If you loved Fr. Francis Spirago’s Catechism Explained, you will love the sequel!
The Catechism Explained by Stories and Examples is a collection of stories from lives of the saints, accounts from history, anecdotes and proverbs which illustrate the teachings and ideas of the Catechism. These were organized in 1908 by Fr. James Baxter according to the questions and answers of the Baltimore Catechism.
This new edition, retypeset from the original, received light editing of antiquated terms, with a number of stories added from traditional sources such as lives of the saints. Below you will find a sample reading:
St. Benedict and the Farmer
St. Benedict was one day passing on horseback along a country road, when he overtook a farmer trudging along on foot. “Well,” said the latter, “I’m sorry I didn’t take to praying myself; I might be now riding instead of walking; and what an easy way of getting up in the world!” “Not so easy after all,” rejoined the saint; “if you will say one ‘Our Father’ without a distraction, this horse is yours.” “Done!” said the farmer, and began, “Our Father who art in heaven,” etc.; but scarcely had he reached the middle of the prayer when, looking up suddenly, he asked: “Am I to have the saddle and bridle, too?”
Prince Eugene of Savoy
God gives each one his vocation. It is recorded of the famous Austrian general, Prince Eugene of Savoy, who, though born and brought up in France, was a descendant of the Italian dukes of Savoy, that his father wished him to be a priest. Now to this Eugene, in spite of his piety, could not agree, for he felt that his vocation was that of a soldier. Military science, the art of war, was his favorite study. When he was nineteen years old, he begged the French king to give him the command of a regiment; but the king refused his request, with a sneer at his unsoldier-like appearance. Thereupon Eugene betook himself to Vienna and proffered the same petition to the Emperor Leopold I, who willingly gave him a command in his army. Eugene distinguished himself so much by his cleverness and his courage that he speedily obtained promotion, and at last was made field-marshal. Then the French king regretted what he had done and endeavored to gain Eugene for his army, threatening to banish him from France for life, if he did not return immediately. But this threat was unheeded. Eugene remained in Austria, and the sequel proved that he was the man whom Divine Providence had chosen to defend that country, and, in fact, the whole of Christendom against the infidels. By his brilliant victory over the Turks at Zenta, in 1697, and by the conquest of Belgrade, he won for himself an immortal renown. — It is a sad mistake on the part of parents to force their children to enter upon a calling for which they have no predilection. Their vocation comes from God.
The Man who Feigned Sickness
Those who mock at holy things often meet with worthy punishment. In the time of the French Revolution priests were hunted down and put to death. One day the guests in a certain inn happened to express their surprise that the priest of the place had not been arrested, all attempts to apprehend him having failed. Then an idea suddenly struck the hostess. “I know what we will do,” she said. “It is a very simple matter. First, we will send for two gendarmes and tell them to be on the watch. Then my husband shall go to bed and pretend to be ill. Meanwhile I will send some one into the village to spread the report that the landlord of the inn is at the point of death, and is desirous to receive the last sacraments. You bet, before long the priest will be here.” This proposal was carried out, and as the woman surmised, the priest was soon on the spot. He asked where the sick man was, and on being conducted into the room where the police constables were concealed, he went straight up to the bed whereon the man who feigned sickness was lying. He spoke to him, but he neither moved a muscle nor uttered a word. The priest then took his hand; it was cold as marble. Turning to the innkeeper’s wife, he said in a reproachful tone: “Why did you not send for me sooner? I have come too late; the man is dead.” The woman laughed, and the constables came forth from their hiding-place. But the man remained motionless. He was really dead,—dead by the visitation of God. The bystanders were struck with such terror that no one could speak a word; the priest took his departure unobserved and unmolested. True, indeed, are the words of Holy Scripture: God is not mocked.