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Copyright © 2011, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - February, 2011 [Plain text version]

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* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of February: Dedicated to the Holy Family

* Reflections On True Love / Charity From Scripture, Popes, Saints...

* Liturgical Feasts in February

* The Purpose of the Catholic Family: A Priest's Reflection

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Don't Like the Idea That There Are 'Mysteries' in Religion?

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Dear Friend,

"The brethren who are with me greet you. I pray that you may be well, and remember us to the Lord" (Greeting of St. Athanasius)

Greetings! We hope this year has gotten off to a good start, both for yourself and for your loved ones. We have a bit of good news here in that we have determined that we will be able to keep online at least for the near future. We, unfortunately, had come very close to having to shut down our site. However, we believe we may be able to hang on, albeit with some changes (please see below for more detail). We send a sincere thank you to everyone who has kept us in their prayers and offered financial assistance. We know times are tough for many people and we greatly appreciate your support.

This year, Lent officially begins on 3/9/11 [according to one calendar, this is the latest start date of Lent until 2038 (when Lent will begin on 3/10/2038)], so we will include Lenten resources with our next issue. However, it is good for Catholics to begin preparing for Lent starting at Septuagesima (2/20/11). Therefore, please go to our Lent Topic Page at for assistance.

Thanks again for your support of our site & newsletter.

God bless you,

Your Friends at

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St. Louis de Montfort's Prayer of Thanksgiving for Graces: "My God, I thank you with all my heart for all the graces you have bestowed on me during my whole life, and especially for those of this day. Amen."

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MCS News & Notes

* New: We've unveiled our new logo. As mentioned previously, the new logo retains the purple color & gold lettering, but omits the "www.", allowing the remaining lettering to appear larger. We hope this change will make it easier for visitors to remember our web address. We value your opinion, so please tell us what you think.

* New: We've added a dozen new Topic Pages. New Topic Pages include: Freemasonry / Secret Societies, Marian Apparitions at Fatima, Daily Prayers, Latin Language, Kneeling / Genuflecting, St. Peter, & More... To view, please go to (Shortcut: )

* We have had to make some tough decisions in order to try to keep online. The following announcement is from our Notices page...

Dear Friends,

We send a big thank you to those who responded to our emergency appeal either by prayers or financial support. Your kindness has lifted our spirits and has meant a lot to us. Although we are presently losing money with each passing month, the good news is that we think we may be able to keep online for the immediate future if we make some changes. While we regret that it is necessary to make these changes, it appears to be the only way for us to have a chance of remaining online. The following changes are effective immediately unless otherwise stated. Please note that we are unable to say at this time whether these changes will be temporary or permanent.

* News & Opinion (shortcut: - News coverage on our site (and blog) will be scaled down substantially. At this time, we plan to limit our coverage to significant news items with lasting value. We expect that future updates to our news page (and our blog) will be sporadic and infrequent. However, we do still plan to offer links to other sites for current news coverage as well as news tickers (as applicable). We also plan to allow continued inclusion of user submitted articles and have added links to various news-related resources

* Weekly news updates (sent to subscribers) will be suspended indefinitely. [Note: Our regular newsletter will continue]

* Our 'post of the month' program will be suspended indefinitely

* We anticipate that 'live chat' availability will be significantly reduced

* Posts may be processed less frequently than in the past

* We will need to rely more heavily on visitors' donations to advertise in search engines

* We will need to more extensively promote third party incentive programs (e.g. to help meet our operating costs

We hope these changes will help keep online. Please also consider helping us with your prayers & donations. And please, invite your friends.

If you'd like to help keep us online, please go to . Please also invite your friends to visit & kindly keep us in your prayers. Thank you for your support.

* Please see our Notices page at for dates of anticipated service delays through April 2011

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* Please visit the "Notices" page for timely news and other important information regarding -

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The Month of February: Dedicated to the Holy Family

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"We cannot separate Mary and Joseph, were it only for their having such close connection with the mystery of the Incarnation - Mary as being the Mother of the Son of God; and Joseph, as being guardian of the Virgin's spotless honor, and Foster-Father of the divine Babe." (Gueranger)

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Related Resources...

* Holy Family Topic Page -

* Other Topic Pages - Jesus: , Blessed Virgin Mary: , St. Joseph:

* References to the Holy Family in Scripture -

* Family / Families (Reflections) -

* Holy Family Coloring Pages -

* Holy Family (Mazes) -

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries -

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"Each year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, 'Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.' And he said to them, 'Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?' [DR Trans: 'Did you not know that I must be about my father's business?'] But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced (in) wisdom and age and favor before God and man." (Lk. 2:41-52)

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Reflections On True Love / Charity From Scripture, Popes, Saints...

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Certain secular celebrations held in February may foster a mistaken view of love. The following are some selected reflections on true love/charity from Scripture, Popes, Saints...

[Reminder: Capitalization, punctuation, translations, references, etc. may vary. We recommend reading all items in full context. Consult appropriate, competent Church authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying items. Interpretation and application of items should not be contrary to the perennial, official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Do not take items out of context. Do not inflict harm on yourself or others, break laws, take unsuitable/incautious or inappropriate/drastic actions, or take figurative items literally.]

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From Scripture

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 5:43-48)

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 10:37-38)

"When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them (a scholar of the law) tested [Jesus] by asking, 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.'" (Mt. 22:34-40)

"One of the scribes, when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, 'Which is the first of all the commandments?' Jesus replied, 'The first is this: 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.'" (Mk. 12:28-31)

"There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, 'Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' Jesus said to him, 'What is written in the law? How do you read it?' He said in reply, 'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.' He replied to him, 'You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.'" (Lk. 10:25-28)

"I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 13:34-35)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:15)

"Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:21)

"As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 15:9-17)

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." (St. Paul, Rom. 13:8-10)

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely, is not puffed up, Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void or tongues shall cease or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part: and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner: but then face to face. Now I know in part: but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 13:1-13)

"Your every act should be done with love." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 16:14)

"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection." (St. Paul, Col. 3:12-14)

"Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins." (St. Peter, 1 Pt. 4:8)

"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (St. John, 1 Jn. 2:15)

"Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us." (St. John, 1 Jn. 4:7-12)

"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him." (St. John, 1 Jn. 4:16) [Note: DR Trans: "God is charity"]

"If anyone says, 'I love God,' but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother." (St. John, 1 Jn. 4:20-21)

"In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith." (St. John, 1 Jn. 5:2-4)

"For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk." (St. John, 2 Jn. 1:6)

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From Popes, Saints...

"Without love, nothing is pleasing to God." (St. Clement)

"To pay back hatred with love is the pinnacle of perfect love." (St. Valerian)

"Mount Calvary is the academy of love." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"True charity means returning good for evil - always." (St. Mary Mazzarello)

"Sometimes hatred is charming, while love must show itself severe." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Love is the abridgment of all theology." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"[The] greatest of all laws, the law of love, admits of no exception, either here or in heaven." (Liturgical Year)

"Make many acts of love, for they set the soul on fire and make it gentle." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"For to be sure a characteristic of Christian charity is that it extends equally to all" (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901 A.D.)

"[N]o true virtue is possible without charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Love that is not based on virtue is easily voided, especially in evil men" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Charity is love; not all love is charity." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[W]e ought to love God...more than our neighbor." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[L]ove is proved by deeds." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]o love a person is to wish that person good." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"My children, the three acts of faith, hope, and charity contain all the happiness of man upon earth." (St. John Vianney)

"Certainly there can be faith without love, but such faith can profit nothing." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"If I were to ask you if you loved God, you would tell me that you did; but that is not enough. You must prove it." (St. John Vianney)

"[T]he measure of our love for God is to love Him with our whole heart" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"For where there is true love of God, love of self and of one's own things finds no entry." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

"Love is the distinctive mark of those who belong to God, as the mark of those who reject him is hatred." (St. John Vianney)

"[C]harity, if it does not issue effectively in good works, is something altogether empty and unprofitable" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943)

"The sign that you love God is this: that you love your fellow. And if you hate your fellow, your hatred is towards God." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"To love God in sugar - little children would do as much; but to love Him in wormwood, that is the test of our fidelity." (St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

"It is not necessary to acquire riches, nor to obtain dignities, nor to gain a great name. The only thing necessary is to love God." (St. Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church)

"Therefore charity is quite impossible without faith and hope." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[C]hief among the effects of charity is the work of almsgiving" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[I]t is more proper to charity to wish to love than to wish to be loved." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Envy separates, love unites: have it, and you have all things: whereas without it nothing that you can have, will profit you." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"[T]he will cannot tend to God with perfect love, unless the intellect possesses right faith about Him." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"For all love those who love them; it is peculiar to Christians alone to love those that hate them." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"[H]e is not worthy of the name of Christian who does not fulfill in spirit and action the new command given by Christ that we love one another as He has loved us." (Pope Leo XIII, "Reputantiubus", 1901 A.D.)

"The spirit of Christian charity lives not within you, if you lament the body from which the soul has departed, but lament not the soul from which God has departed." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church) 

"A man truly loves his enemy when he is not offended by the injury done to himself, but for love of God feels burning sorrow for the sin his enemy has brought on his own soul, and proves his love in a practical way." (St. Francis of Assisi)

"To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil - such belongs to a perfect spiritual love." (St. Maximus the Confessor)

"The school of Christ is the school of charity. On the last day, when the general examination takes place, there will be no question at all on the text of Aristotle, the aphorisms of Hippocrates, or the paragraphs of Justinian. Charity will be the whole syllabus." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"All God wants is our heart. God is more pleased when we value our uselessness and weakness out of love and reverence for the Lord's will than when we do some violence to ourselves and perform great works of penance." (St. Jane Frances de Chantal)

"A man's love for his friends is sometimes less meritorious in so far as he loves them for their sake, so as to fall short of the true reason for the friendship of charity, which is God." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is possible, accordingly, to judge how perfect is one's love for one's neighbor by considering what a man gives up for the love of his neighbor." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Love consists not in the extent of our happiness, but in the firmness of our determination to try to please God in everything, and to endeavor in all possible ways not to offend Him, and to pray Him ever to advance the honor and glory of His Son and the growth of the Catholic Church." (St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"For this rule of love is divinely established. 'Love your neighbor as yourself', He says; but 'God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind.' so that you will devote all your thoughts and all your life and all your intellect to Him from whom you have those very things which you devote to Him." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone - for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good." (St. John Vianney)

"No need to despair, man. Look, there has still remained for you a means to satisfy your most Pious Creditor. Do you want to be forgiven? Then love! 'Love covers a multitude of sins.' What worse crime is there than denial? And yet Peter was able to wipe away even this by love alone, when the Lord, to test him, says, 'Peter, dost thou love me?' Among all God's precepts, love takes the first place." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church)

"The fulfillment and end of Scripture is the love of God and our neighbor.. Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this two-fold love of God and our neighbor, does not yet understand them as he ought." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"God is Wisdom, and wants to be loved not only affectionately, but also wisely...Otherwise, if you neglect knowledge, the spirit of error will most easily lay snares for your zeal; nor has the wily enemy a more efficacious means of driving love from the heart, than if he can make a man walk carelessly and imprudently in the path of love." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"Be sure, too, to show to your neighbor the same love which God has shown towards you. If you are harsh to others, you will find God harsh to you... He will pardon you many crimes for the one offense you forgive your neighbor; he will be long-suffering with you in return for a little prudence shown towards others; he will reward you with abundant riches for the small alms you bestow. Strive earnestly, therefore, to keep the law of charity, for that is your life." (St. John of Avila) 

"True charity consists in bearing with all the defects of our neighbor, in not being surprised at his failings, and in being edified by his least virtues; Charity must not remain shut up in the depths of the heart, for no man lighteth a candle and putteth it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house' (Mt. 5:15). It seems to me that this candle represents the Charity which ought to enlighten and make joyful, not only those who are dearest to me, but all who are in the house." (St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church)

"But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be; nor in theoretical or practical indifference toward the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and the goal of the human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting." (Pope St. Pius X, "Our Apostolic Mandate", 1910 A.D.)

"Saint John of Avila observes: some people are so clouded in their minds that they believe that if their heart moves them to do anything, they must do it, even if it is against the commandments of God. They say that they love Him so much that if they break his commandments they do not lose his love. In this way they forget that the Son of God preached the contrary from his own lips: whoever welcomes my commandments and observes them, this man loves me (John 14:21); if anyone loves me he will keep my commandments (John 14:23). And anyone who does not love me does not keep my words (cf. Jn. 14:24). Thus he makes us understand clearly that whoever does not keep his words has neither his friendship nor his love. As Saint Augustine says: 'no-one can love the king if he abhors his commandments.'" (Pontifical Council for the Family)

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For More Try...

* Love / Charity (Topic Page) -

* Love / Charity Reflections [CB] -

* Love / Charity Reflections [CL] -

* Our Love of God (Reflections) -

More Reflections -

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Liturgical Feasts in February

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for February as they appear at

Note: (T) = Traditional, (N) = New (Novus Ordo)

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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February 1 - St. Brigid (T)

February 1 - St. Ignatius of Antioch (T)

February 2 - Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

February 2 - The Presentation of the Lord (N)

February 3 - St. Blase of Sebaste (T)

February 3 - St. Ansgar (N)

February 3 - St. Blase of Sebaste (N)

February 4 - St. Andrew Corsini (T)

February 5 - St. Agatha of Sicily (T)

February 5 - St. Philip of Jesus (T)

February 5 - St. Agatha of Sicily (N)

February 6 - St. Dorothy (T)

February 6 - St. Titus of Crete (T)

February 6 - St. Paul Miki & companions (N)

February 7 - St. Romuald (T)

February 8 - St. John of Matha (T)

February 8 - St. Jerome Emiliani (N)

February 8 - St. Josephine Bakhita (N)

February 9 - St. Apollonia (T)

February 9 - St. Cyril of Alexandria (T)

February 10 - St. Scholastica (T)

February 10 - St. Scholastica (N)

February 11 - Our Lady of Lourdes (T)

February 11 - Our Lady of Lourdes (N)

February 12 - The Seven Founders of the Servite Order (T)

February 14 - St. Valentine (T)

February 14 - Sts. Cyril & Methodius (N)

February 15 - Sts. Faustinus & Jovita (T)

February 17 - Seven Founders of the Order of Servites (N)

February 18 - St. Mary Bernard (Bernadette) Soubirous (T)

February 18 - St. Simeon (T)

February 21 - St. Peter Damian (N)

February 22 - St. Paul (T)

February 22 - St. Peter's Chair at Antioch (T)

February 22 - Chair of St. Peter, apostle (N)

February 23 - St. Peter Damian (T)

February 23 - St. Polycarp (N)

February 24 - St. Matthias, apostle (T)

February 27 - St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (T)

Please Note: Above may exclude moveable feasts. For moveable feasts, see below & try here: . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at

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2/20/11 - Septuagesima Sunday (T)

2/27/11 - Sexagesima Sunday (T)

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The Purpose of the Catholic Family: A Priest's Reflection 

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The following is taken from a 1911 publication "Marriage and Parenthood", authored by Fr. Thomas J. Gerrard. The original publication contains an imprimatur. We have made some changes to the text below (e.g. shortening, combining paragraphs).

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The Catholic Family

The ideal of the Catholic family has been once fully realized. There have been many good examples, all more or less approaching the ideal. But all except one must be regarded as having failed, at least in some respects, to achieve the perfection of family life. That one, of course, is the Holy Family of Nazareth. Since, therefore, God has given us the ideal fully realized in the concrete, it is to that rather than the more remote symbols that we must go for our lessons as to what the Catholic family should be. The Word was made flesh to reveal to us the mind of the Eternal Father. In order, then, to learn the mind of the Eternal Father concerning the nature and end of the Catholic family life we cannot do better than turn our thoughts to the little home at Nazareth. The school of the Apostles was formed by Our Lord during the years of His public ministry. Then, having been organized by Him during His lifetime, it was fully promulgated and endowed with its special gifts after His death, by the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. The purpose of the Incarnation was the salvation of souls. The purpose of the Church was the salvation of souls. The purpose of the first Catholic Family was the salvation of souls. The first and foremost purpose, then, of every Catholic family is to obtain for its members the possession of everlasting life. The family does not exist merely for the sake of the love of husband and wife; nor for the love of parent and children; nor for the acquisition of worldly fortunes; nor for the promotion of the children in business; nor for the material prosperity of nations. All these are lawful and subordinate aims, subordinate to the final aim which is to help immortal souls to get to heaven. This is the first and, in a sense, the only lesson to be learned from the Holy Family of Nazareth; the purpose of the Catholic family is the undoing of sin, the hindrance of sin, the propagation of those truths and virtues which lead to life eternal.

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For more reflections, try here -

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What does St. Ambrose say are the three principal weapons of the devil to wound our souls?

2. Which persons should we not pray for?

3. Complete the sentence: Bring _______ man into your house, for many are the snares of the crafty one

4. Does the devil like the Latin language?

5. Which Marian apparitions have added to the deposit of the faith?

6. Someone who condones the wicked or condemns the just is what?

7. When does 'spiritual warfare' end?

8. Who said...? "How mistaken is he who toils on Sunday with an idea that he is making more money or doing more work. Nothing can ever compensate for the injury one does to oneself by breaking the law of God."

9. What canon in the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Church law) concerns automatic excommunication of persons who procure abortion?

10. Did Pope Paul VI indicate that the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) pronounced any infallible dogmas?



1. "There are three principal weapons that the devil likes to carry in order to wound our souls. They are gluttony, arrogance and ambition." (St. Ambrose)

2. According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "We are to pray for all mankind, without exception of enemies, nation or religion; for every man, be he enemy, stranger, or infidel, is our neighbor, whom God commands us to love, and for whom, therefore, we should discharge a duty of love, which is prayer. To the discharge of this duty the Apostle exhorts when he says: I desire that prayer be made for all men (I Tim. ii. I.). In such prayers we should first ask for those things that concern spiritual interests, and next for what pertains to temporal welfare."

3. "Bring not every man into your house, for many are the snares of the crafty one" (Sirach 11:29)

4. No. It is said that "the devil hates Latin" (since Satan hates all things sacred, since the language was 'canonized' on the Cross, since it unifies the Church, etc.). As Bishop Gemma, "one of the Roman Catholic Church's leading experts on exorcism", has said: "If I speak Latin, the demon responds to me in Latin. He has a horror of that language."

5. None. Marian apparitions may not add to the deposit of the faith, which was completed with the apostles. [Error CONDEMNED by Pope St. Pius X in "Lamentabili": "Revelation, constituting the object of Catholic faith, was not completed with the apostles." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.)]

6. "He who condones the wicked, he who condemns the just, are both an abomination to the LORD." (Prov. 17:15)

7. "Spiritual warfare lasts until the last moment of life. The call of Jesus to be 'vigilant' and 'prayerful' concerns everyone, even the saints. Only those who persevere until the end will be saved (Mt. 10:22). It is not very useful for you to have won the initial battles, if in the end you become lukewarm and then surrender." (Fr. Fanzaga)

8. St. John Vianney

9. Can. 1398: "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

10. No. As Pope Paul VI stated, "There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification the Council intended to give to its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions engaging the infallibility of the ecclesiastical Magisterium. The answer is known by whoever remembers the conciliar declaration of March 6, 1964, repeated on November 16, 1964: given the Council's pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing, in an extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility." (Pope Paul VI, General Audience, Jan.12, 1966)


For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Don't Like the Idea That There Are 'Mysteries' in Religion?

It is good for Catholics to be able to defend their faith against attacks (or even simple questions) from those outside the Church. We therefore hope you may find the following "apologetics brief" helpful.

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Note: Text below is taken from

The following may be used as discussion points when discoursing with those outside the Church (or even among Catholics).

Topic: Don't Like the Idea That There Are 'Mysteries' in Religion? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)


* If there were to be no mysteries in religion, why does the bible speak of mysteries (e.g. 1 Cor. 2:1, 4:1, 15:51, Eph. 3:4, 3:9, 5:32, 6:19, etc.)?

* It would be unreasonable for humans to expect to understand everything concerning God. One cannot even fathom things on earth (e.g. gravity), much less divine mysteries (e.g. how Christ was made flesh of a virgin, how Christ gave his body and blood to the Apostles as He stood there, how Christ walked through walls, how Peter's mere shadow produced cures, etc.) 

* Not all things that are true can be seen with the eyes (e.g. the soul, love, etc.)

* Some things are simply above our human understanding (e.g. God's existence from all eternity, God's essence, how a soul is united to a body, how God can create physical beings by an act of His Will, etc.).

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"What God is in nature and essence no man has ever yet discovered nor can discover." (St. Gregory of Nazianz, Doctor of the Church, c. 380 A.D.)

"For a sure faith is in some way the beginning of knowledge; but a sure knowledge will not be achieved except after this life, when we shall see face to face" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Mysteries in religion are measured by the proud according to their own capacity; by the humble, according to the power of God: the humble glorify God for them, the proud exalt themselves against them." (Cardinal Newman)

"How, then, can you balk and try to submit to human reflection the things that are above mind and reason, and which, I do suppose, ought, without curiosity and by faith alone, be held in reverence?" (St. Cyril of Alexandria, Doctor of the Church, c. 426 A.D.)

"It is the proud, or rather foolish, men who examine the mysteries of faith which surpass all understanding with the faculties of the human mind, and rely on human reason which by the condition of man's nature, is weak and infirm." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832 A.D.)

"If we speak of God, what wonder is it if you do not comprehend? For if you comprehend, He is not God. Let there be a pious confession of ignorance rather than a rash profession of knowledge. That one's mind only touch God a little is great happiness; to comprehend Him is utterly impossible." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church) 

"There are some who demand an explanation of how God is mingled with man so as to become the one person of Christ, when this is a perfectly unique occurrence. As if they themselves could explain something that happens every day, how the soul is mingled with the body so as to form the one person of a man!" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 412 A.D.)

"I know that God is everywhere and I know that He is everywhere in His totality; but how He achieves this, I do not know. That God is without beginning and unbegotten and eternal, I know; but how, I do not know. For reasoning is unable to grasp how some essence can exist without having existence either from itself or from another... [No] creature is able to comprehend God perfectly." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 386 A.D.)

"Of God we cannot say all that ought to be said - for that is known to Him alone, but only as much as our human nature has grasped, only as much as our weakness is able to bear. We do not explain what God is; rather, we confess quite candidly that we have not a precise knowledge concerning Him. In those matters which concern God, to confess our ignorance is already great knowledge." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, c. 350 A.D.)

"There is, however Unity and Trinity; and it was and is and will be forever: understood and adored by faith; through faith, and not through inquiry nor investigation nor demonstration. For as much as you seek, so much the more ignorant will you be; and as much as you pry into it, so much the more will it be hidden. Let God, therefore, be adored by the faithful without meddlesome calculation. Believe that God is in three Persons. How this is, is beyond explaining; for God is not to be comprehended." (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.)

"And, indeed, reason illustrated by faith, when it zealously, piously, and soberly seeks, attains with the help of God some understanding of the mysteries, and that a most profitable one, not only from the analogy of those things which it knows naturally, but also from the connection of the mysteries among themselves and with the last end of man; nevertheless, it is never capable of perceiving those mysteries in the way it does the truths which constitute its own proper object. For, divine mysteries by their nature exceed the created intellect so much that, even when handed down by revelation and accepted by faith, they nevertheless remain covered by the veil of faith itself, and wrapped in a certain mist, as it were, as long as in this mortal life, 'we are absent from the Lord: for we walk by faith and not by sight' [2 Cor. 5:6 f.]." (First Vatican Council)

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Note: For the relationship of faith and reason, go to (click link 'What is the Relation Between Faith and Reason?')

For more apologetics resources, please visit

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In Closing...

"Jesus reigns over the family when it, modeled after the holy ideals of the sacrament of matrimony instituted by Christ, maintains unspotted its true character of sanctuary. In such a sanctuary of love, parental authority is fashioned after the authority of God, the Father, from Whom, as a matter of fact, it originates and after which even it is named. (Ephesians iii, 15) The obedience of the children imitates that of the Divine Child of Nazareth, and the whole family life is inspired by the sacred ideals of the Holy Family." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:15)

"Lord Jesus Christ, who, being made subject to Mary and Joseph, didst consecrate domestic life by Thine ineffable virtues; grant that we, with the assistance of both, may be taught by the example of Thy Holy Family and may attain to its everlasting fellowship. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen." (Roman Missal)

"Jesus, Mary, Joseph!" (Aspiration)

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