Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 464 pages of information about Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4).

257 Q. What is the fast necessary for Holy Communion?  A. The fast necessary for Holy Communion is the abstaining for one hour from everything which is taken as food or drink.

{T.N.:  The reprint book, upon which this e-text is based, contains the statement, “published . . . with minor revisions to conform with the new regulations on fasting and indulgences, etc.”}

“Food or drink.”  If you swallowed a button, for example, it would not break your fast, because it is not food or drink.

258 Q. Is anyone ever allowed to receive Holy Communion when not fasting?  A. Anyone in danger of death is allowed to receive Communion when not fasting.

“Not fasting.”  But then the Holy Communion is called by another name; it is called the Viaticum, and the priest uses a different prayer in giving it to the sick person.  When a person dies, he goes, as it were, on a journey from this world to the next.  Now, when persons are going on a journey they must have food to strengthen them.  Our Lord wished, therefore, that all His children who had to go on this most important of all journeys—­from this world to the next—­should be first strengthened by this sacred food, His own body and blood.  The Latin word for road or way is via, and Viaticum therefore means food for the way.  Not only are persons in danger of death allowed to receive when not fasting, but they are obliged to receive; and the priest is obliged under pain of sin to bring Holy Communion to the dying at any hour of the day or night.

When I speak of a great journey from this world to the next, from earth to Heaven, you must not understand me to mean that it is a great many miles from earth to Heaven, or that it takes a long time to go to the next world.  No.  We cannot measure the distance, nor does it take time to get there.  The instant we die, no matter where that happens, our soul is in the next world, and judged by God.

259 Q. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?  A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death.

260 Q. Is it well to receive Holy Communion often?  A. It is well to receive Holy Communion often, as nothing is a greater aid to a holy life than often to receive the Author of all graces and the Source of all good.

261 Q. What should we do after Holy Communion?  A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the graces we have received and in asking Him for the blessings we need.


262 Q. When and where are the bread and wine changed into the body and blood of Christ?  A. The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ at the consecration in the Mass.

263 Q. What is the Mass?  A. The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ.

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Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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