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Reflections: Catholic Basics Section (Cont.)

Jesus Speaking From Boat

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Category
Quotation

Disobedience

"[W]hoever disobeys the Son [Christ] will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him." (Jn. 3:36)

"By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness." (Rom. 2:5-8)

"Not every disobedience is equally a sin: for one disobedience may be greater than another, in two ways. First, on the part of the superior commanding, since, although a man should take every care to obey each superior, yet it is a greater duty to obey a higher than a lower authority, in sign of which the command of a lower authority is set aside if it be contrary to the command of a higher authority. Consequently the higher the person who commands, the more grievous is it to disobey him: so that it is more grievous to disobey God than man. Secondly, on the part of the things commanded. For the person commanding does not equally desire the fulfillment of all his commands: since every such person desires above all the end, and that which is nearest to the end. Wherefore disobedience is the more grievous, according as the unfulfilled commandment is more in the intention of the person commanding. As to the commandments of God, it is evident that the greater the good commanded, the more grievous the disobedience of that commandment, because since God's will is essentially directed to the good, the greater the good the more does God wish it to be fulfilled. Consequently he that disobeys the commandment of the love of God sins more grievously than one who disobeys the commandment of the love of our neighbor. On the other hand, man's will is not always directed to the greater good: hence, when we are bound by a mere precept of man, a sin is more grievous, not through setting aside a greater good, but through setting aside that which is more in the intention of the person commanding. Accordingly the various degrees of disobedience must correspond with the various degrees of precepts: because the disobedience in which there is contempt of God's precept, from the very nature of disobedience is more grievous than a sin committed against a man, apart from the latter being a disobedience to God. And I say this because whoever sins against his neighbor acts also against God's commandment. And if the divine precept be contemned in a yet graver matter, the sin is still more grievous. The disobedience that contains contempt of a man's precept is less grievous than the sin which contemns the man who made the precept, because reverence for the person commanding should give rise to reverence for his command. In like manner a sin that directly involves contempt of God, such as blasphemy, or the like, is more grievous (even if we mentally separate the disobedience from the sin) than would be a sin involving contempt of God's commandment alone." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Obedience | Obedience / Disobedience / Assent (Vatican View Reflections) | Obedience / Disobedience (Catholic Life Reflections)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Divine Mysteries Exceed the Intellect

"And, indeed, reason illustrated by faith, when it zealously, piously, and soberly seeks, attains with the help of God some understanding of the mysteries, and that a most profitable one, not only from the analogy of those things which it knows naturally, but also from the connection of the mysteries among themselves and with the last end of man; nevertheless, it is never capable of perceiving those mysteries in the way it does the truths which constitute its own proper object. For, divine mysteries by their nature exceed the created intellect so much that, even when handed down by revelation and accepted by faith, they nevertheless remain covered by the veil of faith itself, and wrapped in a certain mist, as it were, as long as in this mortal life, 'we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith and not by sight' [2 Cor. 5:6 f.]." (First Vatican Council, 1870 A.D.)

Also See: Mysteries | The Holy Trinity | Faith

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Doctrine / Dogmas

"A creed is a summary of list of the chief truths we believe or profess to believe. It is a compendium of doctrine." (Baltimore Catechism)

Q: "What do we mean by a 'doctrine of faith or morals?'" A: "By a doctrine of faith or morals we mean the revealed teaching that refers to whatever we must believe and do in order to be saved." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The Church, by defining, that is, by proclaiming certain truths, articles of faith, does not make new doctrines, but simply teaches more clearly and with greater effort truths that have always been believed and held by the Church." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that 'we being dead to sin, should live to justice' (I Peter ii., 24) - that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius X in "Lamentabili": "The dogmas of faith are to be held only according to a practical sense, that is, as perceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.)

"If anyone shall have said that it is possible that to the dogmas declared by the Church a meaning must sometimes be attributed according to the progress of science, different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council, 1870 A.D.)

"For, the doctrine of faith which God revealed has not been handed down as a philosophic invention to the human mind to be perfected, but has been entrusted as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding. 'Therefore ... let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.'" (First Vatican Council, 1870 A.D.)

Also See: Truth | Against Novelty / Novel Doctrine (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Unchangeableness of Dogmas (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Against Human 'Progress' in Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines (Vatican View Reflections) | Papal Infallibility | Necessity of a Teaching Authority (Vatican View Reflections) | The Catholic Church | Unity of the Church | Heresy / Heretics / False Teachers

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Education

"Truly barren is a secular education. It is always in labor, but never gives birth." (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

"Of what use to me is all I learn in school if I do not become holy?" (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[S]ince education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below, in order to attain the sublime end for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man's last end, and that in the present order of Providence, since God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of His Only Begotten Son, who alone is 'the way, the truth and the life,' there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929 A.D.)

Also See: Education (Catholic Life Section) | Catechesis / New Catholics | Ignorance | Classic Encyclicals: Education

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Ember Days

"We may consider [Ember Days] as one of those practices which the Church took from the Synagogue; for the prophet Zacharias speaks of the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months (Zach. 8:19). Its introduction into the Christian Church would seem to have been made in the apostolic times... The intentions, which the Church has in the fast of the Ember days, are the same as those of the Synagogue; namely, to consecrate to God by penance the four seasons of the year." (Dom Gueranger)

Also See: Fasting / Abstinence | Mortification | Penance | Traditional Prayers & Practices

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Excommun-

ication

Reminder: Items herein are for informational purposes only. All items herein may not currently apply. All items herein are subject to change without notice.

"[T]he aim of excommunication is healing and not death, correction and not destruction" (First Council of Lyons)

"Excommunication is medicinal." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1398 A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2327 Whoever profits from indulgences is, upon that fact, struck with excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1378 §1 A priest who acts against the prescript of Can. 977 incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2340 § 1 If anyone from an obdurate spirit stays for a year under the censure of excommunication, he is suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 996 §1 To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1382 A bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2326 Whoever concocts false relics or who knowingly sells them or distributes or puts them up for the public veneration of the faithful incurs upon that fact excommunication reserved to the Ordinary." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2267 The faithful must avoid association in profane [secular] things with a banned excommunicate, unless it concerns a spouse, parents, children, householder, subjects, and so on, unless reasonable cause excuses." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Leo X in the Bull 'Exsurge Domine': "Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church." (Pope Leo X, This error was condemned in the Bull 'Exsurge Domine', 1520 A.D.)

"Although it is a venial sin to hold communion with one who is excommunicated, yet to do so obstinately is a mortal sin: and for this reason one may be excommunicated according to the law." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 316 §1 A person who has publicly rejected the Catholic faith, has defected from ecclesiastical communion, or has been punished by an imposed or declared excommunication cannot be received validly into public associations." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1370 §1 A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2320 Whoever throws away the consecrated species or who takes or retains them for an evil purpose is suspected of heresy; such a one incurs automatic excommunication reserved most specially to the Apostolic See; such a one is by that fact infamous, and a cleric, moreover, is to be deposed." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"[B]y holding communion [with an excommunicated person] in divine worship one acts against the commandment, and commits a mortal sin; but by holding communion in other matters, one acts beside the commandment, and sins venially." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 2262 One excommunicated is not able to participate in the indulgences, suffrages, and public prayers of the Church. § 2 Nevertheless, it is not prohibited: 1° For the faithful to pray privately for them; 2° For priest privately and avoiding any scandal to apply Mass for him; but, if he is banned, only for his conversion." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1367 A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; moreover, a cleric can be punished with another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 2257 § 1 Excommunication is a censure by which one is excluded from the communion of the faithful with the effects that are enumerated in the canons that follow and that cannot be separated. § 2 Moreover, it is called anathema especially when it is inflicted with the formalities that are described in the Roman Pontifical." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1318 A legislator is not to threaten latae sententiae penalties except possibly for certain singularly malicious delicts which either can result in graver scandal or cannot be punished effectively by ferendae sententiae penalties; he is not, however, to establish censures, especially excommunication, except with the greatest moderation and only for graver delicts." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"And every excommunicated person, who, after the lawful monitions, does not repent, shall not only not be received to the sacraments, and to communion, and intercourse with the faithful, but, if, being bound with censures, he shall, with obdurate heart, remain for a year in the defilement thereof, he may even be proceeded against as suspected of heresy." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 2338 § 2 Those offering any sort of help or favor to a banned excommunicate in the delict for which he was excommunicated, and likewise clerics who knowingly and freely communicate in divine things with same and receive [the offender] in divine offices, incur upon that fact excommunication simply reserved to the Apostolic See." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1364 §1 Without prejudice to the prescript of Can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in Can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3. §2 If contumacy of long duration or the gravity of scandal demands it, other penalties can be added, including dismissal from the clerical state." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1388 §1 A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; one who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the delict. §2 An interpreter and the others mentioned in Can. 983, §2 who violate the secret are to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding excommunication." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The excommunicated and the enemies of the common weal are deprived of all beneficence, in so far as this prevents them from doing evil deeds. Yet if their nature be in urgent need of succor lest it fail, we are bound to help them: for instance, if they be in danger of death through hunger or thirst, or suffer some like distress, unless this be according to the order of justice." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But since it seems very hard that a man should be guilty of a mortal sin by uttering just a slight word to an excommunicated person, and that by excommunicating a person one would endanger the salvation of many, and lay a snare which might turn to one's own hurt, it seems to others more probable that he is not always guilty of a mortal sin, but only when he holds communion with him in a criminal deed, or in an act of Divine worship, or through contempt of the Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 2319 § 1 Those Catholics fall under automatic excommunication reserved to the Ordinary who: 1° Enter marriage in the presence of a non-Catholic minister against the prescription of Canon 1063, § 1; 2° Enter marriage with the explicit or implicit agreement that all or any of the children will be educated outside of the Catholic Church; 3° Knowingly presume to offer their children to non-Catholic ministers for baptism; 4° Being parents or holding the place of parents, knowingly hand their charges over for non-Catholic education or formation. § 2 Those in § 1, nn. 2-4, are also suspected of heresy." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: For more information on the Church's traditional teaching regarding mixed marriages, click here.]

"Can. 1331 §1 An excommunicated person is forbidden: 1° to have any ministerial part in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Eucharist or in any other ceremonies of public worship; 2° to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments; 3° to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, functions or acts of governance. §2 If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender: 1° proposing to act in defiance of the provision of §1, n. 1 is to be removed, or else the liturgical action is to be suspended, unless there is a grave reason to the contrary 2° invalidly exercises any acts of governance which, in accordance with §1, n.3, are unlawful; 3° is forbidden to benefit from privileges already granted; 4° cannot validly assume any dignity, office or other function in the Church 5° loses the title to the benefits of any dignity, office, function or pension held in the Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Although the sword of excommunication is the very sinews of ecclesiastical discipline, and very salutary for keeping the people in their duty, yet it is to be used with sobriety and great circumspection; seeing that experience teaches, that if it be rashly or for slight causes wielded, it is more despised than feared, and produces ruin rather than safety. Wherefore, those excommunications, which, after certain admonitions, are wont to be issued with the view as it is termed, of causing a disclosure, or on account of things that have been lost or stolen, shall be issued by no one whomsoever, but the bishop; and not then, otherwise than on account of some circumstance of no common kind which moves the mind of the bishop thereunto, after the cause has been by him diligently and very maturely weighed; nor shall he be induced to grant the said excommunications by the authority of any secular person whatever, even though a magistrate; but the whole shall be left to his own judgment and conscience, when, considering the circumstances, the place, the person, or the time, he shall himself judge that such are to be resolved on." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 2314 § 1 All apostates from the Christian faith and each and every heretic or schismatic: 1° Incur by that fact excommunication; 2° Unless they respect warnings, they are deprived of benefice, dignity, pension, office, or other duty that they have in the Church, they are declared infamous, and [if] clerics, with the warning being repeated, [they are] deposed; 3° If they give their names to non-Catholic sects or publicly adhere [to them], they are by that fact infamous, and with due regard for the prescription of Canon 188, n. 4, clerics, the previous warnings have been useless, are degraded. § 2 Absolution from the excommunication mentioned in § 1, sought in the forum of conscience, is specially reserved to the Apostolic See. But if, however, the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism has been brought in any manner to the external forum of the local Ordinary, even by voluntary confession, that same Ordinary, but not the Vicar General without a special mandate, can by his own ordinary power absolve one duly recovered in the external forum, the prior abjuration being conducted juridically and observing those other things that in law ought to be observed; and one thus absolved can thereupon be absolved from sin by any confessor in the form of conscience. Abjuration is considered juridically done if it happens in the presence of the same local Ordinary or his delegate and at least two witnesses." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: Canon Law / Church Courts | Sin | Schism / Heresy | Heresy / Heretics / False Teachers | No Salvation Outside the Church | Those Outside the Church (Catholic Life Reflections)

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Expiation

"To this it may be added that the expiatory passion of Christ is renewed and in a manner continued and fulfilled in His mystical body, which is the Church. For, to use once more the words of St. Augustine, 'Christ suffered whatever it behooved Him to suffer; now nothing is wanting of the measure of the sufferings. Therefore the sufferings were fulfilled, but in the head; there were yet remaining the sufferings of Christ in His body' (In Psalm lxxxvi). This, indeed, Our Lord Jesus Himself vouchsafed to explain when, speaking to Saul, 'as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter' (Acts ix, 1), He said, 'I am Jesus whom thou persecutest' (Acts ix, 5), clearly signifying that when persecutions are stirred up against the Church, the Divine Head of the Church is Himself attacked and troubled. Rightly, therefore, does Christ, still suffering in His mystical body, desire to have us partakers of His expiation, and this is also demanded by our intimate union with Him, for since we are 'the body of Christ and members of member' (1 Corinthians xii, 27), whatever the head suffers, all the members must suffer with it (Cf. 1 Corinthians xii, 26)." (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

"But how can these rites of expiation bring solace now, when Christ is already reigning in the beatitude of Heaven? To this we may answer in some words of St. Augustine which are very apposite here, - 'Give me one who loves, and he will understand what I say' (In Johannis evangelium, tract. XXVI, 4). For any one who has great love of God, if he will look back through the tract of past time may dwell in meditation on Christ, and see Him laboring for man, sorrowing, suffering the greatest hardships, 'for us men and for our salvation,' well-nigh worn out with sadness, with anguish, nay 'bruised for our sins' (Isaias liii, 5), and healing us by His bruises. And the minds of the pious meditate on all these things the more truly, because the sins of men and their crimes committed in every age were the cause why Christ was delivered up to death, and now also they would of themselves bring death to Christ, joined with the same griefs and sorrows, since each several sin in its own way is held to renew the passion of Our Lord: 'Crucifying again to themselves the Son of God, and making him a mockery' (Hebrews vi, 6). Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when 'there appeared to Him an angel from heaven' (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since - as we also read in the sacred liturgy - Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: 'My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none' (Psalm lxviii, 21)." (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

"Moreover this duty of expiation is laid upon the whole race of men since, as we are taught by the Christian faith, after Adam's miserable fall, infected by hereditary stain, subject to concupiscences and most wretchedly depraved, it would have been thrust down into eternal destruction. This indeed is denied by the wise men of this age of ours, who following the ancient error of Pelagius, ascribe to human nature a certain native virtue by which of its own force it can go onward to higher things; but the Apostle rejects these false opinions of human pride, admonishing us that we 'were by nature children of wrath' (Ephesians ii, 3). And indeed, even from the beginning, men in a manner acknowledged this common debt of expiation and, led by a certain natural instinct, they endeavored to appease God by public sacrifices. But no created power was sufficient to expiate the sins of men, if the Son of God had not assumed man's nature in order to redeem it. This, indeed, the Savior of men Himself declared by the mouth of the sacred Psalmist: 'Sacrifice and oblation thou wouldest not: but a body thou hast fitted to me...' (Hebrews x, 5-7). And in very deed, 'Surely He hath borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows... He was wounded for our iniquities (Isaias liii, 4-5), and He His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree... (1 Peter ii, 24), 'Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross...' (Colossians ii, 14) 'that we being dead to sins, should live to justice' (1 Peter ii, 24). Yet, though the copious redemption of Christ has abundantly forgiven us all offenses (Cf. Colossians ii, 13), nevertheless, because of that wondrous divine dispensation whereby those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ are to be filled up in our flesh for His body which is the Church (Cf. Colossians i, 24), to the praises and satisfactions, 'which Christ in the name of sinners rendered unto God' we can also add our praises and satisfactions, and indeed it behooves us so to do. But we must ever remember that the whole virtue of the expiation depends on the one bloody sacrifice of Christ, which without intermission of time is renewed on our altars in an unbloody manner, 'For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner alone of offering being different' (Council of Trent, Session XXIII, Chapter 2)." (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

Also See: Fasting / Abstinence | Good Works | Lent | Mortification | Penance | Repentance | Suffering | Sin | Indulgences | Purgatory | The Passion | Mass / Holy Eucharist (Sacraments Section) | Mass / Holy Eucharist (Sacraments Reflections)

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Family

"The future of humanity depends upon the family." (Pope John Paul II)

"The family is the most ancient institution which God founded in Paradise, when He called the first pair of human beings into existence." (St. John Vianney)

"But a saint is not only the blessing of his parents, but also the salvation of many; as it follows, 'And many shall rejoice at his birth' (Lk. 1:14), parents are reminded here to rejoice at the birth of saints, and to give thanks. For it is no slight gift of God to vouchsafe to us children, to be the transmitters of our race, to be the heirs of succession." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Marriage, Family & Home (Catholic Life Reflections)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Fasting / Abstinence

Also See: Fasting (Topic Page)

"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 6:16-18)

"The Church commands us to fast and abstain in order that we may mortify our passions and satisfy our sins." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The duty of fasting is based on both the Old and New Testaments, and is closely connected with the duties of prayer and almsgiving." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"When the body therefore fasts from food, let the mind fast from vices, and pass judgment upon all earthly cares and desires according to the law of its King." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 1252 § 1 The law of abstinence only must be observed every [Friday]. § 2 The law of abstinence together with fast must be observed every Ash [Wednesday], every [Friday and Saturday] of Lent, each of the [Ember] Days, and the vigils of the Pentecost, the Assumption of the Godbearer [Mary] into heaven, [All Saints Day], and the Nativity of the Lord. § 3 The law of fast is to be observed on all the other days of Lent. § 4 On [Sundays] or feasts of precept, the law of abstinence or of abstinence and fast or a fast only ceases, except during Lent, nor is the vigil anticipated; likewise it ceases on Holy [Saturday] afternoon." (1917 Code of Canon Law) [Note: Although all previous regulations may not be mandatory under present Church law, Catholics are still encouraged to follow the traditional fasting / abstinence regulations. For more information on traditional fasting / abstinence regulations, click here.]

Also See: Expiation | Mortification | Penance | Sin | Christian Soldiers | Lent | Ember Days | Fasting (Catholic Life Reflections) | Abstinence (Catholic Life Reflections) | Prayer & Fasting (Prayers & Devotions Reflections) | Almsgiving (Catholic Life Section) | Traditional Prayers & Practices

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Fear of God

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it. Your praise endures forever." (Ps. 111:10)

"The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Prov. 9:10)

"The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days." (Sirach 1:18)

"Give honor to all, love the community, fear God, honor the king." (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 2:17)

"[F]or they alone who fear God are truly wise" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"We must fear God out of love, not love Him out of fear." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"For I have learnt for a fact that nothing so effectively obtains, retains and regains grace, as that we should always be found not high-minded before God, but filled with holy fear." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"The more one loves God, the more one responds with holy fear to His unapproachable majesty - and to Him as Judge. Of course this holy fear on the day of judgement is permeated by hope and love and faith in our redemption through Christ, but it is never replaced by a false security. Real love for God presupposes fear; there is no love of God without real [holy] fear of God." (Von Hildebrand)

Also See: God | Judgment | Sin | Hell / Eternal Damnation | Tough Love in the New Testament | Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture)

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Few Are Saved

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 7:13-14)

"Many are invited, but few are chosen." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 22:14)

"Someone asked [Jesus], 'Lord, will only a few people be saved?' He answered them, 'Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.'" (Lk. 13:23-24) 

"For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? 'And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?'" (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 4:17-18)

"[M]any will be damned; few will be saved." (St. Benedict Joseph Labre)

"Taking into account the behavior of mankind, only a small part of the human race will be saved." (Sr. Lucy of Fatima)

"The number of the Elect is so small - so small - that were we to know how small it is, we should faint away with grief" (St. Louis Marie de Montfort)

"When the Almighty Creator shall appear in the form of the Son of man, so scarce will the elect be, that not so much the cries of the faithful as the torpor of the others will hasten the world's fall." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church) 

"For as in earthly life the departure from right is exceeding broad, so he who goes out of the path which leads to the kingdom of heaven, finds himself in a vast extent of error. But the right way is narrow, the slightest turning aside being full of danger, whether to the right or to the left, as on a bridge, where he who slips on either side is thrown into the river." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Attend to the words, for they have an especial force, many walk in the broad way few find the narrow way. For the broad way needs no search, and is not found, but presents itself readily; it is the way of all who go astray. Whereas the narrow way neither do all find, nor when they have found, do they straightway walk therein. Many, after they have found the way of truth, caught by the pleasures of the world, desert midway." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Recollect the deluge; three only remained, from whom the rest were to be re-peopled. Noe had three sons, by them was repaired the human race... Lo, the whole world crieth out in the Church of God, 'I know that the Lord is great.' Yet doubtless there are but few who are saved. Ye remember a question which was lately set before us out of the Gospel, 'Lord,' it was said, 'are there few that be saved ?' What said the Lord to this? He did not say, 'Not few, but many are they who are saved.' He did not say this. But what said He, when He had heard, 'Are there few that be saved? Strive to enter by the strait gate.' When thou hearest then, 'Are there few that be saved?' the Lord confirmed what He heard. Through the 'strait gate' but 'few' can 'enter.' In another place He saith Himself, 'Strait and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that go thereby: but broad and spacious is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which walk thereby.' Why rejoice we in great numbers? Give ear to me, ye 'few.' I know that ye are 'many,' who hear me, yet but 'few' of you hear to obey." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: All Are Tried / Those Who Are Lost Could Have Been Saved | Salvation | Perseverance | Sin | Judgment | Hell / Eternal Damnation | Tough Love in the New Testament | No Salvation Outside the Church | Do All 'Good People' Go To Heaven? / No Salvation Outside the Church

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Forgiveness

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 6:14)

"When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mk. 11:25)

"Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, 'I am sorry,' you should forgive him." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 17:3-4)

"(Jesus) said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'" (Jn. 20:21-23)

"The good God is as prompt to grant us pardon when we ask it of Him as a mother is to snatch her child out of the fire." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"It is evident from the words of the Gospel that if we do not forgive from our hearts the offenses committed against us, we become once more accountable for what we rejoiced in as forgiven through Penance" (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"No crime, however heinous, can be committed or even conceived which the Church has not power to forgive, just as there is no sinner, however abandoned, however depraved, who should not confidently hope for pardon, provided he sincerely repent of his past transgressions. Furthermore, the exercise of this power is not restricted to particular times. Whenever the sinner turns from his evil ways he is not to be rejected, as we learn from the reply of our Savior to the Prince of the Apostles. When St. Peter asked how often we should pardon an offending brother, whether seven times, Not only seven times, said the Redeemer, but till seventy times seven." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"The Lord said that to those sinning against the Holy Spirit, it should not be forgiven either here or in the future world [Matt. 12:32]. But how many do we know that sin against the Holy Spirit, such as various heretics ... who return to the Catholic faith, and here have received the pardon of their blasphemy, and have enjoyed the hope of gaining indulgence in the future? And not on this account is the judgment of the Lord not true, or will it be thought to be in any way weakened, since with respect to such men, if they continue to be thus, the judgment remains never to be relaxed at all; moreover, never because of such effects is it not imposed. Just as consequently is also that of the blessed John the Apostle: There is a sin unto death: I do not say that prayer should be offered for this: and there is a sin not unto death: I do say that prayer should be offered for this [1 John 5:16, 17]. It is a sin unto death for those persisting in the same sin; it is not a sin unto death for those withdrawing from the same sin. For there is no sin for whose remission the Church does not pray, or which she cannot forgive those who desist from that same sin, or from which she cannot loose those who repent, since the power has been divinely given to her, to whom it was said: 'Whatsoever you shall forgive upon earth ...' [cf. John 20:23]; 'whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven' [Matt. 18:18]. In whatsoever all are [included], howsoever great they may be, and of whatsoever kind they may be, although the judgment of them nevertheless remains true, by which he is denounced [as] never to be loosed who continues in the course of them, but not after he withdraws from this same [course]." (Pope St. Gelasius I, c. 495 A.D.)

Also See: Now is the Time for Mercy | Now is the Time for Repentance | Mercy | Repentance | Penance | Expiation | Jesus Christ | Sin | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness (Coming Home Reflections) | Penance / Confession (Sacraments Section) | Penance / Confession (Sacraments Section Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Section) | Sacraments Section | Sacraments Section (Reflections) | The Church Can Forgive All Sin (Coming Home Reflections) | Prayers: Sin / Sorrow for Sin / Mercy / Deliverance | Forgiveness (Topical Scripture)

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Friendship

"A truly loyal friend sees nothing in his friend but his heart." (St. Aelred of Rievaulx)

"Friendship that can end was never true" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Friends & Neighbors (Catholic Life Reflections) | Family | Love / Charity

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Good Works

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 25:31-46)

"Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 5:25-30)

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil." (2 Cor. 5:10)

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (Jms. 2:14-26)

"Next I saw a large white throne and the one who was sitting on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence and there was no place for them. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the pool of fire. (This pool of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the pool of fire." (Rv. 20:11-15)

"If any one saith, that the justified sins when he performs good works with a view to an eternal recompense; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

Q: "Which are the principal good works?" A: "These three: 1. Prayer; 2. Fasting; and 3. Almsgiving." (Catechism of St. John Neumann)

"All good works together are not of equal value with the sacrifice of the Mass, because they are the works of men, and the holy Mass is the work of God." (Catechism of the Cure de Ars)

"To preserve the grace of Confirmation a Christian should pray often, do good works, and live according to the laws of Jesus Christ, in spite of human respect." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that the just ought not, for their good works done in God, to expect and hope for an eternal recompense from God, through His mercy and the merit of Jesus Christ, if so be that they persevere to the end in well doing and in keeping the divine commandments; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity." (Catechism of the Cure de Ars)

"If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life - if so be, however, that he depart in grace - and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Necessity of Faith and Works / Not Saved by Faith Alone (Feed Your Faith Reflections) | Obligation to Perform Good Works (Give & Take Reflections) | Necessity of Good Works (Volunteers' Corner Reflections) | Works of Mercy | Deeds / Works (Topical Scripture)

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Gossip / Detraction

"Never utter in your neighbors' absence what you would not say in their presence." (St. Maria Maddalena de Pazzi) 

"Whenever you tell the shortcomings of someone who is not present, your tongue has made a harp for the music of the Devil." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church) 

"Rash judgment is believing a person guilty of sin without a sufficient cause. Backbiting is saying evil things of another in his absence. Slander is telling lies about another with the intention of injuring him. Detraction is revealing the sins of another without necessity." (Baltimore Catechism)

Also See: Sin | Wrongly Thinking Evil of Another / Rash Judgment | Lies

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Grace

Also See: Grace (Topic Page)

"Grace is divided into sanctifying grace, which is also called habitual grace, and actual grace." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift inherent in our soul, and rendering us just, adopted children of God and heirs to Paradise." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Sanctifying grace is of two kinds: first grace and second grace." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"First grace is that by means of which one passes from the state of mortal sin to the state of justice." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Second grace is an increase of first grace." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Actual grace is a supernatural gift which enlightens the mind, moves and strengthens the will in order to enable us to do good and avoid evil." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Jesus Christ by His passion and death gave to the sacraments the power of conferring grace." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Some of the Sacraments give sanctifying grace, and others increase it in our souls." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The sacraments which confer first sanctifying grace, and render us friends of God, are two: Baptism and Penance." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"Besides sanctifying grace the Sacraments give another grace, called sacramental." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Sacramental grace is a special help which God gives, to attain the end for which He instituted each Sacrament." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The sacramental grace...aids us in attaining the end for which each Sacrament was instituted and for which we receive it." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Sacramental grace consists in the right acquired in the reception of a sacrament, to have at the proper time the actual graces necessary to fulfill the obligations arising from the sacrament received. Thus when we were baptized we received the right to have the grace to live a Christian life." (Catechism of St. Pius X) 

"The Sacraments always give grace, if we receive them with the right dispositions." (Baltimore Catechism)

"If any one saith, that grace, as far as God's part is concerned, is not given through the said sacraments, always, and to all men, even though they receive them rightly, but (only) sometimes, and to some persons; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"[W]e can resist the grace of God because it does not destroy our free will." (Catechism of St. Pius X)

"Oh, how contrary to human nature are the divine teachings! Without the help of grace, it would be impossible not only to follow them but to even understand them." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God." (Council of Trent)

"If a man lowers a rope into a well and pulls someone out who could not escape by himself, wouldn't it be true that the man in the well didn't climb out by his own power? And yet he still contributed something of his own to the process by hanging onto the rope and not letting it get away. The freedom of the will is like that: It can do nothing without grace. But when the divine goodness grants grace generously, the free will of a good man holds fast to it and cooperates with it properly." (St. Thomas More)

Also See: Grace | The Sacraments | Sacraments Reflections

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