Tag Archives: charity

A Terrible Warning

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In 1984, just before retiring at a venerable age, the diocesan Bishop of Niigata, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, in consulation with the Holy See, wrote a pastoral letter in which he recognized as being authentically of the Mother of God, the extraordinary series of events that had taken place from 1973 to 1981 in a little lay convent within his diocese, at Akita Japan. Hence in Akita we are dealing with a Church approved intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary as sure in this respect as Lourdes or La Salette or Fatima.

The message of Akita, authenticated by Bishop Ito, is a continuation of Fatima. The chastisement threatened is truly terrible – far worse that the possibility of annihilation of several nations prophesied at Fatima. Akita is absolutely consistent with prophecies of Scripture.

The first message received by Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa on June 6, 1973 was a call for prayer and sacrifice for the glory of the Father and salvation of souls. The second message,  August 3, 1973, was for prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices to soften the Father’s anger.

The third message on October 13, 1973, the actual anniversary of the final visions and miracle of Fatima is as follows; “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the pope, the bishops, and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by the Confreres. The Church will be full of those who accept comprises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

“The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.”

In his pastoral letter approving the events of Akita as supernatural, the Bishop of Niigata said: “After the inquiries conducted up to the present day, one cannot deny the supernatural character of a series of unexplainable events relative to the statue of the Virgin honored at Akita (Diocese of Niigata). Consequently, I authorize that all of the diocese entrusted to me venerate the Holy Mother of Akita.”

Concerning the messages, His Excellency said: “As for the content of the messages received, it is no way contrary to Catholic doctrine or to good morals. When one thinks of the actual state of the world, the warning seems to correspond to it in many points.” His Excellency explained that he had taken eight years to give this judgement because of the importance and the responsibility in question. “The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith has given me directives in this sense,” the Bishop said, “that only the Bishop of the diocese in question has the power to recognize an event of this kind.”

The events of Akita have been confirmed by definite miracles, two of which are cited by the Bishop in his pastoral letter. While the warning given by Our Lady at Akita is terrible, the message, as the Bishop points out , is basically a repetition of the Message of Fatima. Our Lady stressed the importance of praying the Rosary, and above all of accepting from God whatever He may send in the course of each day…whatever suffering…and to offer it up in a reparation for so many sins committed throughout the world at this time. Our Lady begged especially for prayers for bishops, priests, and religious, and for reparation before the Blessed Sacrament. Our Lady said: “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering to the Father, together with all the victim souls who console Him, the sufferings endured by the Son on the Cross, by His Blood and by His very loving Soul. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can appease the anger of the Father.”

To the little religious community where Our Lady gave the messages, she asked that it “live in poverty, sanctity itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages of so many men.”

The apparitions and events in Akita, Japan, center around a three foot high statue of Our Lady with a Japanese face in the chapel of the Eucharisitic Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. These supernatural happenings involve Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, one of the Sisters in the convent, to whom Our Lady gave Her messages. Sister had been very ill, requiring about 20 operations. When the apparitions began, she was nearly deaf. On June 12, 1973, when she opened the tabernacle for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a very strong light came from it and filled the entire chapel. This happened for three days. When Sister asked the other Sisters if they had seen anything out of the ordinary, they said no.

This strong light also came from the tabernacle on the feast of Corpus Christi. When Sr. Sasagawa told the Bishop of Akita (who was visiting the convent on the feast) of this, he advised her to keep it in her heart. On the Vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart that same year, Sr. Sasagawa’s guardian angel appeared to her and asked her to pray the Fatima decade prayer after each decade of the Rosary. In 1973 this prayer was not well known in Japan, and Sister had trouble understanding it. But the Sisters began to recite the prayer and it has now spread throughout Japan.

On the same occasion as the apparition of her guardian angel, a wound in the form of a cross appeared in the hollow of Sr. Sasagawa’s left hand and began to bleed. The bleeding ended on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The following Friday, the wound bled and stopped the next day. This continued for a month. Sister’s guardian angel later spoke to her in chapel. Although nearly deaf, she heard the angel saying: “Pray not only for yourself, but for the people of all nations. The world today is wounding the Sacred Heart of Jesus through so much sin and ingratitude.” After hearing this, Sister heard a voice come from the statue in the chapel: “My daughter, you obeyed me very well, you have renounced everything. This deafness is a great suffering for you. Have patience, you will be healed. It is a trial. Pray in reparation for all people. Pray much for the Holy Father, for the bishops and for priests.”

On July 6, 1973, a bleeding wound appeared on the right hand of the statue of Our Lady in the chapel. On other days, the face of the statue bled. Sister’s guardian angel told her: “This flowing of blood is significant. It will be shed for the conversion of men and in reparation for sins. To the devotion of the Sacred Heart add the devotion to the Precious Blood.” Other messages followed. About a month after seeing the wound in the right hand of Our Lady’s statue, Sr. Sasagawa heard: “My daughter, if you love Our Lord, listen to me. Many people in the world grieve Our Lord. I ask for souls who will console Him, and who will make reparation. The Heavenly Father is preparing a great punishment for the world. Many times I have tried with my Son to soften the anger of the Father. I presented to Him many atoning souls who make reparation by prayers and sacrifices. That is what I ask of you. Honor poverty. Live poorly. You must keep your vows, which are like three nails to nail you to the Cross – the nail of poverty, chastity and obedience.”

Beginning on September 20, 1973, the statue began to sweat from the face to the feet. Tears began to flow down the face. Also, a very pleasant odor was felt in the chapel. This happened many times in the presence of others, including the Bishop. In all, the statue wept a total of 101 times. On October 13, 1973, there was a serious message. “As I said before,” Our Lady said, “if mankind does not repent, the Heavenly Father will inflict a very serious punishment on the whole world; a punishment the likes of which has never happened before. Many people will perish. Pray the Rosary often. Only I can prevent the disaster. Whoever entrusts themselves to me will be saved.” The statue continued to weep and other messages followed. Pilgrims came and many received answers to their prayers. Then, in 1981, Theresa Chon, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer, was miraculously healed through the intercession of Our Lady of Akita. This healing was well documented by Fr. Joseph Oh of Seoul, S. Korea.

In his pastoral letter, Bishop Ito said that it would have been difficult to believe in a message from Our Lady that is so terrible, unless there was overwhelming proof that it was indeed from Her. But he points out that the terrible chastisement of which Our Lady speaks is on the condition: “If men do not repent and do not better themselves…” The Bishop added it is a serious warning, while at the same time one perceives in it the maternal love of Our Lady. In Her message warning the world of the annihilation of a great part of humanity, She said: “The thought of the loss of numerous souls makes me sad.”

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How do we repent and better ourselves? Repentance is a “sorrow of heart and detestation for sin committed with the resolution not to sin again.” (Trent.sess.xiv,cap.4). Once mortal sin has been committed, an act of contrition is necessary for salvation (this is of faith from Scripture and Tradition). To be effective contrition must be genuine, must comprise all mortal sin committed, must spring from a motive that has reference to God and include a hatred of sin as the greatest of evils (this is the common teaching of theologians). Contrition is termed perfect when it arises from the pure love of God; by perfect contrition, sin is forgiven even before it is manifested in the sacrament of Penance, though the obligation of confession remains. What are the sins most prevalent today which are calling down God’s wrath upon us? We see wholesale violations of the first three Commandments. The first Commandment: I am the Lord Thy God, thou shall not have strange God’s before me.” In summary, we find in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X and the Baltimore Catechism, that the First Commandment forbids idolatry, superstitution, spiritism, tempting God, sacrilege and sins against Faith. The Catechism then asks “How does a Catholic sin against Faith?” Answer: “A Catholic sins against Faith by apostasy, heresy, indifferentism and by taking part in non-Catholic worship! This, indeed, is a powerful indictment against the present ecumenical practice that has swept through and disfigured the Church since the 2nd Vatican Council.

The Second Commandment forbids using the Lord’s Name in vain (blasphemy). If we consult the Catechism of the Council of Trent’ s treatment of the Second Commandment, it teaches that those who support heresy, and “distort the Sacred Scriptures from their genuine and true meaning,” are guilty of sins against the Second Commandment. Thus, those who distort the meaning of Scripture, namely Protestants, are, in the objective order, guilty of this sin, because their perversion of Sacred Scripture is an irreverence to the Holy Word of God.

The Third Commandment deals with keeping holy the Sabbath Day. It is evident for all to see that Sunday has become a day of business as usual. People doing unnecessary work, places of business opened with people shopping without any regard to the Third Commandment which strictly forbids all unnecessary work and doing business on Sunday.

The Fifth Commandment: Thou shall not kill. We see a blatant disregard for this Commandment in the slaughter of some 3500 babies every day by Abortion with very, very few doing anything to bring about an end to this human carnage.

Now we come to the Sixth Commandment, which violation causes more souls to go to Hell than any of the other Ten Commandments. The Sixth Commandment is transgressed by Divorce which leads to adultery when either of the two spouses remarry. (Mark 10:11, 12) (Matt. 19:6) (Cor. 7:10, 11), Fornication, Homosexuality or Sodomy. (Rom. 1:27) (2nd Peter 2:6) (St. Jude 1:7). We see the Sixth Commandment horribly violated by immodest dress. Modesty and purity have practicality vanished from our society. (1 Tim.2:9-10)

This impending chastisement can be averted if enough people pray the Rosary daily and do penance which Our Lady requested at Fatima in 1917.

Our Lady of the Rosary Library http://www.olrl.org

God Bless BJS!!

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A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we consecrated this Parish, ourselves and our families to Thy Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to Thee, all the people of our country and all the world.

Deign to accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as Thou wish to accomplish Thy designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King.

Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to Thee, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love.

Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Thy own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.

Make our hearts and homes Thy shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with Thy rule, triumph in every heart and home.

Amen

Update: New Beginnings

It has been a year since I started this blog. Thanks to God, sobriety, and the wealth of traditional Catholic resources I have at my disposal, it has been to me, an extremely successful, and life changing endeavour.

As I am confident enough in my ability and knowledge base to step out into the realm of public speaking, and am currently marketing myself to do so; I would like to thank those who have supported and spread my website and it’s content. The reason I started this website in 2016 was to give something, of anything I had to the 4 children I had started to raise in an unstable and addiction ridden home-life. The thought of this site turned into my way of voicing everything on the topic of truth I could find and will continue to do so. Not as the world sees it, but as it’s Author made it.

I just recently purchased and will be spreading my own domain and my website will now just be http://tradcat4christ.com I have also asked for any and all possible support and donations on a separate page that will be used strictly for this Apostalate and the spreading of its content through public speaking, newsletters, books, and pamphlets.

As I have stated in the beginning I am not trying to make this any type of business as much as I am trying my best to travel and connect with other people, and bring them sober truth. In the up and coming year I hope to continue to produce a YouTube talk show about pertinent Catholic issues, a newsletter and to speak publicly on these topics with presentations.

In order for me to do this I am asking for YOUR help! The very first thing I ask for is your prayers in Our Blessed Mother’s assistance and support in spreading the truth of her Son and His Church. The second is that you could spread your favorite articles with my new domain to all of your family and friends so that maybe one day you can hear or read something you contributed to making. After all it is OUR mission to bring souls to God, to help bring lost sheep back to the fold. Truth does not change, just as Christ never changes.

The last thing I want to ask is for ANY financial assistance that you can provide to my website and mission. It’s always humbling to have to beg for money, but I want to do everything in my power as long as I am alive to help spread truth and save souls.

All proceeds go into a PayPal account where it will be used strictly for printing material, video production, and booking public speaking seminars. Once I can reach a certain point all initial supporters will receive a discounted copy of my first book The God Honest Truth, mass offerings, and special recognition.

I am currently doing the best I can to spread the content of this site and continue to produce material in line with raising four children. It is tedious and sometimes very taxing, but it is worth all my efforts and attention that I have to spare.

Thank you all for all the support, follows and comments over the year and I hope by this time next year this is something we can really be proud of. God Bless You All

[link: paypal.me/tradcat4christ]
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God Bless BJS!

A Week of Prayers for the Holy Souls

PRAYER FOR SUNDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Blood which Your Divine Son Jesus shed in the garden, deliver the Souls in Purgatory and especially that soul amongst them all, which is most destitute of spiritual aid; and bring it into Your Glory where it may praise and bless You forever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary.

Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them.

PRAYER FOR MONDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Blood which Your Divine Son Jesus shed in His cruel scouraging deliver the Souls in Purgatory, and especially that soul amongst them all, which is nearest to its entrance into Your glory; that it may soon begin to praise and bless You forever. Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.

PRAYER FOR TUESDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Blood which Your Divine Son Jesus shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the Souls in Purgatory, and in particular that one amongst them all, which would be last to depart out of those pains; that it may not tardy so long a time before it comes to praise You in Your Glory and bless You forever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.
PRAYER FOR WEDNESDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Blood which Your Divine Son Jesus shed in the streets of Jerusalem, when He carried the Cross upon His Sacred shoulders, deliver the Souls in Purgatory, and especially that soul which is richest in merits before You, so that having soon attained the right place in glory to which it is destined, it may magnify You and bless You forever. Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.

PRAYER FOR THURSDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Body and Blood of Your Divine Son Jesus, which He gave with His own hands upon the eve of His Passion to His beloved Apostles to be their food and drink, and which He left to His while Church to be a perpetual Sacrifice and the life-giving food of His own faithful people, deliver the Souls in Purgatory and especially that one which was most devoted to this Mystery of infinite Love; that it may with Your Divine Son, and with the Holy Spirit, ever praise You in Your Glory forever. Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.


PRAYER FOR FRIDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I pray You, by the Precious Blood which Your Divine Son shed on this day upon the wood of the Cross, especially from His most sacred hands and feet, deliver the Souls in Purgatory, and in particular that soul for which I am most bound to pray; that no neglect of mine may hinder it from praising You in Your Glory and blessing You forever. Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.


PRAYER FOR SATURDAY

O LORD God Almighty, I beseech You, by the Precious Blood which gushed forth from the sides of Your Divine Son Jesus in the presence and to the extreme pain of His most Holy Mother, deliver the Souls in Purgatory, and especially that one amongst them all, which was most devout to her; that it may come quickly into Your Glory, there to praise You, in her, and her in You, through all the ages. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal rest.

PRAYER FOR A HAPPY DEATH

O God, who has doomed all men to die, but has concealed from all the hour of their death; grant that I may pass my days in the practice of holiness and justice, in the embrace of Your Love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

INDULGENCED PRAYERS TO AID THE SUFFERING SOULS

  1. My God and my all.
  2. Teach me, O Lord, to do Your will, because You are my God.
  3. O God, come to my aid. O LORD, make haste to help me.
  4. Jesus, for You I live – Jesus, for You I die – Jesus, I am Yours in life and in death. Amen
  5. From a sudden and improvised death, deliver us, O Lord.
  6. Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
  7. Sweetest Jesus be not my judge, but my Saviour.
  8. Divine Heart of Jesus, convert sinners, save the dying, deliver the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
  9. Praised be Jesus, and Mary. Now and forever. Amen.
  10. Jesus, Mary, Joseph.
  11. My Jesus, mercy!
  12. Jesus, my God, I love You above all things.
  13. Sweet Heart of Jesus grant that I may ever love You more and more.
  14. Jesus, keep and humble of Heart make my heart like into Yours.
  15. Sacred Heart of Jesus, Your Kingdom come.
  16. Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.
  17. Sweet Heart of Jesus, be my love.
  18. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.
  19. Immaculate Queen of Peace, pray for us.
  20. Mary, Help of Christians; pray for us.
  21. Queen of the most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
  22. O Mary, conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to You.
  23. O Sacrament most Holy, O Sacrament divine! All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Yours.
  24. Jesus, Mary and Joseph. I give you my heart and soul. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with You.

God Bless BJS!!

Signs that a Catholic is tainted with Liberalism

 

Liberalism is the belief that one creed is as good as another, under the false plea of liberty of conscience. It is based on unrestricted exercise of the individual’s reason upon the subject matter of Revelation. The individual or sect interprets as it pleases, rejecting or accepting what it chooses. The origins of Liberalism stem from Protestantism, which rejected the principle of authority in religion. Liberalism leads to the belief that no creed is just as good as any. Religious beliefs or unbelief become mere matters of opinion. Liberalism severs the bond which binds men to God and seeks to build human society on the foundations of man’s absolute independence. Liberalism is basically rationalism; the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of human reason.

 

In short, Liberalism is the dogmatic affirmation of the absolute independence of the individual and of the social reason. Catholicity is the dogma of the absolute subjection of the individual and of the social order to the revealed law of God. One doctrine is the exact antithesis of the other, so Liberalism and Catholicism are impossible to reconcile in any way.

 

Causes of Liberalism:

  • Corrupt morals due to theater, literature, public education etc
  • Journalism through the secular press, secret societies, literature, arts, science, politics etc
  • General ignorance in matters of religion
  • Secular education that removes God

 

Effects of Liberalism:

  • Removal of religion from society
  • Supremacy of the state
  • Marriage sanctioned and legitimized by the state alone
  • Divorce laws
  • Socialism/Communism
  • Unrestricted immorality

 

Why Liberalism is a mortal sin (if not out of ignorance):

  • Violates all of the 10 Commandments
  • Within it are comprehended all heresies
  • Repudiates dogma altogether and substitutes opinion
  • Refuses to acknowledge the authority of the Pope and jurisdiction of Jesus Christ over society

 

Condemnations:

  • Liberalism of every degree and all forms has been formally condemned by the Church
  • Upon its appearance during the French Revolution, it was condemned by Pius VI (1775-1799)
  • Later, Liberalism infected all the countries of Europe. Gregory XVI (1831-46) explicitly condemned Liberalism
  • Pope Pius IX (1846-78) later condemned Liberalism multiple times, most notably in the Syllabus of Errors (1864)
  • Liberalism was also condemned by Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, and Pope Pius XI

 

3 Types of Liberals:

  1. Extreme Liberals – easily recognized, they do not attempt to deny or conceal their perversity. They are declared enemies of the Pope, priests, and everything ecclesiastical. They are revolutionists, socialists, and anarchists. They glory in living a life devoid of all religion
  2. Moderate Liberals – just as bad as Extreme Liberals, but take good care not to appear so (making them the most dangerous of the three). Social conventionalities and good manners are everything to them. They do not detest the Pope and may even admire him. They may even admire priests, especially those who have caught the twang of modern progress. They may even go to Church and approach the Sacraments, but their maxim is to live as a Christian in the Church, and to live as the world lives outside the Church. They die with a priest on one side, and infidel literature on the other, and imagine that their Creator will applaud this breadth of mind
  3. Quasi Liberals (Catholics tainted with Liberalism)– generally good people and sincerely pious; but liberal in everything they say or write. They reason, speak and act as Liberals without knowing it. Their strong point is charity. To smother evil under an abundance of good is their favorite principle. From the Gospel they are careful to cite only positive texts. They save the treasures of their tolerance and charity for the sworn enemies of the Faith, and for the most heroic defenders of the Faith, they have only sarcasm and abusive language. They use hit and run tactics rather than debate

 

In summary, the extreme Liberal roars his Liberalism, the moderate Liberal mouths it, and the tainted Catholicwhispers and sighs it.

 

Signs that a Catholic is tainted with Liberalism (false Catholicity)

  • He subjects commands and teachings of the Pope to the scrutiny of his own intellect
  • He considers the Church “out of date”, with the hope that it will catch up with the modern spirit of progress
  • He accepts Revelation based on the “superiority” of his own reason, not on the superiority of God
  • He accepts the magisterium, but not as the sole authorized founder of divine truth, but also of his private judgment
  • He makes excuses or apologizes for the past decisions of the Catholic Church
  • He refuses any involved discussion on the subject of Catholicism, or if he appears interested, he will bow out of the discussion before its conclusion (given that Liberalism is derived of nothing but contradictions)
  • He believes the Church’s infallibility may be determined by human science
  • He believes no one can impose upon him any belief which his individual judgment does not measure as perfectly rational
  • If he doesn’t believe a teaching of the Church, he will say it is “not infallible”. If the teaching appears infallible, he will say it must be taken in a very modified sense
  • Following the principle of toleration, he classifies doctrines of enemies of the Church as being due to differences of temperament, education, etc., and concludes that they should be condoned
  • He forgets the Divine and supernatural character of the Church and instead looks at it as a simple human institution
  • So as not to appear “intolerant”, and to appease both sides, he finds it admirable for the private individual to be subject to the law of God, and at the same time believes the state must stand neutral and impartial; a blatant contradiction
  • His piety is limited to Pietism, often seen in people who seek in their devotions only the sentimental emotions of which they themselves are able to be the source
  • In his desire to appear impartial, he tolerates and even praises books and movies that contain liberal content, or that contain praise of non-Catholic religions or other non-Catholic subjects just because Catholic content may also be included within (books of such a kind would normally go on the Index of Forbidden Books)
  • He keeps company with other people known to be tainted with Liberalism
  • He declares that other Catholics do not have the authority to make a moral judgment of heresy or error against other persons or writings. Note: There is a difference between making a personal moral judgment and the Church making an official declaration. It has always been normal procedure in the Catholic Church for moral judgments of the faithful to first ring the warning bell against errors, which later leads to the Church pronouncing the final, decisive and solemn sentence on the matter
  • Instead of being appreciative of correction, he calls other Catholics “uncharitable” or “of bad will” if they try to point out any of the above liberal traits in another person

This was taken from http://www.faithfulcatholics.com I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Prayer/Meditation (and subsequent chapters)

The following excerpts are from a book entitled The Spiritual Combat. By Lorenzo Scupoli. A book that subsequently, St. Francis de Sales carried with him for 18 years!


PRAYER
WE HAVE SHOWN that distrustfulness of self, confidence in God, and proper application of the faculties of the soul are the indispensable weapons of conquest in the spiritual combat. Yet a far more important weapon is prayer, since by it are obtained, not only the above-specified virtues, but everything requisite for our salvation. Prayer is the channel of all Divine grace; by it God is compelled, as it were, to grant us the strength of Heaven, and destroy by our weak hands the fiercest of our foes. But in order to receive full benefit from our prayer, the following method should be observed:
1. We must desire sincerely to serve God with ardent fervor in the manner most agreeable to Him; and this desire will be enkindled within our breasts if we consider three things attentively. The first is that Almighty God deserves our homage and service by reason of the excellence of His sovereign being, His goodness, beauty, wisdom, power, and His ineffable, infinite perfection. The second is that God in Heaven became man on earth to consecrate a life of thirty-three years to the cause of our salvation. He condescended to dress our wounds with His own hands, and heal them, not with oil and wine, but with His own precious blood and immaculate body, torn and disfigured by cruel whips, thorns, and nails. The third point is our realization of the obligation to observe His law, and discharge every duty, since this is the only way we can expect to triumph over the devil, to become masters of ourselves, and children of God.

2. We must have a vibrant, living faith and a firm confidence that God will not refuse the assistance necessary to serve Him faithfully and work out our salvation. A soul rekindled with this holy confidence is like a sacred vessel, into which Divine Mercy pours the treasures of His grace; and the larger the vessel, the greater the abundance of Heavenly blessings it receives through prayer. For how can God, Whose power is limitless, and Whose goodness is alien to all deception, ever refuse His gifts to those whose petitions He has encouraged, and whose perseverance and faith He has promised to reward with the blessings of the Holy Spirit?

3. But our motive for prayer must be the will of God rather than the will of self. We must apply ourselves to this divinely appointed duty because He has commanded it, and we must wish no more than that which is in utter conformity to God’s plan. Thus, our intention will not be to make the Divine will subservient to our own, but rather, to transform the human will so that it is in complete harmony with the Divine. The reason for this humble accedence to the Divine will is the perversity of our own, tainted as it is with a blind self-love. Guided by ourselves alone, we would err and stumble, but the will of God, essentially just and holy, cannot be mistaken. Thus the will of God should be the will of men, since not to follow the former is to go astray. Let us, then, be most solicitous that all our petitions be agreeable to God, and if doubts arise concerning the concurrence of the human with the Divine, let a humble submission to Divine Providence accompany our requests. If, however, the things we ask are, by their very nature, pleasing to Him, such as grace, virtue, etc., then let us beg them with a view to pleasing and serving His Divine Majesty, rather than for any other consideration, however creditable.

4. If we wish our prayers to be efficacious, our actions must suit the petitions, and we must exert much energy in making ourselves worthy of the favors we ask. For prayer and interior mortification are inseparable, and he that seeks a particular virtue, without making a serious effort to practice it, only tempts God.

5. Before we ask anything of God, we ought to thank Him most humbly for the innumerable benefits He has graciously bestowed upon us. Let us say to Him: “O Lord, Who after creating me, didst mercifully pay the price of my redemption, delivering me from the fury of myriad enemies, come now to my assistance; and forgetting my past ingratitude, bestow upon me this favor I now ask.” If, however, at the very time we seek to attain a particular virtue, we find ourselves tempted to the contrary vice, let us thank God for granting us the opportunity of practicing the virtue in question, and look upon the occasion as a favor.

6. As the entire force and efficacy of prayer is attributed solely to the goodness of God, at the conclusion of our petitions we should constantly remember the merits of our Savior’s life and passion, and His promise to graciously hear our requests, with one or the other of these sentences:

A) “I beseech Thee, O Lord, through Thy infinite mercy, to grant my petition.”

B) “Through the merits of Thy Son, bestow this favor on me.”

C) “Be mindful, O God, of Thy promises, and hear my prayers.” Again, we may have recourse to the intercession of the blessed Mother and the other Saints; for they prevail much with God, Who is pleased to honor them, in proportion to the honor they accorded Him on earth.

7. We must persist in prayer, since God certainly cannot overlook our humble perseverance. For if the pleadings of the widow in the Gospel prevailed with the wicked judge, how can our pleadings be ignored by God, Who is infinitely good? Thus, although our favors may not be immediately granted, and may even appear to be ignored by God, we must not lose our confidence in His infinite goodness, nor desist from prayer. For God possesses both immense power and will to grant us those things conducive to our ultimate welfare. Therefore, if we are not wanting in ourselves, we shall inevitably obtain what we ask for, something better, or perhaps both. As for the rest, the more we churlishly think ourselves slighted by God, the more we should hold ourselves in contempt. But in considering our misery, we should contemplate the Divine mercy, and far from lessening our confidence in Him, we must increase it; for the steadier we remain in situations attended by fear and diffidence, the greater will be our merit. Finally, let us never cease to thank God, blessing equally His wisdom, His goodness, His charity, whether He grants or refuses our petition. Whatever happens, let us be undisturbed, contented and resigned to divine Providence in all things. 

MENTAL PRAYER

MENTAL PRAYER is the elevation of our minds to God, asking of Him either expressly or tacitly those things of which we stand in need. We ask for them expressly when we say in our hearts: “O my God, grant me this request for the honor of Thy holy name”; or “Lord, I am firmly convinced that this petition is Thy will, and for Thy greater honor, I ask this petition. Accomplish, therefore, Thy Divine will in me.” When harassed by the attacks of the enemy, let us say: “Come swiftly, O Lord, to my assistance lest I fall a prey to my enemy”; or “O God, my refuge and my strength, help me speedily, lest I perish.” When temptation continues, we must continue the same prayer, courageously resisting the foe; and when the fury of the combat has passed, let us address ourselves to the Almighty, imploring Him to consider our weakness in the face of the enemy’s strength: “Behold, my God, Thy creature, the work of Thy hands, a man redeemed by Thy precious blood. And behold Satan trying to carry him from Thee to utterly destroy him. It is to Thee I fly for aid, and it is in Thee that I place my entire confidence, for I know that Thou alone art infinitely good and powerful. Have pity on a miserable creature who stumbles blindly, though willfully, into the path of his enemies, as do all who forsake the assistance of Thy grace. Help me therefore, my only hope, O sole strength of my soul!” We tacitly ask favors of God when we present to Him our necessities, without making any particular request. Placing ourselves in His Divine presence, we acknowledge our incapacity to avoid evil or do good without His aid. We are nevertheless inflamed with a desire of serving Him. Thus we must fix our eyes upon Him, waiting for His assistance with unbounded confidence and utter humility. 

The confession of our weakness and the desire to serve Him, this act of faith so performed, is a silent prayer which will infallibly obtain our request from Heaven. The more sincere the confession, the more ardent the desire, and the more lively the faith, the greater will be the efficacy of the prayer before the throne of God. There is another method of prayer similar to this, but more concise, consisting as it does in but a single act of the soul. The soul presents her requests to the Almighty, adverting to a favor already asked and still sought, although not formally expressed. Let us endeavor to cultivate this kind of prayer, and employ it on all occasions; for experience will convince us that nothing is more easy, yet nothing more excellent and efficacious.

MEDITATION

WHEN A CONSIDERABLE length of time is to be spent in prayer, it is advisable to make a meditation on some feature of our Savior’s life or passion; the reflections naturally arising from such meditation should then be applied to the particular virtue we are striving to attain. If, for instance, you need patience, contemplate the mystery of your Savior scourged at the pillar.

Consider first the blows and revilements hurled at Him by the soldiers as they brutally drag their innocent victim to the appointed place as ordered.

Secondly, consider Him stripped of His garments, exposed to the piercing cold. 

Thirdly, picture those innocent hands, bound tightly to the pillar.

Fourthly, consider His body, torn with whips until His blood moistened the earth. And finally, envision the frequency of the blows, creating new wounds, reopening others on that sacred body. Dwelling on these or similar details, calculated to inspire in you a love of patience, you should try to feel within your very soul the inexpressible anguish so patiently borne by your Divine Master.

Then consider the excruciating agony of His spirit, and the patience and mildness with which that agony was endured by Him Who was ready to suffer even more for God’s glory and your welfare. Behold, then, your Master, covered with blood, desiring nothing more earnestly than your patient acceptance of affliction; and be assured that He implores for you the assistance of the Heavenly Father that you may bear with resignation, not only the cross of the moment, but the crosses to come. Strengthen, therefore, by frequent acts your resolution to suffer, with joy; and, raising your mind to Heaven, give thanks to the Father of mercies, Who didst send His only Son into this world to suffer indescribable torments, and to intercede for you in your necessities. Conclude your meditation by beseeching Him to grant you the virtue of patience, through the merits and intercession of this beloved Son in Whom He is well pleased.

ANOTHER METHOD OF MEDITATION

THERE IS ANOTHER method of prayer and meditation besides the one to which we have adverted. In this latter method, having considered the poignant sufferings of your Savior and His patient endurance of them, you proceed to two other considerations of equal importance. The one is the consideration of Christ’s infinite merits, and the other, of that satisfaction and glory which the eternal Father received from His obedience—an obedience unto death, even the death of the Cross. You must represent these two considerations to the Divine Majesty, as two powerful means of obtaining the grace you seek. This method is applicable, not only to all the mysteries of Our Lord’s passion, but to every exterior or interior act He performed in the course of His passion.
A METHOD OF PRAYER BASED ON THE INTERCESSION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN

BESIDES THE METHODS of meditation already mentioned, there is another which is addressed particularly to the Blessed Virgin. We first consider the eternal Father, then Jesus Christ Our Lord, and finally, the Blessed Mother. With regard to the eternal Father, there are two considerations. The first is the singular affection He cherished from all eternity for this most chaste Virgin whom He chose to be the mother of His Divine Son. The second is the eminent sanctity He was pleased to bestow upon her and the many virtues she practiced in her lifetime. 

Meditating on the affection of the eternal Father for our Lady, you must begin by raising your mind above all created beings; look forward to the vast expanses of eternity, enter into the heart of God, and see with what delight He viewed the person destined one day to become the mother of His Son; beseech Him by that delight to give you sufficient strength against your enemies, especially those who most grievously afflict you. Contemplate, then, the virtues and heroic actions of this incomparable Virgin; make an offering of each or all of them to God, as they are of such efficacy as to obtain for you divine assistance in your particular necessities. 

After this address yourself to Jesus, begging Him to be mindful of that loving mother who for nine months carried Him in her womb, and from the moment of His birth paid Him the most profound adoration. For this was her acknowledgment that this Child was at once God and man, her Creator and her Son. With compassion she saw Him poorly accommodated in a humble stable, nourished Him with her pure milk, kissed and embraced Him a thousand times with maternal fondness, and through His life and at His death, suffered for Him beyond expression. Present this picture to the Savior, that He may be compelled, as it were, by such powerful motives, to hear your prayers. Appeal to the Blessed Virgin herself, reminding her of her commission from all eternity, to be the Mother of Mercy and the refuge of sinners, and that after her divine Son, you place your greatest confidence in her intercession. Present to her the fact, asserted by the learned and confirmed by miracles, that no one ever called upon her with a lively faith, and was left unaided. Finally, remind her of the sufferings of her Son for your salvation, that she may obtain of Him the grace necessary to make proper use of His sufferings for the greater glory of that loving Savior.

God Bless BJS!!

​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!!

​Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost

 

In the picture the Holy Ghost is represented by a dove. It was in that form that the Holy Ghost showed Himself visibly when St. John baptized Jesus. The dove symbolizes gentleness and peace. The Holy Ghost dispenses the graces of God. However, the Holy Ghost produces nothing beyond what Jesus Christ merited. The merits of Our Lord are infinite, for He is God. The Holy Ghost merely perfects, the works of Christ. In a somewhat similar way, the sun shining on a field does not sow new seed; it merely develops what has been sown, making it bloom and bear fruit.

 

    Which are the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost? –The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

    The gifts are infused in our souls with sanctitying grace. With God the Holy Ghost come sanctifying grace, and inseparably, His gifts.

     

  1. Wisdom is that gift by which we recognize the emptiness of earthly things. By it we come to regard God and spiritual things as of the highest good. Without the gift of wisdom we are indifferent to spiritual matters, avoiding all mortification.

    The best example of the effects of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the Apostles, who after receiving the Holy Ghost became penetrated with His graces.

     

  2. Understanding is that gift by which we are enabled to recognize the true Catholic teaching, and to detect false doctrines. Before the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, they did not understand the divine mysteries Christ revealed to them, often interpreting His words materially.

    Saint Clement Hofbauer began his studies late in life, and had just enough instruction in theology to be ordained. But he was often consulted by high officials of the Church on matters of doctrine, because he had the gift of understanding to an extraordinary degree.

     

  3. The gift of counsel helps us to discover the will of God under difficult circumstances.

    Before they received the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were inconstant in their thoughts, desires, and actions, at one time full of high zeal, at other times despairing and weak. But Christ promised them the gift of counsel, saying: “Do not be anxious how or wherewith you shall defend yourselves; or what you shall say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you” (Luke 12:11-12).

     

  4. Fortitude is the gift by which we are strengthened under trials, to do God’s will.

    Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were of good will, but they were weak and fearful. For instance, when Jesus was taken prisoner, they all fled. St. John Nepomucene chose to be tortured, and finally cast into the river, rather than break the seal of the confessional.

     

  5. The gift of knowledge enables us to grasp the teaching of the Church, to know God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.

    Before the advent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were ignorant men who did not care for intellectual pursuits; neither were they expert in holiness or the things of God. The saintly Cure d’Ars had made but little study, yet his sermons were so remarkable that even Bishops were eager to listen.

     

  6. Piety is that gift by which we love God as our Father, ever striving to do His will.

    Before the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles loved Jesus, but more for their own sakes rather than His, more for the reward He promised than for love of Him. But after Pentecost, what a change! They were ready to suffer death just because they loved Jesus and wished to declare Him everywhere.

     

  7. The fear of the Lord makes us dread sin as the greatest of all evils, and enables us to quell fear of man and human respect.

    Eleazer, the old Jewish scribe, chose death rather than offend God by eating, or even pretending to eat, forbidden meats (2 Mach. 6).

     

  8. Besides these seven gifts, the Holy Ghost also grants certain extraordinary gifts, which are given only on rare occasions and to selected persons. Such extraordinary graces are granted principally not for the benefit of the recipient, but of others. They were common during the early days of the Church, and helped in its rapid spread. Among them are the gift of tongues, of miracles, of visions, and of prophecy. The Apostles received the gift of tongues on Pentecost, so that although they spoke to a crowd of different nationalities and languages, everybody understood what was said.

    The Apostles also possessed the gift of miracles, curing the sick, driving out evil spirits, raising the dead to life. Many saints have been blessed with the gift of miracles. The prophets before the coming of Christ foretold future events. A number of the saints have been granted the gift of visions and ecstasies, though this is rare; good examples are St. Francis of Assisi, who received the stigmata of Our Lord’s wounds, and St. Catherine of Siena.

    How do the gifts of the Holy Ghost help us?The gifts of the Holy Ghost help us by making us more alert to discern and more ready to do the will of God.

     

  1. If we look with discerning eyes, we can see how the gifts of the Holy Ghost have greatly helped the world at large.

    As the psalmist sang: “Thou shalt send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 103:30). “And hope does not disappoint, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5).

     

  2. The operations of the Holy Ghost were easily discernible among the early Christians.

    “And they continued, steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in the prayers. And … many wonders also and signs were done by means of the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).

     

  3. The difference between the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost consists in this: the virtues enable us to do what our reason directs; the gifts make us follow the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.

    Which are some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost? –Some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the fruits of the Holy Ghost and the beatitudes.

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

       

    1. These twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are good habits performed under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They make us happy and contented, and help us to be pleasing to both God and man.

      With the fruits of the Holy Ghost it becomes easier for us to persevere in the union with God by the practice of virtue; our heart inclines with charity towards God and our neighbor, and finds it almost natural to be detached from the world.

       

    2. With the gift of sanctifying grace and its accompanying theological virtues, gifts of the Holy Ghost, and their effects, the Christian soul may be said to possess sanctity, to be in the state of Christian perfection.

      Sanctity is the fervent surrender of one’s self to God and the practice of virtue. It does not require extraordinary works. The Blessed Mother of God the most holy of mortals, never performed any extraordinary works to excite worldly admiration. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

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

    ​The Theological Virtues

     

    Faith is the foundation of all virtue, for by it God makes Himself known to men. As St. Paul says, “Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen. . . . And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11 :1,6). It is this supernatural faith that the Chanaanite woman proved, when she persevered in begging Jesus to cure her daughter. Having tested her, He said, “O woman, great is thy faith. Let it be done to thee as thou wilt” (Matt. 15:28).

     

      What are the chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace? –The chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace are the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

       

    1. Good qualities or inclinations, whether natural or supernatural, are generally referred to as “virtues”. Virtue is a habit that inclines us to whatever is good.

      A single good act does not constitute virtue. For instance, one does not have the virtue of faith if one believes in Christ only once a week.

       

    2. Supernatural virtues enter the soul with sanctifying grace, imparted by the Holy Ghost in the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance. With sanctifying grace the soul acquires the supernatural light of faith and hope, and burns with the fire of charity.

      These virtues render us capable of being good and doing good for the love and service of God, to act for instead of against Him.

      We are not to suppose however that sanctifying grace makes us perfect in the practice of virtue. It gives us the power and the inclination to be good and do good, but to have perfection we must frequently exercise our virtues. We are given the power, but if we do not use it, it remains dormant; similarly, we are given legs to use for walking, but if we refuse to walk, the power is dormant. Virtue is a habit acquired by repeated good acts.

       

    3. Natural virtue enables us to perform good natural acts; it deals directly with things human. Supernatural virtue enables us to perform good acts from a supernatural motive, for the glory of God.

      If we are temperate in food and drink because we wish to preserve our health, we have a natural virtue; we act according to reason.

       

    4. Natural virtues compared to supernatural ones are like a photograph compared to the living original. It is only supernatural virtues that will profit us unto life everlasting, since it is only those whose object and life is God.

      What are the three theological virtues? –The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity.

       

    1. These virtues are called theological, from the Greek term theos (meaning God) , because their object is God.

      An appropriate symbol for the theological virtues is a living tree. Faith is the root, hope the trunk, and charity the fruit. The root and trunk are valueless if they do not find completion in the fruit. The common symbols depicting these three virtues are: the cross for faith, the anchor for hope, and the burning heart for charity.

       

    2. He who possesses these three virtues has all other virtues in some degree. Without them, he cannot possess any other supernatural virtue nor reach heaven.

      We should make acts of these virtues every day. We can say very briefly: “O my God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee. To Thee be honor, praise, and glory forever.”

      What is faith? –Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, Who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

      “Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen” (Heb. 11:1). “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

       

    1. Faith is belief in a truth on the word of another, though that truth be not fully understood.

      In a trial, the judge believes the testimony of a witness known to be an honest man. When a fact is so obvious as “it is dark at midnight,” no belief is needed; that is known and fully understood.

       

    2. Divine faith is belief in a truth or mystery known only because God revealed it. It is grace that helps us to attain faith and to persevere in it, to take God’s word for whatever He has revealed.

      Faith is supernatural because we cannot by ourselves acquire it. It is a gift of God. It is, however, increased by prayer and continual exercise; the apostles prayed to the Lord, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5)

       

    3. Without faith, it is impossible to be saved.

      We must not cease praying for increase of faith, for it is necessary for salvation. “He that believeth not shall be condemned” (Matt. 16:16). “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).

       

    4. Our faith must be firm and complete; that is, both certain and all-encompassing.

      If we are doubtful on any matters of faith, considering opposite viewpoints as possibly true, then we deny God’s authority. If we accept some truths, and deny others, then that is denying God altogether.

      What is hope? –Hope is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, Who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it.

       

    1. God promised to give man eternal life, and the means to obtain it. In this promise is our hope.

      “He that putteth his trust in me shall inherit the land, and shall possess my holy mount” (Is. 57:13).

       

    2. Hope is necessary for salvation. Our hope must be firmly founded in God, Who Promised to give us the means for salvation.

      Such firm hope, however, would not exclude reasonable fear of the loss of our soul. Very often we fall far short of the proper use of the means of salvation granted us.

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

       

    1. Charity is the queen of virtues. It unites God and man perfectly in love. It also unites man and man, for the love of God.

      To love God above all things, we must be willing to renounce all created things rather than offend Him by sin. We should often speak to God in acts of love, opening our hearts to Him.

       

    2. In heaven faith and hope will cease; for we cannot need faith for what we already know; nor can we desire what we already possess. But for all eternity we shall have charity: we can love God forever.

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

    ​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!!