Q. 82. Which is the ninth article of faith?
R. "In one holy catholic and apostolic Church."
Q. 83. What does the holy Church teach in this article of faith?
R. It teaches four things. First, that the Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, in accord with the teaching of the Apostle, when he says: "For I promised you to one man, to present a pure virgin to Christ." And just as Christ is one, so also is his spouse one, as is evident from Chapter 4 of the Ephesians, Verse 5: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God."
Q. 84. What is the second thing taught in this article?
R. This article teaches secondly that the catholic Church receives its name and title from no place, more important than any other, since these Churches are particular, such as those of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Laodicea, Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, etc. (55) But, from among these Churches, that one is called the Mother, which first held the presence of Christ, with eternal salvation as well as the forgiveness of sins having been established there; likewise, the preaching of the Gospel throughout the entire world had its beginning from there, as Scripture testifies: "Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day; and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." And elsewhere: "You shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth." Similarly, it was this one church whose light shone before all other churches in both teaching and living, and it was therein that the Apostles rendered their accounts, as Scripture bears witness: "And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying: 'Why did you go into men uncircumcised and eat with them?"' Peter answered them: "Who was I, that could withstand God?' Having heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying: 'God then has also to the gentiles given repentance unto life."' And later: "And the tidings came to the ears of the church that was at Jerusalem, touching these things, and they sent Barnabas as far as Antioch." And elsewhere: "They determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of the other side, should go up to the Apostles and Priests to Jerusalem about this question." Then it seemed good to the Apostles and Priests even of the entire Church to send men chosen from their midst to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas with these words: "For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things." The same is even clearer in another passage: "And as they passed through the cities, they delivered unto them the decrees for to keep, that were decreed by the Apostles and the ancients who were at Jerusalem." The Church of Jerusalem, therefore, is the Mother of all churches and the first, (although the rulers later gave primacy to the Old and the New Rome because of the seat of the Empire, according to the third Canon of the Second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople) because the spreading of the Gospel to all the lands of the earth began there; and because of this, the Church has become catholic, since it was accepted in its teaching of the faith by all the nations.
Q. 85. What is taught thirdly in this article of faith?
R. Thirdly, it is taught that the Church has no other foundation except Christ, according to the Apostle: "For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus." On occasion, however, in Sacred Scripture the Apostles and Prophets are called the foundations of the Church, as is evident from the Apocalypse: "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." And from the Epistle: "Built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets." It must be understood here that the Apostles and Prophets are not absolutely and primarily the foundation of the faith, for such a foundation is Christ the Lord, but they are subsequent and secondary, in as much as they, more recently established in the saving doctrine of Jesus Christ, were the first to preach the Gospel of the spreading Christian faith in all the lands of the earth. For Christ the Lord did not found his Church on men, but rather on himself, as true God, and on his teaching. Equally, the head of the Church is Christ himself, according to the teaching of the Apostle: "Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church. He is the Savior of the body." Still elsewhere: "And he is the head of the body, the Church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things he may hold the primacy." But, when the bishops are called the heads of the churches, it must be understood that they are representatives of Christ in their own dioceses and individual heads, according to Scripture: "Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Spirit has placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood." So, Christ himself, the Lord, is the Archpastor, as the Apostle says: "And when the Prince of pastors shall appear, you shall receive a never fading crown."
Q. 86. What is taught fourthly in this article of faith?
R. It is taught that all orthodox should be obedient to the Church, following the teaching of Christ: "And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as the heathen and publican." Furthermore, the Church exercises such authority as approving writings in General Councils, judging Patriarchs, Popes and Bishops, punishing canonically those aware of guilt, since the Church is the pillar and ground of truth, according to the Apostle: "That you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
Q. 87. Which are the precepts of the Church?
R. There are nine special precepts of the Church. The first is to offer prayers to God every day, with piety and sorrow of heart; to hear with devotion the church services, if not daily, at least on Sundays and Feastdays, including Matins, Divine Liturgy, Vespers, and the sermon, as Scripture says: "That we ought always to pray and not to faint." And elsewhere: "Praying at all times in the spirit, and in the same watching with all justice and supplication for all the saints." And in another place: "Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks."
Q. 88. What is the second precept of the Church?
R. The second precept is to fast four times every year. The first fast is before the Nativity of Christ, which begins November 15. The second is the Forty- day Fast (56), the authority for which is Christ himself, the Lord, as Sacred Scripture testifies: "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry." The third is the Fast of the Apostles, which begins the week after the Feast of Pentecost; it is called "Apostolic", because the Apostles fasted that same time, when they were being sent out to preach the Gospel, as it appears from the Acts of the Apostles: "Then they, lasting and praying, and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away." The fourth fast is before the Feast of the Dormition (57) of the Virgin Mary, which begins the first day of August and ends the 15th of the same month. Moreover, one must fast the fourth and sixth day of the week (58), but not on Saturday or Sunday, according to the 66th Apostolic Canon, Great Saturday (59) being the exception. The fast must also be maintained on September 14, when we fast because of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and in memory of the suffering of Christ, the Lord; on that day the Passion Gospel is read. Likewise, there is a fast on August 29, when the beheading of St. John the Baptist is commemorated. Furthermore, it is our tradition not to fast on the prescribed days from the Nativity (60) of Christ until Epiphany, the entire holy week of Easter, the week after Pentecost, the week of the reading of the Gospel of the Publican and Pharisee (61), and then the week of Carnival.
Q. 89. What is the third precept of the Church?
R. Churchmen must be held in the due reverence as the servants of God and our mediators; especially must the confessor be honored as a spiritual father and be consulted in regard to the salvation of the soul. Scripture speaks of this precept thus: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God." And elsewhere: "And we beseech you, brothers, to know them who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and we admonish you that you esteem them more abundantly in charity, for their work's sake. Have peace with them." Similarly: "Know you not, that they who work in the holy place, eat the things that are of the holy place; and they that serve the altar, partake with the altar? So also the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel, should live by the gospel." In still another place: "Let the priests who rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." Seculars should not become involved in spiritual matters, according to the Apostle: "Brothers, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness." (62)
Q. 90. What is the fourth ecclesiastical precept?
R. We should go to confession four times a year before a priest, who is properly ordained and orthodox; those more advanced spiritually should confess with devotion and holiness every month; the less advanced are bound to confess their sins at least once a year, during the Forty-day Fast. The first concern of the sick should be to cleanse their conscience as soon as possible by confession and the participation in the Holy Eucharist, receiving piously the anointing of holy oil. (63)
Q. 91. What is the fifth precept of the Church?
R. Books of heretics are not to be read, nor should one listen to their blasphemous teachings; anyone not trained in God's Scriptures and the sciences should not enter into disputation with heretics; nor are their gatherings to be attended, in accord with the Psalmist: "Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners." And elsewhere: "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid."
Q. 92. What is the sixth precept of the Church?
R. One must pray to God, the Highest and Greatest, for men in all states of life; first of all, for those in the religious state, the most blessed Father Patriarch and Metropolitan, as well as the bishop in one's diocese, and for all the clergy; secondly, for his Lordship the King, the whole Senate, the entire Republic and the soldiers (64), especially, however, for those who have done well by the churches and effected an increase of the orthodox-catholic faith, according to the Apostle: "l desire, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in high station, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all piety and chastity; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior." One must also pray for the deceased, who have died in the orthodox faith. Likewise, for heretics and schismatics, that they might be converted to the orthodox faith before they depart this life.
Q. 93. What is the seventh precept of the Church?
R. Fasting and prayer, as prescribed particularly by the Metropolitan or bishop of one's own diocese, must be performed in order to avert the imminent wrath of God, as plague, famine, war, drought, flood, or for the healing of the sick and the consolation of the afflicted, as is evident from the Acts of the Apostles: "Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him"
Q. 94. What is the eighth precept of the Church?
R. Laymen ought not take the property and estates of the Church by violence, nor transform them to their own use. Religious, especially the prelates, should provide for the furnishing of the Church from the goods of the Church, also provide for the poor and traveling, in accord with the teachings of Sacred Scripture: "And the disciples, every man according to his ability, proposed to send relief to the brothers who dwelled in Judea. Which also they did, sending it to the ancients, by the hands of Barnabas and Saul." Likewise, laymen as well as religious prelates of any church should not take away monetary sums nor any moveable property, whether gained by legacy or gift, from that church and turn the same into private or personal use, nor should such an intention of the giver be tolerated.
Q. 95. What is the ninth ecclesiastical precept?
R. Marriages are not to be celebrated on days prohibited by the Church; likewise, orthodox should not participate in forbidden games, nor follow barbarian practices, but rather abstain from such things.
Q. 96. How can we speak of believing in the Church, which is a creature, when we ought to believe only in God?
R. Although the Church is spoken of as a creature, in as much as it is formed of men, nevertheless, it has as its head the same Christ, true God; also, there is the Holy Spirit who continually teaches it and makes pure the spouse of Christ, which the Apostle says is the "pillar and ground of the truth." Its dogmas and teaching are not human but divine; and so, when we say that we believe in the Church, it is to be understood that we believe in the divinely given words of Christ and the dogmas inspired by the Holy Spirit, as Scripture says: "But the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Spirit." And elsewhere: "You received it not as the word of men, but (as it is indeed) the word of God." By this we are admonished to believe not only in the Gospel, which the Church has chosen, about which Christ the Lord spoke: "Repent, and believe the Gospel," but also in all the conciliar decrees.
Q. 97. Which is the tenth article of faith?
R. "I believe in one baptism for the remission of sins."
Q. 98. What does this article of faith teach?
R. While it does make mention of baptism, the first sacrament, it offers us the opportunity to consider the seven sacraments, that is: baptism, chrismation, eucharist, penance, priesthood, matrimony and the anointing of oil. These seven sacraments go back to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, because it is through these sacraments that the Holy Spirit infuses the gifts into the soul of those who worthily receive them, and also grace, concerning which Patriarch Jeremias wrote extensively in his work to the Lutherans that they might be converted. (65)
Q. 99. What is a mystery? (66)
R. Mystery is the reality through which the invisible grace of God is effected in or conferred upon the souls of the faithful under a perceptible form; it was established by Christ the Lord as the means through which the faithful gain the grace of God.
Q. 100. How many things are necessary for a mystery?
R. Three things: proper matter, such as water, bread, wine, etc. according to the type of mystery; and then a properly ordained priest or bishop; thirdly, there is the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the form of the words, through which the priest consecrates the mystery by the power of the Holy Spirit with the proper intention to so consecrate.
Q. 101. For what purpose have the mysteries been established?
R. First, that they may be signs of the true sons of God, surely of the orthodox- catholic Apostolic Church; whoever rightly makes use of the mysteries, is a true member of the Church of God and through grace a son of God. Secondly, that we may have a sure sign of our faith in God, being certain of our eternal salvation through faith and good works. Thirdly, that we might have unfailing remedies for removing our sins.
Q. 102. Which is the first mystery?
R. Baptism is the removal and annulment of original sin through the triple immersion in water by the priest, pronouncing the words: "In the name of the Father amen, and of the Son amen, and of the Holy Spirit amen." But, "Amen" ought to be said by the godparents and not the priest. The reconciliation of man with God occurs through this (re) generation from water and the Holy Spirit, and entrance into the heavenly kingdom is granted in accord with the words of the Savior: "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Once received, this mystery cannot be repeated, as the one baptizing believes in the orthodox manner that there is one God in the Trinity, by employing the words cited above distinctly and formally: "In the name of the Father amen, and of the Son amen, and of the Holy Spirit amen," according to the intention of the orthodox-catholic Church.
Q. 103. What should be mentioned about this mystery?
R. First, there is the fact that the infant denies the devil with all his works through his godparent, who should be orthodox; but if he be of advanced age, it is required that he himself of his own deny the devil, repeating the words of the priest and spurning the devil and all his works. And then he professes the Symbol of Faith. But, if he be an infant, his godfather acts in his stead by professing the Symbol of Faith and promising Christ for him. Furthermore, it should be noted that unmixed pure water is to be used in baptism, not made artificially, nor any other liquid. Regular baptism is not to be performed by anyone else except a legitimate priest. But, in case of necessity, a secular person of either sex can administer this mystery, the proper matter being used, pure and natural water, as also the form of the words cited above: "In the name of the Father amen, and of the Son amen, and of the Holy Spirit amen," along with the triple immersion, This baptism, however, is of such authority, that, besides being incapable of repetition, it is a certain and doubtless sign of eternal salvation. The fruits of this mystery are readily visible to everyone: first, this mystery removes all sins, original in infants, and both original and actual in adults; then, man is renewed and gains that justification, which he possessed in the state of innocence, as the Holy Apostle testifies: "But you are washed, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God." Besides this, they are made members of the body of Christ and we are clothed in Christ the Lord, as the Apostle bears witness: "For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ."
Q. 104. Which is the second mystery of the Church of Christ?
R. The second mystery is the anointing of chrism. This mystery began when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, strengthening them by his divine grace so that they might preach the Christian Faith firmly and perseveringly and so that the baptized might act by this power. And just as before, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the form of fire and poured his gifts upon them, so too now, as the priest anoints the baptized with holy chrism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are poured upon him; this is apparent from the words, which the priest is bound to recite when administering this mystery: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit," for the firmness and the strengthening of the Christian Faith; this agrees with the words of the Apostle: "Now he that confirms us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God: who also has sealed us, and given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts." This anointing of chrism occurred at the time of the Apostles through the laying on of hands, as Sacred Scripture witnesses: "Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit." Afterwards, this was done through the anointing of chrism, as known through the witness of the disciple of the holy Apostle Paul, Saint Dionysius the Aeropagite.
Q. 105. How many things are necessary for this mystery?
R. First, it is required that the chrism be consecrated by the superior bishop himself. Secondly, the proper matter is to be used, namely olive oil and the oil of the balsam tree along with other pungent oils. Thirdly, the priest anoints the baptized on the prescribed places, immediately after the baptism is performed, by pronouncing these words: "Seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit." The fruits resulting from this mystery are these. First, just as we are regenerated through baptism, so through chrism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in order to become strong in the Christian faith, and an increase of divine grace, in accord with the Apostle: "But according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration and renovation of the Holy Spirit, whom he has poured forth upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior." Secondly, we become so firm and strong by the power of the Holy Spirit, that nothing inimical to our soul can harm us. This mystery cannot be repeated, except with those who have denied Christ and later been converted.
Q. 106. Which is the third mystery?
R. It is the Eucharist or the body and blood of Christ the Lord under the form of bread and wine and the real presence. This sacrament excels the others and leads greatly to the salvation of the soul. For in this sacrament all the graces and the goodness of Christ are revealed and offered to the faithful, as will be later apparent.
Q. 107. What should be mentioned about this mystery?
R. First, nobody else can administer this mystery except a legitimate priest himself, even in the direst necessity. Secondly, it must be seen to that there be an altar, or as we call it „ "antimension" (67), in the absence of which the unbloody sacrifice can in no way be enacted. Thirdly, provision must be made that there be the proper matter, that is, the most pure leaven bread of wheat and wine devoid of any other substance, by itself. During the "proskomedia" (68), however, water is poured in so that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water." Fourthly, attention must be paid that the priest have, at the time of consecration, the intention that the real substance of the bread and the substance of wine be transubstantiated into the real body and blood of Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit. He makes this invocation when he confects this mystery by praying and saying: "Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here offered and make this bread the precious body of your Christ, and that which is in this chalice the precious blood of your Christ, changing them by your Holy Spirit." (69) Transubstantiation occurs immediately with these words, and the bread is transubstantiated into the real body of Christ and the wine into the real blood of Christ, with the visible appearances alone remaining; and this happens in accord with the divine disposition for two reasons. First, so that we do not see the body of Christ, but rather believe that it is so, because of the words spoken by Christ the Lord: "This is my body", etc. and "This is my blood . . .", spoken not to our senses, since he promised us happiness for this with the words: "Blessed are they who do not see, but believe." Secondly, because human nature recoils from the eating of live flesh, yet man should be united to Christ the Lord by the communion of the flesh of Christ the Lord and the blood of Christ the Lord; so that man, therefore, would not turn away, the Lord determined to give his flesh and blood to eat and drink to the faithful under the appearance of bread and wine. The saintly Damascene and Gregory of Nyssa discoursed at length on this point. Participation in this mystery should take place under two species, for the religious as well as seculars, since Christ so commended, excluding no one, when he said: "Amen, amen I say to you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." Likewise: "He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him" It was this manner of communicating under two species for both religious and seculars that the Apostles, as they received from Christ the Lord, so handed down, on which point the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke and said: 'Take you, and eat; this is my body, which shall be delivered for you; do this for the commemoration of me.' In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: 'This chalice is the new testament in my blood; do this, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me."' Reverence shown to this mystery is that which is due Christ himself, as said earlier, just as St. Peter, in the name of all the apostles, spoke about him: "You are Christ, the Son of the living God." And so we also speak in terms of the worship of latria: "I believe, O Lord, and confess that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (70) This mystery is also a sacrifice for the living and the dead, for those who have died in the hope of resurrection, which sacrifice will not cease until the last judgment. But, the advantages of this mystery are these. First, it is the commemoration of the innocent suffering and death of Christ the Lord, in accord with the saying: "For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he comes." The second advantage is that this mystery effects a propitiation for the sins of the living as well as the dead, such that no sacred liturgy is celebrated that the Lord God is not beseeched for our sins. The third advantage is: whoever is present often at this sacrifice and frequently partakes of this mystery, is himself freed of all temptations and threats of the devil; for the enemy of the soul does not dare persecute such men, since he really perceives that Christ is present in them. Preparation for these most sacred mysteries should be made according to the rite of the Orthodox Church, that is: perform holy confession, fast, make peace with all and other such things.
Q. 108. Which is the fourth mystery?
R. The priesthood, which is twofold: spiritual and sacramental. All orthodox- catholic Christians are honored as spiritual priests, as St. Peter teaches: "But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people." And John in the Apocalypse says: "Because you were slain, and have redeemed us to God, in your blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation; and have made us to our God a kingdom and priests." There should be, in accord with this priesthood, sacrifices, prayers, thanksgivings, mortifications of body, putting ourselves forth even to martyrdom for Christ and things similar to these; the Apostle urges us to this as he says: "Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." And another Apostle: "I beseech you, therefore, brothers, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing to God, your reasonable service."
Q. 109. How has the sacramental priesthood come about?
R. The sacramental priesthood was established by Christ on the Apostles, and through the laying on of their hands, and even now the episcopal hands, there occurs the consecration of a person for the dispensing of the divine mysteries and the administering of men's salvation, just as the Apostle says: "Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God." Two things are included in this dispensation. First, there is the power of absolution, as it is said: "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in heaven." ( 71 ) And then there is the power and authority to teach, which is expressed in these words: "Going, therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Christ, therefore, sent the Apostles in order to teach; but the Apostles, laying their hands on others, sent them to the same task, as is gathered from the words of St. Luke: "Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit." It is for this same reason that they were making public sacrifice to the Lord and fasting, when the Holy Spirit said: "Separate for me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have taken them. Then they, fasting and praying, and imposing their hands upon them, sent them away." And Paul: "Impose not hands lightly upon any man." Those who were sent have the power to teach the salvific dogmas through, therefore, the imposition of hands and the unbroken succession; but those who have not been sent nor chosen for the task, should by no means dare, according to the saying: "And how shall they preach, unless they be sent?"
Q. 110. What should be remarked about this mystery?
R. Consideration must be taken of those persons to be admitted to this mystery, so that there be found in these persons three things: first, that they have an upright conscience, devoid of the kind of sins that would obstruct the priesthood; secondly, it must be seen to that they have knowledge and wisdom, both in the performing of the divine mysteries and in the teaching of the people; thirdly, that they have all the necessary and suitable bodily members.
Q. 111. Are there any other orders before the priesthood?
R. The priesthood contains in itself all the grades (which, nevertheless, should be properly performed), as lector, cantor, acolyte, subdeacon and deacon, which are treated more adequately in the Euchologia of the Archbishops, which books are called Hieratika. (72) Here it suffices to mention, in regard to the teaching of our Orthodox Confession, that the bishop does indeed explain each order during its conferral by the form of consecration, the handing over of the vessels and by the sacred vestments, because each order has its own form and sign, by means of which each one is distinguished, which the bishop certainly should make known.
Q. 112. Which is the fifth mystery?
R. The fifth mystery is sacred penance, which is sorrow of heart for sins with the confession of the same before a priest and the unchangeable resolution to better one's life, along with the intention of performing the satisfaction designated by the priest. This mystery takes effect, when absolution is given by the priest according to the rite of the Church; the second it is pronounced, one's sins are remitted, as goes the saying: "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."
Q. 113. What should be noted about this mystery?
R. First, it should be noticed that the penitent should be a Christian of the orthodox-catholic faith, for penance without faith is not true penance and not pleasing to God. Secondly, it should be noted that the one who hears the confession ought to be an Orthodox confessor, because the heretic and the apostate lack the power to absolve. Thirdly, it is required that the penitent have contrition of heart, or sorrow for the sins by which he offended God or neighbor, about which contrition the Prophet speaks thus: "A contrite and humble heart God does not despise." This contrition should be followed by an oral confession of individual sins. For the confessor cannot absolute unless he knows what ought to be absolved and which penance to prescribe. Such a confession is expressed in Sacred Scripture, when it states: "And many of them that believed, came confessing and declaring their deeds." Similarly, in another place: "Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be saved." Likewise, those who were baptized by John were confessing their sins, as Scripture testifies: "And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins." This confession should have such qualities as humility, modesty, truth and sincerity, self-accusation and sorrow in the act of confessing. The third part of penance should be the satisfaction, assigned by the confessor, such as prayers, almsgivings, fasts, pilgrimages to holy places, prostrations and similar such things, which the confessor should designate in accord with good judgment. Nevertheless, the person who has made his confession should ponder the words spoken in the Psalm: "Turn away from evil and do good." The Savior himself also mentions the same: "Go, and now sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to you." Although it is impossible for man to completely avoid sin, still all orthodox are bound in conscience to make some improvement in life from one confession to the next.
Q. 114. What are the advantages of this mystery?
R. The first advantage is this: just as we lose through sin the innocence gained in baptism, so do we return thereunto in penance; and just as we lose grace through sin, so through penance do we regain it; and just as we enter the devil's captivity through sin, so are we freed from it through penance; and just as chaos and fear overcome our conscience through sin, so through penance peace and our filial trust return.
Q. 115. Which is the sixth mystery?
R. Matrimony, which transpires, first of all, through the mutual consent of both man and woman, being without impediment; this consent cannot be taken in the sense of a true marriage until they give witness in turn before the priest of their promise and extend their hands to show that they will keep unto each other faith, honor and matrimonial love, even until the final end of life, not foresaking each other in any danger. Their promise is then confirmed and blessed by the priest. Thus occurs "marriage honorable in all, and the bed undefiled."
Q. 116. What are the advantages of this mystery?
R. First, that man obviously avoids through matrimony all danger of fornication, because matrimony was established to extinguish con cupiscence, as the Apostle says: "But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband." The second advantage is that it confers honor to the offspring because of the respectable generation. The third advantage is that in times of sickness or other danger, the husband and wife offer themselves as the most faithful companions, because there is between them the greatest bond of love and also friendship; therefore, Scripture avers: "Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be two in one flesh."
Q. 117. Which is the seventh mystery?
R. The consecration with oil, which mystery was founded by Christ himself, when he sent his disciples two by two: "They anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." Later the Apostles and the entire Church kept this in practice, which is evident from the Epistle of James the Apostle, when he says: "Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick man, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him."
Q. 118. What should be noted about this mystery?
R. First, it should be observed that the priests themselves, and no other, perform this mystery with due preparation. Secondly, the oil is to be pure with no additive; the sick person should be orthodox-catholic and should make his confession before his own confessor. Thirdly, care must be taken that there be read during the anointing that prayer in which the form of this sacrament is expressed.
Q. 119. What are the advantages of this mystery?
R. The Apostle James expressed the advantages which come from this mystery: the forgiveness of sins or the salvation of the soul, and then the health of the body, although not always of the body, but of the soul, there always being the forgiveness of the penitent's sins.
Q. 120. Which is the eleventh article of faith?
R. "I hope for the resurrection of the dead." (73)
Q. 121. What does this article of faith teach?
R. It teaches the undeniable resurrection after death of the bodies of men, both the upright as well as the evil, in accord with the saying of the Lord: "All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life, but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." But the bodies are the same in which men lived in this world, as Job relates: "For I know that my redeemer lives, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth; and I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God. Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another; this my hope is laid up in my bosom." Yet, the same should be incorruptible and immortal after the resurrection, according to the saying: "We shall all indeed not sleep, but we shall all be changed. (74) In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for it shall sound and the dead shall rise again incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." And it should be known that every soul must return to its same body and together will receive eternal and perfect payment for its deeds; the bodies of the evil, also being immortal, will be tormented eternally.
Q. 122. Secondly, what does this article of faith teach?
R. It teaches every Christian to commit to memory four things, that is, to remember death, last judgment, the punishment of hell and the eternal kingdom.
Q. 123. What advantages accrue to man from the consideration of these four things?
R. Godliness, avoidance of sin, fear of the Lord, fear of Gehenna's hell and love of the heavenly kingdom„are gained. One should be prepared for death by the consideration of these things. By remembering the last day, one ought to be prepared to render an account to the Lord God of one's thoughts, words and deeds; by remembering hell one should be careful not to fall therein; by remembering the kingdom of heaven one ought to take care to gain the same.
Q. 124. Which is the twelfth article of faith?
R. "And the life of the world to come."
Q. 125. What does the holy Church teach in this article?
R. It teaches first that the elect shall receive blessing in the future world, eternal life, and will never have an end to their joy, as the Apostle says: "That eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him." Likewise in another place: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but justice and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit."
Q. 126. Is eternal happiness enjoyed by the soul itself or together with the body?
R. Certainly together, because they have merited together and not separately, for there will be one joy of body and soul. And when man will be in his glorified body, he will be considered similar to the Angels, as the saying goes: "For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married; but shall be as the Angels of God in heaven." But the glorified body is immortal and incorruptible, not needing food and drink, similar to the spirit according to Sacred Scripture: "The dead shall rise again incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." And as the Apostle says, this joy and gladness will be no other than the beatific vision of the Holy Trinity and the exultation in the spirit and with the angels: "We see now through a glass in a dark manner, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I am known." Yet, it was said to Moses: "For man shall not see my face and live." But this must be understood to mean before the resurrection in this body, corruptible and not glorified; but, after the resurrection God will give us, now in the glorified body and the state of eternal life after the day of the last judgment, the light of glory, by which we will see the light of God, on which point the Psalm says: "For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we shall see light." Every desire of wisdom and all goodness will cease in this vision; for by gazing attentively upon God, we will see all things in him and we will experience all joy, as the same Psalmist says: "I shall be satisfied when your glory shall appear."
| Next Section | Previous Section | Footnotes | Index |