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Reflections: Catholic Basics Section (Misc.)

Jesus Speaking From Boat

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"For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come." (Heb. 13:14)

"The greatest thing about every Catholic is that he is one." (Ayscough)

"The object of religion is that the soul should serve God, not that God should serve the soul." (Benson)

"There is only one Christian faith, that is: Catholic." (St. Bridget of Sweden)

"Catholicism is not a pick and chose religion - you don't get to take out what doesn't appeal to you."

"Our body is like armor, our soul like the warrior. Take care of both, and you will be ready for what comes." (St. Syncletice)

"If a man cannot bear being reviled, he will not see glory. If he is not cleansed of bitterness, he will not savor sweetness." (St. Barsanuphius)

"The eyes see no further than this life, as mine see no further than this wall when the church door is shut. The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity." (St. John Vianney)

"You are a portrait, O man, a portrait painted by your Lord God. Yours is a good artist and painter. Do not deface the good picture" (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he religion established by the sacrament of the Cross of Christ cannot be destroyed by any kind of cruelty" (St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[S]ome men nobler than some angels." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[M]an's ultimate good consists in his soul cleaving to God" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Catholic doctrine is so ancient and well-grounded, so certain and clear in these words of the Apostolic See, that it would be criminal in a Christian to doubt of this truth." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"If the evils and the assaults of the wicked increase, so likewise must the piety of all good people increase and become ever more vigorous." (Pope Pius XII, "Ingruentium Malorum", 1951 A.D.)

"Whether your immediate task be to assist, to protect, to heal, to make peace, let your one aim and most ardent desire be to win or to secure souls for Christ." (Pope St. Pius X, "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.)

"Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest things right, and doing it all for love." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"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)

"Whether they be bond or free, Greek or Barbarian, wise or unwise, women or men, the young or the aged, all are made meet for the honor, which the Evangelist now proceeds to mention. To them gave He power to become the sons of God." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"If anyone says that a human being cannot be divinely elevated to a knowledge and perfection which exceeds the natural, but of himself can and must reach finally the possession of all truth and goodness by continual development: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council)

"If anyone says that human studies are to be treated with such a degree of liberty that their assertions may be maintained as true even when they are opposed to divine revelation, and that they may not be forbidden by the Church: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council)

"Lord our God, save your people, and bless your inheritance; guard the fullness of your Church: hallow them that love the beauty of your house. Glorify them in recompense with your divine power: and forsake not them that put their trust in you." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"Freedom of will weakened in the first man cannot be repaired except through the grace of baptism; 'once it has been lost, it cannot be restored except by Him by whom it could be given. Thus Truth itself says: If the Son liberates you, then you will be truly free'" (Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"Bishops should be revered by the faithful as divinely appointed successors of the Apostles, and to them, even more than to the highest civil authorities should be applied the words: 'Touch not my anointed ones.' For the Bishops have been anointed with the chrism of the Holy Spirit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Coporis Christi", 1943 A.D.) 

"[A]ll faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth." (First Vatican Council)

"See, my children, we must reflect that we have a soul to save, and an eternity that awaits us. The world, its riches, pleasures, and honors will pass away. Let us take care, then. The saints did not all begin well; but they all ended well. We have begun badly; let us end well, and we shall go one day and meet them in Heaven." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"If anyone in word and mind does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers all even to the last portion that has been handed down and preached in the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God, and likewise by the holy Fathers and the five venerable universal Councils, let him be condemned." (Lateran Council, 649 A.D.)

"We distribute the human race into two kinds of men, one living according to man, the other living according to God. Mystically, we call them the two cities, or two societies of men: the one of which is predestined to reign eternally with God, the other to suffer eternal punishment with the devil." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Indeed, through the first Adam, we offended God by not observing His command. Through the second Adam, however, we are reconciled, and are made obedient even unto death. For we were debtors to none other except to Him whose commandment we transgressed at the beginning." (St. Irenaeus, 2nd century A.D.)

"We are poor exiles here below, far away from heaven, our true home; we therefore constantly suffer the pain of exile. We are never satisfied in this world. We always crave for something more, something higher, something better. Whence is this continual restlessness which haunts us through life and ever pursues us to the grave? It is the homesickness of the soul. It is the soul's craving after God." (Muller)

"If anyone shall have said that the condition of the faithful and of those who have not yet come to the true faith is equal, so that Catholics can have a just cause of doubting the faith which they have accepted under the teaching power of the Church, by withholding assent until they have completed the scientific demonstration of the credibility and truth of their faith: let him be anathema." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"[W]orldly labor hardly produces fruit to last our life; and if it does, death comes at last, and deprives us of it all. But the fruit of our spiritual labors endures even after death; and begins to be seen at the very time that the results of our carnal labor begin to disappear. Let us then produce such fruits as may remain, and of which death, which destroys every thing, will be the commencement." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

"From this, therefore, it is clear that the knowledge of good and evil is one thing, but virtue is another; for knowledge can exist without virtue... Virtue is not the knowing of good and evil. Rather, virtue is the doing of good and not-doing of evil. Knowledge, however, is in fact joined to virtue in such wise that knowledge precedes virtue and virtue follows knowledge. Cognition is of no value unless it is followed by action." (Lactantius, c. 304-310 A.D.)

"Founded by Him who came to bring peace to the world and to reconcile man with God, a Messenger of peace upon earth, the Church could only seek religious war by repudiating her high mission and belying it before the eyes of all. To this mission of patient sweetness and love she rests and will remain always faithful... The Church then does not wish for war, and religious war least of all. To affirm the contrary is an outrageous calumny." (Pope St. Pius X, "Une Fois Encore", 1907 A.D.)

"If a prince, an emperor, were to cause one of his subjects to appear before him, and should say to him, 'I wish to make you happy; stay with me, enjoy all my possessions, but be careful not to give me any just cause of displeasure,' with what care, with what ardor, would not that subject endeavor to satisfy his prince! Well, God makes the same proposals to us...and we do not care for His friendship, we make no account of His promises... What a pity!" (Catechism of the Cure of Ars) 

"Man has a spiritual and immortal soul. He is a person, marvelously endowed by his Creator with gifts of body and mind. He is a true 'microcosm,' as the ancients said, a world in miniature, with a value far surpassing that of the vast inanimate cosmos. God alone is his last end, in this life and the next. By sanctifying grace he is raised to the dignity of a son of God, and incorporated into the Kingdom of God in the Mystical Body of Christ." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937 A.D.)

"The angels sin, and are cast into Hell. Man sins, and God promises him a Deliverer. What have we done to deserve this favor? What have we done to deserve to be born in the Catholic religion, while so many souls are every day lost in other religions? What have we done to deserve to be baptized, while so many little children in France, as well as in China and America, die without Baptism? What have we done to deserve the pardon of all the sins that we commit after the age of reason, while so many are deprived of the Sacrament of Penance?" (Catechism of the Cure de Ars)

"In these words a description of the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the 'adoption of the sons' [Rom. 8:15] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior; and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through the laver of regeneration, or a desire for it, as it is written: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:5]." (Council of Trent, 1547 A.D.)

"The frequent holding of general councils is a pre-eminent means of cultivating the Lord's patrimony. It roots out the briars, thorns and thistles of heresies, errors and schisms, corrects deviations, reforms what is deformed and produces a richly fertile crop for the Lord's vineyard. Neglect of councils, on the other hand, spreads and fosters the aforesaid evils. This conclusion is brought before our eyes by the memory of past times and reflection on the present situation." (Council of Constance)

"Indeed, one man's sin, that of Adam, had the power to bring death to the world. If by the transgression of one, death reigned over the world, why should not life more fittingly reign by the righteousness of one? If they were cast out of paradise because of the tree and the eating thereof, shall not believers now enter more easily into paradise because of the tree of Jesus? If that man first formed out of the earth ushered in universal death, shall not He that formed him out of the earth bring in eternal life since He Himself is Life?" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, c. 350 A.D.)

"In what concerns these two men [Adam and Christ], by one of whom we are sold under sin, by the other of whom we are redeemed from sins, by one of whom we are precipitated into death, by the other of whom we are liberated unto life, because the one who ruined us in himself by doing his own will and not of Him by whom we has made, while the other has saved us in Himself not by doing His own will but that of Him by whom He was sent - in what concerns these two men, therefore the Christian faith properly consists." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 418 A.D.)

"More than all other men, we are your helpers and allies in maintaining peace; for it is our position that it is no more possible for the evil-doer, the avaricious and the treacherous, to hide from God, than it is for the virtuous; and that every man will receive the eternal punishment or reward which his actions deserve. Indeed, if all men recognized this, no one would choose evil even for a short time, knowing that he would incur the eternal sentence of fire. On the contrary, he would take every means to control himself and to adorn himself in virtue, so that he might obtain the good gifts of God and escape the punishments." (St. Justin the Martyr, c. 148-161 A.D.)

"Now let us seal the whole argument with a brief summarization. The world was made for this reason, that we might be born. We, in turn, are born, that we might know God, the Maker of the world and of us. We know, in turn, that we may worship. And again, we worship so that we may receive immortality as the reward of our labors - for the worship of God entails great labors indeed. And, in turn, we are recompensed with the reward of immortality so that, having been made like the angels, we may serve the Most High Father and Lord forever, and may be an everlasting kingdom unto God. This is the sum of things; this is the secret of God; this, the mystery of the world." (Lactantius, c. 304-310 A.D.)

"Can. 2331 § 1 Whoever pertinaciously does not obey the Roman Pontiff or a proper Ordinary or another [competent authority] legitimately precepting or prohibiting shall be punished with appropriate penalties, not excluding censures, according to the gravity of the fault. § 2 But those conspiring against the authority of the Roman Pontiff or his Legates or a proper Ordinary or against their legitimate mandates, and likewise those provoking their subjects to disobedience regarding same, are to be coerced with censures and other penalties; and if they are clerics, [they are deprived of] dignities, benefices, and other duties; [and they are deprived of] active and passive voice and office, if they are religious." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The difference between Christians and the rest of men is neither in country, nor in language, nor in customs... They dwell in their own fatherlands, but as temporary inhabitants. They take part in all things as citizens, while enduring the hardships of foreigners. Every foreign place is their fatherland, and every fatherland is to them a foreign place. Like all others, they marry and beget children; but they do not expose their offspring. Their board they set for all, but not their bed. Their lot is cast in the flesh; but they do not live for the flesh. They pass their time on earth; but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and in their private lives they surpass the laws... To put it briefly, what the soul is in the body, that the Christians are in the world." (Letter to Diognetus, c. 2nd century A.D.)

"Although every individual that is called has his own order, and all the sons of the Church are separated from one another by intervals of time, yet as the entire body of the faithful being born in the font of baptism is crucified with Christ in His passion, raised again in His resurrection, and placed at the Father's right hand in His ascension, so with Him are they born in this nativity. For any believer in whatever part of the world that is re-born in Christ, quits the old paths of his original nature and passes into a new man by being re-born; and no longer is he reckoned of his earthly father's stock but among the seed of the Savior, Who became the Son of man in order that we might have the power to be the sons of God. For unless He came down to us in this humiliation, no one would reach His presence by any merits of his own." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"This is the thrilling romance of orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic... She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles... To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect." (Chesterton)

"This is not the place to give a detailed account of what thereupon ensued. Very rapidly did the light of the Gospel shine upon the savage tribes discovered by the Ligourian. For it is sufficiently well known how many of the children of Francis, as well as of Dominic and of Loyola, were accustomed during the two following centuries to voyage thither for this purpose; how they cared for the colonies brought over from Europe; but primarily and chiefly how they converted the natives from superstition to Christianity, sealing their labors in many instances with the testimony of their blood. The names newly given to so many of your towns and rivers and mountains and lakes teach and clearly witness how deeply your beginnings [in the United States] were marked with the footprints of the Catholic Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Longinqua", 1895 A.D.)

"The care of funeral, bestowal in sepulture, pomp of obsequies are more for the comfort of the living, than for the help to the dead. Yet is follows not that the bodies of the departed are to be despised and flung aside, and above all of just and faithful men, which bodies as organs and vessels to all good works their spirit hath holily used. For if a father's garment and ring, and whatever such like, is the more dear to those whom they leave behind, the greater their affection is towards their parents, in no wise are the bodies themselves to be spurned, which truly we wear in more familiar and close conjunction than any of our putting on. For these pertain not to ornament or aid which is applied from without, but to the very nature of man. Whence also the funerals of the just men of old were with dutiful piety cared for, and their obsequies celebrated and sepulture provided: and themselves while living did touching burial or even translation of their bodies give charge to their sons." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"[L]et the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"...whether the situation in which we have found ourselves during the last hundred and fifty years or so is destined to endure or not, it accustomed us to strict order within the Catholic body and it has made us regard an equable, peaceful, united Catholic life as normal to Catholic culture. That the life of the Church was one fierce conflict throughout the first three centuries is a commonplace; but that conflict did not cease with Constantinople; it continued in other forms. It continued without ceasing for century after century. Almost exactly coinciding with the great movement of conversion about 320-330, whereby people began to come by swarms into the official religion (which had hitherto counted, perhaps, not more than a tenth or an eighth of the whole population), the very nature of the faith was threatened by the Arian perversion... Now, Arianism lay heavenly upon the Church for centuries... The Catholic Church then, though triumphant over paganism after A.D. 300, entered into a new conflict which was not achieved for another three hundred years. But the date A.D. 600 does not roughly mark the beginning of peace. It only marks the origins of a new battle following the death of Arianism..." (Belloc)

"Christ Our Lord entrusted the truth which He had brought from heaven to the Apostles, and through them to their successors. He sent His Apostles, as He had been sent by the Father (Jn. 20:21), to teach all nations everything they had heard from Him (cf. Matt. 28:19 f.). The Apostles are, therefore, by divine right the true doctors and teachers in the Church. Besides the lawful successors of the Apostles, namely the Roman Pontiff for the universal Church and Bishops for the faithful entrusted to their care (cf. can. 1326), there are no other teachers divinely constituted in the Church of Christ. But both the Bishops and, first of all, the Supreme Teacher and Vicar of Christ on earth, may associate others with themselves in their work of teacher, and use their advice; they delegate to them the faculty to teach, either by special grant, or by conferring an office to which the faculty is attached (cf. can. 1328). Those who are so called teach not in their own name, nor by reason of their theological knowledge, but by reason of the mandate which they have received from the lawful Teaching Authority. Their faculty always remains subject to that Authority, nor is it ever exercised in its own right or independently. Bishops, for their part, by conferring this faculty are not deprived of the right to teach; they retain the very grave obligation of supervising the doctrine, which others propose, in order to help them, and of seeing to its integrity and security." (Pope Pius XII, "Si Diligis", 1954 A.D.)

"From these considerations, the proof develops on these lines: if Mary, in taking an active part in the work of salvation, was, by God's design, associated with Jesus Christ, the source of salvation itself, in a manner comparable to that in which Eve was associated with Adam, the source of death, so that it may be stated that the work of our salvation was accomplished by a kind of 'recapitulation,' in which a virgin was instrumental in the salvation of the human race, just as a virgin had been closely associated with its death; if, moreover, it can likewise be stated that this glorious Lady had been chosen Mother of Christ 'in order that she might become a partner in the redemption of the human race'; and if, in truth, 'it was she who, free of the stain of actual and original sin, and ever most closely bound to her Son, on Golgotha offered that Son to the Eternal Father together with the complete sacrifice of her maternal rights and maternal love, like a new Eve, for all the sons of Adam, stained as they were by his lamentable fall,' then it may be legitimately concluded that as Christ, the new Adam, must be called a King not merely because He is Son of God, but also because He is our Redeemer, so, analogously, the Most Blessed Virgin is queen not only because she is Mother of God, but also because, as the new Eve, she was associated with the new Adam." (Pope Pius XII, "Ad Caeli Reginam", 1954 A.D.)

"Whoever then thou art that devoutly and faithfully boastest of the Christian name, estimate this atonement at its right worth. For to thee who wast a castaway, banished from the realms of paradise, dying of thy weary exile, reduced to dust and ashes, without further hope of living, by the Incarnation of the Word was given the power to return from afar to thy Maker, to recognize thy parentage, to become free after slavery, to be promoted from being an outcast to sonship: so that, thou who wast born of corruptible flesh, mayest be reborn by the Spirit of God, and obtain through grace what thou hadst not by nature, and, if thou acknowledge thyself the son of God by the spirit of adoption, dare to call God Father. Freed from the accusings of a bad conscience, aspire to the kingdom of heaven, do God's will supported by the Divine help, imitate the angels upon earth, feed on the strength of immortal sustenance, fight fearlessly on the side of piety against hostile temptations, and if thou keep thy allegiance in the heavenly warfare, doubt not that thou wilt be crowned for thy victory in the triumphant camp of the Eternal King, when the resurrection that is prepared for the faithful has raised thee to participate in the heavenly Kingdom." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"It is well known how much the Church values human reason, in what is concerned with definitely demonstrating the existence of one personal God; and likewise with proving irrefutably from divine signs the foundations of the Christian faith itself; and, in like manner, with expressing rightly the law which the Creator has placed in the souls of men; and finally, with attaining some understanding, and this a most fruitful understanding, of the mysteries. Yet reason will be able to fulfill this function only when it has been trained in the required manner; namely, when it has become imbued with that sound philosophy which has long stood out as a patrimony handed down from the earlier Christian ages, and so possesses the authority of an even higher order, because the magisterium of the Church has carefully weighed its principles and chief assertions, which were gradually made clear and defined by men of great genius, by the test of divine 'revelation' itself. Indeed, this philosophy, recognized and accepted within the Church, protects the true and sincere value of human understanding, and constant metaphysical principles - namely, of sufficient reason, causality, and finality - and, finally, the acquisition of certain and immutable truth." (Pope Pius XII, "Humani Generis", 1950 A.D.)

"Since, however, both these faculties are imperfect, it is possible, as is often seen, that the reason should propose something which is not really good, but which has the appearance of good, and that the will should choose accordingly. For, as the possibility of error, and actual error, are defects of the mind and attest its imperfection, so the pursuit of what has a false appearance of good, though a proof of our freedom, just as a disease is a proof of our vitality, implies defect in human liberty. The will also, simply because of its dependence on the reason, no sooner desires anything contrary thereto than it abuses its freedom of choice and corrupts its very essence. Thus it is that the infinitely perfect God, although supremely free, because of the supremacy of His intellect and of His essential goodness, nevertheless cannot choose evil; neither can the angels and saints, who enjoy the beatific vision. St. Augustine and others urged most admirably against the Pelagians that, if the possibility of deflection from good belonged to the essence or perfection of liberty, then God, Jesus Christ, and the angels and saints, who have not this power, would have no liberty at all, or would have less liberty than man has in his state of pilgrimage and imperfection. This subject is often discussed by the Angelic Doctor in his demonstration that the possibility of sinning is not freedom, but slavery." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

"When Jesus Christ had blotted out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, fastening it to the cross, at once God's wrath was appeased, the primeval fetters of slavery were struck off from unhappy and erring man, God's favor was won back, grace restored, the gates of Heaven opened, the right to enter them revived, and the means afforded of doing so. Then man, as though awakening from a long-continued and deadly lethargy, beheld at length the light of the truth, for long ages desired, yet sought in vain. First of all, he realized that he was born to much higher and more glorious things than the frail and inconstant objects of sense which had hitherto formed the end of his thoughts and cares. He learnt that the meaning of human life, the supreme law, the end of all things was this: that we come from God and must return to Him. From this first principle the consciousness of human dignity was revived: men's hearts realized the universal brotherhood: as a consequence, human rights and duties were either perfected or even newly created, whilst on all sides were evoked virtues undreamt of in pagan philosophy. Thus men's aims, life, habits and customs received a new direction. As the knowledge of the Redeemer spread far and wide and His power, which destroyeth ignorance and former vices, penetrated into the very life-blood of the nations, such a change came about that the face of the world was entirely altered by the creation of a Christian civilization. The remembrance of these events, Venerable Brethren, is full of infinite joy, but it also teaches us the lesson that we must both feel and render with our whole hearts gratitude to our Divine Savior." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"We use words, in speaking to God, for one reason, and in speaking to man, for another reason. For when speaking to man we use words in order to tell him our thoughts which are unknown to him. Wherefore we praise a man with our lips, in order that he or others may learn that we have a good opinion of him: so that in consequence we may incite him to yet better things; and that we may induce others, who hear him praised, to think well of him, to reverence him, and to imitate him. On the other hand we employ words, in speaking to God, not indeed to make known our thoughts to Him Who is the searcher of hearts, but that we may bring ourselves and our hearers to reverence Him. Consequently we need to praise God with our lips, not indeed for His sake, but for our own sake; since by praising Him our devotion is aroused towards Him, according to Psalm 50:23: 'The sacrifice of praise shall glorify Me, and there is the way by which I will show him the salvation of God.' And forasmuch as man, by praising God, ascends in his affections to God, by so much is he withdrawn from things opposed to God, according to Isaiah 48:9, 'For My praise I will bridle thee lest thou shouldst perish.' The praise of the lips is also profitable to others by inciting their affections towards God, wherefore it is written (Psalm 34:1): 'His praise shall always be in my mouth,' and farther on: 'Let the meek hear and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me.'... [However, it] profits one nothing to praise with the lips if one praise not with the heart. For the heart speaks God's praises when it fervently recalls 'the glorious things of His works' (Ecclesiasticus 17:7,8). Yet the outward praise of the lips avails to arouse the inward fervor of those who praise, and to incite others to praise God, as stated [previously]." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"And thus according to the statements of the Holy Scriptures... or the explanations of the ancient Fathers, God being propitious, we ought to proclaim and to believe that through the sin of the first man free will was so changed and so weakened that afterwards no one could either love God as he ought, or believe in God, or perform what is good on account of God, unless the grace of divine mercy reached him first. Therefore, we believe that in the [case of] the just Abel, and Noah and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the multitude of the ancient saints that illustrious faith which the Apostle Paul proclaims in their praise [Heb. 11], was conferred not by the good of nature, which had been given before in [the case of] Adam, but through the grace of God. Even after the coming of the Lord we know and likewise believe that this grace was not held in the free will of all who desired to be baptized, but was bestowed by the bounty of Christ, according to what has already been said often, and Paul the Apostle declares: It has been given to you for Christ, not only, that you may believe in him, but also that you may suffer for him [Phil. 1:29]; and this: God, who has begun a good work in you, will perfect it even to the day of our Lord [Phil. 1:6]; and this: By grace you are made safe through faith, and this not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God [Eph. 2:8]; and that which the Apostle says about himself: I have obtained mercy, that I may be faithful [1 Cor. 7:25; 1 Tim. 1:13]; he did not say: 'because I was,' but: 'that I may be.' And that: What have you, that you have not received? [1 Cor. 4:7]. And that: Every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights [Jas. 1:17]. And that: No one has anything, except it has been given him from above [John 3:27]. Innumerable are the testimonies of the Sacred Scriptures which can be brought forward to prove grace, but they are passed over out of a desire for brevity; also because, in truth, more [proofs] will not profit those for whom a few do not suffice." (Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"Once each week, on the day which she has called the Lord's Day, she keeps the memory of the Lord's resurrection. She also celebrates it once every year, together with His blessed Passion, at Easter, that most solemn of all feasts. In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ from the Incarnation and Nativity to the Ascension, to Pentecost and the expectation of the blessed hope of the coming of the Lord. Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption, she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord's powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present for all time; the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace. In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ, Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, with a special love. She is inseparably linked with her son's saving work. In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption, and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be. The Church has also included in the annual cycle memorial days of the martyrs and other saints. Raised up to perfection by the manifold grace of God and already in possession of eternal salvation, they sing God's perfect praise in heaven and pray for us. By celebrating their anniversaries the Church proclaims achievement of the paschal mystery in the saints who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God's favors. Finally, in the various seasons of the year and in keeping with her traditional discipline, the Church completes the formation of the faithful by means of pious practices for soul and body, by instruction, prayer, and works of penance and mercy." (Second Vatican Council)

"Now the devil, seeing His face shining in prayer, recollected Moses, whose face was glorified. But Moses indeed was arrayed with a glory, which came from without; our Lord, with that which proceeded from the inherent brightness of Divine glory. For since in the hypostatical union there is one and the same glory of the Word and the flesh, He is transfigured not as receiving what He was not, but manifesting to His disciples what He was. Hence, according to Matthew, it is said, that He was transfigured before them, and that His face shone as the sun; for what the sun is in things of sense, God is in spiritual things. And as the sun, which is the fountain of light, cannot be easily seen, but its light is perceived from that which reaches the earth; so the countenance of Christ shines more intensely, like the sun, but His raiment is white as snow; as it follows, And his raiment was white and glistening; that is, lighted up by its participation of the divine light. And a little afterwards, but while these things were so, that it might be shown there was but one Lord of the new and old covenant, and the mouths of heretics might be shut, and men might believe in the resurrection, and He also, who was transfigured, be believed to be the Lord of the living and the dead, Moses and Elias, as servants, stand by their Lord in His glory; hence it follows, And behold there talked with him two men. For it became men, seeing the glory and confidence of their fellow servants, to admire indeed the merciful condescension of the Lord, but to emulate those who had labored before them, and looking to the pleasantness of future blessings, to be the more strengthened for conflicts. For he who has known the reward of his labors, will the more easily endure them." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

"There are innumerable and extensive fields of thought, properly belonging to the human mind, in which it may have free scope for its investigations and speculations, and that not only agreeably to its nature, but even by a necessity of its nature. But what is unlawful and unnatural is that the human mind should refuse to be restricted within its proper limits, and, throwing aside its becoming modesty, should refuse to acknowledge Christ's teaching. This teaching, upon which our salvation depends, is almost entirely about God and the things of God. No human wisdom has invented it, but the Son of God hath received and drunk it in entirely from His Father: 'The words which thou gayest me, 1 have given to them' (John xvii., 8). Hence this teaching necessarily embraces many subjects which are not indeed contrary to reason - for that would be an impossibility - but so exalted that we can no more attain them by our own reasoning than we can comprehend God as He is in Himself. If there be so many things hidden and veiled by nature, which no human ingenuity can explain, and yet which no man in his senses can doubt, it would be an abuse of liberty to refuse to accept those which are entirely above nature, because their essence cannot be discovered. To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity. Our intellect must bow humbly and reverently 'unto the obedience of Christ,' so that it be held captive by His divinity and authority: 'bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ' (2 Corinthians x., 5). Such obedience Christ requires, and justly so. For He is God, and as such holds supreme dominion over man's intellect as well as over his will. By obeying Christ with his intellect man by no means acts in a servile manner, but in complete accordance with his reason and his natural dignity. For by his will he yields, not to the authority of any man, but to that of God, the author of his being, and the first principle to Whom he is subject by the very law of his nature. He does not suffer himself to be forced by the theories of any human teacher, but by the eternal and unchangeable truth. Hence he attains at one and the same time the natural good of the intellect and his own liberty. For the truth which proceeds from the teaching of Christ clearly demonstrates the real nature and value of every being; and man, being endowed with this knowledge, if he but obey the truth as perceived, will make all things subject to himself, not himself to them; his appetites to his reason, not his reason to his appetites. Thus the slavery of sin and falsehood will be shaken off, and the most perfect liberty attained: 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free' (John viii., 32)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"On account therefore, dearly-beloved, of these crafty designs of our ancient foe, the unspeakable goodness of Christ has wished us to know, what was to be decreed about all mankind in the day of retribution, that, while in this life healing remedies are legitimately offered, while restoration is not denied to the contrite, and those who have been long barren can at length be fruitful, the verdict on which justice has determined may be fore-stalled and the picture of God's coming to judge the world never depart from the mind's eye. For the Lord will come in His glorious Majesty, as He Himself has foretold, and there will be with Him an innumerable host of angel-legions radiant in their splendor. Before the throne of His power will all the nations of the world be gathered; and all the men that in all ages and on all the face of the earth have been born, shall stand in the Judge's sight. Then shall be separated the just from the unjust, the guiltless from the guilty; and when the sons of piety, their works of mercy reviewed, have received the Kingdom prepared for them, the unjust shall be upbraided for their utter barrenness, and those on the left having naught in common with those on the right, shall by the condemnation of the Almighty Judge be cast into the fire prepared for the torture of the devil and his angels, with him to share the punishment, whose will they choose to do. Who then would not tremble at this doom of eternal torment? Who would not dread evils which are never to be ended? But since this severity is only denounced in order that we may seek for mercy, we too in this present life must show such open-handed mercy that after perilous neglect returning to works of piety it may be possible for us to be set free from this doom. For this is the purpose of the Judge's might and of the Savior's graciousness, that the unrighteous may forsake his ways and the sinner give up his wicked habits. Let those who wish Christ to spare them, have mercy on the poor; let them give freely to feed the wretched, who desire to attain to the society of the blessed. Let no man consider his fellow vile, nor despise in any one that nature which the Creator of the world made His own. For who that labors can deny that Christ claims that labor as done unto Himself? Your fellow-slave is helped thereby, but it is the Lord who will repay. The feeding of the needy is the purchase money of the heavenly kingdom and the free dispenser of things temporal is made the heir of things eternal. But how has such small expenditure deserved to be valued so highly except because our works are weighed in the balance of love, and when a man loves what God loves, he is deservedly raised into His kingdom, whose attribute of love has in part become his?" (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"It is true, Venerable Brethren, that in this arduous task of the restoration of the human race in Christ neither you nor your clergy should exclude all assistance. We know that God recommended every one to have a care for his neighbor (Eccli. xvii., 12). For it is not priests alone, but all the faithful without exception, who must concern themselves with the interests of God and souls - not, of course, according to their own views, but always under the direction and orders of the bishops; for to no one in the Church except you is it given to preside over, to teach, to 'govern the Church of God which the Holy Ghost has placed you to rule' (Acts xx., 28). Our predecessors have long since approved and blessed those Catholics who have banded together in societies of various kinds, but always religious in their aim. We, too, have no hesitation in awarding Our praise to this great idea, and We earnestly desire to see it propagated and flourish in town and country. But We wish that all such associations aim first and chiefly at the constant maintenance of Christian life, among those who belong to them. For truly it is of little avail to discuss questions with nice subtlety, or to discourse eloquently of rights and duties, when all this is unconnected with practice. The times we live in demand action - but action which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage. Such luminous examples given by the great army of soldiers of Christ will be of much greater avail in moving and drawing men than words and sublime dissertations; and it will easily come about that when human respect has been driven out, and prejudices and doubting laid aside, large numbers will be won to Christ, becoming in their turn promoters of His knowledge and love which are the road to true and solid happiness. Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, there will certainly be no more need for us to labor further to see all things restored in Christ. Nor is it for the attainment of eternal welfare alone that this will be of service - it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society. For when these conditions have been secured, the upper and wealthy classes will learn to be just and charitable to the lowly, and these will be able to bear with tranquility and patience the trials of a very hard lot; the citizens will obey not lust but law, reverence and love will be deemed a duty towards those that govern, 'whose power comes only from God' (Rom. xiii., I). And then? Then, at last, it will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion; and We, in demanding that same liberty, are defending not only the sacred rights of religion, but are also consulting the common weal and the safety of nations. For it continues to be true that 'piety is useful for all things' (I. Tim. iv., 8) - when this is strong and flourishing 'the people will' truly 'sit in the fullness of peace' (Is. xxxii., 18)." (Pope Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"The Son of God, redeemer of the human race, our lord Jesus Christ, promised, when about to return to his heavenly Father, that he would be with this Church Militant upon earth all days even to the end of the world. Hence never at any time has he ceased to stand by his beloved bride, assisting her when she teaches, blessing her in her labors and bringing her help when she is in danger. Now this redemptive providence appears very clearly in unnumbered benefits, but most especially is it manifested in the advantages which have been secured for the Christian world by ecumenical councils, among which the council of Trent requires special mention, celebrated though it was in evil days. Thence came 1. a closer definition and more fruitful exposition of the holy dogmas of religion and 2. the condemnation and repression of errors; thence too, 3. the restoration and vigorous strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, 4. the advancement of the clergy in zeal for learning and piety, 5. the founding of colleges for the training of the young for the service of religion; and finally 6. the renewal of the moral life of the Christian people by a more accurate instruction of the faithful, and a more frequent reception of the sacraments. What is more, thence also came 7. a closer union of the members with the visible head, and an increased vigor in the whole mystical body of Christ. Thence came 8. the multiplication of religious orders and other organizations of Christian piety; thence too 9. that determined and constant ardor for the spreading of Christ's kingdom abroad in the world, even at the cost of shedding one's blood. While we recall with grateful hearts, as is only fitting, these and other outstanding gains, which the divine mercy has bestowed on the Church especially by means of the last ecumenical synod, we cannot subdue the bitter grief that we feel at most serious evils, which have largely arisen either because the authority of the sacred synod was held in contempt by all too many, or because its wise decrees were neglected. Everybody knows that those heresies, condemned by the fathers of Trent, which rejected the divine magisterium of the Church and allowed religious questions to be a matter for the judgment of each individual, have gradually collapsed into a multiplicity of sects, either at variance or in agreement with one another; and by this means a good many people have had all faith in Christ destroyed. Indeed even the holy Bible itself, which they at one time claimed to be the sole source and judge of the Christian faith, is no longer held to be divine, but they begin to assimilate it to the inventions of myth... With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith." (First Vatican Council)

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