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General Survey of the Faith
We are on earth for the purpose of giving glory to God, and thereby working out our eternal salvation. We are to attain our end by the following means.
We must strive to acquire the knowledge of God through faith in the truths which He has revealed.
Here we speak of the knowledge of God, of revelation, of faith, the motives of faith, the opposite of faith, the confession of faith; and finally of the sign of the cross.
An explanation is given of the twelve articles of the Apostles Creed.
Art. 1. The existence of God, His being, His attributes, His triune nature, the creation of the world and divine providence, angels and men, original sin; the promise of a Redeemer, the expectation of a Redeemer.
Art. 2-7. Jesus is the Messias, the Son of God; Himself God and Our Lord. The Incarnation, the life of Christ.
Art. 8. The Holy Ghost and the doctrine of grace.
Art. 9. The Catholic Church, its institution, development, and divine maintenance. The supreme Head of the Church, the hierarchy, the notes of the Church. In the Church alone is salvation. Church and State. The communion of saints.
Art. 10. Forgiveness of sins.
Art. 11-12. Death, the particular judgment, heaven, hell, purgatory, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment.
At the close of the Apostles Creed mention is made of the good things which we hope for from God. The nature of Christian hope is considered, its advantages and what is opposed to it.
We must keep the commandments of God. These are: The two precepts of charity.
The precept of charity towards God, which is set forth more fully in the first four commandments of the Decalogue. In His character of sovereign King God requires from us: In the First Commandment worship and fidelity; in the Second, reverence; in the Third, service; in the Fourth, respect towards His representatives.
The precept of charity towards one’s neighbor. By this we are forbidden to injure our neighbor. In the Fifth Commandment we are forbidden to injure his life; in the Sixth, his innocence; in the Seventh, his property; in the Eighth, his reputation; in the Ninth and Tenth, his household.
We are also commanded to help him in time of need by the performance of the works of mercy.
The commandments of the Church are an amplification of the Third Commandment of the Decalogue.
After the consideration of the love of God, the love of the world is spoken of.
After the consideration of the love of one’s neighbor, the love of one’s friends, of one’s enemies, of one’s self is enlarged upon; after the consideration of the First Commandment, the veneration of the saints, the oath born of religion and otherwise; under the Third Commandment of God, the obligation of labor; under the first commandment of the Church, the ecclesiastical year; under the Fourth Commandment of God, the Christian’s duty towards the Pope and chief ruler, and the obligations resting on those who are in authority; under the Fifth Commandment of God, the treatment of animals; and under the works of mercy, the right use of money, the duty of gratitude, and the spirit of poverty.
The fulfilling of the commandments consists in the practice of good works and the exercise of virtue, as well as the abandonment of sin and vice; finally, in the avoidance of everything that might lead to sin, temptation to sin, and occasions of sin.
The most important virtues are those which are called the seven capital virtues, the opposites to which are the seven deadly sins.
In order to obey the commandments strictly we must make use of the means for attaining perfection. The general means are intended for all; the special means, the three evangelical counsels, are only for individuals.
By walking in this way we shall enjoy happiness even on earth.
The precepts which Christ gave us in the Sermon on the Mount, and which are called the eight beatitudes.
In order to believe revealed truth and to keep the commandments, we require the assistance of divine grace, and this we can obtain by the use of the means of grace.
We must make use of the means of grace. These are: The holy sacrifice of the Mass, the sacraments, and prayer.
Before entering upon the subject of the sacrifice of the Mass, sacrifice in general and the sacrifice of the cross are considered. In treating of the holy sacrifice of the Mass the points explained are: The institution, the nature, the parts, and the ceremonies of the Mass; the relation of the Mass to the sacrifice of the cross, the benefits derived from the Mass, the manner of offering it, devotions during Mass, the obligation of hearing Mass, the time and place of celebrating Mass, the vestments and vessels used at Mass, the color of the vestments, the language used in the Mass, and the musical accompaniment of the Mass. The duty of hearing the word of God next follows; then the doctrine of the sacraments in general and of each individually. Tinder the Sacrament of the Altar the institution and nature of the sacrament are considered, likewise the reception of the sacraments and the fruits produced thereby, the preparation before receiving communion and the subsequent thanksgiving, and also spiritual communion. Under the Sacrament of Penance the points considered are: The institution, nature, and necessity of penance; the office of the confessor, the effects of the Sacrament of Penance. The worthy reception of the sacrament (in its five parts), general confessions, the institution and excellence of confession, the sin of relapse, and the doctrine of indulgences. Under matrimony, the institution and nature of marriage are treated of, the duties of married people, mixed marriages, and the single state. Hereupon follows the teaching concerning sacramentals.
In treating of prayer an explanation is given of the nature, the use, the necessity, the time, the place, the object of prayer and of contemplation. Furthermore explanations are given of the most important prayers (the Lord’s Prayer and prayer to the Mother of God); the principal public services morning and evening, processions, pilgrimages, the Way of the Cross, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, missions, Catholic congresses, Passion plays, and religious associations. The latter include third orders, confraternities, and charitable societies.
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Introduction to the Catholic Faith
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