Friday, 22 April 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 46.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. What intention is required in those who receive the sacraments?

A. At least an habitual intention, and generally actual, or virtual intention, that they may receive lawfully. Yet there is something particular in the case of extreme-unction, when an interpretative intention is sufficient, according to the practice of the church.

Q. Are not dispositions required in the receivers ?

A. Yes, several, as faith in some, and charity in others; not that the sacrament is not given without them, but that grace is not given without them.

Q. What benefit has the receiver who partakes of a sacrament without due dispositions ?

A. He receives the character in the three sacraments of baptism, confirmation and order, though not the particular sacramental grace; which, however, is bestowed upon him, when the fiction or impediment is removed by true penance, (at the same time he is supposed, when he receives the said sacraments, to have the general dispositions for the character, viz.: Intention, etc.). This recovering of the sacramental grace, is expressly asserted by St. Augustine, and is the opinion of the church.

Q. What is particularly to be observed, concerning those who receive the sacraments ?

A. First, as to infants, no dispositions are required. As to adult persons, several dispositions are required, to make the sacraments valid, viz.: Intention and consent, excepting the sacrament of the Eucharist; other dispositions are required in the adult, to receive the effect, viz.: Sanctifying grace, faith, contrition, or attrition, etc.

Q. What effect have the sacramentals, viz.: Exorcisms, crossing, agnus dei, holy water, etc., and how do they produce their effects ?

A. The chief effects are, pious thoughts, or actual grace; the remission of venial sin, by means of such grace; the remission of temporal pain; driving away temptations, and the devil; restoring to corporal health. But these effects are not infallibly produced by virtue of the sacramentals alone: so that they produce their effects, as being an outward part of the prayers of the church, and of the pious prayers of those who make use of them.

Q. You say the sacraments produce grace, in what manner is this done? Do they all produce the same sort of grace ?

A. They all produce grace in the nature of channels or vehicles, where God is as principal, the minister as joint instrument, the elements as separate instruments. As to the grace conferred, it is different in most of the sacraments , some confer the first grace, as baptism and penance, and they are called the sacraments of the dead; others confer an increase of grace, and are called the sacraments of the living, as are all the rest of the sacraments.

Q. Give me a distinct account of the specific grace, conferred by each of the sacraments ?

A. The grace of baptism is regenerative, it remits original sin, entitles to the name of Christian, and gives a right to partake of the other sacraments. The grace of confirmation is strengthening, and gives courage to profess the true faith. The grace of the holy eucharist is nutritive, and unites us to Christ. The grace of penance is remissive of actual sins, and occasions sorrow for them, and protection against a relapse. The grace of extreme-unction strengthens the sick person against temptations, at that time, and procures health. The grace of order disposes the ministry to perform their functions with spiritual profit. The grace of matrimony enables the parties to comply with the burdens of their state.

Q. Is not a character the effect of some of the sacraments, and what are the properties belonging to it?

A. A character is a spiritual power in the soul, whereby a person is distinguished from others, and made capable of receiving, and giving other sacraments, and performing what belongs to the divine worship.

Q. Which are the properties of the sacramental character?

A. It is given only in three sacraments, viz.: Baptism, confirmation, and orders. It is indelible. It is a quality distinct from the soul, but some divines say the contrary.

Q. How many sacraments are there in the new Law ?

A. Seven, viz.: Baptism, confirmation, eucharist, penance, extreme-unction, holy orders, and matrimony. The divine will was the chief reason of the number. But there is a certain analogy, between a corporal and spiritual life. A Christian is born spiritually by baptism; the spiritual life is increased, and strengthened by confirmation; it is nourished by the eucharist: when sick, it is purged by penance; when dangerously ill, it is restored by extreme-unction; economy is preserved in spiritual matters by order; the species is preserved by marriage, and grace given to answer the ends of that state.