by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Nihil Obstat: Richard J. Schuler
Imprimatur: + Harry J. Flynn, D.D.
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
(From the 2001 edition)
What do Catholics believe and why do they believe it?
The answers to these questions are not just a matter of life and death; they are the essential answers for time and eternity.
The author of this brief pamphlet, Msgr. Charles M. Mangan, a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who works in Rome as an official of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, is a highly respected spiritual author and lecturer. His experience has led him to appreciate what people need and indeed want to know about God, about Jesus Christ and about Hs Church.
It is my fervent hope that, through this brief presentation, thousands will be led to the Church founded by Jesus Christ or indeed to a deeper appreciation of it--and that they will thus come to everlasting life.
The Most Reverend John Patrick Foley, D.D.
The Pontifical Council for Social Communications
Memorial of Saint Mary Faustina
Memorial of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos
October 5, 2006
This little work was first published with the title, A New Opportunity: A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching (Saint Paul, Minnesota: The Leaflet Missal Company, 2001) and is now reprinted with permission.
Special thanks to Paul Welvang of The Leaflet Missal Company, who gave permission for the reprinting of this text.
The title of this booklet comes from a line in the Gloria of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: "Tu solus Dominus"--"You alone are the Lord." These words are addressed to Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity Who became man through the power of the Holy Spirit in the chaste womb of the Ever-Virgin Mary for the praise and honor of His Heavenly Father and for our salvation.
Jesus Christ alone saves us. Our response to His unspeakable goodness is simple: "Praised be Jesus Christ!"
The short text is meant to present some of the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. This work is deliberately brief and designed to introduce or represent the Truths of the Catholic Faith in summary form.
I would like to remember two men who taught me about Jesus Christ Our Lord and the glories of the Catholic Church by what they said and how they lived: my Father, Joseph Anthony Mangan (+October 14, 2006), who cooperated with my Mother in granting physical life to me and for providing access to the spiritual life contained in the Sacraments of the Church; the Most Reverend Paul Vincent Dudley, D.D., the Sixth Bishop of Sioux Falls (+November 20, 2006), who ordained me to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Requiescant in pace. May they rest in peace.
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 8, 2006
Three in One
1. The Most Holy Trinity is the Supreme Being Who is God--the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is Catholicism's foundation.
2. The Holy Trinity--eternal, perfect, limitless--always existed, exists now and will exist always.
3. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct and equal Persons. God is Three in One.
4. The Father is not greater than the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each is a different Person, but equal in majesty.
5. God has created, redeemed and made us holy. His love brought us into being, restored us to health when we had sinned and sanctified us.
6. God wants us to be happy on earth; He shows us the path to happiness: knowing and obeying His holy plan. His will alone is our joy and salvation.
7. By obeying His plan, we prepare to see Him "face to face" in Heaven. Experiencing the Blessed Trinity in Paradise is the ultimate happiness.
8. Love connects the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
9. The Holy Trinity is merciful. Although we cannot match God's goodness, He wants us to imitate Him through our love and compassion.
10. God, Who is love, is pleased when we--His children--know, love and serve Him.
What We Believe
1. God has revealed certain truths that are necessary on our way to Heaven. These are in Sacred Scripture (The Holy Bible) and Apostolic Tradition.
2. Scripture and Tradition combine to form "Divine Revelation" (The Deposit of Faith), which the Almighty has disclosed for our welfare.
3. Scripture is the Holy Spirit-inspired, written Word of God; Tradition is the living transmission of that Word. They are distinct but equally revered.
4. Scripture and Tradition may not be changed; however, fresh insights come from prayerfully studying both. While the Apostolic Tradition was completed around the end of the first century (100 A.D.), the truths contained in it gradually are made more explicit (for example, the Assumption was not defined until 1950).
5. The Bible tells how God always invited His people back to Himself after they sinned.
6. We know through our reason that God exists; we need faith to know the fullness of what He has revealed.
7. The Apostles' Creed is the Profession of Faith we pray during the Rosary; the Nicene Creed is used during the Mass. The latter is longer, explaining in more detail Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Church; however, one Creed totally agrees with the other. Not everything that Catholics believe is mentioned in the Creeds.
8. The Catholic Bishops (the Apostles' Successors)--in union with the Pope (Saint Peter's Successor)--interpret and guard Divine Revelation. They are the Magisterium (The Church's Teaching Authority).
9. The Holy Father and the Bishops are our shepherds. We--the obedient flock--follow the Magisterium's teachings.
10. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains the Church's teachings. Each Catholic home should have the Catechism and The Holy Bible.
The Bride Of Christ
1. Jesus founded the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 2000 years later, He is present now and always in her.
2. The Church (Body of Christ, Bride of Christ, Temple of the Holy Spirit, People of God) is Jesus' Reign already here.
3. The Church's origin ("conception") was anticipated in Jesus' institution of the Most Holy Eucharist on Holy Thursday and fulfilled on Good Friday when His side was pierced, from which His Blood and water flowed.
4. The Church's sending forth ("birthday") was especially accomplished by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. The Church awaits her Master's glorious Coming on the Last Day.
5. Jesus chose Saint Peter as the rock on which He built His Church. The Apostles (the first Bishops) with and under Saint Peter governed the Church.
6. The Church's members share the same Faith and Sacraments, recognizing Saint Peter's Successors--the Pope--as the Church's visible head on earth.
7. The Bishops as the Apostles' Successors specially participate in Jesus' sanctifying, teaching and governing Office.
8. Priests and deacons collaborate with their Bishops in the Church's mission. Consecrated men and women (brothers, sisters and priests belonging to religious congregations as well as members of secular institutes, societies of apostolic life, consecrated virgins and hermits) seek to follow Christ by way of poverty, chastity and obedience.
9. The laity are baptized Catholics who are not priests or consecrated through religious profession or some special bond. Married or single, they witness to Christ, sharing His Word with Catholics and non-Catholics.
10. The Church turns to Blessed Mary--the Mother of the Church. Sins of individual Catholics do not detract from the Holy Church, whose center is the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Lord's Messengers And Our Helpers
1. God created the Angels and earth-dwelling creatures (including human beings).
2. Angels are spiritual beings. They differ from God in that while He is the Uncreated Spirit, they are created spirits. Angels differ from us in that while we possess bodies, they are bodiless.
3. The Angels, always praising and serving God, are present wherever Christ is.
4. God may allow the Angels to take on bodies for a specific task.
5. After their creation, some of the Angels rebelled against God, thereby becoming devils (led by Satan). They tempt us, desiring our everlasting damnation.
6. Satan's power is strong but limited. Although God allows us to be tempted by the demons, we, with His grace, can resist them.
7. The Holy Angels are mentioned during Mass in the Confiteor ("I confess") and in Eucharistic Prayer One (The Roman Canon); they are remembered during the Funeral Liturgy in the In Paradisum ("May the Angels").
8. Each believer has a Guardian Angel whose duty is "to light, to guard, to rule and guide." We should ask daily for his aid.
9. Although one does not know the personal name of his Guardian Angel, he may bestow upon the Angel a name to assist him in asking for the Angel's help.
10. Three Archangels--Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are especially recalled by the Church on their Feast, September 29; the Guardian Angels are commemorated on October 2.
Treasure Of Treasures
1. During the Last Supper on Holy Thursday evening, Jesus established two of the seven Sacraments: the Most Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders.
2. The Redeemer left us the best possible Gift: Himself.
3. In Holy Communion, we receive not bread and wine but the real, true and substantial Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ--wholly present in each Particle and Drop of the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood.
4. A Catholic priest possesses--through the Sacrament of Holy Orders--the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. This is called transubstantiation.
5. Before receiving Holy Communion, one fasts for one hour from food and drink (except water and medicine). Refraining from chewing gum in the church expresses an inspiring decorum. A sign of reverence (for example, a profound bow) before receiving signifies an awareness of the One to be consumed.
6. If one is conscious of mortal sin, before receiving Holy Communion he must first confess any and all mortal sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance. The worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist means that one is free from unconfessed mortal sin.
7. To receive Holy Communion, one must believe as the Church does: that Christ's Body and Blood are really present under the appearances of bread and wine.
8. When receiving the Host on the tongue, one says "Amen" and allows Christ to be placed on his tongue. If receiving in the hand, one makes a "throne" for the Lord by placing his stronger hand on the bottom and his other hand on top. Having said "Amen" and having received the Host (rather than reaching for It), the communicant takes one step to the side, stops and places the Host in his mouth by using the stronger hand from the bottom.
9. The worthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ increases sanctifying grace in the soul, separates one from sin, absolves venial sins, helps one to avoid mortal sin, renews one's connection to the Church, compels one to help the poor, bids one to seek unity among Christians and anticipates the future glory of Paradise.
10. Visits to the Blessed Sacrament--whether Jesus in the Tabernacle or exposed in the Monstrance on the Altar--are commendable, as are Holy Hours in the presence of the Holy Eucharist. One genuflects when passing in front of the Tabernacle; if health disallows, he makes a profound bow.
Wisdom To Live By
1. God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai (Book of Exodus). They help us to become the Creator's free sons and daughters.
2. If we truly love God, then we will obey Him. The Ten Commandments are an excellent "checklist" when examining our consciences--before going to bed, to Confession, etc.
3. The Lord knows what makes us content. Following the Ten Commandments is the recipe for our happiness on earth and later in Heaven.
4. The first three Commandments concern our relationship with God; the other seven, our rapport with our neighbors and with ourselves.
5. All Christians are bound by the Commandments, from which no human authority can dispense.
6. We are to: worship, love and serve God as our sole Master; respect His Holy Name; keep sacred Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation by attending Mass and refraining from unnecessary servile work, reaching out to the needy and giving our minds and bodies relaxation.
7. We are to: honor, serve and pray for our parents; respect all human life, the physical well-being of the body and promote Christ's peace among individuals and nations; esteem the gift of sexuality by living chaste lives and cherish the exclusive and life-giving love of husband and wife.
8. We are to: respect another's property, love the poor and value human work; be truth-tellers, esteem the reputation of others and honor justifiable secrets.
9. We are to: be purified in body and soul, fight against impure thoughts and desires, avoid impure entertainment and be modest in dress and feelings; repel aspirations for riches, rejoice (without envying) in the fortunes of others and be detached from earthly objects.
10. The Precepts of the Church are: to attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays; to confess at least once a year; to receive Holy Communion at least during the Easter Season; to fast and abstain on the appointed days; to obey the Church's laws concerning Matrimony; to provide for the Church's material needs; to be confirmed, thereby participating in the Church's missionary apostolate.
1. The Saints are men and women, boys and girls who presently (and forever) see God face to face. They, to whom we are linked by the "Communion of Saints," lived Jesus' Beatitudes.
2. All Christians receive the call to holiness through the Sacrament of Baptism.
3. Jesus commanded us to become saints: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Saint Matthew 5:48). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the human person most filled with charity, which is absolutely indispensable.
4. The Church Triumphant is comprised of the Saints in Heaven. They, who were guided by the Holy Spirit, assist us by their prayers; we venerate them because of their closeness to Christ.
5. No one enters Heaven without being perfectly conformed to the Crucified and Risen Jesus. The renunciation of the world's empty and passing pleasures is paramount.
6. It is admirable that the candidate for Baptism and Confirmation have a Saint's name (or more than one).
7. Those human persons whose souls are now in Heaven are the Saints; however, the Church--through Canonization--solemnly recognizes some of them, giving them the title "Saint." Beatification, after which one is called "Blessed," is one of the steps before Canonization.
8. We revere our Patron Saints (the Saints who have our first and middle names, the Saints for whom our Parishes are named, the Patrons of our Dioceses, etc.).
9. We pray daily through the intercession of our Saints. To read their writings and about their lives is laudatory.
10. Although difficult, the path to sanctity is possible. Our goal is to go to Heaven--to become a saint!
Out of Sight, Not Out Of Mind
1. The "Holy Souls" ("Poor Souls") died in "God's friendship" but need to atone for their sins in Purgatory.
2. In Purgatory the Holy Souls are cleansed of temporal punishment (the lingering residue caused by their forgiven sins).
3. Once a person is in Purgatory, he eventually will go to Paradise.
4. Nothing unclean may enter Heaven. To be purified of one's sins in Purgatory is the Creator's mercy in action.
5. Those in Purgatory are members of The Church Suffering. These Holy Souls suffer because as of yet they do not see God face to face, but they are consoled because they know that their waiting will cease.
6. The Universal Church prays for the Holy Souls at each Mass, that soon they may be with the Lord in Paradise.
7. Each Catholic is to pray, practice self-denial, give alms and obtain Indulgences for the Holy Souls, who no longer can "merit" on their own behalf but must rely on us (The Church Militant) and the Saints in Heaven (The Church Triumphant).
8. At Funerals we pray for the deceased and for the comfort of the bereaved.
9. We recite along with Grace After Meals: "May the souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."
10. Having Mass offered for the Faithful Departed is the best remembrance of them.
Promoters Of Life
1. God created us in His image and likeness. Human life is sacred.
2. No one may ever directly and intentionally take an innocent human person's life.
3. Catholics today must raise their voices whenever human life is attacked.
4. Pope John Paul II reminded us that we must promote the "Gospel of Life"--the respect due to all human persons because they are the Creator's children.
5. The Gospel of Life is currently locked in a ferocious battle with the "Culture of Death": the pervading mentality that dictates which persons are beautiful and to be esteemed and which are ugly and expendable.
6. From conception, human life must be guarded from all harm. Preborn children are to be cherished, regardless of how they were conceived.
7. We pray for a restoration of respect for all human life and use our political voice (particularly by voting) to protect human life.
8. Urging pregnant women who are considering abortion to give birth, comforting women who have had abortions, taking care of newborns and their mothers and fathers and adopting unwanted children are noble endeavors.
9. There is a strong connection between artificial contraception (birth control) and abortion, which is often used as a "backup contraceptive." Some pills and devices that are labeled as preventing conception (contraceptive) actually are abortion-inducing (abortifacient). Each occasion of the act that leads to conception always must be open to the possible transmission of human life.
10. We promote the beauty of life when we fight abortion, pray and work for peace among sparring persons and nations, serve AIDS patients, encourage the sick and elderly, counsel those contemplating suicide, visit those on Death Row, etc.
The Joy Of Forgiveness
1. Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Penance on Easter Sunday evening, giving the Apostles (the first Bishops) the power and authority to forgive sins.
2. Confession (the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation) remits both mortal and venial sins, leading to our interior conversion to Christ.
3. The priest assumes the place of the Good Shepherd in the confessional. We honestly relate our sins and struggles to the priest.
4. To receive the Sacrament of Penance, we must be sorry for our sins, truthfully confess them to the priest, desire to do better in the future and intend to do the penance that the priest assigns us.
5. After granting us a penance, the priest recites the Prayer of Absolution. Then, we fulfill our penance as soon as possible after leaving the confessional.
6. Although unnecessary, one may confess venial sins in Confession, thereby receiving great graces. Regarding mortal sins, one is to tell what they are and how many times they occurred.
7. The Church urges frequent Confession (some confess weekly, once every other week or monthly).
8. Before confessing, one carefully examines his conscience, noting how he has followed the Lord and failed.
9. A worthy Confession has numerous effects: reconciliation with God and His Church; eradication of mortal sins and their everlasting punishment; remission of venial sins and at least some of their temporal punishment; increase of grace, charity, peace, humility, resolve and self-knowledge.
10. We become holy when we receive this "Sacrament of Saints" well and often.
God's Living Tabernacle
1. The Almighty freely chose Mary to become Jesus' Mother. She is the Immaculate Mother of God.
2. To be a fitting "tabernacle," the Lord bestowed upon Mary the singular privilege of the Immaculate Conception: at her conception, she was preserved from Original Sin--that stain left by Adam and Eve.
3. Mary was free from actual sin--mortal and venial throughout her entire life.
4. She is the Ever Virgin. By a special grace, she retained her virginity before, during and after the Birth of Christ.
5. Mary was really married to her chaste husband Saint Joseph, even though they willingly refrained from the affectionate, procreative actions particular to spouses.
6. Mary and Saint Joseph lovingly cared for the Child. The Holy Family of Nazareth--the model for our families--was prayerful, courteous, disciplined and diligent.
7. Standing at the cross beneath her dying Son, Mary cooperated with Jesus in the redemption of the human race--our reconciliation to God.
8. Mary was assumed body and soul into Heaven and crowned as the Queen of Heaven and earth. There, she prays for and speaks to her dear Jesus about us, longing for our arrival into the Everlasting Kingdom.
9. God has given Mary the unique role of distributing His grace to us. As she did 2,000 years ago, the Madonna promptly and cheerfully fulfills His perfect will in everything.
10. We venerate Our Blessed Lady by obeying her Son. The daily recitation of the Rosary, the wearing of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Miraculous Medal, the praying of the Angelus and special Marian prayers, the "making" of the Five First Saturdays, the pilgrimages to churches and shrines named after her and the practice of penance in her honor are deeds of love best presented--as advocated by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort--Ad Iesum Per Mariam ("To Jesus Through Mary").
The Pure In Heart
1. Jesus exclaimed, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Saint Matthew 5:8).
2. "Pure in heart" means: charity (correct relationship to God and man); chastity (correct use of sexuality); orthodoxy (correct belief).
3. Chastity, one of the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit that applies to both married and single persons, is the integration of sexuality within oneself. Chastity is the renunciation of all unlawful sexual pleasure in mind and body.
4. For the married, chastity is the observance of the marital vows and "right reason"; for the single, it is the total rejection of all willful sexual arousal.
5. We possess the powers of loving and procreation. These must be controlled; if one does not master his urges, then he becomes their slave.
6. Chastity enables us to avoid all intentional impure thoughts, words, desires and actions with ourselves or others. We are to be cautions of the company we keep, the images we see and the places we frequent.
7. "Custody of the senses" is purposely avoiding sights, sounds, touches and other sense perception that inclines to sin.
8. Modesty, which refuses to disclose what should remain hidden, is moderation in one's habits, feelings, speech and dress. The purpose of clothing is to cover and protect the body, not reveal it so as to tempt others or oneself.
9. Purity is detachment from whatever leads to sin, the avoidance of all deliberate venial sin and the embracing--not resisting--of God's grace.
10. Chastity is difficult but not impossible. The regular reception of the Sacraments, recourse to Our Blessed Lady, daily prayer and self-denial and the shunning of all that incites to sin foster chastity.
A Trio Of Virtues
1. Three necessary virtues in living the Gospel are: fortitude, generosity, temperance.
2. Fortitude, one of the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and one of the four Cardinal Virtues, enables one to be firm when beset by difficulties and persistent in doing the right thing.
3. Fortitude is required because of the stiff challenges confronting the Christian in our era.
4. Generosity, one of the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit, assists us in giving ourselves in service to God and neighbor.
5. The opportunities to serve generously are ample: the seven Corporal Works of Mercy (feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, harboring the homeless, visiting the sick, ransoming the captive, burying the dead) and the seven Spiritual Works of Mercy (instructing the ignorant, counseling the perplexed, consoling the sorrowful, correcting the sinner, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, praying for the living and the dead).
6. Sincere generosity is demanded when answering God's summons to one's personal vocation, be it to the priesthood, the permanent diaconate, the consecrated life, the married life or the single state.
7. Temperance, one of the four Cardinal Virtues, keeps in check the enjoyment of pleasures and balances the use of created things.
8. Temperance, also called moderation, strengthens the will so that it may master various urges: eating, drinking, sexual desires.
9. The courageous, generous and temperate disciple of Jesus gives good example to those around him, inspiring them to live similarly.
10. God readily grants an increase of the three Theological Virtues (Faith, Hope, Charity), the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord), the four Cardinal Virtues (Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance), the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Longsuffering, Fidelity, Humility, Modesty, Continency, Chastity) and other Moral Virtues as needed.
The Incredible Sacrifice
1. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues to our day the selfless Offering of Jesus Christ to His Beloved Father on Calvary.
2. Jesus died only once; however, His saving Death and its fruits are renewed in the Mass. It is as if we are near Mary--at the foot of the cross, gazing lovingly at our Redeemer.
3. We gather at Mass each Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. The Mass is: thanksgiving and praise to our Father; the Sacrifice and Memorial of our Savior and Brother Jesus; the presence in Word and Sacrament of our Counselor the Holy Spirit.
4. Attending daily Mass is very valuable for us and helpful for our salvation.
5. Meditating on the Scripture readings to be used during Mass, prayerful silence and the recitation of the Rosary are good preparations for the Sacred Liturgy.
6. In each Mass, Christ is present in: the Word of God proclaimed; the assembled body of believers; the ordained priest; a most exalted way, the Holy Eucharist.
7. During Mass we thank God, pray the responses, sing, beg pardon for our sins, listen to the Scriptures and the homily, pray for the needs of the Church and the world, offer our financial gifts, pray for the Holy Father, our Bishop, the living and the faithful departed, adore the Lord in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, receive (if disposed) Holy Communion and accept the priest's Blessing.
8. We participate during Mass with our reflective "active silence." Before and after Mass, our silence is recognition of Christ present in the Tabernacle.
9. The Mass may be celebrated with Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders and the Anointing of the Sick.
10. The most efficacious prayer is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
1. Sin, an offense against God and all goodness, is a failure to love God, neighbor or oneself. Opposed to God's Eternal Law, sin is rebellion against Him.
2. Original Sin is the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The Angels' Fall, rooted in pride, preceded Original Sin.
3. Original Sin introduced into our world: ignorance; suffering; death; the "inclination to sin" (concupiscence).
4. Actual sin is mortal sin and venial sin. There are sins of commission (sins deliberately committed) and sins of omission (failing to do what was obligatory).
5. Mortal sin, a complete turning away from God, destroys charity in one's soul. It has three conditions: grave matter; sufficient reflection; full consent of the will.
6. Venial sin, a partial turning away from God, lessens charity in one's soul. Venial sin is "slighter" compared to mortal sin. Deliberate venial sin disposes one to eventual mortal sin.
7. Jesus warned against the unpardonable sin--blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: one refuses to repent and accept His mercy. Any sin is forgivable, but "final impenitence" (dying without yielding to God's mercy) leads to Hell.
8. The seven capital sins are: pride; avarice; envy; wrath; lust; gluttony; sloth. The four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance are: murder; sodomy; oppressing foreigners, widows or orphans and the poor; defrauding laborers of their wages. "Social sin" expresses on a large scale the sins of individuals.
9. One cooperates in another's sin by: direct and voluntary participation; ordering, advising, praising or not opposing the sin; not disclosing or preventing him, when we have the obligation; protecting evildoers.
10. God Himself does not tempt us, but allows temptation; He alone delivers us from evil. Temptation, when overcome by Divine Grace, is useful in our growing humble.
Bending His Ear, Moving Our Hearts
1. Prayer is listening and speaking to our Creator. Without humility--the acknowledgement of our dependence on God--we cannot pray.
2. Jesus prayed intensely to His Father. Some characteristics of Jesus' prayer were frequent, nocturnal, lengthy and secluded.
3. The Master gave His disciples the Our Father, the model of all prayer. Prayer demands that we have faith and trust, be reconciled with our neighbors and ask in His Name.
4. The Holy Mass is the most exalted prayer.
5. We pray to: adore and praise God; request what others and we need; thank Him; express our sorrow for our transgressions.
6. The Holy Spirit--"The interior Master of Christian Prayer"--prays within us. Before our daily Bible reading, we pray to the Paraclete for insight.
7. Some powerful prayers are: "Jesus" . . . "Come, Lord Jesus" . . . "Come, Holy Spirit" . . . "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul" . . . "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell; lead all souls to Heaven, help especially those in most need of Thy Mercy."
8. One "Hail, Mary" well said does immeasurable good. The Church recites the Angelus (during the Easter Season, the Regina Caeli) each morning, noon and evening, recalling Our Lady--"the perfect pray-er."
9. The Liturgy of the Hours, prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, reading the Holy Bible and other good Catholic texts, pilgrimages to holy sites and receiving spiritual direction (usually from a priest) draw us to Christ.
10. A short, beneficial treatment of the kinds of prayer, difficulties in praying and Jesus' unique prayer is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2697-2758).
1. Jesus instituted seven Sacraments; each is an external sign that gives the grace it signifies.
2. Grace is a free, unearned participation in God's life. Sanctifying grace in the soul makes one God's friend.
3. Sacraments impart grace to the receptive. Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, the three unrepeatable Sacraments, grant to one the indelible character that configures him to Christ the Great High Priest.
4. Baptism, necessary for salvation and the foundation for the other Sacraments, remits Original Sin, incorporates one into Christ's Mystical Body and grants a participation in the Priesthood of the Laity. In necessity, anyone may and should baptize; the one baptizing intends "to do as the Church does."
5. Confirmation completes baptismal grace, conceding the special strength of the Holy Spirit, hence enabling one to witness profoundly to Christ by spreading His Gospel.
6. The Most Holy Eucharist--the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus--conforms the soul more closely to the Messiah.
7. Penance, the encounter with the Divine Physician, remits mortal sins committed after Baptism as well as venial sins. One is reconciled with God and the Church and is restored to charity or experiences an increase in it.
8. Anointing of the Sick heals the soul of an ill person and sometimes his body (depending on God's will). The recipient, clearly joined to the Passion and Death of Jesus, if gravely sick, may also receive Viaticum (the Last Holy Communion) and the Apostolic Pardon (the Plenary Indulgence at death).
9. Holy Orders includes the three degrees of Episcopate (Bishops), Presbyterate (Priests) and Diaconate (Deacons). Each bishop and priest, as an ordained priest of Jesus, is an alter Christus ("another Christ").
10. Holy Matrimony, undertaken in the presence of God and His Church, is the covenant between a baptized man and baptized woman (both of whom are "free to marry") by which they establish between themselves a partnership of life that endures until death and has two objectives: the begetting and education of children; the fostering of love, respect and well-being between the spouses.
Pearls Of Great Price
1. An indulgence is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.
2. The priest in Confession absolves the penitent from his sins. The penance that the confessor assigns removes at least some of the temporal punishment.
3. An indulgence continues the process begun in Confession. Catholics should strive daily to obtain indulgences.
4. A plenary indulgence removes all temporal punishment; a partial indulgence removes part of it.
5. Mortal sin causes eternal punishment that is suffered in Hell; venial sin causes temporal punishment that is remitted on earth or in Purgatory.
6. One may obtain an indulgence for himself or for the Faithful Departed.
7. Ways of obtaining a partial indulgence are: prayer; self-denial; almsgiving; Bible reading; the Holy Rosary; pilgrimages; etc.
8. To obtain a plenary indulgence, one: attends Mass and receives Holy Communion on the day that the "work" to which the plenary indulgence is attached is performed; goes to Confession within a few days before or after; prays for the intention of the Holy Father (for example, one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be); intends to gain the plenary indulgence; seeks to be detached even from venial sin.
9. The Handbook of Indulgences contains the list of works that are enriched with indulgences.
10. By obtaining indulgences, we "tap into" the Church's treasury of spiritual goods: Christ's merits; Mary's prayers; the Saints' good deeds, etc. My holiness profits others; my sin harms them.
Jesus With Us
1. Jesus provided His Church with the Ordained Priesthood in which priests, who are consecrated men, share particularly in sanctifying, teaching and governing.
2. As priests join their Bishops in tending Christ's flock, so deacons, sisters, brothers, other consecrated persons and the laity assist the priest in spreading the Gospel.
3. Jesus is "God with us." Priests are "Jesus with us."
4. Priests are not "better" than others but are different--"set apart." Priests represent Jesus the Great High Priest, working closely with Him.
5. Priests do not marry but practice celibacy in imitation of Jesus, thereby giving themselves more completely to the Church's urgent tasks.
6. We call priests "Father" because they communicate new spiritual life especially in the administration of the Sacraments and in the preaching of God's Word. They are our spiritual fathers.
7. Bishops are priests who have received the Episcopate, usually possessing jurisdiction over the grouping of parishes known as dioceses.
8. Priests serve in parishes, schools, health care facilities, correctional institutions, etc. Wherever Christ's brothers and sisters are found, priests are needed.
9. We pray for "Father", listen to his instructions and offer our help as he continues Jesus' mission today.
10. Priests are unique brothers of Jesus and special sons of Mary--the Mother of Priests.
1. Jesus awaits our arrival in Heaven; He gives final perseverance to the sincere. We pray to Saint Joseph for a happy, holy death.
2. Our lives will have been successful if we go to Heaven, but disastrous if we go to Hell.
3. The "Four Last Things" are: death; judgment; Heaven; Hell.
"Life is short and death is sure,
The hour of death remains obscure.
A soul you have and only one,
If that be lost, all hope is gone.
Waste not time 'till time shall pass,
Eternity will come at last.
All-seeing God your Judge shall be,
And Heaven or Hell your destiny."
4. Death is the separation of soul from body after which we will experience the Particular Judgment, receiving our just sentence from the Lord.
5. Heaven is for those who die in God's friendship without any temporal punishment for which to atone; Purgatory, for those in God's friendship with temporal punishment to repair; Hell, for those who knowingly and willingly die as God's enemies.
6. The General Judgment will occur when Jesus comes with the Holy Angels at the world's end. Our bodies will rise from the dead; the righteous ("sheep") will be divided from the damned ("goats").
7. We will go to Paradise if we cooperate with God's grace, avoiding the persons, places, things and events that lead to sin ("the near occasion of sin").
8. We avoid two extremes: presumption ("I am so good that I do not need God's assistance to go to Heaven."); despair ("I am so evil that not even God can save me from Hell").
9. Our Blessed Lady came to Fatima in 1917 to encourage us to pray and sacrifice for sinners. We imitate her and the Saints--especially the Martyrs who chose death, not sin. A genuine hero for us is Pope Benedict XVI.
10. Jesus' Most Sacred Heart is counting on us to join Him for all eternity. For us, He has grand expectations.
This booklet is available from Eternal Life (902 W. Stephen Foster Ave., Bardstown, KY 40004) and may be obtained by calling 1-800-842-2871. The imprimatur was granted by His Excellency the Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, D.D., Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Used with permission.
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125
Catholicism; Dogma; Doctrine