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Monthly Archives: July 2013

ST ALPHONSUS’ BEDTIME PRAYER

ST ALPHONSUS’ BEDTIME PRAYER:

Jesus Christ, my God, I adore thee and I thank thee for the many favours thou hast bestowed on me this day. I offer thee my sleep and all the moments of this night, and I pray thee to preserve me from sin.
Therefore, I place myself in thy most sacred side, and under the mantle of our Blessed Lady, my Mother. May the holy Angels assist me and keep me in peace, and may thy blessing be upon me. Amen.

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THE BASICS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH, PART IV: THE SACRAMENTS, THE SEVEN GREAT MEANS OF GRACE

“TO HAVE A CHANCE TO BE SAVED, WE NEED FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY, ‘THESE THREE; BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS CHARITY’ (1 COR 13:14). – FAITH IS A SUPERNATURAL GIFT FROM GOD, WHICH ENABLES US TO BELIEVE WITHOUT DOUBTING WHATEVER GOD HAS REVEALED.” ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷ ÷

THE SACRAMENTS ARE INSTITUTED BY JESUS CHRIST

“The Sacraments, the Seven Great Means of Grace, corresponding to the birth, the growth, the nourishment, the medicine, the journey of the soul, the Christian Priesthood, the Christian family.

THE SACRAMENTS

• INTRODUCTION

249. What is a Sacrament? A Sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, ordained by Jesus Christ, by which grace is given to our souls.

250. Do the Sacraments always give grace? The Sacraments always give grace to those who receive them worthily.

251. Whence have the Sacraments the power of giving grace? The Sacraments have the power of giving grace from the merits of Christ’s Precious Blood which they apply to our souls.

252. Ought we to have a great desire to receive the Sacraments? We ought to have a great desire to receive the Sacraments, because they are the chief means of our salvation.

253. Is a character given to the soul by any of the Sacraments? A character is given to the soul by the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Order.

254. What is a character? A character is a mark or seal on the soul which cannot be effaced, and therefore the Sacrament conferring it may not be repeated.

255. How many Sacraments are there? There are seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Order, and Matrimony.

• BAPTISM

256. Baptism is a Sacrament which cleanses us from original sin, makes us Christians, children of God, and members of the Church.

257. Does Baptism also forgive actual sins? Baptism also forgives actual sins, with all punishment due to them, when it is received in proper dispositions by those who have been guilty of actual sin.

258. Who is the ordinary minister of Baptism? The ordinary minister of Baptism is a priest; but any one may baptise in case of necessity, when a priest cannot be had.

259. How is Baptism given? Baptism is given by pouring water on the head of the child, saying at the same time these words: [Name] ‘I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’.

260. What do we promise in Baptism? We promise in Baptism to renounce the devil and all his works and pomps.

261. Is Baptism necessary for salvation? Baptism is necessary for salvation because Christ has said: ‘Unless a man is born again through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’. (Jn 3:5)

• CONFIRMATION

262. What is Confirmation? Confirmation is a Sacrament by which we receive the Holy Spirit, in order to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.

263. Who is the ordinary minister of Confirmation? The ordinary minister of Confirmation is a Bishop.

264. How does the Bishop administer the Sacrament of Confirmation? The Bishop administers the Sacrament of Confirmation by praying that the Holy Spirit may come down upon those who are to be confirmed; and by laying his hand on them, and making the sign of the cross with chrism on their foreheads, at the same time pronouncing certain words.

265. What are the words used in Confirmation? The words used in Confirmation are these: ‘N… be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit’.

• THE HOLY EUCHARIST

266. What is the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist? The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, together with his Soul and Divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine.

267. How are the bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ? The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ by the power of God, to whom nothing is impossible or difficult.

268. When are the bread and wine changed into the Body and Blood of Christ? The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ when the words of consecration, ordained by Jesus Christ, are pronounced by the priest in Holy Mass.

269. Why has Christ given himself to us in the Holy Eucharist? Christ has given himself to be the life and the food of our souls. ‘Whoever eats me will draw life from me’: ‘Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever’. (Jn 6:58, 59)

270. Is Christ received whole and entire under either kind alone? Christ is received whole and entire under either kind alone.

271. In order to receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily what is required? In order to receive the Blessed Sacrament worthily it is required that we be in a state of grace and keep the prescribed fast: water does not break this fast.

272. What is it to be in a state of grace? To be in a state of grace is to be free from mortal sin, and pleasing to God.

273. Is it a great sin to receive Holy Communion in mortal sin? It is a great sin to receive Holy Communion in mortal sin: ‘because a person who eats and drinks without recognising the Body, is eating and drinking his own condemnation.’ (1 Co 11:29)

274. Is the Blessed Eucharist a Sacrament only? The Blessed Eucharist is not a Sacrament only; it is also a sacrifice.

275. What is a sacrifice? A sacrifice is the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone, in testimony of his being the Sovereign Lord of all things.

276. What is the Sacrifice of the New Law? The Sacrifice of the New Law is the Holy Mass.

277. What is the Holy Mass? The Holy Mass is the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, really present on the altar under the appearances of bread and wine, and offered God for the living and the dead.

278. Is the Holy Mass one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross? The Holy Mass is one and the same Sacrifice with that of the Cross, inasmuch as Christ, who offered himself, a bleeding victim, on the Cross to his heavenly Father, continues to offer himself in an unbloody manner on the altar, through the ministry of his priests.

279. For what ends is the Sacrifice of the Mass offered? The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for four ends: first, to give supreme honour and glory to God; secondly, to thank him for all our benefits; thirdly, to satisfy God for our sins and to obtain the grace of repentance; and fourthly, to obtain all other graces and blessings through Jesus Christ.

280. Is the Mass also a memorial of the Passion and Death of our Lord? The Mass is also a memorial of the Passion and Death of our Lord, for Christ at his last supper said: ‘Do this for a commemoration of me’. (Lk 22:19)

• PENANCE

281. What is the Sacrament of Penance? Penance is a Sacrament whereby the sins, whether mortal or venial, which we have committed after Baptism are forgiven.

282. Does the Sacrament of Penance increase the grace of God in the soul? The Sacrament of Penance increases the grace of God in the soul, besides forgiving sin; we should, therefore, often go to confession.

283. When did our Lord institute the Sacrament of Penance? Our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Penance when he breathed on his Apostles and gave them power to forgive sins, saying: ‘Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven’. (Jn 20:23)

284. How does the priest forgive sins? The priest forgives sins by the power of God, when he pronounces the words of absolution.

285. What are the words of absolution? The words of absolution are: ‘I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit’.

286. Are any conditions for forgiveness required on the part of the penitent? Three conditions for forgiveness are required on the part of the penitent – Contrition, Confession, and Satisfaction.

287. What is Contrition? Contrition is a heartfelt sorrow for our sins, because by them we have offended so good a God, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

288. What is a firm purpose of amendment? A firm purpose of amendment is a resolution to avoid, by the grace of God, not only sin, but also the dangerous occasions of sin.

289. How may we obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins? We may obtain a hearty sorrow for our sins by earnestly praying for it, and by making use of such considerations as may lead us to it.

290. What consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins? This consideration concerning God will lead us to sorrow for our sins; that by our sins we have offended God, who is infinitely good in himself and infinitely good to us.

291. What consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins? This consideration concerning our Saviour will lead us to sorrow for our sins; that our Saviour died for our sins, and that those who sin grievously ‘have wilfully crucified the Son of God and openly mocked him.’ (Heb 6:6)

292. Is sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserved hell, sufficient when we go to confession? Sorrow for our sins, because by them we have lost heaven and deserve hell, is sufficient when we go to confession.

293. What is perfect contrition? Perfect contrition is sorrow for sin arising purely from the love of God.

294. What special value has perfect contrition? Perfect contrition has this special value; that by it our sins are forgiven immediately, even before we confess them; but nevertheless, if they are serious, we are strictly bound to confess them afterwards.

295. What is confession? Confession is to accuse ourselves of our sins to a priest approved by the Bishop.

296. What if a person wilfully conceals a serious sin in confession? If a person wilfully conceals a serious sin in confession he is guilty of a great sacrilege, by telling a lie to the Holy Spirit in making a bad confession.

297. How many things have we to do in order to prepare for confession? We have four things to do in order to prepare for confession: first, we must heartily pray for grace to make a good confession: secondly, we must carefully examine our conscience: thirdly, we must take time and care to make a good act of contrition: and fourthly, we must resolve by the help of God to renounce our sins, and to begin a new life for the future.

298. What is satisfaction? Satisfaction is doing the penance given us by the priest.

299. Does the penance given by the priest always make full satisfaction for our sins? The penance given by the priest does not always make full satisfaction for our sins. We should therefore add to it other good works and penances, and try to gain Indulgences.

300. What is an Indulgence? An Indulgence is a remission, granted by the Church, of the temporal punishment which often remains due to sin after its guilt has been forgiven.

• ANOINTING OF THE SICK

301. What is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? This Sacrament is the anointing of the sick with holy oil, accompanied with prayer.

302. When is the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick given? The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is given when we are in danger ofdeath by sickness.

303. What are the effects of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? The effects of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick are to comfort and strengthen the soul, to remit sin, and even to restore health, when God sees it to be expedient.

304. What authority is there in Scripture for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? The authority in Scripture for the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is in the 5th chapter of St James (Jm 5:14,15) where it is said: ‘If one of you is ill he should send for the elders of the Church, and they must anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him. The prayer of faith shall save the sick man; and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.’

• HOLY ORDER

305. What is the Sacrament of Holy Order? Holy Order is the Sacrament by which bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church are ordained, and receive power and grace to perform their sacred duties.

• MATRIMONY

306. What is the Sacrament of Matrimony? Matrimony is the Sacrament which sanctifies the contract of a Christian marriage, and gives a special grace to those who receive it worthily.

307. What special grace does the Sacrament of Matrimony give to those who receive it worthily? The Sacrament of Matrimony gives to those who receive it worthily a special grace, to enable them to bear the difficulties of their state, to love and be faithful to one another, and to bring up their children in the fear of God.

308. Is it a sacrilege to contract a marriage in serious sin, or in disobedience to the law of the Church? It is sacrilege to contract marriage in serious sin, or in disobedience to the laws of the Church, and, instead of a blessing, the guilty parties draw upon themselves the anger of God. (For the marriage of a Catholic to be valid there must be present (1) either the Bishop or the Parish Priest, or another Priest duly delegated, and (2) two witnesses).

309. What is a ‘mixed marriage’? A ‘mixed marriage’ is a marriage in which only one partner is a Catholic.

310. Does the Church encourage mixed marriages? The Church does not encourage mixed marriages.

311. Does the Church sometimes permit mixed marriages? The Church sometimes permits mixed marriages by granting a dispensation, and under special conditions.

311a. What does the Catholic partner of a mixed marriage promise? The Catholic partner of a mixed marriage promises to do everything possible to preserve the faith and have all children of the marriage baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church.

312. Can any human power dissolve the bond of marriage? No human power can dissolve the bond of marriage, because Christ has said: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder’. (Mt 19:6)”
– From the “Penny Catechism”, Imprimatur + John Cardinal Heenan, Archbischop of Westminster, 18th July 1971

 

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“WHEN MEN WISH TO DESTROY RELIGION, THEY BEGIN BY ATTACKING THE PRIEST” (BLESSED CURE D’ARS)

“What is a priest? A man who takes the place of God, a man invested with all the powers of God. ‘Go’, says Our Lord to the priest. ‘As My Father has sent Me, so I send you.’ … ‘All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, therefore, teach all nations.’ ‘He who hears you, hears Me; he who despises you despises Me.’

When the priest absolves from sin, he does not say ‘God forgives you.’ He says ‘I absolve you.’

Saint Bernard assures us that everything comes to us through Mary. One might also say that everything comes to us through the priest; yes, all blessings, all graces, all celestial gifts.

If we had not the sacrament of Ordination we should not have Our Lord. Who has put Him there, in the tabernacle? The priest. Who received your soul at its entry upon life? The priest. Who feeds it, in order to strengthen it on its pilgrimage? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, by washing it for the last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should die, who will revive it? Who will restore to it calm and peace? The priest again. You cannot call to mind a single one of God’s benefits without conjuring up at the same time the image of the priest.

Go and make your confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel. Will they absolve you? No. Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord? No. The Blessed Virgin has not the power to make her Divine Son descend into the sacred Host. Two hundred angels could not absolve you. A priest, however simple, can. He can say to you: ‘Go in peace; I absolve you.’

O what a grand thing is a priest! God’s other benefits would be useless without the priest. What use could you make of a house full of gold, if there was no one to open the door to you? Without the priest, the passion and death of Our Lord would be of no avail.

After God, the priest – that is all! Leave a parish twenty years without a priest, and the inhabitants will worship beasts.

When men wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no priest, there is no Sacrifice, and where there is no Sacrifice, there is no religion.”
– Blessed Cure d’Ars

 

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31st JULY, GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 13:44-46)

HE SELLS EVERYTHING HE OWNS AND BUYS THE FIELD.

Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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31st JULY, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 98)

R. You are holy, O Lord our God.

1. Exalt the Lord our God;
bow down before Zion, his footstool.
He the Lord is holy. (R.)

2. Among his priests were Aaron and Moses,
among those who invoked his name was Samuel.
They invoked the Lord and he answered. (R.)

3. To them he spoke in the pillar of cloud.
They did his will; they kept the law,
which he, the Lord, had given. (R.)

4. Exalt the Lord our God;
bow down before his holy mountain
for the Lord our God is holy. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Your word is a lamp for my steps
and a light for my path.
Alleluia!

 

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31st JULY, BIBLE READING (EXODUS 34:29-35)

WHEN THEY SAW MOSES, THEY WOULD NOT VENTURE NEAR HIM.

When Moses came down from the mountain of Sinai – as he came down from the mountain, Moses had the two tablets of the testimony in his hands – he did not know that the skin on his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord.

And when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, the skin on his face shone so much that they would not venture near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron with all the leaders of the community came back to him; and he spoke to them. Then all the sons of Israel came closer, and he passed on to them all the orders that the Lord had given him on the mountain of Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.

Whenever he went into the Lord’s presence to speak with him, Moses would remove the veil until he came out again. And when he came out, he would tell the sons of Israel what he had been ordered to pass on to them, and the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he returned to speak with the Lord.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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DO YOU ALSO KNOW THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE “FREE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF” WHO BELIEVE IN THE DOCTRINE OF DARWINISM?

“THE SUPPOSEDLY SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF EVOLUTION ‘IS ACTUALLY A THEORY OF HISTORY – OF SUPPOSED PAST EVENTS'” SAYS MR JOSEPH H. GEHRINGER, A RETIRED TEACHER OF MATHEMATICS, “AND HE ADDS THAT EVOLUTIONISTS ACCEPT DARWINISM AS A DOCTRINE REGARDLESS OF THE LACK OF SUPPORTING EVIDENCE…

As Western Civilisation moves farther and farther from its Christian roots, less and less attention is being paid to the great saints and religious heroes who contributed so much to its development. But because every culture wishes to have its heroes, the great Catholic figures of the past are being replaced by what might be called ‘secular saints’. This substitution of the secular for the religious is reflected in the attention being devoted to the anniversaries of Charles Darwin, who was born in 1809 and whose ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859.

If a scientist such as Louis Pasteur, Gregor Mendel, or Marie Curie, is honoured for contributions to humanity and our understanding of the universe created by the Almighty, that is certainly commendable. But the case of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) is unique. Although his theory of evolution is widely accepted as a scientific theory, it is actually a theory of history, – of supposed past events. It claims that all living creatures, past and present, including the human race, have descended from the same original life form. Of course, none of these assumed evolutionary changes have ever been observed, nor have they been duplicated in any scientific laboratory. This has caused some philosophers of science to wonder whether Darwin’s theory is a truly scientific one.

For this reason, it is instructive to observe how evolution is described in some English language dictionaries. One typical definition is: ‘EVOLUTION: the doctrine that all forms of life originated by descent, with gradual or abrupt modifications, from preexisting forms which themselves trace backward in a continuing series to the most rudimentary organism.’ And we frequently find, ‘EVOLUTIONIST: one who believes in the doctrine of evolution. Note the use of the term ‘doctrine’ to describe a belief in evolution. The word ‘doctrine’ is never employed when describing the acceptance of a theory that is strictly scientific in nature, such as number theory, relativity theory or quantum theory. This suggests that evolution is commonly perceived as a concept which extends beyond the natural sciences.

Of course, if the theory of evolution were a strictly scientific one, it would be of no interest to the Catholic Church. The evolutionary hypothesis, however, has a direct relevance to the Catholic faith for several reasons. First, the theory of evolution claims to explain the origin of the human race through purely natural causes, without any need for Divine intervention. Second, evolutionist ideas are being used as a supposedly ‘scientific basis’ for today’s wave of atheism, which is being promoted in the United States and Europe via television, movies, and books such as ‘The God Delusion’ by Richard Dawkins, and ‘God Is Not Great’ by Christopher Hitchens. Obviously, the Church must confront this pseudo-scientific challenge, not only to its teachings on Adam and Eve, but to its very existence. As Martin Lings points out in ‘Studies in Comparative Religion’, ‘More cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution…than to anything else’.

EVOLUTIONISM HAS BECOME THE NEW RELIGION FOR MANY

Because of this situation, Charles Darwin has come to play a crucial and controversial role in the ongoing struggle between truth and error. Many scholars who have studied Darwin’s writings, as well as many of his admirers, recognise that his supposedly scientific ideas were actually designed to minimise or eliminate belief in a Supreme Being. In her study, ‘Charles Darwin: Voyaging’, Janet Browne observes: ‘Where most men and women generally believed in some kind of design in nature – some kind of plan and order – and felt a deep-seated, mostly inexpressible belief that their existence had meaning, Darwin wanted them to see all life as empty of any divine purpose.’… Michael Ruse proclaims: ‘I am an ardent evolutionist… I must admit that… Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today… Evolution is promulgated as a religion, as a secular religion, – a full-fledged alternative to Christianity.’…

As the Church has always taught, Adam and Eve prefigured Christ and His Mother Mary. Since both the birth of Mary and of Christ involved direct Divine intervention (Mary’s Immaculate Conception, and Christ’s conception through the power of the Holy Spirit), it is theologically sound to conclude that there was also direct Divine intervention in the formation of the bodies of Adam and Eve…

Even today, scientists admit that there is much we do not know. During the last decade or two, astronomers, physicists, and cosmologists have concluded from their research that 95% to 98% of the universe consists of completely unknown forms of matter and energy. They refer to ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’, not because it is dark, but because it is completely mysterious, has never been observed, and is not understood. If they are correct, they admittedly understand only a small fraction of the universe. But there is another alternative. Since ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ are unseen and mysterious, perhaps they do not really exist. It is possible that the calculations and conclusions of today’s scientists, based upon the Big Bang Theory are incorrect. Scientific theories about one-time events that took place before there were any human observers, are necessarily dubious in nature. And if such a theory was originally proposed in order to eliminate belief in a Creator, as was the theory of evolution, it is even more dubious.

There is another interesting aspect to this question. In his ‘The Descent of Man’, Darwin admitted that there was no evidence of any link between man and the animal kingdom among any of the living or extinct species of animals. But, he noticed, this ‘will not appear of much weight to those who, from general reasons, believe in the general principle of evolution’. Being a keen observer of human nature, Darwin realised that once anyone accepted the idea of evolution, the lack of evidence will not disturb him…

There is another paradox. When asked why no-one has ever seen evolution taking place, the evolutionist replies that it takes place too slowly to be observed. But when asked about the lack of fossil evidence, – the ‘missing links’ – he attributes that to the fact that the evolution took place too rapidly. Just as Darwin predicted, the lack of evidence is of little or no interest to confirmed evolutionists…

There is no reason to assume that the ‘modern’ idea about the origin of the human race is correct, simply because [at the moment] it has widespread support…historical truths [cannot] be ascertained by majority vote.”
– The above are excerpts of an article by Joseph H. Gehringer entitled “Modern Ideas versus Ancient Truths, Part I”, published in “Christ to the World”, English Edition, No 2 Mar-May 2009 Vol 54, Rome

 

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