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 A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan

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PostSubject: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Sat Apr 26, 2008 4:33 pm

Hello there! In order to understand fully what Holy Mother Church teaches, it's wiser to understand Catholic basics first. So, here we go. Let's start with Lesson 1.

Lesson 1: Religion

1. What is the purpose of these lessons?
To fill in what is missing in the lives of so many people - the knowledge and practice of true religion.

"The heart of the wise seeketh instruction: and the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness." (Proverbs 15:14).

2. Why is religion the most important study?
Because God expects you to know what He has taught and what He wants you to do in this life.

"Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (I Corinthians 3:18-19)

3. What is religion?
Religion consists of two parts:

i.Believing everything God has told the human race.

ii.Observing all your duties to God, yourself and fellow men.

"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)

4. Is religion really necessary?
Yes, for several reasons--

i.God demands that every human being follow His plan of life.

ii.Without religion, life is meaningless (Ed. note: you have no real purpose).

iii.Lack of religion causes unhappiness, both in this life and the next.

"For he that rejecteth wisdom, and discipline, is unhappy: and their hope is vain, and their labors without fruit, and their works unprofitable. Their wives are foolish and their children wicked." (Wisdom 3:11-12)

5. What will happen to those who do not practice religion?
They will be punished with the everlasting torments of Hell. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angels of His power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

6. What will religion give you in this life?
Peace of mind, which is greater than anything money can buy.

"Blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28)

"Much peace have they that love thy law, and to them there is no stumbling block." (Psalm 118:165)

7. Are all religions the same?
No, there is only one true religion, the one established by God Himself, which is explained in these lessons.

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Sun Apr 27, 2008 5:58 pm

Lesson 2: The Bible and Tradition

"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the world." (Hebrews 1:1)

1.What is the Bible?
A collection of writings which were inspired by God.
"All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2.What does "inspired by God" mean?
It means that God chose some men and moved them to write down faithfully all the things, and only those things, which He wanted written down.

"For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost."  (2 Peter 1:21)

3.Who, then, is the main author of the Bible?
God is, since He moved these men to write down the things He ordered, although He allowed them to write in their own language and style.

"For I give you to understand, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it;' but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:11-12)

4.How many writings, or books, are there in the Bible?
There are 72.

5.When were all these writings put together?
The Catholic Church put all of them into one book between the years 350 and 405. 

6.How is the Bible divided?
It is divided into two main parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The Old Testament contains the things God told the human race from the beginning of the world up to the coming of His son, Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains what God has told us through His Son and through His Apostles and others.

7.Is it possible to misunderstand the Bible?
Yes, even the Bible itself says so.

"As also in all his [St. Paul's] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16)

8.How can you get the true meaning of the Bible?
You can get it only from God's official interpreter, the Catholic Church.

"Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation."
(2 Peter 1:20)

9.Is everything that God taught in the Bible?
No, the rest is in tradition.

"Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of His disciples, which are not written in this book." (John 20:30)

10.What is Tradition?
The Unwritten Word of God; these "other things Jesus did" were handed down by word of mouth by the Apostles and other close followers of Jesus.

"Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."  (2 Thessalonians 2:14)

11.Do you have to believe in Tradition?
Yes, because it is the Word of God and has equal authority with the Bible.

The early Christians learned everything by Tradition, since only later on were some of the teachings of Jesus written down, the last writing being done at the end of the first century. That is, there was no New Testament in the early Church.

12.Are you free to believe whatever you want?
No, you have to believe everything in the Bible and Tradition--all the doctrines that the Catholic Church teaches.

"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with the angels of His power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8)

13.What kind of sin is it to deny anything the Catholic Church teaches?
A serious sin, that is, a mortal sin. "Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 1:9)

PRACTICAL POINTS
1.If a Catholic denies one or more of the doctrines of the Catholic Church, he is no longer a Catholic. To be a Catholic is to accept the Catholic faith in its entirety because it comes from God, and God can neither lie nor make a mistake.

2.You can easily tell the difference between a Catholic Bible and a non-Catholic one. A Catholic Bible always has the name of a Catholic bishop near the front with the Latin word Imprimatur , which means "It may be printed."

3.The Catholic Church not only allows her members to read the Bible, but encourages them to do so. She gives special "blessings" (called indulgences) to those who read it as spiritual reading. You are encouraged to buy a Catholic Bible and read part of it every day.

4.Protestant Bibles are missing 7 books of the Bible. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, decided to omit them, because the Jews omit them. Catholics call these 7 books the "Deuterocanonical Books"; Protestants call them the "Apocrypha." They are Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, and 1 and 2 Machabees (plus parts of Esther and Daniel ).

5.Nowhere does the Bible say that the Bible is the sole source of Christian teaching. This fact refutes the classic Protestant teaching of "the Bible alone" (sola Scriptura ). For more on this topic, see The Catholic Church proved by the Protestant Bible

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Tue Apr 29, 2008 4:33 pm

Lesson 3: God and the Holy Trinity

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor? Or who hath first given to Him, and recompense shall be made Him? For of Him and by Him and in Him, are all things; to Him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:33-36)

1.Who is God?
God is the Supreme Being, the Creator, "who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them." (Psalm 145:5)

2.What does "Creator" mean?
It means that God made all things out of nothing.

"I beseech thee, my son, look upon Heaven and earth, and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also." (2 Machabees 7:28)

3.What is a creature?
A creature is anything made by God.

4.How do you know there is a God?
If you just examine the things in this world, you have to admit that someone had to make them.

"But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee: and the birds of the air, and they shall tell thee. Speak to the earth, and it shall answer thee: and the fishes of the sea shall tell. Who is ignorant that the hand of the Lord hath made all these things?" (Job 12:7-9)

"The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God." (Psalm 13:1)

5.Why can you not see God?
Because He has no body.

"God is a spirit." (John 4:24)

6.Where is God?
God is everywhere.

"Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy face? If I ascend into heaven, Thou are there: if I descend into hell, Thou art present." (Psalm 138:7-8)

7.Can God see all things?
Yes, because He is everywhere.

"The eyes of the Lord in every place behold the good and the evil." (Proverbs 18:3)

8.How old is God?
God is ageless, eternal, which means that He had no beginning and will have no end and will never change.

"Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed: from eternity and to eternity thou art God." (Psalm 89:2)

9.Can God do all things?
Yes, "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

10.Is God alive?
Yes, He is alive and is the source of life. Over 30 Bible references call Him "the living God."

"All things were made by Him: and without Him was made nothing that was made. In Him is life." (John 1:3-4)

11.Is God independent and unlimited?
Yes, He depends on nothing and is unlimited (infinite) in every way.

"Neither is He served with men's hands, as though he needed any thing; seeing it is He who giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." (Acts 17:25)

12.Is God interested in you?
Yes, and He loves you with an unlimited love.

"Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet I will not forget thee." (Isaias 49:15)

13.Will God forgive you your sins?
Yes, if you are truly sorry for them.

"For the Lord your God is merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him." (2 Paralipomenon 30:9)

14.What is the Holy Trinity?
This means that there are three persons in One God.

"Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19)

15.Who are the three persons in God?
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

"And there are three who give testimony in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one." (I John 5:7)

16.Are the three persons of the Holy Trinity equal?
Yes, they are equal to One Another, but each One is a separate and distinct Person, and each One is God.

17.How can there be three persons in only one God?
This is a mystery that no human mind can completely understand.

PRACTICAL POINTS

1.There are many things in this world which the human mind cannot understand, such as growth, sight, hearing, electricity. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find that we cannot completely understand the God who made the world.

2.Faith is accepting something on the word of another. God says that there are three Persons in One God. If you accept that statement as being true because He said so, then you have faith.

3.Faith is not unreasonable if what you are told is possible and if the person telling you is usually truthful and has nothing to gain by telling you a lie.

4.Human beings can tell lies, but God cannot because He is Truth Itself. Therefore, believing anything God says is the highest kind of faith. This kind of faith, however, is a gift that you must pray for.

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Sun May 04, 2008 12:27 am

Lesson 4: Prayer

"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh,

receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, of

whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? If you then

being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in Heaven, give good things to

them that ask Him?" (Matthew 7:7-11)

1.What is prayer?
Prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to God.

2.Why should you pray?
You should pray--

i.To adore God, to tell Him that He made you and that you depend upon Him for absolutely everything.
ii.To thank God for the blessings He has given you.

"What hast thou not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (1

Corinthians 4:7)

iii.To ask God pardon for your sins.

"O God, be merciful to me a sinner." (Luke 18:13)

iv.To ask God's help in all things.

"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7).

3.When should you pray?
Every day, especially--

i.In the morning -- to offer the day to God and to ask for His help in the temptations of the day

ii.During the day, especially during temptations.

iii.At night -- to thank God for the blessings of the day and to ask Him to forgive you for the sins committed that day.

iv.Before and after meals.

4.To whom should you pray?
i.To God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

ii.You may also pray to the Blessed Virgin, the Angels and the Saints.

"And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel." (Apocalypse

8:4).

5.Why may you pray to the Blessed Virgin (Mary, Mother of God), the Angels and the Saints?
Because they are God's best friends; God will listen to them more than to us who are still sinners.

"Go to my servant Job, and offer yourselves a holocaust: and my servant Job shall pray for you: his face I will accept, that folly

be not imputed to you: for you have not spoken right things before me, as my servant Job hath." (Job 42:8)

6.For whom should you pray?
i.For everyone still on earth, even your enemies.

"But I say to you, love your enemies: do good to them who hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you."

(Matthew 5:44)

ii.For the souls in Purgatory (See Lesson 12).

7.What should you pray for?
Everyday pray to get into Heaven; when praying for anything else, always say, "Grant this request, Lord, if it is Your will."

"For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye

therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:32-33).

8.Does God always hear your prayers?
Yes, but He does not always give what you ask for, because you sometimes ask for things that are bad for you, or you do not

ask God properly.

9.Does God hear or answer the prayers of sinners who are living in mortal sin (someone who has committed one or more bad

sins, such as taking birth control or rejecting God's Church, without confessing them, thus becoming an enemy of God)?
He hears their prayers for the grace of true repentance (the grace to feel sorry for your sins and confess them to a priest), but

He does not hear their prayers for other favors, unless they are willing to give up their sins and do penance.

"Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth." (John

9:31)

10.Should only good people pray?
No, everyone should pray. Especially should mortal sinners pray to be delivered from their sins.

"I desire not the [eternal] death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live." (Ezechiel 33:11).

"For every one that asketh, receiveth." (Matthew 7:8)

11.How should you pray?
i.With attention, keeping your mind on your prayer.

ii.With humility, realizing that you are powerless without God.

iii.With confidence, realizing that God can do all things.

iv.With perseverance, without giving up hope.

"And this is the confidence which we have Towards Him: That, whatsoever we shall ask according to His will, He heareth us."

(I John 5:14).

12.Why is public prayer necessary?
Because, as members of human society, we owe God public recognition of Him as Supreme Master of society.

13.How does public prayer help the world?
i.We thereby call down God's mercy upon our country and world.

ii.We also obtain the divine help which is necessary for virtue and peace in society.

14.Why should a family pray together?
i.To obtain the graces they need, especially the grace to keep the Catholic Faith.

ii.To ask God to bless them as a family.

iii.To imitate the Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph).

iv.To give good example to the children.

v.To keep the family together.

"For where there are two or three gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20).

14.How often should a family pray together?
At least once a day, preferably after the evening meal, when all the members of the family are together.

"A family that prays together stays together." (Father Peyton).

15.Why do Catholics have statues and pictures of Our Lord (Jesus), the Blessed Virgin (Mary) and the Saints?
i.Because they wish to honor them, just as we honor public heroes.

ii.Because it is easier to pray to them when looking at a picture or a statue of them.

iii.Because it helps Catholics raise their minds frequently to God during the day.

PRACTICAL POINTS

1.There are two main kinds of prayer, vocal and mental. Vocal prayer uses specific words, such as the Our Father and the Hail

Mary. Mental prayer is praying without words, which is also called meditation.

2.It is good to pray during the day with short prayers, such as, "Jesus, I love You"; "My God, I offer this hour of work for my sins"; "My Jesus, mercy."

3.It is not necessary to kneel while praying, but it certainly is much easier to pray when you are on your knees.

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:01 am

Lesson 5: Public Worship of God

Note: As a creature of God, you are bound to pray to Him, not only as an individual, but also as a member of society. The chief form of public worship in the Catholic Church is the Mass, which is explained in this lesson. A fuller explanation will be given in Lesson 23.

1.What happens at Mass?
The priest changes bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and offers them to God the Father.

2.Who said the first Mass?
Jesus Christ, right after the Last Supper on the night before He died, early 2,000 years ago.

"And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to His disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is My Body. And taking the chalice, He gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is My Blood." (Matthew 26:26-28)

3.How could Jesus change bread and wine into His Body and Blood?
Because He is God.

4.Did Jesus give this power to anyone?
Yes, to His twelve Apostles.

"Do this for a commemoration of Me." (Luke 22:19)

5.Did Jesus want His Apostles to hand down this power to others?
Yes, because He wanted all men of all times to have the Holy Sacrifice and to eat His Body and drink His Blood.

"Except you eateth the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you." (John 6:54)

6.How did the Apostles hand down this power?
By making other men priests and bishops.

7.Who has this power today?
The priests and bishops of the Catholic Church.

8.At what part of the Mass does the priest change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ?
At the Consecration, about the middle of Mass, when he says "This is My Body." "This is the chalice of My Blood..."

PRACTICAL POINTS

1.The Mass is said in Latin because Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church and was the official and universal language in many parts of the world 2,000 years ago; also, because it is a language that does not change (it is not spoken anymore). (Ed. note: This way, no matter where you travel, the Mass will always be the same and you will recognize it and the language.)

2.The clothes worn by the priest at Mass, called vestments, are a special priestly type of clothing that has a relationship to the vestments worn by the priests of the Old Testament. These vestments are symbolic of the unchangeableness of the Church.

3.One cannot lay down set rules about how to pray at Mass because the Mass may be followed word-for-word, as in the missal, or in spirit, according to what is going on in the various parts of the Mass, or by practicing one's private devotion.

4.The difference between High Mass and Low Mass is that at High Mass the priest sings some of the Mass prayers; whereas, at Low Mass he does not sing.

5.Catholics must attend Mass every Sunday and on the six Holy Days of Obligation. To miss Mass on these days is a mortal sin.

6.Other forms of public worship are Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Novenas and Lenten services.

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:18 am

Lesson 6: Angels and Devils

"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and benediction." (Apocalypse 5:11-12)

1. What is an angel?
An angel is a spirit, that is, a creature who does not have a body.

2. Is an angel a real person?
Yes, because an angel has a mind and a will.

3. How do you know there are angels?
The Bible mentions angels about three hundred times.

4. Why did God create the angels?
To serve Him in Heaven, to act as His messengers to man, and to act as guardians over human beings.

5. Does everyone have a guardian angel?
Yes, God appoints an angel to watch over every human being.

"See that you despise not one of these little ones: For I say to you, that their angels in Heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in Heaven." (Matthew 18:10)

6. What does your guardian angel do for you?
Your angel prays for you, protects you from evil and inspires you to do good.

"Behold I will send My angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice." (Exodus 23:20-21)

7. Did all the Angels obey God?
No, some of them, led by Lucifer, or Satan, disobeyed God and were sent immediately into Hell. These are the fallen angels or devils.

"And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels. And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven." (They were sent to Hell) (Apocalypse 12:7-8)

8. Is there really a devil?
Yes, the Bible often speaks of the devil as a real person.

"And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world." (Apocalypse 12:9)
(In Protestant Bibles, this book (Apocalypse) is called Revelation)

9. How does the devil act towards human beings?
The devil tempts people to commit sin.

"Watch out, because the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour. You must resist him, being strong in Faith and knowing that he persecutes everyone else in the world, too." (1 Peter 5:8-9)

10. How can you fight the devil?
The best weapons against the devil are prayer (especially calling on Jesus and Mary), holy water, blessed medals, scapulars and other blessed objects.

"Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:11-12)



PRACTICAL POINTS

1. Your guardian angel is a real person, who is always with you to help and protect you. Pray to him often and thank him for his help. Your guardian angel is an indication of how much God loves and cares for you.

2. The devil has succeeded in getting a large number of people to think that he is not real. His is a real person and is a real danger to you personally.

3. Not all of your temptations come from the devil. Others come from your own flesh ("concupiscence") and from the world about you -- traditionally stated, "from the world, the flesh, and the devil."

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:27 pm

Lesson 7: Human Beings and the Purpose of Life

"Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven: Where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

1. What is a human being?
A creature who has a body and soul.

"Thou hast made him a little less than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:6)

2. What is the soul?
It is the spiritual part of man, that part which will never die.

"God said, 'Let us make man to our image and likeness.'" (Genesis 1:26)

3. Where is your soul?
In every part of you that is alive.

4. Is your soul real?
Yes, just as real as your body.

5. How do you know you have a soul?
You can do spiritual things: You can think, do things without being forced, decide not to do things, make things, enjoy a joke or a book or a party, talk, work out mathematical problems, etc... An animal cannot do any of these things. That which makes you able to do them is your soul.

6. Where did your soul come from?
God created your soul and joined it to the tiny body in your mother's womb.

"And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7)

7. How long will your soul and body stay together?
Until death, which is the separation of body and soul.

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

"Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour." (Matthew 28:13)

8. What will happen to your body when you die?
It will rot away to the earth from which it came.

"For dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return." (Genesis 3:19)

9. What will happen to your soul when you die?
It will be judged by God and will go to Heaven, to Purgatory or to Hell.

"It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

10. Will your soul ever be joined to your body again?
Yes, on Judgment Day God will call your body back from the earth and join it to your soul. This will be the resurrection of the body at the end of the world.

"Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

11. After the Resurrection, will your soul and body be always together?
Yes, both body and soul will be together forever, either in Heaven or Hell.

"For we must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he hath done, whether it be good or evil." (2 Corinthians 5:10)

12. When will Judgment Day be?
Nobody but God knows this.

"But of that day and hour no one knoweth, no not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:36)

13. How should you prepare for Judgment Day?
Pray constantly, obey all of God's commandments, and do penance for your sins.

"And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36)

14. What, then is the true purpose of life?
To live your life according to God's plan and thus to save your soul.

"For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37)

"Behold now you that say: Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and there we will spend a year, and will traffic, and make our gain. Whereas you know not what shall happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapor which appears for a little while, and afterwards shall vanish away. For that you should say: If the Lord will, and if we shall live, we will do this or that." (James 4:13-15)

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Thu Jun 26, 2008 8:58 pm

Lesson 8: Sanctifying Grace

"And Jesus addressed them, and spoke to them again in parables, saying, "The kingdom of Heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son... And the marriage was filled with guests. And the king went in to see the guests: And he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet and cast him into the exterior darkness: There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 22:1-12)

1. Why did God make you?
God made you to know, love and serve Him in this world so that you might share in His happiness in Heaven.

2. Are mere human beings equipped to share God's happiness?
No, because God has a completely different kind of life.

To share in the happiness of another, it is necessary to have the same kind of life. A dog, for example, cannot enjoy a book because man has a higher kind of life than the dog.

3. How is God's life a higher kind of life than that of man?
God's life is unlimited, uncreated and independent, whereas, human life is very limited, created by God and absolutely dependent on Him.

"For in Him we live, and move, and are." (Acts 17:28)

4. What, then, is needed to share in God's happiness?
A new kind of life, called Sanctifying Grace.

5. What is Sanctifying Grace?
A sharing in the life of God, which raises you to God's level and gives you the power to share in His happiness.

"By whom He hath given us the most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature." (2 Peter 1:4)

6. Does Sanctifying Grace make you the same as God?
No, only like God, because Sanctifying Grace is a created sharing in the life of God.

You are still a human being, but one that is equipped to live in Heaven.

7. Can you get to Heaven without Sanctifying Grace?
No, it is absolutely impossible to live in Heaven without Sanctifying Grace.

The wedding garment in the parable (Matthew 22:10-13) is Sanctifying Grace. The banquet hall is Heaven, and the king is God. The attendants are the Angels, and the darkness outside is Hell.

8. Is there Sanctifying Grace in your soul when you are born?
No, all human beings are created without Sanctifying Grace.

"For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24)

9. How can you get Sanctifying Grace?
Baptism puts Sanctifying Grace into your soul for the first time.

"Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

10. Can you make Sanctifying Grace grow in your soul?
Yes, chiefly by receiving Holy Communion and the other Sacraments, and by prayer and good works.

"But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)

11. Can you lose Sanctifying Grace?
Yes, by committing a serious sin (that is, a mortal sin) -- one that destroys God's life in your soul.

"But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death." (James 1:15)

12. Can you feel Sanctifying Grace in your soul?
No, because Sanctifying Grace is completely spiritual.

It is impossible to experience something spiritual, such as grace, a soul, or an angel, with one of the five senses.

13. Does a religious feeling indicate Sanctifying Grace in the soul?
No, nor does the absence of such a feeling indicate the absence of Sanctifying Grace.

A person being baptized may not experience a religious feeling but can be morally certain from the promise of Christ that Baptism is putting Sanctifying Grace into his soul.



PRACTICAL POINTS

1. Adam and Eve were created with Sanctifying Grace in their souls. After them, the only other human being created with Sanctifying Grace was the Blessed Virgin, Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

2. A soul in the state of Grace has two kinds of life: Human life, and the sharing in God's life. A mortal sin kills (or drives out) only the Sanctifying Grace. Nothing can kill the human life of the soul, which is immortal.

3. Babies who die without being baptized cannot go to Heaven because they die without Sanctifying Grace. The Church has never taught, as an official doctrine, what happens to the souls of unbaptized infants. However, Catholic books approved by the Church have consistently taught that unbaptized babies probably go to a place of natural happiness in the next world called Limbo. God is not cruel or unjust in not allowing them to enter Heaven because Sanctifying Grace is a gift and no one has a right to a gift. Man does not have a natural right to Heaven, which is a supernatural end for man. If a baby dies without Baptism, the parents should put the matter in God's hands and trust in His wisdom and goodness.

4. Adults who neglect to be baptized do not go to Limbo but to Hell.

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PostSubject: Re: A Short Catholic Catechism by Fr. William J. Cogan   Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:48 pm

Lesson 9: Heaven

"Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not Him. Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him: Because we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:1-2)

1. What is Heaven?
The place of perfect happiness in the next world.

"Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for those that love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9)

2. Who will go to Heaven?
Only those who have Sanctifying Grace in their souls at the moment of death.

"Then shall the king say to them that shall be on His right hand: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

3. What is the happiness of Heaven?
It will consist in seeing God face to face and possessing Him in divine love.

"We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part: But then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

4. Why is the happiness of Heaven perfect?
Because God made you for Himself and you can find perfect satisfaction in Him alone.

"Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee." (St. Augustine)

5. Will everyone have the same happiness in Heaven?
No, the happiness of some will be greater than that of others, but everyone will be as happy as he can be.

6. Why will some have greater happiness than others?
Because some will see God more clearly.

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will render to every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:27)

7. Why will some see God more clearly?
Because they died with more Sanctifying Grace on their souls.

"And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor." (1 Corinthians 3:8)

8. How, then, should you spend your time on Earth?
Try to get as much Sanctifying Grace in your soul as you can before you die.

"Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you." (1 Corinthians 3:8)

"The night cometh, when no man can work." (John 9:4)

9. Will there be any sorrow or pain in Heaven?
No, nor will there be any sickness, temptation, or sin, but complete, unending joy.

"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more." (Apocalypse 21:4)

10. Will you know your family and friends in Heaven?
Yes, and also the Angels and Saints.

"Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners: But you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God." (Ephesians 2:19)

11. What would keep you from getting into Heaven?
Dying with a serious (mortal) sin on your soul.

"And there shall not enter into it any thing defiled, or that worketh abomination or maketh a lie, but they that are written in the book of life of the Lamb." (Apocalypse 21:27)

12. How often should you pray to get to Heaven?
Every day, since getting to Heaven is the purpose of life.

"As the heart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after Thee, O God. My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?" (Psalm 41:2-3)

13. What is the chief difference between Heaven and Limbo?
The souls in Heaven see God face to face; whereas, those in Limbo do not.

Seeing God face to face is called the Beatific Vision. It contains all possible happiness and is unending.

PRACTICAL POINTS

1. You will never get bored or used to heaven because God is unlimited in every way. Nothing on this earth can completely satisfy you, whether it is money or fame or pleasure, since everything created is limited.

2. Thinking often of Heaven, putting it before everything else, will give you the correct scale of values, as well as peace of mind in this world.

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