is also the same. The Body and the Blood of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ are offered up in the sacrifice of the Mass. 

*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. 

On the Cross Christ offered Himself in a bloody manner, but 
in the Mass He offers Himself in an unbloody manner, to renew 
the sacrifice accomplished on the Cross, without suffering or 
dying. The glorified Body of the Lord is no longer capable of 


suffering or death. The bloody sacrifice was to take place only 

How urgently these facts ought to admonish us to assist at 
Holy Mass with reverence and devotion ! And yet how many 
Christians are there who indifferently neglect to hear Mass., or, 
when they do assist, are so preoccupied that even at the solemn 
moment of Consecration they give themselves up to every dis 

Which are the principal parts of the Mass? 

1. The Offertory; 2. The Consecration, and 3. The Com 
munion. The essential part is from the Consecration to the 
Communion of the Priest inclusive. At the Offertory, the un- 
consecrated bread and the unconsecrated wine are offered up. 
The most important moment is the Consecration, at which bread 
and wine are changed into the true Body and Blood of Jesus 
Christ. At the Communion the priest receives the Sacred Body 
and Precious Blood of Christ. In order to draw the attention of 
the faithful present to the principal parts of the Mass, the bell 
is rung. 

To whom do we offer the sacrifice of the Mass? We offer it 
to God alone. We also, however, commemorate the saints in it. 
We do not offer the sacrifice of the Mass to a saint, or a martyr, 
or an angel, but to God alone. He is the supreme Lord of heaven, 
and earth. From Him comes all help, and to Him alone is the 
sacrifice of the Mass offered. The sacrifice of the Mass is an act 
of adoration, and for this reason it can and must only be offered 
to God alone, who is the supreme Lord. It is not forbidden to 
celebrate the memory of the saints at Holy Mass, but we know 
that to the saints belongs veneration, and not worship. 

How do we celebrate the memory of the saints at Mass? 

1. By rendering thanks to God for all the graces bestowed 
upon them in this life, and for the glory they now enjoy in 
heaven; and 2. By imploring their intercession for us. 

What are the ends for which we offer the Sacrifice of the Mass ? 

We offer it to God : 

1. As a sacrifice of praise for His honor and glory; 

2. As a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the graces and benefits 
received from Him; 


3. As a sacrifice of propitiation for the many offenses given 
to Him; and 

4. As a sacrifice of petition, to obtain His assistance in our 
necessities of soul and body. 

To whom are the fruits of Holy Mass applied ? To the whole 
Church, the living and the dead. There are general, special, and 
most special fruits of the Holy Mass. The general fruits are 
applied to the whole Church by virtue of the Communion, es 
pecially to those assisting at the Mass. Besides this general fruit 
there is also a special fruit. This is applied to those for whom in 
particular the Mass is offered. The most special fruit goes to 
the celebrant of the Mass. The Masses for the dead are called 
Requiem Masses. 

At all times the Holy Mass has been offered for special inten 
tions just as it is to-day. In olden times the faithful brought 
with them bread and wine, of which a part was either consecrated 
or used for the sacrifice of the Mass, the rest was intended for 
the poor and also for the support of the priest, according to the 
words of the Apostle, "Those who serve the altar shall live by the 
altar." Later the faithful brought in place of bread and wine a 
gift of money. Thus arose the custom of giving so-called stipends 
for Masses, which are by no means tendered as payment for the 
sacrifice, but are a voluntary offering toward the support of 

What is the proper time and place for celebrating Mass? 
Holy Mass is solemnized only before noon. 

Christ celebrated Mass in a room; and in the early period of 
Christianity Mass was celebrated in the houses of the faithful. 
During times of persecution the Holy Sacrifice was celebrated in 
underground caves and in the burial places of martyrs (cata 
combs). Afterward churches were erected, and in them the Holy 
Sacrifice was celebrated. The buildings intended for the offer 
ing of the Holy Sacrifice were consecrated, and the relics of 
martyrs and other Faints were deposited in them. The altars 
of the churches were erected toward the rising sun. 

The altar must be covered with three folds of linen. There 
must also be a crucifix upon it, anil at least two lighted candles 
during the celebration of Mass. 


The vestments which the priest wears during Mass, and the 
vessels of which he makes use, are the following: 

1. The shoulder cloth (amice) represents the cloth with 
which the face of Christ was covered. 

2. The alb, the long white garment, is a reminder of that 
vesture which Herod caused to be put upon the Saviour, and is a 
symbol of purity. 

3. The girdle reminds us of the rope with which Jesus was 
bound for the scourging, and by it the Church urges us to 
bridle our evil desires. 

4. The maniple served formerly as a cloth with which to dry 
tears. It reminds us of the handkerchief used by Jesus, also of 
the bands with which His hands were tied, and it calls upon us 
to undertake cheerfully all hardships and cares. 

5. The stole, the mark of priestly authority, is a reminder 
that God through Christ has given us back the robe of honor of 
His grace, and it symbolizes the rope which was tied around the 
neck of Christ with which He was dragged from place to place. 

6. The chasuble (formerly a long mantle) reminds us of the 
purple robe which was put on Jesus to mock Him, and signifies 
that sweet yoke, the Cross of Christ. It typifies in its two parts 
the commandment of the love of God and our neighbor. 

The different colors of the priest s vestments have also their 
meaning : 

1. The white signifies innocence and spiritual joy, and is worn 
upon festivals in honor of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, the 
angels, confessors and virgins. 

2. The red, symbol of the love of God, is worn on the feasts of 
Pentecost, the finding and exaltation of the Cross, and of martyrs. 

3. The green, symbol of eternal hope, is worn from Pentecost 
until Advent. 

4. The violet or purple, token of humility and penance, used 
in penitential seasons, in Advert and from Septuagesima Sun 
day until the end of Lent. 

5. The black, color of death, used on Good Friday and in all 
Masses for the dead. 

The altar stone signifies Mount Calvary ; the altar cloths, 
the burial clothes of Jesus ; the steps before the altar, the Mount 
of Olives and the way to Calvary; the Missal signifies the book 


of debt which was canceled by the sacrifice of Jesus; the two 
cruets betoken the sponge filled with gall and vinegar given to 
Jesus upon the Cross. 

The sacred vessels of which the priest makes use at Mass are : 

(a) The chalice, the upper part of which (the cup) signifies 
the tomb of Christ. It must be made either of solid gold, or 
of silver with a substantial gold surface. 

(b) The paten, a small plate, upon which the Host lies; 
this, with the cover of the chalice (pall), represents the grave 

(c) The purificatory signifies the handkerchief. 

(d) The corporal, the grave clothes. 

(e) The chalice cloth, the mantle of Jesus. 
AVhy is the Mass said in Latin ? 

The Latin and Greek languages were the languages uni 
versally iised at the institution of Christianity. Now a dead 
language, the Latin tongue does not change with the times, like 
other languages. It was at all times the language of the 
Church. All the priests of Christendom stand united, by the 
uniformity of the Church s language, with the center of Chris 
tendom, Rome. The Christian people, although not understand 
ing the Church s language, unite themselves in spirit with the 
officiating priest. 

Endeavor to assist daily at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with 
sincere devotion and profound reverence. At the Offertory, offer 
yourself with Jesus Christ to the heavenly Father; at the Con 
secration pray humbly to your Saviour and beg His forgiveness ; 
at the Communion, communicate at least spiritually, i. e., 
awaken an ardent desire to unite yourself with the Lord in the 
Sacrament of His love. 

269. Q. How should we assist at Mass? 

A. We should assist at Mass with great interior recollec 
tion and piety and with every outward mark of 
respect and devotion. 
*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 Hohj Communion. 



What difference is there between the sacrifice of the Mass and 
the sacrifice of Jesus upon the Cross? The sacrifice of the Mass is 
the same sacrifice as that of the Cross, only the manner of offering 
is different. 

What is understood by Mass stipends? Any gift which is volun 
tarily contributed by the faithful for the support of the priest. 

Can the Holy Mass itself be paid for? No; it is of such supreme 
value that it can not be paid for. 

When must Holy Mass be celebrated? It must be celebrated 
before noon. 

Where must it be celebrated? Upon a consecrated altar, and as 
a rule only in a church consecrated by the Bishop. 

What must there be upon an altar where Mass is read? A 
crucifix and at least two lighted candles. 


The Virtuous Page. St. Elizabeth, Queen of Portugal, had in 
her service as page a pious and faithful youth, whom she was ac 
customed to employ in the distribution of her alms. One of his 
fellow pages, filled with envy at the confidence reposed in him, de 
termined to effect his ruin, and accordingly suggested to the king 
that this page was regarded with too much favor by the saintly 
queen. The slander was believed, and the king, stung with jealousy, 
resolved to take away the life of the page. For this purpose he gave 
orders to the master of a limekiln, that, if on a certain day he 
should send to him a certain page to inquire whether he had executed 
the king s commands, he should at once seize the boy and cast him 
into the furnace, for that he had been guilty of a grievous crime, 
and deserved death. On the day appointed he called for tfie 
youth, and having given the message that had been agreed upon, 
he sent him to deliver it. Now it happened that the page on his 
way to the kiln passed by a church at the very moment when the 
bell was ringing for the Elevation. As it had always been his pious 
custom in such a case not to pass on until the Holy Sacrifice was 
ended, he entered the church, and knelt down to hear the remainder 
of the Mass. Meanwhile the king became impatient to know whether 
his designs had succeeded, and, by the wonderful providence of God, 
despatched the accuser himself to inquire whether his orders had 
been executed. This being the very message agreed upon with the 
master of the kiln, the unhappy youth was immediately seized, and, 
in spite of all his remonstrances, cast amid the burning lime, where 
he was quickly consumed. As soon as the Mass was concluded, the 
page who had been first despatched hastened on to deliver his 
message. Upon inquiring whether the king s orders had been 
executed, he was told that they had, and he returned with this 
message to the king. The latter, seeing him return, was struck 
with fear and amazement, and, upon hearing the circumstances, per 
ceived at once the innocence of the youth, and admired the justice 
and providence of God, who, while He protected and preserved the 
virtuous page, allowed the very punishment designed for him to fall 
on the head of his calumniator. 


Lesson Twenty-fifth 

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 sick 

This Sacrament is called Extreme Unction because it is 
usually the last of the holy unctions administered by the 

As man at his entrance into life is in Holy Baptism sanctified 
by anointing, so also upon his departure from this life he is 
anointed, sanctified,, and cleansed from the remains of his sins. 

It is necessary that we should be well instructed concerning 
this Sacrament, because it is received only during serious ill 
ness, when instructions may not be possible. While only the sick 
can receive this Sacrament, they should not wait until in extreme 
danger of death, but should, if possible, receive it while yet in 
full possession of their senses. 

Whence do we know that the Sacrament of Extreme Unction 
was instituted by Christ? 

We know this: 1. From Holy Scripture; and, 2. From the 
invariable doctrine of the Church. 

What does Holy Scripture say of Extreme Unction? 

The Apostle St. James says in his Epistle (v, 14, 15), "Is 
any man sick among you, let him bring in the priests of the 
Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in 
the name of the Lord ; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick 
man, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he be in sins, they 
shall be forgiven him." 

Holy Scripture does not say when and how Christ instituted 
the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, but the words of St. James 
above quoted prove that it was instituted by Christ as a Sacra 
ment. We know, also, that such was the invariable doctrine of 
the Church. Extreme Unction was at all times administered in 


the Church, and in proof of this it is even found among the 
Oriental sects of early origin. Furthermore,, the Council of 
Trent has expressed itself thereupon in the following words: 
"Tf any one says that Extreme Unction is not a true and real 
Sacrament instituted by Christ Our Lord, and proclaimed by 
the Apostle St. James, but only an accepted custom of the 
Fathers, or that it is of human invention, let him be anathema !" 

Holy Fathers of the Church, as St. Chrysostom and others, 
rank Extreme Unction with Baptism and Penance, denoting it 
a Sacrament the same as these. 

The outward sign of Extreme Unction is found in the anoint 
ing of the sick person with oil (matter) and the prayer which 
is said at the anointing (form). 

How is Extreme Unction administered? 

The priest anoints with holy oil the various organs of senses 
of the sick person, and uses at each anointing this form of 
prayer: "Through this holy unction and God s mercy, may the 
Lord forgive thee whatever sins thou hast committed by thy 
sight, by thy hearing," etc. 

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. 

Q. Should we wait until we are in extreme danger be 
fore 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 

Who administers this holy Sacrament? 
The priest. 

To whom is Extreme Unction administered ? 
To the sick only. 

274:. Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Extreme 

Unction ? 

A. The effects of Extreme Unction are: 1st, To comfort 
us in the pains of sickness and to strengthen us 


against temptation; 2d, To remit venial sins and 
to cleanse our soul from the remains of sin; 3d, 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. 

What are the effects of Extreme Unction? 

Extreme Unction., 1. Increases sanctifying grace; 2. Eemits 
venial sins, and also those mortal sins which the sick person can 
no longer confess; 3. Eemoves the remains of sins already for 
given ; and, 4. Strengthens the soul in her sufferings and temp 
tations, especially in death agony. 

Extreme Unction increases in us sanctifying grace, for it is a 
Sacrament of the living, and can, as a rule, only be administered 
after the mortal sins have already been forgiven. 

Extreme Unction remits venial sins. For this reason St. 
James says, "If he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him." But 
through Extreme Unction even those mortal sins are remitted 
which the sick person can no longer confess. So long as con 
fession is possible, the Sacrament of Penance is necessary for the 
forgiveness of mortal sins and as preparation for Extreme 
Unction. If, however, confession is impossible, then, if great 
contrition is present, mortal sins may be forgiven by Extreme 

By Extreme Unction the remains of sins are removed. Even 
after sins have been forgiven there remain weakness of the 
will, inclination to evil and temporal punishment. Even if the 
soul has been cleansed from sin, yet all the consequences of sin 
have not been removed. The soul is still greatly hindered by 
the consequences of sin, remembrance of past sins fills it with 
fear and trembling at the approach of death. 

It fortifies the sick person to bear his sufferings patiently, to 
overcome the temptations of the evil one, and to meet death 
with Christian resignation. Suffering, trouble, and care may 
depress the sick person, and discourage him, but the Lord com 
forts him through the reception of the Sacraments. While death 


agony can not be avoided, it is often greatly lessened and the 
patient is fortified to bear it more easily by Extreme Unction. 

Extreme Unction often relieves the pains of the sick person 
during his illness, and sometimes restores him to health, if God 
deems this expedient for the salvation of his soul. 

Soul and body are intimately united to one another, and fre 
quently the welfare of the body depends upon the repose and dis 
position of the mind, that is, of the soul. The devout and 
reasonable Christian can desire nothing better than that the 
state of his conscience should be in order. Is not the sick man 
solicitous for the order of his household, his temporal affairs, 
the making of his will? Why, therefore, should he not be more 
solicitous for the welfare of his soul, which will live forever? 

The reception of Extreme Unction should, therefore, inspire 
men with sentiments of confidence and hope, not with fear of 
death and anxiety, for Extreme Unction is salutary for both soul 
and body. A person grievously sick should not, therefore, delay 
the reception of this Sacrament until in extreme danger or too 

Who can receive Extreme Unction? 

Every Catholic who has come to the use of reason and who is 
in danger of death by sickness. 

It, therefore, can be received not only by adults, but also by 
children who have reached the age of reason. Those in danger 
of death from reasons other than sickness, as, for instance, 
criminals condemned to be executed, can not receive the Sacra 
ment of Extreme Unction, as it can be administered only to the 

To children under seven years of age and to idiots and insane 
it can not be administered. That it is an obligation to receive 
Extreme Unction in serious illness is verified by the words of 
St. James. If it is not, like Baptism, an indispensable means of 
salvation, yet it is enjoined upon the sick in danger of death, 
and the neglect of so great a Sacrament would not be free from 
grave fault and offense to the Holy Ghost. 

*276. Q. How should we receive the Sacrament of Extreme 

Unction ? 
A. We should receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction 


in the state of grace, and with lively faith and 
resignation to the luill of God. 
*277. Q. Who is the minister of the Sacrament of Extreme 

Unction ? 

A. The priest is the minister of the Sacrament of Ex 
treme Unction. 

How are we to receive Extreme Unction ? 
We are to receive it : 

1. In the state of grace, wherefore we must previously, if 
possible, confess our sins or at least make an act of perfect con 
trition; and, 

2. With faith, hope, charity, and resignation to the will of 

Extreme Unction is, as we have already heard, a Sacrament of 
the living. We must, therefore, be in a state of grace when re 
ceiving it, for which reason we should, when possible, previously 
confess and communicate. When no longer possible to receive 
the Sacrament of Penance, we must, at least, make an act of per 
fect contrition. 

When should we receive Extreme Unction ? 

We should receive it while still in our senses, after having 
received the Viaticum. 

If a sick person is in mortal sin and puts off receiving the 
Sacrament of Penance he runs a great risk, for he may gradually 
become unconscious and thus have no time to repent of his sins. 
Without repentance there is no forgiveness. Even Extreme 
Unction can not be administered to him if he should lapse into 
unconsciousness before having repented of his sins. Further 
more, a sick person very near death is usually no longer able to 
prepare himself properly, or co-operate, and, therefore, deprives 
himself of many graces. We should, therefore, not postpone the 
reception of Extreme Unction. It is particularly the duty of 
relatives of the sick person to call in the priest in good time, and 
surely when there is a sudden change for the worse. We should 
not leave our relatives who are dangerously sick in ignorance of 
their condition. It is an unjustifiable, false regard for the sick 
person, in fact, neglect and cruelty, when from fear of tiring 
the sick person, or frightening him, we cause him to postpone 


the receiving of the last Sacraments until perhaps too late. Many 
sick persons can not recognize the danger of their condition, 
even believe that they are getting better, when really death is at 
the door. 

How often may Extreme Unction be received ? 

In each dangerous illness it can be received, and it can be 
repeated in the same illness if there is relapse into danger. Dur 
ing a continued period of danger Extreme Unction can be re 
ceived only once. Its effects last as long as the immediate danger 
of death continues. We can and should receive it as often as we 
are dangerously ill and death might occur. 

The sickroom should be properly prepared when the priest 
comes to administer the last Sacraments. 

The following things are necessary : A small table covered with 
a clean white cloth; on it a crucifix and one or two lighted can 
dles in candlesticks; some holy water in a small vessel, with a 
sprinkler, which may be a piece of palm ; a glass of clean water, 
a tablespoon, a napkin for the sick person, some white cotton 
wadding, water and towel. 

Every Catholic family should have all these things ready, for 
persons may be taken suddenly ill during the night and the 
administration of the Sacraments may then have to be delayed 
on account of the absence of preparation. While the last Sacra 
ments are administered the patient s relatives should offer up 
prayers for him, especially when the moment of death is ap 
proaching. It is an old custom to light a blessed candle in the 
sickroom. It is to remind of the candle at Holy Baptism and 
first Communion, and symbolizes Christ, the only light in the 
shadow of death and the eternal light of the soul. It is most 
consoling if the priest is able to remain with the dying during 
the death agony. The dying person should be frequently 
sprinkled with holy water, and the crucifix should be presented 
to him to kiss. The prayers for the dying should be recited for 
him. At the moment of death remember that the soul is now 
before God s tribunal, and pray for the departed with special 
fervor. To be present at a death bed, particularly where the 
death agony is severe, is the best of penitential sermons and the 
best means to induce us seriously to consider our eternal salva 
tion. The thought that it will be our unavoidable fate to die 


should ever remain present in our minds, so that by its salutary 
effects we may be prevented from falling into sin. 


Whence do we know that the Sacrament of Extreme Unction was 
instituted by Christ? We know this: 1. From Holy Scripture, and 
2. From the doctrine of the Church. 

What is the outward sign of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction? 
The anointing with holy oil is the matter, and the prayer of the 
priest joined with it is the form. 

How do we care for our soul during sickness? By receiving the 
last Sacraments. 

Why do so many persons fear to receive the last Sacraments? 
They imagine that then they must give up all hope to get well. 

What should they consider rather? They should reflect that the 
reception of the last Sacraments is good for body and soul. 

Who can receive Extreme Unction? Every Catholic who has 
come to the use of reason, and is in danger of death from sickness. 

To whom can Extreme Unction not be given? To persons in 
danger of death from reasons other than sickness, as condemned 

To what other persons can it not be given? To children under 
seven years of age, and those of unsound mind. 

Is Extreme Unction as necessary to our salvation as Baptism? 
No; it is not. 

To what risk is a person exposed who delays the reception of 
Extreme Unction? He exposes himself to the danger of being sur 
prised by death and of dying in his sins. 


The Young Child. At the beginning of Lent, 1850, a priest in 
Paris was summoned to a young boy s bedside, who had been given 
up by the doctors. The priest gave him Holy Communion and then 
administered Extreme Unction, which the child received with great 
fervor and devotion. The priest afterward tried to console the 
heartbroken mother, and then took his leave, never for a moment 
expecting to see the boy again in this life. The following day the 
doctor was surprised to find him still alive, and what was his aston 
ishment to see that all fever had gone, and all the symptoms of 
death of the previous day. He was bewildered! Three days later, 
the boy was up and playing with his brothers, and his health con 
tinued to improve. Such was one of the results of Extreme Unction. 

278. Q. What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders? 

A. Holy Orders is a Sacrament by which Bishops, 
priests, and oilier ministers of the Church are 
ordained and receive the power and grace to per 
form their sacred duties. 


On whom did Christ confer the priesthood? On His Apostles, 
and througli the Apostles npon their successors, Bishops and 
priests. The word Apostle means ambassador, messenger. As 
a matter of fact the Apostles were the messengers of the Saviour, 
for Jesus said to them: "As the Father hath sent me, so do I 
send you. Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 
Amen !" Christ needed Apostles, messengers, for if the Church 
was to continue until the end of the world, there had to be 
those who would continue the teaching office and the office of 
priest and shepherd. 

Could the priesthood, therefore, be allowed to end with the 
death of the Apostles ? 

No ; because the Church was not to end with their death. 

If, however, the priestly dignity and authority was to continue 
in the Church, it had to be conferred by the Apostles upon their 

The priestly power as it was first possessed by the Apostles 
was a supernatural and divine one, as follows : 

1. From the power to change the bread and wine into the 
true Body and the true Blood of Jesus Christ. 

2. From the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them at Pente 
cost in the form of fiery tongues. 

No human being possesses the first named power of himself, 
nor can one impart this power to another except in a super 
natural manner, and this takes place in the Sacrament of Holy 
Orders. Through it the priestly power continues spiritually in 
the New Law, as in the Old Law it descended by natural inheri 
tance from the high priest Aaron. 

While the first five Sacraments are instituted for the salva 
tion of individual persons, Holy Orders is necessary for the wel 
fare of the whole Church. Sacraments require administration 
by the priesthood. As a consequence the priesthood is neces 
sary in the Church, as also the Sacrament of Holy Orders 
through which the priesthood is continued. 

What are the principal powers of priesthood ? 

1. The power to change bread and wine into the Body and 
Blood of Our Lord; and 2. The power to forgive sins. 

The offering up of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the center 


of the Catholic Church and -of all her divine worship. All 
consecrations have more or less reference to the Holy Sacra 
ment of the Altar. Therefore, the real power of the priests is 
the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the changing of 
the bread and wine into the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus. 
The priests have, furthermore, the power to baptize, to forgive 
sins, to administer the Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Matri 
mony, etc. Confirmation and Holy Orders can, as a rule, be ad 
ministered only by the Bishops. Priests have also the power to 
bless and to consecrate. 

Is there in Holy Orders also a visible sign which indicates the 
communicating of the invisible power and grace? 

Yes ; there are several : the imposition of hands and the 
prayer of the Bishop, and the handing of the chalice with wine, 
and of the paten with bread. 

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 knowl 

edge and a divine call to ifiis sacred office. 
*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 


Alwa} r s show due respect and submission to priests as the 
representatives of God and the dispensers of His holy mysteries ; 
and should you happen to perceive in any of them human fail 
ings, do not be scandalized, but "Whatsoever they shall say to 
you, observe and do ; but according to their works do ye not" 
(Matt, xxiii, 3). Pray frequently to the Lord of the harvest 
that He may send laborers into His vineyard. 

*281. Q. Who can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders? 

A. Bishops can confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders. 

According to theologians the principal difference between 
Bishops and priests consists in this, that the former alone can 
confer consecration. 


Can not also civil authorities or. Christian governments confer 
spiritual powers? 

No ; they can not confer spiritual powers, because they possess 
none themselves. Christ granted His authority to the Apostles 
and their successors, the Bishops, who are thus authorized to 
conduct and rule the Church of God. 

Can a priest be deprived of his ordination ? 

No; he can as little be deprived of ordination as of Baptism, 
because it imprints an indelible character upon the soul. 

Besides those of priest and Bishop there are other orders which 
are preparatory degrees to the priesthood, namely: 

1. The four minor orders by which those who receive them 
are qualified for various offices connected with the divine service. 

2. The order of subdeacon, who has to assist the deacon when 
serving at the altar; and 

3. The order of deacon, who assists the priest at the altar, 
and helps him also in baptizing, preaching, and giving Holy 


Since Christ desired that the Church instituted by Him should 
continue until the end of the world, what must also continue? The 

Which Sacrament did Christ institute for this purpose? The 
Sacrament of Holy Orders. 

What are the principal powers of priesthood? 1. The power to 
change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord; and 
2. The power to forgive dins. 

What does the priest s dignity require from us? It requires re 
spect, submission, and obedience. 


The Priest- Hater. A man who had murdered many priests dur 
ing the French Revolution, had sworn that no priest should ever set 
foot in his house and go forth alive. He fell sick, and a priest, facing 
the danger he was fully aware of, ventured to appear before him. See 
ing him, the sick man fell into a fury, and summoning up all his 
strength, exclaimed: "What! a priest in my house! Bring me my 
pistols!" His pistols were refused to him; then drawing out his 
knife, he threatened the priest: "This knife has slaughtered a dozen 
of your priests." "You are mistaken, my dear man," answered the 
priest mildly: "there is one less to be counted, the twelfth is not 
dead; I am he; see the marks of the wounds you gave me; God has 
preserved me to save you." With these words he embraced the sick 
man and helped him to die well. 


Lesson Twenty-sixth 


282. Q. What is the Sacrament of Matrimony? 

.4. T/ie Sacraruent of Matrimony is the Sacrament which 
unites a Christian man and woman in lawful 

*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 can not be united in 
lawful marriage in any other way than by the Sac 
rament of Matrimony, because Christ raised mar 
riage to the dignity of a Sacrament. 

Matrimony may be regarded in different ways. In its prin 
cipal aspect it is the natural union between man and woman to 
attain the aim of matrimony, the propagation of the human 

As such an union it rests upon an agreement which is entered 
into by two persons. This union,, to ensure the proper raising 
and training of children, must be stable and indissoluble. Matri 
mony is not at all necessary for every one ; indeed, the unwedded, 
virginal, life, when chosen according to God s will, is preferable 
and better than the married state. That God Himself instituted 
matrimony, the union of man and woman, may be seen from the 
history of the first man s creation. God Himself presented Eve 
to Adam as his helpmate. God Himself blessed the first marriage 
when He said, "Grow and multiply." 

Among pagans, woman had been utterly degraded and 

Christ restored marriage to its original purity and aim as God 
had instituted it in paradise. He even raised it to the dignity of 
a Sacrament. Christ ordained: 

1. The unity of matrimony, i. e., the union of one man and 
one woman. 

2. The indissolubility of marriage. "What God has joined 
together, let no man put asunder." 


Christ not only restored marriage to its original purity and 
high standard, but He sanctified it by His presence at the mar 
riage of Cana, as also by performing there His first miracle, 
changing water into wine. A type of wedded union is the union 
of Jesus Christ, as heavenly Bridegroom, with the Church, His 
spouse. Man is the superior of the wife, as Christ is the head of 
the Church. 

Marriage in the New Law is not only a contract toward a 
natural union, but it is at the same time a Sacrament which 
bestows grace upon the faithful for the fulfilment of the duties 
of this state. 

How do we know that matrimony is a Sacrament? 

We know it, 1. Because St. Paul teaches so when he calls 
matrimony in the Church a great Sacrament. 2. Because the 
Catholic Church has always believed and taught so. 

Christian marriage is distinguished over a purely natural 
union because it is a Sacrament. The wedded pair should, 
according to the words of St. Paul, love one another as Christ 
loved His Church. This, however, is a supernatural love, and 
for it married people require divine grace. For this reason 
Christ has bestowed His grace upon Matrimony; it is a great 
mystery in Christ, because it is a symbol of Christ s union with 
the Church. The entrance into matrimony takes place by an 
outward sign to which is attached an interior grace. It is in 
this manner instituted by Christ, and is, therefore, in truth a 

*284. Q. Can the bond of Christian marriage be dissolved by 
any human power? 

A. The bond of Christian marriage can not be dissolved 

by any human power. 

285. Q. Which are the effects of the Sacrament of Matri 

A. The effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony are, 1st, 
To sanctify the love of husband and wife; 2d, To 
give them grace to bear ivith each other s weak 
nesses; 3d, To enable them to bring up their chil 
dren in the fear and love of God. 


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 

*287. Q. Who has the right to make laws concerning the Sac 
rament of marriage? 

A. The Church alone has the right to make laws con 
cerning the Sacrament of marriage, though the 
state also has the right to make laws concerning the 
civil effects of the marriage contract. 

*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. 
*290. Q. Why do many marriages prove unhappy? 

A. Many marriages prove unhappy because they are 

entered into hastily and without worthy motives. 

*291. Q. How should Christians prepare for a holy and happy 

marriage ? 

A. Christians should prepare for a holy and happy mar 
riage by receiving the Sacraments of Penance and 
Holy Eucharist; by begging God to grant them, a 
pure intention and to direct their clioice; and by 
seeking the advice of their parents and the blessing 
of their pastors. 

For the valid conclusion of marriage, bridegroom and bride 
must declare before a priest and two witnesses that they take 


each other for husband and wife, whereupon the priest blesses 
their union. Marriage must be preceded by the publication of 
the banns, and by the reception of the Sacraments of Penance 
and of the Altar. Marriage should, as a rule, be celebrated in the 
forenoon, in the Church and during Holy Mass. Entrance into 
the state of matrimony is an event of the greatest importance for 
the natural and supernatural welfare of the parties. The Church 
has, therefore, provided a special Mass for the celebration of 
nuptials, in which a special blessing is said over the bridal 
couple. All those earnestly concerned about their welfare will, 
therefore, arrange to get married during Mass. 


St. Monica and Patricius. St. Monica may serve as a model for 
persons whom God calls to manage a household. Patricius, her hus 
band, was a pagan, and gave himself up to all the impetuosity of his 
passions. Monica s great care was to gain him for God. For that 
she labored by her submission, her mildness, her patience. She was 
most careful never to make him any hasty or unreasonable re 
proaches. She never complained of him; on the contrary, she hid 
his faults from all her acquaintances. By this truly Christian con 
duct she succeeded in gaining her husband s heart; he esteemed, he 
admired, and respected her. She often addressed fervent prayers to 
the Lord for his conversion; they were at length heard. Patricius 
allowed himself to be instructed in the Christian religion, and was 
converted. He received Baptism, and thenceforward he became 
chaste, modest, meek; worthy, in short, of having St. Monica for a 

Lesson Twenty-seventh 


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. 

By sacramentals we understand, 1. All those things which the 
Church blesses or consecrates for the divine service, or for our 


own pious use, as holy water, oil, salt, bread, wine, palms, etc. ; 
2. Also the exorcisms, blessings, and consecrations used by the 

The Church consecrates some objects for use in divine worship, 
as the sacred vessels, the paschal candle, etc., and others for the 
pious use of the faithful, as medals, rosaries, holy water. 

The word sacramental is also used in a wider sense of special 
prayers and practises of the Church, as, for instance, the Lord s 
Prayer, the Confiteor or public confession, the sign of the Cross, 
etc. . 

Why are blessed objects called sacranientals? 

They are called sacranientals because they resemble the Sacra 
ments, though they are essentially different from them. The 
sacranientals resemble the Sacraments in this, that an outward 
sign takes place to accomplish an inward spiritual effect. They 
are, therefore, perceptible marks of a sacred thing. They gain 
their power, furthermore, not alone from our devotion in using 
them, but also from the blessing of the Church. 

*293. Q. What is tltc difference between the Sacraments and 

the sacranientals ? 

A. The difference between the Sacraments and the sacra- 
mentals is: 1st. The Sacraments were instituted by 
Jesus Christ and the sacranientals were instituted 
by the Church; 2d. 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. 

Who instituted the sacramentals? 

The Catholic Church instituted the sacramentals in virtue of 
the authority received from Christ to bless, to consecrate, and to 
exorcise. Christ Himself gave His disciples the authority and 
the commission to drive out evil spirits, to heal the sick, etc. 
The priestly authority includes the power to bless, as you have 
learned in the explanation of Holy Orders. The custom of the 
Church to consecrate and to bless is founded upon apostolic 
tradition, as well as upon the example of Jesus Christ Himself. 

In her blessings the Church makes use of the sign of the 


Cross. By His crucifixion Jesus conquered the devil, whose in 
fluence over mankind has, however, not been completely taken 
from him. Through the Cross, even to this day, the evil spirit 
and his power is overcome. Hence also the exorcism which the 
Church so often makes use of in her benedictions. The Church 
in her blessings uses also holy water, which itself is a sacramental. 

At the more solemn consecrations anointing is applied, em 
blematic of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. 

Why does the Church consecrate or bless the things belonging 
to the divine service? 

The Church consecrates them: 

1. To sanctify and dedicate them peculiarly to the divine ser 

2. To render them more venerable and salutary to us. 

Even in the Old Law God ordered to be consecrated the holy 
tent, the vessels for divine worship, the vestments of the high 
priest. Thus, also, in the New Law the objects used for divine 
worship are consecrated, like churches, altars, vestments, chalices, 
bells, etc. It is befitting that that which serves for sacred pur 
poses and divine worship should be withdrawn from ordinary 
worldly usage and be devoted exclusively to the service of God 
by solemn consecration. Everything consecrated by the Church 
and intended for sacred purposes should appeal to our sense of 
reverence. This applies particularly to the sacred vessels and 
the linen (corporal) which come in direct contact with the Body 
and Blood of the Lord. 

Why does the Church bless also palms, bread, wine, the fruits 
of the field, etc. 

The Church blesses these things : 

1. After the example of Jesus Christ. 

2. That "to them that love God, all thinks may work together 
unto good" ; and, 

3. That God s blessings may be poured out over all. 

The Church does this after the example of Christ. Jesus 
took the children in His arms, laid His hands upon them and 
blessed them. When Jesus fed the thousands in the desert, He 
looked up to heaven and blessed the loaves of bread and the 

The Church consecrates not only objects which serve for 


divine worship, or such for individual use, as palms, holy water, 
medals, rosaries, crucifixes, etc., but also food, like meat, bread, 
wine, fruits of the field, etc. She blesses houses to invoke the 
divine blessing upon the persons who will dwell within them, etc. 
The things created by God should serve not only to satisfy our 
earthly needs, but they should invite us to praise, gratitude, and 
love for God, their Creator. By sin the curse of God extended 
to all the creatures of the earth, and they need, therefore, to be 
blessed and consecrated by the Church in order to serve for our 
best welfare. 

Why should we especially make devout use of the sacra- 
mentals ? 

Because we participate through them in the prayer and bless 
ing of the whole Church in the name of which the priest conse 
crates and blesses. 

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. 

Before the time of Christ the cross was a sign of shame, 
ignorance and dishonor. It was branded upon the forehead of 
criminals, so as to disgrace them before the whole world. But 
this was not to remain so. Through Jesus, the sign of the Cross 
became the symbol of salvation. 


Religious history relates the following: The Emperor Constan- 
tine, while yet a heathen, took the field against his enemy Maxen- 
tius. But the enemy s army was far stronger than his. Then Con- 
stantine prayed fervently to the true God for His assistance, and 
behold there was visible in the heavens to him and his whole army 
a brilliant cross with the inscription: "By this sign shalt thou con 
quer!" Constantine had a standard made like this cross, and had it 
carried before him in battle. He fought the enemy courageously 
and defeated him. From that time (it was in the year 312 after 


Christ), Constantine was the champion and protector of Christianity. 
The Cross now became a sign of honor and victory. It gleamed upon 
the crown of Constantine, and was displayed at Rome, which for 
merly was the headquarters of paganism, high up the Capitoline 
Hill, to proclaim the triumph of the crucified Saviour to the whole 

The word "cross" has a threefold meaning. 

First, it signifies the wood, the cross beams, which Jesus 
dragged up to Calvary, under the weight of which He sank 
again and again to the ground, to which He was nailed with 
hands and feet, and upon which He hung for three hours in the 
most excruciating agony, until He drooped His head and died. 

Secondly, it signifies the sign which we make with our hand to 
remind us of the sacrifice of the Cross, or as a blessing. 

Thirdly, the word "cross" signifies that suffering and tribula 
tion with which Divine Providence visits us, and which we should 
bear with patience and resignation to the will of God. Therefore 
Christ said : "Take up thy cross, and follow me !" 

The sign of the Cross can also be made in other ways, for 
instance we make with the thumb of the right hand the sign of 
a small cross : 1, upon the forehead ; 2, the mouth ; 3, the breast. 

The priest gives ever} 7 Benediction and blessing in and out 
of the Church in the form of the Cross. This is to remind us 
that every blessing comes to us by the grace of the Most Blessed 
Trinity, and that by the death of Christ we partake in the 
greatest blessing and in the greatest benefits. 

296. Q. Why do ive 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. 
*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. 

Why is it wholesome to make the sign of the Cross fre 
quently ? Because, by devoutly making the sign of the Cross, we 
arm ourselves against the snares of the devil, and draw down the 
blessings of heaven upon us. 

The sign of the Cross should be made devoutly, and not 
thoughtlessly. When it is made devoutly it arms us against the 
snares of the devil. We use arms to combat a powerful enemy or 
opponent. The devil is a powerful opponent of ours, for his 
thoughts and actions are constantly directed toward accomplish 
ing our ruin, i. e., to lead us into temptation. If we do not 
want to be overcome in the combat with the enemy, we must be 
prudent, and fight valiantly. There is no better weapon to use 
against the devil than the sign of the Cross. The Cross is also 
a sign of victory. Before it the tempter flies, by the sign of the 
Cross he loses his power. 

Through the sign of the Cross the blessing of heaven descends 
upon us. 

A cup of poisoned wine was once handed to St. John. He 
made the sign of the Cross over it, drank the contents, and it 
did not hurt him. All the blessings of the Church are given by, 
the sign of the Cross. 

A cross is given to the dying, to encourage them to be re 
signed to the divine will, and to confide in the divine mercy. 

Who ever suffered more, or more innocently, than Jesus 
Christ ? Can we then have a more exalted model in death ? 

We also adorn the graves of the departed with a cross. The 
cross upon a grave reminds us, in the first place, of the resurrec 
tion of Jesus, and at the same time of our own resurrection from 
among the dead. Jesus by His resurrection triumphed over 


death, and on the tree of the Cross gained the victory over it, 
and we also, and all the dead, shall rise again from the grave 
and triumph over death. The cross upon a grave should remind 
us also that the departed believed in Christ, and died trusting in 

The Catholic Church has instituted two feast days for a par 
ticular veneration of the Holy Cross, namely, the feast of the 
Finding of the Holy Cross, and the feast of the Exaltation of 
the Holy Cross. The feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross, 
which is celebrated annually on the 3d of May, reminds us of 
the memorable occasion of the finding of the true Cross, by St. 
Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. The sec 
ond is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, which is celebrated 
yearly on the 14th of September, and reminds us how the pious 
Emperor Heraclius once entered victoriously into Jerusalem, 
about the year 629 after Christ, and himself carried the Holy 
Cross, which had been regained from the Persians, up to Mount 


The Password. General Smith, of the Army of the South, was 
once coming into camp with his men too late to know the password. 
Knowing that if they went forward they would receive the fire of 
his own side, he presented himself before his men, and asked if any 
one would sacrifice his life to save the rest. A soldier stood out 
from the ranks. After explaining the certain danger he would have 
to face, the general gave him a piece of paper, on which were written 
these words: "Send me the password. Genl. Smith." He knew the 
soldier would be shot, and then searched, and thus the paper would 
be found and read and the sign made known. The soldier set out 
and reached the outposts: "Who goes there?" "A friend." "The 
word or sign?" But the soldier advanced without reply, and at once 
the rifles were all raised and pointed at him. He thereupon made 
upon himself the sign of the Cross, and to his surprise the rifles 
were lowered. The act of the Catholic soldier, in commending him 
self to God, was the very sign the Catholic commander had that very 
morning given to the army. 

300. Q. What oilier sacramental is in very frequent use ? 

A. Another sacramental in very frequent use is holy 


301. Q. What is holy water? 

A. Holy ivater is water blessed by the priest with solemn 
prayer to beg God s blessing on those who use it, 
and protection from the powers of darkness. 

302. Q. Are there 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. 

Lesson Twenty-eighth 


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. 

In prayer our soul, our heart, our mind are raised up from 
earth to heaven. God, as an omnipresent spirit, is present every 
where, in all places, only we believe that God is more especially 
enthroned in all His glory in heaven; hence we say the soul is 
raised up to God in prayer. Prayer, furthermore, is a conver 
sation with God, our heavenly Father, in which we bring to Him 
our petitions with childlike confidence to obtain from Him as 
sistance and consolation. Prayer presupposes a dependence upon 
God. Man acknowledges his helplessness, misery, and inability 
to do anything without God. This consciousness of our weak 
ness is expresed by prayer. 


The infinite majesty and glory of God requires that we should 
praise Him who is made known to us partly by His works, but 
even more so by the grace of faith. 

Our prayer, further, should be a prayer of thanksgiving. To 
this we are invited not only by the works of God, which He has 
created for our good, but by the help which God has already 
given for our eternal salvation and will still give. God s bless 
ings are not only immeasurably great, but numberless. The 
knowledge of our weakness and inability calls upon us to turn 
to the divine power and goodness which can alone help us in all 
necessities. We are even commanded to make petition ; for Holy 
Scripture says: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you 
shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you" (Luke xi, 9). 

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. 

Prayer is necessary for salvation. Every one who would be 
saved must pray. With truth, then, may we compare prayer to a 
ladder by which we ascend to heaven, to the key which opens 
heaven to us, to balm that heals our wounds. It is as necessary 
for our souls as is the air for our earthly existence. As in 
nature, all vegetable life withers when no rain falls, so is our 
spiritual life destroyed without prayer. 

Why is prayer necessary? 

Because God has commanded it, and because without it we do 
not receive the graces necessary to persevere to the end. Prayer, 
therefore, is expressly commanded by God. It is not merely 
counseled. It matters not whether it pleases us or not, we must 
pray. It is made our duty and obligation. Jesus not only com 
mands us to pray, but He also teaches us how we should pray, 
and Holy Scripture says of Him that He Himself, the Son of 
God, frequently passed His time in prayer. Prayer was practised 
by the Apostles and saints. All nations, at all times, and in all 
places, have prayed. The savages pray in their way, because it 
is felt by mankind to be a necessity. 

The prayers which we say in the name of Jesus, and with the 
assistance of the Holy Ghost, are of great power and merit. 


What are the principal fruits of prayer ? 

Prayer, 1. Unites us to God; 2. Makes us inclined to God; 3. 
Strengthens us against evil; 4. Gives us zeal and energy for 
good; 5. Comforts us in adversity; and, 6. Obtains help for us 
in time of need, and the grace of perseverance unto death. 

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. 

Christ says that "we ought always to pray and not to faint" 
(Luke xviii, 1). 

To pray always means to pray continually, without ceas 
ing. This must not be misunderstood. We must not, for in 
stance, neglect our work for prayer. Xor is it meant that we 
should not eat or sleep. It means that we should like to pray, 
and that by offering up all our actions to God we form them 
into prayers. 

We pray always when we frequently raise up our minds and 
hearts to God, and offer up to Him all our labors, sufferings, and 
pleasures. At work, while solicitous for temporal affairs, we 
should not forget Him who alone can bring things to a success 
ful issue. All our efforts are fruitless and vain if God does not 
help us. For this reason we should begin all our work with God, 
continue and complete it in Him, and ask His blessing. Then 
our work, if we do it patiently, looking up to God, will become 
a prayer and an oblation well pleasing to God. The striking of 
the clock should be an incentive to us to think of eternity, for 
every hour brings death nearer. The thought, too, of the divine 
omnipresence and omniscience is a continual prayer, for this 
thought restrains us from doing wrong. 

When ought we to pray especially? 

1. In time of temptation and other urgent need. 2. In the 
morning and at night, before and after meals, when the Angelus 
bell rings, and when in church. 

We must, then, pray especially in time of temptation. 

We should pray in danger. Our lives are menaced by many 
perils. We should commend ourselves to God s care in danger, 
and there are numberless examples how God has saved persons 
who had recourse to Him in great danger. 


We should, above all, pray every morning and night, for the 
beginning and the end of the day are particularly important. 
Our first thought on awaking should be of God, and for this 
purpose there should be a crucifix hanging over or near our bed. 
In our morning prayers we should thank God for the protection 
He has afforded us during the night, and for the grace to spend 
the day in a manner pleasing to God. At night thank God again 
for His protection, examine your consciences, make a good reso 
lution, pray for those you are obliged to pray for, like parents 
and other near relations, and close with commending to God 
your well being for the night. We should pray, too, before and 
after meals. Before the meals we should ask God to bless our 
food, and after the meal we should return thanks to God for 
what He has given us. 

The Angelus bell is rung three times daily to remind us to 
say the Angelus as an act of thanksgiving for the Incarnatioji of 
the Son of God. 

We ought to pray, of course, when w^e are in church. The 
church is God s house. We assemble there for common prayer 
and for divine worship, in accordance with the promise of Jesus, 
"Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there 
am I in their midst." In church, furthermore, it is easiest for 
us to pray. There is nothing to distract us, while everything 
there turns our minds to divine things. 

In Catholic schools children pray before their lessons begin, 
in order that God may enlighten their understanding and 
strengthen their wills to do good and shun evil. After school 
the children pray again and thank God for the instruction re 
ceived. Before starting on a journey we recommend ourselves to 
the protection of God, and when we return safely we give thanks. 

When, in the Sacrament of Penance, we receive the remission 
of our sins, and in the Holy Eucharist receive the true Body and 
the true Blood of Jesus Christ, we must thank God in prayer for 
this great and priceless grace. 

We should also frequently pray for a happy death, for that is 
one of the greatest blessings that God can grant us. 

A particular form of prayer and devotion are pilgrimages. 
Pilgrimages are good and commendable when undertaken in the 
spirit of the Church, with sentiments of devotion, penance, and 


mortification and in a God-fearing spirit. We see, for instance, 
pious pilgrims journey to places distinguished by sacred events 
or special manifestations of God s grace for instance, to Jeru 
salem, Bethlehem, Xazareth, Rome, Lourdes, in our country to 
Auriesville, St. Anne de Beaupre, etc. 

For whom should we pray? 

We should pray for ourselves and those near and dear to us, 
also for all the living and the dead, including friends and ene 
mies, benefactors, superiors, for heretics and infidels. 

*307. Q. How should we pray? 

A. We should pray: 1st. With attention; 2d. With a 
sense of our own helplessness and dependence upon 
God; 3d. With a great desire for the graces we 
beg of God; 4th. With trust in God s goodness; 
5th. With perseverance. 

We ought to choose for prayer a quiet place, where we need 
not fear interruption. We may seek the seclusion of our own 
room or the tranquillity of the Church. 

Must we in order to pray use a set form of words ? 

No ; while this is done in vocal prayer, there is also an interior 
or mental prayer, called meditation. 

For instance, the Our Father is a vocal prayer, whether we say 
it aloud or without moving the lips. The Acts of Faith, Hope, 
Charity, and Contrition, the Angelus, the various Litanies, 
Rosary, Way of the Cross, are vocal prayers. At public devotions 
in the church vocal prayers are said aloud. When alone, vocal 
prayers afford us the advantage of praying more easily. Of 
course, if in vocal prayer our lips alone are moving without our 
heart being raised up to God, then it is not prayer, but a sense 
less babbling and waste of time. 

In what does meditation consist? 

It consists in reflecting on supernatural things: the life and 
sufferings of Jesus, the divine perfections, and other truths of 
our religion, in order to excite in our hearts pious sentiments, 
but especially good and efficacious resolutions. 

I will explain this to you by an illustration. You desire, for 
instance, to meditate upon the bitter Passion of Our Lord and 
Saviour, and to do that you consider the following points : 


1. How did Jesus suffer? Then go briefly, in your mind, 
through the bitter Passion of Our Lord. 

2. For whom did Jesus suffer? Think for whom He did it. 
For all mankind, for friends and foes, for just and sinners, for 
the worthy and unworthy. 

3. Why did Jesus suffer? Voluntarily, innocently, for love of 
mankind, with perfect resignation to the will of His heavenly 

Or, if a person wishes to take the life of Christ as an object 
of meditation, he may contemplate how Jesus lived in His youth 
under His parents observation; how He lived as boy, as man; 
how Jesus acted toward sinners, toward His enemies; how He 
patiently went through His Passion; how He suffered an 
ignominious death. 

After contemplating our subject we close our meditation by 
applying to us the truths considered and making a good resolu 
tion. From the meditation upon the Passion or the life of 
Our Lord, for instance, we learn patience in suffering, meek 
ness, charity; we also learn to appreciate more and more the 
great love of God as manifested in the Eedemption, and this will 
move us to be concerned about our salvation, and will incite and 
strengthen us in our combat against evil. 

Application and resolution, of course, form indispensable parts 
of meditation and render it most profitable. 

We may select any truth of faith as a subject for meditation. 
A great help for meditation is the reading of good books, for 
instance, the "Imitation of Christ." Sermons will also furnish 
much food for meditations. Meditations are not only profitable, 
but even necessary, for if we do not ponder diligently over the 
truths of our religion, they will not make a deep impression 
upon us. 

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 

309. Q. Are prayers said witli distractions of any avail? 

A. Prayers said with wilful distractions are of no avail. 


Are all distractions during prayer harmful ? 

They are harmful when we ourselves are the cause of them, 
if we wilfully admit or entertain them; but when we struggle 
against them we increase thereby our merit. 

What should we do in order that w r e may be less distracted 
in our pra} r ers? 

Before our prayers we should, as far as possible, banish all 
worldly thoughts, and present the omnipresent God in a lively 
manner to our mind. 

Holy Scripture says, "Before prayer prepare thy soul, and be 
not as a man that tempteth God" (Ecclus. xviii, 23). 

Preparation before prayer consists, 1. In banishing all ob 
stacles, as, for instance, pride and passion ; 2. That w^e recollect 
ourselves and during the time of prayer try and put out of our 
mind all worldly thoughts; 3. Eepresent the omnipresent God 
in a lively manner to our mind ; and, 4. Make our intention for 
what we are going to pray. 


The Widow s Child. A poor widow one morning said to her little 
ones: "My children, I have nothing to give you to-day for your 
breakfast; there is no bread, nor flour, nor even a crust in the house. 
Go and ask God to come to your assistance, for He has promised to 
help His children in their need." One of the children, aged only 
ten, went out of the house, and seeing the door of a church open, 
entered and fell on his knees before the altar. He looked around 
him to see if there was anyone near, but he saw no person; the 
church seemed to be empty. Thinking himself alone, he spoke out 
aloud. "O good Father Who art in Heaven, we poor children have 
nothing to eat to-day. O my God, give us something to eat, that 
we may not die of hunger." When he had said this prayer he rose 
up, and hungry though he was, went to school for his morning 
lessons. On his return home, he was surprised to see on the table a 
great loaf of bread, a dish full of flour, and a basket full of eggs. 
"Oh, mother!" he cried out with great joy, "God has heard my 
prayer. Was it an angel who brought all these nice things?" "No," 
said the mother, "but God heard your prayer, and has answered it in 
His own way. When you were kneeling at the foot of the altar, and 
when you thought you were alone, there happened to be a pious lady 
near whom you did not see. She heard your prayer, and it is she 
who brought us all these good things. She was the angel whom God 
sent to help us. Let us kneel down and thank Him for His good 
ness to us, and during all your lifetime be sure to ask Him -for 
what you need with the same confidence, and you will be sure to 
obtain it." 


Lesson Twenty-ninth 


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. 

Holy Scripture says: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the 
commandments" (Matt, xix, 17). Martin Luther and other 
heretics have taught faith alone be sufficient for salvation. 
The Catholic Church meets this false doctrine with a denial, 
and says : It is not enough to believe only ; our faith must be a 
living faith; we must live according to our belief, and must 
prove our faith by works. 

That faith alone is not sufficient for salvation we know from 
the life of Our Lord. When the rich young man asked : "Lord, 
what must I do to obtain eternal life?" the answer was: "If 
thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments." Christ 
did not say: If thou wouldst enter into life, believe but He 
said, Keep the commandments. 

Are we able to keep the commandments of God ? 

Yes, with the help of God s grace, which He refuses to no one 
who asks for it. Because of original sin man is inclined to evil. 
But God does not require the impossible of man, and so He has 
given not only natural faculties to man (namely, powers of body 
and soul), but He gives him likewise supernatural help, namely, 
His grace. Man, therefore, should not confide in his strength 
alone, but he must pray to God for His grace and assistance. 

Holy Scripture says : "His commandments are not heavy" 
(I John v, 3). This passage of Scripture is apparently in con 
tradiction to another, which says : "The kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away/ The sensual 
desires and inclinations, the inborn inclination to evil, cause 
mankind a hard struggle. But the harder the combat, the 
greater the victory ! The more sensual desires seek to hinder us 
from doing good and to lead us into evil, the more meritorious 
it is for us to keep the commandments of God. That the ob- 


servance of the commandments is not an impossible thing has 
been shown by others before us, who also bore within themselves 
the concupiscence of the flesh. Just as we have our human weak 
nesses, so they had theirs ; they had to fight their sensual desires 
and inclinations, and yet they won the victory, and now as saints 
they enjoy the reward in heaven which God has given to them 
for their virtue and steadfastness. Thousands upon thousands 
of these holy martyrs were tempted to offend God, but in vain. 
If the observance of the commandments were too hard for us, 
God would be unjust, as He would require something of us that 
surpassed our strength. This would stand in contradiction to 
His goodness, wisdom and justice. As little would a loving 
father expect his feeble child to perform labor much beyond its 
strength, as would God expect us to do that which surpasses our 

The observance of the commandments is made easy for us by 
steady practise. Even apparently most difficult labors become 
gradually easy for us as we get skilled and accustomed in their 
performance. But the longer we wait to accustom ourselves to 
the observance of the divine commandments, the more difficult 
it will be for us. 

*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: 1st. Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with thy whole heart, with thy whole soul, 
with thy whole strength, and with thy whole mind; 
2d. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 

*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. 

Christ Himself declares this commandment to be the most 
important one, for He says: "There is no greater command 
ment than this ;" and, "On this commandment depends the whole 


Law and the Prophets." This commandment is, as it were, the 
source from which the others are drawn ; it is the foundation, the 
basis of the whole Christian life, and hence it stands rightly at 
the head of Christian moral doctrine, for he who truly loves God 
v;ill prove it by keeping all other commandments of God. 

The virtue of charity is the root from which grows, like a 
magnificent tree, the whole Christian law. 

Our duty of loving God and our neighbor is fully contained 
in the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses, written 
on two tablets of stone. 

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 tJiee 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 like 
ness 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 


3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath day. 

4. Honor thy fattier 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 

Three months after the Israelites departed from Egypt they 
came to the desert of Sinai, and there they pitched their tents, at 
the foot of Mount Sinai. Moses was commanded by God to 


bring fortli the people to meet God at the foot of the mount -and 
God gave the Ten Commandments,, under thunder and light 
ning, because He desired to show thereby that He was the Su 
preme Lord of heaven and earth, that He had the right to give 
commandments, and the authority to punish transgressors. Xone 
of the divine revelations were ever accompanied with such re 
markable demonstrations as this one. God gave His command 
ments on stone, to remind mankind that these laws should bo 
impressed just as lastingly upon their minds and hearts. 


The Traveler. A traveler advances toward a magnificent city, in 
which not only his beloved family but also an immense fortune 
await him. Between him and the desired city there lies an un 
fathomable abyss. Utter darkness overspreads his way, and he has 
neither guide nor lantern. Across the abyss there is only one narrow, 
unsteady plank. The unfortunate man is accustomed to make false 
steps, as past experience has sadly shown. Tell me, now, if a 
charitable guide came forward to take this traveler by the hand, if 
he erected on each side of the dangerous plank a strong barrier, if 
he suspended around the place a number of lamps, so that it would 
be impossible for anyone to go astray, or fall into the abyss unless 
by deliberately leaping over the parapet: would you regard these 
fences as impediments, these lamps as insults, so many cares as 
wrongs done the traveler, or would they not be so many benefits 
conferred on him? Would this guide deserve the name of tyrant, 
or would he not rather be a true friend? The application is easy: 
The traveler, subject to many falls, is man on earth. The blessed 
city, where glory and friends await him, is heaven. The dark abyss 
is hell, and the narrow, trembling plank is life. The kindly guide is 
Cod, and the lamps and barriers His Commandments. 

Lesson Thirtieth 

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. 

Q. flow 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 com 
mands us to adore God alone. 


The first commandment consists of two parts, namely, a 
statement and a prohibition. The statement is : "I am the Lord 
thy God." God has placed these words at the beginning of His 
Ten Commandments to remind mankind that He, the Creator 
and Supreme Lord of heaven and earth, has the power and the 
authority to "give commandments, and that we, His creatures 
and servants, are bound to keep His commandments. That is 
the meaning of these words, and the little word "I" asserts in 
particular the truth that there is only one God, for if there were 
several gods, as the heathen believe, it would have to be, "We 
are the lords your gods." 

317. Q. How do we adore God? 

A. We adore God ~by faith, hope, and charity, by prayer 
and sacrifice. 

God is the beginning and the end; He is the eternal, the un 
created, the most perfect Being, of whom we have been told, in 
the instructions on faith, that He has in Himself every good 
quality in the highest degree. He demands of us, as is clear from 
this commandment, honor and adoration, and as He is not 
merely a prince of this world, but God, He demands that adora 
tion which is due to God and God alone. 

In how many ways may we honor God? In two ways in 
teriorly and exteriorly. 

How do we honor God interiorly? 

1. By faith, hope, and charity. 2. By acts of reverence and 
adoration. 3. By thanksgiving for all His blessings. 4. By 
dispositions of zeal for His honor. 5. By the spirit of obedience 
and resignation to His holy will. 

First by faith, that is by believing. To believe, in general, 
means to hold for certain something told us by another. To 
believe in God means: 1. To accept as true that there is a God. 
2. To accept as true everything that God has revealed to us. 

The interior adoration of God demands of us, therefore, that 
we believe firmly all the truths of our holy religion, even those 
that are beyond our understanding. When we thus subject the 
noblest part of ourselves, our reason, to God, we adore Him 


318. Q. How may the first commandment he 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. 

*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 command 
ment ? 

A. Those who make use of spells and charms, or who be 
lieve in dreams, in mediums, spiritists, fortune 
tellers, and the like, sin against the first command 
ment, because they attribute to creatures perfec 
tions which belong to God alone. 

We sin by superstition : 

1. When we honor God or the saints in a manner contrary to 
the doctrine or practise of the Church. 

2. When we attribute to tilings a certain power which they can 
not have by nature, nor by the prayers of the Church, nor by 
virtue of divine dispensation. 

The superstitious person believes too much; he believes, with 
out even a shadow of proof, in the unreasonable operation of 
natural causes. 

The following are a few of the many kinds of superstition and 
superstitious practises : 

1. There are certain books sold with the pretense that the 
prayers contained in them have a particular faculty and power 
of their own, for instance, preserving people from thunder and 
lightning, from sudden death, and from all dangers on land and 

2. There are silly persons who are afraid of omens, who be 
lieve that ill-luck will surely overtake them if they by chance 
upset the salt, break a looking-glass, etc. ; that the mewing of a 
cat before the house portends a death ; that a four-leaved clover 
or other charms betoken good luck ; that it is a bad omen to step 
out of bed with the left foot first, and other such foolish things. 

3. Another kind of superstition is foretelling the future by 
the lines of the hand, by constellations of the stars, or by laying 


of the cards. This is a very common form of superstition, and 
there are even professional fortunetellers who make a great deal 
of money out of the stupid and ignorant people who believe in 
this nonsense. 

4. Another kind is the unreasonable belief in the good or ill 
omen of dreams. Dreams are usually the reflections of lively 
impressions which the brains have received, and it would be 
foolish to try and tell future events from this. 

5. Another kind of superstition is the belief that when thir 
teen persons sit down at the table one of their number must die 
before the year passes. 

6. It is also superstition to believe in spooks and witches, and 
to take part in the doings of so-called spiritualists, who pretend 
to establish communication with the deceased. Further super 
stitious practises are connected with certain seasons in the year, 
for instance, with Hallowe en, etc. 

Why is superstition a sin? 1. Because we attribute, without 
good reason, to persons and things supernatural qualities and 
perfections, even omnipotence and omniscience, and 2. Because 
the superstitious person neglects confidence in God, to whom 
alone we should direct our desire for supernatural assistance. In 
the Old Law the sin of superstition was sometimes punished by 
death, as shown in the following example (IV Kings i, 2) : 
Ochozias, a king of Israel, was sick. Instead of placing his con 
fidence in the Lord God, he sent a messenger to the idol Beelze 
bub, at Accaron, to find out whether he would get well. By the 
inspiration of God the prophet Elias went forth to meet the 
messenger, proclaimed to him God s displeasure, and foretold 
that Ochozias would soon die. 

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, 1st. By not trying to 
Tcnow what God has taught; 2d, by refusing to 
believe all that God has taught; 3d, by neglecting 
to profess his belief in what God has taught. 


We sin against faith : 

1. By infidelity, heresy, and scepticism. 2. By using impious 
language, or wilfully listening to it; also by reading or spread 
ing irreligious books and writings. 3. By indifference in matters 
of faith, and by not professing it when necessary. 

*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. 
*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. 

*3 25. 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 can not expect to be 
saved ivhile in that state, for Christ has said: 
"Whoever shall deny me before men, I will also 
deny him before my Father luho 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." 


The Theban Legion. A beautiful example of obedience and of 
the love of God is given to all by the legion of Christian soldiers 
in the army of the Roman emperor, called the Theban Legion. "We 
are your soldiers, sire," they said to Emperor Maxmilian, who com 
manded them to persecute the Christians; "but we are also the 
servants of God; to you we owe military service, to God obedience 
to His Commandments. We can not obey your orders if opposed 
to His; so long as nothing is asked of us that can offend Him, we 

Compare the instruction on faith on page 28. 


shall continue to obey you as hitherto; otherwise we must obey 
Him rather than you." And, indeed, they allowed themselves to be 
put to death rather than execute the unjust commands of the 
emperor. History of the Church. 

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 with 
out making proper use of the necessary means to 
obtain it. 

329. Q. What is despair? 

A. Despair is the loss of hope in God s mercy. 
*330. Q. How do we sin against the love of God? 

A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but par 
ticularly by mortal sin. 

We have already considered these matters in previous les 
sons, on the virtues of hope and charity. 

Lesson Thirty-first 



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 bi/ 
honoring the saints, who are the chosen friends of 
God, we honor God Himself. 

332. Q. Does the first commandment forbid us to pray to the 


A. The first commandment does not forbid us to pray to 
the saints. 

333. Q. What do ire mean by praying to the saints? 

A. By praying to the saints we mean the asking of their 
help and prayers. 

See pages 42 and 48. 


*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 ivill help us because both 
they and we are members of the same Church, and 
they love its as their brethren. 

It is not wrong, therefore, to honor and invoke the saints, it 
is even very wholesome for us to do so. 

The saints in heaven pray to God for us, and desire nothing 
more fervently than that we should one day be eternally united 
with God in His glory as they are. The belief in the intercession 
of the saints between God and man is most consoling to human 
unworthiness and helplessness. I will endeavor to explain this to 
you by an example from life. A boy knows that his father 
is going to a town of which he has often heard a great deal. 
Xow, although the father is devoted to the child, still he is very 
strict, and the boy does not dare to tell his father he would like 
to go with him. But the boy knows what to do. Between him 
and the strict father stands the gentle mother, and to her the 
boy turns, because he knows that the father w T ill not refuse the 
mother s request. As a result the boy gets from his father what 
lie asked through the mother. 

The Council at Trent made it binding upon Bishops and 
priests of the Catholic Church to support the faithful in the 
belief in the invocation and intercession of the saints, the venera 
tion of. relics and statues. The Church takes her doctrine from 
TToly Scripture, from Tradition, and from reason itself. 

In the Old Testament God lets the Prophet Jeremias say: 
"Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me (and interceded) I 
should still have no heart for this people." 

Reason tells us that the saints who ever upon this earth prayed 
so fervently for their fellowmen, intercede for us likewise in 
heaven, where they behold the majesty of God face to face, and 
see more clearly the dangers to which we are exposed. Besides, 
God Himself has honored the saints and rewarded their merits, 
their virtues, their piety, and their spirit of penance, by receiv- 


ing them into heaven. Why, then, should we not venerate those 
whom God Himself honors ? Early Christianity already bestowed 
a religious veneration upon the Blessed Virgin, the holy Apostles 
and martyrs, etc. ; celebrated festivals, sang hymns and songs, 
embodied many names of saints in the Canon of the Mass, of 
fered the Holy Sacrifice especially in their honor, erected churches 
and altars in remembrance of them, and all this to venerate 
them and to honor God in them, to edify the faithful and en 
courage them to imitate their examples of virtue. 

The saints are superior works and creatures of God, living 
members of Christ, vessels of the Holy Ghost, and are accord 
ingly worthy objects of our veneration. And if it is right to 
honor a man on account of his superiority and virtues, why is 
it not more reasonable to honor those who have received the re 
ward of their virtue, the crown of justice, from the hands of 
God Himself? 

Even the apostate Martin Luther, in a letter to the commun 
ity of Erfurt (1522) sanctioned veneration of the saints by 
writing : "Although it is not necessary to honor the saints, I do 
not condemn those who still honor them." 

"What difference is there between the honor which we render 
to God and that which we give to the saints ?" 

1. We adore God alone, ? . e., we honor Him alone as the 
Supreme Lord and the author of all good; and we honor the 
saints only as His faithful servants and friends. 

2. We honor God for His own sake, but the saints on account 
of the gifts and talents which God has given them. 

We offer to God the most profound reverence and boundless 
homage. The saints also do the same in heaven. We render 
to God supreme worship as our Creator, but only secon 
dary honor to the saints. 

"What should be our principal care in honoring the saints?" 
"To become like them by imitating their virtues/ That we may 
imitate the virtues of the saints it is necessary that we should 
know them. We learn to know the virtues of the saints by the 
stories of their lives, which are contained in the "Lives of the 
Saints." This book ought to be found in every Christian family, 
for it is an inexhaustible treasure of grace. On the long winter 


evenings and on Sunday afternoons there is no more beautiful 
or better reading than the book of the "Lives of the Saints." 

"What difference is there between the prayers which we say 
to God and those which we say to the saints ?" 

"We pray to God that He may help us through His omnipo 
tence; but to the saints that they may assist us through their 
intercession with God/ 

As there is a great difference between the honor which we 
pay to God and that which we render to the saints, so also is 
there a great difference between the prayers we say to God and 
to the saints. By reason of His omnipotence God Himself can 
help us in all our necessities and concerns; but the saints can 
not do this, because they are not omnipotent. They can only 
intercede for us with God, and as the saints are friends of God, 
their intercession is very powerful. In that prayer in which all 
the saints of heaven are invoked, the "Litany of the Saints," we 
ask them: "Pray for us." But not: "Save us!" Whoever 
believes that the saints could assist us by their own power is 
guilty of sin. 

"Whom should we especially venerate and invoke above all 
the angels and. saints ?" 

"The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God." 

Mary deserves our veneration and esteem above all the angels 
and saints, for of all the daughters of Eve she is the chosen 
daughter of the heavenly Father, the chaste Bride of the Holy 
Ghost, the Virginal Mother of the Divine Son, and the Queen 
of Heaven. She is the only one of all the .children of men who 
was conceived without stain of sin, she w^ho is full of grace and 
blessed among women. She surpasses all the angels and saints 
in grace and sanctity, and St. Augustine says of her: "Her 
dignity is so great, because she is the Mother of God, that she 
not only surpasses the dignity of mankind, but that of the 
angels also." 

A special day of the week, namely, Saturday, has been devoted 
to the honor of the Blessed Virgin, and also the month of May 
in particular. This month is the month of blossoms and flowers, 
and for this reason it is set aside to praise and extol the loveli 
est flower of God s garden. 


*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 


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 whicli 
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 com 
munion 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. 

The veneration of the saints is connected with the ninth 
article of the Creed, which is : "I believe in the communion of 

By the communion of saints we understand : 

1. The saints in heaven. 

2. The Catholic Christians upon earth. 

3. The souls in purgatory. 

The saints in heaven are called the Church Triumphant, the 
members of the Church upon earth the Church Militant, and the 
souls in purgatory the Church Suffering. 

Are only the faithful on earth united as one Church? 

No ; with the faithful on earth are also spiritually united the 
saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory. 

This union and communion is called a spiritual one in con 
trast to the visible union of the faithful upon earth, because the 


saints in heaven and the souls in purgatory are spirits, and there 
fore there exists between them only a spiritual communion. The 
Apostle St. Paul referred to this threefold spiritual communion 
when he said: "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of 
those in heaven, upon earth, and under the earth." 

In what does this spiritual union consist? This spiritual 
union consists in this : that all are members of one body, whose 
head is Christ Jesus, and that therefore the different members 
participate in one another s spiritual benefits. This spiritual 
union is the living testimony of the Oneness of the Catholic 
Church, for it not only embraces the life here, but the life here 
after. The spiritual benefits of which there is question here are 
the Holy Sacraments, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the prayers 
of the Church, and the good works of the faithful. St. Paul 
compares the Church to a body in these words : "As in one body 
we have many members, so we, being many, are one body in 
Christ, and every one members one of another" (Rom. xii, 4, 5). 
As the food which we take nourishes not simply one single mem 
ber of the human body, but all of them, so also the spiritual bene 
fits go to the common wealth of the whole Church. All members 
partake thereof. 

What is this spiritual union called? 

The Communion of Saints. 

Why are all members of this communion called saints, when 
there are so many Christians who live unworthily, and when the 
souls in purgatory, too, have not yet attained perfect sanctity ? 

Because all are called to sanctity, and have been sanctified by 
Baptism; and many of them have indeed arrived at perfect 
sanctity. If, then, a Christian loses his sanctity, he himself is 
to blame, not the Church. 

With perfect right then may the Church of Christ be called 
the Communion of Saints. 

What does this communion with the saints in heaven afford 
us, the members of the Church Militant? 

We profit by their merits and by their- intercession with God. 

To the saints in heaven the grave is not a wall of separation 
in their love for us. As a man in a far country remembers his 
family at home, although the wide ocean separates him from 
them, so also the love of the saints for their brethren of the 


Church Militant does not die. By applying to us the merits 
attained by the practise of good works upon earth and by inter 
cession with God they can do a great deal for us. A proof 
that the saints in heaven do not forget us, but that they are 
continually united with us, is given in the words of Jesus, that 
"in heaven there is great joy over one sinner doing penance." 
As then the saints in heaven think so lovingly of us it is right 
and just that we should venerate them devoutly and often invoke 
their intercession. In the same manner as the saints in heaven 
pray for mankind upon earth, so do they also pray for the souls 
in purgatory, for they also belong to the great Communion of 
Saints. The Church confirms this belief by prayers in which she 
asks God that He may through the intercession of the saints 
not only forgive the sins of the living but also those of the 

What benefit do the souls in purgatory receive from our com 
munion with them ? 

We may come to the assistance of these suffering brethren by 
prayers, alms, and other good works, especially by the Holy Sac 
rifice of the Mass, in order that their pains be mitigated and 

As the blessed in heaven remember their struggling brethren 
upon earth and the souls in purgatory, so also should we with 
love and sympathy remember the poor souls, and give practical 
proof of this love by helping them (a) by prayer, (b) by offer 
ings, especially of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, (c) by other 
good works, by indulgences, etc., the merits of which we can 
apply to the poor souls. In the Old Testament Judas Machabeus 
sent ten thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem in order that 
sacrifice might be offered for the souls of the dead. Holy Scrip 
ture says : "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the 
dead, that they may be released from their sins." 

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 


Relics are parts of a saint s body, as fingers, bones, etc., or 
certain things which they used during their lifetime. For this 
reason in the early ages of Christianity it was the custom to 
build churches and chapels over the tombs of the holy martyrs. 
But as, later, churches and chapels had to be built in places where 
there were no graves of holy martyrs, there were at least relics 
of the saints placed in the altar stone of these churches and 
chapels. The holy sacrifice of the Mass can not be offered up 
upon an altar which does not contain some relic. 

"Why then do we venerate the remains or relics of saints?" 

1. Because their bodies were temples of the Holy Ghost, and 

2. Because God frequently works miracles through them. 
When persons die who in life were dear to us, we keep their 

clothes, we take a lock of their hair or we preserve the things 
which they used daily as a precious souvenir, which we would not 
part with for anything in the world. Why should not the relics 
of the saints, who their life long were Temples of the Holy Ghost, 
be dear and precious to us? Even in the old law Moses vene 
rated the bones of the Egyptian Joseph, by taking them with him 
into the Promised Land. Furthermore it is proved in the Bible, 
as well as in the history of the Church, that God has worked 
miracles through relics. 

By touching the bones of Eliseus a dead man came to life 
again (IV Kings xiii, 21). 

By touching the hem of a garment which Christ wore, a sick 
woman was restored to health (Matth. ix, 20). Through the 
handkerchief and girdle of St. Paul the sick and those possessed 
by the devil were healed (Acts xix, 12). St. Augustine, the 
holy Doctor of the Church, relates that miracles were worked 
through the bodies of the martyrs Gervais and Protase ("Con 
fessions of St. Augustine ). When, in the year 1129, Paris, the 
capital of France, was visited by a terrible pestilence, and no 
relief came after many penitential works and prayers, a pro 
cession was made, in which the relics of St. Genevieve were 
carried. Her intercession was implored, and the city was there 
upon delivered from the terrible scourge. 

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. 

34:2. 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 rep 
resentations 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 to the 
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 re 
minding us of Christ and of the saints, that we 
may imitate their virtues. 

"May we reverence the pictures of Christ and the saints?" 
Most decidedly; for if a child honors the portrait of his 
parents, we ought far more to hold in veneration the pictures of 
Christ and His saints. 

If there is no harm in a child venerating the picture of his 
parents, neither is there harm in venerating the pictures of 
Christ and His saints. What Christian can pass by a picture 
with indifference which represents the Saviour carrying His 
Cross? Certainly every Christian knows well that an image 
graven in stone, or carved in wood, or painted upon canvas or 
paper, can not hear his petition, nor help him. Neither does a 
Christian kneel before an image of the Blessed Virgin or some 
other saint, to worship it, but crucifixes and statues remind us 
of those whom they represent Christ and the saints. It is, 
therefore, not superstition nor idol worship, if we kneel before 
a statue of a saint to pray. The words of the first command- 


merit, "Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image," do 
not refer to the veneration of holy images, but to idolatry. 

For what purpose should we make use of the pictures of 
Christ and the saints ? 

1. For the decoration of our churches. If we were to take the 
pictures and statues out of a Catholic church, we should see how 
empty and bare the walls would appear. 

2. To animate our piety. They exhort us, as it were, and invite 
us to imitate the saints and to live as they did, that we may one, 
day be glorified as they are. 

3. The sight of holy pictures produces, in young children 
especially, the first religious impressions. 


St. Nicolas, an Intercessor. Three officers of Constantinople, 
falsely accused before the Greek emperor, were thrown into prison 
and condemned to death. The sentence was to be executed next 
day, and, you may suppose, the unhappy men had but little inclina 
tion to sleep. Seeing that there was no chance whatever of their 
innocence being established, they had recourse to prayer. They had 
often heard of Nicolas, Bishop of Myra; everyone said that he was a 
saint; so they all three threw themselves on their knees and besought 
him to assist them. Scarcely had they commenced to pray when God 
permitted that the emperor, who was fast asleep in his palace, had a 
dream. He saw a venerable old man, robed as a Bishop, who ad 
dressed him sternly and said: "Prince, art thou certain that the judg 
ment pronounced on three of thy ministers is just? Beware!" and the 
vision disappeared. Next day the emperor was careful not to have 
the prisoners executed; he reviewed the process of their trial, and 
failed not to perceive that they had been unjustly condemned. He 
caused them to be immediately liberated, after relating to them the 
dream he had had. The poor officers speedily discovered that their 
prayers had been heard by St. Nicolas, and that it was he himself 
who had appeared to the emperor. 

Lesson Thirty-second 


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. 


346. Q. What are we commanded by the second command 


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 

347. Q. What is an oath? 

A. An oath is the calling upon God to witness the truth 

of ivhat we say. 
*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. 
*349. Q. What is necessary to make an oath lawful? 

A. To make an oath lawful it is necessary that what we 

swear to, be true, and that there be a sufficient cause 

for taking an oath. 

How many kinds of oaths are there allowed? (a) The oath 
of witnesses; (b) The oath of solemn promise or confirmation. 
In general, by the taking of an oath, God, the omniscient, who 
knows our hearts and penetrates all our thoughts and intentions, 
the Infinitely Holy who abhors above all things falsehood and 
lies, the Just and Omnipotent who punishes most surely all false 
swearing here temporarily, and in the next life for all eternity, 
is called upon to bear witness to, or to confirm, our statement or 

An oath, therefore, has the following meaning: The one who 
swears places himself before God the Omniscient and Omni 
present with the assertion that this statement is as true as that 
there is a God, and that this truthful God will bear out the state 
ment of the person swearing, or that a promise is meant so 
earnestly, and is so sure of being fulfilled, as God is faithful and 
fulfils all His promises; likewise that God may avenge Himself 
upon the person swearing and chastise him as a blasphemer if 
that which he has stated is not true, or if the promise is not made 
with the earnest and firm intention to keep it sacredly and faith- 


The person swearing falsely surrenders himself solemnly to 
the justice of God for temporal and eternal punishment,, in so far 
as he anticipates the sentence of damnation by damning himself. 

This is indicated" by the words : "I swear to God Almighty/ 
or, "So help me God and His holy word." This is further in 
dicated by the ceremonies and usages which are usually observed 
in the taking of an oath. If the one swearing lays his hand 
upon his breast, this signifies that he pledges his body and life 
for the truth. The raising of three fingers of his right hand is 
to indicate the Most Holy Trinity whom he calls upon to bear 
witness. Placing a hand on the Holy Bible while taking the oath 
means that a person affirms his statement to be as true as the 
word of God. 

The allowed oath, as we have already mentioned, may be the 
oath of witnesses and the oath of promise or confirmation. The 
oath of testimony or witnesses is taken by those persons who 
testify before court in order that the judge and jury may be 
thoroughly convinced that the witness is speaking the truth. By 
the oath of promise a solemn pledge is given to do a certain 
thing in the future, and God is called upon to bear witness to 
the promise. Thus, for instance, in the Old Law, King David 
swore to his spouse Bethsabee, that her son Solomon should 
succeed him upon the throne. To the oaths of promise belong 
also the oaths taken by public officials who thus affirm and prom 
ise the faithful discharge of their duties, also the oath of alle 
giance to the flag taken by soldiers. 

There is also another kind of oaths oaths that are sinful. 
For instance, the oath that is an imprecation. We may hear 
persons use the expression : May God punish me if I lie ; or, May 
I be struck dead. This is sinful. When such an imprecation is 
uttered against another person, then it is a curse. 

A distinction is made between a direct and an indirect oath. 
Namely, if a person swears in such a way that God is expressly 
called upon to bear witness, then this is called a direct oath. 
When, however, a person swears by the relics of the saints, by 
the holy Cross, by the wounds of Christ, by his own soul, and 
salvation, etc., this is an indirect oath. 

Affirmations, such as one often hears in everyday life, as, for 
instance, "Upon my honor," "1 will not bo nn honest man if 


etc., are not oaths, but merely an evil habit, as such unnecessary 
assertions may easily become sinful. At any rate, they create 
the suspicion that the person using them frequently is not 

What does swearing really mean ? Swearing in reality means : 
To state facts distinctly, clearly, without ambiguity, to declare 
without hesitation those facts of which one is convinced. When 
under oath, we should be particularly careful to speak our true 
thoughts, the plain truth, without reserve, without regard to 
persons whether the truth be beneficial or damaging to them. 
What is known to us only by hearsay can not become the subject 
matter of an oath, because we do not know such matter as a fact. 
In the same way must an oath of promise be based upon truth, 
i. e. f he who promises must have the firm intention of keeping his 
promise under all conditions. 

Swearing is allowed only if done (a) With deliberation; (b) 
In an important matter, and (c) With proper reverence. 

(a) On account of the dignity and sanctity of the oath it is 
necessary that we should think over carefully and deliberately 
what we will swear to, and to ask our conscience whether we have 
the necessary knowledge of the matter, and whether we are not 
influenced by prejudices. 

(b) There must also be an important reason to take an oath; 
for instance, the requirement of the law, the defense of truth, the 
meting out of justice to the guilty and to the innocent, and other 
important occasions. 

(c) It is necessary that the oath should be taken with proper 
reverence, and that the fact of calling God to witness should be 
properly appreciated. 

The matter aimed at by the oath must not be against God and 
His law, nor against the precepts of the Church, nor against 
Christian charity, but should be lawful, honorable, and morally 
good. It is further necessary that he who swears should do so 
without compulsion or inducement, he must not be moved by 
promises or threats of violence. 

How do we sin by swearing? 

1. When swearing falsely. 

2. When swearing to something about which we have even the 
least doubt. 


3. When taking an oath unnecessarily or inducing others to 
do so. 

4. When swearing to do evil or to leave the good undone. 

5. When breaking a promise given under oath without justi 

On this occasion I wish to impress upon you boys the sanctity 
of the oath to the flag of your country. Some day you may be 
called upon to serve your country as soldiers, and you will swear 
never to desert your flag, to defend it with your blood, even to 
the loss of your life. 

Perjury is one of the greatest crimes, because he who com 
mits it 

1. Mocks God s omniscience, sanctity, and justice. 

2. Solemnly renounces God and calls down His vengeance. 
By perjury the Most Holy and Perfect Being is slandered and 
mocked with greatest audacity and wickedness. Man stands 
up like a rebel, the creature against the Creator, the servant 
against his master, and calls upon Him to be witness to a lie. 
Omniscience is denied to the Omniscient, before whom every 
thing is clear and open. God, the Most Holy and Most Just, 
is made the partaker of crime, justice is challenged with inso 
lent scorn. 

The perjurer separates himself solemnly from God, and calls 
His vengeance down upon himself. He not only repels divine 
grace and love, but also exposes himself to the most terri 
ble punishments of God for time and eternity, he demands that 
the curse of heaven shall come down upon him and remain upon 
him. Holy Scripture says : "I will bring forth the curse and it 
shall come to the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name, 
and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume 
it, with the timber thereof and the stones thereof." 

Furthermore, the perjurer commits a grave crime against 
human society, because, instead of truth, he helps falsehood to 
victory by setting the guilty free and punishing the innocent. 


Oaths of Secret Societies. The oaths administered by the secret 
societies, and especially the Freemasons, are both rash and unjust 
oaths; for the members swear obedience to unknown superiors, to 


obey unknown orders and commands, though they know well that 
such commands may have unlawful, even wicked, purposes. It is 
not surprising, then, that the Supreme Pontiffs have so often con 
demned these societies and the oaths they demand. 

Cursing means the wishing of evil, in vehement language, 
either to ourselves, our neighbor, or to anything else. In this 
the name of God is frequently dishonored. 

He who vents his evil passion, anger, ill will, revenge, pride, 
and so forth, by violent expressions, offensive to God and man, 

Cursing is something very hateful and sinful, and yet it occurs 
very frequently. It betokens a wicked, rude, and angry temper. 
Instead of words of charity and blessing which, according to the 
example of the meek and humble Jesus, should fall from the 
mouth of a Christian, so many persons forget themselves, and in 
their unbridled passion they utter curses, expressions of malice, 
revenge, impatience, and enmity, whereby the name of God 
is often profaned, .sacred words misused, thus blasphemy being 
committed. Here are some examples : Cursing the day of one s 
birth; wishing some one a sudden, untimely death; to break 
one s neck, etc. Many persons have so little control over their 
anger that they break out in vilest imprecations even against un 
reasoning animals. Others allow themselves to get into a passion 
when their path is obstructed by an inanimate thing and then 
utter the most terrible curses. Cursing is a very bad and danger 
ous habit especially for parents to indulge in, for their children 
easily follow their example in such matters. Moreover, in a 
house where there is much cursing, there is little or no praying, 
and God s blessing is not found, and, alas, not even wanted, in 
such house. 

To show the sinfulness of cursing a certain pious man has 
said: "With thy mouth thou enjoyest daily so many of God s 
blessings; with this tongue thou prayest; upon this tongue thou 
dost receive in the Holy Eucharist the Body of thy Redeemer, 
and thou darest with that same tongue to blaspheme and to 

Many terrible examples of the way God punishes cursing may 
be found in history, to which we have already referred in our 
instruction upon blasphemy. 


350. Q. What is a vow? 

A. A vow is a deliberate promise made to God to do 
something that is pleasing to Him. 

A vow is a deliberate promise made to God, voluntarily and 
without obligation, to do something pleasing to Him, with the 
intention that the fulfilment of the vow shall be obligatory under 
penalty of sin. Such a vow is a solemn promise, and not merely 
a desire, or a resolution. 

If, for instance, I resolve and have the intention to give an 
alms every Friday, that would be a good resolution. If however, 
I vow this intention to God, meaning to make the almsgiving an 
obligation, then it becomes a vow, and then I am bound by such 
vow to give an alms. If I do not keep a good resolution, I am 
unfaithful only to myself; but if I do not keep a vow, then I 
have broken my word given to God, have violated my duty, and 
have sinned. 

A vow, in order to be valid, must be taken voluntarily; no 
outside influence or pressure must dominate us. If a vow is 
extracted by threats or through fear, then free will is absent or 
suspended, and there is, therefore, no obligation. Furthermore, 
the vow must be deliberate. It must be in my power to keep it ; 
I must reflect whether that which I vow is possible of accom 
plishment. A vow is to be made to God Himself, because a 
vow is an act of worship and reverence of God, an obligation to 
render more to Him than required by the commandments of 
God and the Church. 

The matter vowed must be physically and morally possible, 
for that which is beyond my power, which is in itself impossible, 
I can not bind myself to do, and I must not bind myself to do 
that which should not be done. 

There are various kinds of vows; for instance, vows to do a 
certain pious act, a pilgrimage, the making of a bequest to a 
church or charitable institution, to devote oneself to the service 
of God, etc. Such vows are often made to obtain a certain par 
ticular grace or favor from God, in spiritual or temporal affairs, 
as, for instance, deliverance from a sinful habit, restoration 
of health, etc. 


There are also the solemn vows required of those entering the 
religious life. 

Are vows agreeahle to God? 

Most certainly; for they are sacrifices which we offer to the 
Lord God. There is joined to them an extraordinary self-denial 
and sacrifice of the will to God. Vows are special means for the 
promotion of virtue and acts of reverence, and as such are most 
pleasing to God. In the Old Law Jacob made a vow saying : "If 
God shall be with me,, and I shall return prosperously to my 
father s house, of all things that thou shalt give to me, I will 
offer tithes to thee" (Gen. xxviii, 20, 22). And God heard him 
and allowed him to return rich in blessings. The pious Anna 
made a vow to give her son Samuel to the Lord. She kept her 
vow: brought him up for the Lord, and placed him with the 
high priests wholly for the Lord s service. 

351. Q. Is it a sin not to fulfil our vows? 

A. Not to fulfil our vows is a sin, mortal or venial, ac 
cording to the nature of the vow and the intention 
we had in making it. 

It is, of course, a sacred duty to keep vows unless it be im 
possible to do so. 

A lawfully made vow is, according to the express declaration 
of Holy Scripture, and according to the teaching of the Church, 
binding upon the conscience. The violation of or breaking a 
vow is an act of infidelity toward God, and a grievous sin. 

"If thou hast vowed anything to God, defer not to pay it. It 
is much better not to vow, than after a vow not to perform the 
things promised" (Eccles. v, 3, 4). 


The Christian Brother. Not many years ago there was a mother 
who had two sons. The elder one was a soldier who had dis 
tinguished himself by his bravery in the Crimean War. After the 
siege of Sebastopol he obtained permission to spend some time at 
home with his mother. When he reached home he was grieved to 
find his little brother Henry, who was only ten years old, lying at the 
point of death. His mother sat weeping by his bedside, every 
moment expecting to see him breathe his last. All that the doctors 
could do to restore the boy to health had been in vain. His eyes were 
already glazed in death. He saw not his mother and brother who 
held his cold hands in theirs. "He is dying; he is dying!" exclaimed 


the disconsolate mother. The priest, who was there, spoke of resig 
nation to God s most blessed will, and began the prayers for 
the departing soul. The soldier also prayed. No one near him 
heard what he said, but God in heaven heard him. "O my God," he 
prayed, "if you make my little brother better I solemnly vow to con 
secrate my whole life to the education of children of his age. I will 
teach them to love You and bless You." The child suddenly began 
to breathe more regularly. Soon afterward he opened his eyes; 
they met those of his mother, and he smiled. A cry of joy burst 
from her lips: "He is not going to die," she exclaimed, "see, he is 
already better!" Joy now filled that happy home. Day by day the 
child grew stronger, and was soon able to leave his bed. Then did 
the elder son make known to his mother the vow he had made. 
"Here, dearest mother, is my sword; give it to Henry when he grows 
older. He will be able to use it. As for me, I must leave you again 
to go and fulfil my vow to God, that vow which brought from Heaven 
my brother s life. I go now to teach the children who are like him 
to love God and serve Him." "You must not leave me," she cried 
out in her love for him. But he remembered the vow he had 
made, and not even his mother s tears could hinder him from ful 
filling it. He became a Brother of the Christian Schools. 

352. Q. What is forbidden by the second commandment? 

A. The second commandment forbids all false, rasli, un 
just, and unnecessary oaths, blasphemy, cursing, 
and profane words. 


The second commandment forbids the profanation of the 
divine name, as also of those names which refer to God, for 
instance: Supreme Being, Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier, King 
of Kings, Lord of Hosts, the Eternal, the Most Holy, the Al 
mighty, the name of the Most Holy Trinity, the name Jesus, etc. 
Further, this commandment obliges us to reverence that which 
God has sanctified and which is associated with the service of 
God, such as the Holy Sacraments, Holy Scripture, the Church, 
the Christian faith, divine service, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the 
angels, the saints, all priests as ministers of God, the churches, 
and altars. 

How do we desecrate the name of God? 1. By irreverently 
pronouncing it. 2. By deriding religion. 3. By blasphemy. 
4. By swearing and cursing. 5. By breaking vows. 

How do we sin by irreverently pronouncing God s Holy 
Name ? By pronouncing the name of God, of Our Saviour, etc., 
lightly, without reverence, in anger or in jest. We speak with 


respect of our parents, superiors, and in general of all honoiable 
people, even during their absence. Should we not do this all the 
more of the omnipresent God? Should we not speak reverently 
of Him and of all that is sanctified by Him ? 

How do we sin by deriding religion? By jesting or scoffing 
at religion, and at the rites and ceremonies of the Church. This 
can be done not only in our speech, but also by means of pictures, 
writings, theatrical performances, in fact, upon a-11 occasions 
where the usages of the Church are imitated for the purpose of 
casting ridicule upon her. When, therefore, the priestly office is 
imitated in a ridiculous manner; when that which is sa,:.I and 
that which pertains to the service of God and to the veneration 
of the saints is made fun of by jests and jokes, this command 
ment is violated. 

What is blasphemy? Blasphemy is contemptuous and abusive 
language uttered against God, the saints, or holy things. Who 
ever, therefore, says or does anything in contempt of God, of 
His saints or holy things, is guilty of blasphemy. This may be 
done in three ways: in thought, word, and deed. 

(a) In thought, because, according to the words of Scripture, 
we can blaspheme God in our hearts. "The fool says in his 
heart, there is no God." Blasphemous thoughts are only then a 
sin when we dwell upon them with pleasure, and do not drive 
them from our minds. Blasphemous thoughts which arise in 
our minds against our will are temptations, but not sins. 

(b) Blasphemy is committed in words when we make use of 
expressions whereby we cast ignominy upon God, upon Christ, 
His saints, the Holy Sacraments, or things consecrated to God. 
In the Old Law such blasphemous expressions were punished by 
death. "He that blaspheineth the name of the Lord, dying, let 
him die; all the multitude shall stone him" (Lev. xxiv, 16). 

(c) God is blasphemed by deed when we do something where 
by God or things consecrated to Him are reviled ; if, for instance, 
through hatred of God some one would destroy a crucifix, tread 
the cross under foot, etc. This threefold manner of blaspheming 
God may be committed either indirectly or directly. 

Blasphemy is committed directly in the following manner: 
1. When something is imputed to God which is not and can 


[not be true, as, for instance, injustice, indifference toward His 
creatures, or even sin. 

2. When His perfections, His omnipotence, eternity, omnis 
cience, sanctity, etc., are denied. 

3. When the belief in a divine perfection is made dependent 
upon an accidental condition; if one would say, for instance: 
"If God does not instantly punish this crime, I do not believe 
that He is just." 

4. When we attribute a quality to men which belongs to God 
only. Thus did the people of Tyre and Sidon natter King Herod 
with proclaiming that he had spoken like a god, and not as a 

Blasphemy may be committed indirectly when we express our 
selves contemptuously against creatures as instruments of God, 
particularly against things which are closely related to God ; for 
instance, against our holy religion, the Sacraments, against 
divine worship, against the saints, and Holy Scripture. Xes- 
torius, for instance, committed blasphemy by teaching that we 
ought not to call Mary the Mother of God. This sin is also 
committed by those who ridicule indulgences and other insti 
tutions of the Church. 

Blasphemy is a grievous sin, and will be punished severely by 
God. The higher a man s dignity is upon earth, the greater is 
our crime if we attack his honor and good name. How great, 
then, must the guilt of blasphemy be if by the same the King of 
Kings, the Lord of heaven and earth is attacked? While other 
sins arise from ignorance, the sin of blasphemy springs from a 
malice which is the. devil s own (St. Bernard). 

Nothing is more heinous than blasphemy ; for while other sins, 
for instance, avarice, sensuality, drunkenness, seek out that which 
is here below, the sin of blasphemy directs its attack upon Him 
who is in heaven above (St. Jerome). 


Goodwin, Earl of Kent. One day when King Edward the Con 
fessor was giving a grand banquet to the lords of his court, among 
the guests was seen Earl Goodwin, whom the public voice accused 
of the murder of Alfred, King Edward s brother. A young page 
waiting on the table made a false step when presenting wine to the 
king; yet he managed to avoid spilling any of the liquor. Then, in 


order to indicate that one of his feet had secured the other, the 
young man, quoting some words from Holy Scripture, said laugh 
ingly: "It is true enough that the brother who is supported by his 
brother, stands firm. " These words recalled sad memories to King 
Edward s mind. "Ah!" said he, applying them to himself, "ah! if 
I had my brother Alfred still,, how well we could assist each other!" 
Saying these words, Edward cast a scrutinizing look on Earl Good 
win. The latter, thinking to satisfy a prince so religious by a 
solemn oath, exclaimed: "May this morsel of bread be the last I 
shall eat, if I had any part in the murder of Prince Alfred!" The 
wretch! his imprecation was instantly heard; the bread stopped in 
his throat, and choked him, leaving the guests to consider whether 
the accident was a divine chastisement or the natural effect of the 
culprit s agitation. 

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 command 

A. By the third commandment we are commanded to 
keep holy the Lord s day and the holydays of 
obligation, on which we are to give our time to the 
service and worship of God. 

355. Q. How are we to worship God on Sundays and holy- 
days of obligation? 

A. We are to worship God on Sundays and holydays of 
obligation by hearing Mass, by prayer, and by 
other good works. 

Although there is due to God the highest honor and praise at 
all times, yet it is befitting that of the seven days of the week 
one should be set aside on which to devote ourselves in a particu 
lar manner to His holy service. As everything in this world has 
its own definite time work, rest, eating, sleeping, etc. reason 
must tell us that a time for striving after our highest goal is 
also necessary. Such time God Himself has fixed by setting 
aside the Sabbath day, and He has solemnly enjoined us to 
keep it. 

Holy Scripture tells us that, although God did not need rest 
and was not capable of feeling fatigue, yet He rested on the 
seventh day, after the completion of the visible creation, so as to 
impress upon man the lesson to employ six days in temporal 


labor and give the seventh to the glory of God. To make this 
plain beyond doubt, God gave the commandment: "Remember 
that thou keep holy the Sabbath day." Remember, that means, 
make it thy special duty ; never forget it. It is no new law ; it is 
as old as humankind ; therefore be particularly mindful to keep 
holy the day of the Lord. But a day can only be kept holy to 
the Lord if on this day pious and God-pleasing works are per 
formed. Lest some should think themselves outside the law, 
God impresses it upon all explicitly. Note the words : "Six days 
shalt thou labor, and shalt do all thy works. But the seventh 
day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : thou shalt do no work 
on it, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, 
nor thy maid-servant." This commandment, therefore, enjoins 
upon us the twofold duty: (a) To sanctify the day of the Lord 
by dedicating it to His service as well as to our own salvation; 
and, (b) To employ it in holy rest and avoid all servile work. 

*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 Laiv ; 
the Sunday is the first day of the week, and is the 
day which is kept holy in the New Law. 

*357. Q. Why does the Church command us to keep the Sun 
day 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. 

In the Old Law it was the seventh day of the week, called the 
Sabbath day, in commemoration of God s resting on that day 
after He had finished the work of creation in six days, and of 
the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptian bondage. 
In the New Law it is the first day of the week, called Sunday, 
in commemoration of the accomplishment of our redemption, 
which is a new spiritual creation, and the deliverance from the 
bondage of sin. 

How was our redemption accomplished on Sunday? 

1. It was on a Sunday that our Saviour rose from the dead. 


2. It was on a Sunday that He sent down the Holy Ghost 
upon His Church. 

3. It was on a Sunday that the Church entered upon her 
public life, for it was on a Sunday that through the sermon of 
St. Peter three thousand souls became converted to Christianity. 

Even the earliest Christians called Sunday the "day of the 

By whom, then, was the substitution of Sunday for the Jewish 
Sabbath enacted? 

By the Apostles. 

What works of piety should we perform on Sunday? 

We should, before all other things, hear Mass, and, if possible, 
also attend at other divine service, at catechetical instruction, 
vespers, etc. We should receive the Holy Sacraments, read 
books of devotion and meditation, and occupy ourselves with 
works of mercy. 

The first pious duty on Sunday then is, that we should hear 
Mass. In regard to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus com 
manded His disciples, that, what He had done Himself, they also 
should do for all future time "in commemoration of Him." If, 
then, as successors of the Apostles, the Bishops and priests are 
in duty bound to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it 
certainly follows that the faithful are in duty bound to assist at 
its celebration. They are required by the Church to do so under 
penalty of sin. By simply assisting at Mass alone, however, the 
day of the Lord can not be said to be kept holy according to the 
meaning of the commandment of the Lord. Even in olden times 
there was connected with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice 
of the Mass Christian instruction as a part thereof. The Council 
of Trent urges all priests to instruct their parishioners in holy 
religion on all Sundays and holydays. If the priests have the 
duty of instructing their parishioners, it must be the duty of 
the faithful to attend these instructions. "Who is of God will 
hear God s word." 

For the proper celebration of Sunday, also afternoon and 
evening devotions are held in our churches, such as hours of 
prayer and vespers, also meetings of church sodalities, so as to 
give the faithful an opportunity of consecrating the whole day 
to God s service. 


As regards the receiving of the Holy Sacraments of Penance 
and of Holy Communion., it stands to reason that Sunday is a 
most suitable day, for not only do we sanctify ourselves by such 
acts of piety, but this day of rest is more convenient for their 
performance than other days. 

Furthermore, we should sanctify the day of the Lord by read 
ing good books and meditating upon them. Anything which 
brings us real profit is good, and books are good if they 
strengthen our faith, enliven our hope, and inflame our charity. 
One of the best books to read on Sundays and holydays is the 
record of the lives of the saints. Their lives place before us the 
noblest and most exalted examples of virtue, and induce us to 
compare with them our own lives, so that we become conscious 
of our faults, failings, and weaknesses, that we learn to know 
ourselves, make good resolutions to avoid sin and surmount the 
obstacles to virtue. The Christian is thus not only himself 
instructed and improved, but he is made fit to be an instructor 
of others. 

Works of charity should also be practised on Sundays. To 
such belong, for instance, a visit to the cemetery to pray there 
for the dead. To this day in a special manner belongs also the 
exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. 

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. 

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 re 
quires them. 

Which works are servile and forbidden? 

All works which are performed by labor of the body. To 
these belong the work of all laborers and mechanics ; also house 
work, such as ironing, washing, sewing, knitting, etc. Work 
necessary to satisfy the daily wants of life, as, for instance, 


cooking, making of beds, sweeping of rooms, etc., as well as work 
performed by the mind rather than with the body, as studying, 
writing, playing of musical instruments, teaching, etc., are not 
forbidden; however, such occupations must in no sense encroach 
upon the sacredness of Sunday, and must not interfere with the 
discharge of our duties toward God. 

Is it ever lawful to do servile work on a Sunday? 

It is lawful: 1. When the priest for weighty reasons gives a 
dispensation. 2. When the honor of God, the good of our neigh 
bor, or urgent necessity requires it. A dispensation of this kind, 
however, is invariably granted only upon condition that the 
hearing of Mass is not neglected. Corporal works are permitted 
on Sunday when they are performed for God s glory, as, for 
instance, the decorating of altars, playing the organ, and other 
necessary work in churches. They are allowed for the well- 
being of our fellowmen; for instance, in the case of accidents, 
fires, etc. 

Are they alone guilty who themselves do forbidden work? 

No; those also are guilty who without necessity require their 
inferiors, servants, laborers, etc., to do such work, or who allow 
them to do it. 

Can the Sunday be profaned only by servile work and staying 
away from divine service? 

No ; it is likewise profaned by debauchery, intemperance, and 
such pleasures as make of the Lord s day a day of sin, revelry, 
and public scandal. It would be a great error to suppose that 
we have kept the divine commandment sufficiently by attending 
divine service and refraining from all servile work, if we at the 
same time indulge in all kinds of sinful pleasures and amuse 

The third commandment of God, besides ordaining the venera 
tion -and glorification of God, has in view also our recreation 
and our deserved rest ; it is, therefore, not sinful to enjoy modest 
pleasures and amusements, but the excess in enjoyment, riotous 
amusements, noisy games, are absolutely forbidden, because they 
profane that holy day. This day, set apart by God for his ser 
vice and for the sanctification of the Christian, is too often 
misused for sinful amusements, and for a greater part of man- 


kind Sunday has become a day of intemperance,, licentiousness, 
extravagance, idleness, gambling, and of other vicious excesses. 

What should we particularly consider in order to be deterred 
from profaning the Sunday? 

1. The punishment with which God threatens those that pro 
fane the Sabbath. 

2. The thought that the profanation of Sunday tends to the 
ignominy of religion and is a scandal to our fellow Christians. 


Profanation of Sunday an Injustice. A farmer ridiculed his 
neighbor because he did not, like himself, work on Sundays, but, on 
the contrary, attended the Church service. "Suppose," said the 
neighbor, "I have seven shillings in my pocket, and meeting a poor 
man on the way I gave him six, what would you say?" "Well," said 
the farmer, "you would be very generous and would deserve every 
thanks." "But if. instead of thanking me, he threw me down and 
robbed me of my last shilling, what then?" "Why such a man would 
deserve to be hanged." "Friend," replied the neighbor, "that s your 
very case: God has given you six days to labor in, and has reserved 
only the seventh to Himself, and commands us to sanctify it. And 
you, instead of being thankful for His gifts and respecting His will, 
you rob Him even of the seventh day. Are the two cases not alike?" 
The farmer agreed; he admitted his fault and corrected it. 

Lesson Thirty-third 


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 command 


A. We are commanded by the fourth commandment to 
honor, love, and obey our parents in all that is not 

Let us now contemplate the duties of children toward their 

The Catechism names three duties: Honor, love, and obedi 
ence, to which may be added two more gratitude and support. 


Why should children render honor, love, and obedience to 
their parents? 

Because, next to God, the parents are their greatest benefac 
tors and have the greatest authority over them. God is the 
Father and Benefactor of us all. From Him comes originally all 
good; His fatherly care is extended over all men and creatures. 
In His omnipotence He could give to man the proofs of His 
love and goodness, directly, but in His infinite wisdom God does 
not always do this. He makes use of certain instruments to let 
us partake of His graces. Thus, He gives to children their 
parents as His representatives. Through them He provides the 
children with food and clothing for their temporary welfare ; but 
it is also the duty of the parents to provide their children with 
spiritual benefits, especially a good Catholic education. Every 
child has experienced what great benefactors parents are. When 
you first saw the light of the world, in a helpless state, you would 
not have lived very long if it had not been for your parents, who 
gave you nourishment and took care of you. They helped you 
in every way, often depriving themselves that you might be 
comforted and strengthened. In after years they led you by the 
hand, taught you to walk, and took great care to protect you 
from all perils. In the very first days of your life they looked 
after your immortal soul by providing for you the Holy Sacra 
ment of Baptism. They have prayed with you and given you 
the first instructions about God your Creator. When you at 
tained the right age, they sent you to school so that you should 
receive proper instruction in all that is good and proper for 

On every occasion your parents admonish you to be good and 
avoid evil, and they may have had to punish you, because they 
love you and wish to make you good and God-fearing boys and 
girls. And even when you are advanced in age, they still pre 
serve their love and care for you. They work from early morn 
till late at night to earn the means to support you. They try to 
keep you away from bad company; they pray with you and for 
you ; in short, they do everything to provide for your temporal 
welfare and for your eternal salvation. When you are sick they 
obtain for you the services of a skilled doctor, and watch with 


anxious care by your bedside, and minister to you until they 
bring you back to health. 

Because, then, your parents do everything for you that God 
wills, and since they take His place, you should and must honor 
your parents as God s representatives. 

How should children honor their parents? 

They should honor their parents in word and deed. They 
should show their respect in every possible way. In every word 
which the children speak to their parents there should be shown 
the proper respect. No child should ever use toward parents 
harsh, immodest or wrong words. Never should a child answer 
his parents with "That is not so," or "That is not true." Re 
spect must show itself also in the actions of the children, and 
should remain throughout life. Grown-up children must show 
the same respect as younger ones. 

When do children sin against the respect they owe to their 
parents ? 

1. When in their heart they despise them. 

2. When they speak ill of them. 

3. When they speak to them, or treat them, harshly and inso 

1. Children sin against their parents when in their hearts 
they despise them. This means : If they deride them and mock 
them in their thoughts, think evil of them without reason, and 
rejoice when they are in trouble. Because parents are the repre 
sentatives of God, contempt for your parents is a contempt for 
God, and, therefore, very sinful. Holy Scripture says, in 
Proverbs : "The eye that mocketh at his father, and that despis- 
eth the labor of his mother in bearing him, let the ravens of the 
brook pick it out, and the young eagles eat it." 

2. The disrespect of children to their parents extends still 
further, when they have the audacity to speak ill of them, deride 
their faults and mistakes, laugh at their infirmities and habits, 
and even curse them. 

3. Disrespect is shown also when children answer their 
parents insolently and rudely, or by silence to questions suggest 
that they are not worth answering. Some bad children go so 
far in their wicked contempt for their parents as to beat them. 


How do good children show their parents the love which is 
due to them? 

By praying for them, by doing everything to please them, by 
supporting them in old age, by helping them in their necessities, 
and by patiently bearing with their infirmities. If our holy 
faith teaches that we must pray for all men, should we not be 
obliged to pray for our greatest benefactors upon earth our 
parents? And if, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, 
we must do good to all men, must we not in the first place do 
good to our parents ? Parents try to make life pleasant for their 
children call to mind the Christmas or birthday presents by 
which they endeavor to make you feel happy and joyful. It is 
no more than right, that in their old age we should make their 
hearts rejoice by loving them with all our heart. Love for our 
parents further demands of us that we stand by them in their 
necessities. ]t is possible that when they are old they may need 
food, lodging, clothing, or help in sickness. How heartless it 
would be for a child not to aid its parents when in need. For 
the love we owe to our parents we must bear patiently with their 
infirmities, especially in old age. People in very old age some 
times become helpless, like young children ; they can not do any 
thing without assistance. It is then the duty of their children 
to have patience and bear with them, and, indeed, it will not be 
difficult to do so if we call to mind what a great amount of 
patience our parents had with us when we were little children. 

When do children sin against the love they owe their parents ? 

They sin against the love they owe to their parents : 

1. When they do not pray for them. 

2. When they grieve them and make them angry. 

3. When they do not assist them in their need. 

4. When they do not bear patiently with their failings. 

1. God recognizes in prayer the expression of filial love toward 
our parents. It would, therefore, be proof of great want of love 
if we should forget, or perhaps voluntarily omit, to pray for our 
parents, either dead or alive. We should especially pray for our 
deceased parents on the anniversaries of their deaths. 

2. Children should not grieve their parents or arouse their 
wrath by disobedience, stubbornness, grievous faults and of 
fenses, and a vicious life. All this causes the parents much dis- 


tress of mind -sadness, misery, and even premature death. 
Sometimes we hear it said this one has brought his father or his 
mother to the grave. 

Absalom brought unutterable sorrow upon his father David 
by his revolt and merited punishment upon his own head; 
namely, a premature and violent death. 

3. When they do not assist them in their need, which means, 
when parents are allowed through the hard-heartedness of their 
children to suffer want, if they are not clothed or fed properly, 
and, if sick, do not receive proper medical attention and nursing. 
Thus, it occurs at times that parents have to be contented with 
the leavings from their children s tables, to whom in their help 
less old age they seem to be an unbearable burden ; they are made 
to live in the poorest room of the house, dressed in rags, and 
allowed to die a lonely, miserable death. 

The most exalted example of filial love has been given to us 
by our divine Saviour Jesus Christ, who in His dying agony 
provided for His beloved Mother Mary by saying to her from 
the Cross: "Behold thy son." 

Holy Scripture admonishes children to love their parents, by 
saying: "Son, support the old age of thy father, and grieve him 
not in his life." In the Old Testament severe punishment was 
threatened to children who violated this commandment. "He 
that striketh his father or mother shall be put to death. He that 
curseth his father or mother shall die the death." 

4. Another offense against the love which children owe their 
parents is not bearing patiently with them in their failings. 
Whoever treats his parents harshly and heartlessly on that ac 
count commits a great sin. 

How should children fulfil the duty of obedience toward their 
parents ? 

They should: 1. Do what their parents command, and omit 
that which they forbid, provided they order nothing sinful. 2. 
They should willingly receive, and readily follow, their advice 
and admonitions. Good parents will only command what is good 
for their children ; all they demand is for the children s welfare ; 
they fully realize that they will be called to a strict account by 
our dear Lord. If, then, the parents as the representatives of 
God have a right to command their children, it is the duty of 


the children to obey, and disobedience to the parents is disobedi 
ence to God. Obedience of the children should manifest itself 
in the cheerful, prompt, and quick carrying out the wishes of 
their parents. The words in the Lord s Prayer, "Thy will be 
done on earth as it is in heaven/ should be an incentive and 
encouragement to the children to fulfil conscientiously, and 
strictly, also their parents will. It is not for the children to 
criticise their parents orders or to discuss their right or wrong, 
unless, of course, sinful things were commanded. 

How do children sin against the obedience due to parents? 

They sin against obedience: 1. When they obey unwillingly 
or not at all. 2. When they do not respectfully listen to admo 
nitions; and, 3. When they offer resistance to punishment ad 
ministered by parents. 

1. The most exalted example of obedience was given by our 
divine Saviour Jesus Christ, who, although God from all eter 
nity, was subject to Mary and Joseph. 

2. The second offense of the children against the obedience 
due to their parents is not to listen respectfully to their admo 

Why do good parents admonish their children? Certainly 
only for their own good. They admonish you to receive regu 
larly the holy Sacraments, to hear Mass, attend church services, 
to be economical, diligent, temperate, honest, and truthful. 
They also warn you of evil, of bad company, of places where the 
salvation of your soul would be in danger. It is an act of 
obedience, then, on the part of the children to give a willing 
ear to these admonitions and warnings, and to heed them. Even 
a grown-up child should undertake nothing without asking for 
the advice of its parents. A grand example for all children in 
this respect is young Tobias. After his father had given him 
wise directions and instructions, he said: "I will do all things, 
father, which thou hast commanded me." When Raguel, his 
father-in-law, asked him to stay and offered to send a message 
to his parents, Tobias said : "I know that my father and mother 
now count the days, and their spirit is grievously afflicted within 

3. Another offense is to offer resistance to corrections by 
parents. God Himself gives the right to the parents to correct 


their children when He says : "Withhold not chastisement from 
thy child : if thou strikest him with the rod, he will not die of 
it, and thou wilt save his soul from hell." Good children do not 
need any correction, for they willingly and promptly obey their 
parents wishes in all proper things. When a child is punished 
he can blame no one but himself. Holy Scripture in the Old 
Testament describes the punishment which shall be dealt out to 
a disobedient son : "If a man have a stubborn and unruly son, 
who will not hear the commandments of his father and mother, 
and being corrected slighteth obedience, they shall take him to 
the elders of the city; and the people of the city shall stone 
him, that all Israel hearing it may be afraid." 

What have those children to expect who do not fulfil their 
duties toward their parents? 

In this life they must expect the curse of God, disgrace, and 
shame, and in the next life eternal damnation. 

The proof of this we find in Holy Writ: "Cursed be he that 
honoreth not his father and mother, and all the people shall 
say: Amen." And further: "Remember thy father and thy 
mother, lest God forget thee, and thou wishest that thou hadst 
not been born, and curse the day of thy nativity." 

363. Q. Are we bound to honor and obey others than our 

parents ? 

A. We are also bound to honor and obey our Bishops, 
pastors, magistrates, teachers, and other lawful 
*364. Q. Have parents and superiors any duties toward 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. 
365. Q. What is forbidden by the fourth commandment? 

A. The fourth commandment forbids all disobedience, 
contempt, and stubbornness toward our parents or 
lawful superiors. 


For what reason do children owe honor, love, and obedience to 
their parents? Because parents are, next to God, their greatest 
benefactors, and take His place with regard to their children. 


From whom do all good things come originally? From God. 

Through whom do children receive God s good things? Through 
their parents. 

How many kinds of benefactions do parents bestow upon their 
children? Temporary as well as spiritual benefactions. 

Name some temporary benefactions? Parents provide their chil 
dren with food, clothing, and shelter, in sickness they nurse them and 
obtain medical assistance, they work for them and provide whatever 
is necessary for them. 

Now tell me some of the spiritual benefactions? Good parents 
give their children the needful education, teach them to pray, send 
them to church, keep them from bad company, and admonish them 
to do good. 

What was your condition during the first years of your life? We 
were helpless. 

If your parents had not taken care of you, what would have be 
come of you? We should not have lived long. 

How must we consider our parents? We must consider them the 
representatives of God. 

How do children sin against the respect they owe to their parents? 
Children sin against the respect they owe to their parents if in their 
hearts they despise them. 

What does Holy Scripture say of a child who despises his parents? 
Holy Scripture says: "The eye that mocketh at his father and de- 
spiseth the labor of his mother, let the ravens of the brook pick it 
out, and the young eagles eat it." 

How do good children show to their parents the love which is duo 
them? 1. By praying for them; 2. By doing everything to please 
them and avoiding that which would cause them grief and sorrow; 
3. By supporting them in their old age, and 4, By bearing patiently 
with their failings and infirmities. 

What may children expect who observe faithfully their duties 
toward their parents? In this life God s blessing and protection, and 
in the next eternal salvation. 

How do we know this? God Himself added to the Fourth Com 
mandment the promise: "That thou mayest be long-lived Upon the 
land which the Lord thy God will give thee." 


Blessed Thomas More s Respect for His Father. Stapleton tells us 
that Blessed Thomas More (who was Chancellor of England, and 
who died on account of his firmness in supporting the Catholic re 
ligion) entertained such high respect for his parents that he never 
left his house, even in the days of his power and great influence, 
without having first demanded, on his knees, the blessing of his 
aged father. 

Love of Sons for Their Mother. A poor widow, who had been de 
prived of the use of her limbs, felt the most lively regret at not 
being able to go to Mass on Sundays. When Sunday came round, 
she invariably said to her sons: "What a happiness would it be to 
me if I could go to church and hear Mass! but I can not go, for I 
am old, infirm, and the road is long." And as she said these words, 
the poor woman shed tears and fetched a deep sigh; then she raised 


to her lips the cross of her beads, which she was telling 1 with the 
greatest piety and recollection. Her two sons, who entertained a filial 
affection toward their old parent, soon contrived to satisfy their 
mother s pious longings. They attached to her old arm chair two 
poles, and by this means they carried the poor woman to church. 
As they entered for the first time the road to the Church, carrying 
the old mother in her chair, the people on the road loaded them with 
their blessings, and even cast flowers on their path. The pastor of 
the place, hearing of this loving invention of filial love, ascended the 
pulpit, and took for his text these words of Deuteronomy: "Honor 
thy father and mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee." 
His discourse was full of unction, and produced a thrilling effect upon 
the congregation. He compared the flowers cast on the path of the 
two sons, when bearing their mother to church, to the benedictions 
which God would soon shower down on them. 

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 command 


A. We are commanded by the fifth commandment to 
live in peace and union with our neighbor, to re 
spect his rights, to seek his spiritual and bodily 
welfare, and to take proper care of our own life and 

What is meant by kill? By kill is meant the taking of Jife 
by violent means. Murder can be direct or indirect. Murder is 
direct when a person is killed by a direct attack, as by a blow, 
by stabbing, by shooting, by poisoning, strangling, drowning, 
suffocating, etc. Murder is indirect when a life is taken in 
directly; for instance, through harsh treatment, neglect, un 
necessary exposure, etc. Murder is direct also when the person 
bent on such deed commits the murder himself; indirect when 
that person would cause the same to be committed by hired 
murderers. Thus did Herod commit indirect murder by direct 
ing the soldiery to put to death the children in Bethlehem. In 
direct murder may be committed by counsel. Thus Caiphas 
advised: "It is better that one man should die for the people 
than that the whole nation should be destroyed." Cain com 
mitted direct murder by killing his brother Abel. 

There is also self murder, suicide, when a person puts an end 
to his own life, and murder of the soul when one leads a soul 


into evil, thus causing him to lose the life of the soul, namely, 
sanctifying grace. 

368. Q. What is forbidden by the fifth commandment? 

A. The fifth commandment forbids all wilful murder, 
fighting, anger, hatred, revenge, and bad example. 

The fifth commandment forbids all sins by which we injure 
our neighbor or ourselves in body or in soul. 

When do we injure our neighbor in body? 1. When we kill, 
strike, or wound him without just reason. 2. When by harsh, 
treatment, slander, or persecution we embitter and shorten his 

The fifth commandment, therefore, not only forbids murder, 
but all kinds of bodily injuries and ill usage. 

To convince ourselves of the heinousness of murder we should 
reflect : 

1. That God alone is Lord over the life of man because He 
gave him that life. 

2. That in taking the life of a man he is robbed of his great 
est temporal good. 

3. That by murder an obstacle is put to all the good which 
the murdered could have done upon earth for himself or others. 

4. That if the murdered man should die in mortal sin his 
soul is delivered to eternal perdition. 

5. That murder undermines the security of human society 
and endangers its existence. 

Is it ever permitted to destroy human life? Yes, it is per 
mitted: 1. For the lawful authority to do so in the case of 
criminals deserving such punishment ; and, 2. In defense of one s 
country, or for the protection of one s life from unjust attack. 

It is permissible to kill an adversary in self-defense in case of 
deadly peril. As long as the preservation of our life can be 
attained by other means, for instance, by crying for help, by 
flight, by disarming, by wounding, or rendering the assailant 
unconscious, the killing of our adversary must be avoided; nor 
would it be allowed to kill this adversary after the actual assault 
has passed. 

What in an individual case is self-preservation is the state of 
war for a people or nation. It is the act of self-preservation of a 


community. In the waging -of war it is also permitted to kill 
the enemy. It is, however, not allowed in warfare to kill de 
fenseless women, little children, or the sick. Even in the heat 
of battle the soldier must be humane and not kill for the sake of 
killing, but only when his foe is actually endangering his life. 

The fighting of so-called duels is forbidden, and if one is 
killed in such duel, direct murder has been committed. 

Does the fifth commandment forbid only actual bodily injury ? 

It also forbids everything that will induce or lead to bodily 
injury, as anger, hatred, envy, quarreling, abusive words, and 

(a) Anger and revenge lead men not only to acts of bodily 
injury, but frequently to murder. King Saul, without cause, 
in a fit of rage caused eighty-five priests to be put to death. 

(b) Hatred is distinguished from anger inasmuch as it is a 
deep-rooted passion. Thus did Cain hate his brother Abel, and 
this hatred led him to commit murder. The scribes and Phari 
sees hated Jesus, and this hatred brought Jesus to the Cross. 
Holy Writ says : "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer/ 

(c) Envy, particularly ill-will. When Saul heard that the 
victory over the Philistines was attributed to David, he sought 
to kill him, although David had been his preserver. 

(d) Invectives, e. g., to injure our neighbor, to hurt his feel 
ings or disgrace him by abusive language. 

(e) Cursing. It is contrary to the commandment of Chris- 
tion charity to wish evil to our fellow creatures. "Do unto 
others as you would have them to do unto you." We must not. 
even wish evil to our enemies, for Jesus commands us to pray 
for those who persecute and calumniate us : "I give you a new, 
commandment : Love your enemies/ ?: 

When do we injure ourselves as to our own body? 

1. When we take away our life; and, 2. When we impair our 
health, or shorten our life, by intemperance in eating or drink 
ing, by violent anger, by immorality, etc. 

He who takes his own life, or shortens his life, is a suicide, 
and commits one of the worst crimes by usurping to himself a 
right which belongs to God alone, and by depriving himself of 
the greatest of all temporal goods. Hence from all time and 
among all nations the suicide has been looked upon as a being 


disowned by numanity. For this reason suicide is considered 
by every one,, even by the civil law, as a disgrace, and the laws 
of the Church refuse Christian burial and public prayers to one 
who has taken his own life. 

Among the causes that lead to suicide are insanity. Insanity 
is sometimes brought about by great misfortune, long sickness, 
etc., and we ought not, for that reason, pass harsh judgment in 
case of suicide. It belongs to God alone to judge. 


A Young Suicide. A few years ago a mere boy of sixteen was 
found dead in his room; he had deliberately suffocated himself, al 
ready tired of existence, almost before having tasted life. What led 
him to such a crime? Incredulity and irreligion. His father had 
said: "When my boy grows up, I ll leave him to choose his own god, 
and his own religion." The time for choosing had arrived, and he 
chose death. Unhappy son! Unhappy father! 

We also sin against this commandment by impairing our 
health, shortening our life, through intemperance, violent 
anger, immorality, etc. Many persons imagine that excessive 
eating and drinking is a means of prolonging life. Whereas 
really sobriety and moderation are the only means to preserve 
health and prolong life. We may assure ourselves of this fact 
by asking those that enjoy a robust old age. Life is the greatest 
earthly good. For this reason we should seek to preserve it and 
avoid everything that might injure our health. 

Are we never allowed to expose our life or our health to 
danger? Never without necessity; but when a higher duty re 
quires it we may. 

We expose our life to danger without necessity when our 
motives are ostentation, selfishness, sinful desires, and love of 
enjoyment. We may, however, expose our life and health to 
danger when a higher duty requires it, as, for instance : 

(a) The holy martyrs sacrificed their lives for their faith. 

(b) The mother of the Machabees with her seven sons suf 
fered death rather than transgress the law of God. 

(c) Jesus died voluntarily to redeem sinful mankind. 

(d) Priests and doctors attend the sick afflicted with danger 
ous infectious diseases. 


(e) The Sisters of Mercy with self-sacrificing charity nurse 
those sick of contagious diseases in hospitals and in homes. 

(f) Men risk their lives in rescuing persons from drowning, 
from burning buildings, etc. 

May we desire our own death? Xo, we may not when the 
desire proceeds from worldly motives, dejection, or despair; but 
we may when we desire death so as not to offend God any 
further, or in order to be united with God for love of Him. 
Generally it is not fervent and filial love of God that begets $* 
desire of death. It is far more frequently dejection, the trials 
of life, and despair. Dejection and weariness of life may arise 
from great bodily sufferings, from heavy misfortunes, etc. 

When one desires to die rather than offend God, then it is 
not really death which is desired, but the deliverance from sin, 
and we can obtain this deliverance without death by God s grace 
and with a firm will. We have no reason, therefore, to wish for 
death. God in His wisdom has called us into existence, and He 
knows best when it is time to call us out of this life. 

The fifth commandment not only forbids man to injure life, 
to kill the body; it forbids him likewise to kill the soul. 

When do we injure the soul of our neighbor? When we scan 
dalize him ; that is, when we deliberately seduce him to sin, in 
fluence him to evil, and give him occasion to commit it. Scan 
dal may be given, and scandal may be taken; scandal may be 
direct or indirect. Scandal is direct when we invite a person 
directly to sin, and tempt him to sin by advice, promises, etc. 
The scandal is indirect when, in our evil actions or in the 
omission of good, we give occasion for other persons to imitate 
our example. When yielding to the temptation to sin we are 
snatched from communion with God, deprived of sanctifying 
grace, the life of the soul being thereby killed. The sin of 
tempting a person to evil is consequently a much greater sin 
than a bodily murder. He who gives scandal is an accomplice 
of Satan, for as the latter plunged our first parents into misery 
by persuasion, and caused them to lose their earthly Paradise, so 
the tempter robs his victims of their highest good, the peace and 
salvation of their soul. The sin of scandal is committed : 

1. By those who order their children or subordinates to do 
something wrong. 


2. By those who instruct others in evil. 

3. By unchaste conversations and temptations to immodesty. 

4. By inciting others to cheat, steal, defraud, to take revenge, 

5. By giving others the means to perform evil deeds. 

6. By commending the sins, vices, failings, and crimes of 
others, and thus confirming them in their vices. 

Scandal is given by those who either by discourses, writings, 
and pictures ridicule the Catholic faith, the Sacraments and 
ceremonies of the Catholic Church. 

To commit the great sin of scandal it is not necessary posi 
tively to have the intention and the bad desire of tempting 
others; it is sufficient to permit oneself, even carelessly, to use 
expressions and actions which are stumbling blocks to others. 

Man s nature, corrupted by original sin, is more inclined to 
evil than to good. If, then, we see anything, bad in our fellow- 
men it ought not to incite us to imitation, but it should be a 
warning to avoid wrong-doing. When we, for example, behold 
a person afflicted with a bodily infirmity, we feel happy in the 
possession of a sound body. How absurd it would be if we de 
formed ourselves so as to resemble a cripple. It is still more 
absurd to let ourselves be led astray by the sinful example of 

The sin of scandal is still greater when we lead innocent 
children directly or indirectly into evil. Holy Scripture warns 
us of giving scandal in these words: "If thy hand or thy foot 
scandalize thee, cut it off, and if thine eye scandalize thee, pluck 
it out and throw it from thee, for it is better to go maimed into 
eternal life than to be thrown into hell-fire with two feet, two 
hands, and two eyes." 

Sometimes persons are scandalized at their neighbor s good 
deeds. This is what the Pharisees did, and for this reason this 
kind of scandal is called Pharisaical. 

Much as we should avoid giving scandal to our neighbor, yet 
we must not be prevented from doing good, even if we know that 
our neighbor will thereby be scandalized. 

What should in particular deter us from giving scandal ? 

1. The thought that he who gives scandal is a minister of 
Satan, destroying the very souls that Jesus Christ has ransomed 


with His Blood. 2. The dreadful consequences of seduction, 
since those who have themselves been seduced generally seduce 
others, and thus sin is continually propagated. 3. The awful 
words of Jesus Christ about the scandal-givers. It is said of 
Satan that he roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he 
may devour. That means, in other words, the evil spirit seeks 
every opportunity, and employs every means to turn man away 
from God and to plunge him into eternal perdition he is a 
murderer of souls. Whoever gives scandal does Satan s work; 
he is an accomplice of Satan. He disfigures the image of God 
in man and robs him of the innocence and peace of his soul. He 
who allies himself with Satan is an enemy of God and enters 
the field against Him, as it were. Hence St. Bernard says 
Jesus suffers a greater persecution through those who give scan 
dal than He did from those who crucified Him. 

As the consequences of scandal are infinite, so also will the 
punishment of scandal be terrible and inexpressible. 

It is impossible to entirely undo the injury inflicted by scan 
dal. A seducer can not make full amends for the misery he has 

What must we do when we have sinfully injured our neigh 
bor? Wo must not only repent and confess the sin, but we must 
also, as far as it is in our power, repair the evil we have done. 
First of all it is imperative upon one who has injured his fel- 
lowman in his health, limbs, or life, to sincerely repent, and to 
confess the same, to accept the penance imposed and strive to 
repair the injury caused by his sin. 

In the same way all those who have given scandal must sin 
cerely repent and confess their sin, and subject themselves to 
the confessor s decision, but they must also strive by amendment 
of life and by a devout life to repair as much as possible the 
scandal they have occasioned. St. Augustine repented the errors 
and scandals of his youthful years by doing penance all the rest 

of his life. 


St. Augustine and His Friend St. Augustine, before his conver 
sion, had led a life of dissipation, reviling the things of God, and 
seeking only the vain pleasures of this life. After his conversion 
he wept bitterly for the sins of his former life; and for the instruc 
tion of others, he wrote a book entitled "The Confessions of St. 


Augustine" in which he declared the evils he had done, that others, 
by reading them, might be led to the grace of repentance. Among 
other things he relates the following: "When I was at Tagastus 
there lived there also a young man for whom I conceived a great 
affection. We were both young and of the same age, and I had 
known him when I was only a child. He loved me so much that he 
did everything I asked him; and when I proposed to him to renounce 
the Catholic faith, in which he had been born, and which he had 
practised all his lifetime, he did it for my sake." When they had 
lived for about a year in this way, and constantly in each other s 
company, the young man became ill, and was soon brought to the 
point of death. For some days all hope of recovery was abandoned, 
and Augustine sat day and night at his bedside, waiting till the end 
would come. But God wished to prolong his friend s life for our ex 
ample and instruction. A favorable change came over him, and his 
consciousness returned. When he had so far recovered as to know 
those around him his eyes fell on Augustine. "As soon as he saw 
me," writes Augustine, "he turned his eyes from me in horror as if 
I had been his most deadly enemy, and with a firmness which sur 
prised me from so dear a friend, he declared to me that if I desired 
to be his friend I must forever abstain from speaking against the 
Catholic faith. I was annoyed at this, but the grace of God at the 
same time spoke to my heart, and I saw the evil I had done in draw 
ing away a soul from God by my bad example and evil words, and 
I left his bedside to weep in secret over my sin." Augustine was 
absent for a few days; but being anxious to see his friend again, to 
encourage him in his pious resolution to live for the future a holy 
life, he went to visit him. When he approached his friend s house 
he saw everywhere signs of grief. God had called the young man 
to Himself during his absence. 

369. Q. What is the sixth commandment? 

A. The sixth commandment is: Thou shalt not commit 

370. Q. What are we commanded by the sixth command 


A. We are commanded ly the sixth commandment to l)e 
pure in thought and modest in all our looks, words, 
and actions. 


There is a sin which is so grievous and so terrible in its con 
sequences, that Holy Scripture says it ought not even be men 
tioned among Christians. We must, therefore, be careful not to 
talk about these sins., which tarnish body and soul and ruin 


them, but let us speak to-day of that virtue which is the opposite 
of that sin, namely, the virtue of modesty. 

The virtue of modesty consists in avoiding all that would 
bring the blush of shame to an innocent cheek. It is hurtful 
to modesty to dress or undress in the presence of others. It is 
hurtful to modesty to gaze at what is indecent. 

The good God, who wills that our body, having been sanc 
tified by Baptism, should be a temple of God, has given us a 
faithful watchman to deter us from shameful and immoral ac 
tions, and that watchman is the blush of shame. It comes to 
the face of the one who hears anything indecent and who is in 
danger of doing anything against holy modesty. The heart 
beats wildly in moments of great temptation, as if it would 
forcibly remind us that we ought not stray from the path of 
virtue and from the fear of God. It is for us to give heed to 
this friendly and divine warning. Children, in order not to be 
tempted to do anything wrong, should- shun carefully idleness 
and especially bad company. Children should, if possible, al 
ways remain under the supervision of parents or teachers, and 
even when alone never forget that there is One whose eye you 
can not escape. Children should also frequently and fervently 
invoke the intercession of their guardian angel, especially when 
anything would tempt you to sin. Children should further 
more receive the Holy Sacrament of Penance often and worthily, 
and faithfully follow the advice of their confessors. The best 
means to avoid all that is immodest is to remind oneself con 
tinually of God s omnipresence and omniscience. If one is 
ashamed to do anything immodest before parents, how much 
more ought we to be ashamed before God, the omnipresent, all- 
wise, and almighty ! 

A beautiful example of purity of heart is the youthful Stanis 
laus Kostka, who even fainted when something immodest was 
mentioned in his presence. St. Agnes, although only thirteen 
years of age, chose to die by the executioner s hand rather than 
to be unfaithful to her Saviour, whom she had chosen for her 
heavenly spouse. Joseph chose to languish in a prison in Egypt, 
although innocent, rather than to commit the evil to which 
Putiphar s wife tempted him. 



There is a sin which is so great and grievous that, according to 
the words of Holy Scripture, it should not even be mentioned 
among Christians. If, however, we speak of this sin to-day, we 
do so with the intention of warning you most earnestly against 
it; for it is with sins as with poisonous plants we must learn 
to know of them so as not to taste of them, but to shun the peril. 
This great and fearful sin is impurity. The sixth and ninth 
commandments of God treat of this sin. 

371. Q. What is forbidden by the sixth commandment? 

A. The sixth commandment forbids all unchaste free 
dom with another s wife or husband; also all im 
modesty with ourselves or others in looks, dress, 
words, or actions. 

The sixth and ninth commandments forbid: 1. All sins of 
impurity, as unchaste looks, words, jests, touches, and any other 
acts that violate modesty; and, 2. Everything that leads to 

To the sins of sensuality or impurity belong first of all bad 
thoughts. These may be voluntary or involuntary. The evil 
spirit tries often to seduce persons to fall into sin, and begins 
his work with bad thoughts. If we drive these from our mind 
quickly and earnestly, hy saying, for instance, a Hail Mary, or 
by invoking our guardian angel, they are not sins. But when we 
entertain with pleasure these bad thoughts, then they are sins, 
and from them come had wishes, desires, and intentions, and 
bad deeds. Bad thoughts are like sparks of fire, which, if not 
heeded, may cause a mighty conflagration. 

Christ our Saviour said: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for 
they shall see God." If we wish to be quite pure of heart we 
must not only avoid the gross sins of impurity, but also all 
unchaste thoughts, desires, wishes, and intentions. To the sins 
of impurity belong also unchaste words, immoral songs, and 
improper touches. These sins are very grievous, and become 
more so when committed in the presence of innocent children. 

What leads to impurity? 1. Curiosity of the eyes; 2. Im 
modest dress; 3. Bad company; 4. The reading of bad books; 


5. Frequenting dance halls; 6. Indecent plays; 7. Idleness and 

1. Curiosity of the eyes. A wise dispensation of the Creator 
has enabled man to turn his eyes in any direction; he can thus 
turn away his eyes from everything that is immodest and sinful. 
A single curious glance at something sinful, however, can en 
kindle in a person a violent desire, a sinful wish, which will 
finally draw him into sin. A proof of this is the fall in Para 
dise. Curiosity prompted Eve to approach the forbidden tree; 
she did not turn away her eyes from the forbidden fruit, and 
her desire for it became greater and greater, until at last she 
ate of the forbidden fruit. 

2. Immodest dress. At all times we should dress modestly, so 
as to avoid all danger of sin to ourselves and to others. Such 
dress is immodest which exposes to the eye parts of the 
body that modesty would require us to cover. Such a bold 
woman was Jczabel, the infamous wife of King Achab. When 
King Jehu made his entry into Jezrael, Jezabel in immodest 
dress placed herself at her window with the intention of attract 
ing the King. But her plan did not succeed. Jehu ordered 
that for her boldness she be thrown out of the window. She was 
then trampled upon by the horses, and the dogs ate her flesh a 
terrible punishment for her immodesty. 

3. Bad company. An old proverb says : He who touches pitch 
defiles himself ! Those who associate with immoral, bad persons, 
hear, see, and learn much evil, and an otherwise good person 
becomes bad. In bad company unchaste conversations are held, 
impure stories related, immoral songs sung, etc. Thereby the 
mind and the powers of imagination are filled with indecent 
pictures, and the spirit of piety and purity is driven out of the 

St. Vincent Ferrer made use of this true illustration ; Place 
a single rotten apple among many good ones; the rotten apple 
will not become good, but it will infect and spoil all the good 

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. 


4. The reading of bad books is like the inhaling of poisonous 
gases. It benumbs modesty and fills the soul with unchaste 
images and representations. It feeds immodesty as oil feeds the 
fire. St. Theresa relates the following: "I read some books 
which one generally describes as entertaining. I soon lost there 
by all pleasure in devotional exercises! I stayed away from Holy 
Communion, and my heart was no longer with God/ If this 
was the effect of bad reading even on a saint, how dangerous it 
must be for us ! 

As for dance halls and indecent plays, it must indeed be a 
wicked and shameless child that would be seen at vulgar and 
sinful public amusements. Never go even to a respectable place 
of entertainment without your parents, or at least not without 
their express permission. 

Why must we most carefully guard against impurity? 

1. Because no sin is more shameful; and, 2. Because none is 
attended with such dreadful consequences. 

1. Impurity is the most shameful of all vices, for it makes the 
human body an instrument of the vilest sensuality, and yet our 
body is, (a) a creature of God, in fact, a divine masterpiece, 
and therefore exclusively God s property, (b) Our body should 
be the instrument to practise all good, and thus obtain heaven 
for ourselves, (c) Our body in Baptism became a temple of the 
Holy Ghost, (d) Our body is a seed which bears within itself 
the germ of immortality, for our bodies will rise again at judg 
ment day, to be united to our souls for eternity. 

From this we see the exalted dignity of the human body, 
which should never be profaned by the sin of impurity. 

2, The sin of impurity furthermore is also dreadful in its 
consequences. What are the dreadful consequences of impurity ? 
1. It robs man of his innocence; 2. It leads him to many other 
sins and vices, and often to murder and despair; and, 3. It 
plunges him into misery, ignominy, and shame, and finally into 
eternal damnation. Innocence and purity of heart are the most 
precious virtues of mankind. They are more valuable than all 
the treasures of the earth, for they render us like unto the 
angels. The vice of impurity, on the contrary, destroys not only 
the soul of man, but his body likewise. The ancient Spartans 
led drunken slaves before their sons, so as to arouse in them a 


horror of the vice of intemperance ; and if we could only see the 
results of the vice of impurity, it would be a great warning 
against this sin. 

Impurity leads to many other sins and vices, for it is in 
deed one of the seven capital sins. Impurity renders man in 
different toward religion, deaf to the word of God, and insensi 
ble to everything honorable and sacred. 

Examples. (a) King Solomon the wise, by being addicted 
to the vice of impurity became an idolater. 

(b) King Henry VIII of England, through the vice of im 
purity was led to apostasy from the Catholic faith and to in 
expressible cruelties and unjust executions. 

(c) The cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, because of their vile 
sins, were destroyed by fire and brimstone. 

(d) Herodias, the adulterous woman, caused King Herod f:o 
order the beheading of St. John. 

(e) Putiphar s had wife had the chaste Joseph cast into 
prison for refusing to sin with her. 

The sins of adultery arid impurity bring misery, ignominy, 
and shame, and finally eternal damnation. 

What are .we to do when we doubt whether anything is a sin 
against purity? 

We must consult our confessor and in the meantime carefully 
avoid that of which we are doubtful. 

It is in all things well to obtain advice when in doubt. This 
is much more necessary in the important affairs of the soul, 
particularly in matters pertaining to purity of heart. 

What are we commanded to do by the sixth commandment? 

We are commanded to be decent and modest in all our 
thoughts, looks, words, and actions, and to preserve most care 
fully the innocence of our soul as the greatest good and the 
most beautiful ornament of man. (The preceding instruction 
on modesty, page 374, may here be used.) 

The following are three more means which we should employ 
to preserve our innocence: 

1. We ought frequently to contemplate and reflect upon the 
image of the crucified Saviour and upon what Jesus endured on 
account of our sins. 


2. We ought often to reflect upon the great love of God, which 
has lavished so many blessings upon us, and not repay this 
love with ingratitude and viciousness. 

3. We ought to accustom ourselves from youth to self-denial 
and mortification of the flesh, as well as in the overcoming of our 
sensual desires and inclinations. 

What is the application? Love the innocence and peace of 
your soul ! Often meditate on the words of the Holy Scrip 
ture : "Oh ! how beautiful is the chaste generation with glory, 
for the memory thereof is immortal, because it is known both 
with God and with men." Therefore, whether you are alone 
or with others, never say or do anything that may not be 
said or done before people of purity. The application exhorts us 
also to love the innocence and peace of our soul. When a person 
possesses a precious jewel, he takes the greatest care of it; he 
keeps it in a safe place, handles it with caution, and employs 
all means to preserve this precious possession. Now as the 
innocence of our soul is of far greater value than all the jewels 
of the earth, and even renders us like unto the angels, we should 
endeavor to preserve this precious treasure. With our innocence 
we preserve at the same time the peace of our soul, for sin is 
like a worm gnawing at our hearts, giving us no rest night or 

Be careful in your associations. Shun bad company and oc 
casions of sin, and if with all your care the seducer still ap 
proaches, then pray to God, to the Blessed Virgin, and to your 
holy guardian angel for assistance, and they will not abandon 
you. Recall to mind frequently the words used at your Bap 
tism : "Receive this white garment, and see that you carry it 
without stain before the judgment seat of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, that you may have eternal life." 


A Reader of Novels. During the course of a mission given at 
Marseilles, a lady came to see one of the fathers who preached. She 
saluted him affectedly, making use of silly, exaggerated expressions. 
He easily could tell that the lady was in the habit of reading novels 
and other books of the kind. "I see that you read novels, madam!" 
"I do, father; but, then, they do me no harm whatever; I merely read 
them for recreation." "It would be well for you in that case, madam, 
before reading one of these books, to kneel down and say to God: 


My God, I am going to read this romance to please Thee; I know 
there are bad doctrines in it, bad examples, and bad advice; no 
matter, I am going to read it to accomplish my baptismal vows, and 
to promote Thy glory and the salvation of my soul ." "But, father, 
I could never say such a prayer as that; it would be mocking God." 
"No, madam, if the book be good, you can and should say such a 
prayer." "But but, father " "Ah! there it is you begin to feel 
that the book is not so harmless as you thought at first. Tell me, 
were you more pious formerly than you are now?" "Yes, father!" 
"And did you read novels then?" "Oh! no, father; not at all." "Did 
you once prefer serious studies, useful work, grave occupations?" 
"Yes, father!" "And did you then read novels?" "No, father!" 
"Were you once wiser, more obedient, less addicted to luxury and 
foolish expense?" "Yes, father!" "And did you read novels?" "No, 
father!" "You formerly frequented the Sacrament w r ith more fervor 
and with more exactness?" "Alas! yes, father!" "And did you read 
novels?" "No, father!" "Well! madam, I have nothing more to 
say to you; you see yourself the danger of reading such silly pro 

Lesson Thirty-fourth 


373. Q. What is the seventh commandment? 

A. The seventh commandment is: Thou shalt not steal. 

374. Q. What are we commanded by the seventh command 


A. By the seventh commandment we are commanded to 
give to all men ivhat belongs to them and to respect 
their property. 

375. Q. What is forbidden by the seventh commandment? 

A. The seventh commandment forbids all unjust taking 
or keeping what belongs to another. 

The seventh commandment forbids us to get possession of our 
neighbor s property by robbery or theft, by cheating, usury, or 
by any other unjust way. There are just ways and means by 
which we can obtain the property of another; such means are, 
for instance: 1. By purchase. 2. By exchange. 3. By donation. 
4. By inheritance. 5. By finding objects the owner of which 
can not be ascertained; and, generally speaking, by any fail- 


Having learned how we may acquire something by just means, 
we will now hear how things are obtained by unjust and unlaw 
ful methods. Such methods are : 1. Bobbery. 2. Theft, and 
unjustifiable retention of something found. 3. Cheating and 
fraud. 4. Usury. 5. Misusing a position of trust for unlaw 
ful gain. 6. By begging charity of which we are not in need. 
Who are guilty of robbery or theft? 

Those who are commonly called robbers and thieves, but all 
those, also, 1, who give them advice or assistance; 2, who buy, 
sell, hide, or keep stolen goods; 13, who do not return to their 
owner the things they have found or borrowed; 4, who do not 
pay their debts; and, 5, all those who beg charity without need, 
thus defrauding the real poor of such alms. An awful example 
of how God abhors and punishes theft is related by Holy Scrip 
ture in the case of Achan (Josue vii). We read there that God 
had commanded the Israelites to dedicate to the Lord all the 
gold and silver obtained in the conquest of Jericho, for the 
maintenance of the tabernacle of the covenant. Achan, seeing 
among the spoils some precious things which he greatly desired 
to possess, took them away secretly, and buried them in his tent. 
But God caused the theft to be made public. Achan was seized, 
led outside the tent, and stoned to death. 

Those also sin against the seventh commandment who refuse 
to pay their just debts. Even a thrifty and honest man may, by 
unfortunate circumstances, get into debt. For instance, if 
sickness or loss of work overtakes a father of a family and he has 
not the money to pay the doctor or the grocer. Debts contracted 
without one s fault are not sinful, if the one contracting them 
has the honest intention to pay them as soon as possible. Sinful 
debts, however, are those made by people too lazy to work, or 
people living beyond their means, or those made without any 
intention to pay them. If you have made debts, you must pay 
them when due, and if, through disinclination or neglect, you 
fail to do this, although you are able to pay, and if thereby you 
cause loss or serious inconvenience to your creditor, you do an 
injury that is a sin against the seventh commandment. 

Those persons also sin against the seventh commandment who 
beg without necessity. It often happens that upon the death of 
beggars large sums of money are found in their possession. 


Idlers and tramps not only steal the days from God, but steal 
sustenance from others more in need than themselves. 

Who are guilty of cheating? Those who profit by false weight 
or measure, by bad money, by misrepresentation of merchandise, 
by unjust lawsuits, by bribery of judges or witnesses, etc. 

a. By false measure. When, for instance, the person who 
buys uses a measure which is too large, then he is cheating; on 
the other hand, when the person who sells uses a short measure, 
be is equally guilty of cheating. 

b. Counterfeit money. 1. It is not allowed to make money, 
for this is the privilege of the government. 2. It is not lawful 
to keep such money in circulation, for we thereby cheat our 

c. Those persons cheat who misrepresent merchandise sold by 
them, thus getting a price higher than the worth of the article. 
Those persons, for instance, who sell diseased animals for sound 
ones, merchants who sell spurious gold and imitation stones for 
the genuine articles, etc. To profit wrongfully by the inex 
perience and credulity of people is a sin. 

d. Those who carry on unjust lawsuits. Whoever knows to be 
in the wrong, and yet brings a lawsuit with the hope of gain, 
commits a grievous sin. 

e. He who bribes a judge to pronounce a false and unjust 
sentence commits sin. So would the one sin who accepts such 

The sin of cheating is greater when practised upon the poor, 
widows, and orphans. 

Who are guilty of usury? Those who ask unlawful interest 
for the money they lend. It is but right and proper that those 
who lend money should profit, for he to whom the money is 
loaned also profits by the loan. A particularly reprehensible 
kind of usury is carried on by those who in times of famine buy 
up food and foodstuffs for the purpose of exacting high prices 
from the consumers, This species of usury strikes mostly the 
poor, and is no better than robbery. All those sin by usury who 
draw unseemly profit out of the necessity and temporal want of 
their fellowmen in distress. The sin of usury is very serious, for 
it undermines the happiness and the well-being of whole families 


and communities; it causes dearth, famine, poverty, crime, and 
other evils. Hence St. Bernardin says: "The usurer is a mur 
derer of the poor, for he robs them of clothing, shelter, food, 
drink, and means of livelihood." 

In what other way is the seventh commandment broken ? By 
injury to our neighbor s lands, or crops, or interests, by neglect 
ing the work which we are in duty bound to perform for him. 
Thus sin also servants, laborers, and employees who do not, 
or do not properly, perform their work. 


The Chinese Artisan. A Tartar officer, entering one of the gates 
of Pekin, dropped his purse. A Chinese artisan, who was a good 
Christian, saw this and followed the officer to the house he entered. 
"Who are you and what do you want?" said the officer. "You 
dropped your purse just now: here it is." "Why do you bring it 
here? Don t you know that the laws allow you to keep things so 
found?" "I know that; but I am a Christian, and my religion re 
quires me to restore, if possible, whatever I may find." This reply 
roused the curiosity of the officer; later on he went to a Catholic 
missionary, and in time became a zealous Christian. 

Honesty, the Best Policy. A Quaker passing one day through a 
market stopped to inquire the price of some pears. "I will not charge 
you much for them," said the fruit dealer, "but I am afraid that 
they will not suit you, for they are old and have lost their flavor." 
"Thank thee, friend," said the Quaker, "I will go to the next stand." 
"Hast thou any good fruit to-day?" said he, addressing the next 
dealer. "Certainly," replied the dealer, "excellent fruit. See, here 
are some of the finest pears of the season; they are small, but they 
are of the richest flavor." "I will take some, then, my friend," re 
joined the Quaker. "Count me out a quarter of a hundred and send 
them to my house." The pears were accordingly sent, but they 
proved miserably poor and tasteless. The next day the Quaker 
again entered the market. He was immediately accosted by the 
dealer who had sold him the pears, and who said that he should be 
very happy to serve him again, as he had a choice selection of fruit. 
"Nay, friend; thou hast deceived me once," said the Quaker, "and 
though thou mayest be telling the truth this time, yet I can not trust 
thee. Thy neighbor here dealt truthfully with me, and he shall 
have my trade. Thou wouldst do well to remember this, and to learn 
that a falsehood is a base thing in the beginning, and a very un 
profitable one in the end." 

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 can 
not be forgiven. 


377. Q. Are we obliged to repair the damage we have unjustly 

caused ? 

A. We are bound to repair the damage we have unjustly 

To restore is to give back some object or the value thereof. 
The obligation of restitution is an important duty of justice, and 
proceeds from the inviolability of just possession. I will explain 
the case by an example: A boy has been stealing apples, and, 
having eaten them, he can not return the apples. He must, 
therefore, either return to the rightful owner the same number 
of other apples, or pay the price of the stolen fruit. Where we 
have injured our neighbor in his property or interests, we are 
bound in conscience to make whatever restitution we can. 

Ill-gotten goods are to be returned in the same condition in 
which they were gotten. For instance, a thief steals a garment 
and wears it for a long while. He would not make sufficient 
restitution by returning the garment in its now worn-out con 

Without making proper restitution, or repairing the injury 
done, we can not obtain pardon from God. It is, therefore, not 
sufficient to repent and confess a sin against the seventh com 
mandment, no matter how many penitential works, prayers, 
fasts, alms, etc., we would perform. In addition, it is absolutely 
necessary and required that we restore the ill-gotten goods and 
that we repair the injury done as far as we can. 

Who is bound to make restitution? 1. He who is knowingly 
in possession of the things stolen or of their value, or who has 
done the injury. 2. If he does not do it, this obligation de 
volves on him, or on those, who, by counsel or action, were ac 
cessories to the sin, or who did not hinder it, although they were 
able and bound to do so. 

One may be accessory to another s sin in many ways. Such 
accessories are, for instance: 1. Employers or superiors ordering 
those under his authority to do damage to the property of an 
other. 2. Those inciting or advising others to steal or to injure 
property. 3. Those rendering assistance to persons breaking 
this commandment. 4. Servants and employees keeping silent 
concerning an injury to the property of their master or em- 

Com pare page 123. 


ployer, although the perpetrators of the injury are well known 
to them. 

To whom must restitution of the ill-gotten goods be made? 
To the owner or to his heirs, hut if this be not possible, it must 
be made to the poor or for religious or charitable purposes. In 
all doubtful cases the direction of the confessor must be sought 
and complied with. 

What must they do who can not immediately make restitu 
tion? They must have the honest intention of doing so as soon 
as possible, and in the meantime they must make efforts to make 
restitution possible. 

If we can not restore at once all ill-gotten goods, then we must 
do so by degrees. In order to do this we must practise the two 
virtues of industry and economy. In such case we must deprive 
ourselves of all special pleasures, of any extraordinary recreation, 
so that we may be enabled to make the necessary restitution. It 
will be extremely dangerous and careless to put off restitution 
until the end of life ; one might be overtaken by a sudden death 
and pass away without having made restitution. 

What excuses us from making restitution? 1. Extreme 
poverty, constant sickness, inability to work; but all these only 
as long as these conditions prevail ; and, 2. Complete release 
from our obligation by the injured person. 

What should we bear in mind in temptations to sins against 
this commandment? We should remember: 1. That death will 
eventually wrest the ill-gotten goods from us. 2. That stolen 
property will bring us, not happiness and blessing, but mis 
fortune and punishment. 

What are we commanded by the seventh commandment? We 
are commanded to give to every one his due, and to be charitable 
to our neighbor. We ought, therefore, 1, to give to every one 
his due, i. c., give to servants and workmen the wages they have 
earned, and at the right time, also to tradespeople their due pay. 
More than that, we ought to be indulgent toward the poor and 
needy and divide our abundance with them. "If thou hast 
much, then give much ; hast thou only a little ? then give cheer 
fully of that little." That which we give to the poor is as capital 
which draws interest for us with God. That which we do unto 
the poor, God will regard as having been done unto Himself. 


We should, furthermore, be contented with what we have. Con 
tentment makes even the poor happy. He who lets his heart 
cling to temporal goods becomes an idol worshiper whose god is 

What is the application ? Xever appropriate anything wrongly, 
no matter how little it may be, and remember this true saying: 
"Small beginnings make great endings." Xever steal anything 
from your parents or from your companions. Do not imagine 
that you need not be honest in little matters. Prove your hon 
esty and integrity in little things. Be honest in your speech. 
Lying is a favorite habit of thieves and of dishonest people. Be 
honest in everything you say or do, and you will be rewarded by 
a clear conscience, the respect of your neighbors, and by the 
blessing of God. An honest person will always be a good person. 
He will not cheat himself, nor his neighbors, nor his God. 


The Ox of St. Medard. A peasant stole from the saint an ox 
which had a bell hung- round its neck, drove it into his stable and 
locked the door. But though the beast stood quiet, the bell, never 
theless, kept ever ringing. The thief, dreading discovery, took the 
bell off the animal s neck and threw it on the ground, but it kept 
ringing still. Then he filled it with hay and still it rang; at last he 
shut it up in a box, and in the box it rang still. Terrified at so 
manifest a miracle, he restored the ox to its owner, and immediately 
the bell ceased to give its sound. 

Now the like happens to those who soil their hands with ill-gotten 
goods; justice, like the clamorous bell, sounds in their conscience, 
and says: "Keep not what belongs to another." Some will go to 
confession again and again, but conscience will never rest till resti 
tution be made. 

The Longer Postponed, the More Difficult. A man who had for 
many years been guilty of unjust practises, being at last at the point 
of death, sent for a confessor to administer to him the last Sacra 
ments. The confessor told him that the first step to be taken was the 
restitution of property, as his goods had been unjustly acquired. "But 
what shall become of my children?" said the dying man. "The 
salvation of your soul ought to be much dearer to you," said the con 
fessor, "than the fortune of your family." "I can not resolve on 
doing what you require, I can not do it," replied the unfortunate 
man, and a few moments afterward he expired. How awful a death! 
How much it should cause those to tremble who have acquired their 
goods by fraud and injustice. 

378. Q. What is Hie eighth commandment? 


A. The eighth commandment is: Thou shalt not bear 

false witness against thy neighbor. 

379. Q. What are we commanded by the eighth command 

A. We are commanded by the eighth commandment to 
speak the truth in alt things, and to be careful of 
the honor and reputation of every one. 

1. God desires that our exterior actions should be an ex 
pression of our interior disposition and feeling. He desires that 
the virtue of veracity should prevail among all mankind. We 
are strictly bound to practise this virtue. We owe it, 1, to God; 
2, to our neighbor; and, 3, to ourselves. 1. We owe it to God, 
for He is truth itself, the eternal truth, which can neither lie nor 
be in error; the Son of God came into the world to bear testi 
mony to the" truth,, and the Holy Ghost is the spirit of truth, 
who will teach us all truth. Veracity, or truth, is one of the 
attributes of God which we can imitate. A lie is an object of 
abhorrence to God. Holy Scripture says : "Lying lips are an 
abomination to the Lord." 

2. We owe the truth to our neighbor, for a beneficial inter 
course of mankind depends upon mutual confidence, and that is 
foundecLupon the truthfulness of the individual. 

3. We owe the truth to ourselves, for our soul is an image of 
God, which is dishonored by lying. 

II. With truthfulness and fidelity upon our own part go hand 
in hand faith and confidence in our fellowmen. Confidence in 
our fellowmen must, of course, be exercised with circumspection, 
as it would not be productive of good results to place our con 
fidence in bad and faithless people. For this reason Holy Scrip 
ture exhorts us, "Be wise as the serpent and simple as the dove." 
This caution is especially needed toward those who approach 
you with flattery upon their lips. It ought not, however, de 
generate into general suspicion and the habit of distrust. 

III. One of the chief requirements of the efficiency of our 
relations to human society is honorableness and the good name 
thereby acquired. By good name is understood the good opinion 
that others have of us. It is outwardly expressed by esteem 
and respect. Holy Scripture itself says : "A good name is better 
than great riches." 


380. Q. What is forbidden by the eighth commandment? 
A. The eighth commandment forbids all rash judgments, 

back-bitings, slanders, and lies. 

*381. Q. What must they do who have lied about their neigh 
bor and seriously injured his character? 
A. They who have lied about their neighbor and seri 
ously injured his character must repair the injury 
done as far as tlieij are able, otherwise they will not 
be forgiven. 

The eighth ^commandment forbids, in the first place, to give 
false evidence; that is, to swear in a court of justice to that 
which is not true. As a general rule, we are by no means obliged 
to answer every question and to give information to the curious 
and meddlesome ; it may, on the contrary, often be wise, or even 
an obligation, to keep silent. Those, however, who are placed 
in authority over us, parents, teachers, pastors, judges, etc., who 
have a right to question us, to all these we are obliged to answer. 
When one is called to a court of justice to be questioned about 
a certain occurrence, he is called a witness, and that which he 
says there is testimony. When such testimony does not agree 
with the truth, it is called false evidence, and, if sworn to, the 
witness commits the terrible sin of perjury, as we have learned 
when considering the second commandment. 

When any one has given false evidence, and thereby caused 
injury to an individual, or to a family, it is not enough to repent 
and confess the sin, but all the actual harm occasioned thereby 
must be repaired, restitution must be made. Without this, par 
don can not be obtained for the sin committed. 

What other sins are forbidden by the eighth commandment? 
1. Lies and hypocrisy. 2. Detraction and. calumny, or slander. 
3. Unwarranted suspicion and rash judgment; and, in general, 
all actions detrimental to the honor or good character of our 

The first of these sins is lying. 

What is meant by a lie? To affirm deliberately that which we 
know is not true. 

We distinguish several kinds of lies; there are, 1, lies told for 
amusement; 2, lies of expediency and business lies; and, 3, 
malicious lies. 


1. Lies told in joke or fun are usually gross exaggerations of 
the truth; they are only then not sinful if their purpose and 
character be obvious. They easily become a bad habit. 

2. Lies of expediency and business lies are those untruths so 
often told in private and business matters in order to explain 
delays or defects. The degree of their sinfulness depends on the 
importance of the matter and on the injury done. 

3. Malicious lies, when false accusations are made to bring 
others whom we hate into trouble. Thus would the chaste 
Susanna have been stoned to death through the false deposition 
of wicked witnesses if the wisdom of Daniel had not saved her. 

Is it ever lawful to tell a lie ? No ; it is never lawful to tell a 
lie, neither for our own nor for another s benefit, for every lie 
is totally opposed to God, who is truth itself. 

When Jesus spoke those simple but memorable words, "Let 
your discourse be yea, yea, and nay, nay," He wished to say 
thereby, "Speak not more than is necessary, and what you do 
say let it be the truth." It may happen that a lie would appear 
to be useful, or even of benefit; even then it would not be 

Lies are a disgrace to dignity and a destroyer of self-respect. 
Flattery is another species of lying, because an untruth is told 
to please some one, attributing characteristics which that person 
does not possess, or, at least, not to that degree. By flattery self- 
love and conceit are created, and it is the source of other sins. 

How do we sin by hypocrisy? By pretending to be better or 
more pious than we really are, in order thereby to deceive others. 
The hypocrite pretends, by his outward demeanor, his conversa 
tion, and actions, to be devout and virtuous, seeks an appearance 
of sanctity, while inwardly he sins and is a slave of his passions 
and vices. Hypocrites of this kind may join fervently in all 
religious services; they frequently appear even overzealous. In 
their hearts, however, they harbor different sentiments and 
despise the very things which by their actions they seem to 
esteem. Jesus called such persons whitened sepulchers, fair 
without to the eye of man, but foul within and filled with rotten 
ness. King Herod of Jerusalem is an example of such hypo 
crites. He let the three wise men from the East depart for 
Bethlehem, bidding them, "Depart and ask diligently concern- 


ing the child, and when you have found him, let me know, that 
I also may go and adore him/ his secret intention being to mur 
der the Child. 

Another kind of hypocrite is the one who blesses with his lips 
and curses in his heart. Judas was a detestable hypocrite; he 
approached his Lord arid Master, greeted Him with a kiss, and 
thereby delivered Him up to His enemies. Hypocrisy is some 
thing unnatural. One may be a hypocrite in demeanor or in 
words or deeds* The hypocrite, from a moral and religious 
point of view, pretends to be that which he is not, and conceals 
his real bad character. This vice was prevalent in the Pharisees 
in the time of Our Lord. They would stand at the street corners 
and give alms that they might be seen and praised by men, while 
in reality they were greedy and avaricious. 

How do we sin by detraction? By revealing the faults of 
others without necessity. Detraction is, in general, the unjust 
injury done to the honor and good name of our neighbor. We 
may become guilty of the same in two ways, namely: 

1. By revealing the faults of our neighbor unnecessarily, or 
by imputing bad intention to his good works. 

2. By keeping silent when the good reputation of our neigh 
bor is at stake. 

Detraction is a sin against charity and against justice. 

1. Against charity, for from detraction often springs hatred 
or bitter feelings toward our neighbor, since by detraction we 
seek to deprive him of his good name. Granting that our neigh 
bor has many faults, it is not for us to be his judge. God alone 
is the judge. When the adulterous woman was brought to Jesus 
to be condemned to death, Jesus uttered those memorable words : 
"Let him throw the first stone who is without sin." Detraction 
is, furthermore, a sin against the virtue of justice, which teaches 
us "To do unto others as we would they should do unto us." It 
is never allowed even in jest to lessen the honor and reputation 
of our neighbor. Holy Scripture says : "Judge not, that ye may 
not be judged." 

When is it allowed to reveal the faults of others? We are 
allowed, and even bound to, reveal the faults of others, 1. When 
it is for the good of the guilty person ; or, 2. When necessary 
for preventing a greater evil. Instances where it was necessary 


to reveal the faults of others were, for example: Joseph telling 
his father of his brothers shameful and wicked acts. The vener 
able Heli being informed,, by pious and God-fearing Israelites, 
of the evil his wicked sons had done. Paul warning Timothy 
to shun a wicked man, named Alexander. 

Another sin against our neighbors honor is calumny. This 
sin must not be confounded with the sin of detraction. 

How do we sin by calumny or slander? By imputing faults 
to our neighbor which he has not at all, or by exaggerating his 
real faults. Detraction deals with faults that really exist; the 
calumniator, however, imputes imaginary faults and failings. 
Thus, Putiphar s wife falsely accused Joseph of a grievous sin, 
and the Pharisees bribed false witnesses who declared that Jesus 
had incited the people to revolt. The sin of calumny is more 
serious when relating to persons having positions of trust, as 
public officials, priests, teachers, etc., as their good work may 
thereby be undermined or destroyed altogether. 

Holy Scripture compares the evil work of the calumniator to 
the poisonous bite of a snake. The poisonous bite of a snake may 
deprive us of our natural life, but the malicious tongue of the 
calumniator robs us of the greatest of all worldly goods honor 
and reputation. "Reputation lost, all is lost." Not only the 
divine law, but also the civil law protects man reputation, and 
punishes slander and calumny. 


What sins are chiefly forbidden by the eighth commandment? 
All sins against the honor and good name of our neighbor. 

What does the eighth commandment forbid in the first place? 
The giving of false evidence, i. e., to avow in a court of justice that 
which we know is not true. 

When is evidence false? When a witness testifies contrary to 
what he knows to be the truth. 

Why is false evidence before the law so grievous a sin? Because 
of the injurious consequences of false evidence. 

What other sins are forbidden by the eighth commandment? Lies 
and hypocrisy, detraction and calumny or slander, unwarranted sus 
picion and rash judgment, and in general all acts detrimental to the 
honor or character of our neighbor. 

What is a lie? To afflrm and deliberately state that which we 
know is not true. 

Is it ever lawful to tell a lie? No; it is never lawful to tell a lie, 
neither for our own nor for another s benefit. 

Mention another kind of lying. Flattery. 


What great harm does flattery inflict? Flattery blinds a person 
and fills him with self-love and conceit. 

What other sin is forbidden by the eighth commandment? 

How do we sin by hypocrisy? By pretending to be better or more 
pious than we really are. 

How do we sin by detraction? By revealing the faults of others 
without necessity. 

Are we ever allowed to reveal our neighbor s faults? Yes; there 
are times when we are even bound to do so. 

When is it allowed to reveal the faults of others? When it is for 
the good of the guilty party, or when it is necessary to prevent a 
greater evil. 

When detraction arises from malice, what has it for its aim? 
To bring our neighbor into bad repute. 

Is this a grave sin? Yes; it is. 

Detraction may also arise from frivolity or gossip. A person, for 
instance, speaks of his neighbor s faults without the bad intention 
of doing him an injury. Is this always a grievous sin? No; it is 
not always grievous. 

How do we sin by calumny or slander? By imputing faults to 
our neighbor which he has not at all, or by exaggerating his real 

What is the difference between detraction and calumny or slander? 
The detractor deals with faults his neighbor really has; the calumni 
ator, however, imputes faults to his neighbor which he has not. 

When is the sin of calumny most pernicious? When we speak 
evil of those holding a position of trust, such as officials, priests, 
teachers, etc. 

Tale-bearing arouses suspicion and mistrust,, even when the 
tales that are carried are without foundation ; hence it sows the 
seed of disunion and enmity, and often results in injury to our 
fellowman. In the book of Sirach we read: "Hatred, enmity, 
and ignominy fall upon the tale-bearer." Tale-bearing dis 
solves the bond of affection and love between parents and chil 
dren, between husband and wife, destroys friendship and loyalty 
among others. Tales are often circulated in the disgraceful and 
cowardly method of anonymous letters, not signed at all, or by 
an assumed name. Writers of such letters have not the courage 
to approach, face to face, openly and honorably, those to whom 
they wish to tell their tales, and they acknowledge by their very 
method that their object is one they are ashamed to be con 
nected with. Is it a sin to listen to detraction or calumny? 
Yes; it is a sin: 1. To listen with approval. 2. Not to stop 
it when it is in our power; and, 3. To encourage it by asking 
questions or otherwise expressing approval. 


What is he obliged to do who, by slander or abusive language, 
has injured the character of his neighbor? He is obliged: 1. 
To retract the slander or to make apology; and, 2. To repair 
the injury he has done. 

The calumniator is excused from retraction and asking par 
don only when the person wronged expressly renounces his right 
to the same, or when the person s character has already been 

When do we sin by unwarranted suspicion and rash judg 
ment? We sin, 1. By suspicion, when, without reason, we think 
evil of our neighbor s disposition; and, 2. By rash judgment, 
when, without sufficient reason, we are convinced of an evil in 
tention in his actions. 

1. Without sufficient reason we ought not to think evil of our 
neighbor. Only when there is good reason furnished by experi 
ence or reliable information may we suspect our neighbor s 
motives. The false suspicion which becomes a conviction is 
called rash judgment. By rash judgment we constitute ourselves 
judge of our neighbor, thereby encroaching upon God s privi 
lege. We judge our neighbor without being able to see into his 
heart. For this reason our divine Saviour gave us this instruc 
tion: "Judge not, that you be not judged." To guard against 
false suspicion and rash judgments we should observe the fol 
lowing rules: Think well of your neighbor so long as he does 
not lose his character by evidently bad deeds, and even in the 
event of his leaving the path of virtue be considerate and chari 
table in your opinion. 

What are we commanded by the eighth commandment? We 
are commanded: 1. To speak the truth in all things. 2. To be 
solicitous for the honor and reputation of every one; and, 3. 
To bridle especially our own tongue. As children of the eternal 
truth, we are required, always and under all circumstances, to 
speak the truth. The eighth commandment aleo commands us 
to be solicitous for our own honor and reputation. Our ef 
ficiency as members of human society depends largely upon our 
reputation with our fellowmen. We ought, furthermore, to 
bridle our tongue, for although it is in itself a small member, yet 
it is capable of causing untold misery. Jesus said : "Out of the 
abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." If, then, our 


heart is filled with malice, meanness, envy, and uncharitable- 
ness, our mouth will overflow with the same. 

How far should we be solicitous for our own honor? As far 
as the honor of God, the edification of our neighbor, and the 
duties of our state of life require. 


Slander Rebuked. St. Augustine, the illustrious Doctor of the 
Church, had an extreme horror of all uncharitable conversation. 
To prevent any discourse of this nature from being held in his 
presence, he caused the following inscription to be painted in large 
letters upon the walls of the room where he usually entertained 
his friends: 

"Slanderer, beware, this is no place for thee; 
Here naught shall reign but truth and charity." 

It happened one day that some of his guests began to speak in 
his presence of the faults of an absent neighbor. The holy bishop, 
with a grave and severe look, immediately reproved them, saying, 
"My friends, you must either cease to speak on such a subject, or 
it will be necessary for me to have those verses blotted out from 
the walls of my room." 

The Blind Man. At Nanterre, near Paris, a poor blind man was 
asking charity in the public square before the church. He had the 
misfortune to displease a wicked woman. She vowed vengeance 
against the poor man, and for more than six months she had the 
persevering wickedness to say, every place she went to, that this 
blind man was unworthy of public pity. "If you only knew how 
matters stood with him," said she; "only fancy, that man has a 
whole bag of silver, and by his begging he has actually become so 
rich that he owns a great portion of the rich plains around Nanterre; 
consequently, he takes from the real poor the alms that belong to 
them, and of which they have more need than he has." Little by 
little this absurd calumny spread abroad, and was believed. When 
the poor blind man approached anyone he was shamefully driven 
away with harsh, cruel words. No more alms for the unfortunate 
man, and for almost three months he scarcely received a penny; 
he was reduced, therefore, to the greatest destitution, together with 
his wife who was sick in bed and four young children. Meanwhile 
the Mayor of Nanterre, who knew that this poor man did not own 
a foot of ground, was touched with his misfortune. He took the 
trouble of having notices posted up in various places, warning all 
persons passing through Nanterre that the false stories told of the 
poor man were exposing him and his family to die of hunger; that 
there was not a word of truth in what was said of him, and that it 
all came from the malice of a woman. It took a long time to counter 
act the sad effects of this calumny, but finally the truth prevailed, 
and the poor blind man became again the object of public charity 
as before. 


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 command 


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, 
desire 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. 

Why does God forbid not only evil actions, but also all evil 
thoughts and desires? Because evil thoughts and desires defile 
the heart and lead finally to evil actions. Holy Scripture says: 
"Man seeth those things that appear, but the Lord beholdeth the 
heart/ As from the spring there originates by degrees the brook 
and then the river, so it is possible that desires not suppressed 
may become by degrees greater and greater, and lead to very 
grievous sins. As the careful housewife not only removes the 
coarser dirt from the rooms, but also removes the fine dust from 
the furniture, so should we keep our hearts clean, not only from 
evil actions, but from evil desires and thoughts as well. As from 
the little acorn springs the grand oak tree, so may there arise 
from unsubdued evil thoughts the most shameful actions. 

386. Q. What is the tenth commandment? 

A. The tenth commandment is: Thou shalt not covet 
thy neighbor s goods. 

387. Q. What are we commanded by the tenth command 


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. 


It forbids envy and jealousy. If some one, for instance, a 
playmate of yours, has better clothes than you, or has things 
which you, or your parents, have not or can not afford, and if 
you fret on that account, are dissatisfied, and would rejoice if 
your playmate would have ill luck and be deprived of these 
things, you would sin by envy, which is often a grievous sin. 
Envy is the source of many other grievous sins. Envy and 
jealousy are responsible for much misery; they often cause 
great injury to the envied person and invariably destroy the 
happiness of the envious person himself. 

There are some goods which it is no sin for us to desire. For 
instance, it is lawful to wish for sufficient money to support and 
care for our family, and even to have something over and above 
this for the days of our old age or for time of need. But when 
a person is envious of his neighbor, because he is in better cir 
cumstances, or if a person desires to become rich through avarice, 
covetousness, by stinting and oppressing his fellowmen, then he 
commits a sin. Holy Scripture says : "Those who desire riches 
fall into temptation and into the snares of Satan." Into what 
temptation ? Into temptation to be unjust, to cheat, to steal, to 
lie, swear, etc. 

What are we commanded by the tenth commandment? To be 
contented with what is our own, and not to be envious of what 
belongs to others. 


Death Through Envy. At the beginning of this century there 
lived on the banks of the Rhine a wealthy peasant who was the 
owner of numerous cattle; but, notwithstanding all this, he was very 
jealous of what was possessed by his neighbors. In the evening, 
when the cattle were returning from pasture, he was accustomed to 
place himself before the door of his house to watch the herds going 
home from the fields; whenever he saw passing by a finer cow than 
any of his he was as vexed as could be, saying: "Ah! that I have 
no cow like that!" If in the spring he saw his neighbors farms 
presenting a fine appearance, he said sorrowfully to himself: "See! 
everything prospers with others, while nothing succeeds with me!" 
Thus he had the unhappy habit of tormenting himself. And what 
was the result? After dragging out for some time a miserable life, 
never enjoying the possessions which he bountifully acquired, he 


was seized with a violent bilious fever, contracted through his con 
stant fretting and discontent, and died just two days after receiv 
ing a legacy of two hundred thousand francs, left to him by a 

Lesson Thirty-fifth 


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 


5. To contribute to the support of our pastors. 

6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics or wlw 

are related to us within the fourth degree of kin 
dred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to 
solemnize marriage at forbidden times. 

Are there, besides the commandments of God, any others 
which Catholics are bound to keep? Yes; the commandments 
of the Church. 

You already know that a commandment is the expressed will 
of a superior that something shall be done. You also know that 
the Church is the union of all those professing the true 
faith. Those lawfully appointed to office in the Church, the 
Pope and the Bishops, have the right to give commands, which 
all the faithful are bound to observe. The Church is a large 
family, embracing all men who believe and confess the Catholic 
faith. In a family there must be some one who, by orders and 
arrangements, watches over the conduct of the members of the 
family. So does the Church, in order to attain her end, require 
certain special precepts of conduct, to which the faithful, as 
members of the Church, must subject themselves. These special 


precepts are called the commandments of the Church, of which 
there are six. 

Whence has the Church a right to give commandments ? From 
Jesus Christ Himself, who commissioned His Church to guide 
and govern the faithful in His name when He directed the 
Apostles : "As the Father hath sent me, so do I send you." Jesus 
has, furthermore, granted to His Apostles tho power to bind and 
to loose with these words : "Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you 
shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, and what 
soever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven." 
This power to bind and to loose is applied not "only to con 
science and sins, but implies also the power to give command 
ments. The power of the Church to give commandments pro 
ceeds, furthermore, from the words of Jesus : "Whosoever hear- 
eth not the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a 
publican." Also from His words: "He that despiseth you, de- 
spiseth me, and he who despiseth me, despiseth him that sent 
me unto you." 

Is the power of the Church limited to the giving of com 
mandments ? She has also the right to watch over their observ 
ance and to punish those breaking them. 

The right of the Church to give commandments includes also 
the right to watch over their observance and to punish the 
transgressor, for otherwise the aim of the commandments would 
not be attained. Without this authority the commandments 
would be useless. The Apostle Paul commanded his disciple, 
the Bishop Timothy: "to preach the word of God, to reprove, 
entreat, rebuke with all patience and doctrine." He himself 
threatened the Corinthians with punishment, and he actually 
punished an incestuous person by expulsion from the com 
munity of Christians. This power is necessary to the Church 
for the preservation of her dignity and authority. The punish 
ments of the Church are of a spiritual nature, as the Church has 
only the salvation of the faithful in view. The Church in exer 
cising her sovereignty makes no distinction. The punishment is 
the same for king or beggar. 

Which are the usual ecclesiastical punishments? 


1. The refusal of the holy Sacraments, or withholding the 
same from impenitent sinners, and those who give public scandal 
and who do not make reparation. 

2. Excommunication, or the ban of the Church, a complete 
exclusion from the Church, visited upon those who remain stub 
born and unrepenting in their disobedience to the Church. 

3. The refusal of Christian burial and public prayers to those 
who reject her means of grace, who die in impenitence, to sui 
cides, and those who die in excommunication. 

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 ive 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 rea 

God Himself commands us to keep holy the Sabbath day. This 
command has been extended by the Church to certain important 
holydays, called holydays of obligation. Holydays of obligation 
in the United States are the following: 

The Circumcision of Our Lord, or New Year s Day, Janu 
ary 1. 

The Ascension of Our Lord, May 21. 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, August 15. 

All Saints, November 1. 

The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, Decem 
ber 8. 

The Nativity of Our Lord, December 25. 

On these days as well as on Sundays every Catholic who has 
come to the age of reason is obliged to hear Mass and to rest 
from servile work, unless hindered by sickness or other sufficient 

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was instituted by Jesus Christ 
Himself on the eve of His bitter Passion, when He partook of 
the Last Supper with His disciples and bade them "Do this in 
commemoration of me." This command, "Do this in com- 


memoration of me," is the expression of His desire that the 
sacrifice thus instituted should be continued in an unbloody 
manner for all times. If, then, Jesus in those words announced 
His express desire, it is the duty of His faithful followers to be 
obedient to His command and assist at this holy Sacrifice. For 
this reason the Church, upon whom has descended from Jesus 
the power, has commanded that the faithful, in accordance with 
the will of Jesus Christ, shall assist at the holy Sacrifice, at 
least on Sundays and holydays of obligation. 

Who is obliged to hear Mass on Sundays and holydays of 
obligation? All who have attained the use of reason and are 
not prevented by circumstances. It is generally accepted that 
children at about the age of seven are in full possession of their 

The following are excused from this duty: 

a. Old and sick people who are not able to go to church. 

b. Persons who have the care of the sick. 

c. Servants and workmen who are not permitted by their em 
ployers to go to church. 

d. People who live so far away from any church that they 
can not reach it at all, or can not undertake the journey without 
danger to their health, in inclement weather. 

e. All those who, by force of unavoidable circumstances, are 
prevented from attending Mass. 

Whoever is, for any of these reasons, prevented from attend 
ing Mass should devote some time to prayer at home. 

How Sundays and holydays should be further dedicated to the 
service of God we have considered in our explanation of the 
third commandment of God. 

*391. Q. Why were holydays instituted ly the Church? 

A. Holydays were instituted by the Church to recall to 
our minds the great mysteries of religion and the 
virtues and rewards of the saints. 

For what purpose have the feasts of Our Lord been insti 
tuted ? 

The feasts of Our Lord have been instituted so that we 
should : 1. Take to heart the mysteries of our Redemption. 2. 
Thank God for His graces. 3. Renew our zeal in serving Him. 


The Church, our spiritual mother, ever anxious for our eternal 
salvation, produces before our eyes by these annually occurring 
festivals of our Lord the whole work of the Redemption in vivid 
pictures for our reflection. She intends not only to enliven our 
faith by them and to reclaim our hearts from earthly affairs, 
but also to inculcate into us profound gratitude for the infinite 
benefactions which the immeasurable love of our Saviour be 
stows upon us, our Saviour, who left the glory of heaven to 
suffer for sinful mankind the greatest sufferings and finally the 
bitterest and most ignominious death upon the Cross. Those 
who keep this infinite love of our Saviour in constant and lively 
remembrance will feel compelled to return this love, will deter 
mine to be zealous in the performance of good works, and will 
firmly make up their minds to become good and pious Chris 
tians. The exterior decorations of our altars on the great festi 
vals of the year are to remind us of the beauty of a pure soul 
and of virtue. And in the same way as our temporal dwellings 
are put in the best of conditions for the celebration of some 
festive worldly event, so should we cleanse our soul from the 
stain of sin, for each of the high festivals of Our Lord, so as to 
appear before Him in the festival garment of virtue. 

*392. Q. How should we keep the holydays of obligation? 

A. We should keep the holydays of obligation as we 
should keep the Sundays. 


A Physician Neglecting Mass. A certain physician met a laborer 
in his Sunday clothes, and said, "Where are you going so well 
dressed, Lawrence?" "I am going to Mass." "Bah! you would do 
better to stay at your work." "Oh, sir! I never work on Sunday." 
"You are a fool." "Fool or no fool, I have made up my mind to that. 
I love r-eligion, and I want to practise it, for it is that which makes 
me happy." "It is the priests who have put such notions in your 
head." "The priests never told me anything but what was right, 
and for my good." "Well! now, how can a sensible man like you 
say that? They have made you believe that there are three persons 
in one God! It is all well enough to say that there is one God, we 
can believe that; but the idea of three persons in one God! Did they 
go up to heaven to find that out?" "When one has a headache, sir, 
you say it comes from the stomach, and that an emetic must be 
taken; did you go down into the stomach to see the connection be 
tween it and the head?" "Oh! but I studied that." "Well! the 
priests studied too!" "Yes! but this study is limited to teaching 


you incomprehensible mysteries." "Yet, they say, doctor, that there 
are incomprehensible mysteries in medicine too, though it is easier 
to know diseases and their remedies than the perfections of God, 
which are so far above us." "It is true there are difficult things 
in diseases, but, at least, we cure the sick, and they are better of 
our advice." "I don t know, doctor, whether you can always cure 
your patients; but I know I am always the better of the priest s 
advice. You admire the peace and order that reign in my family; 
the good conduct of my children. Well! I owe all that to the advice 
and instructions of our pastor; it is not every one that could say 
as much, especially when they have no religion." The doctor under 
stood that these words applied to his son, whom he had brought up 
without religion, and who was giving him a great deal of trouble; 
he thought it prudent to put an end to this dialogue, in which he had 
got the worst of it. 

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. 

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 number of meals. 

395. Q. Why does the Church command us to fast and ab 

stain ? 
A. The Church commands us to fast and abstain, in 

order that we may mortify our passions and satisfy 

for our sins. 
*396. Q. Why does the Church command us to abstain from 

flesh-meat on Fridays? 
A. The Church commands us to abstain from flesh-meat 

on Fridays, in honor of the day on which our 

Saviour died. 

There are three kinds of fast days now commanded by the 
Church : 

1. The fast days with abstinence, i. c., those days on which 
not only the number of meals must be limited but on which 
also the use of flesh-meats is forbidden. 

2. Fast days without abstinence, i. e., days on which the num 
ber of meals must be limited, on which, however, the use of 
flesh-meats is allowed. On these days it is not allowed to par 
take of flesh-meats and fish at one and the same meal. 


3. Days of abstinence, on which the number of meals is un 
restricted, but on which the eating of flesh-meats is forbidden. 

This commandment, however, should not only be followed in 
letter, but should also in spirit. It is the intention of the 
Church that fasting should be a medium of bettering ourselves 
and of increasing our virtues. Through abstaining from food 
and drink we should learn to master and overcome our sensual 
inclinations and habits. Victory over temptation and sin can 
only be accomplished by constant effort to overcome our sensual 
desires. By such efforts we progress from -the easier to the 
more difficult stages step by step. He, therefore, who practises 
self-denial will find it easier to abstain from that which is for 
bidden. This is the idea and the benefit of the practise of fast 
ing. But fasting should not only restrain us from evil, but also 
make us better disposed toward virtue. 

Which are the fast days commanded by the Church? 

They are: 

1. The forty days of Lent, that is, every week day from Ash 
Wednesday to Holy Saturday included. 

2. The Ember Days, which are the Wednesdays, Fridays, and 
Saturdays: a. After the third Sunday in Advent, b. After the 
first Sunday of Lent. c. After Whitsunday, d. After the Feast 
of the Exaltation of the Cross. 

3. The "Vigils," or Eves of Pentecost, Assumption, All 
Saints, and Christmas. 

4. The Fridays of Advent. 

With regard to the forty days of Lent, we read in the Old 
Testament that Moses fasted forty days on Mount Sinai. Elijah 
also fasted for such length of time. Both prepared in this way 
for the message which they were to receive from God. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in like manner, fasted forty days in 
the desert before entering upon His public ministry. The same 
was done by the Apostles; and the first Christians imitated them 
in their holy zeal. 

The Ember Days have been appointed at the beginning of the 
four seasons, so that we may do penance for the sins committed 
during the past quarter, thank God for His graces and benefac 
tions and implore His almighty protection and blessing for the 


The Vigils, or eves, of certain feasts. In former times the 
faithful prepared themselves for the worthy celebration of these 
feast days by fasting and praying through the whole night. Vigil 
means night-watch. To take the place of these night-watches, 
the Church has appointed the days preceding these feast days as 
fast days. 

The rules and regulations for fasting are very mild in our 
days. They are announced usually at the beginning of the 
Lenten season. Every Christian who has reached his twenty- 
first year is obliged to fast. Excused are only the sick and 
convalescent, people of extreme age, and all those whose heavy 
work demands a more frequent or more ample nourishment. 

The days of abstinence in this country, as a rule, are: 1. All 
Fridays of the year. 2. All Wednesdays in Lent. 3. The Ember 
Days mentioned as fast days. 4. The Vigils mentioned as fast 
days. 5. Holy Saturday. 

All Christians who have attained the age of seven are bound 
to abstain from flesh-meat on days of abstinence, unless a just 
cause, such as illness, poverty, etc., excuse them from it. 

What ought they to do who can not very well abstain from 
flesh-meat? They should go to their pastor or confessor, apply 
for a dispensation, and perform other good works instead. 


The Traveler and His Dog. A man, followed by a fine dog, sat 
down to table where several acquaintances were also seated. It 
happened to be Friday, and those seeing him come exclaimed: 
"Here s our pious friend who eats no meat to-day, so there will be 
the more for us." "Not at all," replied he, "I claim my share." He 
took his plate of meat and set it on the floor, saying to his dog: 
"Eat that, you have no soul to save." This was rather pointed, 
and his companions were inclined to be angry, but they realized that 
they had offended this friend and had deserved the lesson he had 
given them. 


Lesson Thirty-sixth 


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. 

The third commandment of the Church, my dear children, 
instituted in the year 1215, by Pope Innocent III, contains 
three points : 

1. To go to Confession at least once a year. 

2. To confess worthily. 

3. To go to Confession to a duly authorized priest. 

1. The Church commands the faithful to go to Confession at 
least once a year. We clean our clothes when they are soiled ; we 
wash our hands and face and bathe our body, to free them from 
all dirt and defilement. Why should we not purify our soul 
from the dirt of sin, rather than walk about from year to year 
as would one afflicted with the plague? 

For all those lukewarm Christians who, without this com 
mandment, would not go to Confession at all and die steeped in 
their sins, this is a very wholesome commandment, in which we 
must recognize the love and care of Mother Church, who tries 
to advance the spiritual welfare of the faithful and to prevent 
their eternal death. There is no excuse for any Christian who 
keeps away for years and years from the Sacrament of Penance 
and who exposes himself to the danger of dying in sin and going 
to eternal perdition. 

2. But the Church demands more. She demands a worthy 
confession, i. e., a confession after a thorough examination of 
conscience, a sincere and true repentance, an open confession 
of all sins committed and a firm intention to sin no more, and to 
make good all damage which we may have caused through our 

3. We must make our confession to a duly authorized priest. 


A duly authorized priest is a priest who has not only the power 
to give absolution, which power came to him when he was or 
dained, but who has also received the authority from his Bishop 
to exercise this power. 

The fourth commandment imposes upon us a twofold duty: 

1. That we must receive Holy Communion at least once a 

2. That we must receive it worthily and after proper prepara 

God commanded, through His servant Moses, in the Old 
Testament, that every Jew, under pain of death, should partake 
of the Easter lamb. This Easter lamb of the Jews was the proto 
type of our Easter Lamb Jesus Christ, sacrificed for us at the 
time of the Jewish Easter. If, then, the partaking of the Easter 
lamb was so strict a commandment for the Jews, it must be 
apparent that our duty to receive Jesus, the Son of God Himself, 
must be all the more imperative. Therefore, Jesus said at the 
institution of the Holy Supper, "Do this in commemoration of 

He had said previously: "Except ye eat of the flesh of the 
Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." 

All the Church has done was to impress upon the faithful this 
commandment of our divine Lord and to fix the time when we 
should fulfil it. In olden times, when the Christians possessed 
great zeal for their Church, it was unnecessary to issue such a 
commandment, for they received Holy Communion every day. 
After several other prescripts, it was finally settled by the 
Lateran Council, in the year 1215, that the faithful must re 
ceive Holy Communion at least once a year, namely at Easter 
time. This commandment was confirmed by the Council of 
Trent, with the menace that any one teaching otherwise should 
be punished with excommunication. But the purpose of this 
commandment of the Church is fulfilled only when the Chris 
tian receives Holy Communion worthily, ?. c., in a state of sanc 
tifying grace, free of every mortal sin, in the spirit of humility, 
filled with a living faith and sacred love. 
*398. Q. Should we confess only once a year? 

A. We should confess frequently, if we wish to lead a 
good life. 


*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. 

400. Q. What sin does he commit who neglects to receive 

Communion during the Easier 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. 

Should we feel satisfied if we go once a year to receive Holy 
Communion? Certainly not; it is the intention and expressed 
desire of Holy Mother Church that we should partake of this 
inexpressible grace as frequently as possible. 

The Church commands only that which it is absolutely neces 
sary for the Christian to do, if he does not want to expose him 
self to the danger of excommunication, but she recommends 
a frequent reception of these Holy Sacraments. Therefore, make 
the resolution to-day, dear children, to go to confession and re 
ceive Holy Communion very frequently during the year, say, at 
the very least, once a month. 


The Doctor at Easter. A clergyman, speaking to his flock on the 
folly of delaying their conversion, related to them the following 
parable: One day last fall I beheld a most affecting spectacle. A 
young man was thrown by a runaway horse, his carriage broken, and 
he himself suffering intense pain from his injuries. People hurried to 
his assistance, sympathized with him, and begged of him to accept 
the aid of a physician. "A physician!" said he, "yes, at Easter I 
will have a physician." Judge of the astonishment of the spectators: 
they imagined he had lost his senses. Be not surprised, my brethren, 
when I ask you, are you not like this unfortunate, foolish man? 
Have you not suffered a dreadful fall? your soul, is it not more than 
wounded? We speak to you of a physician that is all-powerful, not 
of himself, but through the mission he has received from God, and 
who can bring that soul again to life; and you say: "At Easter, at 
Easter, I will have recourse to the physician." 

This comparison made a lively impression on the minds of the 
auditors, many of whom approached, soon after, the tribunal of 


402. Q. Are we obliged to contribute to the support of out- 
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. 

We now come to the fifth commandment, which tells us to 
contribute to the support of our pastors, to the Church, and to 
religion in general. This has been commanded by a divine pre 
cept, for St. Paul says: "So the Lord ordained, that they who 
preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel." Under the Old 
Law God commanded the people to give tithes and offerings for 
the support of the priesthood and the maintenance of worship. 
In the Church, from the beginning, this was a most sacred duty. 
"For as many as were owners of lands and houses sold them 
and brought the price of the things they sold, and laid it down 
before the feet of the Apostles, and distribution was made to 
every one according as he had need." Be always liberal, then, in 
your contributions to the Church and her needs. All our church 
buildings, our priests, our parish schools, and other religious 
institutions are dependent solely and entirely upon the volun 
tary contributions of the faithful, and, as you take a just pride 
in the beauty and comfort of your own home, do not forget to 
provide for the wants and necessities of God s holy temple and 
its servants, the priests. 

*403. Q. What is the meaning of the commandment not to 

marry within the fourth degree of kindred? 
A. The meaning of the commandment not to marry 

within the fourth degree of kindred is that no one 

is allowed to marry another within the fourth 

degree of blood relationship. 
*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 

priest or without witnesses. 
*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 mar 
riage at forbidden times is that during Lent and 
Advent the marriage ceremony should not fie per 
formed with pomp or a nuptial Mass. 
*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 
*407. Q. Should Catholics be married at a nuptial Mass? 

A. Catholics should be married at a nuptial Mass be 
cause they thereby show greater reverence for the 
holy Sacrament and bring richer blessings upon 
their wedded life. 

Lesson Thirty-seventh 


408. Q. When will Christ judge us? 

A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, 
and on the last day. 

409. Q. What is the judgment called which we have to under 

go immediately after death? 

A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after 
death is called the Particular Judgment. 

What happens when man dies? The soul separates from the 
body and appears before the judgment seat of God, while the 
body is returned to the earth. There is also a death of the soul, 
namely, when it loses the grace of God and is in a state of dis 
grace. There is also an eternal death, the damnation of hell, 
but to-day we will speak of the natural death, the death of the 
body. Death is a separation of the soul from the body, a re 
moval of the immortal soul from its mortal abode, the body. 

We call it a happy death if the dying person has prepared 


himself by receiving the grace of God through the Holy Sacra 
ments; and an unhappy one if a person dies unprepared and in 

Sleep is a picture of death. As man, tired and fatigued by the 
day s cares and toil, longs for repose, so does man, after the 
weary turmoil of life, long for rest and reunion with God. Just 
as we relax into slumber gradually and slowly, so does in our 
old age our strength gradually decrease until we finally die. 
Just as in the fall the trees die off, as leaf by leaf withers and 
flutters to the ground, so do the powers of soul and body of man 
grow weaker and weaker, less and less, until death takes place. 

To good people death is a return to their home. Take, for 
example, some one who in the days of his youth has lost father 
and mother, and had to go away from home to earn his living 
by toil and labor. Finally his earnings enable him to return to 
his home. How he rejoices even long before, when he thinks 
of the day on which he will start upon his journey, how hur 
riedly he undertakes it, how he counts the days and hours which 
it will take to bring him back to his beloved home. Finally he 
sees in the distance the cherished place, the church where he 
said his prayers as a child, the spots where he played with his 
young companions, the old house where his parents lived and 
where he was born, the little churchyard where his dear parents 
lie buried ! Oh, how his heart beats for joy, and how he kneels 
down to kiss the very soil which is so dear and precious to him ! 

With just such joy in his heart the good man returns to his 
God. Oh, how he, too, longs for peace after life s great turmoil, 
and how he is filled with joy at the thought of resting in heaven 
after the long battle of life ! 

But whether man dies willingly or unwillingly, whether he 
awaits death with joy or dread, all this makes no difference. 
Every man, no matter what he is, must die. Holy Scripture 
says: "It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the 
judgment." Death pays as little regard to its victim as the 
reaper does to the grass and flowers which are cut down by his 
sharp scythe. Young and old, high and low, rich and poor, 
princes and beggars, all alike must die. 

Why must all men die? Because all have sinned in Adam. 
This means, in other words: Because death, as a punishment 


for Adam s sin, has descended upon all his successors. Origin 
ally the human body was not destined for death, hut for immor 
tality. God warned Adam : "If thou shalt eat of the fruit of 
the forbidden tree, thou shalt die/ 

Do we know anything about our death ? We know neither the 
time, nor the place, nor the manner of our death. There is only 
one thing we know, that of a certainty we must die. Deatli may 
come at eve, it may come at night, it may come at morn. 

In His wisdom God has denied us all knowledge as to the 
time of our death. Firstly, so that each man should live so as 
to be prepared to die at any moment. Jesus has explained this 
to us in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, of which I 
have spoken to you on a former occasion. 

Secondly, so that we should honor and fear God as master 
over life and death; and, thirdly, to mitigate that dread and 
fear which ever accompanies the thought of approaching death. 
If we knew the hour of death, there would be no joy in life, 
Dejected, sorrowful, and disconsolate we should pass our days, 
and the nearer the day and hour of death would approach, the 
greater fear would take possession of us. 

How should we prepare ourselves for death? By avoiding 
sin and leading a good life. He who is laden with sin can not 
enter heaven, nor he who has done no good works in this world, 
who has been but lukewarm in faith. Man should therefore not 
only live free from sin, but he should also lead a good and fruit 
ful life, i. e., perform good works. For some men death is terri 
ble, for others it is not. He who lives in sin and vice will 
naturally be afraid of death. He who has always endeavored to 
do good will rejoice when the hour of death approaches, for -he 
knows that God will reward him. 

To the wicked man death is terrible, because, 1. When he 
looks into the past he sees nothing but folly, sin, and vice; 2. 
His present is for him no consolation, and there is no hope in 
his heart, nothing but shame, fear, sorrow, anguish, and despair. 
3. In looking into the future he sees himself before the gates 
of eternity; he knows that in a few days or months he will be 
called before the judgment seat of a just and terrible Judge, 
where eternal punishment will be his sentence. 


How terrible the death of wicked and sinful people is we may 
see in the death of Herod. This cruel man, who caused the chil 
dren of Bethlehem to be murdered, became afflicted with a 
terrible sickness; foul sores, filled with worms, covered his 
body, so that in despair he even tried to take his own 4ife. 

How does the good Christian die? 1. With resignation to 
the will of God, for he knows that all God does is for the best. 
A good Christian speaks like Job: "Blessed be the name of the 
Lord." 2. With thankfulness for the benefits received during 
life for soul and body. 3. With repentance for sins committed, 
and 4. Fortified and consoled by the Holy Sacraments. 

The certainty of death on the one hand, and the uncertainty 
of the time of our death on the other, should admonish us to 
think of death very frequently. 

Some holy men, acknowledging the necessity of thinking of 
death frequently, kept a skull constantly placed before them. 
The sight of this skull should constantly remind them of their 
own death. 

Other pious men had an open coffin placed by their bedsides 
as a constant reminder of death. St. John, Bishop of Alexan 
dria, had his grave dug within sight from his windows, so as to 
be constantly reminded of death. 

Whenever we see a body carried to the grave we should think : 
"My turn may be next." When at night we lie down to rest 
we should remember that we may not awake in the morning. 
When a new year commences it may be the last of our life. 

See, my dear children, how wholesome it is for us, this thought 
of death and the grave, and there is no sight so beneficial for us 
as the sight of the dying or of the dead. Mute lies the body 
before you, and yet it preaches in loud tones: "Remember that 
thou must die." 

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. 

*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. 

Jesus Christ at the end of the world will come again with great 
power and glory to judge all men., both the good and the wicked. 

Jesus Christ at His first appearance in the world showed Him 
self to mankind in His abasement. He was born in poverty. 
Wicked men, His enemies, heaped abuse and ignominy upon 
Him, and He was condemned and executed like a criminal. It 
will be otherwise at the second appearance of Jesus when as God 
He will come again in His power and glory as Judge of the 
whole world. By the living we understand the good who will 
be found in a state of righteousness; by the dead the wicked, 
who will be found in a state of sin, of disgrace, and of the divine 

However, we can also understand by the living those persons 
who will be still living at the last day, while by the dead we 
may understand those who died before the last day. 

What is this judgment called at the end of the world? The 
general judgment or the judgment of the world, because then 
all the people of the whole world will be judged at the same 

General is that which extends over everything. A judgment 
is a decision as to right and wrong, bringing reward or punish 

The general judgment of which we are talking is God s de 
cision over all men, whether they have deserved eternal reward 
or eternal punishment, or a general separation of the just 
from the wicked, as it is represented to us figuratively in the 
parable of the harvest, where the husbandman permits the good 
wheat to grow up side by side with the weeds, until the day of 
the harvest ; on that day, however, he gathers the wheat into his 
barns and the weeds he causes to be burnt in eternal fire. The 
secret revelation speaks of the last judgment: "And I saw the 
dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, 
and the books were opened; and the dead were judged by those 


things which were written in the books, according to their 
works" (Apoc. xx, 12). Our divine Saviour Himself describes 
the general judgment of the world in the following manner: 
"And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all 
the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his 
majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before 
him; and he shall separate them one from another, as the shep 
herd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the 
sheep on his right hand: but the goats on the left. Then shall 
the king say to them that shall be on his right hand : Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world. . . . Then shall he 
say to them also that shall be on his left hand : Depart from me, 
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil 
and his angels." 

The wisdom of God has not revealed to man when this great 
and important day, and, for the wicked especially, most awful 
day, shall come, no more than man knows the hour of his death. 

This uncertainty contains the wholesome teaching for all 
men, so to live, that one is ready at any moment to appear before 
the tribunal of his Judge. 

This preparation for the coming of the universal Judge is 
represented to us figuratively in the parable of the wise and fool 
ish virgins. The wise virgins had brought oil and lamps with 
them; and they could guide the bridegroom to the marriage, 
and enter there themselves. The foolish virgins had lamps, but 
no oil. The arrival of the bridegroom surprised them. While 
they went to buy oil, the bridegroom was admitted to the mar 
riage, and the door was shut. When they asked permission to 
enter they heard these words: "I know you not," and sad and 
ashamed they went away. 

Holy Scripture says that the coming of the Saviour at the last 
day will be preceded by certain signs, namely : 

1. There will arise false prophets and heretics, and a great 
falling away from the faith will take place. 

2. There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. The sun 
will become darkened, the moon will give no more light, the stars 
will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be 


"Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven : and 
then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see 
the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with great 
power and majesty." 

How shall we be judged? 

We shall be judged according to all our thoughts, words, 
works, and omissions. God has not only given us His command 
ments, and revealed to us His will, but He gives us His graces 
also that we may live according to His will. Besides, we made 
a solemn promise in Holy Baptism to live as good Christians. 
All this places duties and obligations upon us concerning which 
we shall have to render the strictest account to God. We must 
therefore consecrate our whole being and all the powers of our 
soul to God, and be ever ready for His service. 

God has granted us particularly the gifts of understanding, 
reason and free will. We must therefore give an account of 
what we have thought. 

God has, moreover, granted us the gift of speech ; we must ac 
cordingly give an account of how we have employed this gift. 
Therefore Holy Scripture says that man must render an account 
"of every idle word that cometh out of his mouth." 

In the same manner we must render an account of all our 
actions, even indeed of the good that we have omitted to do. We 
must even render an account of the intention with which we per 
formed our good deeds : for an action which is in itself perfectly 
good, can in God s sight lose much of its value if we perform it 
from an ignoble motive, for instance, from self interest, etc. 

The question now is how will God judge? The answer is: 

1. Justly and strictly. Even the least good will be rewarded, 
the least evil will be punished. Holy Scripture says: "A cup 
of water given to the poor for my sake, shall not go unre 

2. Without respect of persons. With God there is no distinc 
tion of rank. At the judgment the emperor is like the beggar, 
the high resemble the lowly, the rich the poor, etc. 

3. Inexorably. The damned will wail and lament; but God 
will not be moved. He who is once sentenced, remains sen 

4. For all eternity. 


This is as consoling for the good as it is terrible for the 
wicked. The punishment of hell is in itself awful, but it becomes 
still more so from the fact that it will endure eternally. As 
little as one can tell where a rolling ball will stop, so little can 
we tell of eternity. As a drop of water compared to a great 
ocean, so are millions of years compared to eternity. What will 
God do so that all the world may acknowledge His justice? 

He will reveal the good and the evil, even the most secret 
thoughts of all men, as well as the graces which He has given to 
each one. All the good which men have done quietly and 
hiddenly for the glory of God, and all the evil that has not 
come to light, will be revealed before all mankind at the last day ; 
in the same way the measure of grace which God has given to 
each one, so that the whole world may know and acknowledge 
His justice : "God has judged justly !" As in the world almost 
everywhere the worldly judgment is held publicly, so that 
everyone who is present must say: "The judges have decided 
justly!" so also will God the Supreme Judge one day publicly 
judge all the good and the evil of each one before the whole 
world, and bring it to light. 

What will be the sentence, and the end of the last judgment? 

Christ will say to the good : "Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 
of the world." But to the wicked He will say: "Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which was prepared for the 
devil and his angels." 

While the good therefore hear this inviting word "Come," the 
damned will hear those terrible words "Depart from me," and 
this is perfectly right and just. They who were always united to 
God in this world, will be united with God in the next world, 
and they who in this world would have nothing to do with God, 
at the last day God will not look upon them as His. 

What will take place after sentence has been pronounced by 
the Judge? 

The wicked will go to hell, and the good to heaven. These 
words imply that the sentence of the divine Judge will be imme 
diately executed after it has been pronounced : for with God to 
will and to execute is one. With jubilation and joy the good 
and the elect will enter into heaven with the holy angels, and 


take possession of the mansions which have been prepared for 
them since the beginning of the world. The wicked,, however, 
will enter upon a most awful doom, which they will have to 
acknowledge they prepared for themselves. How foolish there 
fore it is to run after the vain pleasures of this world which 
so often plunge men into sin, which make ready for them eternal 
ruin, and eternal perdition. From this follows for us the good 
lesson to practise virtue perseveringly and to shun vice, no matter 
what it may cost us. 


"What Then?" A young man went one day to St. Philip Neri, and 
entered into long details about the study of law, which he had just 
commenced. He described the course which he meant to pursue, in 
order to obtain the degree of doctor. "And then ?" demanded the 
saint. "Then," replied the young man, much encouraged, "I will 
plead causes, and I hope successfully." "And then ?" added the 
saint, again. "And then people will begin to speak of me, and I 
shall enjoy a reputation." "And then ?" continued St. Philip Neri, 
smiling. "And then " answered the young man, a little embarrassed, 
"and then oh! I shall live at my ease, and I shall be happy." "And 
what then ?" "Well! then I shall end by dying." "And then," 
resumed the saint, raising his voice, "and then, what shall you do 
when your own trial comes, when you shall be yourself the accused, 
S A an the accuser, and the Almighty God your judge?" The young 
man, who little expected such a conclusion, hung down his head, 
and began to consider within himself. A short time after he re 
nounced the study of law, and endeavored, by consecrating his life 
to the service of God, to prepare seriously for that final "What then?" 
that is to say, that awful judgment, which shall be followed by 
eternity. Let us also prepare for the final "What then?" so that we 
may not be found wanting at that awful judgment from which no one 
will escape. 

The Unfinished Tomb. The Greek emperors of Constantinople 
had a somewhat singular custom, but one very useful, and salutary 
for their personal conduct. The day that one of them was crowned 
there appeared before him sculptors and marblecutters, who brought 
beautiful specimens of marble, and said to him: "Prince, which of 
these marbles will it please your majesty to select for your tomb, 
that we may set about preparing it?" The object of this strange 
custom was to make the new emperor understand that, being mortal 
like other men, he ought to employ the few years he had to liv-3 
in the care of his soul and the good government of his people. St.. 
John the Almoner, patriarch of Alexandria, found this custom so 
conformable to the sentiments which ought to animate Christians, 
that he himself would profit by it. He had a tomb made for him 
self, but never entirely finished; he commanded that every year, on 
some grand festival day, some one should come and say to him 


aloud, before everyone present: "My Lord, your tomb is not yet 
finished; order them to finish it, because as Jesus Christ says, you 
know not the day or the hour." These words, spoken at such a time, 
were a forcible reminder of death and judgment. 

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. 

Hell, according to the definition of Jesus Christ, is an un 
quenchable fire, where there is eternal weeping and gnashing 
of teeth. The passages of Scripture referring to this are the 
following: "If thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it 
from thee. It is better for thee to enter into eternal life maimed, 
than, having two hands, to be cast into everlasting fire, where 
the worm never dies and the fire is never quenched." "Cast the 
unprofitable servant into exterior darkness, there shall be weep 
ing and gnashing of teeth." 

Weeping and gnashing of teeth is the expression of great 
est suffering. When therefore Holy Scripture says- that hell is 
a place of eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth, it implies 
thereby that hell is the signification of the greatest suffering, 
which is made still more terrible because it is endless and will 
endure for all eternity. 

I have already told you that hell is, first, a punishment of loss, 
the wicked being shut out from the vision of God and heavenly 
bliss. But it is also a punishment of the senses, as the wicked in 
hell suffer much and severely. Where there is suffering no joys 
can reign. The torments of hell are all the more terrible because 
no grace, no release, no end can be thought of, and that the pains 
of hell will endure forever. 

Who will be condemned to the pains of hell? All those who 
die in enmity with God, i. e., in a state of mortal sin. 

The sinner renounces God. If he does not make use of the 
time of grace to reunite himself with God, and if he dies in 
mortal sin, he remains forever separated from God ; for after 
death no conversion is possible. The Christian who dies in 
mortal sin resembles the branch torn from the vine, it will be 
thrown into the fire. 


How do we know that there is a hell? 

1. From Holy Scripture, and, 2. From reason. Holy Scrip 
ture speaks of the punishment of hell and says expressly that it 
will last forever. There must, therefore, be the punishment of 
hell. At the last judgment our divine Saviour will say to the 
wicked : "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." 

In another part of Holy Scripture we read : "Ik is better for 
thee to enter lame into life everlasting than, having two feet, to 
be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire, where the worm dieth 
not and the fire is not extinguished." These passages of Scrip 
ture not only prove the existence of a hell in general, but also 
the eternity of the torments of hell. 

Reason tells us that there must be a hell. Much wickedness 
takes place in the world which remains unpunished in this life ; 
there must, therefore, be a place, a state, where all the wicked 
ness that has not been punished in this life may still be punished. 
Even heathen nations have a belief in a place where the wicked 
must undergo everlasting punishment. 

Besides Holy Scripture, also the explicit doctrine of the Catho 
lic Church says that the torments of hell will last eternally, as 
was, for instance, defined at the Councils of Constantinople and 

As of heaven, so can man also have a slight foretaste of hell. 
Imagine to yourselves a criminal guilty of the greatest crimes. 
How must he feel, what awful torments must his bad conscience 
cause him ! Day and night tormented by remorse he roams 
about restlessly, nowhere finding consolation, nowhere finding 
peace. The rustling of the leaves of a tree fills him with dread. 
Think of Cain. Scripture tells us : "He led a life that was worse 
than death." 

Why are the torments of the damned eternal? 

1. Because the offense against the infinite majesty of God 
demands of His justice a punishment without end ; 

2. Because all who die in sin remain eternally steeped in sin; 

3. Because only the thought of the eternal pains of hell can be 
a sufficient means to deter man from evil. 

1. The majesty of God offended by sin is infinite, immeasur 
able. Hence he who dares to rebel against this infinite majesty, 


to rise against it, wilfully to offend it, must atone for it eter 
nally. The malice of a mortal sin is endless; consequently, the 
punishment for it must also be without end. 

2. Because all who die in sin remain eternally steeped in sin. 
After death the sinner s reform and pardon are no longer 

possible. Only in this life does God grant us the grace of for 
giveness if we acknowledge our sins, repent, confess, and do 
penance for them. The sinner who dies in his sins is deprived 
of all this. 

3. Because only the certainty of eternal punishment in hell 
can be a sufficient means to deter man from evil. 

If the torments of hell would last only for a time, like the 
punishment in purgatory, one would not be so careful to shun 
sin and vice. 

But as God has placed eternal punishment upon grievous sin, 
the thought of the everlasting pains of hell is a means of de 
terring us from sins. 

Will the pains of all the damned be equal ? Xo ; for each one 
will suffer in proportion to his sins, and according to the ill-use 
he has made of the graces granted to him. 

As the rewards of the just in heaven differ in degree, so also 
do the punishments of the damned in hell differ. The justice 
of God demands it. He, the Omniscient/ knows every evil deed, 
and the most secret intentions of men. He is therefore capable 
of measuring exactly the degree of culpability. As worldly jus 
tice is measured according to the degree of the crime, why- 
should not the justice of God be so measured? The following 
sentence of Hoiy Scripture applies here: "God will render to 
every one according to his works." 

Will all those who are damned be condemned through their 
own fault? Yes; for all men might be eternally happy if they 
availed themselves of the abundant graces which God gives them. 

God has destined no one beforehand to the pains of hell. This 
is proven by the words of Scripture: "God will have all men to 
be saved." in order that they may be saved God has revealed to 
them His will, and offered them His graces. If man does not 
keep the commandments of God, if he does not make use of the 
means of grace, he must attribute the fruits and the conse- 


quences thereof to himself. If you should offer bread and meat 
to a starving man and he should obstinately refuse to accept 
them, would it be your fault or his if he should die of hunger? 

So then God is not at fault when a sinner is eternally lost and 
condemned to the pains of hell. Holy Scripture expressly says : 
"God wills not the death of the sinner, but that he should be con 
verted and live." We find this truth confirmed in the parables 
of the prodigal son and of the strayed sheep. 

"Before man is life and death, that which he shall choose shall 
be given him" (Ecclus. xv, 18). God placed us on the right 
road at the beginning of our lives. If we forsake the right path 
and go astray and thereby miss our goal, which is heaven, we 
have only to attribute it to ourselves. 

*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 hav 
ing satisfied for the punishment due to their sins. 
*415. Q. Can the faithful on earth help the souls in purga 
tory ? 

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. 

Those souls who, although in a state of grace, are not yet 
free from sin, go to the place of purification, to purgatory. "To 
purge" means a powerful cleansing from dirt- and dross. As, 
for instance, gold is purged by fire, so that all dirt and dross is 
eliminated from it, thus in the place of purification or purga 
tory the souls of the just are purged from the venial sins still 
adhering to them. 

That there really is between heaven and hell a middle state 
a place of cleansing we know from the following proofs : 

1. Holy Scripture says: "It is a holy and wholesome thought 
to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." 

2. Tradition. 

3. The doctrine of the Catholic Church, and 

4. Reason. 

Judas Maccabeus sent 12,000 drachms of silver to the Temple 
at Jerusalem as a sacrifice to be offered for those fallen in battle, 


believing that the dead not yet quite free from sin would 
through prayer and sacrifice be helped, so that they might be 
completely freed from their sins. 

Tradition and the Catholic Church teach that there is a 
purgatory, a place of purification. The Council of Trent ap 
peals in its explanation of purgatory to the decision of the 
Fathers and says expressly that there is a purgatory, and that 
the souls there retained receive through the help of the faithful, 
and especially through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, allevia 
tion. This Church Council imposes the ban upon those who say 
that the debt of temporal punishment must not be paid either 
in this world or afterward in purgatory. It is therefore an 
article of faith of the Catholic Church (a) that there is a 
purgatory, and (b) the souls suffering therein are helped 
by prayers and sacrifice. 

This article of faith of the Catholic Church is also confirmed 
by her usages. 

From the earliest times the souls of the dead were prayed for 
and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered for them. Very 
ancient is the celebration of All Souls day. 

That beautiful prayer also has reference to this: "0 Lord, 
grant to the souls of the faithful departed eternal rest, and 
may perpetual light shine upon them." 

Our reason illumined by the rays of divine revelation per 
ceives that by virtue of the divine justice even the smallest guilt 
must be expiated, that those souls, therefore, who departed this 
life not quite pure and unspotted must remain in an intermedi 
ate place, there to be excluded from the Beatific Vision until 
they are deemed worthy by the divine Mercy to enter heaven 
and enjoy the vision of God. Their state is accordingly an 
intermediate state, because they partake at the same time of 
happiness and suffering. The thought that they are not shut out 
from God forever, but have the hope of being united with Him, 
gives them happiness. On the other hand, they endure suffer 
ing by rendering satisfaction to the divine justice for their lesser 
faults. Even Protestants admit that the doctrine of a place of 
purification is not contrary to reason, and the Jews also believe 
in a place of purification. The doctrine of a purgatory is at 
once consoling and encouraging. It is consoling, for it is com- 


forting to know that those who are burdened with only venial 
sins will not be punished with the pains of hell, but have the 
hope, after a complete purification, to be admitted to the pres 
ence of God. But it also urges us not to defile our hearts even 
with venial sins. 

It is well to remember that only those can expiate their sins 
in purgatory who depart this life in venial sin. Whoever de 
parts this life in mortal sin will be condemned to eternal per 
dition. The words of Holy Scripture have reference to this : 
"They will not be released from the prison until the last farthing 
has been paid" (that means until they have expiated the last 
remnant of their guilt). 

Now, how can we help the souls in purgatory? 1. By prayer. 
Holy Scripture says: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to 
pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins." St. 
Augustine says: "It is an old custom to pray for the dead and 
offer sacrifice for them." Even the Jews pray for their dead. 
2. By sacrifice. In the Old Law Judas Maccabeus sent 10,000 
drachms of silver to Jerusalem that sacrifice might be offered for 
the dead. Now, if the sacrifice of the Old Testament obtained 
the mercy of God, how much more will the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass, the sacrifice of the New Law, avail the souls in their place 
of purification? St. Ambrose Fays: "Not by tears, but by sac 
rifice commend the souls of the departed to the Lord." St. 
Matilda had the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered daily for the 
repose of her husband s soul, the German King Henry. 3. By 
the gaining of indulgences, which can be offered up for them. 
It is a doctrine of faith in the Catholic Church that one can 
apply the graces and fruits of an indulgence to the poor souls in 
purgatory. In commemoration of the poor souls in purgatory 
the Catholic Church celebrates on the second of November every 
year the Feast of All Souls, which is therefore the day after 
the Feast of All Saints. The Catholic Church thereby desires 
to teach us that the poor souls in purgatory still belong to our 
community, and she incites us thereby to pray zealously for the 
souls of the dead. These prayers for the departed are not only 
profitable for the holy souls themselves, but also for us, because 
thereby we are continually reminded not only to avoid grievous 
sin, but also the very least sins. If we are particularly obliged 


to pray for all the departed we are still more obliged to do so 
for those who in life were near to us, and to whom we owe an 
especial love and gratitude; for instance, for our parents, 
brothers and sisters, relations, teachers, benefactors, etc. 

Will there still be a purgatory after the general judgment? 

No; after the general judgment there will be only heaven and 

The wisdom and mercy of God will know how to arrange that 
all the just will be perfectly purified therein. St. Augustine 
says : "It is maintained that the punishment of purgatory will 
only exist until that last and terrible judgment." 

Dear children, I beg and beseech you to behave in such a way 
that you may not fall into the hands of this mighty and terrible 
Judge ! Never forget that God sees you, and do not be con 
tent even if you have no grievous sins to reproach yourselves 
with, for God will punish severely all evil, as He will justly 
reward all good. As often as you look up to heaven, think of 
the unutterable happiness of the blessed. And as often as you 
see a funeral procession, reflect that -you too, sooner or later, 
will have to appear before the judgment seat of God, there to 
render an account of your actions and omissions. 

*416. Q. If every one is judged immediately after death, what 

need is there of a general judgment ? 
A. There is need of a general judgment, though every 
one 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. 

God s decision- for every individual person is called the par 
ticular judgment. Now perhaps some may think: "If each one 
will be judged immediately after his death, why should there be 
another general judgment?" 

1. That God s wisdom and justice may be acknowledged by 
all men; 

2. That Jesus Christ may be glorified before the whole world; 

3. That the good may receive the honor due to them, and 
the wicked the dishonor they have deserved. 


First, through the general judgment God s wisdom and justice 
will be acknowledged by all men. A great deal that is hidden 
from us here upon earth, much that we are not capable of know 
ing upon this earth, we shall comprehend then in eternity, at the 
general judgment. There we shall know for the first time why 
God has so often let sufferings, tribulations, ignominy, con 
tempt and poverty be the portion of the good and the just, while 
He distributed to the ungodly earthly joys, honors, esteem and 
wealth. There it will be revealed how God leads through suffer 
ings to joy, and how He Himself knows how to turn evil into 
good through His wisdom. There it will be shown to the whole 
world that no good, not even the very least good work, will pass 
unrewarded, and no evil, not even the unnecessary word, remains 
unpunished. There at last all mistakes (false judgments) of 
human justice will be laid bare, and amends be made, the inno 
cent who were persecuted will be honored, the most secret vices 
will be punished. 

Secondly, by the general judgment Jesus will be glorified be 
fore the whole world. The glorification of Jesus Christ in this 
world was and is only an imperfect one. But at the general 
judgment of the world Jesus Christ will be fully glorified before 
all creatures ; then for the first time will He receive the befitting 
and complete honor due Him from all the world. The enemies 
of Christianity will tremble, the scoffers and deriders of His 
teaching will be silenced, men who in their pride set up their 
reason against His word will be brought to shame; malice, 
schism and heresy will be laid bare, all those hardened hearts 
who rejected the divine institution of salvation will be exposed. 
And every one will be obliged to give honor to the Almighty 
Judge, before whom the earth is silent. 

Thirdly, by the general judgment the good will receive the 
honor they have deserved, and the wicked the dishonor they 
deserved. The virtues and rectitude of men is not only fre 
quently ignored (unjustly condemned) but indeed often 
despised. They are called devotees, Pharisees, hypocrites, fools 
and so forth, because they take pleasure in intercourse with 
God, in prayer, in receiving the Holy Sacraments, in despising 
the pleasures of the world, in listening to the word of God, in 
fasting, almsgiving and practising other good works. At the 


last day, at the general judgment, it will be shown how erroneous 
were the judgments of this world. The virtue and integrity of 
the good will find their full acknowledgment, but vice and wick 
edness their well merited ignominy and public disgrace. Holy 
Scripture points this out when it says: "Then shall the 
ungodly groan for anguish of spirit, saying: These are they 
whom we had some time in derision, and for a parable of re 
proach. We fools esteemed their life madness, and their end 
without honor. Behold how they are numbered among the chil 
dren of God, and their lot is among the saints." 

What is understood by the four last things of man? We 
understand by the four last things: 1. Death, 2. Judgment, 3. 
Hell, and 4. Heaven. 

Referring to these four last things which we have now con 
sidered during our course of instruction, we read in Holy Scrip 
ture: "Remember, man, thy last end, and thou shalt never 

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. 
*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. 

How long does the body remain in the e^rth ? The body will 
remain in the earth until the day of judgment, when God will 
raise it again and unite it to the soul from which it was sepa 
rated at death. 

What do we call this raising of the body to life? The resur 
rection of the body. 

The word resurrection means the return from death to life, 
the restoration of the body and the reunion of the same with 
the soul. The same being which existed before death will then 
be restored again. 

We distinguish a twofold resurrection : a material and a spiri- 


tual resurrection. The spiritual resurrection of man consists in 
this; that, enlightened and animated by the Holy Spirit, he is 
converted from sin to a holy life. This is the spiritual resur 
rection shown by Mary Magdalen, the penitent sinner. But 
here it is a question only of the resurrection of the body. Now 
a doubt may arise in the minds of some people as to the possi 
bility of such resurrection. A soldier, for instance, has lost 
legs or arms upon the battlefield. They have been buried in 
unknown places. How can this body be again resurrected? A 
man dies at sea, his body is thrown into the water and eaten by 
the fishes. How is it possible that that man can rise again? 
Answer: By God s omnipotence. Holy Writ says: "With God 
nothing is impossible." As illustrations of the resurrection I 
will name you the following: A grain of wheat is put in the 
earth seemingly dead and without life, yet it is brought back to 
life and brings forth new fruit of its kind. In the fall all 
nature dies, and in the winter lies there without life. As soon, 
however, as spring endows the rays of the sun with power, na 
ture awakens to a new life, to new glory and beauty. The cater 
pillar becomes a chrysalis and prepares itself as for the grave. 
It dies an ugly worm and comes forth a beautiful butterfly. 

The certainty of the resurrection is proved from Holy Scrip 
ture. Jesus says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour 
cometh wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of 
the Son of God. And they that have done good things shall 
come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have 
done evil unto the resurrection of judgment" i. e., to hear the 
sentence of condemnation. 

For what reasons will our bodies rise again? 

1. That they may be partakers in the reward or punishment 
due to the partner and instrument of the soul in the perform 
ance of good or evil. The justice of God requires that not only 
the soul, but also the body shall receive reward or punishment, 
because it has been the instrument of the soul and co-operated 
with it in good or evil. The hand gave alms to the poor, the lips 
consoled the suffering, the feet went into the squalid homes of 
the poor and needy, the mouth has prayed and praised God, 
the ears have listened gladly to the word of God, the eyes have 


taken pleasure in the reading of good books, etc. It is there 
fore just and right that the body which has taken part in good 
and noble actions should also receive the reward merited. 

In the actions of sinful persons body and soul have also acted 
together. The hand has been stretched out after unjust gain, 
the hand of the thief has stolen, the hand of the murderer has 
killed, the mouth has lied, sworn to false oaths, talked immoral 
language, sung disreputable songs, blasphemed God, cursed, 
etc. The ears have listened willingly to sinful conversations, to 
wicked stories and songs, the feet have carried the unjust to 
places of wickedness; justice, therefore, requires that the body 
should participate with the soul in its punishment. 

2. That Christ s victory over death may be complete. The 
complete victory of Christ consisted therein that He overcame 
the twofold death which had come into the world by the sin of 
our first parents, in order to give man again the lost twofold 
life: the eternal life of the soul after its spiritual death due to 
sin, and the immortality of the body. By the resurrection of 
the dead to eternal life the victory of Christ over sin and death 
is completed. After the last general resurrection of the dead on 
judgment day there will be no more death. 

Shall all men rise from the dead ? Yes ; all men, the good as 
well as the bad. 

Through the sin of our first parents all men must die, and 
through Christ all will live again, the just as well as the sinner, 
all without exception. 

Will the bodies of the risen be all alike?? Xo; the bodies of 
the wicked shall be hideous and miserable, but those of the 
good shall be glorious, and like unto the glorified body of Christ. 

(a) The bodies of the wicked will be miserable. They will 
indeed arise immortal and indestructible, but they will bear the 
marks of vice and sin upon them, they will be hideous, and the 
sight of them will be a horror for all eternity. 

(b) The bodies of the good will be glorified, filled with beauty 
and splendor, like unto the glorified body of Jesus. Holy Writ 
says : "The bodies of the just shall shine like the sun in the king 
dom of the Father." This glorification will be different in de 
gree, according to the degrees of merit. "Some will have the 


glory of the sun, others that of the moon, others that of the 

What are the qualities with which the bodies of the blessed 
shall be adorned ? 

1. Incapability of suffering. They will no longer be subject 
to pain and infirmities. 

2. They will be glorious, brilliant, shining like the sun, like 
the glorified body of Jesus. 

3. Power and endurance. "Our body is sown in weakness; it 
shall rise in power." 

4. With subtility and spirituality. "It is sown a natural 
body, it shall rise a spiritual body." 

What should the belief in the resurrection of the body work 
in us? 

1. It should incite us to respect our body and never to abuse 
it by sinning. Our eyes should turn away so as not to see any 
thing wicked. The mouth should not lie, or curse, or swear 
falsely, or calumniate., etc. The ears should be closed to all bad 
conversations. The hands should not grasp after the goods of 
others, the hands should not be raised to bad deeds, nrr to ill- 
treat others. The feet should not take us where evil dwells. 
Holy Writ says: "The Temple of God is holy and that are 
ye." For this reason our body is sanctified in holy Baptism. 

2. It should be our consolation at the death of our relatives 
and friends. Separation by death is only temporary. How 
consoling is the thought that in the next world we shall see one 
another again, that there we shall be united to one another, never 
more to part. 

3. We should respect the bodies of the dead. If the Church 
herself honors the bodies of the departed, buries them in con 
secrated earth, and causes them to be blessed by the priest before 
burial, we should be admonished thereby to remember that the 
bodies of the dead are destined for everlasting resurrection, and 
that they should be treated, therefore,, with the greatest respect. 

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. 


It is proved by Holy Scripture that there is an everlasting 
life. It says: "The just shall go into life everlasting" (Matt, 
xxv, 46). Of Jesus Holy Scripture says: "He will rule in the 
house of Jacob eternally, and of his kingdom there will be no 

In order that the happiness of heaven should be perfect 
it is absolutely necessary that it should last forever; for if it 
did not endure forever the blessed would fear to lose heaven 
again, and perfect bliss can not be mingled with fear. 

Can we understand this eternal happiness? No; the happi 
ness of heaven is so great that it exceeds all that can be said 
or imagined. Holy Scripture even does not undertake or at 
tempt to describe the magnitude of heavenly bliss in words; it 
only says : "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it 
entered into the heart of man what things God hath prepared for 
them that love him" (I Cor. ii, 9). 

The joys of heaven are spiritual ; they can not be compared 
to those of this world, which are mostly material. Every at 
tempt, therefore, to depict the joys of heaven in words would be 

The supreme happiness of the blessed consists in their inti 
mate and eternal union with God, whom they behold face to 
face, whom they glorify, praise, and adore. To this bliss of the 
vision of God is added the cessation of all sufferings and tribu 
lations that earth caused them, and the certainty that no one can 
deprive them of the happiness of heaven or take it away from 
them. Jesus said in the eight Beatitudes : "Blessed are the pure 
of heart, for they shall see God." In this heavenly bliss all the 
angels, saints, martyrs, virgins, and all the choirs of blessed 
spirits participate. 

The happiness of heaven finally is not clouded by fear of sin. 
In heaven there are no more snares, no more temptations, no 
more falls. The sister of St. Thomas Aquinas once asked her 
brother in what the eternal bliss of heaven consisted. He an 
swered her: "Dear sister, you will not obtain the answer to this 
question until you yourself have attained eternal happiness." 
However (if we may dare say so), God has given us a foretaste 
of the happiness of heaven. Dear children, when you shall be 
united to Jesus in Holy Communion, and also when you per- 


form some good deed, then you will feel within you a delight, a 
happiness, unutterable satisfaction; this is, as it were, a slight 
foretaste of heaven. 

St. Catherine of Genoa was privileged in a moment of ecstasy 
to behold the glory of heaven. \Vhen her confessor desired her 
to describe the same, she could find no words but these : "I have 
seen wonders !" 

Will all the blessed be happy in the same degree? No; for 
every one shall receive the reward according to his labor, i. e., 
his deserts. Those who labor more diligently will receive a 
greater reward than those who do not work so diligently. Be 
sides, God has endowed some persons with a greater proportion 
of graces than He has others. The former consequently are ex 
pected to do more good than the latter. 

The belief in heavenly bliss should incite us : 

1. To live a life that leads to heaven, and to strive to at 
tain it; 

2. To despise the joys and goods of this world and not to 
forsake heaven for them. Such who do this are, for instance, 
the avaricious, whose money is their god ; the glutton, whose god 
is his belly. 

3. To endure patiently the sufferings of this world, because by 
them we are purified and rendered worthy of heaven. 

Heaven is a place of eternal perfect happiness. On earth 
when a man is in good health, if he is rich and blessed with pros 
perity, if he is esteemed and honored by others, lie believes him 
self happy. But the happiness of mortals is: 1. Only a transi 
tory one, and 2. An imperfect one. It is only transitory, for 
death puts an end to it. It is imperfect, too, for with all ap 
parent happiness man feels that there is still something wanting 
to true happiness, for no one upon earth is so happy that noth 
ing is wanting to him. Heaven, however, is the place of eternal 
happiness which will have no end, and of perfect happiness 
which leaves nothing to be desired. Even Holy Scripture makes 
no attempt to depict the happiness of heaven. 

It only says: "Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither 
hath it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for 
those that love him." 



Terrors of the Last Day. Terror will follow upon terror, curse 
upon curse, "till men will faint away with fear." The sun being not 
quite extingiushed, a dismal gloom will be spread over all things, 
like a veil over the face of the dead; terrific signs are seen in the 
heavens, and all things announce that time is at an end. St. John 
says that before God pronounces the final word there is silence in 
heaven: then voices are heard in the air, on the water, and on the 
earth. At length the skies open, and He pours out the first vial of 
His anger. And the end is come. God speaks the command, and all 
nature trembles as if in agony. The seas swell and boil, and rise and 
touch the skies. The mountains nod and sink, and the poles collapse. 
The lightnings flash, and the moaning tempests sweep over the 
furious deep, piling up ocean upon ocean on the trembling globe. 
The earth reels in convulsion, and the whole frame of creation strug 
gles. A mighty conflagration bursts from the melting earth, rag->s 
like a hurricane round about, devouring all things in its storm and 
flood of fire, consuming the crumbling wreck of the condemned world. 
The heavens become terrible as the kindling earth and seas show 
their overwhelming flashes on the crimson skies. The sun muffled, 
the moon black, the stars fallen, floating masses like clouds of blood 
sweep the skies in circling fury. With what impressive terror does 
the Saviour paint this scene in His own words: "Men fainting away 
with fear, running in wild distraction, calling on the ground to open 
and swallow them, and the rocks to fall on them and hide them from 
the face of the Lord." The earth on fire, the skies faded, the sun 
and stars darkened or extinguished: mankind burning, dying: the 
angry voice of God coming to judge the world, are realities which the 
history of God has never seen before and which never again will be 
repeated during the endless round of eternity. 

*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/ 

We have come now to the last question of the Catechism. 
The avoidance of sin and the practise of virtue will have for 
its result and reward Christian perfection. We must, by 
the will of God, strive to attain the measure of perfection for 
our state in life. That such is the will of God is clear, 1. 


Because Our Lord and Saviour said: "Be perfect, as your 
Father in heaven is perfect." 2. Because we are commanded to 
love God with our whole heart, with our whole soul, with our 
whole mind, and with our whole strength. 

In the Old Law God said to Abraham: "Walk before me and 
be perfect." This precept of the Old Law is renewed in the 
New Law by Jesus with the words : "Be perfect, as your Father 
in heaven is perfect." This command Jesus gave us as one of 
the divine commands, but He also gave it to us as our Saviour, 
desirous of accomplishing our salvation. 

We are commanded to love God with our whole heart, our 
whole soul, our whole mind, and with our whole strength. Our 
heart, our soul, our mind, our strength, all belong to God; they 
are His property, hence they must belong to God. We can never 
love God in the high degree which He deserves, yet we must 
endeavor not to allow a standstill in our perfect love of God and 
in our progress in perfection, because to stand still means a 
falling back. This striving for perfection must animate all 
Christians, and each one must strive for perfection according to 
his state of life, as the duties and obligations of the various states 
in life differ. 

In what does Christian perfection consist? Christian per 
fection consists in our loving God in and above all things, free 
from all inordinate love of the world, or of self. Christian per 
fection consists, as St. Francis de Sales says, not in severe peni 
tential works, in strict fasting, in wearing coarse clothing, etc. 
These are only the means to attain -perfection. 

The true perfection consists in loving God above all things 
and our neighbor as ourself. The love of God does not ex 
clude, 1. The love of our neighbor. 2. The love of good. Chil 
dren may, and should, love their parents, and parents their chil 
dren. But we must love God above all, more than anything in 
the world. The love of God is contrary to inordinate self-love 
and love of the world. The Psalmist David says : "What have I 
in heaven, what do I love on earth besides thee? My heart is 
God s and my portion is God in eternity." 

What is the most eminent path of perfection ? The following 
of Jesus Christ. 

To follow Jesus Christ means to imitate what He did, to 


avoid what He avoided, and to live as He lived. Jesus Himself 
has said : "Wouldst thou be perfect ? Then follow me." 

Inordinate love of the world and self-love preaches pride, 
avarice, and sensuality to us, the triple root of all evil. Jesus 
teaches us just the opposite humility, poverty, and suffering. 
As often, then, as we are in doubt as to how we should act in this 
or that matter, we need only represent to ourselves the example 
of Jesus; then we can not err. 

Is it possible to lead a spiritual and holy life in the world? 
Yes; if we do not live according to the spirit of the world, but 
according to the spirit of Jesus Christ. The spirit of the world 
is to "enjoy life as much as we can." The spirit of Jesus Christ 
teaches otherwise it teaches us to despise the world and to re 
nounce its pleasures. The world teaches the pursuit of wealth 
and pleasure, but Jesus teaches poverty and virtue. 

That one can be holy in any state we may see and learn by the 
lives of the saints. St. Joseph was a carpenter, St. Maurice a 
soldier, St. Elizabeth a princess, St. Louis a king, St. Christina 
a servant, etc. Thus we see perfection can be attained in all 
walks of life. The saints were frail men as we are ; they had to 
combat the same difficult problems of life, and they were op 
pressed with no less temptations than we are. Therefore, we, too, 
are capable of attaining perfection. 

Does the spirit of the world, then, contradict the spirit of 
Jesus Christ? Most certainly, as we can plainly see from the 
declarations of Jesus, called the eight beatitudes. 

Which are they? 

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of 

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. 
f>. 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 s sake, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 


1. The first beatitude refers to the poor in spirit. Poor in 
spirit are, (a) Rich persons not unduly attached to their wealth 
and temporal goods, (b) Poor persons who do not complain and 
murmur at their poverty, (c) Poor in spirit are particularly 
those who voluntarily renounce their possessions and observe the 
Evangelical Counsel of voluntary poverty, (d) Poor in spirit, 
finally, are also those who acknowledge their faults and weak 
nesses, and in all things give honor to God alone and humble 
themselves before Him. To all these poor in spirit Christ has 
promised the kingdom of heaven. 

2. Further, Jesus calls blessed the meek who, amid contra 
dictions, insults, and injuries, remain patient and calm, over 
come their anger, practise gentleness, keep silent and suffer for 
Christ s sake. 

3. Mourning may be: (a) Over the sufferings and oppres 
sion which God sends us. (b) Over the loss of those we love, 
who have been removed by death, or the loss of considerable 
temporal goods. (c) Over our numerous and grievous sins 
and misdeeds, (d) Mourning at the sight of the sufferings and 
afflictions of our fellowmen. (e) Mourning that we can not yet 
be united with God. (f) Mourning over our pusillanimity, our 
feebleness in good, our weakness in temptations. 

Our divine Saviour has promised consolation to all those who 
mourn. Suffering should fill us with consolation, because: 
"Whom God loveth he chasteneth." 

4. Hunger is a desire for food; thirst a desire for drink. 
Now, as there is a hunger for food, so is there a hunger for 
virtue, justice, and perfection. Christ Himself compares the 
will of God to food : "My food is to do the will of my Father." 
The world knows nothing of this hunger and thirst for justice; 
it craves only for earthly pleasures, for the satisfying of its 

5. Merciful are those who have compassion for the material 
and spiritual need of their fellowmen, and seek to help them as 
much as possible. Christ requires us to be merciful even to our 

6. Clean of heart are those who keep their hearts pure from 
all sins of evil passion, from every sin against holy purity. 
Those who desire to remain clean of heart will suppress im- 


modest thought, evil desire, impure inclinations. They resemble 
the lily, and preserve that purity which was imparted to them in 
the Sacrament of Baptism. Only they will one day see God, for 
"nothing unclean can enter into heaven." 

7. Peacemakers are those who not only themselves live in 
peace with men, but who make peace between others separated 
by enmity. Man must also live at peace with himself. This in 
ward peace is attained by subjecting our own will to the will of 
God, by not allowing ourselves to be the sport of our inclina 
tions and passions, by mastering and suppressing them. The 
man of the world does not love peace. He thinks he alone is 
right, will not give in to anyone else. 

8. The world hates the just and persecutes them. Ridicule 
and scorn, contempt, disesteem, calumny, insults, injuries, etc., 
are their lot. Jesus said : "Blessed are you when men persecute 
and calumniate you for my sake. "Rejoice and be glad, for your 
reward is great in heaven." The world considers as blessed 
those who have power and authority over many, glorifies those 
who oppress and persecute, but not those who suffer persecution 
for the name of Jesus. 

We have seen how the spirit of the world is in direct oppo 
sition to the spirit of Jesus Christ. 

I have nothing more to add to these instructions than the wish 
that you all may attain thoee virtues which are described in the 
eight beatitudes, so that you. too, may be among those whom Our 
Lord will one day declare "Blessed." 


Addresses to Young Men 


Cloth, Net, 60 Cents. 

"Tkat tower of strength 
That stood four-square to all the winds that blew!" 

Tennyson (on the Duke of Wellington). 

This new book by the well-known author will be so much more wel 
come as its subject makes it a particularly useful book for most priests. 


Preparing for 

First Confession, First Holy Communion 
and Confirmation 

By the Rev. P. A. HALPIN 

Cloth, Net, $1.OO 

The necessity of strongly implanting the faith in our children has 
never been more urgent nor better realized than in these times. 

A conscientious and painstaking preparation of the children for the 
receipt of these three Sacraments is laying a foundation for a 
Christian life, than which there is no better nor safer. 

These beautiful conferences of Father Halpin grasp the child at its 
most vulnerable part, the heart, inculcate the love of God, at the same 
time impressing upon the young mind clearly and indelibly a perfect 
understanding of the great truths. 

This volume is evidently the work of one who understands 
children, one who knows how to gain their attention and to 
keep it who knows, too, how to come down to the level of the 
intelligence of the little ones in the exposition of his subject. 
Its style, simple, earnest and forcible, is admirably suited to its 
purpose. Liverpool Catholic Times. 

We heartily recommend the book to those responsible for the 
preparation of the little ones for a critical time in their Cath 
olic lives. Freeman s Journal. 

This is a series of exceedingly sensible and detailed instruc 
tions very suitable for the use of those who have to instruct 
little ones for the Sacraments. The language is simple, the 
teaching clear and not overburdened with large and puzzling 
words. Everything needful for the complete preparation of 
children for these most important events in their religious life 
will be found very carefully chosen, and expressed with great 
judgment and knowledge of the capacity of the child mind. 
The Crucible. 

JOSEPH F. WAGNER, Publisher, 


Counsels to Young Girls on the Threshold of Life 

By the Rev. P. A. HALPIN. 
Handsomely Bound in Cloth, Net, 60 Cents. 

These chapters will help young women to an under 
standing how to conduct themselves in the critical 
periods of life. 

They will be productive of a great deal of good if 
placed in the hands of young girls, by distribution, as 
prizes, to Sunday School Teachers, to girl graduates of 
schools and colleges, or among the members of the 
Children of Mary societies. 


By the Rev. P. A. HALPIN. 
Two Parts, Paper Cover, Net, 80 Cents. 

Few clergymen in the country have enjoyed so wide 
and so varied an experience as the learned Father Hal- 
pin. His words of advice, consequently, come to us 
freighted with the wisdom of years and with the experi 
ence of a busy life. Never a dreamy theorizer, but 
always a practical worker, Father Halpin traces for us 
in this brochure the ideal Sunday school and the means 
requisite to reach the ideal. Of the importance of the 
Sunday school at the present time the author writes in 
vigorous language. . . Would that all the faithful, 
both in and out of the sanctuary, might keep these 
solemn warnings constantly before them ! Then our 
Sunday schools would be perfectly equipped and thor 
oughly manned by an efficient corps of energetic and 
capable teachers. Father Halpin s brochure is extremely 
suggestive and stimulating. Donahoe s Magazine. 

JOSEPH F. WAGNER, Publisher, 9 Barclay St., New York 


First Religious Instructions for Little Ones 

By the Rev. A. SCHAFFLER 

Cloth, $1.25 

The Catholic faith simply explained to the youngest pupils, with 

particular view to their practical moral training. 
With an Appendix: Instructions on First Confession. 


A series of simple and beautiful explanations of the faith for 
children, with their practical moral training always in sight, by 
a priest who loves children with a Christ-like love and knows 
their spiritual needs. Father Thurston in writing of Mother 
Loyola s little book, "First Confessions," expresses his wish that 
some priest of experience, who has mastered the delicate problem 
of the right tone in dealing with the souls oi very young chil 
dren, may some day be induced to put his impressions on 
record. Father Schaffler is evidently such a priest, for he 
certainly makes religion most attractive, and smooths the path 
way to confession, that bulwark of youthful virtue. The Pilot. 
The spirit of faith and ardent piety, which permeates these in 
structions for little children, is very consoling. It is safe to 
say that no child could be drilled in Father Schaffler s lessons 
and in his well-chosen examples without drawing therefrom deep 
profit to his soul and clear understanding of his moral duties. 
At the end of each lesson there is a number of leading ques 
tions which will test effectually the amount of knowledge actually 
acquired by the children. Donahoc s Magazine. 

Teachers Handbook to Bible History 

A Practical Commentary for Use in Parochial and Sunday Schools. 
By the Rev. A. URBAN 

Cloth, Net, $l.f>0 

" To show in what way the inspired writings are of practical use to 
Christian life, to mark their application to conduct as they are perused 
by the youthful reader, is to render a great service to our Holy 
Religion." Cardinal Vaughan. 


There is more in this "Handbook" than the title would imply. 
Not only are the leading episodes narrated in the Bible picked 
out and explained, but each commentary winds up with a moral 
application of the principle enunciated in the story to the case 
of the reader or auditor. The work has been most carefully 
prepared and is admirably suited to its particular purpose. 
The Catholic Standard and Times. 

We hope that the book will meet with favor among our school 
teachers. It is written simply, and as it would seem, with the 
intention of showing teachers how to accommodate their in 
structions to the intelligence of their classes. The Messenger. 
The book is an excellent one, and should be invaluable to 
teachers of Bible history. The Catholic Tribune. 

The "Handbook" does infinite credit to the ability, the in 
dustry and the laborious research which Father Urban has 
brought to bear upon the work. It should speedily become a 
popular standard text book. The Age (Australia). 

JOSEPH F. WAGNER, 9 Barclay Street, New York 

Urban, A. 

Sunday School Teacher s 

1 Q fi - ; 

O u U ^ u 

Explanation of the