CREED 03 « «    [ Français ]

COMMENTS ON THE THE APOSTLES' CREED


  1.  The fourth and final reason   is that Christ might free the just who were in hell [ or Limbo ]. For as Christ wished to suffer death to deliver the living from death , so also He would descend into hell to deliver those who were there : " Thou also by the blood of Thy testament , hast sent forth Thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. " [ 11 ] And again : " O death, I will be thy death ; O hell , I will be thy bite. " [ 12 ]

    Although Christ wholly overcame death , yet not so completely did He destroy hell , but, as it were , He bit it. He did not free all from hell , but those only who were without mortal sin. He likewise liberated those without original sin , from which they , as individuals , were freed by circumcision ; or before [ the institution of ] circumcision , they who had been saved through their parents' faith ( which refers to those who died before having the use of reason ) ; or by the sacrifices , and by their faith in the future coming of Christ ( which refers to adults ). " [ 13 ] The reason they were there in hell [ i.e., Limbo ] is original sin which they had contracted from Adam , and from which as members of the human race they could not be delivered except by Christ. Therefore , Christ left there those who had descended there with mortal sin , and the non-circumcised children. Thus , it is seen that Christ descended into hell , and for what reasons. Now we may gather four considerations from this for our own instruction.


  2. WHAT WE MAY LEARN FROM THIS

    ( 1 )  A firm hope in God. No matter how much one is afflicted , one ought always hope in the assistance of God and have trust in Him. There is nothing so serious as to be in hell. If , therefore , Christ delivered those who were in hell , what great confidence ought every friend of God have that he will be delivered from all his troubles ! " She [ that is , wisdom ] forsook not the just when he was sold , but delivered him from sinners. She went down with him into the pit. And in bonds she left him not. " [ 14 ] God helps in a special manner those who serve Him , and hence the servant of God should feel secure in Him : " He that feareth the Lord shall tremble at nothing and shall not be afraid ; for He is his hope. " [ 15 ]

  3. ( 2 )  We ought to conceive a fear of God and avoid all presumption. We have already seen that Christ suffered for sinners and descended into hell for them. However , He did not deliver all sinners , but only those who were free from mortal sin. He left there those who departed this life in mortal sin. Hence , anyone who descends into hell in mortal sin has no hope of deliverance ; and he will remain in hell as long as the holy fathers remain in paradise, that is , for all eternity : " And these shall go into everlasting punishment ; but the just , into life everlasting. " [ 16 ]

  4. ( 3 )  We ought to arouse in ourselves a mental anxiety. Since Christ descended into hell for our salvation , we ought in all care go down there in spirit by considering , for instance , its punishments as did that holy man , Ezechias : " I said : In the midst of my days I shall go to the gates of hell. [ 17 ] Indeed , he who during this life frequently descends into hell by thinking of it , will not easily fall into hell at death ; for such meditation keeps one from sin , and draws one out of it. We see how men of this world guard themselves against wrongdoing because of the temporal punishment ; but with how much more care ought they avoid the punishment of hell which far exceeds all else in its duration , its severity , and its varied nature ! " In all thy works remember thy last end , and thou shalt never sin. " [ 18 ]

  5. ( 4 )  There comes to us in this an example of love. Christ descended into hell in order to deliver His own ; and so we should go down there to rescue our own. They cannot help themselves. Therefore , let us deliver those who are in purgatory. He would be very hard-hearted who does not come to the aid of a relative who is detained in an earthly prison ; but much more cruel is he who will not assist a friend who is in purgatory , for there is no comparison between the pains of this world and of that : " Have pity on me , have pity on me , at least you my friends , because the hand of the Lord hath touched me. " [ 19 ] " It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead , that they may be loosed from their sins. " [ 20 ] We may assist these souls in three ways as St. Augustine tells us , viz., through Masses , prayers , and almsgiving. St. Gregory adds a fourth , that is , fasting. All this is not so amazing , for even in this world a friend can pay a debt for his friend ; but this applies only to those who are in purgatory.

  6. ENDNOTES

  7. 1. " Hell here means those far-removed places in which are detained those souls that have not been awarded the happiness of heaven . . . These places are not of the same nature. There is that most abominable and most dark prison where the souls of the damned , together with the unclean spirits , are punished in eternal and unquenchable fire. This is gehenna or the ' abyss , ' and is Hell , strictly so-called. There also is the fire of Purgatory , in which the suffering souls of the just are purified for a definite time in order that they be permitted to enter into the everlasting Fatherland , where nothing unclean is admitted . . . The third and last place is that in which the souls of the just before the coming of the Lord were received ; there without any pain , sustained by the blessed hope of the redemption , they enjoyed a quiet repose. It was to these souls who waited in the bosom of Abraham that Christ the Lord descended , and whom He delivered " ( " Roman Catechism, " Fifth Article, Chapter VI, 2-3 ). Therefore , " He descended into hell " means that the soul of Jesus Christ , after His death , descended into Limbo , i.e., to the place where the souls of the just who died before Christ were detained , and were waiting for the time of their redemption. St. Peter writes : " He was put to death indeed in the flesh. but enlivened in the spirit , in which also coming , He preached to those spirits that were in prison " ( I Peter, iii, 18-19 ). " We profess that immediately after the death of Christ , His soul descended into hell , and remained there as long as His body was in the sepulchre ; and we believe also that the one Person of Christ was at the same time in hell and in the tomb " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 1 ).

  8. 2. See last footnote. This place is also called Limbo.

    3. Ps. lxxxvii. 5. " They descended as captives ; He as free and victorious amongst the dead , to overcome those devils by whom , in consequence of their guilt , they were held in captivity " ( " Roman Catechism, " " loc. cit. , " 5).

    5. This refers to the temptation of Our Lord in the desert.

    7. St. Thomas says that the soul of Christ descended to the hell of the just or to Limbo " per suam essentiam , " but to the hell of the damned only " per suum effectum " ( " Summa Theol. , " III, Q. lii, Art. 2 )

    4. Ecclus., xxiv. 45 6. John, xii. 31 8. Col., ii. 15 9. Phil., ii. Io 10. Mark, xvi. 17
    11. Zach.. ix. 11 12. Osee, xiii. 14 13. Italics added 14. Wis., 13-14 15. Ecclus., xxxiv. 16
    16. Matt., xxv. 46 17. Isa., xxxviii. 10 18. Ecclus., vii. 40 19. Job, xix. 21 20. II Mach., xii. 46

    Article 5 ( CONTINUED ) : " THE THIRD DAY HE AROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD. "     Back   Top

  9. We must necessarily know two things : the glory of God and the punishment of hell. For being attracted by His glory and made fearful by punishments , we take warning and withdraw ourselves from sin. But for us to appreciate these facts is very difficult. Thus , it is said of God's glory : " But the things that are in heaven , who shall search out ? " [ 1 ] For those who are worldly minded this is indeed difficult , because " he that is of the earth , of the earth he is , and of the earth he speaketh ; " [ 2 ] but it is easier for the spiritually minded , because , " he that cometh from above is above all , " as is said in the same place. Accordingly , God descended from heaven and became incarnate to teach us heavenly things. Once it was difficult to know about the punishments of hell : " no man hath been known to have returned from hell , " [ 3 ] as it is said in the person of the wicked. But this cannot be said now , for just as Christ descended from heaven to teach us heavenly things , so also He came back from the region of hell to teach us about it. It is , therefore , necessary that we believe not only that Christ was made man , and died , but also that He arose again from the dead. Therefore , it is said in the Creed : " The third day He arose again from the dead. "

    We find that many arose from the dead, such as Lazarus , [ 4 ] the son of the widow , [ 5 ] and the daughter of the Ruler of the synagogue. [ 6 ] But the resurrection of Christ differed from the resurrection of these and of all others in four points.

  10. SPECIAL CHARACTER OF CHRIST'S RESURRECTION . . .

  11. ( 1 ) Christ's resurrection differed from that of all others in its cause. Those others who arose did so not of their own power , but either by the power of Christ or through the prayers of some Saint. Christ , on the contrary , arose by His own power , because He was not only Man but also God , and the Divinity of the Word was at no time separated either from His soul or from His body. Therefore , His body could , whenever He desired , take again the soul , and His soul the body : " I lay down My life , that I may take it again . . . And I have power to lay it down ; and I have power to take it up again. " [ 7 ] Christ truly died , but not because of weakness or of necessity but rather of His own will entirely and by His own power. This is seen in that moment when He yielded up the ghost ; He cried out with a loud voice , [ 8 ] which could not be true of others at the moment of dying , because they die out of weakness . . . For this the centurion said : " Indeed , this was the Son of God. " [ 9 ] By that same power whereby He gave up His soul , He received it again ; and hence the Creed says , " He arose again , " because He was not raised up as if by anyone else. " I have slept and have taken My rest ; and I have risen up. " [ 10 ] Nor can this be contrary to these words , " This Jesus hath God raised again , " [ 11 ] because both the Father and the Son raised Him up , since one and the same power is of the Father and the Son.

  12. ( 2 ) Christ's resurrection was different as regards the life to which He arose. Christ arose again to a glorious and incorruptible life : " Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father. " [ 12 ] The others , however , were raised to that life which they had before , as seen of Lazarus and the others.

  13. ( 3 ) Christ's resurrection was different also in effect and efficacy. In virtue of the resurrection of Christ all shall rise again : " And many bodies of the saints that had slept arose. " [ 13 ] The Apostle declares that " Christ is risen from the dead , the first fruits of them that sleep. " [ 14 ] But also note that Christ by His Passion arrived at glory : " Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into His glory ? " [ 15 ] And this is to teach us how we also may arrive at glory : " Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. " [ 16 ]

  14. ( 4 ) Christ's resurrection was different in point of time. Christ arose on the third day ; but the resurrection of the others is put off until the end of the world. The reason for this is that the resurrection and death and nativity of Christ were " for our salvation , [ 17 ] and thus He wished to rise again at a time when it would be of profit to us. Now , if He had risen immediately , it would not have been believed that He died ; and similarly , if He had put it off until much later , the disciples would not have remained in their belief , and there would have been no benefit from His Passion. He arose again , therefore , on the third day , so that it would be believed that He died , and His disciples would not lose faith in him. [ 18 ]

  15. WHAT WE MAY LEARN FROM THE RESURRECTION . . .

  16. From all this we can take four things for our instruction. Firstly , let us endeavor to arise spiritually , from the death of the soul which we incur by our sins , to that life of justice which is had through penance : " Rise , thou that sleepest , and arise from the dead ; and Christ shall enlighten thee. " [ 19 ] This is the first resurrection : " Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. " [ 20 ]

  17. Secondly , let us not delay to rise until our death , but do it at once , since Christ arose on the third day : " Delay not to be converted to the Lord ; and defer it not from day to day. " [ 21 ] You will not be able to consider what pertains to salvation when weighed down by illness , and, moreover , by persevering in sin , you will lose part of all the good which is done in the Church , and you will incur many evils. Indeed , the longer you possess the devil , the harder it is to put him away , as St. Bede tells us.

  18. Thirdly , let us rise up again to an incorruptible life in that we may not die again , but resolve to sin no more : " Knowing that Christ , rising again from the dead , dieth now no more. Death shall no more have dominion over Him . . . So do you also reckon that you are dead to sin , but alive unto God , in Christ Jesus our Lord. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of iniquity unto sin ; but present yourselves to God , as those that are alive from the dead. " [ 22 ]

  19. Fourthly, let us rise again to a new and glorious life by avoiding all that which formerly were the occasions and the causes of our death and sin: "As Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life."[23] This new life is the life of justice which renews the soul and leads it to the life of glory.

  20. ENDNOTES

    1. Wis., ix. 16 2. John, iii. 31 3. Wisd., ii. 1 4. John, xi 1-44 5. Luke, vii. 11-16
    6. Mark, v. 35-43 7. John, x. 18 8. Matt., xxvii. 50 9. Matt., xxvii. 54 10. Ps. iii. 6
    11. Acts, ii. 3~. Rom., vi, 4 13. Matt., xxviii. 52 14. I Cor., xv. 20 15. Luke xxiv. 26
    16. Acts, xiv. 21 17. From the Nicene Creed

    ARTICLE 6 : " HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN , AND SITTETH AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD , THE FATHER ALMIGHTY. "    Back   Top

  21. Besides the resurrection of Christ , we must also believe in His ascension ; for He ascended into heaven on the fortieth day. Hence , the Creed says : " He ascended into heaven. "
    Concerning this we ought to observe three things , viz. ,
     a ) that it was sublime ,
     b ) reasonable ,
     c ) and beneficial. 

  22. THE SUBLIMITY OF THE ASCENSION . . .

  23. It was certainly sublime that Christ ascended into heaven. This is expounded in three ways. Firstly , He ascended above the physical heaven : " He . . . ascended above all the heavens. " [ 1 ] Secondly , He ascended above all the spiritual heavens , i.e. , spiritual natures : " Raising [ Jesus ] up from the dead and setting Him on His right hand in the heavenly places. Above all principality and power and virtue and dominion and every name that is named , not only in this world but also in that which is to come. And He hath subjected all things under His feet. "[ 2 ] Thirdly , He ascended up to the very throne of the Father : " Lo , one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. And He came even to the Ancient of days. " [ 3 ] " And the Lord Jesus , after He had spoken to them , was taken up into heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God. " [ 4 ]

  24. Now , it is not to be taken in the literal sense , but figuratively , that Christ is at the right hand of God. Inasmuch as Christ is God , He is said to sit at the right hand of the Father , that is , in equality with the Father ; and as Christ is man , He sits at the right hand of the Father , that is , in a more preferable place. [ 5 ] The devil once feigned to do this : " I will ascend above the height of the clouds. I will be like the Most High." [ 6 ] But Christ alone succeeded in this , and so it is said : " He ascended into heaven , and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. " " The Lord said to my Lord: Sit Thou at My right hand. " [ 7 ]

  25. THE REASONABLENESS OF THE ASCENSION . . .

  26. The Ascension of Christ into heaven is in accord with reason :

    1° because heaven was due to Christ by His very nature. It is natural for one to return to that place from whence he takes his origin. The beginning of Christ is from God , who is above all things : " I came forth from the Father and am come into the world ; again I leave the world and I go to the Father. " 9 " No man hath ascended into heaven , but He that descended from heaven , the Son of man who is in heaven. " 9 The just ascend into heaven , but not in the manner that Christ ascended , i.e. , by His own power ; for they are taken up by Christ : [ 10 ] " Draw me , we will run after Thee. " [ 11 ] Or , indeed , we can say that no man but Christ has ascended into heaven , because the just do not ascend except in so far as they are the members of Christ who is the head of the Church. " Wheresoever the body shall be , there shall the eagles also be gathered together. " [ 12 ]

    2° Heaven is due to Christ because of His victory. For He was sent into the world to combat the devil , and He did overcome him. Therefore , Christ deserved to be exalted above all things : " I also have overcome and am set down with My Father in His throne. " [ 13 ]

  27. 3° The Ascension is reasonable because of the humility of Christ. There never was humility so great as that of Christ , who , although He was God , yet wished to become man ; and although He was the Lord , yet wished to take the form of a servant , and , as St. Paul says : " He was made obedient unto death , " [ 14 ] and descended even into hell. For this He deserved to be exalted even to heaven and to the throne of God , for humility leads to exaltation : " He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. " [ 15 ] " He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens. " [16]

    THE BENEFITS OF THE ASCENSION . . .

  28.  The Ascension of Christ was very beneficial for us. beneficialThis is seen in three ways.

     Firstly ,
     as our Leader , because He ascended in order to lead us ; for we had lost the way , but He has shown it to us. " For He shall go up that shall open the way before them , [ 17 ] and thus we may be made certain of possessing the heavenly kingdom : " I go to prepare a place for you. " [ 18 ]

      Secondly , that He might draw our hearts to Himself : " For where thy treasure is , there is thy heart so. " [ Matt. 6 , 21 ]

      Thirdly , to let us withdraw from worldly things : " Therefore , if you be risen with Christ , seek the things that are above , where  Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Mind the things that are above , not the things that are upon the earth. " [ 20 ] 

  29. ENDNOTES

    1. Eph., iv. 10 2. "Ibid.," i. 20-22 3. Dan., vii. 13 4. Mark, xvi. 19  

    5. " In these words we observe a figure of speech , that is , the changing of a word from its literal to a figurative meaning , something which is not infrequent in the Scriptures : for when accommodating its language to human ideas , it attributes human affections and human members to God , who is pure spirit and can admit of nothing corporeal. For , just as among men , he who sits at the right hand is considered to occupy the most honored place : so , transferring the idea to heavenly things to express the glory which Christ as Man enjoys above all others , we say that He sits at the right hand of His Eternal Father. Now , this does not mean actual position and figure of body , but declares the fixed and permanent possession of royal and supreme power and glory which Christ received from the Father " ( " Roman Catechism , " Sixth Article , 3 ).

    6. Isa., xiv. 13-14 7. Ps. cix. 1 8. John, xvi. 28 9. "lbid.," iii. 13  

    10. " He ascended by His own power , not by the power of another as did Elias , who was taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot ( IV Kings, ii. 1 ) ; or as the prophet Habacuc ( Dan., xiv. 35 ) ; or Philip , the deacon. who was borne through the air by the divine power and traversed the distant regions of the earth ( Acts, viii. 39 ). Neither did He ascend into heaven solely by the exercise of His supreme power as God. but also , by virtue of the power which He possessed as Man ; although human power alone was insufficient to raise Him from the dead , yet the virtue with which the blessed soul of Christ was endowed , was capable of moving the body as it pleased, and His body , now glorified , readily obeyed the soul that moved it " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 2 ).

    11. Cant., i. 3 12. Matt., xxiv. 28 13. Apoc., iii. 21 14. Phil., ii. 8 15. Luke, xiv. 11
    16. Eph., iv. 10 17. Mich., ii. 13 18. John, xiv. 2 19. Matt., vi. 21 20. Col., iii. 1

    Article 7 : " FROM THENCE HE SHALL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. "     Back   Top

  30. It is of the office of the King and Lord to pronounce judgment : " The king that sitteth on the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with His look. " [ 1 ] Since Christ , therefore , ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God as Lord of all , it is clear that His is the office of Judge. For this reason we say in the rule of Catholic faith that " He shall come to judge the living and the dead. " Indeed the Angels have said that : " This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven shall so come as you have seen Him going into heaven. " [ 2 ]

  31. We shall consider three facts about the judgment :
    ( 1 ) the form of the judgment ;
    ( 2 ) the fear of the judgment ;
    ( 3 ) our preparation for the judgment.

  32. THE FORM OF THE JUDGMENT

  33.   Now, concerning the form of the judgment there is a threefold question : 
      1° Who is the judge , [ 104 ] 
      2° who are to be judged , [ 105 ] 
      3° and upon what will they be judged ?  

  34. 1° Christ is the Judge : " It is He who is appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. " [ 3 ] We may here interpret " the dead " to mean sinners and " the living " to mean the just ; or " the living " to refer to those who at that time were living and " the dead " to mean those who had died.

     Christ in a certain way is Judge , not only in that He is God , but also in that He is man. 

     The first reason for this is because it is necessary that they who are to be judged may see the Judge.  But the Godhead is so wholly delightful that no one could behold it without great enjoyment ; and hence the damned are not permitted to see the Judge , nor in consequence to enjoy anything. Christ , therefore , of necessity will appear in the form of man so that He may be seen by all : " And He hath given Him power to do judgment , because He is the Son of man. "

    [ 4 ]  Again Christ deserved this office as Man ,   for as Man He was unjustly judged , and therefore God constitutes Him Judge of the entire world : " Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked. Cause and judgment Thou shalt recover. "

     [ 5 ] And , lastly , if God alone should judge men , they , being terrified , would despair ; but this despair disappears from men if  they are to be judged by a Man : " And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud. " [ 6 ] 

  35. WHO ARE TO BE JUDGED ?

  36.  All are to be judged -- those who are , who were , and who will be :  " We must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ , that every one may receive the proper things of the body , according as he hath done , whether it be good or evil. " [ 7 ] There are , says St. Gregory , four different classes of people to be judged. The chief difference is between the good and the wicked. Of the wicked , some will be condemned but not judged. They are the infidels whose works are not to be discussed because , as St. John says : " He that doth not believe is already judged. " [ 8 ] Others will be both condemned and judged. They are those possessing the faith who departed this life in mortal sin : " For the wages of sin is death. " [ 9 ] They shall not be excluded from the judgment because of the faith which they possessed.

  37.  Of the good also , some will be saved and shall not be judged.   they are the poor in spirit for God's sake who rather shall judge others : " Amen , I say to you that you , who have followed Me , in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of His majesty , you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. " [ 10 ] Now , this is not to be understood only of the disciples , but of all those who are poor in spirit ; for otherwise Paul , who labored more than others , would not be among this number. These words , therefore, must refer also to all the followers of the apostles and to all apostolic men : " Know you not that we shall judge Angels ? [ 11 ] " The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of His people and its princes. " [ 12 ]

     Others shall both be saved and judged , that is , they who die in a state of righteousness.  For although they departed this life in justice , nevertheless they fell somewhat amiss in the business of temporal matters , and hence shall be judged but saved. The judgment will be upon all their deeds good and bad : " Walk in the ways of thy heart , . . . and know that for all these God will bring thee into judgment. " [ 13 ] " And all things that are done , God will bring into judgment for every error , whether it be good or evil. " [ 14 ] Even idle words shall be judged : " But I say to you that every idle word hat men shall speak , they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment. " [ 15 ] And thoughts also : " For inquisition shall be made into the thought of the ungodly. " [ 16 ] Thus , the form of the judgment is clear.

  38. THE FEAR OF THE JUDGMENT

  39. The judgment ought indeed to be feared for four reasons . . .
     Because of the wisdom of the Judge.  God knows all things , our thoughts, words and deeds , and " all things are naked and open to his eyes. [ 17 ] " All the ways of men are open to His eyes. " [ 18 ] He knows our words : " The ear of jealousy heareth all things. " [ 19 ] Also our thoughts : " The heart is perverse above all things and unsearchable. Who can know it ? I am the Lord , who search the heart and prove the reins ; who give to every one according to his way and according to the fruit of his devices. " [ 20 ] There will be infallible witnesses -- men's own consciences : " Who show the work of the law written in their hearts , their conscience bearing witness to them ; and their thoughts between themselves accusing or also defending one another , in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men. " [ 21 ]

  40.  Because of the power of the Judge , who is almighty in Himself :  " Behold , the Lord God will come with strength. " [ 22 ] And also almighty in others : " The whole world shall fight with Him against the unwise. " [ 23 ] Hence , Job says : " Whereas there is no man that can deliver out of Thy hand. " [ 24 ] " If I ascend into heaven , Thou art there ; if I descend into hell , Thou art present , " says the Psalmist. [ 25 ]

  41.   Because of the inflexible justice of the Judge.   The present is the time for mercy ; but the future is the time solely for justice ; and so the present is our time , but the future is God's time : " When I shall take a time , I shall judge justices. When I seize the appointed time, I will judge with equity. Though the earth and all who dwell in it quaque, I have set firm its pillars. [ 26 ] I say to the boastful : Boast not ; and to the wicked : Lift not up your horns." Lift not up your horns against the Most High ; speak not haughtily against the rock. For neither from the east nor from the west, neither from the desert nor from the mountains , but God is the judge ; one he brings low; another he lifts up. For a cup is in the Lords' hands , full of spiced and foaming wine, And He pours out from it ; even to the dregs they shall drain it; all the wicked of the earth shall drink it. [ 26 ] " His jealousy and anger will not spare in the day of revenge. Nor will He yield to any man's prayers ; nor will He accept for satisfaction ever so many gifts. " [ 27 ]

  42.  Because of the anger of the Judge.  He shall appear in different ways to the just and to the wicked. To the just , He will be pleasant and gracious : " They will behold the King of beauty. " [ 28 ] To the wicked He will be angry and pitiless , so that they may say to the mountains : " Fall upon us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb. " [ 29 ] But this anger of God does not bespeak in Him any perturbation of soul , but rather the effect of His anger which is the eternal punishment inflicted upon sinners.

  43. OUR PREPARATION FOR THE JUDGMENT

  44. Now , against this fear of the judgment we ought to have four remedies.
    The first is good works :
    " Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power ?
    Do that which is good , and thou shalt have praise from the same. " [ 30 ]
    The second is confession and repentance for sins committed ;
    and this ought to include sorrow in thinking of them ,
    a feeling of shame in confessing them , and all severity in making satisfaction for them.
    And these will take away the eternal punishment.
    The third is giving of alms , which makes all things clean :
    " Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity ;
    that when you shall fail , they may receive you into everlasting dwellings. " [ 31 ]
    The fourth is charity , viz. , the love of God and our neighbor ,
     for " charity covereth a multitude of sins. " [ 32 ]

  45. ENDNOTES

    1. Prov., xx. 8 2. Acts, i. 11 3. Acts, x. 42 4. John, v. 27 5. Job, xxxvi. 17
    6. Luke, xxi. 27 7. II Cor., v. 10 8. John, iii. 18 9. Rom., vi. 23 10. Matt., xix. 28
    11. I Cor., vi. 3 12. Isa., iii. 14.13. Eccles., xi. 9 14. "Ibid.," xii. 14 15. Matt., xii. 36
    16. Wis., i. 9 17. Heb., iv. 13 18 Prov., xvi. 2 19. Wis., i. 10 20. Jerem. xvii. 9-10
    21. Rom., ii. 15-16 22. Isa., xl. 10 23. Wis., v. 21 24. Job, x. 7 25. Ps., cxxxviii. 8
    26. Ps., lxxiv. 3 27. Prov., vi. 34-35 28. Isa., xxxiii. 17 29. Apoc., vi. 16 30. Rom., xiii. 3
    31. Luke, xvi. 9 32 = [ I Peter, iv. 8. + Prov 10, 12 ]    

    Article 8 : I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST.     Back   Top

  46. As we have said , the Word of God is the Son of God just as in a way the word of man is the concept of his intellect. [ 1 ] But sometimes man has a word which is dead. This is when , for instance , he conceives what he ought to do , but he has not the will to do it ; or when one believes but does not practise ; then his faith is said to be dead , as St. James points out. [ 2 ] The word of God , however , is alive : " For the word of God is living. " [ 3 ] It is necessary , therefore , that in God there be will and love. Thus , St. Augustine says : " The word of God which we plan to speak is knowledge with love. " [ 4 ] Now , as the Word of God is the Son of  God , God's love is the Holy Ghost. Hence , it is that one possesses the Holy Ghost when he loves God : " The charity of God is  poured forth in our hearts , by the Holy Ghost who is given to us. " [ 5 ]

  47. TEACHING OF THE NICENE CREED

  48. There are some who held false opinions concerning the Holy Ghost. They said , for instance , that He was only the servant and minister of God.
    Hence , to remove these errors the holy Fathers added five phrases concerning the Holy Ghost. [ 6 ]

  49. 1° " The Holy Ghost , the Lord. " -- The first is , that although there are other spirits , such as the Angels who are ministers of God ( Art they not all ministering spirits ? ) , [ 7 ] nevertheless   the Holy Ghost is the Lord. " God is a Spirit , " [ 8 ] and , " Now the Lord is a  Spirit , " [ 9 ] and also , " Where the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty. " [ 10 ] The reason is that He makes us love God and cease  to love the world. Thus , the Creed says : " In the Holy Ghost , the Lord. "

  50. 2° " And Life-Giver. " -- The second phrase is there because the soul's life is to be united to God , in as much as God is the life of the soul , and as truly as the soul is the life of the body. [ 11 ] Now , the Holy Ghost unites the soul to God through love , because He is the love of God , and therefore He gives life. " It is the spirit that quickeneth. " [ 12 ] Therefore , it is said : " and Life-giver. "

  51. 3° " Who Proceeds from the Father and the Son. " -- The third is that the Holy Ghost is one in substance with the Father and the Son ; because as the Son is the Word of the Father , so the Holy Spirit is the love both of the Father and the Son , and , therefore , He proceeds from them both. Moreover , just as the Word of God is of the same substance as the Father , so also is Love [ Holy Ghost ] of the same substance as the Father and the Son. Hence , it is said : " who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. " From this it is seen that the Holy Spirit is not a Creature.

  52. 4° " Who . . . is Adored and Glorified. " -- The fourth phrase is that the Holy Ghost as regards adoration is equal to the Father and the Son : " The true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and truth. " [ 13 ] " Teach ye all nations ; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. " [ 14 ] Hence , it is said : " Who together with the Father and the Son is adored. " [ 15 ]

  53. 5° " Who Spoke by the Prophets. " -- The fifth phrase , wherein the Holy Ghost is declared equal to God , is that the holy prophets spoke on behalf of God. It is clear that , if the Holy Ghost were not God , then it would not be said that the prophets had spoken of God on His behalf. Thus , says St. Peter : " The holy men of God spoke , inspired by the Holy Ghost. " [ 16 ] Also : " The Lord God hath sent me , and His Spirit. " [ 17 ] And so it is said : " Who spoke by the prophets. "

  54. In all this two errors are condemned. The Manicheans said that the Old Testament was not from God. But this is false because the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets. Likewise , the error of Priscillian and Montanus was that they believed that the prophets did not speak by the Holy Ghost but were somewhat beside themselves.


  55. Many benefits come to us from the Holy Ghost.

      He cleanses us from our sins. The reason is that one must repair that which one has made. Now , the soul is created by the Holy Spirit , because God has made all things through Him ; for God , by loving His goodness , created everything : " Thou lovest all things that are , and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made. " [ 18 ] Thus , Dionysius says : " Divine love did not permit Him to be without offspring. " [ 19 ] It is necessary , therefore , that the hearts of men , destroyed by sin , be made anew by the Holy Ghost : " Thou shalt send forth Thy Spirit , and they shall be created ; and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. " [ 20 ] Nor is it any wonder that the Spirit cleanses , since all sins are taken away by love : " Many sins are forgiven her , because she hath loved much. " [ 21 ] " Charity covereth all sins. " [ 22 ] And likewise : " Charity covereth a multitude of sins. " [ 23 ]

  56.   The Holy Spirit enlightens the intellect , since all that we know , we know through the Holy Ghost : " But the Paraclete , the Holy Ghost , whom the Father will send in My name , He will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind , whatsoever I shall have said to you. " [ 24 ] Also : " His unction teacheth you all things. " [ 25 ]

  57.   He assists us and , to a certain extent, compels us to keep the commandments. No one can keep the commandments unless he  loves God : " If any one love Me , he will keep My word. " [ 26 ] Thus , the Holy Spirit makes us love God : " And I give you a new  heart and put a new spirit within you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and will give you a heart of flesh. And I  will put My Spirit in the midst of you ; and I will cause you to walk in My commandments and to keep My judgments and do  them. "  [ 27 ]

  58.   He strengthens in us the hope of eternal life , because He is the pledge to us of this our destiny : " You were signed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the pledge of our inheritance. " [ 28 ] He is , as it were , the surety of our eternal life. The reason is that eternal life is due to man inasmuch as he is become the son of God ; and this is brought about in that he is made like unto Christ ; and this , in turn , follows from his having the Spirit of Christ , and this is the Holy Ghost : " For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear ; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons , whereby we cry : Abba ( Father ). For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. " [ 29 ] And also : " Because you are sons , God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts , crying : Abba , Father. " [ 30 ]

  59.   He counsels us when we are in doubt , and teaches us what is the will of God : " He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. " [ 31 ] Likewise : " I may hear him as a master. " [ 32 ]

  60. ENDNOTES

    1. See above , p. 17 2. " So faith also , if it have not works , is dead in itself " (James, ii. 17)
    3. Heb. , iv. 12 4. " De Trinitate , " ix. 1O 5. Rom. , v. 5    

    6. " And I believe in the Holy Ghost , ( 1 ) the Lord and ( 2 ) Life-giver , ( 3 ) who proceeds from the Father and the son : ( 4 ) who together with the Father and the son is adored and glorified ( 5 ) who spoke by the Prophets " ( The Nicene Creed ).

    7. Heb, i. 14 8. lohn, iv. 24 9. II Cor., iii 10. " Ibid. " 12. John, vi. 64
    11. " Cum ipse Deus sit vita animae, sicut anima vita corporis. " 13. John, iv. 23 14. Matt., xxviii. 19

    15. " The Holy Ghost is equally God with the Father and the Son , equaily omnipotent , eternal , perfect , the supreme good , infinitely wise and of the same nature with the Father and the Son . . . If the Father is God , and the son , God , we must confess that the Holy Ghost , who is united with them in the same degree of honor , is also God . . . The Holy Ghost is God , the third Person in the divine nature , distinct from the Father and the son , and produced by their will " ( " Roman Catechism , " Eighth Article, 4-5 ).

    16. II Peter, i. 21 17. Isa., xlviii. 16 18. Wis., xi. 25 19 Div. Nom., IV 20. Ps. ciii. 30
    21. Luke, vii. 47 22. Prov., x. 12 23. I Peter, iv. 8 24. John, xiv. 26 25. I John, ii. 27
    26. John, xiv. 23 27. Ezech., xxxvi. 26-27 28. Eph., i. 13 29. Rom., viii. 15-16 30. Gal., iv. 6
    31. Apoc., ii. 7 32. Isa., l. 4.