Of the Sacraments
Card. Bellarmine’s Short Catechism
Student: We have already treated all that which we must believe, hope for, and do; it remains to discuss the holy sacraments, by whose means we obtain the grace of God. Say therefore, how many sacraments are there?
Teacher: There are seven sacraments.
III. Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion)
IV. Penance (Confession)
V. Extreme Unction (Anointing)
VI. Holy Orders
VII. Holy Matrimony
Student: Who ordained these sacraments?
Teacher: Jesus Christ, our Lord, created and ordained the sacraments.
Student: How does Baptism work?
Teacher: It makes a man become the child of God and heir of Paradise: it blots out all sins, and fills the soul with grace and spiritual gifts.
Student: What effect does Confirmation (or Chrismation) work?
Teacher: It fortifies a man that he be not afraid to confess the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord, and so it makes us become the true soldiers of Or Savior.
Student: What effect does the Eucharist work?
Teacher: It nourishes charity, which is the life of the soul and daily does it increase it more. And therefore, it is given under the form of bread, though truly it is not bread, but the true Body of our Lord; as likewise that which is in the chalice is not wine, albeit it seems like wine, but it is the true Blood of the same Christ our Lord under the form of wine.
Student: What effect does Penance work?
Teacher: It forgives sins committed after Baptism and brings again the friendship of God to him who through sin had become His enemy.
Student: What must we do to receive this sacrament of Penance?
Teacher: We must first have sorrow for our own sins, with purpose of amendment never more to commit them. Then, we must confess them all to a Priest approved by the superiors (Bishop); and finally we must do the penance that is enjoined to us by the Priest.
Student: What effect does Extreme Unction work?
Teacher: It blots out the stains of sins, gives joy and strength to the soul to fight against the devil in the last hour; and also helps to recover bodily health, if it is expedient for the salvation of the soul.
Student: What effect does the Sacrament of Holy Orders work?
Teacher: It gives virtue and grace to Priests and other ministers of the Church, to be able to do well their duties.
Student: What effect does the Sacrament of Matrimony work?
Teacher: It gives virtue and grace to those that are lawfully joined together, to live in matrimony with peace and charity, and to beget and bring up their children in the holy fear of God, to the end that they may have joy in this life and in the other.
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