FEAST OF THE
is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, because as soon as the
apostles were instructed and consoled by the Holy Ghost, they began
to preach openly that which Christ had taught them.
Why do we celebrate this festival?
That we may
openly profess our faith in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which
is the first of Christian truths, the foundation of the Christian
religion, and the most sublime of all mysteries; and that we may
render thanks, to the Father for having created us, to the Son for
having redeemed us, and to the Holy Ghost for having sanctified
In praise and
honor of the most Holy Trinity, the Church sings at the Introit of
this day's Mass:
INTROIT Blessed be the holy
Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to him, because he
hath shown his mercy to us: (Tob. XII.) O Lord, our Lord, how
wonderful is thy name in all the earth! (Ps. VIII. 1.) Glory be to
the Father, etc.
COLLECT Almighty, everlasting God,
who hast granted to Thy servants, in the confession of the true
faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the
power of Thy, majesty, to adore the Unity: grant that, by
steadfastness in the same faith, we may ever be defended from all
EPISTLE (ROM XI. 33-36.) O the depth
of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How
incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his
counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be
made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him
be glory forever. Amen.
EXPLANATION St. Paul's exclamations,
in this epistle, are caused by the inscrutable judgment of God in
rejecting the Jews and calling the Gentiles. The Church makes use of
these words to express her admiration for the incomprehensible
mystery of the most Holy Trinity, which surpasses our understanding,
and yet is the worthy object of our faith, hope and love. Although
neither angels nor men can fathom this mystery, it cannot be
difficult for the sound human intellect to believe it, since it is
indubitably and evidently revealed by God, arid we, in many natural
and human things, accept for true and certain much that we cannot
comprehend. Let us submit our intellect, there fore, and yield
ourselves up to faith; as there was indeed a time when men were
martyred, when even persons of all ages and conditions preferred to
die rather than to abandon this faith, so let us rather wait until
our faith is changed to contemplation, until we see the Triune God,
face to face, as He is, and in the sight of that countenance become
eternally happy. Thither should all our hopes, wishes,' and desires
be directed, and we should cease all fruitless investigations,
endeavoring by humble faith and active love, to prove worthy of the
beatific vision; for if we do not love Him who is our all, our last
end and aim, and lovingly desire Him, we will have to hope of one
day possessing Him.
ASPIRATION O incomprehensible,
Triune God! O Abyss of wisdom, power, and goodness! To Thee all
glory and adoration! In Thee I lose myself; I cannot contain Thee,
do Thou, contain me. I believe in Thee, though I cannot comprehend
Thee; do Thou increase my faith; I hope in. Thee, for Thou art the
source of all good; do Thou enliven my hope; I love Thee, because
Thou art worthy, of all love; do Thou inflame ever more my love,
that in Thy love I may live and die. Amen.
(Matt. XXVIII. 18-20.) At that time Jesus said to His disciples: All
power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore; teach
ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all days,
even to the consummation of the world.
EXPLANATION Christ being God had
from all eternity the same power that His Father had; being man, He
had this same power by the union of His divinity with His humanity,
and on account of the infinite merits of His passion. In virtue of
this power, He said to His apostles, before the ascension, that, as
His Heavenly Father had sent Him, even so He sent them to all
nations, without exception, to teach all that He had commanded, and
to receive them, by means of baptism, into the Church; at the same
time He promised to be with them to the end of the world, that is,
that He would console them in suffering, strengthen them in
persecution, preserve them from error, and always protect them and
their successors, the bishops and priests, even unto the
consummation of the world.
Instruction on the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church for
the first Sunday after Easter.)
ASPIRATION Be with us, O Lord, for
without Thee our pastors cannot produce fruit, nor their hearers
profit anything from their words. Be with us always, for we always
need Thy help. All power is given to Thee, Thou bast then the right
to command, and we are bound to obey Thy commands which by Thy
Church Thou bast made known to us. This we have promised in baptism,
and now before Thee we renew those vows. Grant now that those
promises which without Thee we could not have made, and without Thee
cannot keep, may be fulfilled in our actions. Leave us not to
ourselves, but be Thou with us, and make us obedient to Thee, that
by cheerful submission to Thee true may receive
ON THE HOLY SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. XXVIII.
Is baptism a Sacrament?
Yes because in
it the baptized person receives the grace of God by means of an
external sign, instituted by Christ.
What is this external sign?
or the pouring of water, accompanied by the words: "I baptize thee
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
What does the baptismal grace effect?
original and actual sin; causing ,man to be spiritually born again,
made a new creature, a child of God, and joint heir with
How many kinds of baptism are there?
There are three
kinds: The baptism of desire, which consists in a heartfelt desire
for the baptism of water, joined with a perfect love of God, or a
perfect sorrow for sins committed, and with the purpose to obey all
God's commands; the baptism of blood, which is received by those who
suffer martyrdom for the true faith, without having received the
baptism of water; the baptism of water, which is the Sacrament of
What do the deferent ceremonies of this Sacrament
They are the
external signs of the effects which baptism produces inwardly upon
the soul, and should impress us with deep reverence for this
Why is it customary to have a godfather or
That there may
be a witness that the child has received baptism; that in case of
the death of the parents, the sponsors may assume their place, and
have the child instructed in the truths of religion. St. Augustine
speaking of the duties of sponsors, very beautifully says: "They
should use all care, often to admonish in true love their
godchildren that they may strive to lead a pure life; they should
warn them against all detraction, all improper songs, and keep them
from pride, envy, anger, and revenge; they should watch over them
that they may preserve the Catholic faith, attend the church
services, listen to the word of God, and obey their parents and
their pastors." Sponsors must therefore be true believers, and of
unquestionable morality. No one, unless a Catholic can be chosen for
a sponsor, because one who is not a Catholic would not instruct the
child in the Catholic faith, or see that others do it; but would be
more likely, as experience shows, to draw the child over to
What results from this sponsorship?
In baptism, as
in confirmation, a spiritual affinity originates between, the
sponsors, the one who baptizes or confirms, with the one baptized or
confirmed, and with the parents, so that, by a decision of the
Church a godfather or godmother cannot contract marriage with any of
these parties, unless the impediment is removed by dispensation,
that is, by a special permission received from a spiritual superior.
But the sponsors have no spiritual relationship to each
Why has the Church instituted this spiritual
for these holy Sacraments, and that by this spiritual bond the
sponsors may be more closely connected with their godchildren, and
be incited earnestly to discharge their obligation.
Why must the person to be baptized wait at the entrance of
that until he has thrown off the yoke of sin, and submitted to
Christ, and His authority, he is unworthy to enter, because baptism
is the door of God's grace, to the kingdom of heaven, and the
communion of saints.
Why does the person receive a saint's name?
That by this
name he may be enrolled, through baptism, into the number of
Christians whom St. Paul calls saints; that he may have a patron and
intercessor, and that the saint, whose name he bears, may be his
model and example, by which he may regulate his own life.
Why does the priest breathe in the face of the one to be
In imitation of
Christ who breathed on His apostles when He gave them the Holy
Ghost. (John XX. 22.) St. Chrysostom says that in baptism
supernatural life is given to the soul as God imparted natural life
to Adam by breathing on him.
Why does the priest impose his hand so many times upon the
head of the person to be baptized?
To show that he
is now the property of God and is under His protection.
What do the many exorcisms signify?
That the evil
spirit who previous to baptism holds the person in bondage is now
commanded in the name of God to depart, that a dwelling?place may be
prepared for the Holy Ghost.
Why is the person so often signed with the sign of the
To signify that
through the power of Christ's merits and of His death on the cross,
baptism washes away original sin; that the person is to be
henceforth a follower of Christ the Crucified, and as such must
fight valiantly under the banner of the cross, against the enemies
of his salvation, and must follow Christ on the way of the cross
even unto death.
What does the salt signify which is put into the person's
It is an emblem
of Christian wisdom and of preservation from the corruption of
Why are his ears and nose touched
That as Christ
put spittle on the eyes. of the man born blind, thus restoring his
sight, so by baptism, the spiritual blindness of the soul is
removed, and his mind receives light to behold heavenly wisdom.
Also, as St. Ambrose says, the candidate is thus instructed to open
his ears to priestly, admonitions, and become a sweet odor of
Why does the priest ask: "Dust thou renounce the devil;
and all his works, and all his pomps?"
Christian may know that his vocation requires him to renounce and
combat the devil, his works, suggtions and pomps. Thus St. Ambrose
very beautifully addresses a person just baptized: "When the priest
asked: `Dust thou renounce the devil and all his works,' what didst
thou reply? `I renounce them.' `Dost thou renounce the world, its
lusts and its pomps?' `I renounce them.' Think of these promises,
and let them never depart from thy mind. Thou host given thy
hand?writing to the priest,, who stands for Christ; when thou host
given thy note to a man, a thou art bound to him. Now thy word is
not on earth but preserved in heaven; say not thou knowest nothing
of this promise; this exculpates thee no better than the excuse of a
soldier who in time of battle should say he knew not that by
becoming a soldier he would have to fight."
Why is the person anointed on the shoulder and breast with
As SS. Ambrose
and Chrysostom explain this is done to strengthen him to fight
bravely for Christ; as the combatants of old anointed themselves
with oil before they entered the arena, so is he anointed, on the
breast, that he may gain courage and force, bravely to combat the
world, the flesh, and the devil, and on the shoulder, that he may be
strong to bear constantly and untiringly, the yoke of Christ's
commands, and persue the toilsome course of life in unwavering.
fidelity to God and His holy law.
Why are, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostles' Creed said
That, when the
child is a grown person an acknowledgment of faith may by this means
be made m the face of the Church; when children are baptized, these
prayers are said by the sponsors who are thus reminded to see that
their godchildren are well instructed in these as in all other
Why does the priest expressly ask the person if he will be
Because as man,
through Adam, of his own free will obeyed the devil, so now when he
would be received among the number of Christ's children, he must, to
obtain salvation, of his own free will obey the precepts of
Why is water poured three times upon the person's
This is done,
as St. Gregory the Great writes, in token that man after this
thrice-repeated ablution rises from the death of sin, as Christ,
after His three days' burial, rose from the dead. (Rom. VI. 4.5.) In
early times the candidate for baptism was immersed three times in
the water. For many 'reasons this custom has been
Why is the person anointed on the top of the head with
is, so to speak, the crown of the young Christian. As in the Old Law
the kings were anointed, (I Kings X. 1.) as Jesus is the Anointed
One, and as the Apostle St. Peter calls the Christians a chosen
race, a kingly priesthood, a holy people, (I Peter II. 9.) so the
baptized by means of this unction is embodied in Christ, the
Anointed One, and participates in His priesthood and kingly dignity.
What an exalted position is the Christian's! He is the anointed one
of the Lord, and in a spiritual sense a priest, because he
constantly brings himself to the Lord God as a pleasing sacrifice in
prayer, mortification, &c. He is king when he rules over his
inclinations, submits them to reason, and reason to the Lord.
Besides this he is king by the claims which, through baptism, he
possesses to the kingdom of heaven. Through the chrism he becomes
the blessed temple of the Holy Ghost, the sacred vessel which in
time, through communion, will contain the precious body and blood of
Christ. How does he desecrate this temple when, by grievous sin, he
tramples this exalted dignity under his feet and. stains the temple
of the Holy Ghost, his soul!
What does the white robe signify?
Fathers teach that this represents the glory to which by baptism we
are born again; the purity and beauty with which the soul, having
been washed from sin in the Sacrament of baptism, is adorned, and
the innocence which the baptized should preserve through his whole
Why is a lighted candle placed in his hand?
It is an emblem
of the Christian doctrine which preserves the baptized from the
darkness of error, ignorance, and sin, illumines his understanding,
and leads him safely in the way of virtue; it represents the flame
of. love for God and our neighbor which the baptized should
henceforth continually carry, like the five prudent virgins, (Matt.
XXV. 13.) on the path to meet the Lord, that when his life is ended
he may be admitted to the eternal wedding feast; it signifies also
the light of good example which he should keep ever
Who is the minister of this sacrament?
minister is the priest of the Church; but in case of necessity any
layman or woman, even the father or mother can baptize. Parents,
however, should not baptize their own child unless no other Catholic
can be procured. The reason why lay persons are permitted to baptize
is that no one may be deprived of salvation.
What must be observed particularly in private
The person who
baptizes must be careful to use only natural water, which must be
poured on the child's head saying at the same time the words: I
baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost; having at the same time the intention of baptizing as
the Church does, in the manner required by Christ.
ON THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS
All the graces
and dignities which we receive in baptism, God secures to us for the
future, only on condition that we keep our baptismal vows. Every
Christian in baptism makes a bond with God through the meditation of
Christ who has sealed it with His blood. This bond consists, on
man's part, in the promise to renounce forever the devil, all his
works and all his pomps, that is, constantly to suppress the
threefold lust of the eyes, the flesh and the pride of life, by
which the devil leads us to sin, and to believe all that God has
revealed, and all that His holy Church proposes to our belief, and
diligently and properly to make use of all the means of salvation.
On the part of God this bond consists in cleansing us from all sin,
in bestowing the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in adopting us as His
children, and. in the assurance to the inheritance of heaven. This
bond will never be broken by God who is infinitely true and
faithful, but it is often violated by weak and fickle man. In
compliance with the desire of the Church we should often reflect
upon it, and from time to time renew it in the sight of God. This
should be done particularly before receiving the holy Sacrament of
Confirmation, before first Communion, on the vigils of Easter and
Pentecost, at the blessing of baptismal water, on the anniversaries
of our baptism and confirmation, before making any solemn vow,
before entering into matrimony and when in danger of death. This
renewal of baptismal vows can be made in the following manner:
Placing ourselves in the presence of God, we kneel down, fold our
hands, and say with fervent devotion:
I believe in
God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in
Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered
I believe in
the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life
the devil; all his works and all his pomps.
Christ Jesus !
With Thee I am united, to Thee alone I cling, Thee only will I
follow, for Thee I desire to live and die. In the name of the
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
THE HOLY TRINITY
What is God?
GOD is the most
perfect being, the highest, best Good, who exists, from all
eternity, by whom heaven and earth are create, and from whom all
things derive and hold life and existence, for of Him, and by Him,
and in Him are all things. (Rom. XI. 36.)
What is the Blessed Trinity?
Trinity is this one God who is one in nature and threefold in
person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Is each of these three persons God?
each of them has the divine nature and substance.
Are they not three Gods?
No, because all
three of these persons have one and the same divine nature and
Is any one of these three persons older, mightier, or
greater than the other?
By, no means,
they are all three from eternity entirely equal to each .other in
divine omnipotence greatness and majesty, and must, therefore, be
equally adored and venerated.
Ought one to give himself up to the investigation of the
most Blessed Trinity?
No; "For," says
the saintly Bishop Martin, "the mystery of the Trinity cannot be
comprehended by the human intellect, no one however eloquent can
exhaust it; if entire books were written about it, so that the whole
world were filled with them, yet the unspeakable wisdom of God would
not be expressed. God who is indescribable, can in no way be
described. When the human mind ceases to speak of Him, then it but
begins to speak." Therefore the true Christian throws his intellect
under the feet of faith, not seeking to understand that which the
human mind can as little comprehend, as a tiny hole in the sand can
contain the immeasurable sea. An humble and active faith will make
us worthy some day in the other world, to see with ' the greatest
bliss this mystery as it is, for in this consists eternal life, that
by a pious life we may glorify and know the only true God, Christ
Jesus His Son, and the Holy