Return to | Sign Up For FREE Newsletter

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

Why not have newsletters delivered free to your inbox? Click here

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Newsletter - March, 2011

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

* Lenten Resources

* Liturgical Feasts in March

* Reflections of Thomas à Kempis on the Passion

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Dear Friend,

Greetings to you as we enter the penitential season of Lent*. With God's grace, we hope you will have a very profitable Lent that atones for past sins, moves you forward in your spiritual life, and prepares you well for Easter. Even if you take just one small step each day, you will have gone far by the time Easter arrives. As St. Vincent de Paul states, "The more we conquer ourselves the more He gives us of His grace; and if today we have had power to overcome one difficulty, tomorrow and the day after we shall be able to surmount others that are much greater and more distressing." Why not plan to make this your 'best Lent ever', taking one tiny step at a time?

To that end, we hope you will find the resources herein to be helpful

We thank you for your support of our site & newsletter and wish you a blessed, holy Lent.

God bless you,

Your Friends at

+ + +

* Beginning of Lent: March 9, 2011

"[T]he observance of Lent is an essential mark of Catholicity" (Dom Gueranger)

"It is also true that we should practice mortification in many things to make reparation for our sins. There is no doubt that the person who lives without mortifying himself is someone who will never succeed in saving his soul." (St. John Vianney)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

MCS News & Notes

* New: We've added a new word search puzzle and a new crossword puzzle for each of the seven sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Extreme Unction / Anointing of the Sick, Holy Eucharist, Holy Orders, Matrimony, Penance). The new word searches / crossword puzzles are of varying complexities. For crossword puzzles, please visit . For word searches, please go to

* In Progress: We're once again working on site beautification. We hope you'll find the various cosmetic changes (e.g. changes to font sizes/styles, spacing changes, etc.) & other changes helpful. During this process, we are also working on adding links to Topic Pages throughout the site. While we've made a good deal of progress already, we anticipate that will take months for us to fully complete the present beautification efforts since there are thousands of pages scheduled to be done. For those pages that are completed, we hope you will find them to be easier & more pleasant to use and also find them to be a more convenient resource. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding these changes, please let us know. We value your feedback.

* Some St. Patrick's Day (3/17) Resources: Breastplate of St. Patrick - | Shamrock Coloring Page -

* Some Annunciation (3/25) Resources: Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) - | Annunciation / Incarnation (Reflections) - | Annunciation Coloring Pages -

* Did you know? Although we are not presently required to run PCI scans, we nevertheless have continued to do so. These comprehensive PCI scans typically subject our server (the main computer that runs our site) to many thousands of tests in an effort to keep it secure. Working with both our scanning vendor & host, we have once again passed the most recent PCI scan, which has required the implementation of various security enhancements to our server. We hope to be able to maintain these efforts to keep our server as secure as possible well into the future.

* Have a friend that might benefit from our newsletter? Please invite them to subscribe at

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

* Help keep us online! To shop at in support of, please use this link: . You can shop here for books, household & office products, Catholic items, electronics, and much more. Already shop at It doesn't cost any extra to shop at Amazon using this link, yet we can benefit from your purchases. Thank you for your support!

* Reminder: To help ensure delivery of your newsletter, please put our e-mail address in your 'trusted senders' list - or use other applicable options your e-mail provider may offer to let them know that our e-mail is wanted. Thank you.

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

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

+ + +

"Some Saints are privileged to extend to us their patronage with particular efficacy in certain needs, but not in others; but our holy patron St. Joseph has the power to assist us in all causes, in every necessity, in every undertaking." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"To other Saints our Lord seems to have given power to succor us in some special necessity - but to this glorious saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth - for St. Joseph, bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him - so now in Heaven Our Lord grants all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they, too, know the same thing by experience" (St. Theresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

+ + +

Related Resources...

* St. Joseph (Topic Page) -

* St. Joseph (Reflections) -

* Prayers to St. Joseph -

* 'Quamquam Pluries' (Pope Leo XIII, On Devotion to St. Joseph) -

* The Holy Family (Topic Page) -

* St. Joseph (Coloring Page) -

=> Note: The Novena to St. Joseph (said daily from 3/11 through 3/19), may be found here -

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

+ + +

"There is no doubt then that this Joseph to whom the mother of the Savior was espoused, was a man good and preeminently faithful. A prudent and faithful servant he was, I say, whom the Lord placed beside Mary to be her protector, the nourisher of His human body, and the single and most trusty assistant on the earth in His great design." (St. Bernard, Doctor of the Church)

"Jesus deigned to be subject to Joseph here below; now that he is in heaven, he would glorify the creature to whom he consigned the guardianship of his own childhood and the honor of his Mother. He has given him a power which is above our calculations... [The Church invites us] to have recourse, with unreserved confidence, to this all-powerful protector. The world we live in is filled with miseries which would make stronger hearts than ours quake with fear; but let us invoke St. Joseph with faith, and we shall be protected. In all our necessities, whether of soul or body - in all the trials and anxieties we may have to go through - let us have recourse to St. Joseph, and we shall not be disappointed. The king of Egypt said to his people when they were suffering from famine: Go to Joseph! (Gen. xli 55) The King of Heaven says the same to us: the faithful guardian of Mary has greater influence with God than Jacob's son had with Pharaoh." (Dom Gueranger)

Prayer to St. Joseph for a Happy Death: "O Glorious St. Joseph, behold I choose thee today for my special patron in life and at the hour of my death. Preserve and increase in me the spirit of prayer and fervor in the service of God. Remove far from me every kind of sin; obtain for me that my death may not come upon me unawares, but that I may have time to confess my sins sacramentally and to bewail them with a most perfect understanding and a most sincere and perfect contrition, in order that I may breathe forth my soul in the hands of Jesus and Mary. Amen."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lenten Resources

+ + +

"Lent is the forty days before Easter Sunday, during which we do penance, fast and pray to prepare ourselves for the resurrection of Our Lord; and also to remind us of His own fast of forty days before His Passion." (Baltimore Catechism) 

+ + +

Some Lenten Resources...

=> Topic Pages

* Lent -

* Ash Wednesday -

* Fasting -

* Lenten Prayers -

* Way of the Cross -

* Sin -

* Penance -

* Spiritual Growth -

* Good Friday -

=> Other

* Make Your Own Lent Calendar -

* Traditional Practices For Lent / Easter (Incl. Fasting / Abstinence / Partial Abstinence) -

* Lent / Easter Activities (See 'Holiday Activities') -

* Lent / Easter Prayers -

* Stations of the Cross -

* Jesus' Last Words From the Cross -

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus -

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture (Abandonment & Betrayal of Jesus, Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection) -

* The Passion / Cross (Reflections) -

* "Prayers to Jesus by the Merit of Each Particular Pain Which He Suffered in His Passion" (3/10 Newsletter, Plaintext Version) -

* Rome's Lenten Station Churches -

* Prayers & Devotions -

* Indulgences -

* Works of Mercy -

* Stabat Mater (Sequence) -

* Collages (Incl. Holy Land, Church of the Holy Sepulchre) -

* Coloring Pages (Incl. Last Supper, Jesus Washing Apostle's Feet) -

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

+ + +

"The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God's glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe." (Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 A.D.)

"If the good God sends us crosses, we resist, we complain, we murmur; we are so averse to whatever contradicts us, that we want to be always in a box of cotton: but we ought to be put into a box of thorns. It is by the Cross that we go to Heaven." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"Oh, how bitterly shall we regret at the hour of death the time we have given to pleasures, to useless conversations, to repose, instead of having employed it in mortification, in prayer, in good works, in thinking of our poor misery, in weeping over our poor sins; then we shall see that we have done nothing for Heaven. Oh, my children, how sad it is! Three-quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body, which will soon be buried and corrupted, while they do not give a thought to their poor soul, which must be happy or miserable for all eternity. They have neither sense nor reason: it makes one tremble." (Catechism of the Cure of Ars)

"Take the holy crucifix in your hands, kiss its wounds with great love, and ask Him to preach you a sermon. Listen to what the thorns, the nails, and that Divine Blood say to you. Oh! What a sermon." (St. Paul of the Cross)

"And yet there is truly nothing that more eloquently proclaims His supreme love and admirable charity towards us, than the inexplicable mystery of the Passion of Jesus Christ, whence springs that never-failing fountain to wash away the defilements of sin." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"You cannot better appreciate your worth than by looking into the mirror of the Cross of Christ; there you will learn how you are to deflate your pride, how you must mortify the desires of the flesh, how you are to pray to your Father for those who persecute you, and to commend your spirit into God's hands." (St. Anthony of Padua, Doctor of the Church)

"Indeed, if one thing more than another presents difficulty to the mind and understanding of man, assuredly it is the mystery of the cross, which, beyond all doubt, must be considered the most difficult of all; so much so that only with great difficulty can we grasp the fact that our salvation depends on the cross, and on Him who for us was nailed thereon." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Now the whole essence of a Christian life is to reject the corruption of the world and to oppose constantly any indulgence in it; this is taught in the words and deeds, the laws and institutions, the life and death of Jesus Christ, 'the author and finisher of faith.' Hence, however strongly We are deterred by the evil disposition of nature and character, it is our duty to run to the 'fight proposed to Us,' fortified and armed with the same desire and the same arms as He who, 'having joy set before him, endured the cross.' Wherefore let men understand this specially, that it is most contrary to Christian duty to follow, in worldly fashion, pleasures of every kind, to be afraid of the hardships attending a virtuous life, and to deny nothing to self that soothes and delights the senses. 'They that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences' - so that it follows that they who are not accustomed to suffering, and who hold not ease and pleasure in contempt belong not to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Exeunte Iam Anno", 1888)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Liturgical Feasts in March

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

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

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

+ + +

March 4 - St. Casimir of Lithuania (T)

March 4 - St. Lucius I, pope (T)

March 4 - St. Casimir (N)

March 6 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicitas (T)

March 7 - St. Thomas Aquinas (T)

March 7 - Sts. Perpetua & Felicity (N)

March 8 - St. John of God (T)

March 8 - St. John of God (N)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (T)

March 9 - St. Frances of Rome (N)

March 10 - Forty Martyrs of Sebaste (T)

March 12 - St. Gregory the Great, pope (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (T)

March 17 - St. Patrick of Ireland (N)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (T)

March 18 - St. Cyril of Jerusalem (N)

March 19 - St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 19 - St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N)

March 21 - St. Benedict (T)

March 22 - St. Catharine Flisca Adorna (T)

March 22 - St. Isidore the Farmer (T)

March 23 - St. Turibius de Mongrovejo (N)

March 24 - St. Gabriel the Archangel (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T)

March 25 - Annunciation of the Lord (N)

March 27 - St. John Damascene (T)

March 28 - St. John Capistran (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

+ + +


3/6/11 - Quinquagesima Sunday (T)

3/9/11 - Ash Wednesday [Beginning of Lent]

3/13/11 - First Sunday of Lent [Quadragesima Sunday (T)]

3/16/11 - Ember Wednesday in Lent (T)

3/18/11 - Ember Friday in Lent (T)

3/19/11 - Ember Saturday in Lent (T)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Reflections of Thomas à Kempis on the Passion

+ + +

The following is taken from a 1908 edition of Thomas à Kempis' "Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ". The publication bears an imprimatur. We have made various changes to the original text (e.g. capitalization changes, spelling changes, punctuation changes, combining paragraphs, title change/shortening).

Did You Know? Thomas à Kempis is credited with authoring the famous work "Imitation of Christ", which is "perhaps the most widely read spiritual book in the world" after the bible. [Source: Catholic Encyclopedia]

+ + +

The Thrice-Repeated Prayer, The Prostration Before The Father Of The Lord Jesus, And The Resignation By Him Of His Own Will

I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Stay of Angels, Refuge of the distressed, for Thy agonizing prayer, and Thy lowly falling flat upon the ground; when thrice, upon Thy bended knees, Thou didst earnestly and devoutly beseech Thy Heavenly Father that, if it were possible, the Chalice of Thy Passion might pass from Thee, and yet didst ever add the words: "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." I praise and glorify Thee, for Thy mighty struggle against the fear of death, and of the anguish of Thy most bitter Passion; when the flame of Divine Love burnt so fiercely within Thee, as to thrust out all human fear. I praise Thee, and give thanks to Thee, for the copious shedding of Thy Sweat of Blood; when, being in an Agony, Thou didst pray yet more fervently; and, against the order of nature, didst give out from Thy body, as sweat, drops of blood. I adore Thee, and give Thee glory, for Thy humble acceptance of the angelic consolation, which Thou, the Maker and the King of the Heavenly Host, for the more strengthening of our feebleness, didst not disdain to receive at the hands of Angels: that so, weaklings as we are, we may be led to seek, not the comfort which is but for a moment, but that true strength which comes from above.

O most sweet Jesus, with what fervor of Love must Thou have loved me, that Thou didst pray for me so earnestly as to give forth - in Thy great desire to suffer for me - in place of natural sweat, Thy Own warm Blood, trickling down upon the ground. O Almighty Creator of my soul, and perfect Pattern of my life, I praise Thee, and magnify Thee for ever, for Thy boundless resignation; and for Thy complete conquest of Thy Own Will, and of all Thy feelings as a Man, which would have made Thee shrink from pain and death. I praise and magnify Thee for having at once, without the least wavering, when the hour of Thy Passion was at hand, resigned Thyself freely and willingly to Thy Father's Will, saying: "Father, not my will, but Thine, be done." Words indeed these were, with which Thou didst magnify Thy Heavenly Father's glory: didst heap further benefits upon us; didst yet more firmly tread the devil under foot; and didst show forth, to those who believe in Thee, more plainly than ever before, the model of perfection, the ensign of salvation, and the path of the highest virtue.

O adorable Jesus, Thou Whose example we must ever keep before us, grant, I most earnestly beseech Thee, that I may obtain the fruit of this Thy thrice-repeated prayer... [and grant that] I may strive to imitate the example of Thy self-denial. Give me grace manfully to bring into subjection to the spirit the stubbornness of my flesh; to crush all shrinking from bodily pain; to use prayer more often than before; to be ever watchful therein; to trust lovingly to Thee for help; to leave confidently in Thy hands the issue of all my undertakings; utterly to renounce my own will in everything; and to be always ready courageously to bear whatever troubles may come upon me.

The Arraignment Of The Lord Jesus Before Annas

I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Guide of our life, and Author of our salvation, for Thy first arraignment before Annas, the priest, where Thou wast questioned about many things, and in return for Thy meek and truthful answer, wast rudely smitten on the cheek. I praise and magnify Thee, my glorious King Jesus Christ, for the dishonor thus done to Thee, and for the shameful blow which Thou didst receive from the hand of an insolent servant, when in return for Thy answer he gave Thee a heavy blow upon Thy face, saying: "Answerest Thou the High Priest so?" And even after all this Thou didst not fail, O most gentle Jesus, undisturbed in mind or speech, meekly to make answer to him again, saying: "If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?" O most vile and impious servant, how was it that thou didst not fear to strike the Face of Thy Creator, deserving of all love, with thy guilty hands! How unspeakable, my adorable Jesus, was the virtue of meekness which shone forth in Thee, when, instead of avenging so insulting a blow with immediate chastisement, Thou didst calmly expostulate with him who struck Thee! Bethink thee now, O Christian, and say whether, for love of Jesus, thou couldest endure a slap in the face. Thou who canst not bear a hard word without losing thy temper, how couldst thou bear to be smitten on the mouth? Thou dost grieve over the uncalled for violence offered to thy Lord; but much more sad, surely, is it that thou shouldst be so little able to endure, for Christ's sake, even trivial wrongs. Thou makest grand resolutions, thy ideals are lofty; but the first reproachful word upsets thee, and thou findest thyself weaker than thou hadst thought thyself to be. Flee then to Jesus, and pray Him more earnestly than ever before to give thee the virtue of patience.

O good Jesus, Thou strength and stay of the troubled soul, teach me to bear, with an even mind, blame and reproach; teach me, when complaints are unjustly made against me, not angrily to fight against them, but rather to get the better of them by meekly holding my peace; or, if speech be needed, may my words be such as to make of my adversaries friends. Put a right and loving word into my mouth in the presence of those that set themselves against me; and, when the hand of the wicked is lifted up against me, give me, O most gentle Jesus, for my impregnable shield, modest and imperturbable calmness of mind.

The Insults, Mockings & Smitings Of The Head Of The Lord Jesus

I bless Thee, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, Crown and Glory of the Saints, for the grievous contempt, and the foul insults to which Thou wast subjected, when, after Thou hadst been condemned to death, Thou wast so shamefully abused, and mocked with so many disgraceful words, by hard-hearted menials, and wast moreover frequently and roughly smitten on the head and face by them. Oh, the thought that Thy altogether lovely countenance, upon which Angels delight to look, should be basely dishonored by...filthy spitting... and be violently buffeted by the palms of their hands! Nor can we doubt that tears from Thy eyes mingled abundantly with the blood which was flowing from Thy nostrils. Thy beauteous neck is sorely bruised by the blows rained upon it by the fists of those who smite Thee. Those Eyes of Thine, clear as crystal, which are ever over the righteous, are blindfolded in derision, like the eyes of fools. Thy adorable Head, exalted far above all creatures, is rudely struck by the polluted hands of sinners; and with mocking shouts they insult Thee, saying: "Prophecy unto us, O Christ! Who is he that struck Thee?"

Who, O Lord, can hear of the indignities thus heaped upon Thee without being moved to deep sorrow and anguish of heart? Of a truth Thy capacity for suffering far surpasses ours; but the hearts of those who love Thee cannot but be deeply wounded at the thought of all the shame and disgrace which Thou hadst to undergo. From Thy friends Thou wast estranged; by Thy followers Thou wast deserted; Thou wast made a scoff and derision to them that hated Thee without a cause, who winked at Thee with their eyes. Ah, my Lord and my God, how canst Thou suffer Thyself, as if Thou wert the most foolish of men, to be thus mocked, and spitted on and buffeted by the ungodly?... All that night did they spend in mocking and in striking Thee; and by the time they had glutted themselves with Thy sufferings, they had so disfigured Thy Countenance, that scarce anyone would have known Thee: and yet, all the while, Thy unspeakable gentleness was unfailing, and although Thy impious tormentors could not discern it, the incomparable beauty of Thy Soul was unchanged. To all Thy chosen ones, however, Thou hast become still fairer and more precious, because, by the eye of faith, they recognize Thee as the most High God, and know that for love of them, all innocent as Thou wert, Thou didst suffer all these things.

I pray Thee, O most patient Jesus, that Thou wouldst teach me, in my meditation on the surpassing insults heaped upon Thee, to realize my own vileness, and how by my sins I have richly deserved to be despised, and to be condemned amidst the scoffs and hisses of my fellow men. Pity my shortcomings, and strengthen me to bear harsh words spoken to me, even when I blush for shame at their violence. For Thou, because Thou wast supremely humble, didst on behalf of me, a contemptible sinner, endure, without complaining, and with supreme meekness, many despiteful words, besides bonds and stripes. Oh how unlike Thee am I; how far from being truly humble am I, who for some trifling wrong or inconsiderate word, am angry with my fellow man; and, whereas I ought to be grateful for a reproof which was good for me, lose heart and feel impatient, and make no use of it! Forgive, O Lord, I pray Thee, these my misdoings, and pardon my having so often offended Thee by my follies, my not having kept a pure conscience in my heart, and my not having shown towards Thee, and towards my fellow men, due humility and respect. Give me wholesome sorrow, and a fount of tears. Make me to welcome discipline, calling to mind the blows which Thou didst endure. Grant that even from the harshest charges brought against me, I may, by patience under them, win profit to my soul; and may, from my hearts of hearts, feel that I deserve to be looked down upon and put to shame. May the thought of the hard smiting of Thy Head help me to bear my own bodily pain, of whatever kind it be; may the thought of the scornful blindfolding of Thine Eyes check the curiosity of mine; may the thought of the filthy spitting upon Thy beauteous Countenance repress within me every fleshly lu-st; and may it teach me not to be dazzled by outward glitter, but to cultivate more earnestly than ever, the inward graces of the soul. May the thought of the mocking which Thou hadst to bear make me shrink from all levity of behavior, and from all foolish jesting; and may the thought of the utter setting at naught of Thy Majesty quench in me all desire of being made much of, and lead me rather to seek a mean and lowly state. Amen.

+ + +

For more reflections, try here -

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'Catholic Trivia'

1. What is the "Haceldama"?

2. Who said...? "To instruct thee how great a good is fasting, and how it is a most powerful shield against the devil; and that after baptism thou shouldst give thyself up, not to luxury, but to fasting; for this cause Christ fasted, not as needing it Himself, but as teaching us."

3. Complete the following (from the Litany of St. Joseph): ___ son of David, pray for us; ___ of the patriarchs, pray for us; ___ guardian of the Virgin, pray for us; ___ defender of Christ, pray for us

4. Who said...? "For Thy cross is the source of all blessings, cause of all the gifts of grace; through it to them that believe is given strength out of weakness, glory out of shame, life out of death."

5. What does Scripture say about those who wear articles of clothing not proper to their gender?

6. Complete the following: "He that seeks not the cross of Christ ___"

7. Supply the missing words concerning the Annunciation from the Gospel of St. Luke (Ch.1): And in the ___ month, the angel ___ was sent from God into a city of ___ , called ___

8. Which saint with a feast day in March was sold as a slave & resurrected a horse?

9. Who said...? "Remember then, that although you were made from nothing, you were not redeemed with nothing. In six days God created all things, including you, but for thirty years he worked out your salvation including the ignominy of dying on the cross."

10. What two things is fasting directed to according to St. Thomas Aquinas?



1. The Haceldama is the potter's field purchased with the coins of Judas's betrayal. The term is from the Aramaic for "field of blood".

2. St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church

3. Illustrious son of David, pray for us; Light of the patriarchs, pray for us; Chaste guardian of the Virgin, pray for us; Watchful defender of Christ, pray for us.

4. Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church

5. "A woman shall not wear an article proper to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's dress [woman's apparel (DR Trans.)]; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God." (Deut. 22:5)

6. "He that seeks not the cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ." (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church)

7. "And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women..."

8. St. Patrick (3/17)

9. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church

10. "[F]asting is directed to two things, the deletion of sin, and the raising of the mind to heavenly things. Wherefore fasting ought to be appointed specially for those times, when it behooves man to be cleansed from sin, and the minds of the faithful to be raised to God by devotion: and these things are particularly requisite before the feast of Easter" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")


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

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday?

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.

- - -

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: Do You Criticize the Catholic Church For Her Use of Ashes on Ash Wednesday? (Note: Topic is directed at certain Protestants)


* If you criticize the Catholic Church's use of ashes on Ash Wednesday, do you also criticize those in Scripture who used ashes (e.g. Jdth. 9:1, Job 42:6, Jonah 3:6, etc.)? Why do you criticize the use of ashes when we see them used both in the Old Testament and in Apostolic times?

* Why is it that Job, Judith, Esther, Daniel, etc. thought using ashes was an acceptable (or even necessary) practice, but you don't?

* If it is always wrong to use ashes, why do we not see God flatly condemning this practice? If it is wrong, why does Our Lord Himself refer to the use of ashes? (Note: See Mt. 11:21, Lk. 10:13)

* Do you condemn the Church for using ashes without knowing why she does this? Do you not realize this helps bring home the truth that persons are "but dust and ashes" and that they will return to dust (thereby encouraging repentance)?

* Are you aware that the use of ashes is *not* a universal requirement of the Catholic Church? Did you know that Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation? In the past, ashes were imposed "only on public penitents. In those austere days of ecclesiastical discipline, public expiation was always exacted as a reparation for public scandal. Those who sought reconciliation with God after grievous sin were required to appear at the door of the church in penitential garb on Ash Wednesday morning." As time went on, other devout souls who were not public sinners wished to join the penitents in the 'humiliation of Ash Wednesday' so that "gradually, it became the custom for all Catholics, including the clergy, to receive the ashes on that day." [Source: Fr. J. Sullivan]

* Are you aware that the presence of ashes on Ash Wednesday may help Catholics by reminding them of their grave obligation to fast on this day? Are you aware that the wearing of ashes on the forehead also serves as a public proclamation of one's faith that sometimes subjects Catholics to ridicule by others? Or are you under the mistaken impression that Catholics tend to derive some 'worldly benefit' from wearing ashes on their foreheads?

* Do you think pride is involved in the wearing of ashes on the forehead? Pride for what? Ashes are symbolic of repentance, sin, and even death. How exactly does admitting you are a sinner who will return to dust make you prideful? It's not like it's difficult to get ashes or requires great effort. Certainly, they are not 'pretty' to look at (in an earthly sense). Even those in mortal sin can get them and it only takes a few moments. And, of course, they are free. So what's to be 'proud' about? Ashes are not given to serve pride or to "make a show", but rather "to soberly remind man that he is but dust and ashes" and to signify repentance. They should bring forth humility, which you can surely see is praised in Holy Scripture.

* Are you aware that Catholics don't think ashes have any inherent power (or 'magic')? They are also not a sacrament. Ashes may be used to signify repentance, but they should not be confused with repentance itself. Further, the Church does not teach that mere external acts can be a substitute for true repentance. In fact, receiving ashes may be accounted as a "farce" if it is not accompanied by proper dispositions.

* Have you ever pondered the fact that Scripture speaks of sparing persons who had sorrow for sin and were marked on the forehead? (Note: See Ezekiel, Chapter 9)

- - -

"The present rite of the Church of signing the foreheads of her children with blessed ashes, in the beginning of the Lenten fast, is a remnant of the ancient penitential discipline. In the good old times, when the faithful were more fervent, when they understood better the malice of sin, and had a deeper horror of it, public penance for certain crimes was ordained by the Church, and, for the most part, willingly accepted and faithfully performed. The sorrowing sinner looked upon admission to the penitential course as a precious boon, as a hope held out of his reinstatement in the enjoyment of those spiritual goods which he had forfeited by his transgression." (Fr. W. Barry)

"The sign of the holy ashes on our heads should remind us of the destiny of our earthly bodies--dust and worms. If we realize well this solemn truth, we shall undertake readily and joyously our Lenten work of fasting and praying, hoping for a recompense beyond the grave, when corruption will be changed into incorruption, when this mortal body will be clothed with immortality." (Fr. W. Barry)

"It was the ordinary time for sinners entering a course of public canonical penance, into which they were initiated by the prayers of the Bishop with his clergy, and the imposition of his hands, when he laid ashes on the heads of the penitents. This is the origin of the ceremony of putting ashes on our foreheads on this day, as an emblem and exterior mark of the interior consecration of our hearts to the exercises of penance. It is not a superstitious practice, but an holy ceremony used by the church from its most early times, and recommended by the example of the patriarchs and prophets recorded in the holy scriptures" (Butler)

"It is not therefore an idle ceremony, but a token or mark that we are consecrated to the practice of severe penance for our sins. To receive this ceremony without the spirit and sentiments of penitence is no better than gross hypocrisy, disobedience and mockery." (Butler)

"On Ash Wednesday the Church begins the penitential season of Lent, the forty days of mortification during which her children are called upon to remember that they must chastise their bodies and bring them into subjection; that he who neglects to do penance is in danger of perishing; and that at all times the Christian must remember his last end and his return to the dust from which he was taken. As we are all conscious that by nature we are 'children of wrath,' we are urged to appease the offended majesty of God by the practice of penance and mortification; and the Church teaches us this solemn duty by the impressive ceremony of the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday." (Fr. J. Sullivan)

"The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) which it bears in the Roman Missal is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead - or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure - of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: 'Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.' The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year." (Catholic Encyclopedia)

"But Simon began, though secretly, to go amongst his friends and acquaintances, and to malign [the Apostle St.] Peter more than before. Then all spat in his face, and drove him from the city, saying: 'You will be chargeable with your own death, if you think of coming hither again, speaking against Peter.' These things being known at Laodicea, Peter ordered the people to meet on the following day; and having ordained one of those who followed him as bishop over them, and others as presbyters, and having baptized multitudes, and restored to health all who were troubled with sicknesses or demons, he stayed there three days longer; and all things being properly arranged, he bade them farewell, and set out from Laodicea, being much longed for by the people of Antioch. And the whole city began to hear, through Niceta and Aquila, that Peter was coming. Then all the people of the city of Antioch, hearing of Peter's arrival, went to meet him, and almost all the old men and the nobles came with ashes sprinkled on their heads, in this way testifying their repentance, because they had listened to the magician Simon, in opposition to his preaching." (Attr. St. Clement of Rome)

"What shall I call thee to quit thee of thy recklessness? Shall I call thee ashes, and dust, and smoke, and pother?" (St. John Chrysostom)

- - -

For more apologetics resources, please visit

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In Closing...

Prayer of St. Bernadine of Siena to St. Joseph: "Be mindful of us, O blessed Joseph, and intercede for us with thy foster-Son by the pleading of thy prayer: do thou, in like manner, render the blessed Virgin Mary thy Spouse, gracious unto us, for she is the Mother of Him, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reignest world without end. Amen."

"The forty days' fast, which we call Lent, is the Church's preparation for Easter, and was instituted at the very commencement of Christianity. Our blessed Lord Himself sanctioned it by fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert; and though He would not impose it on the world by an express commandment... yet He showed plainly enough, by His own example, that fasting, which God has so frequently ordered in the old Law, was to be also practiced by the children of the new... [W]e find it mentioned, in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of our Lord, after the foundation of the Church, applied themselves to fasting. In their Epistles, also, they recommended it to the faithful. Nor could it be otherwise. Though the divine mysteries whereby our Savior wrought our redemption have been consummated, yet are we still sinners: and where there is sin, there must be expiation." (Dom Gueranger)

"When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 6:16-18)

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended all these words, he said to his disciples: You know that after two days shall be the pasch: and the Son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified." (Mt. 26:1-2)

"For if the very idea of impending evils was overwhelming, and the sweat of blood shows that it was, what are we to suppose their actual endurance to have been?" (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"From the sufferings and death of Christ we learn God's love for man and the evil of sin, for which God, who is all-just, demands such great satisfaction." (Baltimore Catechism)

"Is there anything that a generous heart would not willingly suffer on contemplating Jesus crucified?" (St. Raphaela Mary)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

We sincerely welcome feedback regarding our newsletters. Please visit our newsletter feedback page at to share your comments.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Thank You For Being a Subscriber to the E-Mail List.

We Wish You God's Blessings.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Note: Please do not reply to this e-mail address. If you are not a subscriber to this newsletter and you wish to join or if you are a subscriber and wish to unsubscribe, please go to . To contact us regarding other matters, please visit our feedback page at

Use of site / newsletter is subject to our terms of use. For terms information, visit is a division of B.F.S. Our mailing address is: Attn.:, B.F.S., P.O. Box 4292, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729-4292

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Please support quality Catholic content & help us maintain our non-commercial appearance...

* Invite a friend to - for online form, please visit

* Pray for us

* Link to us in blogs, newsgroups, etc.

* Please donate $1.00 or more - please visit

* For more free & low-cost methods, please visit

We appreciate your support!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -