KEEPING JESUS IN YOUR HEART:
Once we have found Jesus, it is a difficult chore to keep Him in our heart and to be loyal to Him. A daily examination of conscience is essential for growing in holiness towards God. We should look at the seven deadly sins and the Ten Commandments listed below and each day, ask ourselves and ask God whether we have a problem with any of these sins or with obeying the Ten Commandments. By turning our hearts toward God daily in prayer and by attending Mass or Church services and by reading scripture God can heal our soul. Saying the rosary every day will help us to avoid sin and help us to overcome all kinds of temptations. How to pray the rosary; go to this site: http://www.teleport.com/~rosary/howto.htm
To keep our minds focused on Christ during the week we should continually read good Christian books so that our minds are dwelling on good thoughts. There are links to good Christian reading at the category: Christian_Web_Sites. If we spend hours and hours watching television we will waste a lot of our time and God's time.
Sin is overcome in our lives by the Grace of God and not by our own strength. We have to be patient each day and let the Holy Spirit work in our lives to remove the sin. The purification of the soul involves submitting ourselves to God as He works in our lives to deliver us. It is more important to focus on loving God, then on trying to work on overcoming a particular sin or a temptation.
The most powerful spiritual aids given to mankind are the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Sacrament of Reconcilation---which is the Confession of our sins to a Catholic Priest. In many areas of our world God has made it possible for us to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ every day and if we are willing to put out a little effort to get to Mass daily---it is well worth our time. Confessing our sins helps us to daily overcome our vices and our tendencies toward vices. It restores virtue. See the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Penance/Confession for more information.
STRONG DEVOTION TO MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD
By having a strong devotion to Mary a person's spiritual life is made stronger and more devout. Many protestants suffer here on the earth and in Purgatory because they do not have the spiritual protection and graces that come through Mary. Daily recitation of the rosary brings many, many, many graces from Mary to the soul. When a person prays to Mary they are given special favors and special protection against the wicked snares of the devil. A good book to read on devotion to Mary is: TRUE DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN, by Saint Louis de Montfort.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:
1. Pride-excessive self-love, not acknowledging ourselves as creatures created by God and giving to Him all the glory and credit for all the talent, ability and looks He has bestowed upon us.
Solution: We should thank God every day for all the gifts and abilities He has given us and with love acknowledge our complete dependence on Him and ask Him to increase our humility. We should give God the Glory for all our good accomplishments. God will send us trials and various humiliations to keep us humble. Attend daily Mass.
2.Greed-not sharing what God has given us with others, selfishness with our wealth, possessions, talents.
Solution: We must share what we own with others. We should reach out to help the poor. We must give of our time, material possessions and talents to lift up and enhance others. Attend daily Mass.
3. Lust-excessive indulgence in sexuality. Having sexual relations with someone you are not married to or having sexual relations with someone else's spouse. Viewing pornography in magazines, books or video. Thinking impure sexual thoughts.
Homosexuality, Adultery, Fornication are all mortal sins which can lead a soul into Hell.
Solution:-Read the Scripture and pray daily asking God to give you a pure heart. Don't watch or view any type of pornography. Attend daily Mass, this gives us more strength than we could possibly imagine.
Don't look at someone lustfully. Guard your eyes from anything obscene. Have sex with only the individual you married. No homosexuality-this is one of the most detestable sins to God.
4. Sloth-Laziness, not doing your share of work at home or at work. Resting or sleeping when you should be working.
Solution-Pray and ask God to let you become a hard worker who carries his or her load and strive each day to overcome bad habits. Do your work because you love God and you wish to express your love for Him through your work. Attend daily Mass.
5. Anger-Violent outbursts towards others, can be either vocal or physical or both. Showing hatred towards others rather than love. Also, the sin of resentment which can be expressed outwardly or can be quietlylocked up inside a person. Either way, it stunts the spiritual growth of an individual. Very destructive sin.
Solution-We should pray and ask the Holy Spirit to rid us of this harmful sin. We should ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with His Love each day. Attend daily Mass. To see a thorough teaching on the vice of anger click here: HOW TO CHECK YOUR ANGER
6. Gluttony-Excessive indulgence of eating and drinking of foods. This sin can also influence a person to commit sins of lust. There is a relation between the two sins.
Solution-Pray and ask God for healing. Strive to eat less. Find
good productive hobbies to focus your attention on instead. Attend daily Mass.
Remember this is a sin and a vice and sin is overcome by the Grace of God and not
by our own strength---which means that many self-help weight loss programs do not work
because the power of God may not be present in the process. Christian
fasting is also very important. We can spend some not eating or drinking and offer
this sacrifice up as a prayer for some important need.
7. Envy-Dislike or hatred for another person because he or she has something that you don't have. It could be money, power, wealth, position, status, a certain spouse or many other possible things. This is the sin that caused the fallen angels or demons to fall from Heaven. They were envious of God because they could not be what He is and they could not have what He has.
Solution-Pray and be thankful to God for everything that He has given you and don't look at what others have as a possible source of happiness. Happiness cannot be found by obtaining what others have, but by having a good relationship with God. Attend daily Mass.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember the Sabbath Day, keep it holy.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not murder.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's property.
GOOD MEN FALL AT TIMES, BUT ALWAYS GET UP AND TURN BACK TO GOD
"For though the upright falls seven times, he gets up again; the wicked are the ones who stumble in adversity." Proverbs 24:16 The scripture tells us that good men stumble and fall at times into sin, but they always get up and turn back to God. Wicked men sin, but never turn back to God and so they are lost. When we do fall into some kind of sin, we should go to confession as soon as possible to have the sin forgiven and have ours souls renewed. For information on going to confession see: Penance/Confession
Avoiding the Near Occasions of Sin:
Major spiritual battles can be won by simply avoiding the battle. That is, if we avoid the places where we know there will be different temptations thrown at us, we can automatically win the battle by not entering into a battle which may do us harm. The demons can easily pull a person down into sin if they are not avoiding the near occasions of sin. Often, the demons are able to pull people down into sin or vices in such a gradual method that they don't even realize it until it is too late. It is like a person with all white clothing on, walking into a coal mine and when emerging from the coal mine the person will have black smudges on their outfit, some of which they do not even notice. By avoiding the near occasions of sin, a great battle is won against the demons for which the soul will be eternally grateful and eternally rewarded.
For instance, a person who has tendencies towards the sin
of lust should avoid places where there are many sexual temptations. This would
include not watching R rated movies or even movies that maynot have a R
rating, but by their suggestive nature might encourage a soul to lust , not going to
the beach or swimming pool, not looking at magazines with immorally dressed women, not
going to bars or night clubs and not reading books that are filled with lustful stories.
There have been commercials shown on television where athletes have told us that when they were confronted with a "angry bully", that they would simply walk away from the fight. Again, they are avoiding a potential lethal spiritual battle where they could actually die, if supposing that the "bully" is carrying a knife or a gun. They are avoiding falling into the sins of anger, pride and hatred. They are not cowards; they are being very intelligent. You only fight when you have no choice.
The same can be said about the sin of gluttony. If you simply avoid be around a lot of food, it is much harder for the devil to get you to commit the sin of gluttony.
TELEVISION: SPIRITUAL ATTACKS FROM THE DEVIL THROUGH THE MEDIA
God gave to mankind the gift of the media: radio, television and the internet. The media can be used for good or it can be used for bad, destructive purposes. Unfortunately, today, when you go into your local video store, you find that many of the movies being offered for rent or for sale have an "R" rating or worse. These movies receive this rating either because they contain a certain amount of violence or a certain amount of sexual exposure.
People who are familiar with spiritual matters know that the demons will use the immoral sexual content and violent content in movies to try to influence the will and the minds of people-- to lead them into sin. People who have allowed themselves to view these impure scenes can and have commited sins of impure thoughts, fornication, homosexuality, and adultery--all of which are mortal sins. An individual who dies in the state of mortal sin goes to hell, unless they repent. The soul very easily becomes corrupted by the impurities on television or on the movies. To resist these spiritual attacks, Christians must be very selective in what they watch and what they allow their children to watch. The Bible tells us:
"If your right eye should be your downfall, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of yourself than to have your whole body thrown into hell." Matthew 5: 29 (New Jerusalem Bible)
"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4: 8 (King James Bible)
"Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Romans 12: 9 (King James Bible)
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12: 21 (King James Bible)
"Hold fast to that which is good." 1 Thessalonians 5: 21 (King James Bible)
THE DEVIL: THE MASTER THIEF OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE
The goal of the devil or satan is to destroy the spiritual lives of Christians by getting them to fall into sin through a variety of temptations, such as, temptations of sexuality, temptations of pride or vanity, temptations of greed, temptations to have great power and/or great money. The Bible says that the devil is a liar, a thief and a murderer. The devil has centuries of experience of tempting men to commit sin and bringing them down into ruin. The devil is overcome through the power of Christ. By receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in Sacrament as often as possible, souls will be able to ward off the devil's spiritual attacks because the Lord Himself will fight the battle for the soul, this is especially true for those souls who receive the Body and Blood of Christ everyday(7 days a week). This is the foundation for overcoming evil and the devil attacks in one's life. Along with the frequent reception of the Body of Christ, frequent confession(once a month) and the daily recitation of the rosary will enable the soul to withstand the many assaults of the devil.
Saint Louis De Montfort stresses that people should give there hearts and wills to Jesus and Mary and that by doing this a soul will be able to soar toward God. See Saint Louis's book True Devotion To Mary. Saint Louis warns of the devil's great ability to deceive souls, including souls of saints:
Because the devils, who are skillful thieves, wish to surprise us unawares, and to strip us. They watch day and night for the favorable moment. For that end they go round about us incessantly to devour us and to snatch from us in one moment, by a sin, all the graces and merits we have gained for many years. Their malice, their experience, their stratagems and their number ought to make us fear this misfortune immensely, especially when we see how many persons fuller of grace than we are, richer in virtues, better founded in experience and far higher exalted in sanctity, have been surprised, robbed and unhappily pillaged. Ah! How many cedars of Lebanon, how many stars of the firmament, have we not seen fall miserably, and in the twinkling of an eye lose all their height and their brightness! Whence comes that sad and curious change? It was not for want of grace, which is wanting to no man; but it was for want of humility. They thought themselves capable of guarding their own treasures. They trusted in themselves, relied upon themselves. They thought their house secure enough, and their coffers strong enough, to keep the precious treasure of grace. It is because of that scarcely perceptible reliance upon themselves, though all the while it seemed to them that they were relying only on the grace of God, that the most just Lord permitted them to be robbed by leaving them to themselves. Alas! If they had but known the admirable devotion which I will unfold presently, they would have confided their treasure to a Virgin powerful and faithful, who would have kept it for them as if it had been her own possession; nay, who would have even taken it as an obligation of justice on herself to preserve it for them. (Part One, Chapter 2, #88.) See Saint Louis's book: True Devotion To Mary.
ALWAYS ASCENDING TOWARD GOD
IMPORTANT NOTE: St. John of the Cross says that in the spiritual life the soul must always be ascending, advancing towards God, and that the soul each day is either going towards God or away from God. There is no middle ground; there is no staying at one level. So each day, it is extremely important that we make every effort to overcome our sins--our bad habits. If we don't we will gradually become worse. Every time we avoid a temptation or a sin, we grow stronger and the opposite is true that every time we do not avoid a sin or a temptation---we grow weaker and many times we do not even know that we have become spiritually weaker. The soul has strong tendencies toward sin and can be very weak at times and the soul must be prodded along by the Holy Spirit and the guardian angel toward virtue. By receiving the Body of Christ daily and the sacrament of reconciliation frequently and by praying the rosary daily we can fortify our souls so that we will always be ascending toward God.
From Saint Bernard:
"If Christians in every station endeavored with their whole strength continually to advance in virtue, the Church would be filled with saints. But alas! though it be an undoubted maxim, that not to go on in a spiritual life is to fall back, Nothing is more rare, than to find persons who always press forward. We see more converted from vice to virtue, than increase their fervor in virtue. This is something dreadful." St. Bernard continues: "First, many who begin well, after some time grow again remiss in the exercises of mortification and prayer, and return to the amusements, pleasures, and vanities of a worldly life. Secondly, others who are regular and constant in exterior duties, neglect to watch over and cultivate their interior; so that some interior spiritual vice insinuates itself into their affections, and renders them an abomination in the eyes of God. A man who gives himself up entirely to exterior exercises without looking seriously into his own heart to see what passes there, imposes upon himself, imagining that he is something while he is nothing. His eyes being always fixed on his exterior actions, he flatters himself that he goes on well, and neither sees nor feels the secret worm which gnaws and consumes his heart. He keeps all fasts, assists at all parts of the divine office, and fails in no exercise of piety or penance; yet God declares, "His heart is far from me." He only employs his hands in fulfilling the precepts, and his heart is hard and dry. His duties are complied with by habit and a certain rotation: he omits not a single iota of all his exterior employments; but while he strains at a gnat, he swallows a camel. In his heart he is a slave to self-will, and is a prey to avarice, vain-glory, and ambition: one or other or all these vices together reign in his soul."
DIFFICULT TEMPTATIONS AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
There are times when God will allow very difficult temptations to come our way. God in His perfect wisdom allows these temptations to come our way to test us, to strengthen us, to humble us, to prepare us for future trials and to make us holy. People who are involved in the religious life(priests, ministers, nuns, deacons, etc.) can be subject to these types of temptations more than lay people because it is the job of religious people to bring souls to Christ and the devil will focuse in on religious people to thwart their efforts to save souls. Overcoming difficult temptations may take a major effort for the indiviudual who is undergoing them. The following excerpt is from Butler's Lives of Saints on the life of Saint John Climacus:
"God bestowed on St. John an extraordinary grace of healing the spiritual disorders of souls. Among others, a monk called Isaac, was brought almost to the brink of despair by most violent temptations of the flesh. He addressed himself to St. John, who perceived by his tears how much he underwent from that conflict and struggle which he felt within himself. The servant of God commended his faith, and said: "My son, let us have recourse to God by prayer." They accordingly prostrated themselves together on the ground in fervent supplication for a deliverance, and from that time the infernal serpent left Isaac in peace."
From this example we can deduce the importance of having a good spiritual director. A good spiritual director can pull souls that are afflicted with various temptations to spiritual safety. In this case the monk, Isaac, was very fortuate to have a great saint as his spiritual advisor. Spiritual advisors like Saint John Climacus are a rarity. A poor spiritual advisor can lead a soul in the wrong direction---away from God. Whenever a soul finds himself or herself afflicted with very difficult temptations they should immediately seek professional spiritual direction from a holy spiritual director; and if they don't they may find themselves being brought into sin by the devil and their own weakness. They should attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily as well as pray the rosary daily. We must always strive to keep our focus on Christ 24 hours a day.
An excellent book to study that has the teachings of four great spiritual directors is: Spiritual Direction & Spiritual Directors: St. Francis de Sales, St. Teresa of Avila, Thomas a Kempis and St. John of the Cross. Web site: http://www.erols.com/straymond
THE THREE GREAT ENEMIES OF THE SOUL:
1. Sin-Our own sinful nature which we are born with. Rebelliousness towards God. A rejection of God or a rejection of His Teachings. And because we reject God who is perfect love, we manifest this sinful nature by hurting and offending our neighbor. If we do not love God; we do not love our neighbor. Psalm 51 vs.5: "remember, I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception." This sin remains with us all our lives, unless of course, we reach something known as the "Spiritual Union with God[See the teachings of Saint John of the Cross concerning the spiritual union with God]" while we are still on this earth. And of course in Heaven there will be no sin whatsoever in any angel or any soul. Overcoming this sinful nature is the greatest battle which each person must struggle through. The major obstacle of this sinful nature is the sin of pride which clings ever so tightly to the soul. God can remove the sin of pride. If we try to remove it ourselves we will only get worse and fail. We have to patiently wait for God to remove it in the way He chooses.
2. Satan-There are thousands and thousands of evil fallen angels that tempt men while they are on this earth. Their temptations are very deadly and because their intelligence and abilities are so much greater than men, they are no match for the wits of men. God must fortify men to be able to withstand the attacks of the devil and to eventually conquer the devil. When we open ourselves up to occasions of sin or different temptation from the devil, the devil has much greater power over us to make us fall into sin. But, by frequent daily prayer, frequent confession and frequent attendance of the Holy Mass, the devil's power over us dwindles. See the teachings of Saint Teresa of Avila concerning overcoming the devil at: http://history.hanover.edu/early/teresa.htm
3. World-The evil that is in this world that allures men away from the truth of God. The desire for excessive wealth and pleasure. Self love. Loving the things of this world more than God. Includes the false gods of sexuality, material wealth, money, power, food, drink.
The following is from the book CATHOLIC CATECHISM BY Rev. W. Faerber, published by TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC. Rockford, Illinois 61105, Copyright 1978 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. Used with permission.
212. How do we know what is good or bad?
We know what is good or bad by our conscience.
213. Who commits sin?
He commits sin who knowingly and willfully does what God has forbidden.
Three requisites: to do what is bad; to know that it is bad; to intend to do it.
214. In how many ways can we sin?
We can sin by thoughts, desires, words, actions, and omissions.
215. Who commits grievous sin?
He commits grievous sin who sins in a matter that he knows is important.
216. Why are grievous sins called mortal sins?
Grievous sins are called mortal sins because they rob the soul of the life of grace.
"Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead" (Apoc. 3: 1). "All iniquity is sin. And there is a sin unto death" (I John 5: 17).
217. Why is mortal sin the greatest evil?
Mortal sin is the greatest evil because it makes us an enemy of God.
"They who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:21).
218. What do we lose by mortal sin?
By mortal sin we lose
1. sanctifying grace
3. all our merits.
219. Who commits a venial sin?
He commits a venial sin who sins in a matter that he knows is less important.
220. Why should we avoid also venial sin?
We should avoid also venial sin
1. because it offends God;
2. because it brings temporal punishment upon us;
3. because it gradually leads to mortal sin.
221. What generally leads us into sin?
Temptations and occasions generally lead us into sin.
222. What are temptations?
Temptations are suggestions to commit sin.
223. Where do temptations come from?
Temptations come from the devil, from wicked fellowmen, and from our own evil inclination.
224. When do temptations become sinful?
Temptations become sinful when we consent to them.
225. How must we resist temptations?
We must resist temptations by prayer and by driving them out of our mind.
"Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation" (Matt. 26: 41).
226. What are sinful occasions?
Sinful occasions are persons, places, or things that easily lead us into sin.
Bad companions, public dances, filthy magazines, disreputable taverns.
227. What must we do when we happen to be in the occasion of sin?
When we are in the occasion of sin we must leave it as soon as we can.
"He that loveth danger shall perish in it" (Ecclus. 3:27).
SIN IS THE SOURCE OF MAN'S UNHAPPINESS:
(From the Spiritual Guide Book: My Way of Life, by Walter Farrell, O.P., S.T.M. and Martin J. Healy, S.T.D., Confraternity of the Precious Blood, 5300 Ft. Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn 19, N.Y.)
"Our survey of the causes of sin in human life shows clearly that the chief cause of sin is the human will. Every man is free to choose good or evil. Reason may be ignorant, the sense appetite may be strong. But in the last analysis it is the will which chooses evil. It is the will which sins. The devil may tempt man. But man is free, he need not fall. Original sin, the sin transmitted to us by Adam, may make us weak in the face of temptation. But it does not destroy free will. Our personal sins are our own sins. In relation to Adam we are to some extent like the children of a millionaire who lost all his money. We cannot begin life with as much power as our father once had. But we have, through our free will and the grace of Christ, the power to build up our fortune in good works. If we sin instead, it will be our own fault.
Since sin is chiefly due to our own bad will, unhappiness is our own making. If we use our free wills and the grace of Christ to build up the virtues within our souls, we can avoid unhappiness. The wise man is the man who cultivates virtue. The happy man is the virtuous man."
The following is from the book CATHOLIC CATECHISM BY Rev. W. Faerber, published
by TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC. Rockford, Illinois 61105, Copyright 1978 by TAN Books
and Publishers, Inc. Used with permission.
228. What is vice?
Vice is the habit of committing mortal sin.
229. Which are the principal vices?
The principal vices are: pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and sloth.
Capital sins. Deadly sins. Root sins.
230. When do we sin by pride?
We sin by pride when we think ourselves better than others and wish to be honored more than we deserve.
"God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (Jas. 4: 6). Vanity, haughtiness.
231. When do we sin by avarice?
We sin by avarice when we love money too much and give little or nothing for good purposes.
"But they that will become rich fall into temptation ... For the desire of money is the root of all evils" (I Tim. 6: 9,10).
232. When do we sin by lust?
We sin by lust when we indulge in impure thoughts, conversations, reading, or actions.
233. When do we sin by envy?
We sin by envy when we grieve at the good fortune of others and rejoice at their misfortune.
234. When do we sin by gluttony?
We sin by gluttony when we eat or drink too much or too greedily.
235. When do we sin by anger?
We sin by anger when we show our temper without a good reason or seek revenge.
"The anger of man worketh not the justice of God" (Jas. 1:20).
236. When do we sin by sloth?
We sin by sloth when we shun work and neglect our duties.
"Idleness hath taught much evil" (Ecclus. 33:29). "If any man will not work, neither let him eat" (II Thess. 3: 10).
REPENTANCE AND FORGIVENESS:
God is calling his people to turn away from their sins and turn back to him. The sins which are ruining people and destroying our world are: abortion which is murder, and murder of those that are born as well as those that are unborn, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, stealing, alcoholism, drug abuse, greed--love of money and excessive love of material wealth---not sharing our wealth with those who are in great need, viewing of pornography and hatred among people. God wants to heal his people of these sins. Only with God's help can we repent and be healed because we are utterly dependent on God for all good things.
FROM THE BIBLE: 2 CHRONICLES 7:14
"if my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country."
GOOD WORKS; VIRTUE; CHRISTIAN PERFECTION
The following is from the book CATHOLIC CATECHISM BY Rev. W. Faerber, published
by TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC. Rockford, Illinois 61105, Copyright 1978 by TAN Books
and Publishers, Inc. Used with permission.
237. When do our good works earn a heavenly reward?
Our good works earn a heavenly reward when we do them in the state of grace and with a good intention.
"Prayer is good, with fasting and alms, more than to lay up treasures of gold" (Tob. 12:8).
238. What do we gain by each meritorious work?
By each meritorious work we gain more grace on earth and more reward in heaven.
"Every man shah receive his own reward according to his own labor" (I Cot. 3: 8).
239. When is our intention good?
Our intention is good when we perform our deeds out of obedience to God's will.
"Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them; otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 6: 1).
"All for Thee, O Jesus!" Morning offering.
240. Who is virtuous?
He is virtuous who is always striving and ready to do what is pleasing to God.
241. Which are the three divine virtues?
The three divine virtues are: faith, hope, and charity.
"Now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (I Cor. 13: 13).
242. Which are some of the moral virtues?
Some of the moral virtues are: 1. humility 1. generosity 3. chastity 4. kindness
5. temperance 6. meekness 7. diligence 8. patience 9. honesty 10. obedience 11. truthfulness
243. Which are the evangelical counsels?
The evangelical counsels are: 1. voluntary poverty 2. perpetual chastity
3. obedience to a spiritual superior.
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments ....
If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven" (Matt. 19: 17, 21).
244. Who are obliged to keep the evangelical counsels?
All those are obliged to keep the evangelical counsels who have bound themselves by a vow to do so.
Monks, nuns, sisters.
245. What do we need to keep the commandments? To keep the commandments we need grace. "Without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
246. What is grace?
Grace is a gift that God confers upon our soul for our salvation. "I am the vine, you the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit" (John 15:5).
247. What does actual grace do for us?
Actual grace enlightens our understanding and moves our will to do good and to avoid evil.
"We helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain" (II Cor. 6: 1).
248. How do we specially obtain actual grace?
We specially obtain actual grace by the sacraments and prayer.
249. What does sanctifying grace do for us?
Sanctifying grace makes us holy and children of God.
"Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called and should be the sons of God" (I John 3: 1).
250. How do we obtain sanctifying grace for the first time?
We obtain sanctifying grace for the first time in baptism.
251. How do we lose sanctifying grace?
We lose sanctifying grace by mortal sin.
"He that loveth not, abideth in death" (I John 3:14).
252. How do we regain sanctifying grace?
We regain sanctifying grace
1. by the sacrament of penance,
2. by an act of perfect contrition.
Application. Grace is of greater value than money, health, and life. To obtain this grace for us, Christ died on the cross. Only he who dies in the state of sanctifying grace can enter heaven. The more sanctifying grace we possess, the greater will be our happiness in heaven.
[END EXCERPT FROM CATHOLIC CATECHISM]