Baltimore Catechism 3

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The Resurrection and Life Everlasting




 * Q. 176. What is meant by "the resurrection of the body?"
A. By "the resurrection of the body" is meant that at the end of the world the bodies of all men will rise from the earth and be united again to their souls, nevermore to be separated.


 * No man knows when the world will end. The signs preceding the destruction of the world, as given in Scripture, are: wars, famine, pestilence, the coming of Antichrist, the darkening of the sun and moon, and the appearance of the cross in heaven.

 * > "But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then will all tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty. And he will send forth his angels with a trumpet and a great sound, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matthew 24:29-31). (See also Romans 8:11).19


 * Q. 177. Why will the bodies of the just rise?
A. The bodies of the just will rise to share forever in the glory of their souls.


 * During their earthly life the bodies of the just were the temples of the Holy Ghost; they were the instruments of the good acts by which the souls of the just merited eternal life. Respect should be shown for the bodies of the faithful departed; special burial places should be set aside for them, and their graves should be blessed.

 * After the resurrection the bodies of the just will be in a glorified state. There will then be no need for food and drink to preserve the body, which will be endowed with qualities it did not possess in this life.


 * Q. 178. Has the body of any human person ever been glorified and taken into heaven?
A. By the special privilege of her Assumption, the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary, united to her immaculate soul, was glorified and taken into heaven.


 * This question emphasizes human person because the Divine Person, Jesus Christ, in His human nature has risen from the dead, glorious and immortal, and ascended into heaven (question 98).

 * Since she was free from all sin, both original and actual, it was most fitting that the Blessed Virgin Mary should be preserved from the consequences of sin; the corruption of death and the deferment of glory until the last day. Moreover, since the Son of God took His flesh and blood from the chaste body of Mary, it was most appropriate that her body shall be glorified as soon as her earthly life was ended. From the early centuries, the doctrine of Mary's bodily glorification and assumption was accepted by the Church as contained in Christian Tradition. It was declared a doctrine of divine-catholic faith by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950. The Feast of the Assumption is celebrated on August 15.

 * It is not certain whether the Blessed Virgin Mary first died and was shortly afterward taken into heaven, in body and soul, or was preserved from death and taken immediately to heavenly glory when her life on earth was ended. Pope Pius XII refrained from making a decision on this question when he issued his solemn definition of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.


 * Q. 179. Why will the bodies of the damned also rise?
A. The bodies of the damned will also rise to share in the eternal punishment of their souls.


 * Since the body is the instrument of the soul in committing sin, it is just that the body also share in eternal punishment.


 * Q. 180. What is the judgment called which will be passed on all men immediately after the general resurrection?
A. The judgment which will be passed on all men immediately after the general resurrection is called the general judgment.


 * The general judgment was described by Our Saviour Himself. Every deliberate thought, word, deed, and omission of every person's entire life will be manifested at the general judgment. The Lord Christ will be the judge.

 * > "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will render to everyone according to his conduct" (Matthew 16:27). "Then the king will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the just will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and feed thee; or thirsty, and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and take thee in; or naked, and clothe thee? Or when did we see thee sick, or in prison, and come to thee?' And answering the king will say to them, 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.'

 * > "Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, saying, 'Amen I say to you, as long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me.' And these will go into everlasting punishment, but the just into everlasting life" (Matthew 25:34-46).

 * > "And he charged us to preach to the people and to testify that he it is who has been appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead" (Acts 10:42).


 * Q. 181. What is the judgment called which will be passed on each one of us immediately after death?
A. The judgment which will be passed on each one of us immediately after death is called the particular judgment.


 * The existence of the particular judgment is apparent from the parable of Lazarus and Dives, which shows that one soul was rewarded and another punished immediately after death. Reward or punishment follows the sentence of judgment.

 * The sentence of this judgment is final and will not be reversed. The particular judgment will be given immediately after the soul leaves the body. The soul will go at once either to its reward in heaven or to its punishment in purgatory or hell.

 * > "For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward everyone according to his ways. The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights: and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works" (Ecclsiasticus 11:28-29).


 * Q. 182. If everyone is judged immediately after death, why will there be a general judgment?
A. Although everyone is judged immediately after death, it is fitting that there be a general judgment in order that the justice, wisdom, and mercy of God may be glorified in the presence of all.


 * Man is a social being as well as an individual. The general judgment will manifest God's Providence, the majesty of Christ, and the glory of the elect.

 * > "Then shall the just stand with great constancy against those that have afflicted them and taken away their labors. These seeing it, shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the suddenness of their unexpected salvation. Saying within themselves, repenting, and groaning for anguish of spirit: These are they whom we had some time in derision and for a parable of reproach. We fools esteemed their life madness and their end without honor. Behold how they are numbered among the children of God, and their lot is among the saints. Therefore, we have erred from the way of truth, and the light of justice hath not shined unto us, and the sun of understanding hath not risen upon us. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard way: but the way of the Lord we have not known. What hath pride profited us? Or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow, and like a post that runneth on" (Wisdom 5:1-9).20


 * Q. 183. What are the rewards or punishments appointed for men after the particular judgment?
A. The rewards or punishments appointed for men after the particular judgment are heaven, purgatory, or hell.


 * Q. 184. Who are punished in purgatory?
A. Those are punished for a time in purgatory who die in the state of grace but are guilty of venial sin, or have not fully satisfied for the temporal punishment due to their sins.


 * There will be no purgatory after the general judgment. Since we do not know how long individual souls are detained in purgatory, there is need for persevering prayer for the repose of the souls of all those who die after reaching the use of reason, except those who are canonized or beatified by the Church. The souls in purgatory are certain of entering heaven as soon as God's justice has been fully satisfied.

 * > "The fire will assay the quality of everyone's work: if his work abides which he has built thereon, he will receive reward; if his work burns he will lose his reward, but himself will be saved, yet so as through fire" (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).21


 * Q. 185. Who are punished in hell?
A. Those are punished in hell who die in mortal sin; they are deprived of the vision of God and suffer dreadful torments, especially that of fire, for all eternity.


 * The souls in hell are beyond all help. They do not belong to the Mystical Body of Christ or to the Communion of Saints. They are not included among our neighbors and are not the objects of charity. They are doomed to the company of the devils for all eternity.

 * The souls in hell do not have supernatural faith. They believe, however, in the truths revealed by Almighty God, not with divine faith, but because they cannot escape the evidence of God's authority.

 * The privation of the beatific vision is called the pain of loss; the torment inflicted by created means on the soul, and on the body after its resurrection, is called the pain of sense.

 * It is not against God's mercy to punish souls in hell for eternity. God's justice demands that He thus punish those who, sinning gravely and refusing to repent, deliberately turn themselves from God, their last end. The punishment of hell is eternal; Our Lord referred to it as "everlasting fire."

 * > "Then he will say to those on his left hand, 'Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' " (Matthew 25:41).

 * > "Indeed it is just on the part of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give you who are afflicted rest with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus, who will come from heaven with the angels of his power, in flaming fire, to inflict punishment on those who do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These will be punished with eternal ruin, away from the face of the Lord and the glory of his power, when on that day he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all those who have believed (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).


 * Q. 186. Who are rewarded in heaven?
A. Those are rewarded in heaven who have died in the state of grace and have been purified in purgatory, if necessary, from all venial sin and all debt of temporal punishment; they see God face to face and share forever in His glory and happiness.


 * The happiness of heaven consists in the beatific vision and the consequent joy of the blessed. This happiness is not postponed to the end of the world but begins as soon as all venial sin and the temporal punishment for sin have been remitted.

 * The body participates in this happiness only after the resurrection at the end of the world. The blessed rejoice in the company of Our Saviour, the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the angels and saints, and the friends they knew on earth who have attained the reward of eternal life. There is no sorrow or pain in heaven; the joy is complete, though unequal, throughout all eternity.

 * > "Then the king will say to those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world' " (Matthew 25:34).

 * > "Now this is everlasting life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3).

 * > "But, as it is written, 'Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him' " (1 Corinthians 2:9).

 * > "We see now through a mirror in an obscure manner, but then face to face" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

 * > "We know that, when he appears, we shall be like to him, for we shall see him just as he is" (1 John 3:2).

 * > "And there shall not enter into it anything defiled, nor he who practices abomination and falsehood" (Apocalypse 21:27).


 * Q. 187. What is meant by the word "Amen" with which we end the Apostles' Creed?
A. By the word "Amen" with which we end the Apostles' Creed, is meant "So it is," or "So be it;" the word expresses our firm belief in all the doctrines that the Creed contains.


 * Our Divine Saviour frequently used this term to emphasize His teaching.

 * > "Amen I say to you, I have not found such great faith in Israel" (Matthew 8:10).

 * > "Amen I say to you, unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3).




 * We know that we must all die. When, where and how we shall die is uncertain; but that one day our soul will depart from our body, and that our body will then return to the dust of earth, we are absolutely certain. The all-important question is "What will take place after death?" St. Paul tells us: "It is appointed unto men to die once but after this comes the judgment" (Hebr. 9:27). Our Catholic faith assures us that we shall appear before God twice to be judged for the deeds of our lifetime. The first occasion occurs the very first moment after death in the very place where we die. Then, in a single instant our entire life will be examined by the all-knowing, all-just God, and the sentence given that will determine our eternal abode. The soul will be sentenced to eternal punishment if it is defiled by the guilt of mortal sin; if it is free from all sin and from the debt of temporal punishment it will be admitted at once to the joys of heaven; if it is adorned with the supernatural life of sanctifying grace but is in venial sin or is still burdened by a debt of temporal punishment, it will go to purgatory until full satisfaction is made and it is made worthy of the presence of God. The souls in purgatory are often called the faithful departed. God punishes these souls, not in a spirit of vengeance, but because He loves them and wills that they be fully purified so that they can be admitted to His presence.

 * This is the particular judgment, and here the fate of the soul is determined unchangeably. But it often happens that the justice and the wisdom of God are hidden from the eyes of men in the present world. Those who lead good lives frequently have many trials to endure, while those who freely transgress God's law prosper. The question may arise in the minds of some: "How can God be just and good and wise, if He allows these things?" And so, in order that all men may see that God is all-just, and may understand that in the next life, if not in this, every one receives what is his due, there is a final or general judgment, conducted by Our Blessed Lord. He Himself describes this in an inspiring passage recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning with the words: "When the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory; and before him will be gathered all the nations" (Matthew, 25:31-32). Before the judgment, every human being that has ever lived will rise from the dead-that is, the body of every member of the human race will be formed again from the elements of the earth into which it passed after death and will be reunited to its soul, and then in the presence of the entire human race every individual will be judged, and will hear the sentence either of eternal reward or of eternal punishment. With the aid of our body and its senses we did either good or evil; and so, our body will share our happiness or our misery for all eternity.

 * Every one of us therefore will spend eternity either in heaven or in hell. The most important task of life is to win heaven. To do this the one condition is that we have the state of sanctifying grace when we leave this world. We must expend every effort to avoid mortal sin. If ever we have the misfortune to commit a mortal sin, we must strive to receive pardon as soon as possible, by making an act of perfect contrition with the intention of going to confession.




 * Resolve to examine your conscience every night before retiring as if you were in the presence of Our Lord at the last judgment; and make an act of perfect contrition for all the sins of the day with the intention of confessing them, particularly if you have been so unfortunate as to commit mortal sin.

 * Complete Exercises for Lesson 14





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


 * The sentence passed at the particular judgment (may be changed at the general judgment ... will never be changed ... may be changed in purgatory).

 * The Blessed Virgin Mary (never died ... died and her body corrupted in the grave ... was taken into heaven, her glorified body united to her immaculate soul.

 * The feast of the Assumption is celebrated on (March 25 ... August15 ... December 8).

 * A soul in sanctifying grace which has only a debt of temporal punishment will go immediately after the particular judgment to

 * (Purgatory ... heaven ... hell).

 * The judgment which is passed on each individual immediately after death is called the (divine judgment ... particular judgment ... general judgment).

 * After the general judgment purgatory (will continue for all eternity ... will continue for a time ... will cease to exist).

 * The punishments of hell are a manifestation of God's (justice ... mercy ... wisdom).

 * The chief happiness of heaven consists in (singing ... meeting our loved ones ... seeing God face to face).

 * The privation of the beatific vision in hell is called (the pain of loss... remorse of conscience ... the pain of sense).

 * To win heaven we must (have the Catholic faith ... be baptized ... be in the state of grace when we die).



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


 * On how many occasions after our death will God pass judgment on the deeds of our lifetime?

 * Cordelia, a cultured college woman but utterly pagan in her morals, is extremely wealthy. She enjoys the good things of this life, often at the expense of her conscience. The society columns of the leading newspapers flatter her vanity frequently. She does not go to church. Amanda, a Catholic, is a poor laundress in her employ. Amanda is a widow with five children. The first Friday of every month sees Amanda at the Communion rail. She receives also every Sunday. She is a victim of chronic rheumatism, and barely gets along on the small pay she receives from Cordelia. Sometimes Amanda is tempted to give up the struggle to be good, the devil suggesting the thought: "How can your God be good and wise, if He allows you to suffer and your mistress to prosper? Write a short note to Amanda, cheering her, and encouraging her to continue to serve God faithfully. In your note be sure to mention a truth learned in this lesson.

 * Write from memory the two sentences Our Lord will pronounce at the end of the general judgment.

 * Tobias, 11 years old, is listening to Father Rex preaching at the children's Mass. Father Rex starts his sermon by asking: "What is the most important task of life?" Then he pauses. guesses an answer: "To earn a lot of money honestly and buy a nice home for my father and mother." Do you agree with Tobias? If so, tell why. If not, then give your answer to Father Rex's question.

 * Christina is asked by her Sunday school teacher "If you hope to reach heaven, what must be in your soul when you leave this world" Christina does not remember ever seeing that question in her Catechism. Answer it for her.

 * Duncan, a country lad, passes a non-Catholic church where revival is being held by a famous preacher. The sermon topic for that night is: "The world will end within five years; make ready to meet God!" Does anyone know exactly when the world will be destroyed by fire? Has God given us any hints as to when the end is approaching? Explain your answer.

 * Phil and his teammates on St. Pancratius' baseball team are saddened by the death of their baseball idol. They file past his corpse, all saying a short prayer for the repose of his soul. He was a Christian, but not a Catholic. Was it proper for them to pray for his soul? Why?

 * If a soul leaves this world in mortal sin, is there any probability that God will give it an opportunity to repent in eternity?

 * Aurelia is making a novena for the feast of the Assumption. She wonders why the priest doesn't present a relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary after every service, the same as he does after the services of the Little Flower novena, when a relic of St. Therese is venerated. Aurelia says she would very much like to kiss the reliquary containing a little piece of a bone taken from the body of our Blessed Mother. Let Aurelia know why the priest doesn't present such a relic during the Assumption novena.

 * Two policemen shoot Valerian through the head and the heart as the gunman is staging a bank holdup. Before the horrified spectators, Valerian instantaneously topples over dead on the floor of the bank. Where does his particular judgment take place? If death claims him unrepentant in mortal sin, what is his eternal fate?

 * Donald, a fireman, rescues three little children from a blazing building. He returns to save a fourth child, but loses his life in the attempt. Afterwards, his corpse is found in the hallway on the third floor. Where did his particular judgment take place? Donald was a good Catholic, and went to Holy Communion faithfully every month with the Holy Name men of the parish; death overtook him in the state of grace. What is his eternal fate?

 * Adele's mother died a month ago. Daily, for two weeks afterwards, Adele went to Mass and received Holy Communion for the repose of her mother's soul. Then she stopped, thinking she had done enough to release her dear mother from purgatory. Do you think she has done enough? Give the reasons for your answer.

 * To Belinda, a non-Catholic girl at the wake of a Catholic classmate, explain the three sections of the following prayer: "May the souls of the faithful departed ... through the mercy of God ... rest in peace. Amen."

 * Gwendolin, the daughter of the local Universalist minister, is playing bridge with three Catholic girl-friends. Between games a discussion arises, during which Gwendolin tries to convince her Catholic friends that although some souls go to hell after death, nevertheless, all of them will eventually be purified and reach heaven. All of the Catholic girls hold steadfastly to the true Catholic doctrine. What is that doctrine concerning the damned in hell, and the saved in heaven?

 * Veronica, one of the three, narrates a well-known parable of Our Lord to prove the Catholic belief about the fire of hell. What is the name of that parable? Show how it proves that there is fire in hell.


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