SUNDAY SCHOOL: The Holy Ghost and Grace

SUNDAY SCHOOL

The Baltimore Catechism
Revised Edition (1941)

Lesson 9
The Holy Ghost and Grace

105. Who is the Holy Ghost?
The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

106. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?
The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.

But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me. (John 15:26)

107. Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?
The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.

108. What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?
The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.

Guard the good trust through the Holy Ghost, who dwells in us. (II Timothy 1:14)

109. What is grace?
Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

And of his fullness we have all received, grace for grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)

110. How many kinds of grace are there?
There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

111. What is sanctifying grace?
Sanctifying grace is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God. (John 1:12)

112. What are the chief effects of sanctifying grace?
The chief effects of sanctifying grace are:

it makes us holy and pleasing to God;
it makes us adopted children of God;
it makes us temples of the Holy Ghost;
it gives us the right to heaven.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

113. What is actual grace?
Actual grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.

For it is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance. (Philippians 2:13)

114. Can we resist the grace of God?
We can resist the grace of God, for our will is free, and God does not force us to accept His grace.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often I would have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but thou wouldst not! (Matthew 23:37)

115. Why is sanctifying grace necessary for salvation?
Sanctifying grace is necessary for salvation because it is the supernatural life, which alone enables us to attain the supernatural happiness of heaven.

116. Is actual grace necessary for all who have attained the use of reason?
Actual grace is necessary for all who have attained the use of reason, because without it we cannot long resist the power of temptation or perform other actions which merit a reward in heaven.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves but our sufficiency is from God. (II Corinthians 3:5)

117. What are the principal ways of obtaining grace?
The principal ways of obtaining grace are prayer and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

For we were buried with him by means of Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we may also walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

118. How can we make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward?
We can make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward by doing them for the love of God and by keeping ourselves in the state of grace.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God. (I Corinthians 10:31)

Introit: Redemisti nos, Domine

From the Introit of the Mass for today’s Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Apoc. 5.9-10):

Redemisti nos, Domine, in sanguine tuo, ex omni tribu, et lingua, et populo, et natione: et fecisti nos Deo nostro regnum. * Misericordias Domini in aeternum cantabo: in generationem et generationem annuntiabo veritatem tuam in ore meo.
Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue, and people and nation, and hast made us to our God a kingdom. * The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever: I will show forth Thy truth with my mouth to generation and generation.
(Apoc. 5:9-10 and Psalm 88:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

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Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ

John the Baptist has pointed out the Lamb, Peter has firmly fixed His throne, Paul has prepared the Bride; this their joint work, admirable in its unity, at once suggests the reason for their feasts occurring almost simultaneously on the cycle. The alliance being now secured, all three fall into shade; whilst the Bride herself, raised up by them to such lofty heights, appears alone before us, holding in her hands the sacred cup of the nuptial-feast.

This gives the key of today’s solemnity; revealing how its illumining the heavens of the holy Liturgy, at this particular season, is replete with mystery. The Church, it is true, has already made known to the sons of the New Covenant, and in a much more solemn manner, the price of the Blood that redeemed them, its nutritive strength, and the adoring homage which is its due. Yes; on Good Friday, earth and heaven beheld all sin drowned in the saving stream, whose eternal flood-gates at last gave way, beneath the combined effort of man’s violence and of the love of the divine Heart. The festival of Corpus Christi witnessed our prostrate worship before the altars whereon is perpetuated the Sacrifice of Calvary, and where the outpouring of the Precious Blood affords drink to the humblest little ones, as well as to the mightiest potentates of earth, lowly bowed in adoration before it. How is it, then, that Holy Church is now inviting all Christians to hail, in a particular manner, the stream of life ever gushing from the sacred fount? What else can this mean, but that the preceding solemnities have by no means exhausted the mystery? The peace which the Blood has made to reign in the high places as well as in the low; the impetus of its wave bearing back the sons of Adam from the yawning gulf, purified, renewed, and dazzling white in the radiance of their heavenly apparel; the Sacred Table outspread before them, on the waters’ brink, and the Chalice brimful of inebriation; all this preparation and display would be objectless, all these splendours would be incomprehensible, if man were not brought to see therein the wooings of a love that could never endure its advances to be outdone by the pretensions of any other. Therefore, the Blood of Jesus is set before our eyes, at this moment, as the Blood of the Testament; the pledge of the alliance proposed to us by God (Exod. xxiv. 8; Heb. ix. 20); the dower stipulated upon by Eternal Wisdom for this divine union to which He is inviting all men, and whereof the consummation in our soul is being urged forward with such vehemence by the Holy Ghost.

“Having therefore, Brethren, a confidence in the entering into the Holies by the Blood of Christ,” says the Apostle, “a new and living way which He hath dedicated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh, let us draw near with a pure heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that hath promised. Let us consider one another to provoke unto charity and to good works (Heb. x. 19-24). And may the God of peace who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Blood of the everlasting Testament, fit you in all goodness, that you may do His will: doing in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom is glory for ever and ever. Amen!” (Ibid. xiii. 20, 21)

Nor must we omit to mention here, that this feast is a monument of one of the most brilliant victories of Holy Church, in our own age. Pius IX. had been driven from Rome in 1848, by the triumphant revolution; but the following year, just about this very season, his power was re-established. Under the aegis of the Apostles on June 28th and the two following days, the eldest daughter of the Church, faithful to her past glories, swept the ramparts of the Eternal City; and on July 2nd, Mary’s festival, the victory was completed. Not long after this, a twofold decree notified to the City and to the world the Pontiff’s gratitude and the way in which he intended to perpetuate, in the sacred Liturgy, the memory of these events. On August 10th, from Gaeta itself, the place of his exile in the evil day, Pius IX, before returning to re-assume the government of his States, addressing himself to the invisible Head of the Church, confined her in a special manner to His divine care, by the institution of this day’s Festival; reminding Him that it was for His Church that He vouchsafed to shed all His Precious Blood.

Then, when the Pontiff re-entered his Capital, turning to Mary, just as Pius V. and Pius VII. had done under other circumstances, he, the Vicar of Christ, solemnly attributed the honour of the recent victory to Her who is ever the “Help of Christians,” for on the Feast of Her Visitation it had been gained; and he now decreed that this said Feast of July 2nd should be raised from the rite of double-major to that of second class throughout the whole world. This was but a prelude to the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which the immortal Pontiff had already in project, whereby the crushing of the serpent’s head would be completed.

The Liturgical Year. 1904. Abbot Dom Gueranger, O.S.B. Translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B. Imprimatur, 1910.

Month of The Most Precious Blood of Jesus

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Month of The Most Precious Blood of Jesus

The month of July is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of the Redeemer. Supreme homage is given to the Sacred Blood. As we adore the Sacred Heart, because it is the Heart of Jesus, who is God, so we adore the Most Precious Blood.

The Blood of Jesus is the fountain of salvation. Each drop that flowed from the wounds of the Saviour is a pledge of man’s eternal salvation. All races of the earth have been ransomed, and all individuals, who will allow the saving power of the Sacred Blood to be applied to their soul, are heirs of heaven. St. John Chrysostom calls the Precious Blood the saviour of souls; St. Thomas Aquinas, the key to heaven’s treasures; St. Ambrose, pure gold of ineffable worth; St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, a magnet of souls and pledge of eternal life. The sins of mankind, in their number, in their offense to the Supreme Being, in the effects on transgressors, are immense; yet, the Precious Blood of Jesus is not frightened by numbers, it has in Itself the power to appease an angered God and to heal wounded creatures.

The Precious Blood is a cleansing bath. Unlike all other blood, which stains, the Blood of Jesus washes clean and white. According to the words of St. John, in the Apocalypse, the Angels wonder, and the question is asked: These that are clothed in white robes, who are they? The Lord answers: These are they that have washed their robes, and have made them white in the Blood of the Lamb. For no other reason did the Precious Blood flow but to regain for the souls of men the beautiful dress of innocence, and , once regained, to preserve it throughout life and into eternity.

The Blood of the Saviour is a well of consolation for troubled hearts. Can anyone, confidingly, look at the Sacred Blood trickling down from the Cross without taking courage to carry on, in spite of the difficulties which are the common lot of all? One glance at the Cross must be able to drive away fear. And, another, must be able to instill trust in Him who did not rest until the last drop, mingled with water, flowed out of an opened Heart. He, who was willing to do so much for men, must be willing to overlook and forget the frailties which they deeply regret; He must be willing to come to their assistance when harassed, to defend them when tempted, to comfort them when afflicted. The Blood of Jesus must be for Christians what the north-star is to sailors.

Would that men on earth honored the Precious Blood in the manner in which they who are in heaven give honor and praise and thanksgiving! They proclaim that It purchased the glory which they enjoy. Without It, they would have remained slaves of Satan and outcasts from the eternal mansions of God. Let us profess that we owe to the Sacred Blood of Jesus all that we have in this life, and that to It we shall owe all that we shall enjoy in a better and eternal life!