Heaven, Hell, Purgatory & Limbo
"Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not Him. Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him: Because we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:1-2)
What is Heaven? The place of perfect happiness in the next world.
"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for those that love Him."
(1 Corinthians 2:9)
Who will go to Heaven? Only those who have Sanctifying Grace in their souls at the moment of death.
"Then shall the king say to them that shall be on His right hand: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)
What is the happiness of Heaven? It will consist in seeing God face to face and possessing Him in divine love.
"We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part: But then I shall know even as I am known."
(1 Corinthians 13:12)
Why is the happiness of Heaven perfect? Because God made you for Himself and you can find perfect satisfaction in Him alone.
"Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." (St. Augustine)
Will everyone have the same happiness in Heaven? No, the happiness of some will be greater than that of others, but everyone will be as happy as he can be.
Why will some have greater happiness than others? Because some will see God more clearly.
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will render to every man according to his works."
Why will some see God more clearly? Because they died with more Sanctifying Grace on their souls.
"And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor." (1 Corinthians 3:8)
How, then, should you spend your time on Earth? Try to get as much Sanctifying Grace in your soul as you can before you die.
"Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you." (1 Corinthians 3:8) "The night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4)
Will there be any sorrow or pain in Heaven? No, nor will there be any sickness, temptation, or sin, but complete, unending joy.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more."
Will you know your family and friends in Heaven? Yes, and also the Angels and Saints.
"Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: But you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God."
What would keep you from getting into Heaven? Dying with a serious (mortal) sin on your soul.
"And there shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb." (Apocalypse 21:27)
How often should you pray to get to Heaven? Every day, since getting to Heaven is the purpose of life.
"As the heart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after Thee, O God. My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?" (Psalm 41:2-3)
EXPLANATION OF LIMBO
What is Limbo exactly? The residence of those souls excluded from Heaven through no fault of there own; because of the ancient belief that it was situated near the confines of Hell. Theologians distinguished a two-fold Limbo: the Limbo of the Fathers (Limbus patrum) , where the just that died before Christ, were detained until Heaven, which had been closed in punishment for the sin of Adam, was reopened by the Savior, Jesus Christ; and the Limbo of infants (Limbus infantium), where those who die in original sin, but without personal mortal sin, are deprived of the happiness which would come to them in the supernatural order, but not the happiness in the natural order.
What is the chief difference between Heaven and Limbo? The souls in Heaven see God face to face; whereas, those in Limbo do not. Seeing God face to face is called the Beatific Vision. It contains all possible happiness and is unending.
You will never get bored or used to heaven because God is unlimited in every way. Nothing on this earth can completely satisfy you, whether it is money or fame or pleasure, since everything created is limited.
Thinking often of Heaven, putting it before everything else, will give you the correct scale of values, as well as peace of mind in this world.
"The Son of Man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 13:41-42)
What is Hell? The place in the next world where the souls of the damned are condemned to suffer forever with the devils.
"If any one abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." (John 15:6)
How do you know there is a Hell? The Bible and Tradition (and Jesus too) often speak of the everlasting punishments of Hell.
"Then He shall say to them also that shall be on His left hand: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go into everlasting punishments: But the just, into life everlasting." (Matthew 25:41-46)
Who will go to Hell? Those who die with mortal sin on their souls, that is, without Sanctifying Grace.
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire." (Apocalypse 20:15)
Does anyone ever get out of Hell? No, Hell is a place of "everlasting punishment." (Matthew 25:46)
"And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night." (Apocalypse 14:11)
What are the pains of Hell? Separation from God, torture by fire, regret, and the companionship of the devils.
"Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death: a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth." (Job 10:21-22)
What is the pain of separation from God? To be separated from God, the Source of all love and happiness, will be the greatest pain in Hell.
"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with the angels of His power: In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
Is there real fire in Hell? Yes, Jesus often spoke of the "unquenchable fire" of Hell and says that the damned souls will be "salted with fire" (Mark 9:43), which is "everlasting fire" (Matthew 25:41).
"If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." (John 15:6)
How does the fire of Hell differ from the fire here on earth? The fire in Hell burns without consuming (it does not burn up your body, so the pain never ends) and can torture not only the body but the soul as well.
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished." (Mark 9:47)
"Humble thy spirit very much: For the vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms." (Ecclesiasticus 7:19)
What is the pain of regret? The pain of regret means that you will be tortured forever with the thought that you had so many chances to save your soul and be happy with God, but lost Heaven because of mortal sin.
What is the pain of companionship of the devils? Your companions in Hell will be the devils and the other lost souls, who will always hate you and mock you for being such a fool.
"Then He shall say to them also that shall be on His left hand: Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41)
Are the pains of Hell the same for all? All the souls in Hell will have the same type of punishment, but the degree of suffering will differ according to the number and kind of sins committed.
Think often of Hell and the possibility of your going there. Pray every day that you will not die with mortal sin on your soul. Say the Act of Contrition every night:
"O my God, I am very sorry for having offended Thee, and I hate all of my sins, because I fear the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because my sins offend Thee, my dear God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, do penance, and amend my life. Amen."
Presumption is the sin committed by people who think that a good God will not punish a sinner with the torments of Hell. God, being a just judge, has to reject those who choose to separate themselves from Him by mortal sin.
The horror of Hell helps us understand the evil of mortal sin. Mortal sin is the greatest evil in the universe.
"And the day following Judas [Machabeus] came
with his company, to take away the bodies of them that were slain, and to bury
them with their kinsmen, in the sepulchres of their fathers. And they found
under the coats of the slain some of the donaries of the idols of Jamnia,
which the law forbiddeth to the Jews: So that all plainly saw, that for this
cause they were slain. Then they all blessed the just judgment of the Lord,
who had discovered the things that were hidden. And so betaking themselves to
prayers, they besought Him, that the sin which had been committed might be
forgotten. But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves
from sin, forasmuch as they saw before their eyes what had happened, because
of the sins of those that were slain. And making a gathering, he sent twelve
thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the
sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection,
(for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would
have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead), and because he
considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace
laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for
the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."
(2 Machabees 12:39-46) What is Purgatory?
What is Purgatory?
What does the word "Purgatory" mean? It means "cleansing" (or "purging"). Purgatory is a place where the soul is cleansed of unforgiven venial sin and/or the "debt" of sins already forgiven but not yet made up for.
"If any one abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." (John 15:6)
How do you know there is a Purgatory? The constant teaching and practice of the Catholic Church, based on the Bible and tradition, and even common sense, prove the existence of Purgatory.
How does common sense indicate the existence of Purgatory? Only people with mortal sin go to Hell, and on the other hand, no one can enter Heaven with even the smallest sin. Therefore, there must be a place in the next world where lesser sins can be taken off the soul.
Who will go to Purgatory? People who die with Sanctifying Grace in their souls, but --
who die with venial sin on their souls, or
who have not completed (satisfied for) the punishment still due to
their already forgiven sins.
who die with venial sin on their souls, or
who have not completed (satisfied for) the punishment still due to their already forgiven sins.
What is meant by the "punishment still due to sin"? This means that, even though God forgives your sins, He still requires that you be punished for them (i.e. "pay" for them), either in this life or in the next.
For example: A boy playing ball in his yard breaks his neighbor's window. He goes and tells the lady he is sorry, and she forgives him but she tells him he will still have to pay for the window.
Do you suffer in Purgatory? Yes. Besides not being allowed to see God face to face, the souls in Purgatory suffer a great deal. "The fire of Purgatory", says St. Augustine, "is more terrible than man can suffer in this life."
How long will you have suffer in Purgatory? That depends on the number and seriousness of the sins to be atoned for.
"My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God." (Psalm 41:3)
Where do you go when you leave Purgatory? To Heaven to see God and enjoy Him forever.
"Amen I say to thee, thou shalt not come out from thence till thou repay the last farthing." (Matthew 5:26)
Will Purgatory ever end? Yes, at the Last Judgment. After that all souls will be in either Heaven or Hell forever.
Can you help the souls in Purgatory? You can shorten their stay by having Masses said for them, by praying for them and by doing good works for them.
"Have pity on me, have pity on me, at least you my friends, because the hand of the Lord hath touched me." (Job 19:21)
Does the Bible say anything about praying for the dead? Yes. We read that Judas Machabeus, "sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifices to be offered for the sins of the dead." (2 Machabees 12:43)
How can you avoid Purgatory? Avoid even the smallest faults, do penance for sins already forgiven, gain indulgences and receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
All Souls' Day is the day set aside by the Church for special prayers and Masses for all the souls suffering in Purgatory. It is celebrated every year on November 2.
The souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves. We should help them by our prayers and sacrifices. They, in turn, can and do pray for us.
The souls in Purgatory are known as the Poor Souls
For Prayers for the Poor Souls in Purgatory...Click Here
How to Avoid Purgatory
By Fr. Paul O'Sullivan
1. CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
2. HOW CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
3. THE FIRST MEANS: REMOVING THE CAUSE
4. THE SECOND MEANS: PENANCE
5. THE THIRD MEANS: SUFFERING
6. THE FOURTH MEANS: CONFESSION, COMMUNION, HOLY MASS
7. THE FIFTH MEANS: ASKING GOD
8. A SIXTH MEANS: RESIGNATION TO DEATH
9. THE SEVENTH MEANS: EXTREME UNCTION
10. INDULGENCES AND PURGATORY
11. THE THIRD ORDERS
12. THOSE WHO EARNESTLY HELP THE HOLY SOULS MAY WELL HOPE TO AVOID
13. TO AVOID PURGATORY, DO AS FOLLOWS
14. HOW WE CAN HELP THE HOLY SOULS
* THE BROWN SCAPULAR
Our Lord came on earth expressly to give us a perfect Redemption. He gave us a Law of Love, a Religion in every way to suit our human hearts, destined to make us holy and happy. His Commandments, counsels and promises all breathe peace, joy, mercy and love.The idea that nearly all of us shall, notwithstanding, have to pass a period more or less long in the excruciating fires of Purgatory after death seems to be at variance with this all-merciful and all-loving plan of our Divine Lord.It is true that we are weak and fall many times and that God's justice is rigorous and exacting, but it is equally certain that God's mercy and love are above all His works. It is no less certain that Our Lord has given us abundant grace and strength to save us from sin and many (and most efficacious) means of satisfying for any sins that we may have committed. This last fact seems to be almost entirely overlooked, or imperfectly understood by the majority of Catholics. Of course, those who go on deliberately sinning and who make no effort to correct their faults and refuse to use the many wonderful means God offers them for satisfying for sin, condemn themselves to Purgatory. The object of this little book is to show how we can avoid Purgatory by using the means God has so generously offered us, and, secondly, to show that the use of these means is within the reach of every ordinary Christian. The careful perusal of these pages will be a source of much benefit and consolation to all who read them. The author offers them to the loving Heart of Jesus and asks Him to bless
CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY? YES.
Many think that it is practically impossible for the ordinary Christian to avoid Purgatory. Go there we all must--so they say. They laughingly remark: "It will be well for us if we ever get there" Alas! When too late they will recognize how terribly rash their words were. As a consequence of such fatalistic ideas, many make no serious effort to avoid Purgatory, or even to lessen the term they may have to pass there. Thank God all do not hold such gloomy views.
WE SHALL STRIVE IN THE FOLLOWING PAGES TO SHOW
a) How all can notably shorten their period of expiation in Purgatory; b) And how they may even avoid Purgatory altogether. These pages are well worth reading and re-reading. The fact is that a great number of souls go to Purgatory and remain there for long years simply because they had never been told how they could have avoided it. The means we suggest are easy, practical and within the reach of all.
Moreover, far from being irksome, the use of these means will only serve to make our lives on this earth holier and happier and will take away the exaggerated fear of death which terrifies so many. We ask you, Dear Reader, to put this little booklet into the hands of all
your friends. You cannot do them a greater service.
HOW CAN WE AVOID PURGATORY?
The reason why we have to pass through Purgatory after death is that we have committed sins and have not made satisfaction for them. Every individual sin must be expiated--in this life or the next! Not even the slightest shadow of sin or evil can enter the all-holy presence of God. The graver, the more frequent the sins, the longer will be the period of expiation and the more intense the pain. It is not God's fault, nor God's wish, that we go to Purgatory! The fault is all our own. We have sinned and have not made satisfaction. Even after our sin, God, in His infinite goodness, places at our disposal many easy and efficacious means by which we may considerably lessen our term of expiation, or even entirely cancel it. Most Christians, with incomprehensible rashness, neglect these means and so
have to pay their debts in the dreadful prison house of Purgatory. We will briefly enumerate some of the principal means by which we can avoid Purgatory-or at least lessen its severity and duration.
THE FIRST MEANS: REMOVING THE CAUSE
The First Means of avoiding Purgatory is manifestly to remove the cause which sends us there, which is sin.It may not be easy to refrain from all sin, even the smaller sins, but every ordinary Christian can, by the frequent use of the Sacraments, easily
abstain from mortal sin. Secondly, we can all avoid deliberate and grave venial sin. It is an awful thing to offend the good God deliberately. Deliberation intensifies enormously the malice of sin and offends God much more than faults of weakness, or sins committed when we are off our guard. Lastly, we must use our best endeavors to break off bad habits. Habits, like deliberation, add seriously to the malice of sin A deliberate falsehood is very much worse than a hasty lie of excuse, and a lie resulting from the inveterate habit of lying is very much worse than a casual lie. A lady once told us how she had, when younger, the habit of constantly speaking ill of her neighbors. Having heard a sermon on the subject, she made a strong resolution never to do so again, and kept it. That simple, strong resolution changed the whole trend of her life and saved her from thousands of sins, and most surely from a long and painful Purgatory.
Who cannot make a like resolution and keep it?
If a Christian avoids, as he easily can, these three classes of sin, viz., mortal sins, deliberate and grave venial sins, and habits of sin, it will be relatively easy for him to atone for faults of frailty, as we shall presently see.
We would be well advised to pronounce with special emphasis and fervour, every time we say the Our Father, the words:"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us"These are the very words of God Himself and repeated frequently and
fervently will certainly obtain for us pardon of our sins.
THE SECOND MEANS: PENANCE
The Second Means of avoiding Purgatory is to satisfy for our sins in this life by doing penance. "Do penance or you shall all likewise perish" Do penance, or you will burn long years in Purgatory, is a fact that there is no getting away from. This is a terrifying thought and one that makes the bravest man shudder. Which of us does not tremble when he thinks of those who have been burnt to death in a slow fire? What fear would not be ours if we had to face a similar death? Yet their suffering was of relatively short duration. The incomparably fiercer fire of Purgatory, which we may have to face, may last 20, or 50 or 100 years! Many people have such a horror of penance that they never even dream of practicing it. It is like the fear that children have of ghosts, a very great but a very unfounded fear. Their idea is that penance is something awful They think perhaps of the severe penances of the great Saints and of course are afraid to attempt anything of a like kind.
The Second Means: Penance
God does not ask us, as a rule, to do what is heroic. When He does, He gives us all the strength necessary, as in the case of the Saints. He asks each one to do a little. If we are afraid of doing much, and it is only natural that some should be, let us do at least a little. No one but a coward is afraid to do a little, especially if he gets much in exchange. The easy road to Heaven of Saint Therese, the Little Flower, is to do many little things. God was infinitely pleased with the widow's mite; He will be equally pleased with our little penances. As a result of little mortifications, we can deliver ourselves from the awful fires of Purgatory and amass rich merits for Heaven. To go into the matter further, there is not much difficulty about mortification or penance, notwithstanding the absurd fear that people have of it. Penance is not only easy, it is useful and necessary, and it will bring us very great happiness. Not to do penance is the greatest penance of all. As a matter of fact, every man of the world naturally, spontaneously mortifies himself. The first principle, for instance, of politeness and good breeding
is to sacrifice our whims and tastes for the sake of others. The selfish man is a boor; the generous man is the idol of all. Again, the only way of securing good health is to eschew the most appetising viands when they do us harm and to make use of plain foods when they do us good. Overeating is the cause of the vast majority of sickness and premature deaths.
To take another example. The secret of success is strenuous, methodical, regular work. Now generosity, self-denial, method, regularity are other forms of very genuine but practical mortification. Yet no man can get on without them. To insist on our own likes and dislikes, to do only as we please, is to lead a life bristling with difficulties, in which every duty is a burden, every good act an effort and a labor. Boy scouts and girl scouts are bound to do a kind act every day, even though it costs them a big effort. Christians should surely do more. Daily
acts of self-restraint, of patience with others, of kindness to others, the exact fulfillment of duty are splendid penances and a great aid to
If we are afraid to do much, let us do many little things.
THE THIRD MEANS: SUFFERING
The Third Means of avoiding Purgatory is very easy. It consists in making a virtue of necessity, by bearing patiently what we cannot avoid, and all the more since suffering, borne patiently, becomes easy and light. Suffering, if accepted with calmness and for God's sake, loses all its sting. If received badly, in the spirit of revolt and with repugnance, it is intensified a hundredfold, and becomes almost intolerable.
Everyone in this vale of tears has to face sorrows innumerable and infinite in variety. Crosses light and crosses heavy are the lot of us all. Strange as it may seem, these sorrows, which most of us would gladly dispense with, are in truth God's greatest graces. They are the little share He offers us of His Passion and which He asks us to bear for love of Him and as penance for our sins. Borne in this spirit they will lessen considerably our time in Purgatory and very possibly completely remove it--with this difference, that Purgatory, even a Purgatory of 50 or 100 years, will in no wise increase our merits in Heaven; whereas, every pain and sorrow and disappointment in this life will lessen our suffering in Purgatory, and also bring us more happiness and glory in Heaven. How sad it is that so many Christians, for want of thought, make their sufferings a thousand times worse than they are and lose all the immense merits that they could so easily gain.
Let us suffer with calmness and serenity for the love of God. We shall thus
save ourselves from Purgatory.
THE FOURTH MEANS: CONFESSION, COMMUNION, HOLY MASS
The Fourth Means by which we can lessen our time in Purgatory, or avoid it altogether, is by frequent Confession, Communion and daily assistance at Mass. Confession applies to our souls the Precious Blood of Christ, wipes out our sins, gives us light to see their malice, fills us with horror of sin and, above all, it gives us strength to avoid it. In Holy Communion we receive the God of infinite mercy and love, the God of all sanctity, who comes expressly to pardon our sins and help us to sin no more. He visited the house of Zaccheus once, and in that one visit, Zaccheus obtained complete pardon of all his sins How is it possible that the same God of goodness and sweetness can come, not into our houses, but into our very hearts in Holy Communion and not give us the same and even greater graces. He visited Zaccheus once, He visits us every day if we allow Him. Many, alas, never feel, never grasp the immense joys and consolation of Holy Communion. The Mass is identical with the Sacrifice of Calvary, in its essence, in its value, in the graces it bestows. The Sacrifice of Calvary was sufficient to save all the world, millions and millions of souls, and was also sufficient to save countless other sinful worlds, had they existed. By assisting at Mass, we can apply all these oceans of graces to our own souls, and that not once, but every day.
Let us go to Mass and Holy Communion every day. We can do nothing better. One day with Mass and Communion is worth a hundred days without them.
THE FIFTH MEANS: ASKING GOD
The Fifth Means of avoiding Purgatory is asking God for this grace. Some wise Catholics have a really great, if simple secret, which is well worth learning and using for our own benefit. God promises us in the most solemn and deliberate way (and He cannot fail to do what He promises) that He will give us everything we ask in prayer, if it is good for us. Now two conditions, especially, make prayer infallible, namely perseverance and faith. God cannot refuse such a prayer. These Catholics we speak of pray expressly every day of their lives that
God will free them from Purgatory. In every single prayer they say, in every Mass they hear, in every good act they perform, they have the express intention of asking God first of all and with all their hearts to deliver them from Purgatory. How? That is for God to decide.
It is not easy to see how God can possibly refuse such constant, unceasing prayer. The fact that such prayers are said daily and many times in the day, for 20, 30, 50 years, shows that they are said with undoubting faith and magnificent perseverance. We exhort all our readers to adopt this practice. The more they know and think on Purgatory, the more fervently will they make this prayer.
Every time we say the Hail Mary let us say with all the fervor of our hearts the words: "Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen"
A SIXTH MEANS: RESIGNATION TO DEATH
A Sixth Means of avoiding Purgatory is given us by some great saints: They say that when a sick person becomes aware that he is dying and offers to God his death with perfect resignation, it is very likely that he will go straight to Heaven. Death is the awful punishment of sin, and when we accept it, as of course we ought to do, with submission and resignation, our act pleases God so much that it may satisfy perfectly for all our sins. The idea of Pope St. Pius X was the same when he granted a plenary indulgence at the hour of death to those who say at least after one Holy Communion the following prayer:
"Eternal Father, from this day forward, I accept with a joyful and resigned heart the death it will please You to send me, with all its pains and sufferings"
It will be better still to say this prayer after every Holy Communion we receive. It is for our best interest to accept God's will in everything that happens to us in life and in death. Nothing can be easier when we remember that God always wishes what is best for us. If we do what God does not will, we shall surely suffer.
Each time we repeat the Our Father, let us say with special fervor the words: Thy will be done. In all our troubles, small and great, let us do likewise. Thus everything will gain us merit. By this simple act we change sorrow into joy, the worries of life into gold for Heaven.
THE SEVENTH MEANS: EXTREME UNCTION
The Seventh Means of avoiding Purgatory is Extreme Unction: God Himself has given us a Sacrament, the end of which is to take us directly to Heaven. This Sacrament is Extreme Unction, which according to St. Thomas and St. Albert was instituted especially to obtain for us the grace of a holy and happy death and to prepare us for immediate entrance into Heaven. Many Catholics do not understand this most consoling doctrine, and because they do not understand it, they prepare themselves insufficiently for the reception of Extreme Unction and so lose many of its great graces. Every Sacrament properly received produces its effect. Baptism cleanses us from Original Sin and any other actual sins that may have been committed by adults before receiving the Sacrament. The Sacrament of Holy Orders gives a priest all his tremendous powers. Matrimony makes man and woman husband and wife. In the same way Extreme Unction, if devoutly received, prepares the dying Christian for immediate entrance into Heaven, thus delivering him from Purgatory. How foolish it is, therefore, to put off receiving this Sacrament until very late, when the dying person is too exhausted to receive it with full knowledge of what he is doing and with due fervor and devotion. The moment of death is the supreme moment in our lives. It is the moment which decides our fate for all Eternity.
Let us use every means in our power to secure a happy and holy death, especially by receiving most devoutly, and as soon as possible, Extreme Unction.
INDULGENCES AND PURGATORY
God in His infinite mercy and compassion offers us a most wonderful and easy means for lessening or canceling our Purgatory. Fully aware of our weakness, and knowing, too, how fearful many are of penance, He opens wide the treasury of His Goodness and offers us most
abundant Indulgences in exchange for some small act of devotion. For one recitation of short ejaculatory prayers, He grants 100 or 300 or
more days Indulgence. These we may say hundreds of times in the day. Those who say the little ejaculation: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee" one hundred times a day gain 30,000 days Indulgence. Those who say it 1,000 times, as many do, gain 300,000 days Indulgence each day! Nothing can be easier than to acquire the habit of saying this little prayer all day long, countless times each day.
Then, for each Hail Mary of the Rosary, one gains more than 2,000 days Indulgence! Besides an immense number of Partial Indulgences, there are very many Plenary (full, complete) Indulgences which may be gained during life and at the hour of death. These are specially given by the Church to enable us to avoid Purgatory. These Indulgences can be applied to our own souls, and we shall thus directly make satisfaction for our sins. Or, we may apply them to the souls in Purgatory, who will see to it that we do not lose by our generosity.
Let us strive to gain all possible Indulgences.
THE THIRD ORDERS
Among the extraordinary graces which Catholics gain by becoming members of a Third Order is a share in many Masses and prayers.
To mention, for instance, the Third Order of Saint Dominic, Pope Benedict XV, himself a Tertiary, said: "One of the easiest and most effectual ways of reaching a high degree of sanctity is by becoming a Dominican Tertiary" The members of this order receive during life a share every day in thousands of Masses and prayers, and after death, when, alas, so many are neglected by their relatives, those who are members of this Third Order have a share daily in thousands of other Masses and prayers, this for as long as they remain in Purgatory!
Among the many beautiful characteristics of the Order of St. Dominic is its intense devotion and love for the Holy Souls, especially for the souls of its members, friends and benefactors. So true is this that a young Italian nobleman who consulted the Pope as to which religious order he would do well to enter received for answer: "My dear son, you may with much profit join any of the Orders, for in each you will find abundant means of becoming a Saint. After death, however, be a Dominican" The Holy Father meant to imply that the suffrages given after death to their deceased members are, indeed, most abundant in the Dominican Order.
The conditions of becoming a member of this order are so easy and the advantages so many that half the world would become Dominican Tertiaries did they know these advantages.
THOSE WHO EARNESTLY HELP THE HOLY SOULS MAY WELL HOPE TO AVOID PURGATORY
The Holy Souls whom we relieve or release by our Masses and good works pray for us with such indescribable fervour that God cannot refuse to hear their prayers. One of the principal graces they ask for their friends is that these shall have little or no Purgatory. No one knows better than they the awful intensity of the Purgatorial flames; no one, therefore, can pray for us as they do. Let us remember that:
a) God thanks as done to Himself what we do to others. When we relieve or release any of the Holy Souls, we relieve or release, as it were, God Himself. How ready, therefore, will He not be to hear the prayers offered by these souls for us.
b) Our Blessed Lord lays down clearly the great law: "By that measure by which you measure, it will be measured to you again" In proportion, consequently, to our generosity towards the Holy Souls will God's mercy and generosity be towards us. Those who work heart and soul for the relief of the Holy Souls may thus well hope that their Purgatory will be entirely remitted, or notably lessened. On the other hand, those who neglect the Holy Souls may justly fear a severe judgment and a long Purgatory.
Let everyone without fail join the Association of the Holy Souls. All the members of the family should do so. The conditions are very easy. If the Association is not established in your Parish, write to: Association of the Holy Souls, Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, Pius XII Monastery, Rua do Rosario 1, 2495 Fatima, Portugal, which is one of the centers of the devotion. St. James the Apostle gives another very effectual method of avoiding or lessening our stay in Purgatory. He says: "He who saves a soul, saves his own, and satisfies for a multitude of sins"
If someone were fortunate enough to save the life of a King's only son, the heir to his throne, from a horrible death, what reward might he not expect to receive from the grateful monarch? No King, however, could be as grateful to and anxious to reward the person who saved his son as God is grateful and ready to reward the person who saves one soul from Hell. All of us may, in a thousand different ways, save not one but many souls from Hell. For instance :
1. We can do so by praying earnestly for them. How often does not a mother save her son's soul by her fervent prayers. We can save souls by giving good advice and also by our good example. How many boys owe their sterling qualities to the wise counsels of a good Father or friend!
2. Another efficacious method of saving souls is by propagating the Faith, viz., Catholic Action. The incredible ignorance, apathy and indifference of Catholics is the evil of the day! It is the bounden duty of Catholics to spread about thousands and thousands of pamphlets of all kinds, full of life, vigor and burning interest, crisp, incisive, clear and strong. Otherwise, these are useless. Each pamphlet or leaflet must carry a message straight to the heart of the reader, rousing him, convincing him, galvanizing him into action.
TO AVOID PURGATORY, DO AS FOLLOWS
1. In every prayer you say, every Mass you hear, every Communion you receive, every good work you perform, have the express intention of imploring God to grant you a holy and happy death and no Purgatory. Surely God will hear a prayer said with such confidence and perseverance.
2. Always wish to do God's will. It is in every sense the best for you. When you do or seek anything that is not God's will, you are sure to
suffer. Say fervently, therefore, each time you recite the Our Father: "Thy will be done"
3. Accept all the sufferings, sorrows, pains and disappointments of life, be they great or small: ill health, loss of goods, the death of your dear ones, heat or cold, rain or sunshine, as coming from God. Bear them calmly and patiently for love of Him and in penance for your sins. Of course one may use all his efforts to ward off trouble and pain, but when one cannot avoid them let him bear them manfully.
Impatience and revolt make sufferings vastly greater and more difficult to bear.
4. Christ's life and actions are so many lessons for us to imitate. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. As He had a Passion, so each
one of us has a passion. Our passion consists in the sufferings and labours of every day. The penance God imposed on man for sin was to gain his bread in the sweat of his brow. Therefore, let us do our work, accept its disappointments and hardships, and bear our pains in union with the Passion of Christ. We gain more merit by a little pain than by years of pleasure.
5. Forgive all injuries and offences, for in proportion as we forgive others, God forgives us.
6. Avoid mortal sins and deliberate venial sins and break off all bad habits. Then it will be relatively easy to satisfy God's justice for sins
of frailty. Above all, avoid sins against charity and against chastity, whether in thought, word or deed, for these sins [and the expiation for
them] are the reason why many souls are detained in Purgatory for long years.
7. If afraid of doing much, do many little things, acts of kindness and charity, give the alms you can, cultivate regularity of life, method in
work, and punctuality in the performance of duty; don't grumble or complain when things are not as you please; don't censure and complain of others; never refuse to do a favor to others when it is possible. These and suchlike little acts are a splendid penance.
8. Do all in your power for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Pray for them constantly, get others to do so, join the Association of the Holy Souls and ask all those you know to do likewise. The Holy Souls will repay you most generously.
9. There is no way more powerful of obtaining from God a most holy and happy death than by weekly Confession, daily Mass and daily Communion.
10. A daily visit to the Blessed Sacrament--it need only be three or four minutes--is an easy way of obtaining the same grace. Kneeling in the presence of Jesus with eyes fixed on the Tabernacle, sure that He is looking at us, let us for a few minutes repeat some little prayer like
these: "My Jesus, mercy." "My Jesus, have pity on me, a sinner" "My Jesus, I love You" "My Jesus, give me a happy death"
HOW WE CAN HELP THE HOLY SOULS
I. The first means is by joining the Association of the Holy Souls. The conditions are easy.
ASSOCIATION OF THE HOLY SOULS
Approved by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, June, 1936
1. The members are asked to send their full name and address to: Association of the Holy Souls, Dominican Nuns of the Perpetual Rosary, Pius XII Monastery, Rua do Rosario 1, 2495 Fatima, Portugal.
2. The members must offer up a Mass once a week for the Holy Souls (Sunday's Mass can fulfil this obligation).
3. The members pray for and promote devotion to the Holy Souls. (We recommend the booklets Read Me or Rue It and How to Avoid Purgatory.)
4. The members are asked to contribute a yearly alms to the Mass Fund. The alms is used to have Masses said for the Holy Souls every month.
5. A second means of helping the Holy Souls is having Masses offered for them. This is certainly the most efficacious way of relieving them.
6. Those who cannot get many Masses offered, owing to want of means, ought to assist at as many Masses as possible for this intention.
A young man who was earning a very modest salary told the writer: "My wife died a few years ago. I got 10 Masses said for her. I could not possibly do more but heard 1,000 for her dear soul "
7. The recital of the Rosary (with its great indulgences) and the Way of the Cross (which is also richly indulgenced) are excellent means of helping the Holy Souls. St. John Massias, as we saw, released from Purgatory more than a million souls, chiefly by reciting the Rosary and offering its great indulgences for them.
8. Another easy and efficacious way is by the constant repetition of short indulgenced prayers, offering up the indulgences for the Souls in
Purgatory. Many people have the custom of saying 500 or 1,000 times each day the little ejaculation, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in Thee" or the one word, "Jesus" These are most consoling devotions and bring oceans of graces to those who practice them and give immense relief to the Holy Souls. Those who say the ejaculations 1,000 times a day gain 300,000 days Indulgence! What a multitude of souls they can thus relieve! What will it not be at the end of a month, a year--or 50 years? And if they do not say the ejaculations, what an immense number of graces and favors they shall have lost. It is quite possible and even easy to say these ejaculations 1,000 times a day. But if one does not say them 1,000 times, let him say them 500 or 200 times.
9. Still another powerful prayer is: "Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, with all the Masses being said all over the world this day, for the Souls in Purgatory." Our Lord showed St. Gertrude a vast number of souls leaving Purgatory and going to Heaven as a result of this prayer which the Saint was accustomed to say frequently during the day.
10. The Heroic Act consists in offering to God in favor of the Souls in Purgatory all the works of satisfaction we practice during life and all the suffrages that will be offered for us after death. If God rewards so abundantly the most trifling alms given to a poor man in His name, what an immense reward will He not give to those who offer all their works of satisfaction in life and death for the souls He loves so dearly. This Act does not prevent priests from offering Mass for the intentions they wish, or lay people from praying for any persons or other intentions they desire. We counsel everyone to make this act.
ALMS HELP THE HOLY SOULS
St. Martin of Tours gave half of his cloak to a poor beggar, only to find out afterwards that it was to Christ he had given it. Our Lord appeared to him and thanked him. Blessed Jordan of the Dominican Order could never refuse an alms when it was asked in the name of God. One day he had forgotten his purse. A poor man implored an alms for the love of God. Rather than refuse him, Jordan, who was then a student, gave him a most precious belt or cincture which he prized dearly. Shortly afterwards, he entered a church and found his cincture encircling the waist of an image of Christ Crucified. He, too, had given his alms to Christ. We all give our alms to Christ.
a) Let us give all the alms we can afford; b) Let us have said all the Masses in our power; c) Let us hear as many more as is possible; d) Let us offer all our pains and sufferings for the relief of the Holy Souls. We shall thus deliver countless souls from Purgatory, who will repay us ten thousand times over.
THE BROWN SCAPULAR
Two wonderful promises of Our Lady of Mount Carmel are available to those who have been enrolled in the Brown Scapular.
The great promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary, given to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251, is as follows: "Whoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire." Our Lady's second Scapular Promise, known as the Sabbatine Privilege (the word "Sabbatine" meaning "Saturday"), was given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to Pope John XXII in the year 1322 and is as follows: "I, the Mother of
Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death, and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free."
There are three conditions for obtaining this privilege: 1) the wearing of the Brown Scapular; 2) the practice of chastity according to one's state of life; 3) the daily recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Those who cannot read can abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of reciting the Little Office. Also, any priest who has diocesan faculties (this includes most priests) has the additional faculty to commute (change) the third requirement into another pious work--for example, the daily Rosary.
Because of the greatness of the Sabbatine privilege, the Carmelite Order suggests that the third requirement not be commuted into anything less than the daily recitation of seven Our Fathers, seven Hail Marys, and seven Glory Be to the Fathers.
"And there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night, and said to Him: Rabbi, we know that Thou are come a teacher from God; for no man can do these signs which Thou dost, unless God be with him. Jesus answered, and said to him: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith to Him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-5)
|What is Baptism? Baptism is the Sacrament which makes you a Christian and a member of the Catholic Church and gives you the right to receive the other Sacraments.|
|What does Baptism do to your soul?|
|Why do you have to be baptized? Because Jesus Christ said: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)|
|What kind of sin is it to delay your Baptism? A serious (mortal) sin. "Why tarriest thou? Rise up, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." (Acts 22:16)|
|What do you have to do to be baptized?|
|Who gives Baptism? Ordinarily, the priest, but anyone can baptize in an emergency.|
|How is Baptism given? It is given by pouring water over the forehead of the person to be baptized and, while pouring the water, saying, "I baptize thee in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19), while having at least the minimum intention to do what the Church wants you to do by performing this sacramental act.|
Baptism can also be given by immersion or sprinkling, but in all cases the water has to flow over the head or forehead (not just the hair).
|What are sponsors (Godparents) for? Sponsors at Baptism are supposed to see that their godchildren stay faithful to their religious duties.|
|Why do you take the name of a Saint at Baptism? You take a Saint's name to have that Saint watch over you and to have someone to imitate.|
|Do babies have to be baptized? Yes, because they have Original Sin on their souls, which means they have no Sanctifying Grace.|
|How soon should a baby be baptized? Within two or three weeks of its birth. It is a mortal sin to delay the Baptism of a baby for a long time.|
|Make arrangements with your priest a week before the baby's Baptism. The baby's godfather and godmother should be good Catholics.|
|An expectant mother in a hospital should tell the doctors and nurses that she is a Catholic and that, if there is any danger to the life of the baby, they should send for a priest right away. In case of real emergency, somebody should baptize the baby.|
|If your were baptized in a Protestant church, you will probably still have to go through the Catholic ceremony of Baptism. This is called conditional Baptism. The reason for this is to make sure that you are really baptized. It is practically impossible to find out if your Protestant Baptism was done according to the intention of Christ, since many Protestant ministers consider Baptism merely a sort of initiation ritual or symbol that produced no effect in the soul.|
The Manner in which a Lay Person is to Baptize in Case of
Pour common water on the head or face of the person to be baptized say while pouring it:
"I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The Sacrament of Confession
"Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: 'Peace be to you.' And when He had said this, he shewed them His hands and His side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: 'Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you.' When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.'" (John 20:19-23)
|Why did God the Father send His Son into the world? To save man from his sins. "Thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)|
|Does Jesus Christ have the power to forgive sins? Yes, Jesus has the power to forgive sin because He is God.|
|Did Jesus Christ forgive sins while on earth? Yes, He forgave the sins of the paralyzed man (Luke 5:18-26), the woman taken in adultery (John 8:1-11), the sinful woman (Luke 7:39-50) and the good thief (Luke 23:39-43).|
|Did Jesus Christ give anyone the power to forgive sin? Yes, to His Apostles on Easter Sunday night.|
"Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:23)
|Did Jesus want His Apostles to hand down this power to others? Yes, because He died to save all men from their sins.|
"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, Who will have all men to be saved." (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
|How did the Apostles hand down this power to others? By making other men bishops and priests. After the Apostles died, the bishops have continued to hand down the power of forgiving sin, during the past 2,000 years, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.|
|Who has the power to forgive sin today? All bishops and priests of the Catholic Church can forgive sin.|
|What is the Sacrament of Penance? Penance is the Sacrament by which the sins committed after Baptism are forgiven.|
|What do you have to do to have your sins forgiven? You have to be truly sorry for them and confess them to a Catholic priest.|
"He that hideth his sins, shall not prosper: but he that shall confess, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy." (Proverbs 28:13)
|Why do you have to confess your sins to a priest? This is the way Jesus Christ wants sin to be forgiven. Otherwise, Christ would not have given His priests the power to forgive sin.|
|Why does the priest have to know what sins you have committed? He has to know whether he is to forgive your sins or "retain" them. If you are truly sorry, he will grant you forgiveness (called "absolution"); if not, he must retain them (that is, refuse to give you absolution).|
|Does the priests only pray that your sins will be forgiven? No, the priest, by the power given him, actually takes the sins off your soul (called "absolution"). "For what I have pardoned... I have done it in the person of Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:10)|
|Can you be sure that your sins are forgiven in Confession? Yes, if you have properly confessed them and are sorry for them.|
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity." (1 John 1:9)
|What does Confession do for your soul? Besides taking sin off your soul, Confession also--|
|Can all sins be forgiven in Confession? Yes, if you are truly sorry for them.|
|What is meant by "being sorry for your sins"? "Being sorry" means--|
|What kind of sorrow do you have to have to be forgiven? Religious sorrow, that is, you must be sorry because you dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell (imperfect sorrow), and/or because you have offended the infinitely good God (perfect sorrow). Therefore, to have your sins forgiven, it is not enough to be sorry because your sins have caused you to lose your job or some money. The sorrow has to be religious. Sorrow for sin is called contrition. You do not have to feel the sorrow with your emotions.|
|Why do you not have to be afraid of Confession? You do not have to be afraid because--|
|What sins do you have to confess? All your mortal sins.|
|What kind of sin is it deliberately to omit telling a mortal sin in Confession? A mortal sin of sacrilege. This is called making a bad Confession. To undo a bad Confession, you have to confess that you made a bad Confession, confess the omitted mortal sin (s), and confess any other mortal sins you have committed since then (including Communions received in the state of mortal sin).|
|What should you do if you forget to confess a mortal sin? You must tell it in your next Confession and tell the priest that you forgot it. But the sin is forgiven and you may receive Communion in the meantime.|
|What do you do if you have no mortal sins to confess? Tell your venial sins and/or mention some sin already told in a previous Confession.|
|How often do you have to go to Confession? At least once a year during Lent.|
If you ever commit a mortal sin, say the Act of Contrition right away and go to Confession as soon as possible. If you have perfect contrition for the mortal sin and intend to confess it in Confession, God forgives you and takes away the sin right away, but you may not receive Holy Communion until you confess it in Confession.
|How often does a good Catholic go to Confession? Once a week, if possible, but at least once a month. Remember that in Confession you receive grace from the Sacrament of Penance. Besides, in Confession you receive special helps to overcome the temptations that bother you most.|
|In Confession the eternal punishment (Hell) is taken away, but all of the temporal punishment due to your sins is not always taken away. "Temporal punishment" means that, even though all your sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Penance, God still requires that you be punished for your sins, either in this life or in Purgatory. So, Confession does not make sinning easier. One of the chief ways by which you can make up for your sins is by gaining indulgences.|
|If you are in danger of death and cannot go to Confession right away, be sure to make an act of perfect contrition; say the Act of Contrition, or simply tell God you are sorry for all your sins because they offend Him, Who is all good, and beg His mercy. If somebody else (whether Catholic or not) is in danger of death, it is a great act of charity to help him to be sorry for offending God and to beg God's mercy.|
The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the desert, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from Heaven; that if any man eat of it, he may not die. I am the living bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give, is My flesh, for the life of the world."
"The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us His flesh to eat?"
"Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise Him up in the last day."
"For My flesh is meat indeed: and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth Me, the same also shall live by Me. This is the bread that came down from Heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live forever. These things he said, teaching in the synagogue, in Capharnaum." (John 6:48-60)
JESUS INSTITUTES THE EUCHARIST
"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is My body. And taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is My blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto the remission of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)
What is the Holy Eucharist? The
Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament in which Jesus Christ is really and physically
present under the appearances of bread and wine.
"The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?" (1 Corinthians 10:16)
Why is it also called "the
Blessed Sacrament"? Because it is the most
blessed of all the Sacraments, since it is Jesus Christ Himself.
When did Jesus make this Sacrament?
At the Last Supper, on the night before He died.
How could Jesus change bread and wine into His Body and
Blood? Jesus Christ is God and therefore can do
anything. He told the Apostles that this was His Body and Blood. It
also shows God's example of humility, by using bread and wine for our
consumption as a way to come directly to his children.|
Did the bread and wine change their appearance?
No, the appearances of the bread and wine (taste, smell,
color, size, shape, weight) did not change, even though the bread and wine
were actually changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The entire substance of the bread and wine are
changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus; thus the bread and
wine no longer exist. This change is called Transubstantiation.|
Are both the Body and Blood of Christ present under the
appearances of bread alone? Yes, it is the living Christ
who is present; that is, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are present both
under the appearance of bread and under the appearance of wine.
Did Jesus give anyone the power of changing bread and
wine into His body and Blood? Yes, to His twelve
Apostles at the Last Supper, when He told them,
"Do this for a commemoration of me."
Did Jesus ordain that His Apostles hand this power down
to others? Yes, because He wanted all men to eat His
Flesh and drink His Blood.
"Amen, amen, I say to you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:54) (Here, "Life" means Sanctifying Grace.)
How did the Apostles hand down this power?
They handed it down by making other men priests and
bishops through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
When does the priest change bread and wine into the Body
and Blood of Jesus Christ? |
At Mass, when he says, "This is My Body," and "This is the chalice of My Blood..."
Where is the Blessed Sacrament kept? In a little safe
(called a tabernacle) on the altar.
"And my tabernacle shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Ezechiel 37:27)
What is Holy Communion? Receiving the Body and Blood,
soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
What is necessary to receive Holy Communion worthily?
Do you have to go to Confession first every time you
receive Communion? No, unless you have mortal sin on your soul.
What kind of sin is it to receive Communion unworthily?
To do so knowingly and willingly is a mortal sin called a sacrilege.
What does "fasting" mean? "Fasting" means that, for three
hours before receiving Communion, you have to stop eating solid food and
drinking all liquids except water. You may take
water, and if sick, medicine any time before receiving. You must stop chewing
gum at least one hour before. Until the 1950s, the Church required fasting
from midnight before Communion; this rule was later shortened to three hours
for food and one hour for liquids (with water being allowed at any time). It
is very praiseworthy to continue observing the traditional fast from
How often do you have to receive Communion? At least
once a year, during the Easter Season, that is, any time from the 6th Sunday
before Easter to the 8th Sunday after Easter. This is called your Easter
The 6th Sunday before Easter is called the First Sunday of Lent; the 8th Sunday after Easter is called Trinity Sunday.
What kind of sin is it to miss your Easter Duty? A mortal
How often does a good Catholic receive Communion? A
good Catholic receives Communion every Sunday, or every day, if possible, but
only once on the same day.
What does Holy
Communion do for your soul? It makes the
Sanctifying Grace in your soul grow.
"Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:54)
What else does Communion do for you? |
Ordinarily, you receive Communion during Mass. However, the priest may bring you Communion when you are sick at home or in the hospital.
Communion is called Viaticum when received when a person is in danger of death.
After receiving Communion, you should spend some time praying to Our Lord, adoring Him, thanking Him, loving Him, and asking His help.
You are not forbidden to receive Communion with venial sins on your soul, but you are advised to recite the Confiteor or the Act of Contrition before receiving.
"Now when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost." (Acts 8:14-17)
|What is Confirmation?
Confirmation is the Sacrament which gives you the strength to be a good
Catholic. This Sacrament completes and
perfects the Christian life you begin at Baptism.|
|Who comes into your soul when you are confirmed?
The Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.
"Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost?" (I Corinthians 6:19)
|What does Confirmation do to your soul?
|Can you get to Heaven without Confirmation?
Yes, but it is more difficult.
|Is it a sin to neglect Confirmation?
Yes, it is a sin to neglect Confirmation.
|Who gives Confirmation? Usually
|What do you have to do to receive Confirmation worthily?
|Do you have to have a sponsor for Confirmation?
Yes, but usually not the same one you had for Baptism.
|How many times can you be confirmed?
|What is expected of a confirmed Catholic?
A confirmed Catholic, by his prayers and words and good
example, should try to lead others to the True Church.
|How is Confirmation given? In the
traditional rite, the Bishop, holding his hands over those to be confirmed,
prays for them and then makes the Sign of the Cross on the forehead of each
one with the holy oil of Chrism. He then taps each person lightly on the
|What words does the Bishop say while confirming?
He says: "I sign thee
with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the Chrism of salvation,
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
|What is Holy Chrism? A mixture of
olive oil and balm, consecrated by the Bishop on Holy Thursday; it is a symbol
of the strength received in Confirmation.
|Why does the Bishop tap each one on the cheek?
The tap on the cheek is to remind those confirmed that
they must be ready to suffer all things, even death, for the sake of Jesus
"Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake." (Matthew 5:11)
Choose a good Catholic for your sponsor. You also have to select the name of another Saint for Confirmation (not the one you had for Baptism).
The Holy Ghost comes into your soul more fully when you are confirmed. He brings to your soul His Seven Gifts, which are: Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord.
A dying parishioner may receive Confirmation from his pastor if the Bishop cannot be reached in time.
"Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:14-15)
|What is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction?
Extreme Unction is the Sacrament which gives health and
strength to the soul and sometimes to the body to persons who are in danger of
death. The words "Extreme Unction" mean
"last anointing." In Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, the body is
anointed with holy oil. In the Sacrament of Extreme Unction the body is
anointed for the last time. Hence the name.|
|How is Extreme Unction given? After
praying over the sick person, the priest anoints (makes the Sign of the Cross
with the Holy Oil) on the person's eyes, ears, nostrils, lips, hands, and
|What does the priest say while anointing the sick person?
He says: "Through this
holy anointing, and by His most tender mercy, may the Lord pardon you what
sins you have committed by sight (hearing, speech, and so on)."
|What does Extreme Unction do for your soul?
The Sacrament of Extreme Unction --
|Does Extreme Unction take away sin?
Extreme Unction takes away --
|Who can give Extreme Unction? Only
a Catholic priest.
|Who can receive Extreme Unction?
Any Catholic in danger of death from sickness, old age or accident not only
can, but should receive Extreme Unction.
However, it may not be given to infants or to anyone who has never had the use
|When should you receive Extreme Unction?
Whenever the sickness or accident is so serious that it
could cause death.
Examples: Pneumonia, heart attack, a serious car accident.
|How often can you receive Extreme Unction?
Only once in the same danger of death.
However, if a new danger arises, you can receive it
|What should be done in case of sudden death?
Send for a priest right away, because Extreme Unction
may be given even after a person is apparently dead.
Even when a person displays all the usual
manifestations of death, the soul may still not have departed from the body.
Therefore, the Church allows Extreme Unction to be administered for a time
after "death" has occurred.|
|Why is it wrong to wait until the sick person is
unconscious before sending for the priest? Because the
sick person must be conscious in order to benefit the most from the Sacrament.
|What kind of sin is it to deprive a sick person of
Extreme Unction? A mortal sin.
It often happens that a convert is the only
Catholic in a family. If this is your case, therefore, you should tell your
relatives to send for the priest if you are ever in danger of death.|
|What should be done before the priest comes to anoint the
sick person? Spread a white cloth on a table beside the
bed. Then put a crucifix, two blessed candles, a bottle of holy water, a
glass of drinking water, a spoon and some cotton on the table.
A member of the family, carrying a lighted candle, should meet the priest at the door and lead him to the sickroom. No one should talk to the priest, for he probably has the Holy Eucharist with him. Everyone should kneel down when he enters. If you do not have the above items, call the priest anyway.
|What does the priest do when he enters the sickroom?
First, he says some prayers, sprinkles the sick person
with holy water and hears his Confession. Then he gives him Holy Communion
and Extreme Unction, and finally, the Last Blessing.
All of these together are called the Last Sacraments or Last Rites of the Church. (Everyone else leaves the room while the priest hears the sick person's Confession.)
Do not worry that a sick person will be frightened by the priest, because Catholics should always be glad to see the priest in order to receive the comforts that only the Sacraments can bring.
If you are going to be a patient in a non-Catholic hospital, tell your parish priest which one you are going to and how long you expect to be there. Also, tell the doctors and nurses that you are Catholic and that they should send for a priest if you become critical or serious.
Catholics should be buried in Catholic cemeteries. Tell your relatives to see your parish priest about your funeral. Or, make the arrangements yourself ahead of time.
Catholics are forbidden to have their bodies cremated, except in case of a serious public necessity. The Catholic burial service used to be denied to those who give orders to have their bodies cremated. Reason for this is because your body is holy. You have been consuming the Body of Jesus your whole life and this is why you should be buried in blessed soil (Catholic Cemetery) and also the reason you should never consider being cremated unless the state law enforces it on you.
"Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest, who cannot have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin. Let us go therefore with confidence to the throne of grace in seasonable aid. For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that He may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because He Himself also is compassed with infirmity. And therefore He ought, as for the people, as also for Himself, to offer for sins. Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was." (Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:1-4)
JESUS COMMISSIONS HIS FIRST PRIESTS
"And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: 'All power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." (Matthew 28:18-20)
|What did Jesus do to continue His work on earth?
To make sure that His work be continued, Jesus
established the Catholic Priesthood, through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
"For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us" (2 Corinthians 5:20)
|What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
Holy Orders is the Sacrament which gives a man the
powers of the Catholic Priesthood.
|In general, what is a priest? A man
who offers sacrifices to God for the sins of the people.
"For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins." (Hebrews 5:1)
|Was Jesus a priest? Yes, Jesus was
and is, the Great High Priest.
"Wherefore it behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest before God, that He might be a propitiation for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17)
|Who were the first Catholic priests?
The twelve Apostles, who were ordained to the
priesthood by Jesus Christ Himself.
|When did Jesus make the twelve Apostles priests?
At the Last Supper (Holy Thursday), on the night before
He died, when He gave them the power to change bread and wine into His Body
"Do this for a commemoration of me." (Luke 22:19)
|Did the Apostles make other men priests?
Yes, for example, Paul, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, and
See Acts 13:3, 14:22, 1:24-26, and Titus 1:5.
|How did the Apostles ordain other men priests?
By praying for them and imposing hands on them.
"Then they, fasting and praying, and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away." (Acts 13:3)
|After the Apostles died, how were the powers of the
priesthood handed down? Before they died, the Apostles
made other men bishops, who in turn made other men bishops, and in this way
the powers of the priesthood have been handed down during the past 2000 years.
|How are the powers of the priesthood handed down today?
Today the bishops hand down the powers of the
priesthood just as the Apostles did - by praying over and imposing hands on
the candidates for priesthood.
|What are the chief powers of the priesthood?
They are --
|Where does the authority of the priesthood come from?
From Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy
"He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me." (Luke 10:16)
|Who can give the Sacrament of Holy Orders?
Only a bishop.
"For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee." (Titus 1:5)
|What is necessary to become a priest?
To become a priest, a man has to study for about 6 years
in a special school called a seminary and be approved by his bishop as to his
learning, health, morals, and character.
"Impose not hands lightly upon any man." (1 Timothy 5:22)
|How does a man become a bishop? The
Pope chooses a priest who is known for his learning and holiness and appoints
other bishops to consecrate him a bishop by imposing hands and saying the
|How does a man become Pope? The
Cardinals elect a successor to the dead Pope.
|Why do priests not get married?
They do not marry because --
"He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided." (1 Corinthians 7:32-33)
|Why is the priest called "Father"?
Because he gives the life of grace to his spiritual children, just as a father
gives physical life to his children.
"I write not these things to confound you; but that I admonish you as my dearest children. For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you." (1 Corinthians 4:14-15)
VARIOUS TITLES IN THE CHURCH
|Pope||The bishop of Rome, vicar of Christ on earth, successor of St. Peter, visible head of the whole Catholic Church.|
|Cardinal||An honorary title given to priests or bishops because of their important positions in the Church; Cardinals elect the new Pope.|
|Bishop||Rules over the people and priests of his diocese; can give Confirmation and Holy Orders.|
|Monsignor||A priest gets this honorary title from the Pope because of his important position in the Church.|
|Pastor||Rules over a parish; is subject to the bishop of the diocese.|
|Priest||Diocesan priests work in a diocese; religious priests belong to a religious order - like the Franciscans, Dominicans, etc...|
|Monk||Monks live in a monastery, follow a strict rule under a superior - like the Benedictines and the Trappists; some are priests, others are brothers.|
|Brother||A man dedicated to teaching, hospital work or contemplation; takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but does not receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.|
|Sister||A woman dedicated to teaching, hospital or social work, or contemplation; takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and belongs to a religious order or community. Cloistered sisters are usually called nuns; loosely speaking, all sisters are often called nuns.|
"Being subject one to another, in the fear of Christ. Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. He is the savior of His body. Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things."
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it: That He might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. ; He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church: Because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church.
"Nevertheless let every one of you in particular love his wife as himself: and let the wife fear her husband." (Ephesians 5:21-33)
|What is the Sacrament of Matrimony?
Matrimony is the Sacrament made by Jesus Christ to
sanctify (make holy) the lawful union of a Christian man and a Christian
|Was marriage always a Sacrament?
No, marriage, although always a sacred union of man and woman, was raised to
the dignity of a Sacrament by Jesus Christ.
|What does this Sacrament do for a couple?
|Who may receive the Sacrament of Matrimony?
Only those who have been baptized and are free to marry.
|What is necessary to receive this Sacrament worthily?
You have to be free of mortal sin.
|What kind of sin is it to receive this Sacrament
unworthily? A mortal sin of sacrilege. However, the
marriage is valid.|
|Do Catholics have to be married at Mass? No, but it is
certainly fitting that they do so. The special Mass
for a Catholic wedding is called the Nuptial Mass. Traditionally, this Mass
was not celebrated for a mixed marriage, nor during Lent or Advent. |
|What should a Catholic do who wants to marry?
Preparations for the wedding should be made with one of the priests in the
bride's parish several months in advance. This time
requirement varies from diocese to diocese.|
|What is the only way a Catholic can be married? Only in
the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses.
Occasionally other arrangements can be made, but
this requires a dispensation in advance from the local bishop and can be done
only for a sufficiently grave reason.|
|What happens if a Catholic is not married by a priest? A
Catholic who goes through a marriage ceremony before anyone other than a
Catholic priest is not married. Such a couple has
to separate or have the marriage made valid.|
|What if a Catholic goes through a marriage ceremony
before a Protestant minister? Such a person is not married and is guilty of
mortal sin. Traditionally this sin also carried the
penalty of automatic excommunication. This meant that such a person
could not receive any of the Sacraments nor have a Catholic funeral, because
they are not putting the Love of God first, yet choose to marry outside of the
One True Faith. |
|May a Catholic marry a non-Catholic? You should not,
except for a very serious reason. A marriage
between a Catholic and a non-Catholic is called a mixed marriage. These
marriages are plagued with problems, much to do with the difference on how
faith should be implemented.|
|Why does the Church forbid mixed marriages? Because of
the danger of loss of faith on the part of the Catholic and of the children.
The different religious beliefs of the parents
cause serious arguments on such important matters as divorce, birth control,
Sunday Mass, eating meat on Friday, and the Catholic education of the
|Were mixed marriages forbidden in the Bible? Yes, mixed
marriages were strictly forbidden by God.
"Neither shalt thou make marriages with them. Thou shalt not give thy daughter to his son, nor take his daughter for thy son: For she will turn away thy son from following Me, that he may rather serve strange gods, and the wrath of the Lord will be kindled, and will quickly destroy thee." (Deuteronomy 7:3-4)
|Who is the only one who can allow a mixed marriage? Only
the bishop, and he can give permission only for a serious reason.
|In a mixed marriage, what must the Catholic promise? The
Catholic must sign promises:
|Are the marriages of non-Catholics valid? Yes, provided all the laws of God concerning marriage are observed, the marriages of non-Catholics among themselves are valid and therefore cannot be broken.|
It is not the priest who gives the Sacrament of Matrimony; he is only the chief witness. The bride and groom give it to each other. The first gift they give one another is an increase of God's life -- Sanctifying Grace. It is fitting indeed that this giving be done at Mass.
Couples should remember that, through the Sacrament of Matrimony, they have the right to special helps to aid them in their problems. God gives them, as it were, a spiritual bank account on which they may draw in times of difficulty.
In a mixed marriage, the non-Catholic should be encouraged to take a course of instructions, so that he or she may learn something about the Catholic religion, since the children have to be reared in the Catholic religion. So, if you intend to marry a non-Catholic, bring him or her to the priest to begin instructions three or four months before the wedding.
Under normal circumstances, a mixed marriage should only take place only in the presence of a Catholic priest and two witnesses.
James 5:14-15: "Is any
man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church and let them
pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the
prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up:
and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."
The Sacrament "Extreme Unction," also called "Last Rites" or "Anointing of the Sick," is the anointing given to those who are gravely bodily ill, especially those in danger of death from bodily illness or from violence already done to the body (i.e., a soldier about to go into battle is not a candidate for the Sacrament; one who has been shot and lies gravely wounded or, especially, dying, is).
|The conditions for receiving
Unction are that one must:
The effects of the Sacrament are the
strengthening and comfort of the soul of the annointed one, the remission of
sins and some of their temporal punishments, and the possible restoration of
If death is so imminent that there is no time for the full Rite, the Sacrament may be given with a single annointing on the forehead and the words:
|The preparations for Extreme Unction are
almost precisely like those for receiving a sick call from a priest, but a
few extra items are nice to add: bread, cotton, and lemon or salt.
First, prepare the house: Set up a table near the bed in a place where the sick person can see it easily, such as at the foot of the bed or at the side halfway down the length of the bed. Cover it with a white cloth, and on it place the Crucifix and two lit blessed candles, one on each side of the Crucifix. Near them, place a dish of regular water, a bottle of holy water, a clean linen cloth for the priest's fingers, and a piece of palm the priest can use to spinkle the holy water (if you don't have palm, you can use another type of plant, such as box). The following aren't strictly necessary, but the priest may find them useful: cotton or slices of bread, some lemon slices, and a dish of salt. Lay a linen cloth across the breast of the sick person.
|Greet the priest at the door: Women should cover their heads; men should uncover theirs. Meet the priest in silence at the door, bearing a lighted blessed candle (preferably the Baptismal candle of the sick one), and genuflect. Lead him to the sick person's room and remain there with him until Confession is heard. When you leave the room while Confession is being heard, close the door; you may re-enter when the priest opens it again. At all times, the priest will be quiet and somber; don't expect him to socialize before or afterward, as he carries with him the Body of Christ.|
For more on the care of the dying, see The Catholic Way of Dying.
Please, please note that this
Sacrament in the Novus Ordo has been replaced with a simple blessing
(blessings for the sick are always OK, of course, but the Sacrament is
reserved traditionally for those who are gravely ill, especially those in
danger of death from bodily illness or injury). Some of the changes:
Courtesy of APOLOGIA
First a definition: death is the
separation of the soul from the body, a phenomenon we can't know has
happened with moral certainty until corruption has begun. "Death"
does not mean the cessation of breathing or heartbeat, nor does "brain
death" mean that death has occurred. The soul isn't "in" the heart, or "in"
the lungs, or "in the brain, or "in" any particular part of the body. The
treatment of the dying, the apparently dead, and their organs is governed by
Now, a person confronting death should
receive the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (be informed that this
Sacrament is no longer offered in the Novus Ordo and has been replaced by
the Anointing of the Sick, which is nothing more than several communal
prayers and is not a sacrament- The post- Vatican II Church has given up
their Catholic identity and has fallen into the spirit of the world and the
devil, which we were warned for centuries by various popes, saints and
theologians, not to forget fully approved apparitions of Our Lady of Good
Success, Fatima, and La Salette. Certainly no person on earth has the right
to remove a sacrament given by Christ Himself, as the the New Church has
done) for the possible restoration of body (His will be done) and,
most importantly, soul. This is of prime importance and should never be
The Brown Scapular should be on the
dying person, over their head, with each end on both sides of their chest.
If oxygen tanks are on, cut the string and then tie them up after placing
around ill person. Be sure to have the person invested into the Brown
Scapular with the traditional rite by a valid tradition Catholic priest.
Invoke the the Holy names of "Jesus., Mary & Joseph" in their ear so the
last words they hear on this earth are those of their Savior, while invoking
the intercession of Blessed Mother and St. Joseph.
Ways of Comforting the Dying and Encouraging Him to Focus on Christ and His Passion
Into Thy hands, Lord, I
commend my spirit.
Commending the Soul to God
As death approaches more closely, the sick person's soul should be commended to God. The following traditional form is most beautiful:
We commend to Thee, Lord, the
soul of Thy servant (handmaid) N.____, and we pray Thee, Lord Jesus Christ,
the Savior of the world, that as in mercy to him (her) Thou becamest man, so
now Thou would be pleased to admit him (her) to the bosom of Thy patriarchs.
Remember, Lord, he (she) is Thy creature, not made by strange gods, but by
Thee, the only living and true God; for there is no other but Thee, and none
can equal Thy work. Let his (her) soul rejoice in Thy presence, and remember
not his (her) former iniquities and excesses, which he (she) has fallen
into, through the violence of passion and the corruption of his (her)
nature. For although he (she) has sinned, yet he (she) has always firmly
believed in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; he (she) has had a zeal for Thy
honor, and faithfully adored Thee as his (her) God, and Creator of all
things. Remember not, Lord, we pray Thee, the sins of his (her) youth, and
his (her) ignorance's; but according to Thy great mercy, be mindful of him
(her) in Thy Heavenly glory. Let the heavens be opened to him (her), and the
angels rejoice with him (her). Let the archangel St. Michael, whom Thou
didst appoint the chief of the heavenly host, conduct him (her). Let the
holy angels come out to meet him (her), and carry him (her) to the city of
heavenly Jerusalem. Let blessed Peter the apostle, to whom God gave the Keys
of the Kingdom of Heaven, receive him (her). Let St. Paul the apostle, who
was a vessel of election, assist him (her). Let St. John the beloved
disciple, to whom the secrets of Heaven were revealed, intercede for him
(her). Let all the holy apostles, who received from Jesus Christ the power
of binding and loosing, pray for him (her). Let all the saints and elect of
God, who in this world have suffered torments in the name of Christ,
intercede for him (her); that being freed from the prison of his (her) body,
he (she) may be admitted into the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with
Thee and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
May Mary the most merciful
Virgin Mother of God, kindest comforter of them that mourn, commend to her
Son the soul od this His servant (handmaid), that through her maternal
intercession, he (she) may overcome the dread of death and, with her as
guide, joyfully reach his (her) longed-for home in the heavenly fatherland.
Prayer to St. Joseph
To thee I have recourse, St. Joseph,
Patron of the dying; and to thee, at whose blessed death watchfully assisted
Jesus and Mary, by both these dearest pledges I earnestly recommend the soul
of this servant (handmaid) in the sufferings of his (her) last agony, that
he (she) may by your protection be delivered from the snares of the devil
and from eternal death, and may merit to attain everlasting joy. Through the
same Christ our Lord.
Prayers Just after Death
After the soul has left the body, the following responses is said:
Courtesy of APOLOGIA
"Now, when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had
received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they
were come, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was
not as yet come upon any of them: but they were only baptized in the Name of the
Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them: and they received the Holy
Ephesians 4:30 "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption."
First, what is Confirmation? What does Confirmation do? Confirmation:
|indelibly seals us to the
Holy Spirit, hence its name, "Sacrament of the Seal." Because this seal is
indelible and leaves a permanent mark on the recipient's soul, the Sacrament,
like Baptism and Holy Orders, may be received only once.|
|gives us the sanctifying
grace to become perfect Christians and true soldiers of Christ, well-armed to
defend Christ as King, His Mother as Queen, and the Church Militant as His
Kingdom on earth. God confirms us (strengthens us) so we may do spiritual
|imparts to us the 7 Gifts
of the Holy Ghost:
The Sacrament may only be
received by one who is baptized, preferably while he or she is in a state of
grace (i.e., not in a state of mortal sin). If it is received when the recipient
is not in a state of grace, it is illicitly but still validly received; the
fruits of the Sacrament will be delayed until he receives Penance. In addition,
if the confirmand (the one to be confirmed) has reached the age of reason, he
should be well-catechized and know the Pater (Our Father), the Ave (Hail Mary),
the Apostles' Creed, and the 10 Commandments.
The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the Bishop; priests are extraordinary ministers of the Sacrament and may offer the Sacrament if the Bishop authorizes them to. The matter is the imposition of hands, the chrism, and the anointing. The form of the Sacrament is:
"N., I sign thee with the sign + of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation; in the Name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Spirit.".
"N., signo te signo crucis + et confirmo te chrismate salutis, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti."
As in Baptism, a sponsor is
chosen to stand for the confirmand. The sponsor should be a baptized and
confirmed Catholic who's at least 14 years old, is of the same sex as the
confirmand, and is well-instructed in the Faith. Also as in Baptism, among those
who may not act as sponsors are: members of religious orders, spouses in
respect to each other, parents in respect to their own children, infidels,
heretics, members of condemned secret societies, and public sinners.
In any case, just as Abram became Abraham, as Jacob became Israel, as Simon became Peter, and as Saul became Paul, the confirmand takes on the name of a Saint when he is sealed to the Holy Spirit. This isn't necessary for the sake of validity, but it is the traditional practice of the Church, and especially important for those whose Baptismal names are pagan (non-Christian names). Read the lives of the Saints and choose your patron.
If one is raised a Catholic, one is usually confirmed around the age of 7-16 or so, though Confirmation may come earlier or later at the discretion of the priest and Bishop (Note: Eastern Catholics receive Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation all together as an infant) . If a child attends a Catholic school, he may be confirmed along with classmates in preparation for First Communion together as a class. If one enters the Church as an adult, he is usually baptized (if necessary), confirmed, and offered his first Communion all at the same time (usually at the Easter Vigil), but Confirmation may take place outside of the Easter Vigil, at the discretion of the Bishop and the priest.
On a cultural note, just as in Baptism, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and one's First Communion, it is customary for guests to bring a small gift to the one receiving the Sacrament, a gift usually, but not necessarily, religious in nature. Icons of his or her new patron, rosaries, books, etc. are typical. A small party may follow the ceremony, especially in the case of young confirmands.
The Rite of Confirmation
I. Preparatory Ceremonies
Turning to the candidates, the Bishop or delegated priest sings or says:
|May the Holy Spirit come down upon you, and the power of the Most HIgh keep you from all sin.||Spiritus Sanctus superveniat in vos, et virtus Altissimi custodiat vos a peccatis.|
|R. Amen||R. Amen|
The Bishop or priest then makes the Sign of the Cross and says:
|V. Our help + is in the Name of the Lord.||V. Adjutorium + nostrum in nomine Domini.|
|R. Who made Heaven and earth.||R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.|
|V. O, Lord, hear my prayer.||V. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.|
|R. And let my cry come unto You.||R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.|
|V. The Lord be with you.||V. Dominus vobiscum.|
|R. And with
||R. Et cum spiritu tuo.|
The Collective and Preparatory Imposition of Hands
The Bishop or delegated priest stretches out his hands over the candidates and says:
|Let us pray. Almighty, everlasting God, You have been pleased to regenerate these Your servants by water and the Holy Spirit, and have given them remission of all their sins; send forth upon them from Heaven Your sevenfold Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.||Oremus. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui regenerare dignatus es hos, famulos tuos ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto, quique dedisti eis remissionem omnium peccatorum: emitte in eos septiformem Spiritum tuum sanctum Paraclitum de caelis.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
|V. The Spirit of Wisdom and understanding.||V. Spiritum sapientiae et intellectus.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
|The Spirit of Counsel and fortitude.||Spiritum consilii et fortitudinis.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
|The Spirit of knowledge and piety.||V. Spiritum scientiea et pietatis.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
|Fill them with the spirit of Your holy fear, and sign them with the sign of the cross + of Christ in mercy for eternal life. Through the same Jesus Christ... in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end.||Adimple eos Spiritu timoris tui, et consigna eos signo crucis + Christi, in vitam propitiatus aeternam. Per eumdem Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.
II. The Sacrament
candidates may come up in two ranks with hands joined, carrying a card
bearing their Confirmation names. Each sponsor places his right hand on the
right shoulder of the candidate they are sponsoring.
|"N., I sign thee with the sign + of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation; in the Name of the Father + and of the Son + and of the Holy + Spirit."||"N., signo te signo crucis + et confirmo te chrismate salutis, in nomine Patris + et Filii + et Spiritus + Sancti."|
The newly-confirmed reply:
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
The Bishop or priest then gently strikes each candidate on the cheek, symbolizing that the Christian is now a soldier for Christ and must endure suffering and the persecution that comes from conflict with the world. A hymn might now be sung if the candidates are numerous.
When all have been confirmed, the following antiphon is sung or read:
|ANT: Confirm, O Lord, what Thou has wrought in us, from Thy holy temple which is in Jerusalem. Alleluia.||ANT: Confirma hoc, Deus, quod operatus es in nobis, a templo sancto tuo, quod est in Jerusalem. Alleuia.|
|V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.||V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.|
|R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.||R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.|
After the antiphon has been repeated, the Bishop or priest turns to the Altar and sings:
|V. Lord, show up Your mercy.||V. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.|
|R. And grant us Your salvation.||R. Et salutare tuum da nobis.|
|V. O Lord, hear my prayer.||V. Domine, exaudi orationem mean.|
|R. And let my cry come to You.||R. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.|
|V. The Lord be with you.||V. Dominus vobiscum.|
|R. And with your spirit.||R. Et cum spiritu tuo.|
|V. Let us pray. O God, You gave Your Holy Spirit to Your apostles, and willed that through them and their successors the same gift should be delivered to all the faithful: look graciously on the service we humbly render to You; grant that the same Spirit, coming down upon those whose foreheads we have anointed with the holy chrism, and signed with the sign of the holy cross, may by His gracious indwelling make them a temple of His glory, You Who are God, living and reigning with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
The Bishop then gives to the confirmed a special blessing in this form:
|V. Behold, thus shall every man be blessed who fears the Lord: May the Lord bless + you out of Sion, that you may see the good things of Jerusalem all the days of your life, and have life everlasting.||V. Ecce sic benedicetur omnis homo qui timet Dominum: Benedicat + vos Dominus ex Sion, ut videatis bona Jerusalem omnibus diebus vitae vestrae, et habeatis vitam aeternam.|
|R. Amen.||R. Amen.|
The Bishop sits down, and puts on his mitre. The newly confirmed recite aloud the Apostles' Creed, the Our Father, and the Hail Mary. The Bishop then gives the Pontifical Blessing to the entire congregation. A Te Deum or the Psalm Laudate pueri (Psalm 112) might be sung.