Sunday, January 14, 2018

Apologetics: Confirmation (Goffine's Devout Instructions)

German wood cut depicting Confirmation service (1679, by G. C. Stich) - PD-1923

Confirmation is a sacrament in which, through the laying on of the bishop’s hands, prayer, and anointing, those who have been baptized are strengthened by the Holy Ghost so that they may firmly profess their faith and sincerely live up to it.
How does the bishop administer Confirmation?
  • He extends his hands over those to be confirmed, and prays the Holy Ghost to descend upon them with His sevenfold gifts.
  • He then lays his hand upon each one, and anoints him with holy chrism.
  • He gives him a slight blow on the cheek, saying, “Peace be with you.”
  • He concludes by giving them all the episcopal benediction.
What does the imposition of hands signify?
It signifies the descent of the Holy Spirit, and particularly the protection of God under which the Christian is henceforth to remain.
How does the bishop anoint those to be confirmed?
He makes the sign of the cross with chrism on the forehead of each one, saying at the same time: “I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and I confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Of what does the chrism consist?
The chrism, which every year on Holy Thursday is blessed by the bishop with great solemnity, consists of the oil of olives and balsam.
What does the oil signify?
The oil signifies inward strength for the struggle against the enemies of our salvation. Oil was formerly used by soldiers and athletes to make their limbs supple and strong. As oil strengthens the limbs of the body, so does the Holy Spirit strengthen our souls for combat with sin.
Why is fragrant balsam mixed with the oil?
To signify that he who is confirmed receives grace to keep himself pure from the corruption of the world, and by a pious life give forth the sweet odor of virtue. Balsam serves to preserve wounds from corruption, and gives forth a pleasing and fragrant odor.
Why does the bishop make the sign of the cross upon the forehead of the one to be confirmed?
To signify that a Christian should never be ashamed of the cross, but confess without fear his faith in Christ crucified. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16)
Why does the bishop after anointing him give him a slight blow on the cheek?
To remind him that, as he is now strong and accountable, he should be ready to suffer patiently any humiliation for Jesus’ sake.
Why does he at the same time say, “Peace be with you”?
Because, having now received the fullness of divine grace and heavenly peace, he should carefully guard it as a consolation in every sorrow.
A priest thereupon dries with a piece of cotton the brow of the person being confirmed, in order to prevent the sacred chrism from being desecrated in any way.
What are the words of the benediction given by the bishop after Confirmation?
May the Lord bless you out of Sion, that you may see the goods of Jerusalem all the days of your life, and have life everlasting. Amen.
Why are sponsors also ordained for Confirmation?
That they may first see that the person is confirmed, and then by deed and word aid him in the spiritual combat to which by this sacrament he has been dedicated.
The sponsor binds himself to the fulfilment of this duty by laying his hand. on the right shoulder of the person being confirmed. He thus becomes his spiritual parent and guardian for the preservation of the grace of Confirmation. The same spiritual relationship and impediments of marriage exist as with sponsors in Baptism.
What does the Church require of sponsors in Confirmation?
They must be Catholics; they must be confirmed and old enough to be able to fulfil their duties as sponsore. Parents cannot be sponsors for their children; nor can the same person be sponsor both at Baptism and Confirmation.


Goffine’s Devout Instructions


Monday, January 08, 2018

Goffine's Devout Instructions: Baptism

Baptism of Christ by Andrea Mantegna, 1505 - PD-1923

Baptism is a sacrament in which by water and the word of God we are cleansed from all sin, and regenerated and sanctified in Christ to life everlasting.
What are the different ceremonies of Baptism?
  1. The preparatory ceremony.
  2. The Baptism proper.
  3. The concluding ceremonies.
The preparatory ceremonies at the church door during the first period of instruction, namely the period of hearing, are as follows:
  1. The candidate remains outside the church, since he can enter the Church only by Baptism.
  2. He is given a saint’s name so that he may have an advocate before God, and an example after whom to model his own life.
  3. He is asked if he desires Baptism, and through it eternal life.
  4. The priest breathes upon him three times, saying: “Depart from him, thou unclean spirit, and make way for the Holy Ghost, the Comforter”. (John 20:22)
  5. He makes the sign of the cross upon his forehead and breast as a sign that he belongs to the crucified Saviour, Whose teachings he must cherish in his heart and openly proclaim.
  6. He places blessed salt in his mouth, with the words: “Receive the salt of wisdom; it will be a propitiation for thee unto eternal life.” Salt is a symbol of Christian wisdom) and protection from the foulness of sin.
  7. Through repeated exorcisms the power of Satan, who “has the power of death” (neb. ii. 14), is ~ broken in the name of the Triune God.
  8. For the second time, the priest makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of the person to be baptized, saying: “Defile not, accursed spirit, this sign of the cross which we place upon his brow.”
  9. The priest by the imposition of hands symbolizes the protection of God, and the stole p1aced upon the candidate as he is led into the f church is a sign of the Church’s power by virtue of which the priest receives him into its fold.
The ceremonies at the second period, namely, for the supplicants, are performed within the church. They are:
  1. Since Baptism is the sacrament of faith, the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer are recited while entering the church.
  2. The priest, after the example of Jesus (Mark 7:33), touches the ears and nose of the person to be baptized with spittle, saying, “Ephpheta,” which means, “Be thou opened.” This signifies that man’s spiritual sense through the grace of Baptism is opened for the reception of instruction in heavenly truths.
  3. The person being baptized must renounce Satan with all his works and pomps; for without this renunciation no man can follow Christ. By the words Satan and his works we mean sin, and by his pomps the spirit and vanities of this world by which Satan dazzles the eyes of men and leads them into sin. (Matthew 4:8,9) Here follows the profession of faith, in the recital of the Apostles’ Creed.
  4. Next comes the anointing of the shoulders and breast with holy oil, since from now on the newly-baptized person must be a soldier of Christ in the battle against the world and the devil.
How is the actual Baptism performed?
The person baptizing pours water upon the head of the person to be baptized, at the same time saying these words: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
What ceremonies follow Baptism?
  1. Anointing the head with chrism, because the person baptized is now a Christian, one of God’s anointed.
  2. The presentation of a white cloth, and
  3. a lighted candle.
  4. Dismissal, with a blessing.
Of what are we admonished by the white cloth which we receive at Baptism?
That we should preserve our innocence, throughout our whole life, pure and unspotted. At its presentation, therefore, the priest says: “Take hence the white garment and bear it unstained before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ our Lord, that thou mayest reach everlasting life.”
What is the meaning of the lighted candle which the person just baptized must hold in his hand?
That the Christian by his virtuous life should be a guide to all the world. “So let your light shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) On presenting the candle the priest says: “Receive this burning light; keep thy Baptism without stain; obey the commandments of God, that when the Lord shall come to the nuptial feast thou mayest go forth to meet Him with all the saints of heaven, and mayest have life everlasting and live forever and ever. Amen.”
Why has the Church ordained the presence of sponsors?
  1. That they may make the vows and promises in the name of the child to be baptized.
  2. In the event of the death of the parents to see that it is brought up a Christian.
The sponsors, who should be good Catholics, are the spiritual parents of the child baptized. They become spiritually related both to child and parents, and cannot marry with either. In order that this relationship and consequent impediment to marriage might not extend too far, the Church has ordained that there shall be at most two sponsors, one of each sex.
Besides Baptism by water, there is also a Baptism of desire and a Baptism of blood, which may take the place of the Baptism of water when that cannot be obtained.
Baptism of desire is an earnest wish to obtain Baptism, joined to perfect contrition and love for God. In such a case those conditions are present that are necessary to a valid reception; for if the possibility do not exist God regards the good will, and takes the will for the deed.
Baptism of blood is a voluntary martyr’s death for the sake of Christ. The constancy which gives up life itself includes faith, charity, desire, and contrition.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Why Chained Bibles In The Middle Ages?




Many times, Protestants accuse the Catholic Church of not allowing the faithful to read the Bible. We know this is not so, and have shown that in this post here.

Many times, to "prove" their point, they will ask us: "Is it not true that the Church chained Bibles in the Middle Ages?"

Yes, the Church did chain Bibles in the Middle Ages, but not to prevent the faithful from reading the Bible. They were chained in order to prevent people from stealing them.

Remember, during the Middle Ages there was no such thing as a printing press. All books, including the Bible had to be painstakingly copied by hand by monks all over Europe. It would require years, perhaps the lifetime of one monk to copy each and every word contained in the Bible.

Also keep in mind that each Bible was made on vellum, which is sheep hide. It took 250 sheep and thousands of man hours just to create one Bible

Because of this long, hard work, this made the Bible and other books very expensive, and rare. Its is estimated that the cost of one Bible during the Middle Ages would be equivalent to thousands of dollars today. One source even says that it would be equal to $100,000 today. 

The average man and woman of the time we call the Middle Ages, could not afford to own a Bible or any other books. For that matter, the average man and woman of the Middle Ages was for the most part illiterate and could not have read the Bible, even if he or she wanted to. This is also one of the reasons that stained glass and art was used so extensively in parishes of the day. The stained glass and art told the Bible stories to the faithful.

It wasn't until 1436 that Johann Gutenberg invented his printing press. So, before the invention of the printing press, the thought of everyone owning a Bible was an unrealistic idea.

Records exist that show there were 5,000 chained books in 11 Protestant and 2 Catholic libraries. So the Reformers also chained their Bibles for at least 300 years, showing that the Catholic Church was not alone in chaining Bibles.

Bibles were chained because they were expensive, and could not be easily replaced if stolen. Not to prevent anyone from reading the Word of God as is so mistakenly believed by many who don't know, or choose to ignore history and it's facts.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Too many Catholics confused about fundamental beliefs, Pope says : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • "Christians today often do not even know the central core of their Catholic faith,” Pope Benedict XVI observed at his regular public audience on October 17.
  • At his regular weekly audience, the Holy Father announced that he was beginning a new series of catechetical talks, dedicated to the content of the faith, for the Year of Faith. He said that the goal of the Year of Faith—and thus of his weekly talks—is “to renew our enthusiasm at believing in Jesus Christ.”
Read more by clicking below:
Too many Catholics confused about fundamental beliefs, Pope says : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

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