Spiritual Nuptials

Objective truth series – Reflection #24

We, baptized Catholics, are each called to be a Bride of Christ.  Our souls are meant to have a Mystical Union with the Bridegroom.

In this reflection series we have been considering the journey of the individual soul and how God, being the Divine Sculptor, leads the soul to Him through humility and charity.  Below we give a bullet point list of the purpose for each of the reflections and how there has been a step-by-step progression which has led up to this point of considering what it means to be truly a bride of Christ.  Spiritual Nuptials is the spiritual gift of God which He uses to ultimately prepare a soul for life eternal. This intimate union between Christ and the soul is a state of soul that God intends for every soul that is in sanctifying grace. It is something we should aspire to. We need to beg God to help us understand it so we can aspire to cooperate with God in striving for it!

Here is a brief recap of the Objective Truth Series:

·         Reflection 1 discusses how God sculptures our souls.

·         Reflection 2 describes how God inspires us to find examples of humility.

·         Reflection 3 ponders our nothingness.

·         Reflection 4 shows how submitting to God’s Will helps us unite with and trust God.

·         Reflection 5 shows how we must have a healthy mistrust of ourselves.

·         Reflection 6 shows how to be on guard against proud self-complacency and how to sincerely compassionate our neighbor.

·         Reflection 7 shows the importance of taking corrections well.

·         Reflection 8 shows how we need to guard against pride.

·         Reflection 9 speaks of how to avoid frustration and discouragement which are forms of pride.

·         Reflection 10 shows the importance of making frequent acts of humility.

·         Reflection 11 shows how God draws the soul to new levels of understanding.

·         Reflection 12 shows how gratitude brings humility.

·         Reflection 13 shows how God fosters humility in us by having us seek His guidance.

·         Reflection 14 shows how we must shun false human respect and lovingly pursue truth.

·         Reflection 15 shows how wonderful it is to possess the truth.

·         Reflection 16 shows how God simplifies the truth to give us a delight in it.

·         Reflection 17 ponders the amazing fact that God uses us as His instruments.

·         Reflection 18 shows how we need to live life keeping eternity always in mind.

·         Reflection 19 shows how tears of compunction are a good thing to ask for.

·         Reflection 20 shows how by thinking on death helps us die to ourselves.

·         Reflection 21 shows how we should have a great desire for heaven.

·         Reflection 22 shows how, when we forget ourselves, we become consumed in the love of God.

·         Reflection 23 shows how God wants us to focus on Him abiding in us.

Thus, in our last reflection we pondered upon the Holy Trinity and what it means to have the Trinity dwelling in a soul which is in the state of grace.  When one understands how this dwelling of the Trinity in the soul is the reality, this helps the soul to understand the Church’s mystical teaching about the spiritual marriage that occurs between Jesus Christ and the soul.

Catholics are taught their Catechism from their youth, but unfortunately, they are rarely taught mystical terminology or concepts. Yet, we are all called to a mystical union with the Lord.  This union is a mystical marriage between the Bridegroom, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the soul.

When considering marriage in the natural order, it is easy to see why husband and wife are supposed to be best friends. They would be content to be alone on an abandoned island.  Their happiness would be complete because of their bond of friendship.[1] And so it is in the spiritual realm.  Our Lord Jesus Christ wants each Catholic in the state of grace to be His bride.

Mary is our model of such a mystical Bride because she was immaculately conceived and was never marred by any sin or imperfection.  She is God’s masterpiece, the Virgin of virgins, the humble Handmaid of the Lord, His Mother and the Spouse of the Holy Ghost.

The Canticle of Canticles, written by King Solomon, refers to the mystical marriage between Christ and the soul.  The soul loves Christ by obeying His commandments, becoming selfless, and being consumed with the love and service of God.  In this way, God so sculptures the soul to become more God-like and to become the bride of the Divine Son.

So, this amazing marriage with Christ is not just something we read about in the lives of the saints, for example, St. Catherine of Sienna or St. Theresa of Avila, but something that our souls should truly desire for ourselves.

In these times of apostasy, when Christ wants us to trust in Him completely, He surely wants to console us by such a remarkable union with Him.  Likewise, we should want to console Him Who is so blasphemed and hated in these evil times. These are special times we live in, where to stand up for being normal and moral is considered a heroically virtuous act.  So let us fly to Christ and cling to Him, begging Him to make us worthy to be His spouse.  Let us throw ourselves at His Feet and adore Him Who does not change, – and Who is Truth Itself.  Oh, that we could fall eternally in love with Truth – Objective Truth – and be willing to seek the truth always, abide in truth, defend truth, and suffer and die for truth! 

The Apocalypse refers to more, and more glorious, martyrs in the end times—may we, God Willing, want to suffer something for Christ—really suffer all things for Christ, our Spouse!  With overwhelmed hearts and burning zeal for Christ perhaps we would pledge our love in the following betrothals:

Dear Spouse of souls, in Thee we trust,

We want so much Thy spouse to be,

Yet unworthy, we are but dust,

We wholly give our hearts to Thee.

 

This union is a mystic one,

Understood by the saints of old,

 United to the Begotten Son,

‘Tis more precious than pearls and gold.

 

Mary, our Queen and our Mother,

The model bride we should admire,

Her virtues are like no other,

What love of God she doth inspire!

 

Of the Lord, she was a Handmaid,

And Spouse too of the Holy Ghost,

Mother of God, a virgin stayed,

Of all creatures she loves God most.

 

She merited being Christ’s bride,

Like Our Queen, we would like to soar,

To be forever at Christ’s Side,

And have the Groom forever more.

 

Of such a Groom, who is worthy?

Yet He’s meant for each soul in grace,

 Mary, please help us prepared be,

 So that this marriage may take place.

 

With burning hearts we yearn for this,

 Nuptial bond with Our Divine King,

So, in time we enjoy such bliss,

And have a divine wedding ring.

 

 

Catholic Candle note: For a further treatment of this spiritual marriage to which Christ calls our souls, read this article: https://catholiccandle.org/2019/06/20/our-souls-should-be-docile-brides-of-christ/

 



[1]           Of course, this is not taking into account the role of a family unit in society at large.

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

Let us rejoice in the sufferings of our present time,

in order that Christ will reign in us!

 

St. Augustine, the Great Doctor of Grace, gives us these words of comfort, that our tribulations are worthwhile:

 

Jesus reigns in us through the adversities we suffer.

 

Catena Aurea on St. Luke’s Gospel, St. Thomas Aquinas, quoting St. Augustine, Ch.23, §4.

 

 

The reckless claim that there are no good priests left

 

Recklessness is the vice of making a decision without sufficient care about the correctness or consequences of the decision.

 

 

The sedevacantists are reckless.

 

Virtually all sedevacantists have these three reckless positions in common:

 

1.    Sedevacantists rashly judge the interior, subjective culpability of the pope and of conciliar Catholics, which leads the sedevacantists to declare that the pope and conciliar Catholics are not “real” Catholics and that we “know” that they are not part of the Catholic Church.[1]

 

2.    After having rashly judged that the pope is not a “real” Catholic, sedevacantists then recklessly conclude that he is not really the pope – based on their rash judgment of his interior, subjective culpability.[2] 

 

3.    Having recklessly concluded that we have no pope, they take upon themselves the pope’s authority to declare that the doubtful new conciliar rites of ordination and consecration are definitely invalid. 

By contrast, faithful and informed Catholics do not declare that they are certain that those rites are invalid.  Instead, faithful and informed Catholics see enough doubt about those new rites that they exercise Catholic prudence and caution and simply stay away from them.  They treat those rites as invalid because they are doubtful.[3]

 

 

A further recklessness of some sedevacantists:  They claim there are no good priests, Masses, or sacraments left.

 

After having recklessly concluded that we have no pope, and that the conciliar rites are definitely invalid, some sedevacantists then add a fourth reckless position: they declare that there are no good priests and no good Masses offered anywhere in the world.

 

It seems rash to say that there are no true Masses offered anywhere.  How could we be sure of that?  It seems better and more prudent to say that we know of no faithful priests who are willing and able to help us (although, of course, we know of many compromising priests).

 

We know of some priests who have not responded to our attempts to contact them.  These priests might well know why we are contacting them and they do not answer.  Plainly they are either unwilling or unable to help us. 

 

But does that mean we know with certitude they are unfaithful?  No.  We don’t know their circumstances.  Perhaps they are too sick to come to the aid of uncompromising Catholics.  God will judge that.  We should withhold judgment on their subjective, interior culpability for what they are doing and not doing.

 

Does that mean we know that they are not offering a true, uncompromising Mass?  No.  Are we sure we know all possibly-faithful priests in the world?  No.

 

Again, it seems rash to conclude we know every priest in the world (and his particular situation) so that we could conclude there are certainly no true, uncompromising Masses offered anywhere.

 

 

How should we act given that we know of no good, uncompromising priests?

 

We (at Catholic Candle) have no knowledge of (or access to) uncompromising Masses, priests and sacraments (except Baptism and Holy Matrimony).  For how long?  For as long as God Wills.  We are content with that.[4]  We place our trust in God, because He desires our salvation more than we do.[5]

 

But our lack of a faithful priest could change this month … or perhaps not for years – whatever God prefers.  We don’t know God’s plan for this.  Nor are we desperate to find out anything.  We trust in our dear Lord and with that, we are content.  Of course, however, we do our best to find an uncompromising priest whenever we hear of the “rumor” of one.  We try to follow St. Augustine’s sound advice: work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended on God.

 

Meanwhile, we must pray the Mass prayers, unite ourselves to whatever uncompromising Masses there might be offered anywhere in the world, and pray for priests.  Let’s persevere!

 

It is our supposition that there will be priests and Masses until the Second Coming of our Lord.  But that will not necessarily mean that we know who those priests are and where they are offering the Mass – much less, that we can attend their Mass.  For all we know, they are in a gulag somewhere.

 

Instead, let us focus on God’s Plan for us and the means of salvation He is currently giving us.  Let us pray the rosary.  We are in the time of the greater efficacy of the Holy Rosary.  Our Lady of Fatima told us that time is now:

 

God is giving two last remedies to the world: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  …  Prayer and sacrifice are the two means to save the world.  As for the Holy Rosary, Father [Fuentes], in these last times in which we are living, the Blessed Virgin has given a new efficacy to the praying of the Holy Rosary.  This in such a way that there is no problem that cannot be resolved by praying the Rosary, no matter how difficult it is – be it temporal or above all spiritual ….[6]

 

Dear Readers, we are “in this” together!  Be assured that we (at Catholic Candle) are not only “looking out” for ourselves.  If/when we learn about an uncompromising priest, we will do our best to spread this information worldwide.  We will also do our best to help him make himself available worldwide, to all who need him.  Of course, we ask the same of you – should you know of any priests that do not suffer from the very problems we document on this website, please let us know.

 

Meanwhile, keep standing strong, Oh Soldiers of Christ!  May God shower you with His choicest blessings!

 

 



[1]               The unproven, negative judgment about a person’s culpability is the sin of rash judgment.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.60, a.2, Respondeo

 

Sedevacantists claim that the conciliar Catholics’ actions are so self-incriminating that we have no need to know their interior state.  They wrongly say that the words of liberal Catholics make it “all too clear” that these people know that they are going against the Catholic Faith, and yet they obstinately continue.  This is the very rash judgment we are forbidden to make.

 

For a further explanation of the sedevacantists’ (objective) sin of rash judgment, read this article: http://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/against-sedevacantism.html#section-5

 

[2]           Read a fuller analysis of the errors of sedevacantism here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/against-sedevacantism.html

 

[3]           For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “ordination” rite, read these analyses:

 

  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

 

  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGd2RRcTFSY29EYzg/view

 

[4]           This is a glorious time to be Catholic, adhering to Catholic tradition!  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/it-is-a-blessing-to-live-during-this-great-apostasy.html

We should be completely content living without the Mass and sacraments as long as God Wills this for us.  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/complete-contentment-without-the-mass-when-it-is-not-available-without-compromise.html

 

[5]           Here is how St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church, teaches this truth:

 

Cast all your care on Him, because He cares more about your salvation than

you do.

 

St. Anthony of Padua, Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost (emphasis added).

[6]           Words of Sister Lucy, seer at Fatima, from her December 26, 1957 interview by Fr. Augustin Fuentes, vice-postulator of the cause of beatification for Francisco and Jacinta.  (Emphasis and bracketed word added.)  This interview can be found at: http://radtradthomist.chojnowski.me/2019/03/is-this-interview-that-caused-her.html

 

Having Children is Participating in the Diffusion of God’s Goodness

God is infinite Goodness.  He created creatures, not because He needed them or gains anything from them[1] but because He is goodness Itself and goodness is self-diffusive.[2]

Creatures are good because God put into them all the good that they have.  We see them diffuse this goodness to other creatures.  When creatures imitate God by diffusing good in the world, they are doing what good does and are reflecting the good that their Creator put in them and which He diffuses in the world.

For example, we see the sun – which is good – shining forth good into the world for the good of other creatures.

We see plants – which are good – spreading the good of their lives through production of seeds and promotion of further plant life.

We see animals (including Man) – being good in their nature and spreading this good by fostering offspring. 

Although none of the world’s creatures – except Man – can think and reflect, nonetheless they all diffuse the goodness God put in them, by following their natures. 

Among the world’s creatures, Man is special because God gave Man the dignity of being conscious and being a voluntary tool for God’s diffusion of goodness throughout the world. 

Man’s ability to voluntarily cooperate with God’s Plan, makes this cooperation an act of much greater worth, just as the voluntary declaration “I love you” from a dear friend (who really means those words) is of much more value than the same words from a parrot which has been taught this phrase.

But the necessary consequence of Man’s ability to serve God freely, is his ability to choose to say “no” to God and to refuse to be His instrument in the diffusion of God’s goodness to other creatures.  That saying “no” to God can come in many forms, e.g., cooperating in the murder of innocent babies, or frustrating the primary end of marriage.

Even if we were to leave aside the mortal sins of refusing to follow God’s laws on these matters of procreation, what a terrible, shriveled-up stinginess it is for spouses to refuse to be generously diffusive of the good of human life, as God wants them to be, and instead to choose to be “un-God-like” and refuse to do what goodness does, viz., to generously diffuse itself so that “good multiplies goodness” (as St. Thomas says above).

A Catholic Candle “corollary” to this article: After considering the above article about good being self-diffusive, we can see that there is similarly a terrible, shriveled-up stinginess in Catholics who have received the supernatural life from God (which is a much greater good than natural life) and yet they fail to do everything they can to diffuse this even-greater good, through seeking to bring other souls to this same spiritual life.  

Catholics can diffuse this great spiritual good through prayer, sacrifices, the apostolate, and the good example of their own holy life. 

Our life is short!  Let us make great efforts to diffuse good – especially spiritual good – wherever we can!

 

 

 



[1]           “I have said to the Lord, thou art my God, for thou hast no need of my goods.”  Psalm 15, v.2.

[2]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, Greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches this truth:

It is a property of goodness to diffuse itself; thus, good multiplies goodness.

Lectures on St. Matthew’s Gospel, St. Thomas Aquinas, ch. 25, section 2052.  (“Proprie bonum est diffusivum sui; unde bonus multiplicavit bonitatem.”)

And also:

It belongs to the essence of goodness to communicate itself to others, as is plain from Dionysius (Div. Nom. iv). Hence it belongs to the essence of the highest good to communicate itself in the highest manner to the creature.

Summa, III, Q.1, a.1, respondeo.

CC in brief — July

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives a short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

                

 

Why No One should play Dungeons and Dragons

 

Q.  My son has gotten into the game Dungeons and Dragons at his school and from the stories he’s told me about the game, it sounds pretty bad.  I want to give him some definitive reasons he shouldn’t play it, but I don’t know enough about it to tell him not to.  Any help is appreciated.

 

A.  The virtuous life is the happy life on earth and, more importantly, is the road to heaven.  We should not engage in entertainments which work against virtue and our progress toward heaven.

 

One such entertainment is the role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons, which especially attracts high school boys and less-mature young men.

 

Here are our five biggest reasons this game is bad and everyone should avoid it.

 

1.    Dungeons and Dragons presents a false moral framework for life.  This is done explicitly and implicitly.  Players are allowed to explicitly choose to make their characters evil or morally “neutral” (i.e., “amoral”, “chaotic”) and players are free to live according to whatever moral standards they choose.  Thus, they are allowed to choose, imagine, and cause their characters to sin without limitation or contrition.  This is licentiousness, not true liberty, and it is not the conduct of a friend of God! The evil of that licentiousness is evident if someone puts himself in God’s “shoes”: Suppose a person learned that his family members and best friends spent considerable time enjoying the daydream of torturing and murdering him.  Their pleasurable fantasy would prove that they do not love him and are not his friends.  Similarly, a person would obviously offend God and not be God’s friend, if he spent his recreation time enjoying the daydream of offending God by committing sins.

2.    Besides the sin of willfully taking pleasure in imagining committing sins, such daydreams can also be sins for a second reason: they can lead to committing those sins we are imagining, and could make it easier for us to commit those sins through breaking down any reluctance we might have to committing such sins.  So, e.g., if a young man were to spend a lot of time taking pleasure by imagining shoplifting and how he could do it without getting caught, it would tend to break down his inhibitions and could make him more likely to actually commit that sin.  Thus, such imaginings can be deliberate (and unnecessary) occasions of sin.

 

3.    Besides this false moral framework (discussed above), Dungeons and Dragons promotes and glorifies killing for personal gain and advantage.  Catholics (and all men seeking virtue) should be peaceable and should be builders, not destroyers, as much as possible.  Dungeons and Dragons encourages the opposite: “let’s go kill and be violent”.

 

4.    Dungeons and Dragons presents to the players the false, central goal of living to amass material goods and power, whereas the truth is that those goods play only a small part in the good and happy life.  The truly important parts of life are missing and are “written out” of the game.

 

5.    Dungeons and Dragons promotes interest in (and entrance into) the occult, to learn about, use, and seek spells and magic.

 

The above reasons leave aside many other reasons not to play Dungeons and Dragons, such as:

 

§  Dangers to purity built into the game;

 

§  The wasting of time involved in the game;

 

§  The inherent, additional unwholesomeness of this game as played as a computer game, i.e., when the game is played on that medium.  (Board games are generally better than electronic games.)

 

§  The superiority of “real” activities, such as sports, hiking, rafting, writing and reading activities, art and kraft projects, fishing, long bike rides, swimming, gardening, raising animals, model rockets, taking on extra side jobs to save money for college, etc.

To Govern Without God is To Live Without Peace

Our Lady at Fatima, speaking to the three children in 1917, said, “He (i.e., God) is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, hunger, persecution of the Church.  …  To forestall this, I shall ask the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart.  …  If they heed my request, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.  If not, she (i.e., Russia) shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecution of the Church."

I’m sure most of you have heard this many times before.  However, my point here is not just to remind you again, but to point out that we have not done what she asked.  Thus, we are living through the fact that Russia is spreading her errors throughout the world.  There are wars, and the Church is being persecuted.

The world has rejected God and He is allowing us to suffer for our rejection of Him, just like a person who is in poor health because he drinks too much: God doesn’t send an angel to tell him to stop; no, He lets him drink too much and suffer the consequences.

Russia has not been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that country has spread her errors (i.e., goals) throughout the world.  These goals are listed below and were published in the Congressional Record of Jan. 10, 1963.  As you read these goals, recall how they have already been accomplished and disastrously impact our daily life.

CURRENT COMMUNIST GOALS:

  Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

  Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

  Promote the United Nations as the only hope for mankind.

  Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

  Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

  Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

  Get control of the schools.  Use them for transmission belts for Socialism and current Communist propaganda.  Soften the curriculum.  Get control of teachers’ associations.  Put the party-line in textbooks.

  Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which the Communists oppose.

  Infiltrate the press.  Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, and policy-making positions.

  Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

  Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression.  An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings; substitute shapeless, awkward, and meaningless forms.”

  Control art critics and directors of art museums.  “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive and meaningless art.”

  Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.

  Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, movies, radio, and TV.

 

  Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, and healthy.”

  Infiltrate the churches.  Discredit the Bible.

  Eliminate prayer or any phrase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”

  Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, etc.

  Discredit the American Founding Fathers.  Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”

  Support any Socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture–education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

  Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

  Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

  Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

  Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. 

  Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

  Discredit the family as an institution.  Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

  Emphasize the need to raise children away from the “negative influence” of parents.

  Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition [e.g., Black Lives Matter & Antifa], that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political, or social problems.

It is certainly not difficult to see that the above Communist goals are actually being increasingly achieved, as per Our Lady’s prediction.  It is a direct consequence of the failure to conduct the consecration of Russia to the Blessed Mother.

But what now?  What can we expect in the future? 

Unfortunately, I expect that our day-to-day life will become almost unbearable, with our culture and morals destroyed by anti-God Communist errors spread everywhere.  The other side of this bleak picture is Our Lady’s promise: “…..in the end my Immaculate Heart shall triumph.  The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, which will be converted, and a time of peace will be given to the world.”

So do not despair.  God will not leave uncompromising traditional Catholics in the catacombs indefinitely.  No, I believe He will give us many more graces to strengthen us to fight the good fight with inner peace and hope for our heavenly reward.

Of course, it goes without saying that we must pray unceasingly, sacrifice, and live with complete confidence in God.

 

 

Reasons to pray even in mortal sin

The horror of sin, especially mortal sin

Sin is always a great evil.[1]  All sin is an infinite evil in three ways and all mortal sin is an infinite evil in a fourth way also.[2]  Everything else which we might call a “misfortune” (and which is out of our control), is God’s Will for us and is for our good.  St. Paul assures us that, except for our sins, “all things work together unto the good for those who love God.”  Romans, 8:28 (emphasis added).  Thus, our own sins are the only true evil for us.

The most tragic of all sin, is mortal sin.[3]  No number of venial sins could ever be as horrific as a single mortal sin.[4]


A person in mortal sin must strive immediately to get back into God’s grace

When a person has the tragedy of being in mortal sin, he cannot merit through anything he says or does.[5]

Obviously, the most important thing he can do is immediately seek to get back in the state of Sanctifying Grace, by making Acts of Contrition as perfectly as possible[6] and by sacramental Confession (if it is available without compromise).[7]  Beware of Bishop Richard Williamson’s evil advice that you should go to confession to any priest who believes in sin.[8]

A person cannot be sure that his act of contrition is perfect enough.  If the person did succeed in making a perfect act of contrition, he is then back in the state of Sanctifying Grace[9] and can immediately begin meriting again, while he seeks to go to confession (to an uncompromising priest, as soon as one is available).

Thus, one reason for a person to continue his prayers, good works, and penances even before going to confession, is because they are meritorious if he is back in the state of grace.

But a person in mortal sin should still strive to do good, even though there is no merit

Even if the person were not back in the state of grace, he should continue praying, doing good works and doing penance, although he would not merit supernaturally for that conduct.  There are five reasons to continue this conduct even while in mortal sin:

1.    This conduct does good on a natural level;

2.    This conduct avoids harm on a natural level;

3.    This conduct enforces habits which are good on the natural level, to help us even when we cannot merit;

4.    This conduct avoids harm to ourselves by avoiding the strengthening of our bad habits or making us more prone to evil which would harm us on a natural and a supernatural level; and

5.    We should always act according to reason and, even when in mortal sin, our reason tells us to pray, perform good works, and do penance.

Below, we discuss each of these five reasons.

1.   This conduct accomplishes good on a natural level.

Such prayers, good works, and penance set a good example, especially for those to whom he is nearest and loves the most.  Does he love his friends and family?  If yes, doesn’t he want to do them good even if he does not benefit from that good?  Of course, he does!  Love is “willing the good for another”.[10]  So, a man who loves even naturally, wills the good for those whom he loves.  So, continuing his prayer, good works, and penance is a good example which does good to his loved ones.  This is especially true for parents and spouses, whose very vocation involves the care of and love of others.

Nor does it suffice to merely pretend to do good so as to give good example.  That pretense is a sin of dissimulation – not leading an honest life – which is a sin against the Divine Law and the Natural Law.

Further, most fakery is discovered and it does even more harm to a person if he is a fraud, especially in the good he does.

2.   This conduct avoids harm on a natural level.

By contrast, the failure to pray, do good works, and do penance can scandalize others, especially those who are nearest and dearest to him.  A period of such bad example from him can ruin his friends and relatives for life, even if the person himself were to return to the state of grace.  Again, a parent in mortal sin might, for example, feel like a hypocrite or unworthy to pray the Rosary with his family, and thus be tempted to not do so.  But it is part of his duty and part of love to show good example to his spouse and children.

3. Prayer, good works, and penance enforce habits which are good on the natural level, to help us even when we cannot merit from them.

Men are creatures of habit.  Even on a natural level, it is easier for a person to later pray, do good works, and do penance meritoriously once back in the state of Sanctifying Grace, if he maintains those natural habits even while unhappily unable to merit due to mortal sin.

Even while a person is (tragically) in mortal sin, he can work on acquiring or strengthening his natural virtues, e.g., patience.  Good conduct while in mortal sin can help a person acquire or strengthen those natural virtues.

4.    This conduct avoids harm to ourselves by avoiding the strengthening of our bad habits or making us more prone to evil which would harm us on a natural and a supernatural level.

Further, failures to continue those good practices lets down our guard and makes us more likely to commit future sins we otherwise would not have committed.

5.    Even when in mortal sin, our reason tells us to pray, perform good works, and do penance.

Our reason is our highest and most God-like part of our nature.  We should always act according to this highest and best part: viz., our reason.

Our power of reason is the way God made us in His own Image.[11]  

Even on a natural level, we know God is the source of all goodness and that we owe Him worship and prayer.[12] 

Even when in the state of mortal sin, a person’s reason tells him to pray, perform good works, and do penance as a matter of justice to God.

He owes this to God even if he does not merit from this worship and prayer.  This debt to God is right and reasonable.  A person must pay his debt to God even if he were not to merit, just as a child must show respect for his parents, keep his room neat, and do his schoolwork even though he did not receive a reward for doing so.  Thus, reason tells a person that he must pray even if he is in mortal sin.

A person’s reason tells him to continue doing good works – they are a natural good and a man in mortal sin should follow his reason doing good works even when he cannot merit supernaturally from those good works.

Even on a natural level, we know that we must conform our lower passions to our reason and our will, and that this task requires that we mortify our passions and do penance.


Committing mortal sin is a “wake-up call” which should immediately cause us to increase our prayers and good works.

Not only should a person not stop praying and doing good works following commission of a mortal sin, but he should immediately increase his prayers and good works. 

His sin is a reminder of his weakness.  The best remedy for this weakness is prayer.  When a person sins, it is unreasonable (and is a further sin) to not take concrete means to avoid similar falls in the future.  So, the more “wake-up calls” (i.e., sins) a person commits, the more he should realize his need for more prayer – and take those means.


Conclusion

Sin is the only true evil.  Mortal sin is the gravest evil and destroys a person’s ability to merit.  However, even a man in mortal sin should continue his prayers, good works, and penances, to avoid further harm to himself and others and to make it easier to do good in the future. 

 



[1]           Here is how St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, teaches this truth:

 

A single venial sin is more displeasing to God than all the good works we can perform.

 

Uniformity with God’s Will, §6.

 

            Here is how St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Catholic Church, teaches this truth:

 

Our Lord said in the Gospel: “He that is unfaithful in little will be unfaithful also in much.”  For he that avoids the small sin will not fall into the great sin; but great evil is inherent in the small sin, since it has already penetrated within the fence and wall of the heart; and as the proverb says: Once begun, half done.

 

Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book III, ch.20, section 1.

 

Here is how Cardinal Newman compares the smallest sin to the greatest human suffering:

 

The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the many millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say, should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.

 

Apologia Vita Sua, by John Henry Cardinal Newman, Image Books, Doubleday, Garden City, New York, © 1956, p.324.

 

[2]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html


[3]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html


[4]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html

[5]           Read the explanation of this truth here: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/06/14/sanctifying-grace-companion-charity/

[6]           The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches:

 

Perfect contrition, with the desire of receiving the Sacrament of Penance, restores the sinner to grace at once.  This is certainly the teaching of the Scholastic doctors (Peter Lombard in P.L., CXCII, 885; St. Thomas, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.; St. Bonaventure, In Lib. Sent. IV, ibid.).

 

Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908, Volume 4, article: Contrition, page 339.

 

After this first attempt at a perfect act of contrition, he should continue to attempt to make further perfect acts of contrition.

Regardless of the state of his soul, everyone should strive greatly, every day, to make perfect acts of charity and perfect acts of contrition for his past sins.  A man in mortal sin should do this even more urgently.

 

Read this article about making perfect acts of contrition:

 

Ø  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/04/02/rome-has-the-churches-but-traditional-catholics-have-the-faith/

 

[8]           Read an explanation of the evil of his advice here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/priests/williamson-confess-priest-believes.html

 

[9]           Of course, he is still obliged to go to confession when he has the chance to do so, to an uncompromising priest.

 

[10]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

 

According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him.  If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.

 

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, sed contra and respondeo (emphasis added).

[11]         Summa, Ia, Q.93, a.2, found here: https://www.newadvent.org/summa/1093.htm#article2

 

[12]         Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.3.

There is no limiting for the evil “right to choose”

 

If a mother’s (so-called) “right to choose” means she can choose to kill her baby before he is born, why can’t she choose to kill her baby after he’s born?  How about when her baby is 3 years old?  Or 8?  Where’s the cut-off?  …  Or is there one?

 

The Indwelling of the Holy Trinity

Objective truth series – Reflection #23

Our Lord taught us:

If you love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not nor knoweth Him; but you shall know Him; because He shall abide with you and shall be in you.  …

In that day you shall know, that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  …

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me.   And he that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.  …  If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.[1]

How wonderful it is to think about Our dear Lord Jesus Christ, His Father, and the Holy Ghost abiding in our souls!

In our last reflection we considered how God wants us to become self-forgetful as a means to become more united to God.  We also spoke of wanting to spend ourselves in the service of God which includes helping the souls of our neighbor.


God gives Sanctifying Grace, the source of all supernatural virtues.

It is natural that we humans should want to be united to God.  He is our last end and we were created to be with Him.  In our Baptism we were given Sanctifying Grace which is the participation of the soul in the Divine goodness.  We say “participation” because we are not God and can only have this grace as a habitual gift infused by God into our souls.  This gift or quality in our souls does not change our human nature, which is still not divine.  However, Sanctifying Grace, called habitual grace by St. Thomas Aquinas, makes the soul pleasing to God.  He says further that “grace is a certain disposition which is presupposed to the infused virtues as their principle or root.”[2]

We mentioned in the Objective Truth Series’ very first Reflection (about God sculpting our souls) St. Thomas’ teaching that first God chooses a soul, then He loves that soul, and then makes the soul worthy of His Love by giving the soul Sanctifying Grace.  

St. Thomas explains that along with Sanctifying Grace, God infuses the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.  Love involves an act of the will in which we value or esteem something highly.  The highest thing that we can esteem is God as the chief Object of our supernatural happiness.  This makes Charity, then, the certain perfection of love (in the sense that Charity is the highest kind of love). 

St. Thomas also explains that:

There is a communication between man and God, inasmuch as He communicates His happiness to us, some kind of friendship must needs be based on this same communication.[3]

He adds further that, “the love which is based on this communication is charity” and thence, “charity is the friendship of man for God.”  Id.

This friendship with God is so beautiful, and of course it is logical that our supernatural friendship with our neighbor is based on our friendship with God. Thus St. Paul speaks of charity as the “bond of perfection.”

The indwelling of the Blessed Trinity in the soul

Friends communicate with each other and our prayer life is our communication with God. Included in prayer life is our focus on God.   However, even though it seems too bold to think about the Holy Trinity dwelling in one’s soul, the fact remains that when one is in the state of grace, the reality is that the Trinity is dwelling in the soul.

What is this dwelling?  Since God is a spirit and the human soul is immaterial, this “dwelling” is of course, not physical.  God must dwell in the soul in some other way.  St. Thomas says that God is indeed present in multiple ways in all things in the universe[4] – even in rocks, plants, animals, and in the souls of those in mortal sin.  But in those with sanctifying grace, His power and presence are incomparably stronger.

The Persons in God

We learn in our catechism that there are three Persons in one God.  Unfortunately, most catechism books do not attempt to explain this truth to us.  The term Person when referring to God is not used in the same way we humans use it when we refer to an individual intellectual creature.  When we think about God, we must realize the Three Divine Persons are special.  The use of the term Person is a special case or application.

First of all, we must consider that God, as the Supreme Being, is above all other existing things.  God is completely simple.  He has only one action [one act], which is, to exist.  His existence is His nature.  God reveals this to us when He calls Himself, “I am Who am” [Ex. 3:14].  By contrast, in us humans, our human nature does not include the very notion of existence or the necessity that we must exist.  A man might exist, or might not.

Second of all, we must understand that God’s only action is to simply exist.  We can describe His action as one continuous action [act]; however, this act includes many aspects which our feeble human minds need to grasp one at a time. 

To understand the term of Divine Person better, we need to take two particular aspects into consideration. The first aspect to consider is the one Divine Intellect.   God thinks about Himself and knows Himself.  His thought about Himself is called His Word or Divine Son.  The fact that God thinks and knows helps us see that the Divine Intellect naturally thinks about Himself.  The Thought/Word is His only Begotten Son.  This Son is the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity Who shares the Divine Nature.  

The second aspect to consider is the one Divine Will.  God naturally wants Himself and loves Himself.  This makes sense because He is the Supreme and most perfect Being.  [Thus, He loves Himself infinitely because He is the Infinite Good and is infinitely worthy of love.] This love proceeds from both the Father and His only Begotten Son.  This proceeding love is called the Holy Ghost, the third Person.

Thus, we see that God’s one continual act involves His Intellect and Will in continual self-reflection and love.  God’s knowledge of all other existing things and His love of all other existing things are also included in His one continual act.

The importance of meditating on the Blessed Trinity, and Its Indwelling in us

Then it is so very important to try to foster the habit of focusing on this beautiful reality.  We ought to strive to focus on the Trinity dwelling in the soul and talk to God; adore Him; thank Him; tell Him we are sorry for having offended Him; and ask His constant aid and protection.

How can we do this? One possible way is to imagine our soul as the monastery of the Holy Trinity and our heart as the chapel of this ‘monastery’.  Or one could imagine the soul as the monastery of the Holy Family and the dwelling–place of the Most Holy Trinity.

If one seeks solitude in his soul and tries to imagine the soul as the monastery of the Holy Family and the dwelling of the Most Holy Trinity—this will foster recollection and conversation with Mary, Joseph and Jesus and speaking with and adoring the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.  One’s heart may say this to Them:

O Wondrous Trinity Divine,

Thou dwellest in this heart of mine,

Unworthy am I to have Thee,

As a Guest, abiding in me.

 

Oh, Mary help me ‘tis my prayer,

 Please make me daily more aware,

Of the Majesty of the Three,

Divine Persons dwelling in me.

 

The consoling words of Thy Son,

Remind me that His Heart is won,

By true observance of His Laws,

The Triune God in the soul draws.

 

“Abide in Me, and I in thee,

There My Father will likewise be,

To make in your soul Our abode,

And keep you on the narrow road.”

 

“The Spirit of truth comes to dwell,

Makes Divine love in you to swell,

 Divine Friendship within you too,

To assist you, in all you do.”

 

This is the friendship so sublime,

Which makes a soul to heaven climb,

Helping one to, vigilant, keep,

Desiring truths to ponder deep,

 

Oh, St. Joseph, I need your aid,

To follow well the path thus made,

To focus on the Triune Guest,

And to see how to serve Him best.

 

My soul can be like a monk’s home,

I ne’er desire from there to roam,

To use as a place to adore,

To study my Guest, learn of Him more.

 

To serve Thee well, my Triune Friend,

Please preserve me unto the end,

Please let me ne’er abandon Thee,

Keep me close dearest Trinity!



[1]           St. John’s Gospel, 14:16-17, 20 & 23.

[2]           Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110 a.3, ad 3.

[3]           Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, Respondeo.

[4]              Summa, Ia, Q.8, aa. 2 & 3.   In article three, St. Thomas quotes Pope St. Gregory the Great, teaching: “God, by a common mode, is in all things, by His presence, power and substance.  Still, He is said to be present more familiarly in some by grace”.

 

CC in brief — June

Catholic Candle note: We should study the Catholic Faith our whole life.  Part of this duty is to understand more fully the truths of the Faith we already learned as children.  Thus, for example, concerning the question “Who is God?”, we know from our First Communion Catechism that “God is the Supreme Being Who made all things.”  During our life, we should learn more about God, as best we can, little-by-little, using the opportunities we have.

The article below is an aid to help us “peering a little more deeply” into a few related truths of the Faith which we already learned in our catechism as children.  The article below is merely one more step in the journey of learning our Faith better.

Sanctifying Grace – the “Companion” of Charity;

Necessary for Meriting from God


What is Charity, and How does it relate to Sanctifying Grace?

Charity is friendship with God.[1] 

Without charity, a man is an enemy of God, since every man is at enmity with God through Original Sin[2] (and mortal sin), unless (and until) he becomes His friend through the friendship of charity[3], which is only acquired with Sanctifying Grace.[4] 

Sanctifying Grace is God’s Life within us[5] and makes us holy and pleasing to God.[6]

Let us summarize what we covered so far:  God’s life is to know and love Himself, and that life is pure and perfect bliss; He is the only worthy object of His love and knowledge.[7]

Yet the astounding fact is this:  When we possess charity and Sanctifying Grace, we also participate in that very life of God – His love and knowledge for Himself!  We know and love God in a way similar to the way that He Himself knows and love Himself.  Note that we said “in a way similar to how He knows and loves Himself” – but not to the same extent. 

This qualification of “in a way similar to” is very important.  Perhaps an example might help: let us suppose a very bright philosopher who knows and can prove many truths about God, yet who lacks Sanctifying Grace.  This man might be able to explain many natural truths about God (truths knowable by the human intellect without Revelation) which many or even most Catholics cannot prove because of a lack of education.  Yet this bright man is not able to know God in the way that the simplest peasant can know Him when he has Sanctifying Grace. 

What is the way the bright man knows God?   He can prove things about God from a distant and cold perspective, in a dry, academic way.  For example, he can prove there must be a God, because of such-and-such human reasoning.  He can prove that this God must be eternal, and can prove many other truths.  This is all good, but yet it is a “far cry” from what Sanctifying Grace does for the soul. 

Let us now contrast:  What can the peasant in the state of grace do which the bright philosopher in the state of mortal sin cannot do?  The peasant is able to know God as a loving Father – a personal God Who cares about each of us deeply, Who was born and died for us, Who is always looking out for us, guiding us, showering us with gifts, and Who longs to have us with Him forever in heavenly bliss.  But love requires knowledge of the thing loved.  Thus, because the peasant is able to know God in this way, he is also able to love God in a way that bright philosopher is simply not able to.

The “Companionship” of Sanctifying Grace and Charity: Sanctifying Grace and Charity always come into a soul together[8] and increase together (and they leave together, in any soul that has the great tragedy of committing a mortal sin).[9]

Thus, we can see that Sanctifying Grace and charity are inseparable “companions” in the supernatural life.  Here is how God’s Life and His Love for Himself are reflected in our possessing Sanctifying Grace and charity:

Ø  God is His Own Divine Life; Sanctifying Grace is God’s Life in us by participation.

 

Ø  God has one act, which is to love Himself.[10]  By charity, we love God in a similar way.


Without Charity and Sanctifying Grace, we cannot merit.

What is merit?

To “merit” means “to be worthy of or entitled or liable to earn”.[11]

Merit is a right to a reward.   For example, let us suppose a man who is in mortal sin discovers a plot to kill and overthrow the king.  The man informs the king.  This deed deserves praise and reward, because perhaps it not only saved the king himself, but also the whole kingdom.  Thus, the king – if he is a just man – might say to the man, “Well done!  You have merited a reward and my gratitude.”  In that case, the man merited a natural reward from a mere man. 


Merit can be natural or supernatural.

But what if the man did the same thing, but this time possessed Sanctifying Grace and charity?   When in the state of grace, the motive behind our actions can be that of love of God, and thus take on a supernatural dimension.   In such case, not only would the man gain natural merit from the human king, but also supernatural merit.  God, Who is Justice itself, might well give him natural gifts (e.g., good health, success), but also supernatural gifts (e.g., a right to a higher place in heaven, an increase of virtue and grace).

But without Sanctifying Grace, we cannot merit anything from God.[12]

This is not surprising, since those without Sanctifying Grace are God’s enemies.[13]  How could God’s enemies ever merit from Him while remaining His enemies and remaining in mortal sin – with their wills turned against Him?[14]

Let us “unpack” the consequences a little further, of the truth that without Sanctifying Grace, a person can merit absolutely nothing from God.  This means that:

Ø  A man in the state of mortal sin who builds orphanages, schools, or monasteries (which are good works) does not merit even the slightest thing from God, by doing so.[15]

Ø  A man in the state of mortal sin who teaches the Catholic Faith, does not merit even the slightest thing from God, by doing so. [16]

 

Ø  A man in the state of mortal sin who dedicates his life to fighting communism or disease, or who dies trying to rescue a child in a burning building, does not earn anything at all from God, by doing so.[17]

This is true even if the man’s work was an instrument to save many other souls and brought about much good in other ways.  Persons without Sanctifying Grace never merit from God by the good works they do.  On the other hand, though, those persons are able to commit further evil.  By choosing to commit more sins, they offend God further and deserve further punishment.

This does not mean that a man in mortal sin never does anything good and that he cannot have any natural virtues.  When the man teaches the truth or constructs a building, those are truly natural good works and this fact is not “taken away” by the man’s inability to merit from God for those works.[18]  Again, a man might merit natural rewards, such as from the human king, as explained in the above example.

Natural virtue is not a source of supernatural merit, when a man is in mortal sin.[19]  For example, a Satanist (or other enemy of God) could possibly have the habit of being patient with his neighbor or be habitually generous to a crippled child.  These habits (patience and generosity) would be natural virtues.  What is impossible is for such a man to merit supernaturally from God, by his (natural) good acts and virtues.

We ordinary Catholics, who are unaccustomed to the ways of God, might tend to falsify the truths (above) by supposing that there is a way “through the back door” for a man in mortal sin to merit in some way.  For example, although we know that a man in mortal sin cannot merit from God, we might suppose that, when God sees the man’s (human) good works or (natural) virtues, God might decide to give that man grace on that basis, i.e., for this reason.  But our supposition (viz., that God might act this way) would contradict the truth that a man in mortal sin never merits from God by anything he does.  In other words:

Nothing done by a person without Sanctifying Grace inclines God to give him any blessing or good.

Remember the explanation above: to “merit” is to be a cause of good or to earn good in some way.  If a man in mortal sin were to influence God favorably toward him in any way, through the good works that man did, so that God gave him something which the man would not have otherwise received, then that man has merited while in mortal sin.  In other words, that man’s good works would have been a cause of the good he received from God.  This is impossible.[20]  Thus, God never gives any good to a man because of that man’s good works while he is in mortal sin, because that man cannot merit anything by his works.

However, this truth certainly does not mean that God could never (or would never) give grace to a man in mortal sin.  Rather, the Sanctifying Grace and other good things which God gives to a man in mortal sin are in no way merited by him.  They are given as a free, undeserved gift of God, not based on anything he did.

In a future article, we will look at how someone can merit supernatural good in some way (called “condignly”), when he is already in the state of Sanctifying Grace.


Conclusion

A man in mortal sin cannot merit Sanctifying Grace or any other good from God, by the (human) good works he does or by the (natural) virtues he has.  Sanctifying Grace is a free gift of God, not merited in any way by the man in mortal sin.



[1]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:

It is written (John 15:15): “I will not now call you servants . . . but My friends.”  Now this was said to them by reason of nothing else than charity. Therefore, charity is friendship.  …

According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him.  If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.

Yet neither does well-wishing suffice for friendship, for a certain mutual love is requisite, since friendship is between friend and friend: and this well-wishing is founded on some kind of communication.

Accordingly, since there is a communication between man and God, inasmuch as He communicates His happiness to us, some kind of friendship must needs be based on this same communication, of which it is written (1 Corinthians 1:9): “God is faithful: by Whom you are called unto the fellowship of His Son."  The love which is based on this communication, is charity: wherefore it is evident that charity is the friendship of man for God.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, sed contra and respondeo (emphasis added).

[2]           As the psalmist teaches, concerning everyone being born with Original Sin: “I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”  Psalm, 50:7.  St. Paul teaches that, because of Original Sin, we are all “by nature children of wrath”.  Ephesians, 2:3. 

[3]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, following and quoting St. Augustine: “whosoever has not charity is wicked, because ‘this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition’”.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.178, a.2, sed contra, quoting St. Augustine’s treatise on the Blessed Trinity, De Trinitate, bk.15, ch.18.

St. Paul teaches: “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.”  Romans, 5:5.

[4]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, quoting St. Augustine:

Sanctifying Grace is given chiefly in order that man’s soul may be united to God by charity.  Wherefore Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 18): “A man is not transferred from the left side to the right, unless he receives the Holy Ghost, by Whom he is made a lover of God and of his neighbor.”

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.172, a.4, respondeo.

[5]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

[T]he light of grace which is a participation of the Divine Nature is something besides the infused virtues which are derived from and are ordained to this light ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.3, respondeo

See also, St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor of the Church, where he teaches the same truth: Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 38, §4.

St. Peter refers to Sanctifying Grace as making us “partakers of the Divine Nature”.  2 Peter, 1:4.

[6]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Even as when a man is said to be in another’s good graces, it is understood that there is something in him pleasing to the other; so also, when anyone is said to have God’s grace – with this difference, that what is pleasing to a man in another is presupposed to his love, but whatever is pleasing to God in a man is caused by the Divine love, as was said above.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.1, ad 1.

A little below these words of St. Thomas, he says “we speak of grace inasmuch as it makes man pleasing to God”.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.110, a.3, respondeo (emphasis added).

Here is how the Baltimore Catechism #3 explains this truth:

Q. 461. What is sanctifying grace?

A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God.

[7]               The only way God knows creatures is through knowing Himself and knowing us as His works.  Summa, Ia, Q.14, a.7, respondeo; Ia, Q.16, a.7, respondeo.  The reason why God loves us creatures is because we are His works and He loves His works and the good He put into us.  Summa, Ia, Q.14, a.5; Ia, Q.20, a.2.

[8]           Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Sanctifying Grace is given chiefly in order that man’s soul may be united to God by charity.

Summa, IIa IIae, Q.172, a.4, respondeo.

[9]           Mortal sin deprives a man of sanctifying grace.  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, respondeo.  Mortal sin deprives a man of charity.  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.88, a.1, respondeo.

[10]         This same one act of loving Himself is also an act of knowing Himself.  It is hard for us to understand this, but God is wholly simple and has only one act, which is to know and to love Himself.  Summa, Ia, Q.3; Ia, Q.16, a.5, ad 1.

[11]         https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/merit (definition of the transitive verb, “merit”).

 

[12]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, referring to Sanctifying Grace using its other name, i.e., “habitual grace”, since Sanctifying Grace remains in (inhabits) those in the state of grace:

The preparation of the human will for good is twofold: the first, whereby it is prepared to operate rightly and to enjoy God; and this preparation of the will cannot take place without the habitual gift of grace, which is the principle of meritorious works ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.6, respondeo (emphasis added).

Here is how the Catechism of St. Pius X teaches this truth:

5 Q. Why do not those who are in mortal sin participate in these goods [shared in the Communion of Saints]?

A. Because that which unites the faithful with God, and with Jesus Christ as His living members, rendering them capable of performing meritorious works for life eternal, is the grace of God which is the supernatural life of the soul; and hence as those who are in mortal sin are without the grace of God, they are excluded from perfect communion in spiritual goods, nor can they accomplish works meritorious towards life eternal.

Catechism of St. Pius X, section, Ninth Article of the Creed, subsection, Communion of Saints (bracketed words added to the question, to show the context).

Here is how the Baltimore Catechism #3 teaches this truth:

Q. 141. Why then do we say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin?

A. We say a soul is dead while in a state of mortal sin, because in that state it is as helpless as a dead body, and can merit nothing for itself.

[13]         Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth, following and quoting St. Augustine: “whosoever has not charity is wicked, because ‘this gift alone of the Holy Ghost distinguishes the children of the kingdom from the children of perdition’”.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.178, a.2, Sed contra, quoting St. Augustine’s treatise, De Trinitate, bk.15, ch.18.

As the psalmist teaches: “I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.”  Psalm, 50:7.  St. Paul teaches that, because of Original Sin, we are all “by nature children of wrath”.  Ephesians, 2:3. 

[14]         Concerning three ways that all sin is an infinite offense against Almighty God and concerning a fourth way in which mortal sin is an infinite offense against God, read this article: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/the-infinite-evil-of-sin.html

[15]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, … and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.     

1 Corinthians, 13:3.

[16]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  …  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

1 Corinthians, 13:1-2.

[17]         We already implicitly know this truth, since we know what St. Paul teaches regarding the importance of Charity, which is the inseparable “companion” of Sanctifying Grace:

If I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

1 Corinthians, 13:3.

[18]         Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

Yet because human nature is not altogether corrupted by sin, so as to be shorn of every natural good, even in the state of corrupted nature it can, by virtue of its natural endowments, work some particular good, as to build dwellings, plant vineyards, and the like ….

Summa, Ia IIae, Q. 109, a.2, respondeo.

[19]         Here is one way St. Thomas Aquinas teaches this truth:

[W]ithout grace man cannot merit everlasting life; yet he can perform works conducing to a good which is natural to man, as "to toil in the fields, to drink, to eat, or to have friends," and the like, as Augustine says.  …

Summa, Ia IIae, Q. 109, a.5, respondeo.

[20]         St. Thomas teaches that: “Man by himself can no wise rise from sin without the help of grace.”  Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, respondeo.

St. Thomas teaches that a man in mortal sin is as unable to merit return to grace, as a dead man is unable to cause his soul to return to his body.  Here are St. Thomas’s words:

[M]an cannot be restored by himself; but he requires the light of grace to be poured upon him anew, as if the soul were infused into a dead body for its resurrection.

Summa, Ia IIae, Q.109, a.7, ad 2.

Here is how the Catechism of St. Pius X teaches this truth:

5 Q. Why do not those who are in mortal sin participate in these goods?

A. Because that which unites the faithful with God, and with Jesus Christ as His living members, rendering them capable of performing meritorious works for life eternal, is the grace of God which is the supernatural life of the soul; and hence as those who are in mortal sin are without the grace of God, they are excluded from perfect communion in spiritual goods, nor can they accomplish works meritorious towards life eternal.


Catechism of St. Pius X, section, Ninth Article of the Creed, subsection, Communion of Saints.

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

 

It is vanity to wish for long life and to care little about a well-spent life.  It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and not to make provision for things to come.

 

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book I, Chapter 1.

 

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition

The Voice of Christ:

 

Your tardiness in turning to prayer is the greatest obstacle to heavenly consolation ….

 

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Book III, Ch. 30.

 

CC in brief — May

Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church.  By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives an extremely short answer to a reader’s question.  We invite readers to submit their own questions.

                

CC in brief

 

Q.  Why does the N-SSPX now lean liberal with its followers?

 

A.  If a traditional Catholic or a Society doesn’t fight against liberalism every day, gradualism will take over and they will become liberal after a time.  The New SSPX no longer fights against liberalism daily as Archbishop Lefebvre did.  They may merely mention the problem of liberalism, but are not fighting against it. 

 

Self-forgetfulness—letting the Love of God Consume Our Lives

Objective truth series – Reflection #22

In our last several reflections we have been considering focusing more and more on our eternal goal, the work of our lives, namely, the salvation of our souls.  We penetrated more deeply what it really means to save our souls—to see the Beatific Vision!

The emptiness of this world is easy to see especially when we compare this world to the delights of heaven.  We can easily conclude that to see God is worth all the efforts we can make.  Certainly as God gives us a greater desire for heaven, He increases our love for Him.   Yet, there is another aspect of our love of God which emerges especially when we see the world getting more godless every day, namely, the hunger and desire we have to see God loved.  St. Therese of Lisieux wrote in a prayer she composed to the Holy Face, “I am consumed with the desire to love Thee and make Thee loved by all men.”

When we consider how there is so much craziness going on around us in the world, we see the huge apparent sprint of the evil globalists as they try to get more control of everything with each new day.  Furthermore, these globalists have a clear agenda to erase God and His Commandments from the face of the earth.  It is so tempting to only consider our own current dangers and to get anxious about what will happen to us.  However, we must remind ourselves that we are in God’s Providential Hands and there is much consolation in this truth.  Indeed, we also know that God is allowing these events in order to perfect our souls.    

And yet, our focus should naturally turn from ourselves, to the innumerable insults that are hurled against God, His Church, His Blessed Mother, and His Saints.  We can see by the blatant attacks of the enemy, that God is so hated in these neo-pagan times of this great apostasy.  Our hearts ache out of love for God and a desire to console Him.  We should remember that just devotedly doing our duty-of-state with love for God, is a very important way to give Him glory and console Him.   

In this way, too, we begin the life of self-forgetfulness.  The simple focus on wanting to please God and work for His Glory, not only increases our love for Him, but also is God’s means to increase His Divine Friendship in our souls.  God is great and merciful to shower such undeserved goodness on His poor creatures!

 “He must increase: but I must decrease.” [St. John 3:30]  These words of St. John the Baptist apply to us as we strive to do all we can for the greater honor and glory of God and to show Him all our love.  But, more than this, is that this decreasing of ourselves in our own view of ourselves, naturally brings us lower and lower until we see our utter nothingness.  This nothingness does not disturb us because we see it as our natural place.   As Our Lord told St. Catherine of Sienna, “You are she who is not and I am He Who is.”  We are nothing and God is our all.

When we get caught up in our daily service of God and our neighbor out of love for God, our lives are busy working for God and our neighbor.  We may find ourselves trying to help our neighbor in many ways.  Some examples may be: trying to keep up our neighbor’s morale in these times when irrational fears are being pushed on everyone; trying to keep him informed when we are surrounded by false news; trying to convert others back to the pre-Vatican II Faith; or teaching others about the traditional uncompromising Faith which they have never heard about [seeing that we are now 56 years post Vatican II].  “The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few.” [St. Matt. 9:37]

With so much work to do for God’s Glory and to show Him our love, there really is no time or concern to think about ourselves.   We are glad to do all we can for God and spend ourselves in His service.  This is what it means to let our lives be consumed in the love of God.  What a mercy of God to let us serve Him and He accepts our poor service!

Besides such good works to our neighbor for love of God, we’ll find that we love spending time in prayer— adoring God; telling Him our sorrow for our own sins and the sins of the hateful world; telling Him over and over again that we love Him; and thanking Him for all His Goodness and Mercies He has shown to us.

God’s sculpturing of our souls slowly over time does bring many changes in our souls which includes the soul becoming more selfless.  He works patiently on us and if we are docile, His chiseling will not seem painful to us.  We can sense that He is steadily chipping away our selfishness and we naturally find that we want to do things for Him more because we love Him more and more.  In addition, as we see things in the world falling apart around us, and because we know that we do not in any way deserve God’s wonderful mercies that He has showered upon us, our hearts cannot help counting our blessings often.  How could gratitude not grow with each passing day?  We want to do something for Him to thank Him.  We want to share our blessings with other souls!  A consuming need to love God takes over and the desire to see Him loved is part of this. 

With grateful hearts, may God let us burn in the fire of the consummation of His Love!  This is how Divine Friendship works— to spread His Glory, to be spent in His service,  and to care about nothing else than Him!  Oh, if we could truly say like St. Paul, “And I live, now not I: but Christ liveth in me.” [Gal. 2:20]—with heartfelt pangs of love for God we would want to say something like the following:

 For God alone must be my goal,

Only He can full-please a soul,

 Focusing on myself would be,

Like living a lie—death to me.

 

 

To keep my focus on God entire

Brings on love and my soul’s desire

To become selfless, melting flame

To make of God, my only aim.

 

This fits His plan for souls that see,

Solely for Him should the soul be,

The lifetime goal, the soul’s one end

To have Him, as a Divine Friend.

 

With things all ‘round falling apart,

Thus, to tear, God out of each heart,

The devil spreads hatred so wide,

Ne’er wanting souls, to be God’s bride.

 

Fret then, just distracting the soul,

From the purpose of man’s true role,

Intimate union with The Spouse,

Evil seeks this Friendship to douse.

 

The Devil sows then fears and dread

Wanting souls to hate God instead

‘Gainst love of God, and true good deeds

He tempts men to desire false “needs”

 

 So bitter hatred fills the air

And each day more fall to despair

Insults to God are hurled galore

Than seemingly ever before

 

Our souls ache to repair these crimes

The wretched evils of our times,

To give God the glory— His due,

 Knowing He, is loved, by so few.

 

And to help poor folks so confused

Who are attacked and ill-used

Who search for truth, so hard to find

They’re led like sheep to keep them blind.

 

Out of love we help our neighbor,

 Gladly for God do we labor,

For Him our life tirelessly spend,

Knowing by this we love our Friend.

 

Working hard ‘til our eyes grow dim,

Doing all out of love for Him,

Wanting nothing than be consumed,

Giving all until we’re entombed.

 

If we like St. Paul can self-forget

We can grow more in love yet

With our dear Lord, Our Spouse Divine,

E’er adoring the Mystic Vine!