Baltimore Catechism 3

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Creation and the Angels


 * Q. 35. What do we mean when we say that God is the Creator of heaven and earth?
A. When we say that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, we mean that He made all things from nothing by His almighty power.


 * Only God can create, that is, make something from nothing, because creation requires infinite power, which God alone possesses. All things except God depend on a cause for their existence and hence must have been created by God.3 God did not have to create the world; He did so freely.

 * God preserves all creatures; otherwise, they would at once return to nothingness. He also governs all things, and in the divine government of the world nothing does or can happen unless God wills or permits it. Evil is the lack of some perfection. God does not will physical evil in itself but only insofar as it is connected with some good.

 * God wills or permits the physical evils of life in order to punish sin, to make sinners repent, to try the just and make them worthy of everlasting reward, or to be the occasion of some other greater good. God permits but does not will moral evils.

 * > "Thus, saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and thy maker from the womb: I am the Lord, that make all things, that alone stretch out the heavens that establish the earth. And there is none with me" (Isaias 44:24).

 * > "For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, and he is before all creatures, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:16-17).


 * Q. 36. Which are the chief creatures of God?
A. The chief creatures of God are angels and men.


 * It is a matter of faith that God the Creator produced out of nothing creatures both spiritual and corporal, angelic and earthly. 4

 * See Daniel 3:57ff. See also Scripture, question 35, Colossians 1:16-17.


 * Q. 37. What are angels?
A. Angels are created spirits, without bodies, having understanding and free will.


 * Reason alone cannot prove that the angels exist. Reason indicates that, just as there are purely material creatures and creatures composed of both matter and spirit, so also it is fitting that there should be purely spiritual creatures.

 * Angels are spiritual beings inferior to God and superior to man. Sacred Scripture frequently speaks of the angels and mentions three by name: the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.5

 * The nine "choirs" of angels are the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. 6 The exact number of angels is unknown, but Sacred Scripture indicates that their number is very great.

 * > "Thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before Him" (Daniel 7:10)

 * > "Or dost thou suppose that I cannot entreat my Father, and he will even now furnish me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53).

 * > "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent for service, for the sake of those who shall inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).

 * > "Rash and self-willed, such men in their deriding do not regard majesty; whereas angels, though greater in strength and power, do not bring against themselves an abusive charge" (2 Peter 2:11).


 * Q. 38. What gifts did God bestow on the angels when He created them?
A. When God created the angels He bestowed on them great wisdom, power, and holiness.


 * God bestowed upon the angels supernatural grace by which they could gain eternal happiness. The angels were given the opportunity to merit the reward of heaven by remaining faithful to God.


 * Q. 39. Did all the angels remain faithful to God?
A. Not all the angels remained faithful to God; some of them sinned.


 * We do not know the exact nature of the test to which God put the angels that they might prove themselves worthy of eternal happiness. The angels who were unfaithful committed a serious sin, for which they were punished.

 * > "For God did not spare the angels when they sinned but dragged them down by infernal ropes to Tartarus, and delivered them to be tortured and kept in custody for judgment" (2 Peter 2:4).

 * > "And the angels also who did not preserve their original state, but forsook their abode, he has kept in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (6).


 * Q. 40. What happened to the angels who remained faithful to God?
A. The angels who remained faithful to God entered into the eternal happiness of heaven, and these are called good angels.


 * > "See that you do not despise one of these little ones for I tell you, their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10).


 * Q. 41. What do the good angels do in heaven?
A. In heaven the good angels see, love, and adore God.


 * See Scripture, question 40.


 * Q. 42. How do the good angels help us?
A. The good angels help us by praying for us, by acting as messengers from God to us, and by serving as our guardian angels.


 * The Old and the New Testament refer frequently to the work of the good angels among men. A good angel was the guide of God's chosen people (Exodus 23:20); the protector of was a good angel ( ff). The Archangel Gabriel announced the glad tidings of the Incarnation to Our Blessed Mother (Luke 1:28).

 * Although angels are pure spirits, they can be seen by man when on special occasions God permits them to take on bodies or the appearance of bodies, which are visible to the human eye.

 * > "For to his angels he has given thee in trust, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Psalm 90:11-12).

 * > "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And when the angel had come to her, he said, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:26-28).


 * Q. 43. How do our guardian angels help us?
A. Our guardian angels help us by praying for us, by protecting us from harm, and by inspiring us to do good.


 * It is a matter of faith that angels are deputed as the guardians of men. It is commonly held that each individual has a special guardian angel.

 * > "When thou didst pray with tears, and didst bury the dead, and didst leave thy dinner, and hide the dead by day in thy house, and bury them by night, I offered thy prayer to the Lord .... For I am the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobias 12:12, 15).


 * Q. 44. What happened to the angels who did not remain faithful to God?
A. The angels who did not remain faithful to God were cast into hell, and these are called bad angels, or devils.


 * The devils, or the evil spirits, were created by God, not as bad beings but as good beings. By their own free acts, they chose evil and thereby became bad angels.

 * > "Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).


 * Q. 45. What is the chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us?
A. The chief way in which the bad angels try to harm us is by tempting us to sin.


 * Devils are sometimes permitted to enter the body of a man and to exercise power over his faculties-a state known as diabolical possession; or they are permitted to torment a person from without-a state known as diabolical obsession.

 * Diabolic possession and obsession are permitted by God to show forth His glory, to punish sin, to bring sinners to repentance, or to give occasion for the exercise of virtue. When the devil uses the body of a possessed person to say or do evil things, the person is not guilty of sin, provided he does not freely consent.

 * Exorcism is the act of driving out or warding off evil spirits from persons, places, or things possessed or infested by them. The Church received from Christ the power of exorcism.

 * An exorcist is one who has power, conferred by a bishop, to exorcise demons. The order of exorcist is the third of the four minor orders of the Western Church. Only with the permission of his bishop is a priest allowed to use his power of exorcising evil spirits.

 * > "Then having summoned his twelve disciples, he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out" (Matthew 10:1).

 * > "Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

 * > "Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9).


 * Q. 46. Do all temptations come from the bad angels?
A. Some temptations come from the bad angels; but other temptations come from ourselves and from the persons and things about us.


 * The bad angels, the persons and things about us, and we ourselves can excite the senses and be an inducement to sin.

 * > "For I am delighted with the law of God according to the inner man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the law of sin that is in my members" (Romans 7:22-23).

 * > "Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted by God; for God is no tempter to evil, and he himself tempts no one. But everyone is tempted by being drawn away and enticed by his own passion" (James 1:13-14).

 * > "Do not love the world, or the things that are in the world" (1 John 2:15).


 * Q. 47. Can we always resist temptations?
A. We can always resist temptations, because no temptation can force us into sin, and because God will always help us if we ask Him.


 * God does not demand the impossible; however, He warns us that in our efforts to overcome temptation we must not rely entirely on ourselves but must seek His help. God permits us to be tempted in order to make us realize our weakness, to test our faith, and to help us by His grace to strengthen virtue by practice and to obtain the reward of eternal life. The most effective means of overcoming temptation are prayer, mortification, frequent Confession and Holy Communion, and avoiding idleness and the near occasion of sin.

 * > "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. May no temptation take hold of you but such as man is equal to. God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it" ( 1 Corinthians 10:12-13).

 * > "And he has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee' "(2 Corinthians 12:9).




 * One of the usual names for God is "Creator." Both reason and revelation assure us that everything outside of God has been created, or brought into existence from nothingness by His almighty power. Moreover, after He has created something, God continues to keep it in existence; this is called divine conservation.

 * In the first chapter of the Bible, we read that in the beginning God created heaven and earth; and then the Sacred Scripture tells us that in the course of six days God made the various elements of the universe-the sun and moon and stars, the plants and the animals, and finally man.

 * Before He created men, God created another class of intellectual beings, known as angels-spirits without bodies, endowed with great perfections, particularly with profound intelligence. God wished the angels to share His supernatural happiness in heaven, but He wished them first to merit this privilege by their own free actions. Hence, while He raised the angels to the supernatural order by giving them sanctifying grace, God did not admit them at once to the beatific vision but imposed on them a test of their fidelity. Many of the angels were faithful to God; as a reward they were admitted immediately to the everlasting joys of heaven. Their leader was St. Michael. Others, led by Lucifer, who is now called Satan or Beelzebub, in their willful pride rebelled against God. St. Thomas Aquinas, the great theologian, taught that the wicked angels committed sin either by rejecting the supernatural happiness to which God called them because they were satisfied with their own natural perfections, or by desiring to attain to supernatural happiness by their natural powers. Those sinful angels were cast into hell for all eternity and are now called devils.

 * The good angels, who praise and enjoy God in heaven, are employed by Him in the service of mankind. Many passages of Scripture record that God's designs for the human race were carried out through the ministry of angels. This was especially the case in connection with the Incarnation. The angel Gabriel announced to our Lady that she was to be the Mother of the divine Redeemer; angels proclaimed His birth to the shepherds on the first Christmas night; an angel warned St. Joseph of Herod's murderous plan and bade him take the Child and His Mother into Egypt, and later informed him of Herod's death and commanded the Holy Family to return; angels ministered to Our Lord after His threefold temptation by the devil; an angel comforted Him during His agony in the garden; angels announced His Resurrection and His Ascension into heaven.

 * In His goodness, God protects us by the ministry of angels. It is commonly believed that each individual has a special guardian angel, although it is not taught by the Church as an article of faith. Our angel guardian accompanies us from birth until death, praying for us in a special way, inspiring us with good thoughts, striving to protect us from dangers of body and of soul. On October 2nd the Church celebrates a feast in honor of the Guardian Angels. There are also three feasts in the course of the year to honor the three angels whose names we know from the Sacred Scripture-St. Michael (September 29th), St. Gabriel (March 24th), and St. Raphael (October 24th). There is also a feast on May 8th to honor an extraordinary apparition of St. Michael.

 * God allows the devils to tempt human beings by working on their imagination. Sometimes the devil is permitted by God to attack a human being more directly by obsession (from without) or by possession (from within the body). Sometimes very holy persons were tormented in this way. The devil can never force a person to commit sin; God will always give us sufficient grace to resist temptation.




 * Resolve to think of your guardian angel at least once a day, either in your morning or in your night prayers. Thank him for his protection, ask him to continue his loving care for you, so that one day you may be with him in heaven.

 * Complete Exercises For Lesson 4





 * (Join correctly the parts of the sentences in Columns I and II, by placing the right key letter in the proper parenthesis.)


 * Column I


 * The creation of the angels took place (...).

 * The leader of the good angels was (...).

 * The leader of the bad angels was (...).

 * It is an article of faith that (...).

 * The angels are (...).

 * The angels were endowed at their creation with (...).

 * The angels were given the opportunity of meriting (...).

 * It is commonly held, but it is not an article of faith that (...).

 * When the devils enter the body of a person, it is called (...).

 * When the devils torment a person from without, it is called (...).


 * Column II


 * Sanctifying grace.

 * Diabolical obsession.

 * The beatific vision.

 * Each individual has a special guardian angel.

 * Diabolical possession.

 * Before the creation of man.

 * Purely spiritual beings.

 * God created the angels out of nothing.

 * Michael.

 * Lucifer.



 * (Answer the questions orally or write them as your teacher may direct):


 * Dora's friends are praising her oil painting "The Good Shepherd." One of them calls it "a superb creation." Is it a "creation" in the sense of the word as it is used in this lesson? If not, why not?

 * Winston, an historian and an unbeliever, is studying the most ancient historical documents. He is overlooking the Bible. May real scholars neglect a fair consideration of the Bible? Give the reason for your last answer.

 * Heinrich wants to know how the shepherds watching their flock on Christmas night on Bethlehem's hillside were able to see the angels, since angels are pure spirits without bodies. What reply is to be given to him?

 * Mention two occasions in Our Lord's adult life when one, or several, of the angels appeared to Him.

 * Did Lucifer ever enjoy the Beatific Vision? Add a reason to your answer.

 * How did St. Michael win his present happiness in heaven?

 * Geraldine, in the seventh grade of the school of St. Felicitas, was asked in religion class: "Have you any regular devotion to the Archangel, St. Michael?" She answered "No"; but she has - and so have you, for at least once every week we pray to this great saint. When and where is this devotion practiced?

 * Of all the myriads of angels now with God, we know the names of how many? Who are they? Have we any knowledge of how the angels are classified or grouped? Explain your answer.

 * Name the chief of the rebel angels. By what other scriptural names is he known? To what does St. Peter

 * Godfrey, a lad inclined to be lazy, is bothered with many temptations to sin. May he justly blame all of them on the devil? Explain your answer. Advise him how to overcome his temptations.

 * Learn the following prayer to your guardian angel, which is richly indulgenced by the Church: Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here; Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

 * Do you think that your guardian angel knows what you are going to do tomorrow? Do you think the devil knows?

 * St. Baptist Vianney, a holy parish priest who lived in France about the middle of the nineteenth century, was frequently and violently assailed by the devil. Sometimes the evil spirit made loud noises in his room at night, thus depriving the good priest of his rest. What do we call this kind of activity by the devil? Do you think that God allowed it for some sins that St. may have committed in his earlier days? What other reason can you suggest for this permission on the part of God? What would it be called if the devil had been allowed to take up his abode in the holy man's body and speak through his lips?


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