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Reflections: Catholic Basics Section (Cont.) (2)

Jesus Speaking From Boat

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Category
Quotation

Heaven

Also See: Heaven / Salvation (Topic Page)

"I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Our Lord Jesus Christ to St. Peter, Mt. 16:19)

"But as it is written: 'What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Cor. 2:9)

"He took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, (the names) of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb [that is, Christ]. The one who spoke to me held a gold measuring rod to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city was square, its length the same as (also) its width. He measured the city with the rod and found it fifteen hundred miles in length and width and height. He also measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits according to the standard unit of measurement the angel used. The wall was constructed of jasper, while the city was pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every precious stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure. During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there. The treasure and wealth of the nations will be brought there, but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever." (Rv. 21:10-27, 22:1-5)

"A well-spent life is the only way to heaven" (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"Heaven is filled with converted sinners of all kinds, and there is room for more." (St. Joseph Cafasso)

"Eternal rest is incompatible with the shame of not having duly labored for its attainment." (Ven. Mary of Agreda)

"Heaven is a state of everlasting life in which we see God face to face, are made like unto Him in glory, and enjoy eternal happiness." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The happiness of heaven consists in seeing the beauty of God, in knowing Him as He is, and in having every desire fully satisfied." (Baltimore Catechism)

"For there are different measures of life, and a good rewarder metes out to every man according to his deserts." (St. Cyril, Doctor of the Church)

"Can you expect to go to Heaven for nothing? Did not our dear Savior track the whole way to it with His Blood and tears?" (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

"If we were all going to be equal in heaven it would be useless for us to humble ourselves here in order to have a greater place there (cf. Mt. 18:4)" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"...unless we gain Heaven, we shall be condemned to Hell: there is no middle place; we must either be saved or damned." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"[I]n heaven...man will not merely be able to persevere but will be unable to sin." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Saints have not yet their bodies in heaven, as they will have them after the resurrection on the last day. Our Divine Lord and His blessed Mother are the only persons whose bodies are now in heaven." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The rewards of heaven and the punishments in hell are not the same for all who enter into either of these states, because each one's reward or punishment is in proportion to the amount of good or evil he has done in the world. But as heaven and hell are everlasting, each one will enjoy his reward or suffer his punishment forever." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Oh! How happy is that city, where there is unceasing festivity! And how joyful is that assembly where care is utterly unknown! No sickness there, nor old age; not deceit, nor terror of foes; but all one voice of joyful souls, and all one burning love of hearts. There the angelic citizens in their triple hierarchy rejoice to be subject to a Monarch who is both One and Three." (Sequence)

"Since in this life there is with us a distinction of works, in that other life there will undoubtedly be a distinction of honors, so that, because here one surpasses another in merit, there one will transcend another in reward. Hence Truth tells us in the Gospel, 'In My Father's house there are many mansions.' But in those same many mansions the very diversity of rewards will be in some way harmonious, because in that peace so a great a strength will unite us that a man will rejoice because another has received even what he did not himself receive. Whence also those not laboring equally in the vineyard will all be paid equally a denarius. It is true that with the Father there are many mansions, but it is true also that unequal labors will receive the same denarius; for joyful beatitude will be one and the same for all, although the sublimity of their existence will not be one and the same for all." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

Also See: God | The Holy Trinity | Angels | Salvation | Perseverance | Predestination | Resurrection | Rewards | Judgment | Heaven Cannot Be Entered Without the Keys (Vatican View Reflections) | The State of a Soul at Death Determines Its Eternity | Few Are Saved | All Are Tried / Those Who Are Lost Could Have Been Saved | No Salvation Outside the Church | Hell / Eternal Damnation | Heaven (Topical Scripture)

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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Holy Spirit

Also See: Holy Spirit (Topic Page)

"The Holy Ghost [also called the Holy Spirit] is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity" (Baltimore Catechism)

"If anyone denies that the Holy Spirit must be adored by every creature, just as the Son and the Father: he is a heretic." (Council of Rome, 382 A.D.)

"[T]he Church...is governed by the Holy Ghost." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Holy Ghost is called also the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, and other names given in Holy Scripture." (Baltimore Catechism)

"If anyone denies that the Holy Spirit has all power and knows all things, and is everywhere, just as the Father and the Son: he is a heretic." (Council of Rome, 382 A.D.)

"Now what the soul is to the body of man, the Holy Spirit is in the body of Christ, which is the Church. The Holy Spirit does in the whole Church what the soul does in all the members of a single body." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Worldly desire creates the fortitude of the Gentiles, but the charity of God, which is diffused in our hearts, not by free will, which is from us, but by the Holy Spirit, which is given to us [Rom. 5:5] produces the fortitude of the Christians." (St. Prosper/Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"Through the 'departure' of the Son, the Holy Spirit came and continues to come as Counselor and Spirit of truth. And in the context of his mission, as it were within the indivisible presence of the Holy Spirit, the Son, who 'had gone away' in the Paschal Mystery, 'comes' and is continuously present in the mystery of the Church, at times concealing himself and at times revealing himself in her history, and always directing her steps. All of this happens in a sacramental way, through the power of the Holy Spirit, who, 'drawing from the wealth of Christ's Redemption,' constantly gives life." (Pope John Paul II)

"Has it not often happened that a maiden, already come to the threshold of the bridal chamber, has fled away on being taught by Him about virginity? Has not often a man, distinguished in the palace, scorned wealth and rank under the teaching of the Holy Spirit? Has not often a young man closed his eyes upon seeing beauty, and fled away from the sight, and escaped defilement? Do you ask how this comes about? The Holy Spirit taught the soul of this young man. In the world there are many ways to grow wealthy; yet, Christians live in poverty. Why? Because of the promptings of the Holy Spirit." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, c. 350 A.D.)

"We profess faithfully and devotedly that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle; not by two spirations, but by one single spiration. This the holy Roman Church, mother and mistress of all the faithful, has till now professed, preached and taught; this she firmly holds, preaches, professes and teaches; this is the unchangeable and true belief of the orthodox fathers and doctors, Latin and Greek alike. But because some, on account of ignorance of the said indisputable truth, have fallen into various errors, we, wishing to close the way to such errors, with the approval of the sacred council, condemn and reprove all who presume to deny that the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, or rashly to assert that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as from two principles and not as from one." (Second Council of Lyons)

"Now we owe to the Holy Ghost...love, because He is God: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength' (Deut. vi., 5). He is also to be loved because He is the substantial, eternal, primal Love, and nothing is more lovable than love. And this all the more because He has overwhelmed us with the greatest benefits, which both testify to the benevolence of the Giver and claim the gratitude of the receiver. This love has a twofold and most conspicuous utility. In the first place it will excite us to acquire daily a clearer knowledge about the Holy Ghost; for, as the Angelic Doctor says, 'the lover is not content with the superficial knowledge of the beloved, but striveth to inquire intimately into all that appertains to the beloved, and thus to penetrate into the interior; as is said of the Holy Ghost, Who is the Love of God, that He searcheth even the profound things of God' (1 Cor. ii., 10; Summ. Theol., la. 2ae., q. 28, a. 2). In the second place it will obtain for us a still more abundant supply of heavenly gifts; for whilst a narrow heart contracteth the hand of the giver, a grateful and mindful heart causeth it to expand. Yet we must strive that this love should be of such a nature as not to consist merely in dry speculations or external observances, but rather to run forward towards action, and especially to fly from sin, which is in a more special manner offensive to the Holy Spirit. For whatever we are, that we are by the divine goodness; and this goodness is specially attributed to the Holy Ghost. The sinner offends this his Benefactor, abusing His gifts; and taking advantage of His goodness becomes more hardened in sin day by day. Again, since He is the Spirit of Truth, whosoever faileth by weakness or ignorance may perhaps have some excuse before Almighty God; but he who resists the truth through malice and turns away from it, sins most grievously against the Holy Ghost." (Pope Leo XIII, "Divinum Illud Munus", 1897 A.D.)

Also See: The Holy Trinity | Classic Encyclical: "Divinum Illud Munus" (On the Holy Spirit) | Papal Infallibility | Spirit / Holy Spirit (Topical Scripture)

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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Humility

"When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with the humble is wisdom." (Prov. 11:2)

"The fear of the LORD is training for wisdom, and humility goes before honors." (Prov. 15:33) 

"Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 18:4)

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 23:12)

"[H]e who disdains to be made humble, cannot be saved" (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"No one can come to the knowledge of God except through humility. The way to go up is to go down." (Br. Giles)

"If I love Jesus, I ought to resemble Him. If I love Jesus, I ought to love what he loves, what he prefers to all else: humility." (St. Peter Julian Eymard)

"[I]n one who, like Christ, is poor willingly, poverty itself is a sign of very great humility." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The humility of God's servants ought to appear in a time of affliction: but those who lift themselves up against their superiors shew that they scorn to be God's servants." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"For every thing that we do should be preceded by anxious consideration. If then we desire to build a tower of humility, we ought first to brace ourselves against the ills of this world." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]here is nothing great in being humble towards those who treat us with regard, for even worldly people do this: but we should especially be humble towards those who make us suffer" (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Man arrives at humility in two ways. First and chiefly by a gift of grace, and in this way the inner man precedes the outward man. The other way is by human effort, whereby he first of all restrains the outward man, and afterwards succeeds in plucking out the inward root." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Anselm (De Similitudinibus ci, seqq.) gives seven degrees of humility, the first of which is 'to acknowledge oneself contemptible'; the second, 'to grieve for this'; the third, 'to confess it'; the fourth, 'to convince others of this, that is to wish them to believe it'; the fifth, 'to bear patiently that this be said of us'; the sixth, 'to suffer oneself to be treated with contempt'; the seventh, 'to love being thus treated." (Summa Theologica)

"[H]umility, in so far as it is a virtue, conveys the notion of a praiseworthy self-abasement to the lowest place. Now this is sometimes done merely as to outward signs and pretense: wherefore this is false humility, of which Augustine says in a letter (Ep. 149) that it is grievous pride, since to wit, it would seem to aim at excellence of glory. Sometimes, however, this is done by an inward movement of the soul, and in this way, properly speaking, humility is reckoned a virtue, because virtue does not consist externals, but chiefly in the inward choice of the mind" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"A thing is said to be perfect in two ways. First absolutely; such a thing contains no defect, neither in its nature nor in respect of anything else, and thus God alone is perfect. To Him humility is fitting, not as regards His Divine nature, but only as regards His assumed nature. Secondly, a thing may be said to be perfect in a restricted sense, for instance in respect of its nature or state or time. Thus a virtuous man is perfect: although in comparison with God his perfection is found wanting, according to the word of Isaiah 40:17, 'All nations are before Him as if they had no being at all.' In this way humility may be competent to every man." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The reason why the dispute concerning the chief place arose amongst the disciples seems to have been, that Peter, James, and John, were led apart from the rest into the mountain, and that something secret was there entrusted to them, also that the keys of the kingdom of heaven were promised to Peter, according to Matthew. Seeing however the thoughts of the disciples, the Lord takes care to heal the desire of glory by humility; for He first, by simply commanding humility, admonishes them that a high station was not to be aimed at. Wherefore it goes on: And he sat down, and called the twelve, and said to them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"It is possible, without falsehood, to deem and avow oneself the most despicable of men, as regards the hidden faults which we acknowledge in ourselves, and the hidden gifts of God which others have. Hence Augustine says (De Sancta Virginitate lii): 'Bethink you that some persons are in some hidden way better than you, although outwardly you are better than they.' Again, without falsehood one may avow and believe oneself in all ways unprofitable and useless in respect of one's own capability, so as to refer all one's sufficiency to God, according to 2 Corinthians 3:5, 'Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is from God.' And there is nothing unbecoming in ascribing to humility those things that pertain to other virtues, since, just as one vice arises from another, so, by a natural sequence, the act of one virtue proceeds from the act of another." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[T]he twelve degrees of humility that are set down in the Rule of the Blessed Benedict... The first is to be 'humble not only in heart, but also to show it in one's very person, one's eyes fixed on the ground'; the second is 'to speak few and sensible words, and not to be loud of voice'; the third is 'not to be easily moved, and disposed to laughter'; the fourth is 'to maintain silence until one is asked'; the fifth is 'to do nothing but to what one is exhorted by the common rule of the monastery'; the sixth is 'to believe and acknowledge oneself viler than all'; the seventh is 'to think oneself worthless and unprofitable for all purposes'; the eighth is to confess one's sin'; the ninth is 'to embrace patience by obeying under difficult and contrary circumstances'; the tenth is 'to subject oneself to a superior'; the eleventh is 'not to delight in fulfilling one's own desires'; the twelfth is 'to fear God and to be always mindful of everything that God has commanded." (Summa Theologica)

"[H]umility has essentially to do with the appetite, in so far as a man restrains the impetuosity of his soul, from tending inordinately to great things: yet its rule is in the cognitive faculty, in that we should not deem ourselves to be above what we are. Also, the principle and origin of both these things is the reverence we bear to God. Now the inward disposition of humility leads to certain outward signs in words, deeds, and gestures, which manifest that which is hidden within, as happens also with the other virtues. For 'a man is known by his look, and a wise man, when thou meetest him, by his countenance' (Ecclesiasticus 19:29)... Again, they include certain things with regard to the appetite, lest one aim inordinately at one's own excellence. This is done in three ways. First, by not following one's own will... secondly, by regulating it according to one's superior judgment... thirdly, by not being deterred from this on account of the difficulties and hardships that come in our way... Certain things also are included referring to the estimate a man forms in acknowledging his own deficiency, and this in three ways. First by acknowledging and avowing his own shortcomings... secondly, by deeming oneself incapable of great things... thirdly, that in this respect one should put others before oneself... Again, some things are included that refer to outward signs. One of these regards deeds, namely that in one's work one should not depart from the ordinary way... Two others have reference to words, namely that one should not be in a hurry to speak...and that one be not immoderate in speech... The others have to do with outward gestures, for instance in restraining haughty looks..., and in outwardly checking laughter and other signs of senseless mirth" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The twelve degrees [of pride] mentioned by Bernard are reckoned by way of opposition to the twelve degrees of humility... For the first degree of humility is to 'be humble in heart, and to show it in one's very person, one's eyes fixed on the ground': and to this is opposed 'curiosity,' which consists in looking around in all directions curiously and inordinately. The second degree of humility is 'to speak few and sensible words, and not to be loud of voice': to this is opposed 'frivolity of mind,' by which a man is proud of speech. The third degree of humility is 'not to be easily moved and disposed to laughter,' to which is opposed 'senseless mirth.' The fourth degree of humility is 'to maintain silence until one is asked,' to which is opposed 'boasting'. The fifth degree of humility is 'to do nothing but to what one is exhorted by the common rule of the monastery,' to which is opposed 'singularity,' whereby a man wishes to seem more holy than others. The sixth degree of humility is 'to believe and acknowledge oneself viler than all,' to which is opposed 'arrogance,' whereby a man sets himself above others. The seventh degree of humility is 'to think oneself worthless and unprofitable for all purposes,' to which is opposed 'presumption,' whereby a man thinks himself capable of things that are above him. The eighth degree of humility is 'to confess one's sins,' to which is opposed 'defense of one's sins.' The ninth degree is 'to embrace patience by obeying under difficult and contrary circumstances,' to which is opposed 'deceitful confession,' whereby a man being unwilling to be punished for his sins confesses them deceitfully. The tenth degree of humility is 'obedience,' to which is opposed 'rebelliousness.' The eleventh degree of humility is 'not to delight in fulfilling one's own desires'; to this is opposed 'license,' whereby a man delights in doing freely whatever he will. The last degree of humility is 'fear of God': to this is opposed 'the habit of sinning,' which implies contempt of God. In these twelve degrees not only are the species of pride indicated, but also certain things that precede and follow them, as we have stated above with regard to humility" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Humility (Increase Holiness Reflections) | Humility (Catholic Life Reflections) | Faith and Humility (Feed Your Faith Reflections) | Humility & the Saints (Saints Section Reflections) | St. Francis of Assisi on Pride / Humility | Pride | Humble / Humility (Topical Scripture)

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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Ignorance

"How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"Error concerning a matter of faith or of conduct will imperil salvation if (a) it can be corrected by moral diligence, or (b) if it is due to a direct refusal to see the truth (affected error)" (Catholic Dictionary)

"Ignorance differs from nescience, in that nescience denotes mere absence of knowledge; wherefore whoever lacks knowledge about anything, can be said to be nescient about it: in which sense Dionysius puts nescience in the angels (De Coelesti Hierarchia vii). On the other hand, ignorance denotes privation of knowledge, i.e. lack of knowledge of those things that one has a natural aptitude to know. Some of these we are under an obligation to know, those, to wit, without the knowledge of which we are unable to accomplish a due act rightly. Wherefore all are bound in common to know the articles of faith, and the universal principles of right, and each individual is bound to know matters regarding his duty or state. Meanwhile there are other things which a man may have a natural aptitude to know, yet he is not bound to know them, such as the geometrical theorems, and contingent particulars, except in some individual case. Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called invincible, because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Ignorance (Coming Home 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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Justification

"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)

"...no one who has arrived at the use of reason can be justified, unless he is resolved to keep all of God's Commandments." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[F]aith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons" (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated - as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration [baptism], or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God." (Council of Trent)

"[T]he received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ." (Council of Trent)

"But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated. For as in truth men, if they were not born propagated of the seed of Adam, would not be born unjust - seeing that, by that propagation, they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own - so, if they were not born again [baptized] in Christ, they never would be justified; seeing that, in that new birth, there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace whereby they are made just. For this benefit the apostle exhorts us, evermore to give thanks to the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, and hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption, and remission of sins." (Council of Trent)

"Of this Justification the causes are these: the final cause indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting; while the efficient cause is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance; but the meritorious cause is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father; the instrumental cause is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified; lastly, the alone formal cause is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one's proper disposition and co-operation. For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen's beg of the Church - agreeably to a tradition of the apostles - previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again [baptized], to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Necessity of Baptism (Sacraments Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Reflections) | Baptism (Sacraments Section) | The Passion / The Cross | Sin | RepentanceForgiveness | Mercy | Now is the Time for Mercy | Now is the Time for Repentance | Jesus Christ | Salvation | No Salvation Outside the Church | The Catholic Church | Sacraments Section | Sacraments Section Reflections | The State of a Soul at Death Determines Its Eternity | Judgment | All Are Tried / Those Who Are Lost Could Have Been Saved | Few Are Saved | A Single Unrepented Mortal Sin Is Sufficient to Condemn a Soul to Hell for All Eternity (Sacraments Section Reflections) | The Church Can Forgive All Sin (Coming Home Reflections)

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Lent

Also See: Lent (Topic Page)

Note: The Church has traditionally required a 40 day Lenten fast. For more information, click here

"[T]he observance of Lent is an essential mark of Catholicity" (Dom Gueranger)

"Lent is the forty days before Easter Sunday, during which we do penance, fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord; and also to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion." (Baltimore Catechism) 

"Lent, then, is a time consecrated in an especial manner to penance; and this penance is mainly practiced by fasting. Fasting is an abstinence, which man voluntarily imposes upon himself as an expiation for sin, and which, during Lent, is practiced in obedience to the general law of the Church." (Dom Gueranger)

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe." (Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 A.D.)

"The forty days' fast, which we call Lent, is the Church's preparation for Easter, and was instituted at the very commencement of Christianity. Our blessed Lord Himself sanctioned it by fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert; and though He would not impose it on the world by an express commandment... yet He showed plainly enough, by His own example, that fasting, which God has so frequently ordered in the old Law, was to be also practiced by the children of the new... [W]e find it mentioned, in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of our Lord, after the foundation of the Church, applied themselves to fasting. In their Epistles, also, they recommended it to the faithful. Nor could it be otherwise. Though the divine mysteries whereby our Savior wrought our redemption have been consummated, yet are we still sinners: and where there is sin, there must be expiation." (Dom Gueranger)

Also See: Fasting / Abstinence | Penance | Sin | Expiation | The Passion / The Cross | Christian Soldiers | Lent / Easter (Traditional Prayers & Practices)

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Lies

"The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb [that is, Christ]. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and to it the kings of the earth will bring their treasure. During the day its gates will never be shut, and there will be no night there. The treasure and wealth of the nations will be brought there, but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." (Rv. 21:21-27 )

"When the tongue says one thing, and the heart means another; this is deceit, and a lie." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"We can know the degree of sinfulness in a lie by the amount of harm it does and from the intention we had in telling it." (Baltimore Catechism)

"No reason, however, good, will excuse the telling of a lie, because a lie is always bad in itself. It is never allowed, even for a good intention to do a thing that is bad in itself." (Baltimore Catechism)

"A lie is a sin committed by knowingly saying what is untrue with the intention of deceiving. To swear to a lie makes the sin greater, and such swearing is called perjury. Pretense, hypocrisy, false praise, boasting, &c., are similar to lies." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The sin of lying is not solely committed by word of mouth, but by deeds designedly carried out for the purpose of deceiving. It is a lie to call yourself a Christian when you do not practice the works of Jesus Christ." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Sin | Evil / Satan | Gossip / Detraction | Truth

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Liturgy of the Hours

"Can. 1175 In carrying out the liturgy of the hours, each particular hour is, as far as possible, to be recited at the time assigned to it." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1173 In fulfillment of the priestly office of Christ, the Church celebrates the liturgy of the hours, wherein it listens to God speaking to his people and recalls the mystery of salvation. In this way, the Church praises God without ceasing, in song and prayer, and it intercedes with him for the salvation of the whole world." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1174 §1 Clerics are obliged to recite the liturgy of the hours, in accordance with Can. 276, §2, n. 3; members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life are obliged in accordance with their constitutions. §2 Others also of Christ's faithful are earnestly invited, according to circumstances, to take part in the liturgy of the hours as an action of the Church." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: The Divine Office (Priests & Vocations Reflections)

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Making a Choice

"No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 6:24)

"Whoever seeks earth before he seeks heaven will surely lose both earth and heaven." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"You cannot please both God and the world at the same time. They are utterly opposed to each other in their thoughts, their desires, and their actions." (St. John Vianney)

"This world and the world to come are two enemies. We cannot therefore be friends to both; but we must decide which we will forsake and which we will enjoy." (Pope St. Clement I)

"Those who run after the vanities of the world which pass away like the wind give a great deal for very little profit; they give their eternity for the miserable smoke of the world." (St. John Vianney)

"To have the right idea of glory and to love it, you should consider all the riches of the world and its delights as mud and vanity and weariness, as they truly are, and do not esteem anything, however signal and precious, except being in God's grace. All that is best here below is ugly and bitter when compared to those eternal goods for which we were created." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Is it not perfectly clear that anyone can, by his own choice, choose either wickedness or virtue? For if this were not the cause, and if such a faculty did not pertain to our nature, it were not right that some be punished while others receive the reward of virtue. But since everything depends, after grace from above, upon our own choice, so too are punishments prepared for sinners and recompense and reward for those who do right." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 388 A.D.)

Also See: Now is the Time for Repentance | Now is the Time for Mercy | Sin | Evil / Satan | Repentance | Salvation | Rewards | Heaven | Hell / Eternal Damnation | The State of a Soul at Death Determines Its Eternity | All Are Tried / Those Who Are Lost Could Have Been Saved | Few Are Saved | No Salvation Outside the Church

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Mercy

"And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him." (The Blessed Virgin Mary, Lk. 1:50)

"The forgetfulness of God's mercy will lead us into the sins of despair." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Our faults are like a grain of sand beside the great mountain of the mercies of the good God." (St. John Vianney)

"The mercy of God is different from the acts of his mercy: the former is infinite, the latter are finite. God is merciful, but he is also just." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"No one should feel secure in this life, because the whole of it is one long test; and no one who is able to pass from a worse state to a better one can be certain that he will not later also pass from a better state to a worse. Our only hope, our only confidence, our only assured promise, Lord, is Your mercy." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Now is the Time for Mercy | Now is the Time for Repentance | Forgiveness | Repentance | Sin | Jesus Christ | The Church Can Forgive All Sin (Coming Home Reflections) | The Mercy of God (Our Father's Love Reflections) | God's Mercy to Sinners / All Sins Can Be Forgiven (Sacraments Reflections) | Works of Mercy | Sacraments Section | Sacraments Reflections | Mercy (Topical Scripture)

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Missionary

"Then Jesus approached [the eleven disciples] and said to them, 'All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'" (Mt. 28:18-20)

"Can. 781 Because the whole Church is of its nature missionary and the work of evangelization is to be considered a fundamental duty of the people of God, all Christ's faithful must be conscious of the responsibility to play their part in missionary activity." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 791 In order to foster missionary cooperation, in each diocese: 1° vocations to the mission are to be promoted; 2° a priest is to be appointed to promote missionary initiatives, especially the 'Pontifical Missionary Works'; 3° a day for the missions is to be celebrated annually; 4° each year an appropriate financial contribution for the missions is to be sent to the Holy See." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 786 Missionary activity properly so called, whereby the Church is founded amongst peoples or groups where it has not taken root before, is performed principally by the Church sending heralds of the Gospel, until such time as the new Churches are fully constituted, that is, have their own resources and sufficient means, so that they themselves can carry on the work of evangelization." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 782 §1 The Roman Pontiff and the college of bishops have the supreme direction and coordination of endeavors and actions which belong to missionary work and missionary cooperation. §2 As sponsors of the universal Church and of all the churches, individual bishops are to have special solicitude for missionary work, especially by initiating, fostering, and sustaining missionary endeavors in their own particular churches." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 787 §1 By the testimony of their words and of their lives, missionaries are to establish a sincere dialogue with those who do not believe in Christ, so that, taking their native character and culture into account, ways may be opened up by which they can be led to know the good news of the Gospel. §2 Missionaries are to ensure that they teach the truths of the faith to those whom they judge to be ready to receive the good news of the Gospel, so that, if they freely request it, they may be admitted to the reception of baptism." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

Also See: The Catholic Church | Missionary Responsibility of Lay Persons (Catholic Web Links Reflections)

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Mortification

Reminder: Interpretation and application of Scripture should not be contrary to the perennial, official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Do not take Scripture passages out of context. Do not inflict harm on yourself or others, break laws, take unsuitable / incautious or inappropriate / drastic actions, or take figurative items literally.

"Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires." (St. Paul, Gal. 5:24) 

"[P]utting a curb upon our masterful passions is the noblest and greatest freedom." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888 A.D.)

"The perfection of a Christian consists in mortifying himself for the love of Christ. Where there is no great mortification, there is no great sanctity." (St. Philip Neri)

"[I]t is to those who have endured voluntary sufferings in this life that the reward of virtue is vouchsafed" (Pope Leo XIII, "Octobri Mense", 1891)

"By our passions are meant our sinful desires and inclinations. Mortifying them means restraining them and overcoming them so that they have less power to lead us into sin." (Baltimore Catechism) 

"Let us chastise our body crucifying it with its vices, concupiscence and sins, because by living according to the flesh, the devil wishes to take away from us the love of Jesus Christ and eternal life and to lose himself in hell with everyone else." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"It is also true that we should practice mortification in many things to make reparation for our sins. There is no doubt that the person who lives without mortifying himself is someone who will never succeed in saving his soul." (St. John Vianney)

"The road and ascent to God, then, necessarily demands a habitual effort to renounce and mortify the appetites; the sooner this mortification is achieved, the sooner the soul reaches the top. But until the appetites are eliminated, one will not arrive no matter how much virtue is practiced." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Whereas, given over for its false delights to horrible torments, the flesh of the sinner will for ever cry vengeance against the soul that caused its loss; thy members, entering into the beatitude of thy happy soul, and completing its glory by their own splendor, will eternally declare how thy apparent harshness for a time was in reality wisdom and love." (Liturgical Year)

"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 we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who 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. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars) 

"Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, 'the author and finisher of faith.' Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the 'fight proposed to Us,' fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, 'having joy set before him, endured the cross.' Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. 'They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences' - so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888)

Also See: Fasting / Abstinence | Penance | Lent | Ember Days | Concupiscence | Temptations | Sin | Duties of Catholics | Christian Soldiers | Mortification (Catholic Life Reflections) | Mortification (Increase Holiness Reflections) | St. Francis & Mortification | Penance (Catholic Life Reflections) | Fasting (Catholic Life Reflections) | Abstinence (Catholic Life Reflections) 

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Must Not Dissent From Any Point of Truth

"But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith. 'In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them' (S. Augustinus in Psal. liv., n. 19). And this indeed most deservedly; for they, who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not 'bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ' (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. 'You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel' (S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Also See: Truth | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Unity of the Church | Unchangeableness of Dogmas (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Reflections) | True Catholics / True Christians | Heresy / Heretics / False Teachers | No Salvation Outside the Church | Necessity of Being Catholic for Salvation / Combating Religious Indifferentism 

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Mysteries

"A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand." (Baltimore Catechism)

"God requires us to believe mysteries that we may submit our understanding to him." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Every truth which we cannot understand is not a mystery; but every revealed truth which no one can understand is a mystery." (Baltimore Catechism)

"A divine religion must have mysteries because it must have supernatural truths and God Himself must teach them." (Baltimore Catechism)

"If anyone says that in divine revelation there are contained no true mysteries properly so-called, but that all the dogmas of the faith can be understood and demonstrated by properly trained reason from natural principles: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council)

"Now reason, does indeed when it seeks persistently, piously and soberly, achieve by God's gift some understanding, and that most profitable, of the mysteries, whether by analogy from what it knows naturally, or from the connexion of these mysteries with one another and with the final end of humanity; but reason is never rendered capable of penetrating these mysteries in the way in which it penetrates those truths which form its proper object. For the divine mysteries, by their very nature, so far surpass the created understanding that, even when a revelation has been given and accepted by faith, they remain covered by the veil of that same faith and wrapped, as it were, in a certain obscurity, as long as in this mortal life we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, and not by sight." (First Vatican Council)

Also See: Divine Mysteries Exceed the Intellect | Faith 

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