Wednesday in Whitsun Week 

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Wednesday in Whitsun Week
By Dom Prosper Gueranger 1870

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

We have seen with what fidelity the Holy Ghost has fulfilled, during all these past ages, the Mission he received from our Emmanuel, of forming, protecting and maintaining His Spouse the Church. This trust given by a God has been executed with all the power of a God, and it is the sublimest and most wonderful spectacle the world has witnessed during the eighteen hundred years of the new Covenant. This continuance of a social body,–the same in all times and places,–promulgating a precise Symbol of Faith which each of its Members is bound to accept,–producing by its decisions the strictest unity of religious belief throughout the countless individuals who compose the society,–this, together with the wonderful propagation of Christianity, is the master-fact of History. These two facts are not, as certain modern writers would have it, results of the ordinary laws of Providence; but Miracles of the highest order, worked directly by the Holy Ghost, and intended to serve as the basis of our faith in the truth of the Christian Religion. The Holy Ghost was not, in the exercise of His Mission, to assume a visible form; but he has made His Presence visible to the understanding of man, and thereby He has sufficiently proved His own personal action in the work of man’s salvation.
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St. Constantine the Great

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St. Constantine the Great

Junior Emperor and emperor called the “Thirteenth Apostle” in the East. The son of Constantius I Chlorus, junior emperor and St. Helena, Constantine was raised on the court of co-Emperor Diocletian. When his father died in 306, Constantine was declared junior emperor of York, England, by the local legions and earned a place as a ruler of the Empire by defeating of his main rivals at the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. According to legend, he adopted the insignia of Christ, the chi-rho, and placed it upon his labarum – the military standards that held the banners his armies carried into battle to vanquish their pagan enemies. His purple banners were inscribed with the Latin for “In this sign conquer.” Constantine then shared rule of the Empire with Licinius Licinianus, exerting his considerable influence upon his colleague to secure the declaration of Christianity to be a free religion. When, however, Licinius and Constantine launched a persecution of the Christians, Constantine marched to the East and routed his opponent at the battle of Adrianople. Constantine was the most dominating figure of his lifetime, towering over his contemporaries, including Pope Sylvester I. He presided over the Council of Nicaea, gave extensive grants of land and property to the Church, founded the Christian city of Constantinople to serve as his new capital, and undertook a long-sighted program of Christianization for the whole of the Roman Empire. While he was baptized a Christian only on his deathbed, Constantine nevertheless was a genuinely important figure in Christian history and was revered as a saint, especially in the Eastern Church.

The Baltimore Catechism: The Creation and the Fall of Man

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The Baltimore Catechism
Revised Edition (1941)

Lesson 5
The Creation and the Fall of Man

48. What is man?
Man is a creature composed of body and soul, and made to the image and likeness of God.

And God created man to his own image. (Genesis 2:7)

49. Is this likeness to God in the body or in the soul?
This likeness to God is chiefly in the soul.

50. How is the soul like God?
The soul is like God because it is a spirit having understanding and free will, and is destined to live forever.

And the dust return into its earth, from whence it was, and the spirit return to God, who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

51. Who were the first man and woman?
The first man and woman were Adam and Eve, the first parents of the whole human race.

And Adam called the name of his wife Eve. (Genesis 3:15)

52. What was the chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
The chief gift bestowed on Adam and Eve by God was sanctifying grace, which made them children of God and gave them the right to heaven.

53. What other gifts were bestowed on Adam and Eve by God?
The other gifts bestowed on Adam and Eve by God were happiness in the Garden of Paradise, great knowledge, control of the passions by reason, and freedom from suffering and death.

He gave them counsel, and a tongue, and eyes, and ears, and a heart to devise; and he filled them with the knowledge of understanding. (Ecclesiasticus 17:5)

54. What commandment did God give Adam and Eve?
God gave Adam and Eve the commandment not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree that grew in the Garden of Paradise.

And he commanded him, saying: “Of every tree of paradise thou shalt eat; but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat. For in what day soever thou shalt eat of it, thou shalt die the death.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

55. Did Adam and Eve obey the commandment of God?
Adam and Eve did not obey the commandment of God, but ate of the forbidden fruit.

And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold; and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. (Genesis 3:6)

56. What happened to Adam and Eve on account of their sin?
On account of their sin Adam and Eve lost sanctifying grace, the right to heaven, and their special gifts; they became subject to death, to suffering, and to a strong inclination to evil, and they were driven from the Garden of Paradise.

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken; for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. (Genesis 3:19)

57. What has happened to us on account of the sin of Adam?
On account of the sin of Adam, we, his descendants, come into the world deprived of sanctifying grace and inherit his punishment, as we would have inherited his gifts had he been obedient to God.

But, by the envy of the devil, death came into the world. (Wisdom 2:24)

58. What is this sin in us called?
This sin in us is called original.

59. Why is this sin called original?
This sin is called original because it comes down to us through our origin, or descent, from Adam.

Therefore as through one man sin entered into the world and through sin death, and thus death has passed unto all men because all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)

60. What are the chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin?
The chief punishments of Adam which we inherit through original sin are: death, suffering, ignorance, and a strong inclination to sin.

61. Is God unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam?
God is not unjust in punishing us on account of the sin of Adam, because original sin does not take away from us anything to which we have a strict right as human beings, but only the free gifts which God in His goodness would have bestowed on us if Adam had not sinned.

62. Was any human person ever preserved from original sin?
The Blessed Virgin Mary was preserved from original sin in view of the merits of her Divine Son, and this privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.

I will put enmities between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Tuesday in Whitsun Week 

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Tuesday in Whitsun Week
By Dom Prosper Gueranger 1870

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

Yesterday, we were admiring the work of the Holy Ghost, whereby He drew mankind to the faith and name of Jesus, to Whom all power was given in heaven and in earth (St. Matt. xxviii. 18). The instruments used for this conquest were the Apostles and their immediate successors. The Tongue of Fire was victorious, and the Prince of this world was defeated. Let us continue our reflections, and see the further workings of the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Son of God, Who had sent him into the world.

Our Emmanuel came down from heaven, that He might effect the union He had desired from all eternity. He began it by uniting our human nature to His own divine Person; but this personal union did not satisfy His love. He mercifully deigned to invite the whole human race to a spiritual union with Himself, by giving her to become His Church, His own dearest One (Cant. vi. 8), as He calls her;–His glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish (Eph. v. 27). But how could mankind, deformed as it was by sin, be worthy of such an honor? His love would make it worthy. He tells us that this Church is His Spouse (St. Matth. ix. 15; xxv. 6; St. Mark, ii. 19.; St. Luke, v. 34.; St. John, iii. 29); and thus chosen, He beautified her in the laver of His own precious Blood, and gave her, in dowry, the infinite merits He had acquired.
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