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The Offering Prayers After the Consecration Lesson 5

The First Prayer

Mindful, therefore, O Lord, not only of the blessed passion of the same Christ, Thy Son, Our Lord, but also of His resurrection from the dead, and finally His glorious ascension into heaven, we, Thy ministers, as also Thy holy people, offer unto Thy Supreme Majesty, of Thy gifts bestowed upon us, the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim; the holy Bread of life eternal and the Chalice of unending salvation.

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In this prayer the priest and people offer Christ Our Lord to God the Father. They do so, thinking about the passion of Our Lord, His resurrection from the dead, and His glorious ascension into heaven.

The priest or priests speak to God of themselves as “Thy ministers.” They speak of the people as “Thy holy people.” The prayer addresses God the Father as “Thy Supreme Majesty.” Our Blessed Lord is spoken of as “the pure Victim, the holy Victim, the all-perfect Victim.”

The prayer also speaks of Our Lord as “the holy Bread of life eternal and the Chalice of unending salvation.” These last words remind us that it is through the graces that come to us in Holy Mass and Holy Communion we will get to heaven. These are the graces we need to live a good life now that we may be happy with God forever in heaven.

The Second Prayer

And this do Thou deign to regard with gracious and kindly attention and hold acceptable, as Thou didst deign to accept the offerings of Abel, Thy just servant, and the sacrifice of Abraham our patriarch, and that which Thy chief priest Melchisedech, offered unto Thee, a holy sacrifice of thanks, and a spotless Victim.

The second offering prayer asks God to look upon our offering with pleasure and, please, to recieve it.

The prayer asks that God will accept our offering as He received with pleasure the sacrifices offered by Abel, Abraham, and Melchisedech.

Jesus, our gift to God the Father, is pure, holy, and all-perfect. These are the words of the first prayer after the Consecration. But we who offer the gift are not holy, or perfect, or free from sin. We know how unworthy we are to make this gift to God. For this reason we pray that God will look upon our offering with kindness, and please recieve it.

The Third Prayer

Most humbly we implore Thee, Almighty God, bid these our mystic offerings to be brought by the hands of Thy holy angel unto Thy altar above, before the face of Thy divine majesty; that those of us who, by sharing in the Sacrifice of Thy Son, may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

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This prayer asks two things of Almighty God. First, we pray that God will permit His holy angel to give our offering to Him in heaven. The prayer does not mention the name of any particular angel. Then the prayer speaks of those who are about to recieve Holy Communion. It asks that those who shall receive the body and blood of Our Lord, the Son of God, may be filled with every blessing and grace.

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

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The Collect Lesson 7

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O almighty and eternal God who has granted us the favor of honoring the merits of all the Saints on this one feast day, we beseech Thee, through the intercession of so many saints, to enrich us with the fulness of Thy much-desired mercy. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the union of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. (Collect for the Feast of All Saints.)

Before The Collects

After the Gloria, or if there is no Gloria in the Mass, after the Kyrie, the priest say to the people, “The Lord be with you.” In Latin this greeting is “Dominos vobiscum.” The priest turns his back to the altar for a second to make this prayer. The people answer through the server by saying, “And with your spirit .” In Latin this reply is “Et cum spiritu tuo.”

When the priest says “Dominus vobiscum,” meaning “The Lord be with you,” he is saying to all the people in the church, “May God’s grace be with you.” As we all know, God’s grace comes to us in a special way through the Mass. The server’s reply, “Et cum spiritu tuo,” means “And with you, too.” The priest has prayed for God’s grace for the people, and they pray for God’s grace for him.

The Collects

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The priest then goes again to the right of the altar to read from the Missal. At this time, he reads the prayer or prayers called Collects. The Collect changes each day. It belongs to the Proper of the Mass. It is called Collect because it collects together the prayers of the people. Before beginning the Collect, the priest says “Oremus.” This means “Let us pray.” He says in a clear voice because he wants all to pay attention. He wants to remind people to unite themselves with him in a special way while he offers to God the prayers of all those present.

The Collect are short prayers, but they are full of meaning. Sometimes there is only one Collect in the Mass, and very often there are two or three. The Collect is the prayer of the people. It never uses the words I or me, but always we and us.

The Collect for the Feast of All Saints is printed at the beginning of this lesson. What are the priest and people asking God for in this prayer? They are praying that God, Who is all-powerful and Who always will be, will hear the prayer of all the saints for them. And what is the favor they know the saints are asking for them? It is mercy. Let us never forget that when we pray for mercy we are praying that God will be kind to us, even though we do not deserve it. We are asking God to give us His grace.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to Remember… (p2)

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

    God Bless BJS!!

    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!!

    Uniformity of God’s Will and the Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ

    St. Alphonsus de Ligouri

    O Jesus, my love, I am determined to love Thee as much as I can, and I wish to become a Saint; and I wish to become a Saint for this reason, in order to give Thee pleasure, and to love Thee exceedingly in this life and the next!

    I can do nothing of myself, but Thou canst do all things; and I know that Thou wishest me to become a Saint. I see already that by Thy grace my soul sighs only for Thee, and seeks nothing else but Thee. I wish to live no more for myself; Thou desirest me to be wholly Thine, and I desire to be wholly Thine.

    Come, and unite me to Thyself, and Thyself to me. Thou art infinite goodness; Thou art He Who hast loved me so much; Thou art, indeed, too loving and too lovely; how, then, can I love anything but Thee? I prefer Thy love before all the things of this world; Thou art the sole object, the sole end of all my affections.

    I leave all to be occupied solely in loving Thee, my Redeemer, my Comforter, my hope, my love, and my all. I will not despair of becoming a Saint on account of the sins of my past life; for I know, my Jesus, that Thou didst die in order to pardon the truly penitent. I love Thee now with my whole heart, with my whole soul; I love Thee more than myself, and I bewail, above every other evil, ever having had the misfortune to despise Thee, my sovereign good.

    Now I am no longer my own. I am Thine; O God of my heart, dispose of me as Thou pleasest. In order to please Thee, I accept of all the tribulations Thou mayest choose to send me—–sickness, sorrow, troubles, ignominies, poverty, persecution, desolation—–I accept all to please Thee: in like manner I accept of the death Thou hast decreed for me, with all the anguish and crosses which may accompany it: it is enough if Thou grantest me the grace to love Thee exceedingly.

    Lend me Thy assistance; give me strength henceforth to compensate, by my love, for all the bitterness that I have caused Thee in past time, O only love of my soul!
    O Queen of Heaven, O Mother of God, O great advocate of sinners, I trust in thee!

    ​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!!

    ​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!!

    An Image of God

     

    The Book of Genesis describes the creation of the first man and the first woman in these words: “And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth, and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs. … And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman” (Gen. 2:7, 21, 22). Such was the creation of Adam and Eve, our first parents. God gave them power over all created things: the earth, the beasts, birds, fishes, plants, and all things else

    .

     

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

    Before the creation of man, God said, “Let us make man to our image and likeness; and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26).

     

    1. God formed the body of man from the slime of the earth; but He breathed the soul into man’s body. In this way the soul came direct from God, and indicates closer likeness to Him.

      We should always reverence our likeness to God, trying to perfect it by making our soul as holy as possible. Once the enemies of a king tried to make his son do something wrong. But the youth proudly and resolutely answered, “No! I am the son of the king!” By Baptism man becomes the adopted son of God, Who is infinitely higher than any earthly king. His soul is like his Father in Heaven.

       

    2. The soul of man is different from the soul of brute animals. Animals have senses and instinct, but neither reason nor free will. Free will is that power of the soul to choose whether to act or not to act.

      If a horse has not eaten for a day, and you put some hay before him, he will eat, because his instinct moves him to do so. But a hungry man may fast for days, and still refuse to eat however hungry he may be, if he wills not to eat. The difference between man’s free will and animal instinct is that a man can say “No” to himself.

       

    3. The soul and the body are not loosely connected parts of man; they are united in a substantial union. The soul is not located in any particular member of the body, but is whole and entire in each part

       

    Is this likeness to God in the body or in the soul? — This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul. Man continues in this likeness to God only when he remains in God’s grace, for then he is a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).

     

    1. Like God, man’s soul is an immortal spirit, with understanding and free will. Some deny the existence of the soul, because it cannot be seen; yet the same people would not deny the existence of human reason, even if this cannot be seen, either.

      Some claim that man has two souls, one good and one evil, striving for mastery. But the struggle that we often experience comes from only one soul with different tendencies arising from the fact of our being made of both body and soul, partly material and partly spiritual. In a living person, the soul should not be considered apart from the body; their union is as close as the relation between a musician and his instrument at the hour of a concert.

       

    2. Through his two faculties of the soul, understanding and free will, man obtains dominion over the material world, as God possesses power over the entire universe.

      As God said before creating man: “Let him have dominion over the beasts and the whole earth” (Gen. 1:26). Through his likeness to God, man has the power to know the true, the good, the beautiful, so far even as to know the Source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, God Himself.

       

    How can we prove that the soul of man is immortal? — We can prove that the soul of man is immortal, because man’s acts of intelligence are spiritual; therefore, his soul must be a spiritual being, not dependent on matter, and hence not subject to decay or death.

    If even matter cannot totally disappear, however small the particle, how can the soul of man, of a far higher order, be thought to suffer extinction?

     

    1. Man has mind and will. He can reflect, reason, plan for the future, make judgments, remember. These prove his soul spiritual. Such a soul cannot die as the body does.

      Man longs for an ideal state of perfect happiness, such happiness as is impossible to attain on earth. This universal longing must have been placed in men’s souls by God Himself; it is a desire for the infinite happiness of a union with the Creator. If, therefore, man’s soul were not immortal, he would have no chance to realize his dream of bliss, and God would be cruel in implanting the longing for it in his breast.

       

    2. There have been many instances of the dead appearing to the living. In the Gospel, Moses and Elias appeared on Mount Thabor to Christ and three of His Apostles. At Christ’s death, many who were dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.

      The Blessed Virgin has through the centuries continued to appear to men; such instances are almost innumerable. Saints have also returned to earth to comfort or instruct the living; even souls in purgatory have returned, to beg for prayers. We must, however, be very careful about believing in particular instances of appearances by the dead; the devil can and often does use this instrumentality to trick the gullible.

       

    3. Belief in the immortality of the soul and a life after death is universal among mankind, including the most primitive peoples.

      In the Bible are many instances of the belief of the Jews in another life, where the souls of the dead would be. For instance, one of their laws forbade holding with the dead. The Greeks and Romans believed in Tartarus and Elysium, places for the dead. Other nations have different cults to the dead, especially during their burial ceremonies. Such cults would be meaningless did those who took part in them not have an idea of another life for departed souls.

       

    4. If the soul were not immortal, the wicked who commit evil all their lives would go unpunished. The just who suffer continually on earth would not receive any reward. This would be injustice impossible to the perfect justice of God.

      If even man, imperfect as he is, can see innumerable examples of injustice in life, could not God? Would He not have a way of correcting such injustice? And if so, since it cannot be corrected in this life, there must be another, where immortal souls go to obtain perfect justice.

       

    5. Holy Scripture, the Word of God, teaches that the soul is immortal.

      “And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake: some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always” (Dan. 12:2). Our Lord Himself said to the good thief, “This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). “And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (Matt. l0:28). “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. 22:32).

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

    God Bless BJS!!