“Grace” means thanks. We saw in the explanation of the Our Father how God provides us with all we need, and most frequently with food. It is the least we can do, therefore, to thank Him for it, when it is just placed before us. We should thank Him also after we have eaten it and found it good, pleasing, and refreshing. When God provides us with food He thereby makes a kind of promise that He will allow us to live awhile longer and give us strength to serve Him. How shameful it is, then, to turn God’s gifts into a means of offending Him, as some do by the sin of gluttony! Again, it is very wrong to murmur and be dissatisfied with what God gives us. He does not owe us anything, and need not give unless He wishes. What would you think of a beggar of this kind? He comes to your door hungry, and you, instead of simply giving him some bread to appease his hunger, take him into your house and give him a good dinner, new clothing, and some money. Now, instead of being thankful, suppose he should complain because you did not give him a better dinner, finer clothing, and more money, and should look cross and dissatisfied; what would you think of him? Would you not be tempted to turn the ungrateful fellow out of your house, with an order never to come again, telling him he deserved to starve for his ingratitude? We are not quite as ungrateful as the beggar when we neglect grace at meals, because in saying our daily prayers we thank God for all His gifts, our food included, and hence it is not a sin to neglect grace at meals. But do we not show some ingratitude when we murmur, complain, and are dissatisfied with our food, clothing, or homes? God, even when we are ungrateful, still gives; hence His wonderful goodness and mercy to us.
THE MANNER IN WHICH A LAY PERSON IS TO BAPTIZE IN CASE OF NECESSITY
Pour common water on the head or face of the person to be baptized, and say while pouring it: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
N.B. Any person of either sex who has reached the use of reason can baptize in case of necessity.
Questions marked * are not in No. 1 Catechism.
A catechism is any book made up in question and answer form, no matter what it treats of. We have catechisms of history, of geography, etc. Our Catechism is a book in the same form treating of religion. It is a little compendium of the truths of our religion, of all we must believe and do. It contains, in the simplest form, all that a priest learns during his many years of study. The theology he learns is only a deeper and fuller explanation of the Catechism. A whole book might be written on almost every question. For example, might we not write a book on each of the first three questions—the World, God, and Man? There is consequently much meaning in the Catechism, which must be made known to us by explanation. You should therefore learn the Catechism by heart now, even when you do not fully understand it; because afterwards, when you read books on religion or hear sermons, all these questions and answers will come back to your mind. Sermons will help you to understand the questions, or the questions will help you to understand the sermons.