Tag Archives: Actual

​The Forgiveness of Sins

 

Christ taught about the forgiveness of sins in the parable of the Prodigal Son (1). He instituted the Sacrament of Penance for the forgiveness of sins when He said to the Apostles: (4) “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain they are retained.”

    What is meant in the Apostles’ Creed by “the forgiveness of sins”? –By “the forgiveness of sins” in the Apostles’ Creed is meant that God has given to the Church, through Jesus Christ, the power to forgive sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if sinners truly repent. 

  1. In the Old Law, sins were forgiven through the merits of the Redeemer that was to come. In the New Law they are forgiven through the merits of the Redeemer Who has come.Pointing to Christ, St. John the Baptist said: “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 
  2. We can obtain forgiveness of sin, because Christ the Redeemer merited forgiveness for us by His death. The Church has power to remit sins through the merits of Jesus Christ, “in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins” (Col. 1:14).During life, Christ actually forgave sin. For example, He forgave Mary Magdalen, the paralytic, and the good thief. In curing the paralytic, He said, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins -then he said to the paralytic –“Arise, take up thy pallet and go to thy house” (Matt. 9:6). 
  3. Christ gave to His Apostles and disciples and their successors power to forgive sins. He said: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).This power to forgive sins was not given to the Apostles alone, since men of later ages would need forgiveness as much as men of Apostolic times. The power, therefore, must also remain in the successors of the Apostles. 
  4. It is true, as the enemies of the Church assert, that man cannot forgive sins. Man, by his own individual power, can never forgive the smallest sin. But he can forgive all sins, with the power and authority God gave him, as minister of God, acting in God’s place. Or is God limited because man is sinful? “These things I write to you in order that you may not sin. But if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just” (1 John 2:1).From the very beginning the Church has exercised this power, through the sacraments of Penance and Baptism, and even through Extreme Unction.
    How may sins be remitted or forgiven? –Sins may be remitted or forgiven by various means, according to the kind and gravity of the sin: by Baptism, by Penance, and by good works. 

  1. Original sin is remitted through Baptism. When we are baptized, we become children of God, and heirs of heaven.None but children of God, the baptized, can have a pass to God’s eternal home. 
  2. Actual sin is remitted by Baptism, by Penance, by Extreme Unction, and by good works. Such good works are: prayer, fasting, and alms-deeds.Good works cannot remit grave or mortal sin; they can only dispose a person to the state of mind which leads him to the Sacrament of Penance. 
  3. The guilt of forgiven sins never returns. Once forgiven, a sin is forgiven forever. If after our sins have been forgiven we commit a new sin, or sins like the ones already forgiven, we are guilty of new sins.A man tells five lies. He repents and confessing his sin, obtains forgiveness. After a month he tells five lies again. He is guilty of having told only five lies, not ten.
    What is vice? –Vice is a habit of sin formed by repeated acts of sin. 

  1. One who makes a practice of stealing has the vice of theft. One who habitually drinks to intoxication has the vice of drunkenness. One who frequently sins against chastity has the vice of impurity.If one commits robbery and ever after avoids that sin, he has committed the mortal sin of robbery, but he has no vice. Similarly one may be completely intoxicated once, but if he resolves never again to drink, and sticks to his resolution, he has no vice. 
  2. A vice is easily acquired. This is one reason why we must be very careful not to commit sin. If we should be so unhappy as to fall into sin, we must at once cut off the possibility of forming vice by contrition, penance, and a resolution not to sin again.After the first fall, one more readily yields to the next temptation. Each yielding weakens the will for the next. Thus step by step one who starts a sin will soon find himself the slave of a vicious habit. “He that contemneth small things shall fall by little and little” (Ecclus 19:1). 
  3. A vice is easy to break off in the beginning, difficult to break when fully formed, but always capable of being overcome by a resolute will with God’s grace.It is easy enough to uproot a very young tree. But when it has grown into a mighty tree, it becomes extremely difficult. The vice having been firmly formed, it becomes a necessity and is impossible to break without extraordinary grace. This impossibility often leads many vicious persons to despair and to final impenitence. But God can do all things. One therefore who has contracted a habit of sin must have recourse to God, who will strengthen him, so that he can conquer his vice, by patient acts of virtue and a constant exertion of the will.
    Can all sins be forgiven? –Yes, all sins, however great, can be forgiven, through the infinite merits of Christ, Who is God.The repentant sinner is told in Scripture: “If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow” (Is. 1:17) 

  1. God is always ready to forgive our sins, no matter how great or how many they are, if we are truly sorry for them. No actual sin can be forgiven without sorrow and repentance on the part of the sinner.Our Lord said: “I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety-nine just who have no need of repentance” (Luke 15:7). 
  2. The sin against the Holy Ghost which Christ warned us would not be forgiven in heaven or on earth is persistent impenitence, the sin of one who rejects conversion and dies in mortal sin. One guilty of this sin can never obtain forgiveness of God, because at the hour of death he continues to thrust God away from him.A man mortally wounded cannot have any hope of cure if he not only refuses to listen to his doctors, but shuts his mouth against all medicines, and kicks away all medical instruments and help. Even Judas would have been pardoned if he had asked for forgiveness and made a sincere act of contrition before his death.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

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​Actual Grace

 

The case of Saul of Tarsus is one of the most wonderful instances of cooperation with God’s grace. Saul of Tarsus was one of the most active persecutors of the early Christians. On the way to Damascus to arrest Christians, Soul was struck down by a brilliant light, and heard a voice say: “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” Saul asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” And Jesus answered, “I am Jesus, whom thou art persecuting. Saul immediately grasped at grace, and asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” From then on he turned his back on his former life, and belonged completely to Christ, till as the incomparable Apostle Paul he was martyred in Rome.

 

    What is actual grace? –Actual grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.

    By actual grace the Holy Ghost shows us the emptiness in themselves of earthly things. He makes us see our own sins, and the true goal of life. By it we can perform a virtuous act or reject a temptation.

    Actual grace is transient; that is, it is given to us only when we need it, to perform a good act, or to overcome a temptation.

    An example of the wonderful action of the Holy Ghost in enlightening the mind and strengthening the will is the First Pentecost. Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were ignorant and afraid; after His descent, His grace made them wise and fearless men, going forth to preach Christ everywhere, ready to die for their faith.

     

  1. God gives us always sufficient grace to be saved. A true Christian should view his whole life in the light of grace. All God’s gifts granted for man’s salvation are graces.

    A good family, a good education,-these are graces. But even sickness and hardships are God’s graces, and may be the steps by which to ascend to heaven. And God grants graces to protect us against temptation, never suffering us to be tempted beyond our strength. If we do our part, avoid the occasions of sin, and cooperate with His graces, we shall win.

    Is actual grace necessary for all who have attained the use of reason? –Actual grace is necessary for all who have attained the use of reason, because without it we cannot long resist the power of temptation, nor perform other actions which merit a reward in heaven.

    We all need actual grace. Sinners need it to rise from sin. The just need it to persevere in good. Without grace, we fall into sin.

    Herod was offered actual grace when he heard of the birth of the Messias from the three wise men; but Herod rejected the grace, and added to his sins.

     

  1. Grace is given to all men, although not in equal amounts. Some receive more, some less. Some ordinary graces are granted to all men; certain extraordinary graces are granted to chosen ones.

    God is free to bestow His gifts as He likes. The Blessed Virgin received more than other mortals. Christians receive more than pagans. Those in the state of grace are likely to receive more than those in the state of mortal sin. In a way, our graces depend also on our dispositions. If we are faithful in corresponding with what we get, we receive more abundantly. Often our carelessness and indifference turn away God’s graces from us. We reject Him who only wishes to make us saints, whose “delight is to be with the children of men” (Prov. 8:31).

    What are the principal ways of obtaining grace? –The principal ways of obtaining grace are prayer and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

    The sacraments of Baptism and Penance give grace to those not possessing it; the other sacraments increase grace in those already in the state of grace.

     

  1. Actual grace is obtained by good works. It is especially obtained by the use of means offered by the Church, such as hearing Mass, sermons, etc., and receiving the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist, which contains God, the Source of Grace.

    Although we cannot merit grace by our good works, still our good works can beg God for us, to give us grace. Good works are necessary, for God will not save us without our cooperation.

    Actual grace is made to act through various means: through sermons, reading of good books, illness and death, advice of superiors and friends, good example, etc.

    The first converts at Pentecost were moved by the preaching of the Apostles. St. Ignatius of Loyola was moved by the reading of the lives of the saints; St. Francis of Assisi, during an illness; St. Francis Borgia, upon seeing the corpse of Queen Isabella. Often God sends us sufferings as a means by which the Holy Ghost may speak to us.

    Can we resist the grace of God? –Unfortunately, we can resist the grace of God, for our will is free, and God does not force us to accept His grace.

     

  1. Grace does not force us. It leaves us free to choose between good and evil. The Holy Ghost guides and enlightens, but we can still close our eyes to His grace. If we cooperate, we gain other graces.

    As Christ said, “For to him who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance” (Matt. 13:12). He who persists in rejecting the gift of God’s grace and refuses to be converted will die in his sin and will be forever excluded from the sight of God. “From him who does not have, even that which he seems to have shall be taken away. But as for the unprofitable servant, cast him forth into the darkness outside, where there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:29-30). Would it not be an insult to a king if he keeps offering gifts to one of his people, and these gifts are despised?

     

  2. We should be on the lookout for the graces of God, ready to accept them as soon as they are offered. The action of the Holy Ghost on the individual soul is not continuous in particular graces; we must be ready when He comes with special gifts.

    Some receive only one summons to the banquet. In the desert, the Israelites who rose late found the manna melted away. There are times of special grace for the Christian, such as Lent, a retreat, etc.

    How can we make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward? –We can make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward by doing them for the love of God, and by keeping ourselves in the state of grace.

     

  1. God grants us the right to a heavenly reward for the most ordinary good actions in the supernatural order, provided we are in the state of grace. God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. If we do the most ordinary tasks of the day, like cooking, studying, doing small chores, carpentry work, sewing, and such, in a spirit of love and obedience to Him, our acts will deserve merit before God’s eyes.

    God does not expect all of us to be great scientists saving thousands of lives each day, great discoverers, great lawyers, great statesmen. Does God need our help? All He wants is our love; and this we can give in the most ordinary daily actions. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever else you do, do all to the glory of God.”

     

  2. By mortal sin one loses the merit he has gained from his good actions. It is necessary that he regain that state of grace before he can regain that merit.

    To regain God’s friendship, we must be sorry for our sins, make a good confession, and resolve never to displease Him again. Then He will give us back the gift of His grace and love, and the merit of all our good works.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

​Sanctifying Grace

 

A soul in the state of grace is very beautiful in the sight of God. Then we are friends and children of God and heirs of heaven; then we are like the very angels. We must always try to avoid sin. But when the soul has lost the grace of God by mortal sin, nothing on earth can be uglier in God’s sight. If we are so careful about our personal appearance before mortals, how much more should we be careful about the appearance of our immortal soul, that God may be pleased with us.

 

    What is grace? –Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

     

  1. Grace is a favor, a free gift, granted to us though we have no claim to it. God grants us graces because He is good, not because we deserve them. God grants,us graces for the sake of His Son, Who died on the cross to earn for us these graces; we men can never merit these graces.

    “All have sinned and have need of the glory of God. They are justified freelyby his grace through the redemption which is in Christ” (Rom. 3:23-24).

     

  2. The Holy Ghost dispenses the graces of God merited by Our Lord Jesus Christ; He bestows and perfects what is already earned, and acts as the channel of grace.

    In a similar manner the sun does not make the plants, but develops what is already planted; without the sun plants would die and be useless to man.

     

  3. The supernatural is that which is beyond natural Powers. It is of two kinds:

       

    1. When the fact is beyond natural powers in the manner of occurence: as when a blind man instantly can see; and

       

    2. When the fact fundamentally and entirely surpasses all powers of the natural order: as when God imparts a part of His life to man through the gift of sanctifying grace.

     

  4. The assistance of the Holy Ghost is necessary. Without the help of the graces that He dispenses, with merely natural powers, we cannot do the least work to merit salvation. Without God, we are nothing.

    In order to reach heaven, we need God’s grace; so we say with the Apostle: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5) ; “By the grace of God I am what I am. . . . I have laboured more than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

     

  5. There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

    What is sanctifying grace? –Sanctifying grace is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

     

  1. By sanctifying grace, our souls are made holy and pleasing to God. It is anabiding or permanent grace, which we gain by baptism, and lose only by mortal sin.

    By Adam’s sin all mankind lost the friendship of God; that is, we are born in original sin, without sanctifying grace. Our Lord’s death won back sanctifying grace for us; it is granted freely at Baptism.

     

  2. A soul to whom God grants sanctifying grace receives not merely a gift from God, but God Himself. The Holy Ghost lives in him and becomes united with him, so that he receives a new life, a new nature.

    St. Paul refers to this acquisition of sanctifying grace as the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new. It is as if an old and worn man were suddenly to become a handsome young man full of the vigor of life. The beauty of a soul in the state of sanctifying grace is too great for human eyes to bear. As a child said, when asked how his soul would look immediately after his confirmation, if it could be photographed, “Why, it would look like God!”

    What are the chief effects of sanctifying grace? –The chief effects of sanctifying grace are:

    First, it makes us holy and pleasing to God.-When we are in possession of sanctifying grace, we are free from mortal sin; the two cannot dwell together. The fire of the Holy Ghost sears away all that God abhors, so that we acquire God’s friendship.

    However, although free from mortal sin, we do not: with sanctifying grace, become free from the remains of sin. So even saints feel the human inclination to sin, against which the struggle is lifelong, and from which we should gain merit. This human frailty is imbedded in our flesh, and is present in our souls as a result of original sin.

    Sanctifying grace, however, although it does not cure us of the weakness of the flesh, strengthens our will, so that for us the war against sin becomes easier. The charity accompanying sanctifying grace makes us more prone to good works, more attracted to God, with minds illumined as to the folly of sin.

    Second, it makes us adopted children of God. – With sanctifying grace, the Holy Ghost enters our soul; we are led by His Spirit, and are therefore His children: “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

    “Now you have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).

    Third, it makes us temples of the Holy Ghost.-Sanctifying grace brings the Holy Ghost to dwell in us as in a temple. St. Paul says, “For you are the temple of the Living God” (2 Cor. 6: 16).

    “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy; for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are” (1 Cor. 3: 16,17)

    Fourth, it gives us the right to heaven.When we are in sanctifying grace, we are inspired to do good works. The Holy Ghost does not sleep within us, but expands our heart with His grace, and urges our will to do good. And as we are adopted children of God, such actions become meritorious for heaven.

    If we are children of God, we are at the same time heirs, and therefore have a right to His Kingdom. “We are the sons of God. But if we are sons, we are heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17)

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!

Actual Sin

Christ permitted Himself to be tempted by the devil. After Our Lord’s forty days’ fast in the desert, the devil appeared to Him and tempted Him to gluttony, to pride, and to avarice. But Our Lord resisted the devil and sent him away. Then angels came to minister to Him. God wishes to show us that temptation, far from being a sin in itself, is a source of merit if we resist firmly. Then God will send us His blessings and consolations, and we shall be dearer to Him after our successful fight against temptation.

 

What is actual sin? –Actual sin is any wilful thought, desire, word, action, or omission forbidden by the law of God.

     

  1. There are two general classes of sins: original and actual. Original sin is the kind of sin that we inherit from Adam. Actual sin is the kind of sin that we ourselves commit. In general, when we speak of “sin” we mean actual sin.

    Sin is an offense against God, a violation of His commandments. To sin is to despise God, to disobey Him, to offend Him. One who sins takes the gifts that God has given, and uses them to insult Him.

     

  2. No person exists who does not sin, however holy he may be. The only human being who was created without sin, and never committed sin, was the Blessed Virgin; this was a special privilege bestowed on her because she was to be the Mother of our Saviour.

    St. John says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

    In what way do we fall into sin? –We fall step by step from temptation into sin.

    The different steps at times follow each other rapidly and are accomplished in the twinkling of an eye.

     

  1. Sin is not committed without temptation. First an evil thought comes into the mind. This in itself is not sinful; it is only a temptation.

    A man may be in a jewelry store looking at some jewels. The salesman turns away to talk to someone else, leaving a precious diamond ring on the counter. The thought enters the man’s mind that it would be easy for him to take the ring and walk away unnoticed. This is temptation, not sin.

     

  2. If we do not immediately reject the thought, it awakens in the mind an affection or liking for it.

    If the man in the above example does not resist and reject the thought, but plays with it, and becomes pleased with the idea, he thereby gives partial consent, and commits a slight sin.

     

  3. Next the thought is followed by an evil desire in which we take pleasure.

    If, still playing with the thought, the man wishes that he could take the diamond ring without being noticed, the consent is complete, and he commits a sin in his heart (interiorly).

     

  4. The resolution to commit the sin when occasion presents itself follows. Then the exterior act is committed.

    Finally, tile man glances to see if the salesman is still busy. Then lie takes the ring and walks aivay with it. Thus the wish or desire has been translated into an exterior act. Even should the man be prevented from stealing, he is guilty of grave sin.

    Why is an exterior sin more evil than an interior sin? –An exterior sin is more evil than an interior sin, because it is attended by worse consequences.

     

  1. An exterior sin often causes scandal, and is more severely punished by God here on earth as well as after death.

    Drunkenness reduces the drunkard and his family to poverty and sickness. Impurity destroys the body, sometimes producing insanity. Murder often leads the culprit to the electric chair.

     

  2. And worse, an exterior sin increases the malice of the will, and destroys the sense of shame. The repetition of exterior sins forms the habit of sinning, and vice is formed. The conscience goes to sleep, and the sinner becomes so hardened that he no longer sees the evil and wickedness of his sin.

    Thus it becomes easier and easier for him to commit sins of a worse kind. His state becomes worse and worse until finally he becomes a hardened sinnerwho believes himself sinless.

    Are all evil acts sinful? –Not all evil acts are sinful; there may be times when such acts are not sinful, as:

     

  1. When we do not know that the act is sinful.

    Noe became intoxicated, but committed no sin, because he was not aware of the strength of the wine. So one might by mistake take poison instead of medicine and die, but he would not be guilty of suicide. Such an act is termed a material sin.

     

  2. When the act is done through no fault of our own.

    If one is not aware that a certain day is a day of abstinence, and eats meat, he commits no sin. Again, one might by pure accident and through no negligence on his part drop a loaded revolver. Even if it explodes and kills a person, he is not guilty of murder.

     

  3. When we do not consent to the evil.

    A stronger man may take our hand, and in spite of our refusal and protest force it to drop a lighted match into a gasoline tank. Even if there is an explosion and a whole town is set on fire, we are not guilty of arson. In the same way, as long as one does not consent to an evil thought, it remains a temptation, and he commits no sin.

    When are we guilty of sins which we ourselves do not commit? –We are guilty of sins which we ourselves do not commit when we cooperate with another person’s sins.

     

  1. We share in another’s sin: (a) by counsel; (b) by command; (c) by consent; (d) by provocation; (e) by praise or flattery; (f) by silence; (g) by assistance; (h) by defense or concealment; and (i) by not punishing the evil done.

    Thus rulers, legislative leaders, parents, employers, teachers, superiors, owners of shows and theatres, editors, publishers, and others in a position of responsibility, may easily render themselves guilty of the sins of others. One who is to blame for another’s sin is as guilty as if he had committed the sin himself.

     

  2. One who tempts or provokes another into sin is perhaps the more guilty of the two.

    Our Lord says: “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it were better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).

    How many kinds of actual sin are there? –There are two kinds of actual sin: mortal sin and venial sin.

     

  1. Another classification is: (a) sins of thought; (b) sins of desire; (c) sins of word; (d) sins of deed; (e) sins of omission.

    If we take pleasure in thinking proudly of ourselves, we sin by thought. If we cannot rest content because we envy somebody’s clothes and wish we had them, we sin by desire. If we get angry and say angry words to someone, we sin by word. If we are so angry that we begin striking the person, we sin by deed. If we do not do what is our duty, such as going to Mass on Sunday, we sin by omission.

     

  2. Sins are also classified into (a) our own sins; and (b) sins in which we cooperate and for which we are responsible.

    We must not be presumptous and over-confident. We must remember that when we do not sin, it is only through the grace of God. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). A humble distrust of ourselves is a preservative against sin.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
God Bless BJS!!