SUNDAY SCHOOL: The Redemption

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Baltimore Catechism

Lesson 8: The Redemption

“I believe … in Jesus Christ … who … suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead …”
90. What is meant by the Redemption?
By the Redemption is meant that Jesus Christ, as the Redeemer of the whole human race, offered His sufferings and death to God as a fitting sacrifice in satisfaction for the sins of men, and regained for them the right to be children of God and heirs of heaven.

He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have our redemption, the remission of our sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

91. What were the chief sufferings of Christ?
The chief sufferings of Christ were His bitter agony of soul, His bloody sweat, His cruel scourging, His crowning with thorns, His crucifixion, and His death on the cross.

And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said: “Father into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And saying this he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46)

92. When did Christ die?
Christ died on Good Friday.

93. Where did Christ die?
Christ died on Golgotha, a place outside the city of Jerusalem.

And they came to a place called Golgotha, that is, the Place of the Skull. (Matthew 27:33)

94. What do we learn from the sufferings and death of Christ?
From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn God’s love for man and the evil of sin, for which God, who is all-just, demands such great satisfaction.

95. What do we mean when we say in the Apostles’ Creed that Christ descended into hell?
When we say that Christ descended into hell we mean that, after He died, the soul of Christ descended into a place or state of rest, called limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting for Him.

Put to death indeed in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit, in which also he went and preached to those spirits that were in prison. (I Peter 3:18-19)

96. Why did Christ go to limbo?
Christ went to limbo to announce to the souls waiting there the joyful news that He had reopened heaven to mankind.

97. Where was Christ’s body while His soul was In limbo?
While His soul was in limbo, Christ’s body was in the holy sepulchre.

And, taking him down, he wrapped him in fine linen and laid him in a sepulchre that was hewed in stone, wherein never yet any man had been laid. (Luke 23:53)

98. When did Christ rise from the dead?
Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.

And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled back from the sepulchre. (Luke 24:1-2)

99. Why did Christ rise from the dead?
Christ rose from the dead to show that He is true God and to teach us that we, too, shall rise from the dead.

For if the dead do not rise, neither has Christ risen; and if Christ has not risen, vain is your faith, for you are still in your sins. (I Corinthians 15:16-17)

100. Will all men rise from the dead?
All men will rise from the dead, but only those who have been faithful to Christ will share in His glory.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall all indeed rise. (I Corinthians 15:51)

101. When did Christ ascend into heaven?
Christ ascended, body and soul, into heaven on Ascension Day, forty days after His Resurrection.

And it came to pass as he blessed them, that he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:51)

102. Why did Christ remain on earth forty days after His Resurrection?
Christ remained on earth forty days after His Resurrection to prove that He had truly risen from the dead and to complete the instruction of the apostles.

To them also he showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs during the forty days appearing to them and speaking of the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

103. What do we mean when we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty?
When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a king over all creatures.

All powers in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)

104. What do we mean when we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead?
When we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead, we mean that on the last day Our Lord will come to pronounce a sentence of eternal reward or of eternal punishment on everyone who has ever lived in this world.

For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will render to everyone according to his conduct. (Matthew 16:27)

Hymn to St. John the Baptist

The Latin words and English translation of the hymn traditionally sung on the eve of the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist.

1. Ut queant laxis resonáre fibris
Mira gestórum fámuli tuórum,
Solve pollúti lábii reátum, Sancte Joánnes.

2. Núntius celso véniens Olýmpo
Te patri magnum fore nascitúrum,
Nomen, et vitae sériem geréndae
Ordinae promit.

3. Ille promíssi dúbius supérni,
Pérdidit promptae módulos loquélae:
Sed reformásti genitus perémptae
Organa vocis.

4. Ventris obstrúso récubans cubíli
Sénseras Regem thálamo manéntem:
Hinc parens nati méritis utérque Abdita pandit.

5. Sit decus Patri, genitaéque Proli
et tibi, compare utriúsque virtus,
Spíritus semper, Deus unus, omni
Témporis aevo.

1. O for your spirit, holy John, to chasten
Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;
So by your children might your deeds of wonder
Meetly be chanted.

2. Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,
Bears to your father promise of your greatness;
How he shall name you, what your future story,
Duly revealing.

3. Scarcely believing message so transcendent,
Him for a season power of speech forsaketh,
Till, at your wondrous birth, again returneth,
Voice to the voiceless.

4. You, in your mother’s womb all darkly cradled,
Knew your great Monarch, biding in His chamber,
Whence the two parents, through their offspring’s merits,
Mysteries uttered.

5. Praise to the Father, to the Son begotten,
And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,
One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,
Ever resounding. Amen.

SS. Martyrs of Rome under Nero

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SS. Martyrs of Rome under Nero

TERTULLIAN observes, that it was the honour of the Christian religion that Nero, the most avowed enemy to all virtue, was the first Roman emperor who declared against it a most bloody war. The sanctity and purity of the manners of the primitive Christians was a sufficient motive to stir up the rage of that monster; and he took the following occasion to draw his sword against them. The city of Rome had been set on fire, and had burned nine days, from the 19th to the 28th of July, in the year 64; in which terrible conflagration, out of the fourteen regions or quarters into which it was then divided, three were entirely laid in ashes, seven of them were miserably defaced and filled with the ruins of half-burnt buildings, and only four entirely escaped this disaster. During this horrible tragedy, Nero came from Antium to Rome, and seated himself on the top of a tower upon a neighbouring hill, in the theatrical dress of a musician, singing a poem which himself had composed on the burning of Troy. The people accused him of being the author of this calamity, and said he caused fire to be set to the city that he might glut his eyes with an image of the burning of Troy. Tillemont, Crevier, and other judicious critics make no doubt but he was the author of this calamity. Suetonius and Dion Cassius positively charge him with it. Tacitus indeed doubts whether the fire was owing to accident or to the wickedness of the prince; but by a circumstance which he mentions, it appears that the flame was at least kept up and spread for several days by the tyrant’s orders; for several men hindered all that attempted to extinguish the fire, and increased it by throwing lighted torches among the houses, saying they were ordered so to do. In which, had they been private villains, they would not have been supported and backed, but brought to justice. Besides, when the fire had raged seven days, and destroyed every thing from the great circus, at the foot of mount Palatine, to the further end of the Esquiliæ, and had ceased for want of fuel, the buildings being in that place thrown down, it broke out again in Tigellinus’s gardens, which place increased suspicion, and continued burning two days more. Besides envying the fate of Priam, who saw his country laid in ashes, Nero had an extravagant passion to make a new Rome, which should be built in a more sumptuous manner, and extended as far as Ostia to the sea; he wanted room in particular to enlarge his own palace; accordingly, he immediately rebuilt his palace of an immense extent, and adorned all over with gold, mother-of-pearl, precious stones, and whatever the world afforded that was rich and curious, so that he called it the Golden Palace. But this was pulled down after his death. The tyrant seeing himself detested by all mankind as the author of this calamity, to turn off the odium and infamy of such an action from himself, and at the same time to gratify his hatred of virtue and thirst after blood, he charged the Christians with having set the city on fire. Tacitus testifies, that nobody believed them guilty; yet the idolaters, out of extreme aversion to their religion, rejoiced in their punishment. 1 Continue reading

The Liturgical Year: The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

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THE Voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord; behold thy God! [Isa. xl 3, 9] In this world grown now so cold, who can understand earth’s transports at hearing these glad tidings so long expected? The promised God was not yet manifested; but already had the heavens bowed down [Ps. xvii 10] to make way for His passage. No longer was He ‘the One Who is to come,’ He for Whom our fathers, the illustrious Saints of the prophetic age, ceaselessly called in their indomitable hope. Still hidden, indeed, but already in our midst, He was resting beneath that virginal cloud, compared with which the heavenly purity of Thrones and Cherubim waxes dim; yea, the united fires of burning Seraphim grow faint in presence of the single love wherewith she alone encompasses Him in her human heart, she that lowly daughter of Adam whom He had chosen for his Mother. Our accursed earth, become in a moment more blessed than Heaven that had so long been closed against the prayers of men, only waited for the revelation of the august mystery. The hour had come for earth to join her canticles to that eternal and Divine praise which henceforth was ever rising from her depths, and which, being itself no other than the Word Himself, would praise God condignly. But beneath the veil of humility where His Divinity, even after as well as before His birth, must still continue to hide itself from men, who may discover the Emmanuel? Who, having recognized Him in His merciful abasements, may succeed in making Him accepted by a world lost in pride? Who may cry, pointing out the carpenter’s Son [St. Matt. xiii 55] in the midst of the crowd: ‘Behold Him Whom your fathers have so wistfully awaited’? Continue reading

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

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The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

In the holy Gospel, the nativity of St. John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Christ, is described by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, not only for our instruction, but also that we may rejoice in the Lord our God. In the mountains of Judaea, at Hebron, eight miles from Jerusalem, lived Zachary and Elizabeth. They were just people, and lived in accordance with the commandments of God, but had no children, although they had prayed for them many years. The great age which they had attained, naturally gave them no longer any hope of issue. But still they continued their prayer. One day, when Zachary, who was a priest, offered incense in the Temple at Jerusalem, he saw at the right side of the altar, an angel, whose appearance filled the pious old man with fear and trembling. The angel, however, said to him: ” Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard. Elizabeth, thy wife, shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. He shall bring thee joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. He shall be great before the Lord and shall drink no strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb. He shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God: and he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias: that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people.”
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