Baltimore Catechism 3

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The Holy Ghost and Grace




 * Q. 105. Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.


 * The Holy Ghost is also called the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Love.

 * > "But Peter


 * Q. 106. From whom does the Holy Ghost proceed?
A. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.


 * The Holy Ghost does not proceed from the Father and the Son by spiritual generation. Only the Son proceeds from the Father by generation. This is one of the mysterious truths that we know only from revelation.

 * > "But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me" (John 15:26).

 * > "But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he will hear he will speak, and the things that are to come he will declare to you. He will glorify me, because he will receive of what is mine and declare it to you.

 * > All things that the Father has are mine. That is why I have said that he will receive of what is mine, and will declare it to you" (John 16:13-15).


 * Q. 107. Is the Holy Ghost equal to the Father and the Son?
A. The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.


 * Because of the oneness of nature in the Blessed Trinity, the Father is entirely in the Son and in the Holy Ghost; the Son is entirely in the Father and in the Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost is entirely in the Father and in the Son. No one of the three divine Persons is outside the other, for none precedes the other in eternity, nor surpasses the other in power, nor exceeds the other in any way. This indwelling of one divine Person in the others is called Circumincession.

 * > "Jesus answered, 'Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless; a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' " (John 3:5).


 * Q. 108. What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?
A. The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.


 * Although the sanctification of mankind, like all other outward works of God, is performed by all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, it is attributed to the Holy Ghost, the third Person. The sanctification of mankind is attributed to the Holy Ghost because He is the love of the Father and the Son and because the sanctification of man by grace shows forth God's boundless love.

 * > "And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you shall know him, because he will dwell with you, and be in you" (John 14:16-17).

 * > "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"(1 Corinthians 3:16)

 * > "Guard the good trust through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us" (2 Timothy 1:14).

 * > "But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, then, not by reason of good works that we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us through the bath of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit; whom he has abundantly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, in order that, justified by his grace, we may be heirs in the hope of life everlasting" (Titus 3:4-7).


 * Q. 109. What is grace?
A. Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.


 * Grace is something real, just as the soul itself is real. It is not merely the absence of sin but rather a spiritual quality infused by God into the soul.

 * The supernatural is that which surpasses the power of all created nature. It is of two kinds: first, that manifested when the supernatural fact happens in a manner that is beyond the power of nature; for example, when a person is instantly cured of leprosy; second, that manifested when the supernatural fact, in its essential character, completely surpasses the power of the whole natural order; for example, when, in some degree, God intimately shares His life with man through sanctifying grace.

 * Because no man has a strict right to share in the life of God Himself, grace is a free gift, distributed by God according to His good pleasure. Jesus Christ, the Redeemer promised by God to Adam and Eve after their fall, merited all the graces since bestowed upon men. The graces bestowed by God on those who lived before the time of Christ were granted through anticipation of the merits of Our Lord.

 * Man cannot attain eternal life by powers that are merely natural. He must be elevated to a supernatural plane through grace; and he constantly needs the impulse of God to merit eternal life.

 * > "And of his fullness we have all received, grace for grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:16-17).

 * > "And he said, 'this is why I have said to you, 'No one can come to me unless he is enabled to do so by my Father' " (John 6:66).

 * > "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace in me has not been fruitless-in fact I have labored more than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (1 Corinthians 15:10).


 * The Descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost


 * This picture shows the Cenacle where the apostles and disciples, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, were praying with the Holy Virgin and several holy women. As St. says in the of the Apostles:

 * > "And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak." (Acts 2:1-4)


 * Q. 110. How many kinds of grace are there?
A. There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.


 * Q. 111. What is sanctifying grace?
A. Sanctifying grace is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.


 * Sanctifying grace is also called habitual grace because we possess this divine gift as a habit of the soul, that is, as something permanent. Sanctifying grace is lost only through mortal sin.

 * > "But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God" (John 1:12).

 * > "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision but a new creation is of any account" (Galatians 6:15).

 * > " ... through which he has granted us the very great and precious promises. So that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption of that lust which is in the world" (2 Peter 1:4).


 * Q. 112. What are the chief effects of sanctifying grace?
A. The chief effects of sanctifying grace are: first, it makes us holy and pleasing to God; second, it makes us adopted children of God; third, it makes us temples of the Holy Ghost; fourth, it gives us the right to heaven.


 * > "Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him' " (John 14:23).

 * > "For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Now you have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, 'Abba! Father!' "

 * > "The Spirit himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God. But if we are sons, we are heirs also: heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ, provided, however, we suffer with him that we may also be glorified with him" (Romans 8:16-17).

 * > "Or do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought at a great price. Glorify God and bear him in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

 * > "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we have grace, through which we may offer pleasing service to God with fear and reverence" (Hebrews 12:28).

 * > "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are" (1 John 3:1).


 * Q. 113. What is actual grace?
A. Actual grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.


 * Unlike sanctifying grace, actual grace is not a habit dwelling in the soul but a divine impulse moving a person to perform acts above his natural powers.

 * A true Christian should view all his life in the light of grace. Under the general term of grace fall all the gifts that God freely bestows on man for his eternal salvation. For example, such external graces as a good mother and father, a Christian home, and even sickness and trials, must be accepted as ordained or permitted by Divine Providence for man's salvation.

 * Persons in mortal sin cannot gain sanctifying grace without the help of actual grace. Christ, by His death, merited sufficient grace for all men to be saved.

 * > "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

 * > " ... that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in deep knowledge of him: the eyes of your mind being enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:17-18).

 * > "For it is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance" (Philippians 2:13).


 * Q. 114. Can we resist the grace of God?
A. We can resist the grace of God, for our will is free, and God does not force us to accept His grace.


 * Although God wishes the salvation of all men, those who have attained the use of reason can be saved only by cooperating freely with the grace of God. Those who do not have the use of reason cannot choose to cooperate with God's grace. They can, however, be saved through Baptism.

 * > "He that could have transgressed and hath not transgressed: and could do evil things and hath not done them" (Ecclesiasticus 31:10).

 * > "Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou who killest the prophets, and stonest those who are sent to thee! How often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but thou wouldst not!" (Matthew 23:37).

 * > "Yes, working together with him we entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1).


 * Q. 115. Why is sanctifying grace necessary for salvation?
A. Sanctifying grace is necessary for salvation because it is the supernatural life, which alone enables us to attain the supernatural happiness of heaven.


 * Without sanctifying grace, the soul is unworthy to see God face to face. If the soul is in the state of mortal sin, it deserves eternal punishment.


 * Q. 116. Is actual grace necessary for all who have attained the use of reason?
A. Actual grace is necessary for all who have attained the use of reason, because without it we cannot long resist the power of temptation or perform other actions which merit a reward in heaven.


 * The possession of sanctifying grace is also necessary in order to resist temptations for a long time.

 * > "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remain on the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing" (John 15:4-5).

 * > "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 10:13).

 * > "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5).


 * Q. 117. What are the principal ways of obtaining grace?
A. The principal ways of obtaining grace are prayer and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.


 * The sacraments of Baptism and Penance were instituted chiefly to give grace to those who do not possess it; the other sacraments, to increase it in those who are already in the state of grace.

 * > "For we were buried with him by means of Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).


 * Q. 118. How can we make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly award?
A. We can make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward by doing them for the love of God and by keeping ourselves in the state of grace.


 * Supernatural merit is the right to a heavenly reward given to us by God for good actions in the supernatural order, provided we are in the state of grace. We can merit in this life only when we are in the state of sanctifying grace and perform good works freely. After death merit cannot be gained in heaven, in hell, or in purgatory. By mortal sin a person loses the merit of his good actions.

 * > "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).




 * Although all three Persons of the Blessed Trinity perform the work of sanctifying human souls, this work is especially attributed to the third Person, the Holy Ghost, because He is the Person who proceeds from the Father and the Son as the breathing of their love; and sanctification is a work of love. God Himself indicated this when He attributed the

 * Incarnation, the source of all man's sanctity, to the Holy Ghost, saying to the Blessed Virgin Mary, through the message of the Angel Gabriel: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee" (Luke 1:35).

 * God sanctifies the human soul by the supernatural gift of grace. The most exalted type of grace is sanctifying grace, which is a spiritual quality, dwelling in the soul, making it like God Himself. The New Testament is filled with allusions to this grace, which is referred to as a new life, a sharing in God's life. Our Lord spoke of the reception of this life as a spiritual birth, when He said: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Once it has been received, sanctifying grace remains in the soul unless it is driven out by mortal sin. And when one has received sanctifying grace, he can grow in it constantly, for it increases with every worthy reception of a sacrament, and with every supernaturally meritorious work.

 * Actual grace, as the name indicates, is given for the performance of a good, supernatural action. It is a direct force from God Himself. It contains an enlightenment of the mind and an inspiration of the will. We should be very careful not to neglect it, for it is a precious gift of God, and if we neglect one such grace we may deprive ourselves of a whole chain of extraordinary graces that God had planned for us. Even sinners receive actual graces, impelling them to turn again to God. Indeed, without actual grace, we cannot perform any supernaturally good action; for our natural powers are unable to rise to the supernatural plane.

 * God does not distribute actual graces equally to all; some persons receive much more than others. There is no injustice in this on the part of God, for grace is a free gift from Him, and He can distribute it according to His good pleasure. But all receive sufficient grace to be saved.

 * The chief fruit of sanctifying grace is merit - a claim or right to receive an increase of sanctifying grace, together with a claim to a corresponding measure of glory and happiness in heaven. We can increase in heavenly merit indefinitely. Not only works which are by their nature good, such as prayer and the reception of the sacraments and attendance at Mass, but even the ordinary works of our day, such as the taking of our meals, study, our games and amusements, can become meritorious if we perform them under the proper conditions. These conditions are very easy - we must be in the state of grace, and offer our works to God out of love for Him. We do not have to make this offering with each work we perform. It is sufficient to make it from time to time, particularly every morning, intending to include in it all our thoughts, words and actions. Thus, it would suffice to say in our heart: "O my God, I offer Thee every deliberate action I shall perform, because I love Thee on account of Thy infinite goodness".

 * A person in mortal sin cannot merit any heavenly reward, even though he may perform very good deeds; but by performing good deeds from a supernatural motive, he can prepare himself for repentance and for a return to the state of sanctifying grace.

 * RESOLUTION: Resolve out of love for God to offer Him frequently all the actions of the entire day, even the slightest.

 * Complete Exercises For Lesson 9





 * (Select the word or phrase in the parentheses which most exactly and most completely fills out the sentence):


 * (I) a person in mortal sin cannot gain sanctifying grace without the help of (actual grace ... the sacrament of Penance ... the Church).

 * Sanctifying grace is also called (the Holy Ghost ... divine impulse... habitual grace).

 * A good mother is (an external ... an actual ... a supernatural) grace.

 * Grace is (freedom from sin ... a spiritual quality ... a source of peace).

 * Circumincession is (a Jewish ceremony ... the procession of one divine Person from another ... the indwelling of each one divine Person in the others).

 * The Holy Ghost proceeds from (the Father and the Son ... the Father alone ... the Son alone).

 * The chief fruit of sanctifying grace is (charity ... merit ... happiness).

 * Without actual grace we cannot perform (any action ... any naturally good action ... any supernatural action).

 * The most exalted type of grace is (actual grace ... sanctifying grace ... external grace).

 * The conferring of grace is attributed to (the Father ... the Son ... the Holy Ghost).




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


 * (I) What is the only thing that can expel sanctifying grace from the soul?

 * How does an actual grace coming from God affect our mind? Our will?

 * Laura is eating a bunch of grapes. An hour ago she completed her homework and her studies for tomorrow. Suddenly it occurs to her that there is something in this lesson's commentary about a vine and its branches. She cannot recall the saying of Our Lord nor the point it illustrates. Write out that text from memory, and explain how it illustrates this lesson.

 * Albert is in mortal sin, but he went to Mass on Sunday, said his morning and night prayers and obeyed his mother when she told him to go to bed. Did Albert gain any merit for heaven by these good deeds? If not, what spiritual profit could he acquire from them?

 * Camilla, 13 years old, and Rosabella 31, die as saints, with an equal amount of merit to their spiritual credit. In heaven, will one be happier than the other? Will one have greater glory than the other? Explain both answers.

 * Austin is having a glorious time at the altar boys' picnic. While he served Mass he said a short morning prayer, in which was the Morning Offering. The rest of the day is spent playing games, swimming, and eating. Tired out and happy, he tumbles into bed that night after saying an Our Father, a Hail Mary, a Glory be to the Father, and an Act of Contrition. The only other prayers he said all day were the meal prayers, and a couple of aspirations in the afternoon before the race that he won. He is in the state of grace. Have his games of the day, his meals, his swimming added to his merit with God? Explain your answer.

 * From memory write out the Morning Offering.

 * Scholastica has the habit of repeating frequently during the day: "All for Thee, O Lord!" Once, Chloe, a non-Catholic playmate, overheard her whisper this aspiration before a game of tennis. Explain to Chloe what the prayer means, and why Scholastica says it frequently.

 * Boniface, in the last religion test, explained that sanctifying grace stays in the soul as long as we enjoy God's friendship, doing good and avoiding serious sin. He further added that once sanctifying grace enters the soul it remains the same, neither decreasing nor increasing in degree. Are his answers correct? Explain your decisions.

 * When the famous Dionne quintuplets, Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie received the sacrament of Baptism did all receive the same measure of sanctifying grace? What is the reason for your answer?

 * Joachim, a pious lad of 8, observes that the pastor in his sermons to the children frequently refers to sanctifying grace, merit, and the good intention. He would like to know what is meant by "merit" and "the good intention." Can you tell him?

 * Henrietta, Inez and Eloise are exchanging confidences respecting their ambitions in life. Henrietta hopes to become a star movie actress in Hollywood, to make a fortune and win fame; Inez wants to become a stewardess on a transcontinental airliner, so that she may travel all around this country; Eloise says that she is praying for a vocation to the Poor Clares, so as to acquire an immense treasure of sanctifying grace. In a short composition of 150 to 175 words pass your judgment on the ambitions of all three girls.

 * Helen, writing a religious test, states that an angel possesses sanctifying grace as something due to his nature, whereas grace is given to man as something entirely above his nature. She also writes that when a person is in mortal sin he cannot receive any actual graces. Finally, she asserts that the good works a person performs when he is in mortal sin will become meritorious when he returns to the state of sanctifying grace. What do you think of the correctness of Helen's answers?

 * Justin wonders if many venial sins will add up to constitute a mortal sin- in other words, if a person will lose the state of grace by committing many venial sins, even though he does not commit any mortal sin. Can you answer Justin's question from the information given in the commentary on this lesson?


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