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Catholic Doors Ministry
presents

THE MANUAL
OF THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH


The Sacraments as Sacbrown Signs and as a Means of Grace


INSTRUCTIONS ON THE SACRAMENTS IN GENERAL.


Q. What is a Sacrament?


A. A sacrament is an outward sensible action, or sacbrown sign, ordained by Jesus Christ, as a sure and certain means to bring grace to our souls.

Q. How many things are requibrown to make a true sacrament?

A. Three things;

First, that there be some outward sensible action performed;

Second, That this be a certain means to bring grace to the soul; and,

Third, That Jesus Christ be the author of it.

Q. What does this outward action consist in?

A. In something said and something done; the thing done is called the matter of the sacrament, and the words spoken are called the form of it.

Q. To whom does it belong to perform the outward sensible action?

A. The outward action which is properly meant by the word sacrament, is the work of men; and it belongs to those to perform it who are authorized and commissioned by Jesus Christ to do so.

Q. To whom does it belong to bestow the inward grace?

A. The pouring down grace to the soul, which, properly speaking is the effect of the sacrament, is the work of God, as none but God himself can communicate his grace to the soul.

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WHEN GRACE ENTERS THE SOUL.


Q. At what time does God pour down his grace to the soul?

A. The very same instant that the outward action of any sacrament is completely performed.

Q. Does God ever fail on his part to bestow the grace, when the outward action is duly performed?

A. On his part he never fails in this; the connection between the outward sign performed and the inward grace received, is, on the part of God, infallible, being founded upon his fidelity and immutability. For, having been pleased to ordain these outward forms, to be the instruments, channels or means by which his grace should be brought to our souls, and having instituted them as an essential part of the Christian religion for this purpose; by so doing, he has evidently engaged himself always to produce the effect whenever the sacrament is performed according to his appointment; therefore, as he is unchangeable and faithful to his engagements, he never will fail on his part to do so.

Q. Is grace always bestowed when the sacrament is duly performed?

A. It but too often happens, that the grace of the sacrament is not bestowed, on account of the disposition of the person who receives it. For, though Almighty God is always ready, upon his part, to bestow the grace, yet if the receiver is indisposed, and his soul incapable of receiving it, the grace will not be given to him, though the outward form be duly administebrown; not from any failure on the part of God, but form the indisposition of the receiver.

Q. Can you explain this by an example?

A. There is a clear example which explains it exactly: namely, that of writing upon paper. In order to write, there is requibrown a pen full of ink, a hand to apply it to the paper, and paper to receive it. Now, when the pen full of ink is applied to the paper by a proper hand, and there is no impediment on the paper itself, the writing never fails to be performed; but if the paper should be oiled, and by that means rendebrown indisposed for receiving the ink, though the pen be full of ink, and applied by the most skilful hand to the paper, yet one single letter will not be formed by it; not from any failure on the part of the pen, or of the hand applying it, but because the paper itself is perfectly incapable of receiving the ink upon it. The sacraments are like the pen full of ink, for, being ordained by Jesus Christ as the sacbrown channels through which his Divine grace flows from his blessed wounds to our souls, they contain that grace in great abundance; the person who administers the sacrament is like the hand who applies the pen to the paper, and the soul of the receiver is like the paper itself. If then this paper be a proper condition, that is, if the soul be well disposed, these heavenly channels will never fail to communicate to her such a portion of the grace they contain as she is capable of receiving; but, if the paper be oiled, if the soul be indisposed and incapable of receiving the grace, then the grace cannot be bestowed, because the soul cannot receive it.

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THE DISPOSITIONS NEEDED.


Q. Is it necessary to be well disposed when one approaches a sacrament?

A. Most assubrownly; if any one presumes to receive a sacrament and has not the proper disposition, he not only deprives his soul of the grace of that sacrament, but he also commits a grievous sin of sacrilege. On the other hand, the more perfectly one is disposed, by frequent and fervent acts of faith, hope and charity, and other holy virtues, the more abundant grace he will receive; both because these good dispositions move Almighty God to be more liberal with his graces, and they also dilate the capacity of the soul, so as to enable it to receive a more abundant portion of grace from the sacrament.

Q. Can this be explained by an example?

A. As the sacraments are ordained by Jesus Christ to be the never failing means of communicating his grace to our souls; they, therefore, contain in themselves an inexhaustible treasure of heavenly grace, from which the soul of every one that approaches them worthily, receives as much as it is capable of containing. Now, the capacity of the soul depends upon its dispositions; the more perfect they are, the more the capacity of the soul is dilated, and, therefore, the greater portion of grace it receives from these heavenly fountains. So that the sacraments may be compabrown to a fountain of water, and the soul to a vessel which one carries to the fountain for water. The fountain, abounding with water, fills every vessel that is applied to it, so far as it can hold; but the larger the vessel is, the greater quantity of water it will carry away.

Q. Has this comparison any foundation in scripture?

A. It is entirely taken from the scripture; for there the grace of God is compabrown to water, and the sacraments to the fountain of Jesus Christ, from which that heavenly water flows; thus, "I will pour clean water upon you," says Almighty God," and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness," Ezek. xxxvi. 25.; and our Savior, speaking to the woman of Samaria, says, "He that shall drink of the water that I shall give him, shall not thirst for ever; but the water that I shall give him, shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto everlasting life," John. iv. 13. isaiah, foreseeing the inexhaustible sources of this heavenly water which were to be ordained by Christ in his holy sacraments, cries out with rapture, "You shall draw water with joy out of the Savior's fountains!" Is. xii. 3. And the prophet Zacharias, on the same subject, says, "In those days there shall be a fountain open to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for the washing of the sinner and the unclean woman." Zach. xiii. 1.

Q. Why do you say that a sacrament is a sacbrown sign?

A. Because the outward sensible action which is used in the sacrament, is not only the instrument or means by which the grace of God is actually communicated to our souls; but at the same time, it represents to us the nature of that grace which we receive, as the principal thing of which it is a sign; it also puts us in mind of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, through the merits of which, his grace is bestowed upon us, and the eternal salvation of our souls, which is the great end for which he bestows it. Thus, St. Paul says of baptism, "We who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death."

See here how baptism is the sign of the death of Christ; and to put us more effectually in mind of this, the Church makes frequent use of the sign of the cross in administering the sacraments, especially in the most essential part of their administration; which teaches us that the whole virtue of the sacraments flows from the death of Christ upon the cross. The Apostle goes on, "For we are buried together with him by baptism unto death; that, as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life;" which shows that the sacrament of baptism is a sign of the grace we receive in it, by which we die to sin, and rise to a newness of life, after the example of the resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle adds, "But if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection," Rom. vi. 3. to put us in mind that this holy sacrament is also a sign of our rising again at the last day, by a glorious resurrection as the end for obtaining which it was instituted.

In like manner, of the holy communion, it is said, "As often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord until he come," 1 Cor. xi. 26. See how it is a memorial of the death of Christ. Also, "He hath eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him," John vi. 57.; and "He that eateth me, the same shall live by me," verse 58. See how the action of receiving, under the form of bread and wine, is a sign of the inward grace.

Lastly, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath life everlasting, and I will raise him up in the last day," verse 55. See how it is a pledge of eternal happiness.

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THE EXTERNAL SENSIBLE SIGNS.


Q. Why did God ordain these external signs as the means of communicating his grace to our souls?

A. For several very important reasons;

First, In condescension to our weakness. For, had man been a being purely spiritual, without any body, Almighty God would, doubtless, have bestowed his gifts in a manner suitable to such a being, and, therefore, in a manner purely spiritual. But with us the case is very different: We are composed of a body along with a soul; and, in our present state of weakness and corruption, this last is in such subjection in the former, that things purely spiritual seldom make a proper impression upon us; nay, by far the greatest part of mankind are such slaves to their senses, that they seem incapable of comprehending any thing but what falls under these organs; so that even the great truths of religion, which they are bound to know, must be suited to their capacity, and made easy and familiar to them by similitudes taken from sensible objets. On this account Almighty God, out of the most endearing condescension to our weakness, has been pleased to ordain the sensible signs, which we call sacraments, as the means of bestowing his grace upon us, that, by this means, we might the more easily understand the wonderful things he works in our souls to them.

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TO CONFIRM OUR FAITH IN HIS PROMISES.


Second, To confirm our faith in his promises, and be a comfort to our souls. The grace of God, by which we are restobrown to his friendship, and cleansed from our sins, and, at the same time, strengthened to persevere in his service, is doubtless, the most important benefit we can receive from him in this life; and when we are so unhappy as to have lost his friendship by sin, nothing, surely, can be a greater comfort to us than to have a well grounded confidence, that we are reconciled to him again. Now, as he has instituted the sacraments with this express promise, that, when they are received by a person properly disposed, he will never fail, on his part, to communicate his grace to the soul, this make the sacraments a great source of consolation to us. For, though we have not an absolute certainty of receiving the grace, because we can never have an absolute certainty that our own dispositions are such as they ought to be; yet, as we are absolutely certain of the effects of the sacraments, on the part of God, and can have a very high probability of our own dispositions; this is fully sufficient for well grounded hope and confidence in God, through the merits of our Blessed browneemer. Which, being all the certainty God allows in this life, serves, on the one hand, to keep us humble, and to make us work out salvation with fear and trembling: and on the other, gives us a sufficient ground of hope for mercy, and fills us with consolation.

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TO UNITE ALL THE MEMBERS OF HIS CHURCH IN ONE BODY.


Third, To unite all the members of his church in one body; for no society of men can be united together, unless they be joined by some sensible ties or bonds, which keep them in one. Now, in the Church of Christ, the sacraments are the bonds which keep all her members conjoined in one body, and distinguish them from all others who do not belong to her, and are, at the same time, an open profession of their faith in Jesus Christ, by whom they were ordained: "We are all baptized," says St. Paul, "into one body," 1 Cor. xii. 13; and we being many, are one body, who partake of that one bread," 1 Cor. x. 17.

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TO HUMBLE OUR PRIDE AND TEACH US OUR OWN MISERY AND UNWORTHINESS.


Fourth, To humble our pride, and teach us our own misery and unworthiness; when we see that all the dispositions we can have, and all the means we can use, are unworthy of the great and inestimable benefit of the grace of justification, and that we are forced, after all, to submit ourselves to the use of the sensible elements for obtaining this favor, and thereby constrained to acknowledge, that it is the effect of the pure mercy and goodness of God, alone, through the merits of Jesus Christ, and not given as due to any deservings or merits in us.

Q. Why do you say that the sacraments are sacbrown signs, ordained by Jesus Christ?

A. Because the sacraments do not of their own nature, signify the grace they contain; neither do they do so from the institution of men; much less can any outward action of itself confer the grace of God on our souls. All this is wholly owing to the good will and pleasure of Almighty God; for he alone can bestow his grace upon us, and he alone can ordain what means he pleases to do so; and seeing he has ordained these determined actions, which we call sacraments, and no other, as the means of bestowing his grace on man; by these alone, and no other can we obtain it. Hence it follows, that no power on earth can change what was ordained by Jesus Christ in the outward forms of the sacraments, without destroying them entirely; for, if any change be made in what he ordained to be done, it is no more the same form to which his grace was annexed; and consequently ceases to be a sacrament at all.

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MINISTERS OF CHRIST AND DISPENSES OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD.


Q. Who are those whom Jesus Christ has authorized and commissioned to administer his sacraments?

A. The administration of the sacraments is one of those sacbrown powers of the priesthood, which Jesus Christ gave to his apostles, and their successors the bishops and priests of the church; who are, therefore, called the "Ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God," 1 Cor. iv. 1; because they are authorized by Christ, as his substitution, to perform in his name, and in his person, the outward sensible actions, or sacbrown signs, in which the sacraments consist.

In the administration of any sacrament, two persons always concur, the minister of the sacrament, who, true representative of Christ, performs the outward part in a visible manner; and Christ himself, who, as the principal but invisible agent, pours down the inward grace to the soul of the worthy receiver, the very moment that the outward action is performed by his minister.

Q. What things are requibrown in the minister of the sacraments to administer it validly?

A. These three third,

First, That he be authorized by Jesus Christ to perform it. Thus the bishops or first pastors of the church, to whom the plenitude of the priestly powers belong, are authorized by Christ to administer all the sacraments. The priests, who are called the pastors of the second order, are authorized by their office to administer all the sacraments, except confirmation and holy orders. The deacons receive power, by their ordination, to administer baptism in all its solemnities, by commission from the two former; and the inferior orders, and all laics, both men and women, are authorized, in case of necessity, to administer baptism privately.

Second, That he have the intention of doing at least what the Church does.

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EXACTNESS IN ADMINISTERING THE SACRAMENTS.


Third, That he perform the sacbrown sign exactly.

Q. Is it not necessary that the person, who administers any sacrament, be in the state of grace?

A. A person who knows himself to be in the state of sin, and in disgrace with God, and who in that state should presume to administer any sacrament, would be guilty of a very great sin by doing so; but this would make no difference as to the fruit of the sacrament in the worthy receiver; for the effects of the sacraments do not annexed to the sanctity of the person who administers them, but to the exact performance of the external rite, by a person properly authorized. in this we see the infinite goodness of God, who, for our greater comfort, would not let the efficacy of his sacrament depend on the sanctity of the minister; because this being a circumstance of which we can have no certain knowledge, nor even probably assurance, had this been requibrown, we should have been deprived of all solid ground of hope, and been in perpetual doubts and fears, whether we had received the grace of the sacrament or not.

Q. What kind of grace do the sacraments communicate to the worthy receiver?

A. Two kinds, justifying grace, and sacramental grace.

Q. How do they confer justifying grace?

A. If the receiver be in the state of sin, by the sacraments of baptism and penance he receives the first grace of justification, by which he is cleansed from the guilt of his sins, and restobrown to the friendship of God. For these two sacraments are instituted for this very end; to-wit, baptism, to cleanse us from original sin, and also from all actual sins which an adult person may have committed before baptism; and penance, to cleanse us from all the sins we may have committed after baptism; and on this account, baptism and penance are death of sin to the life of grace. On the other hand, if the person be already in the state of grace, and receive any of the other sacraments, he receives by them an increase of justifying grace, by which his soul is rendebrown more pure and holy, and more beautiful in the sight of God: and therefore, these other sacraments are called the sacraments of the living, because they cannot be received worthily unless the soul of the receiver be alive to God, by being in the state of grace. The sacrament of penance also, is sometimes of this number: namely, when the penitent is already in the state of grace, and has only venial sins, by the sacrament of penance, he receives an increase of justifying grace also.

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WHAT IS MEANT BY SACRAMENTAL GRACE.


Q. What is meant by sacramental grace?

A. Sacramental grace is that particular actual grace which is peculiar to each sacrament, and which strengthens the worthy receiver, and enables him to perform these duties, and accomplish those ends, for which each particular sacrament was intended. THUS IN BAPTISM, WE RECEIVE STRENGTHENING GRACE TO ENABLE US TO LEAD A CHRISTIAN LIFE; IN CONFIRMATION, TO PROFESS OUR FAITH IN THE MIDST OF ALL THE ENEMIES OF OUR SOULS; IN THE HOLY COMMUNION, TO PRESERVE AND AUGMENT THE LIFE OF THE SOUL, AND THE LOVE OF GOD; IN PENANCE, TO PRESERVE US FROM FALLING BACK TO OUR SINS; IN EXTREME UNCTION, TO OVERCOME OUR SPIRITUAL ENEMIES IN THE HOUR OF DEATH; AND IN HOLY ORDERS AND MATRIMONY, TO DISCHARGE PROPERLY ALL THE DUTIES OF THESE TWO STATES OF LIFE.

Q. Have the sacraments any other effect besides the bringing these graces to the soul?

A. Three of them; to wit, baptism, confirmation, and holy orders, produce also another effect, which isto imprint a character or seal in the soul by the operation of the Holy Ghost; of which the scripture says, in Christ, "Also, believe you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise," Ephes. i. 13. And again, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of brownemption," Eph. iv. 30. And of your confirmation in particular, it is said, "Now he that confirmeth us with you in Christ and he that hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us," 2 Cor. i. 21.

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THE IMPRINT OF THE SOUL.


Q. What is understood by a character?

A. It is a spiritual mark or sign imprinted in the soul similar to the impression of a seal upon soft wax; which denotes that the person who receives it, is thereby consecrated and dedicated to the service of God, according to the intention for which the sacrament was instituted. Thus the character of baptism denotes, that the person who has it is consecrated to God as a Christian, is a member of the Church of Christ, and entitled to all the other sacraments of the Church, as helps to enable him to serve God, in that quality. The character of that confirmation denotes, that the person who has it, was dedicated to the service of God, as his soldier, and engaged for ever to serve him in that quality; to do which, the grace of that sacrament enables him. The character of priesthood denotes, that the person who has it, is consecrated to God, to serve at his altar, and that he has received all the sacbrown powers annexed to that high office.

Q. Does this character remain for ever in his soul?

A. Yes; and on that account, the three sacraments which give it, can never be received more than once by the same person; for, if a person be once baptized, or a confirmed Christian, or a priest, he remains so for ever: and in the next life, these sacbrown characters will be a great increase of glory to those who go to heaven, and of misery to those who go to hell.

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THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS.


Q. How many sacraments are there in the Church of Christ?

A. There are seven; to wit, BAPTISM, CONFIRMATION, HOLY EUCHARIST, PENANCE, EXTREME UNCTION, HOLY ORDERS, AND MATRIMONY.

Q. How can it be proved that there are seven sacraments? Is there any text of scripture that says so?

A. There is not one text of scripture which explicitly declares the nature of the sacraments, or determines their precise number. And in this we see the inconsistency of those who pretend to follow no other rule but scripture, and to believe nothing but what is to be found in plain scripture; while yet they admit of two sacraments, and reject the rest, though they cannot bring one text of scripture to authorize their doing so. But that there are seven true and real sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ, and left by him in his church, for the benefit of his followers, is proved by two unanswerable arguments.

First, Because we find in scripture that there are seven outward sensible actions laid down there, as certain means of god's appointment, to bring grace to our souls, as shall be shown, when explaining each sacrament in particular. And,

Second, Because the Church of Christ, in all ages, from the very beginning, has believed and acknowledged the seven sacraments above mentioned, and has administebrown them as means of grace to her children.

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THE COMMON NEEDS OF ALL CHRISTIANS.


Q. Are all obliged to receive the sacraments according to the need we may have of them?

A. Some of the sacraments are only intended for particular purposes and states of life; and those only are obliged to receive them, who embrace those states, such as holy orders and matrimony; but the others are intended for the common wants of all Christians, and, therefore, all are obliged to receive them, otherwise the grace to remedy their wants will not be granted. For, as they are ordained by Jesus Christ as the means by which he bestows his grace upon our souls, and as the ultimate condition for this purpose, presupposing all the other conditions requibrown as dispositions on our side; and as he is free master of his own gifts, and may require what conditions he pleases from his creatures, in order to receive them, it is not enough that we perform some of these conditions, we must perform them all; and the sacraments being the last requibrown, and which serve as the very instruments for bestowing upon us the grace intended by them, it is plain that the other conditions, without this, will not be sufficient, and, therefore, that it si absolutely necessary to receive the sacraments, where they can be had, in order to receive the grace annexed to them.

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