Three General Grants of Indulgences

[Given as part of the Enchiridion of Indulgences issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary on 29 June 1968.]


1. Presented in the first place are three grants of indulgences, intended to serve as a reminder to the faithful to infuse with the Christian spirit the actions that go to make up their daily lives and to strive in the ordering of their lives toward the perfection of charity.

2. The first and second grants are a resume of many given in times past; the third, on the other hand, is something altogether new but most suited to the present time when, with the mitigation of the law of fast and abstinence, it is more than ever imperative that penance be practiced in other ways.

3. The three grants are truly general in character, each of them comprising many works of the same kind. However, not all such works are enriched with indulgences, but those only which are performed in a particular manner and spirit.

An example in point is the first grant, which reads as follows: "A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding-even if only mentally -- some pious invocation."

By virtue of this grant those acts only are indulgenced, by which the faithful, while performing their duties and patiently suffering the trials of life, raise their mind to God in the manner indicated.

Acts of this kind, considering the frailty of human nature, are not frequent.

But should anyone be so zealous and fervent as to make such acts frequently in the course of a day, he would justly merit -- over and above a copious increase of grace -- a fuller remission of the punishment due for sin and he would in his charity be able to come to the aid of the souls in purgatory so much the more generously.

The above observations apply with practically the same force to the second and third grants.

4. The three grants are fully in harmony with the Gospel and with the teachings of the II Vatican Council. To illustrate this briefly for the benefit of the faithful, each of the three grants is followed by citations from the Sacred Scriptures and from the Acts of the Council.

First General Grant

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who, in the performance of their duties and in bearing the trials of life, raise their mind with humble confidence to God, adding even if only mentally -- some pious invocation.

This first grant is intended to serve as an incentive to the faithful to put into practice the commandment of Christ that "they must always pray and not lose heart" and at the same time as a reminder so to perform their respective duties as to preserve and strengthen their union with Christ.

Mt 7, 7-8: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

Mt 26, 41: Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.

Lk 21, 34-36: But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overburdened ... with the cares of this life.... Watch, then, praying at all times.

Acts 2, 42: And they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the Apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in the prayers.

Rom 12, 12: Rejoicing in hope, . . . patient in tribulation, persevering in prayer.

1 Cor 10, 31: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or do anything else, do all for the glory of God.

Eph 6, 18: With all prayer and supplication pray at all times in the Spirit, and therein be vigilant in all perseverance and supplication.

Col 3, 17: Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Col 4, 2: Be assiduous in prayer, being wakeful therein with thanksgiving.

1 Thes 5, 17-18: Pray without ceasing. In all things give thanks.

II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Const. on the Church, n. 41: Finally, all Christ's faithful, whatever be the conditions, duties and circumstances of their lives -- and indeed through all these -- will daily increase in holiness, if they receive all things with faith from the hand of their heavenly Father and if they cooperate with the divine will. In this temporal service, they will manifest to all men the love with which God loved the world.

II Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 4: This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is nourished by spiritual aids.... These are to be used by the laity in such a way that, while correctly fulfilling their secular duties in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate union with Christ from their life but rather performing their work according to God's will they grow in that union.... Neither family concerns nor other secular affairs should be irrelevant to their spiritual life, in keeping with the words of the Apostle, "Whatever you do in word or work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

II Vatican Council, Pastoral Const. on the Church in the Modern World, n. 43: This split between the faith which many profess and their daily lives deserves to be counted among the more serious errors of our age.... Therefore, let there be no false opposition between professional and social activities on the one hand, and religious life on the other.... Christians should rather rejoice that, following the example of Christ who worked as an artisan, they are free to give proper exercise to all their earthly activities and to their humane, domestic, professional, social and technical enterprises by gathering them into one vital synthesis with religious values, under whose supreme direction all things are harmonized unto God's glory.

Second General Grant

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in a spirit of faith and mercy give of themselves or of their goods to serve their brothers in need.

This second grant is intended to serve as an incentive to the faithful to perform more frequent acts of charity and mercy, thus following the example and obeying the command of Christ Jesus.

However, not all works of charity are thus indulgenced, but only those which "serve their brothers in need," in need, for example, of food or clothing for the body or of instruction or comfort for the soul.

Mt 25, 35-36. 40: For I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.... Amen I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.

Jn 13, 34-35: A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: that as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Rom 12, 8. 10-11. 13: He who gives, in simplicity; . . . he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.... Love one another with fraternal charity, anticipating one another with honor. Be not slothful in zeal; be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.... Share the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

I Cor 13, 3: And if I distribute all my goods to feed the poor, . . . yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.

Gal 6, 10: While we have time, let us do good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Eph 5, 2: Walk in love, as Christ also loved us.

1 Thes 4, 9: You yourselves have learned from God to love one another.

Heb 13, 1: Let brotherly love abide in you.

Jas 1, 27: Religion pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to give aid to orphans and widows in their tribulation and to keep oneself unspotted from this world.

1 Pt 1, 22: Now that your obedience to charity has purified your souls for a brotherly love that is sincere, love one another heartily and intensely.

1 Pt 3, 8-9: Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, lovers of the brethren, merciful, humble; not rendering evil for evil, or abuse for abuse, but contrariwise, blessing; for unto this were you called that you might inherit blessing.

2 Pt 1, 5. 7: Do you accordingly strive diligently to supply . . . your piety with fraternal love, your fraternal love with charity.

1 Jn 3, 17-18: He who has the goods of this world and sees his brother in need and closes his heart to him, how does the love of God abide in him? My dear children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue, but in deed and in truth.

II Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 8: Wherever there are people in need of food and drink, clothing, housing, medicine, employment, education; wherever men lack the facilities necessary for living a truly human life or are afflicted with serious distress or illness or suffer exile or imprisonment, there christian charity should seek them out and find them, console them with great solicitude and help them with appropriate relief.... In order that the exercise of charity on this scale may be unexceptionable in appearance as well as in fact, it is altogether necessary to consider in one's neighbor the image of God in which he has been created, and also Christ the Lord to whom is really offered whatever is given to a needy person.

II Vatican Council, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 31c: Since the works of charity and mercy express the most striking testimony of the Christian life, apostolic formation should lead also to the performance of these works so that the faithful may learn from childhood on to have compassion for their brethren and to be generous in helping those in need.

II Vatican Council, Pastoral Const. on the Church in the Modern World, n. 93: Mindful of the Lord's saying: "by this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another," Christians cannot yearn for anything more ardently than to serve the men of the modern world with mounting generosity and success.... Now the Father wills that in all men we recognize Christ our brother and love him effectively in word and in deed.

Third General Grant

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who in a spirit of penance voluntarily deprive themselves of what is licit and pleasing to them.

This third grant is intended to move the faithful to bridle their passions and thus learn to bring their bodies into subjection and to conform themselves to Christ in his poverty and suffering.

But self-denial will be more precious, if it is united to charity, according to the teaching of St. Leo the Great: "Let us give to virtue what we refuse to self-indulgence. Let what we deny ourselves by fast -- be the refreshment of the poor."

Lk 9, 23: If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Lk 13, 5: Unless you repent, you will all perish in the same manner (see 13, 3).

Rom 8, 13: But if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live.

Rom 8, 17: Provided, however, we suffer with him that we may also be glorified with him.

1 Cor 9, 25-27: And everyone in a contest abstains from all things, and they indeed to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable. I, therefore, so run as not without a purpose; I so fight as not beating the air; but I chastise my body and bring it into subjection.

2 Cor 4, 10: Always bearing about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame.

2 Tm 2, 11-12: This saying is true: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him.

Ti 2, 12: In order that rejecting . . . worldly lusts, we may live temperately and justly and piously in this world.

1 Pt 4, 13: Partakers of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that you may also rejoice with exultation in the revelation of his glory.

II Vatican Council, Decree on Priestly Training, n. 9: With a particular concern should they be so formed in priestly obedience, in a simple way of life and in the spirit of self-denial that they are accustomed to give up willingly even those things that are permitted but are not expedient, and to conform themselves to Christ crucified.

II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Const. on the Church, n. 10: But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity.

II Vatican Council, Dogmatic Const. on the Church, n. 41: In the various classes and differing duties of life, one and the same holiness is cultivated by all, who are moved by the Spirit of God and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ, in order to be worthy of being sharers in his glory.

Apost. Const. Repent, III c: The Church urges all the faithful to live up to the divine commandment of penance by afflicting their bodies by some acts of chastisement, over and above the discomforts and annoyances of everyday life.... The Church wants to point out that there are three principal ways of satisfying the commandment to do penance, handed down from ancient times -- prayer, fasting and works of charity -- even though abstinence from meat and fasting have received special stress. These penitential methods could be found in all ages, but in our day there are special reasons why one method is encouraged more than the others because of local circumstances. Thus, in nations enjoying greater economic prosperity, encouragement should be given to offering some evidence of self-denial so that Christians will not conform to the world, and at the same time to offering some evidence of charity toward brothers, including those living far away, who are suffering from hunger and poverty.

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