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19. The Minister of the Keys

1. The priesthood of the Old Law was not dowered with thepower of the keys. But the priest of the Old Law had powers whichforeshadowed and prefigured the power of the keys.

2. Before all others, our Lord himself has mostexcellently thepower of the keys. He owns this power as God;he merits it as man. And this wondrous power he conferred on thepriests of his Church.

3. The power of the keys pertains to holy order, andexclusively to priests. {-Sometimes the phrase"the power of the keys" is used, by extension of meaning,for the power of jurisdiction in Church or diocese; that is, thepower and right to rule, to authorize, to excommunicate. But thisuse of the phrase is not common.-}

4. No matter how holy a layman may be, he has not thepower of the keys, nor can he, as a layman, acquire it.

5. The power of the keys belongs to the priesthood assuch. It does not depend for its effect on the state of soul (graceor sin) of the priest who exercises it.

6. Schismatical, heretical, and excommunicated priestsretain the essence of the power of the keys, but they lack theright to use it, that is, they lack jurisdiction. The Church, bywithdrawing jurisdiction from priests who are outside her pale,removes all true penitents from such confessors. No penitent couldsincerely present himself to such confessors; if he did soknowingly he would sin, and no man can obtain absolution from sinby sinning.

"If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God's will. For the future, embrace God's good pleasure and say to him in every happening: "Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight." "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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