Category Archives: The Bible

Posts that illustrate the Bible is a tool for Salvation, not the end all be all.

The Confiteor Lesson 3

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Altar Boy: 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, to all the saints, and to you Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary, ever virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles, Peter and Paul, all the saints, and you, Father, to pray to the Lord our God for me.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy upon you, forgive you your sins, and bring you to life everlasting.
Altar Boy: Amen.
Priest: May the almighty and merciful God grant us pardon, absolution, and full remission of our sins.
Altar Boy: Amen.

After reciting Psalm 42, the priest bends way over. He is praying the Confiteor. This prayer gets it’s name from the first word of the prayer when it is said in Latin. Confiteor means “I confess.” Most children first learn this prayer when they are in second or third grade.

The Confiteor is a prayer that speakers of sorrow for sin. First, the priest recites the prayer. He tells God he has sinned. Then the altar boy says the same prayer. The Confiteor is said as a preparation to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the priest.

The prayer, as it is given at the beginning of this lesson, is just as the altar boy says it. When the priest makes this act of sorrow for his sins, one word is different. The priest says “and to you, brethren” instead of “and to you, Father.” The priest is telling the people that he has sinned. He wants them to know that he is sorry for having offended God.

When we pray the Confiteor, we want it to mean what it says. If this is true, we must hate our sins. We show God that we are truly sorry when we are determined to try our hardest not to do them again.

It would help us if, when we pray the Confiteor, we would think of the sin we commit which is most displeasing to God and ask His help not to do it again. We prove our sorrow by keeping away from sin.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

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The Sacrifice of the Cross and the Sacrifice of the Mass Lesson 2

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The Bible tells about many sacrifices. Abel offered the finest lamb of his flock to God. Noe offered sacrifice when he came out of the ark. Abraham was ready to obey God and to offer even his son in sacrifice. When an angel stopped Abraham, he offered a ram. From the time of Moses, the priests of the Jews offered sacrifices for the people.

Saint Paul said that the sacrifices offered by the Jews were a shadow of the good things to come. Saint Paul was speaking of the perfect sacrifice. In this sacrifice Jesus, the Son of God, was and would be the victim.

Jesus offered to God the Father His sufferings and death on the cross. This is called that sacrifice of the cross. On the cross Jesus gained merit and made up for the sins of men.

Every day Jesus makes the same offering that He made on the cross. He again offers Himself to God the Father. He offers His sufferings and death on the cross. He does This In the Sacrifice of the Mass. Our Lord applies to us the merits of His death on the cross. No better victim, no greater gift, could be offered to God. The victim in the Sacrifice of the Mass is Our Lord Himself.

The Mass is the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of the cross. There is only one difference. The way in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the cross Our Lord shed His Blood. In the Mass there is no shedding of blood. There is no death. Jesus offers Himself to God under the appearances of bread and wine.

The first Sacrifice of the Mass was offered by Our Lord at the Last Supper. He did it in this way. He changed bread and wine into His body and blood. He offered Himself to God the Father. He said: “This is My body which is given for you; this is My blood which is shed for you.”

Jesus made the apostles priests at the Last Supper. At that time He gave them the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood. He said: Do this in Remembrance of Me.” And the priest does this every day in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

When I pray the Mass with the priest, I offer Jesus to God the Father. I also offer myself to God the Father. During Holy Mass, God the Father wishes to give me a gift. He wishes to give me His Son in Holy Communion. This gift is food for my soul. Our Lord Himself said: “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.” Our Lord meant the life of grace which I must have to belong to the kingdom of God.

Taken from The Kingdom of God series The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by Ellamay Horan. I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

End Times and The Anti-Christ

A Better take on things to come. Bishop Donald Sandborn of The Most Holy Trinity Seminary in Brooksville FL is as about straight to the heart of Catholoscism as we can find in this day and age. Please feel free to browse YouTube for the series “What Catholics Believe”, which aired in the 1980s and had very good topics of interest with a number of terrific clergymen and Catholic role models. God Bless BJS!!


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​On the Commandments of the Church 

Taken from The Sinner’s Guide by the Venerable Louis of Granada chap. 38

Besides these sins against the Commandments of God there are those against the commandments of the Church, which also impose upon us a grave obligation. Such are the precepts to hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation; to confess our sins at least once a year, and to receive the Holy Eucharist at Easter or thereabouts; to pay tithes to our pastor, and to observe the days of fasting and abstinence prescribed by the Church. 
The precept of fasting is binding from the age of 21 and upwards; that of abstinence obliges all who have attained the age of reason. The sick, the convalescent, nursing women, women in pregnancy, those whose labors are severe, and those who are too poor to afford one full meal a day, are exempt from the law of fasting. There may be other lawful reasons for dispensation, for which the faithful ought to apply to their pastor or confessor, and not take it upon themselves to set aside the law of the Church.
The difference between abstinence and fasting should be remembered. By fasting we mean eating only one full meal in the day, with a slight collation in the evening. By abstinence we mean giving up the use of flesh-meat. It should be borne in mind, therefore, on Ember days and at other times of fast, that the law is not fulfilled by simply abstaining from meat. Unless you are excused by some of the reasons given above or by dispensation, you must observe the fast by eating only one full meal, with the collation in the evening, and a warm drink, with a cracker or small piece of bread, in the morning.
In regard to hearing Mass, we must endeavor to be present at the Holy Sacrifice not only in body but in mind, with silence and recollection, having our thoughts fixed upon the mystery of the altar, or upon some other pious subject. The recital of devout prayers, especially the Rosary, is an excellent means of keeping ourselves united with God. If we are at the head of a house we must be careful to see that all under our charge hear Mass, not only on Sundays, but also on holy days. Too much laxity regarding holy days is apt to prevail among those who earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. They should remember that the obligation to hear Mass on a holy day is the same as the obligation to hear it on Sunday. Consequently, they must make serious and sincere efforts to comply with this duty. To attend an early Mass may involve the loss of a little sleep, but they should remember that these holy days occur but seldom, and that they must do something to atone for their sins and to merit the kingdom of Heaven.
Parents and employers will have a severe account to render to God if they cause or permit those confided to their care to neglect this sacred duty. When there is a just reason, such as the care of the sick or any other pressing necessity which prevents Mass, we are released from the obligation.

God Bless BJS!!

Things to Remember… (p2)

  • “Everyone of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be My disciple.” [Luke, 14. 33.]
  • “Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding, that thou mayst know also where is length of days and life, where is the light of the eyes, and peace.” (Bar. 3:14).
  • “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.” (Jer. 9:23-24).
  • “Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation.” (Ecclus. 2:1)
  • If all the calamities which have existed in the world since the creation, and all the sufferings of Hell, were put into one side of a scale, and but one mortal sin into the other, it would outweigh all these evils, for it is incomparably greater. This is a truth which must be strongly felt and constantly remembered.
  • We are all made to the image and likeness of God, as Jesus Christ. The life question is whether or not we represent His image and likeness in our daily lives and actions.
  • St. Thomas says all sin, proceeds from self-love, for we never commit sin without coveting some gratification for self. From self-love spring those three branches of sin mentioned by St. John: “the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1Jn. 2:16), which are love of pleasure, love of riches, and love of honors. Three of the deadly sins, lust, gluttony, and sloth, spring from love of pleasure, pride springs from love of honors, and covetousness from love of riches. The remaining two, anger and envy, serve all these unlawful loves. Anger is aroused by any obstacle which prevents us from attaining what we desire, and envy is excited when we behold anyone possessing what our self-love claims. These are the three roots of the seven deadly sins, and consequently of all the others. Let these chiefs be destroyed and the whole army will soon be routed. Hence we must vigorously attack these mighty giants who dispute our entrance to the promised land.
  • Perfection consists: First, in a true contempt of one’s self. Secondly, in a thorough mortification of our own appetites. Thirdly, in a perfect conformity to the will of God: whosoever is wanting in one of these virtues is out of the way of perfection.
  • Certain souls, greedy of spiritual dainties in prayer, go in search only of these banquets of sweet and tender feelings; but courageous souls that seek sincerely to belong wholly to God, ask Him only for light to understand His will, and for strength to put it in execution.
  • “Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind or in thy words, for from it all perdition took its beginning.” (Job. 4:14).
  • “If you find difficulty in the performance of a virtuous action, the trouble is soon past and the virtue remains; but if you take pleasure in committing a base action, its pleasure disappears, but its shame continues with you.”
  • We must patiently endure the tribulations of this life—–ill-health, sorrows, poverty, losses, bereavement of kindred, affronts, persecutions, and all that is disagreeable. Let us invariably look on the trials of this world as signs of God’s love towards us, and of His desire to save us in the world to come. And let us, moreover, be fully persuaded that the involuntary mortifications which God Himself sends us are far more pleasing to Him than those which are the fruit of our own choice.
  • Let us acquire the good habit of saying in every adversity: God hath so willed it, and so I will it likewise.
  • Let us, moreover, force ourselves to endure scorn and insult with patience and tranquility. Let us answer terms of outrage and injury with words of gentleness; but as long as we feel ourselves disturbed, the best plan is to keep silence, till the mind grows tranquil.
  • He that prays, conquers; he that prays not, is conquered.
  • The maxim of St. Francis should never be out of our sight: “We are just what we are before God.”
  • Detach your heart from all creatures. Whoever continues bound by the slightest fondness to things of earth can never rise to a perfect union with God.
  • It was said by St. Philip Neri, that “whatever affection we bestow on creatures is so much taken from God.”
  • We must leave all, in order to gain all. “All for all,” writes Thomas à Kempis. Imit. Chr. 1. 3. C. 37.
  • St. Francis de Sales: “I never remember to have been angry without afterwards regretting it.”
  • St. Philip Neri: “We shall have no account to render to God of what is done through obedience.” Which is to be understood, of course, as long as there is no evident sin in the command.
  • All passes away in this life, whether it be joy or sorrow; but in eternity nothing passes away.
  • What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?
  • All that comes from God, whether it be adverse or prosperous, all is good, and is for our welfare.
  • We must leave all, to gain all.
  • There is no peace to be found without God.
  • To love God and save one’s soul is the one thing needful.
  • We need only be afraid of sin.
  • If God be lost, all is lost.
  • He that desires nothing in this world is master of the whole world.
  • He that prays is saved, and he that prays not is damned.
  • Let me die, and give God pleasure. 
  • God is cheap at any cost.
  • Every pain is slight to him who has deserved Hell.
  • He bears all who looks on Jesus crucified.
  • Everything becomes a pain that is not done for God.
  • Whoever wishes for God alone is rich in every good.
  • Happy the man who can say: “My Jesus, I desire Thee alone, and nothing more!”
  • He that loves God, finds pleasure in everything; he that loves not God, finds no true pleasure in anything.

    God Bless BJS!!

    The Last Sacraments (Confession, Holy Viaticum, & Extreme Unction), & Holy Communion Calls

    But the children of the murderers he did not put to death, according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying: The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: but every man shall die for his own sins.”
    4 Kings (2 Kings) 14:6

    What are the Last Sacraments? They are the sacraments administered to a person dangerously ill. The sick person first makes his confession, then receives the Holy Eucharist in the Viaticum, and Extreme Unction.
    Extreme Unction is a remedy; and as medicine is for the living, not the dead, so those dead in sin will not profit from this spiritual remedy. However, if the patient is physically unable to confess, the Church accepts the intention and administers Extreme Unction with confession.
    The sacred Unction of the sick was instituted by Our Lord as a true sacrament of the New Law (Council of Trent, 14, 4). It confers grace, remits sin, and comforts the sick. In administering Extreme Unction the priest anoints the Christian who is in danger of death with the holy oils upon the organs of his five senses, and prays over him; by means of which the spiritual and not infrequently the bodily malady of the sick man is cured.
    We have a serious obligation, if we are taking care of a sick person, to call the priest the moment there is danger of death. It is very wrong to delay calling the priest until the person is already on the point of death. While his mind is clear, he can prepare for the Last Sacraments better, and profit more from them. Some people do not call the priest to administer the Last Sacraments because they fear the patient would be frightened and become more worse. This is a great mistake, for actual observation has provided that a sick person is always more calm and peaceful after the visit of the priest.
    Extreme Unction strengthens the sick because it confers on him grace to bear more easily the inconviences and pains of sickness,  and enables him more readily to resist temptation of all kinds. It is for the healing of the soul, and oftentimes the body; it effects the remission of mortal sins, which through infirmity of mind or body the sick man has not been able to confess, as well as the remission of some temporal punishment. And besides, at times it obtains bodily health, when expedient for the welfare of the soul. Extreme Unction compensates for all that, through no fault of his own, the sick man left incomplete in the Sacrament of Penance. It is thus the completion of the Sacrament of Penance, or the penance of the sick.
    In common with all the other sacraments, Extreme Unction imparts a higher degree of sanctifying grace. This is of more importance to us at our death than at any other moment, for the degree of our future felicity depends on the degree of sanctifying grace we possess.
    And the greater our love of God, the more capable shall we be of the enjoyment of eternal bliss. Thus this holy sacrament cleanses away all that is an impediment to our eternal salvation.
    He, who enters upon the journey from time to eternity without fortifying himself with the last sacraments, is like a traveler who starts on his way with an empty purse. Nor can there be contempt of so great a sacrament without heinous sin and an injury to the Holy Ghost Himself (Council of Trent, 14, 9).

    Note:

    • Those who have not yet received the Sacrament of Penance cannot receive Extreme Unction since it is the completetion of penance.
    • To this class belong idiots and children who have not yet attained the age of reason. It must not be supposed that this includes all children under seven, for children of five years of age have been known on their death-bed to ask for a priest, because they were conscious of having dinner against their parents.
    • Extreme Unction can only be administered to the sick once in the same illness; but if the sick person recovers temporarily, and then has a relapse, he may be anointed again.
    • Every priest who has been duly authorized by the bishop, may give the Papal benediction with a plenary indulgence, provided he makes use of the prescribed formula. The sick man must call upon the holy name of Jesus (the priest usually repeats some ejaculatory prayer to him, in which the name of Jesus occurs) verbally, if he can still speak; if not, mentally, otherwise the indulgence is not gained, and the crucifix is offered to him to be kissed.

    How should we help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments?

    We should help a sick person prepare for the Last Sacraments both spiritually and corporally.

    1. Before the priest arrives we should help the patient get ready for his Confession. Let us say with him acts of contrition, and ejaculation to keep him united with God.
    2. The patient’s face, hands, and feet should be sponged with a wet towel.
    3. There should be ready towards the foot of the bed, to the right, a table with a clean white cloth. On it should be the following:
    • A crucifix,
    • 2 lit blessed candles
    • Some holy water, and
    • A glass of fresh water with a tablespoon.
    • A clean napkin,
    • A saucer with six balls of cotton, and
    • A piece of soft bread, or one or two slices of lemon for the hands of the priest, for wiping off the anointing.
    • A basin of water and a towel should be nearby, so the priest can wash his hands after anointing.

    4.  Upon the priests arrival, if he is carrying the Blessed Sacrament, we should meet him with a lighted blessed candle, in silence.

    5.  The priest himself brings the corporal, on which he lays the pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament.

    6.  While the sick man makes his confession, let all leave the room, as the priest may have to speak above a whisper.

    How can we help a dying person?

    1. We should kneel near the patient’s bed and recite the prayers for the dying, which may he found in most prayer books. We should suggest to him short ejaculations that he can easily repeat, at least in his mind. We should recite with him especially those prayers which are enriches with plenary indulgences for the hour of death.

    2.  The following prayer is enriched with a plenary indulgence at the hour of death: “O my God, I now at this moment readily and willingly accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death Thou latest wish to send me, with all its pains, penalties, sorrows.”

    If we reflect that a plenary indulgence gained with proper disposition means that the soul will go straight  from death bed to Heaven, we would be more zealous in helping the dying gain one.

    3.  During the agony, we should sprinkle the bed and the dying person with holy water. Those around should pray, instead of fussing, or showing too extreme grief. The first thing that we can offer immediately to God in relief of the soul of a loved one is an act of resignation to His holy will. Let us humbly say, “Lord, Thy will be done!”

    In case of sudden or unexpected death, should a priest be called?

     If a person is apparently dead and has not received the Last Sacraments, we should immediately call the priest. A person may continue to live two or three hours after has apparently taken place, especially if it is sudden. In that case, Extreme Unction will avail his soul.

    I highly recommend reading St. Alphonsus de Ligouri’s Preparation For Death. All information excerpted from: The Catechism Explained, p.p. 640-643 and My Catholic Faith, pp. 326, 327.

    God Bless BJS!!

    ​Of those who Continue in Sin, trusting in the Mercy of God 

    Taken from the book entitled The Sinner’s Guide by the Venerable Louis of Granada 





    Besides those who defer their conversion till the hour of death, there are others who persevere in sin, trusting in the mercy of God and the merits of His Passion. We must now disabuse them of this illusion. You say that God’s mercy is great, since He died on the cross for the salvation of sinners. It is indeed great, and a striking proof of its greatness is the fact that He bears with the blasphemy and malice of those who so presume upon the merits of His death as to make His cross, which was intended to destroy the kingdom of evil, a reason for multiplying sin. Had you a thousand lives you would owe them all to Him, yet you rob Him of that one life which you have and for which He died. 
    This crime was more bitter to Our Saviour than death itself. For it He reproaches us by the mouth of His prophet, though He does not complain of His sufferings: “The wicked have wrought upon my back; they have extended their iniquity.” (Ps. 128:3). Who taught you to reason that because God was good you could sin with impunity? Such is not the teaching of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, those who listen to His voice reason thus: God is good; therefore, I must serve Him, obey Him, and love Him above all things. God is good; therefore, I will turn to Him with all my heart; I will hope for pardon, notwithstanding the number and enormity of my sins. God is good; therefore, I must be good if I would imitate Him. God is good; therefore, it would be base ingratitude in me to offend Him by sin. Thus, the greater you represent God’s goodness the more heinous are your crimes against Him. Nor will these offenses remain unpunished, for God’s justice, which protects His mercy, cannot permit your sinful abuse of it to remain unavenged. This is not a new pretext; the world has long made use of it. In ancient times it distinguished the false from the true prophets. While the latter announced to the people, in God’s name, the justice with which He would punish their iniquities, the former, speaking in their own name, promised them mercy which was but a false peace and security.
    You say God’s mercy is great; but if you presume upon it you show that you have never studied the greatness of His justice. Had you done so you would cry out to the Lord with the psalmist: “Who knoweth the power of thy anger, and for thy fear who can number thy wrath?” (Ps. 89:11-12). But to dissipate your illusion, let me ask you to contemplate this justice in the only way in which we may have any knowledge of it – that is, in its effects here below. Besides the result we are seeking, we shall reap another excellent advantage by exciting in our hearts the fear of God, which, in the opinion of the saints, is the treasure and defence of the soul. Without the fear of God the soul is like a ship without ballast; the winds of human or divine favor may sweep it to destruction. Notwithstanding that she may be richly laden with virtue, she is in continual danger of being wrecked on the rocks of temptation, if she be not stayed by this ballast of the fear of God. Therefore, not only those who have just entered God’s service, but those who have long been of His household, should continue in this salutary fear; the former by reason of their past transgressions, the latter on account of their weakness, which exposes them to danger at every moment. This holy fear is the effect of grace, and is preserved in the soul by frequent meditation.

    To aid you in this reflection we shall here propose a few of the practical proofs of the greatness of God’s justice. The first work of God’s justice was the reprobation of the angels. “All the ways of God are mercy and justice” (Cf. Ps. 24:10), says David; but until the fall of the angels, divine justice had not been manifested. It had been shut up in the bosom of God like a sword in the scabbard, like that sword of which Ezechiel speaks with alarm, foretelling the ruin it will cause. (Cf. Ezech. 21). This first sin drew the sword of justice from its scabbard, and terrible was the destruction it wrought. Contemplate its effects; raise your eyes and behold one of the most brilliant beings of God’s house, a resplendent image of the divine beauty, flung with lightning-like rapidity from a glorious throne in Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell, for one thought of pride. (Cf. Lk, 10:18). The prince of heavenly spirits becomes the chief of devils. His beauty and glory are changed into deformity and ignominy. God’s favorite subject is changed into His bitterest enemy, and will continue such for all eternity. With what awe this must have filled the angels, who knew the greatness of his fall! With what astonishment they repeat the words of Isaias: “How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning”? (Is. 14:12).

    Consider also the fall of man, which would have been no less terrible than that of the angels, if it had not been repaired. Behold in it the cause of all the miseries we suffer on earth: original and actual sin, suffering of body and mind, death, and the ruin of numberless souls who have been lost forever. Terrible are the calamities it brought upon us; and even greater would be our misfortunes had not Christ, by His death, bound the power of sin and redeemed us from its slavery. How rigorous, therefore, was the justice of God in thus punishing man’s rebellion; but how great was His goodness in restoring him to His friendship! In addition to the penalties imposed on the human race for the sin of Adam, new and repeated punishments have at different times been inflicted upon mankind for the crimes they have committed. In the time of Noe, the whole world was destroyed by the deluge. (Cf. Gen. 7). Fire and brimstone from Heaven consumed the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha. (Cf. Gen. 19). The earth opened and swallowed alive into Hell Core, Dathan, and Abiron for resisting the authority of Moses. (Cf. Num. 16). Nadab and Abiu, sons of Aaron, were destroyed by a sudden flame from the sanctuary because they offered strange fire in the sacrifice. (Cf. Lev. 10). Neither their priestly character, nor the sanctity of their father, nor the intimacy with God of their uncle, Moses, could obtain for them any remission for their fault. Recall the example of Ananias and Sapphira, struck dead by God for telling a lie. (Cf. Acts 5). 
    But the strongest proof of the rigor of God’s justice was the satisfaction required for sin, which was nothing less than the death of His only-begotten Son. Think of this Price of man’s Redemption, and you will begin to realize what sin is and how the justice of God regards it. Think, too, of the eternity of Hell, and judge of the rigor of that justice which inflicts such punishment. This justice terrifies you, but it is no less certain than the mercy in which you trust. Yes, through endless ages, God will look upon the indescribable torments of the damned, but they will excite in Him no compassion; they will not move Him to limit their sufferings or give them any hope of relief. Oh! Mysterious depths of divine justice! Who can reflect upon them and not tremble? Another subject to which I would call your serious attention is the state of the world. Reflect on this, and you will begin to realize the rigors of God’s justice. As an increase in virtue is the effect and reward of virtue, so likewise an increase in sin is the effect and punishment of sin. Indeed, it is one of the greatest chastisements that can be inflicted on us, when we are permitted, through blindness and passion, to rush headlong down the broad road of vice, adding sin to sin every day and hour of our lives. This is but just; for when man once mortally sins he loses all right to any help from God. It is owing solely to the divine mercy when he is converted.
    Look, therefore, over the world, and behold the greatness of its iniquity. Think of the millions who are living in infidelity and heresy. Think how many calling themselves Christians are daily betraying their name by their scandalous lives. Why is this sad condition permitted? Ah! It is owing to man’s crimes. God is disobeyed, insulted, and mocked by the majority of men, and His long-suffering justice, being wearied by their wickedness, permits them to go on in their mad career. St. Augustine is an illustrious example of this. “I was plunged,” he says, “in iniquity, and Thy anger was aroused against me, but I knew it not. I was deaf to the noise which the chains of my sins made. But this ignorance, this deafness, were the punishments of my pride.” Reflect on this. Men act freely when they sin, for no man is forced to do wrong. But when they have fallen they cannot rise without the divine assistance.

    Now, God owes this to no man. It is His gratuitous gift when He restores the sinner to His favor. Hence He but exercises His justice when He permits him to remain in his misery, and even to fall lower. When, therefore, we behold so much iniquity, have we not reason to feel that God’s justice permits men to become so blinded and hardened? I say permits, for man is the cause of his own miseries; God urges him only to what is good. If, then, you perceive in yourself any mark of such divine anger, be not without fear. Remember that you need no help but your own passions and the devil’s temptations to carry you along the broad road to destruction. Stop while you have time. Implore the divine mercy to aid you in retracing your steps till you discover that narrow way which leads to everlasting life. Having found it, walk manfully in it, ever mindful of the justice of God, and of the terrible truth that while thousands throng the road to death, there are few who find the way of life. Tremble for your salvation, and, while always maintaining an unshaken hope, have no less fear of Hell. 
    You have no reason to expect that God should treat you differently from other men. Bear in mind the law of His justice, as it has been explained, and so live that you may never expose yourself to its terrible effects here and hereafter. Be not the victim of a vain confidence which you may flatter yourself is hope, while it is naught but presumption. Rather, in the words of the Eternal Wisdom, “Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin. And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great; he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins. For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners.” (Ecclus. 5:5-7). If, then, we must tremble even for sin which has been remitted, how is it that you do not fear to add daily to your crimes? And mark well these words: “His wrath looketh upon sinners”; for as the eyes of His mercy are upon the good, so are the eyes of His anger upon the wicked. And this agrees with what David says in one of the psalms: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers. But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” (Ps. 33:16-17). “The hand of God,” says the inspired author of the book of Esdras, “is upon all them that seek him in goodness; and his power and strength and wrath upon all them that forsake him.” (1Esd. 8:22). Be reconciled, therefore, with God; amend your life; and then you can confidently hope for the mercy promised to His faithful servants. “Hope in the Lord and do that which is good,” we are told by the psalmist; “offer the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 36:3 and 4:6). This is hope; any other confidence is presumption. The ark of the true Church will not save its unworthy members from the deluge of their iniquities, nor can you reap any benefit from the mercy of God if you seek His protection in order to sin with impunity. “Men go to Hell,” says St. Augustine, “through hope, as well as through despair: through a presumptuous hope during life, and through despair at the hour of death.” (De Verbo Dei, Serm. 147).

    I entreat you, therefore, O sinner, to abandon your false hope, and let God’s justice inspire you with a fear proportioned to the confidence which His mercy excites in you. For, as St. Bernard tells us, “God has two feet, one of justice and the other of mercy. We must embrace both, lest justice separated from mercy should cause us to despair, or mercy without justice should excite in us presumption.” (In Cantica, Serm. 80)

    I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

    Existence of Purgatory

     

    Both reason and faith tell us that there is a middle ground of expiation, where the soul is cleansed from all stain of sin before it can enter the glory of heaven. “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27). Christ said, “Amen, I say to thee, thou will not come out from it until thou hast paid the last penny” (Matt. 5:26). Even persons who deny the existence of purgatory instinctively pray for their loved ones who have died. This would be great inconsistency if their reason did not tell them that their prayers would do the dead good. Prayers are useless for those in heaven or hell.

      What is purgatory? –Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for those who die in the state of grace, but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.

    1. Purgatory is a middle state where souls destined for heaven are detained and purified. Souls in purgatory cannot help themselves, for their time for meriting is past. But they can be helped by the faithful on earth, by prayers and other good works.In some places, at eight o’clock at night, the church bells sound, to admonish the faithful to pray for the souls in purgatory. This hour is in commemoration of Christ’s prayer in the garden. We should then kneel and pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and the Requiem aeternam: “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them,” etc. 
    2. Belief in the utility of praying for the dead automatically includes belief in the existence of purgatory. If there were no purgatory, it would be useless to pray for the dead, because saints in heaven need no help, and those in hell are beyond aid.And we can be sure there will be no more purgatory after the General judgment; because the reason for its existence will have passed. 
    3. Purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for those who have died in venial sin, or who have not fully satisfied God’s justice for mortal sins already forgiven.
         

      1. A boy steals an apple from a stall in the market; this is a venial sin punishable in purgatory. Some argue that God is a good God, and will not punish such slight sins with the pains of purgatory. We must remember, nevertheless, that the judgments of God are different from those of men, as His holiness is far above human holiness.“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are exalted above the earth, so are my ways exalted above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Let us reverence God’s holiness and justice, as we have loving confidence in His mercy. 
      2. A man commits a cruel murder. This is a mortal sin which, unrepented and unconfessed, will send him to hell.The man repents, confesses, and obtains absolution for his sin; the guilt therefore is removed. But justice requires that he make up for the evil he has done; this atonement takes place in purgatory, unless he makes full satisfaction before death.

       

    4. The doctrine of purgatory is eminently consoling to the human heart. It consoles us when our loved ones die. Purgatory is a bond of union making us realize that death is not an eternal separation for the just, but only a loss of their bodily presence.Purgatory gives us an assurance that we are still in touch with our beloved dead. We are consoled by the knowledge that we can still help them with prayer, as in life we so helped them.
      Is the doctrine of the existence of purgatory reasonable? –The doctrine of the existence of Purgatory is not only reasonable, but its negation is eminently contrary to reason; it is taught in Holy Scripture, and has been taught by the Church from the very beginning.

    1. The doctrine of a middle state of purgation is taught in the Old Testament,and was firmly believed in by the Hebrews.After a battle, Judas Machabeus ordered prayers and sacrifices offered up for his slain comrades. “And making a gathering, he sent twelve drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection. For, if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead. And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins” (2 Mach. 12:43-46). 
    2. When Our Lord came on earth, He purified the Jewish Church of all those human changes that with the years had crept into its usages and beliefs. But He never reproved anyone for belief in a middle state of purgation, or prayers for the dead.On the contrary, Christ more than once implied the existence of purgatory. He said “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this world, or in the world to come” (Matt. 12:32). When Our Lord said that a sin will not be forgiven in the next life, He left us to conclude that some sins will be thus forgiven. But in the next life, sins cannot be forgiven in heaven: “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27). Neither can sins be forgiven in hell, for out of hell there is no redemption. They must therefore be forgive middle state, Purgatory. 
    3. Belief in the existence of Purgatory is a continuous and solemn teaching of the Church. From St. Paul, the early Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, on through the ages, the Church has taught the existence of Purgatory, and the correlated doctrine of the usefulness of praying for the dead.From the beginning Christians prayed for the dead at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The oldest books used at Mass contain prayers for the dead.The doctrine of Purgatory was given solemn definition by the Council of Trent as follows: “There is a purgatory, and the souls there detained are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, but especially by the most acceptable, sacrifice of the altar.”

      This dogmatic definition contains three points of faith that all Catholics are compelled to believe: (a) that there is a purgatory; (b) that after death souls suffer there for their sins; (c) that the living can extend assistance to such souls.

       

    4. Reason demands belief in the existence of purgatory. If a man dies with some slight stain on his soul, a sin of impatience, or an idle word, is he fit to enter heaven? God’s sanctity forbids it: “There shall not enter into it anything defiled” (Apoc. 21:27) . But must such a soul be consigned to hell? God’s mercy and justice forbid it.Therefore reason concludes the existence of a middle and temporary state of expiation, where the soul is cleansed from all stain of sin before it can be admitted into the perfect holiness and bliss of heaven. “Amen, I say to thee, thou wilt not come out from it until thou hast paid the last penny” (Matt. 5:26). 
    5. Among nearly all peoples there has persisted a belief that souls must undergo some sort of purification after death. This would point to the doctrine of purgatory.The Greek story of Prometheus implies a place of purgation. The Egyptians and others believed in the transmigration of souls. Legends and myths of all nations, as well as burial customs, indicate belief in the possibility of helping the dead.