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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 424 pages of information about Baltimore Catechism No. 4 (of 4).
in Hell for all eternity; what then will be our punishment for many mortal sins?  Then there is another thing you should remember:  God has fixed a certain number of sins that He will suffer you to commit before He sends His punishment.  You do not know which sin will complete the number and be the last.  The very sin you are now about to commit may be that one, and the moment you have committed it, God will call you to judgment, whether it be night or day, whether you are at home or in the streets—­though perhaps not immediately, but before you commit another sin.  Such a thought alone should keep you from sinning.  Moreover, after confession you strongly resist the first temptation to mortal sin, but after you have yielded to the first you scarcely make any more resistance, but easily yield again and again.  You should therefore, to prevent this, go to confession just as soon as you possibly can after falling into mortal sin.  It is bad enough to commit mortal sin, but it is terrible to be living in that state day and night—­always an enemy of God—­losing the merit of all the works you do and yet you must stay in that state of sin till you go to confession and receive absolution.  Peter the Apostle committed the sin of presumption. (Matt. 26).  Our Lord told him to watch and pray for he would be tempted and yield that night, but Peter said:  “No Lord, I will never deny Thee.”  Instead of begging Our Lord’s help and grace, he trusted to himself and fell miserably into sin.  He went into dangerous company and that was another cause of his fall.  But afterwards he saw his sin and folly and never ceased to repent of it.

329 Q. What is despair?  A. Despair is the loss of hope in God’s mercy.

Despair is a sin because by it you deny that God is infinitely merciful—­that He is merciful enough to forgive even your many and great sins if you are truly sorry for them.  Judas committed the sin of despair.  After he had betrayed Our Lord, he went and hanged himself, thus committing, besides the sin of betraying his divine Master, two other great sins; namely, despair in God’s mercy and suicide.  If he had gone to Our Lord and confessed his sin, and implored pardon and promised penance, can we doubt that He would have forgiven even Judas, as He forgave Peter, and those that crucified Him, praying that His Father might not punish them for their sins?  Therefore, no matter what sins you have committed, never lose confidence in God’s mercy.  See how Our Lord pardoned the thief on the cross and Mary Magdalen and other sinners.  Be sorry for your sins, and God will hear your prayers.  Call upon the Blessed Virgin, your patron saint, and guardian angel to help you, and ask others, especially good persons, to pray for you.

330 Q. How do we sin against the love of God?  A. We sin against the love of God by all sin, but particularly by mortal sin.

Lesson 31 THE FIRST COMMANDMENT—­ON THE HONOR AND INVOCATION OF SAINTS

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