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HOW CAN WE FOLLOW JESUS MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE?

HOW CAN WE FOLLOW JESUS MUCH BETTER THAN BEFORE?

TO FOLLOW JESUS IS MEANS TO IMITATE HIM

In order to be able the better to imitate Jesus Christ, we must look upon Him continually: He is the model, of whom the artisan, who wishes to fashion his soul to His likeness, must not lose sight.

We must meditate on His example, for in this pious meditation the soul will find the necessary sustenance, and the only true nourishment for its piety.

We must remove all obstacles which hinder this imitation, such as:

Sins,

Bad habits,

Evil inclinations.

We must employ the sacraments, and, finally, take courage afresh each day and advance joyfully.

– Laverty & Sons (eds), 1905

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2017 in Words of Wisdom

 

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IS SORROW FOR OUR SINS, BECAUSE BY THEM WE LOSE HEAVEN AND DESERVE HELL, SUFFICIENT WHEN WE GO TO CONFESSION?

IS SORROW FOR OUR SINS, BECAUSE BY THEM WE LOSE HEAVEN AND DESERVE HELL, SUFFICIENT WHEN WE GO TO CONFESSION?

281. What is the Sacrament of Penance [Reconciliation] ?

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.’ (Jn20:23)

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 occasion 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.’ (Heb6:6)

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.

– From the Penny Catechism, Imprimatur: John Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster, 18th July 1971

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

WILL YOUR NAMES, TOO, BE BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE? (Apc3:5b)

Week 33 of the Year, Cycle II, Tuesday

If one of you opens the door, I will come in to share his meal.

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, ‘Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were when you first heard the message? Hold on to that.

Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

” Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, ‘Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, “I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want,” never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears my calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

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

 
 

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JESUS CHRIST, TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN

A homily of St Leo on Matthew 17:1-9

The lesson from the Gospel, dearly beloved, which has reached the inner hearing of our minds through our bodily ears, bids us to the understanding of a great mystery. To this we shall more readily attain, if, by the grace of God, we take into consideration the events that have been narrated a little above. For the Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ, in establishing that faith whereby the wicked are called back to justice and the dead to life, instructed his disciples by the doctrines he taught them, and by the miracles he wrought, to believe in him as Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, and the Son of man. For one of these truths without the other would not have helped them to salvation; it would have been equally dangerous to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was God alone and not man, as that he was man alone and not God. Both truths alike, then, had to be confessed; for just as the true manhood was present in the Godhead, so was the true Divinity present in the manhood.

In order, then, to confirm their knowledge of this faith, so necessary to salvation, the Lord asked his disciples what, among the various opinions of other men, they did themselves believe concerning him, or what they thought of the matter. Whereupon, Peter the Apostle, by the revelation of the most high Father, rising above bodily things and passing beyond human things saw, with the eyes of his mind, the Son of the living God, and confessed the glory of the Godhead; for he looked beyond the substance of flesh and blood: and so pleasing did he become by this sublime faith, that he received the fullness of blessing, and was given the holy firmness of an unbreakable rock; on which the Church should be built and prevail over the gates of hell and the laws of death. Moreover, when anything is to be bound or loosed, no sentence should be ratified in heaven other than that which was established by the judgment of Peter.

But, dearly beloved, the sublimity of Peter’s recognition, which the Lord had praised, need instruction concerning the mystery of the lower nature: lest the faith of the apostle raised on high to confess the glory of the Godhead in Christ, should deem it unworthy and unfitting for the impassable God to assume our weakness, and thus should believe that the human nature in Christ was then so glorified, that it could neither suffer pain nor be dissolved by death. And, therefore, when the Lord said that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and the chief priests, and be put to death, and on the third day rise again: then blessed Peter, who had been illumined by the light from on high, burned in his ardent confession of the Son of God, and with, as he thought, a religious and generous hatred, he spurned the notion that the Lord should suffer the shame of such a mocking and the disgrace of so cruel a death. But when corrected by Jesus with a kindly rebuke, he was filled with the desire of sharing even his passion.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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“CATHOLIC” WORKS? CHARITY COVERETH A MULTITUDE OF SINS

[Keywords: salvation, saved, fulfilled, paid, judged, judgement, Jesus Christ, Bible, Gospel, 1Peter 4:8, treasures in heaven]

Charity covereth a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)

To those who have committed many and great sins and are apprehensive of the judgement that may be awaiting them when death comes [Hebrews 9:27], there is much consolation to be found in the words of St Peter. After telling us to “be prudent and watch in prayers,” he goes on to say, “but above all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves, for charity covereth a multitude of sins. The Apostle justly lays much emphasis on this virtue of charity, because he knew how His Divine Master had placed it first as the distinguishing mark of His true disciples. St John too and St Paul in their epistles are constantly urging us to the practice of the same virtue.

Charity is the distinguishing mark of Jesus Christ’s true disciples

However evil our past lives have been, there is no sincere Catholic Christian who cannot by the constant and daily exercise of charity to his neighbour relieve himself of the load of sins that oppresses him; while at the same time he will be laying up great merit in heaven [Matthew 6:19-20; Mt 5:11, 12; Mt 10:42; Mt 16:27; 1Cor 3:8; 2Tim 4:8]. This charity must be a supernatural one, done out of a love of God, because every man is seen as the image of God, and because too it is understood that, in the words of Our Lord, what is done to the least of His brethren is done unto Him [Matthew 25:37-40; 45]. It is not necessary that this should always be explicitly recalled but it must be, as it were, at the back of our minds and be the inner reason that actuates our conduct.

It starts with our many uncharitable thoughts

Now there is no day in the year when we have not many opportunities of showing charity to those about us. And first let us begin with our thoughts. We must of course exclude all uncharitable thoughts.

There are many people who are not naturally attractive: they may be in some ways repulsive and act and speak in a way that repels us. We are not asked to like such people, but liking is not the same thing as charity which asks us not to dwell upon their faults, much less to make them the subject of unkindly criticism, but in spite of their faults to wish them well and to be ready, if necessity arises, to give them what help we can.

We make a practice of thinking of the good qualities in others

We can make a practice too of thinking of the good qualities there are in others and of always putting the best interpretations on their actions. But we shall not advance very far in our charity if we do not think how we can help others and do some little service for them. It should be a matter of some distress to us if in the course of the day we have not done something, how ever small it may be, on behalf of another. There are so many little services we can render, if only we take the trouble to think about them. We must be on the alert for opportunities and seize and act upon them at once.

Going out of our way and our habits to consider others’ personalities

But charitable thinking consists, too, in considering the characters, dispositions and temperaments of those with whom we are brought in contact. There is the very sensitive individual to whom what is meant to be a joke will be as a wounding remark. There is another who, conscious of his social or intellectual inferiority, will be deeply hurt if we markedly ignore his presence and pass him over when he is one of the company. There is that shy man who retires into the background but who will be the happier if we approach and draw him out.

Activating a habit of charitable thinking which, in turn, leads to charitable acts

If we consider these and other cases our charitable thinking will become more active and lead to many charitable acts. We may summarise it all by these four simple lines:

If you your lips would keep from slips

Five things observe with care,

To whom you speak, of whom you speak,

And How, and When, and Where.

It is part of our charity to others to critically examine oneself regularly

But it is part of our charity to others to think of ourselves; that is, to see in ourselves the faults that may be an annoyance and cause pain to others; and having such faults laid bare, helped at times by the frank criticism of those who know us well, we should endeavour at once to get rid of them.

We may become aware that we make ourselves a daily nuisance by the noise we create by banging doors, shouting or talking unnecessarily loudly, announcing our comings and goings by a continuous turmoil, quite oblivious of those who are reading or studying, or who perhaps are suffering from a bad headache. Or again, we make ourselves offensive by our bad table manners, taking our soup, for instance, in such a way that (as an old joke says) the orchestra – if there be one – cannot be heard. Or yet again, we may be of a combative, argumentative, dogmatizing disposition that makes conversation with others difficult and unpleasant for them.

Of course, we have all got our faults and the greatest mistake we can make is to imagine that we have none. It will be charitable thinking to reflect upon ourselves, to take ourselves to book and find out – and here we will often be readily helped by others – just what our faults are, with a view to correcting them.

Charitable works with words

In our words alone there is a large sphere for the exercise of charity. To say a word of sympathy to one who is in any way suffering: to give praise at another’s success: to encourage a man who has met with a temporary defeat: to defend and excuse some one who is meeting nothing but condemnation and abuse from others – in some or other of these ways, hardly a day passes when we may not show the charity “that covereth a multitude of sins”. A kind word, spoken tactfully and at the right time, may lead eventually to the very salvation of the soul of another, and only God may know what a great work we have thereby accomplished.

Physical acts of charity

From words we naturally go on to acts of charity. These acts will often be of a comparatively trifling character, for the simple reason that the opportunity of doing a great act of charity does not occur every day. To take a person’s place in some work to which he is committed, so that he may get an hour off to rest or recreate himself: to let another have the pleasantest place in a game in which you and he are engaged: to let your friend have the first reading of a new book in which you are both interested: to volunteer to do a job for another that will save him trouble and time – instances and examples of this sort could be indefinitely multiplied; and everyone intent upon exercising charity can easily discover them for himself.

But the point is that any one so occupied day after day is not only practising virtue, but he will be ready to carry out a great act of charity when the opportunity presents itself. Most of us no doubt have read The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, or we have seen the dramatised version of it in the well-known play The Only Way. We may remember how Sidney Carton, after a life of drink and vice, redeemed his years of profligacy and sin by sacrificing his own life on the scaffold that he might secure the happiness of two others.

“The Only Way”

He was one who despite his many faults and sins was a charitable man at heart, and who, we may suppose, was continually showing kindness to others during his chequered career. Though Sidney Carton is only a figure of fiction, we may find the like of him in real life where there are those who are every day showing consideration and charity for others, and, whatever be their past misdeeds, their love of others for the love of God will “cover the multitude of their sins”. These are they who one day may be given the opportunity of making the complete sacrifice of self and will not fail, thereby gaining entire remission of their sins and a ready entrance to the glory of heaven. “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). And it gives us joy and consolation to think how many gallant souls, who during life could hardly be numbered among the saints, went to their deaths to secure safety for those who were near and dear to them.

Greater charity than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15:13)

In connection with this whole matter of charity, I may quote here a paragraph from an author whose books have gained a deserved popularity. He writes:

Though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are ‘cold’ by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin that having a bad digestion is sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Don’t waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him*.

Self-love is the cause of our uncharitableness

Self-love is the cause of our uncharitableness, as it is the cause of all our other sins. It is putting the finite creature [ourselves] before the Infinite Creator [God].

If we are constantly engaged in showing charity to others, who are all seen in God [making good works for love of God the very greatest priority, 24/7], self-love becomes gradually eliminated and we experience ever more and more consolation in the thought that however bad and worthless we have been in the past, “charity covereth a multitude of sins.”

*Christian Behaviour, by C.S.Lewis, p.48

– From: Lift Up Your Hearts, Christopher J. Wilmot, S.J., The Catholic Book Club, London, 1949

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Words of Wisdom

 

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A PRAYER FOR NON-BELIEVERS

Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that You alone have created the souls of unbelievers, which You have made according to Your Image and Likeness. Behold, O Lord, how to Your dishonour many of them are falling into hell.

Remember, O Lord, Your Son Jesus Christ, Who so generously shed His Blood and suffered for them. Do not permit that Your Son, Our Lord, remain unknown by unbelievers, but, with the help of Your saints and the Church, the Bride of Your Son, remember Your mercy, forget their idolatry and infidelity, and make them know Him, Who You have sent, Jesus Christ, Who is our salvation, our life, and our resurrection, through Whom we have been saved and redeemed, and to Whom is due glory forever. Amen.

– St Francis Xavier

 

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HUMANS CANNOT EARN THEIR OWN SALVATION BY THEIR OWN EFFORTS – ST AURELIUS

ST AURELIUS, MEMORIAL: JULY 20th

On “20th July, one of the saints remembered by the Church is St Aurelius. In the late fourth century he was ordained Bishop of Carthage, which today is in Tunisia. At that time there were two heresies which needed to be countered and St Aurelius played a significant part in promulgating what was true Catholic teaching. These heresies, and then Catholic teaching, are summarised below:

Donatism

The first heresy was Donatism. This heresy had implications both for the sacrament of confession and the other sacraments in general. Donatists believed that the sacrament of confession could not reconcile certain sinners back into full communion with the Church. This was in the context of certain clerics having previously gone against the Church during times of persecution. The Donatists had a rigorist position against them returning to the Church. The other belief of the Donatists which needed to be countered was their insistence that by sinful acts priests made themselves unable to celebrate valid sacraments. St Aurelius proclaimed the truth of the Catholic Faith that the sacrament of confession was precisely for everyone who repented and that there was a way back to full communion with the Church.

Also that the validity of any sacrament depended on the holiness of God, the priest being a mere instrument of God’s work. So any priest, even one in a state of sin, who speaks the formula of the sacrament with valid matter, as laid down by the Church, and with the intent of causing the sacrament to occur, acts validly. For example, a Catholic who receives the Eucharist from the hands of a priest, even if he has sinned, still receives Christ’s Body and Blood, their own sacramental life being undamaged by the priest’s sins.

Pelagianism

The other heresy to be countered was that of Pelagianism. This taught that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will was still capable of choosing good or evil without God’s help. Human will alone was sufficient to live a sinless life and that human beings can earn their own salvation by their own efforts.

The Council of Carthage at that time corrected these errors. The statements include the teaching that death did not come to Adam from a physical necessity, but through sin; newborn babies must be baptised on account of original sin; justifying grace not only avails for the forgiveness of past sins, but also gives assistance for the avoidance of future sins; without God’s grace it is not merely more difficult, but impossible to perform good works; not out of humility, but in truth we must confess ourselves to be sinners.

St Aurelius became a good friend of St Augustine of Hippo and the two of them, in writing and spoken word, actively confronted the teachings and tactics of these heretics. St Aurelius died in the year 430.”

From: “Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris”/2015

 

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