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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - March, 2015 [Plain text version]

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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - March, 2015

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IN THIS ISSUE:

* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

* 'Food for Thought' for Lent From Pope Clement XIII

* 'The Glories of St. Joseph': Some Reflections

* Liturgical Feasts in March

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Divinely Revealed Unwritten Tradition?

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Dear Friend,

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:1-2)

We hope you are having a blessed, holy Lent and will be wholeheartedly encouraged to continue your worthy Lenten penitential practices throughout the remainder of the season. As we know, the Tempter may expend great effort to encourage us to abandon our good efforts, but remember that "Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved he will receive the crown of life that he promised to those who love him." (Jms. 1:12) Continue to follow our Lord and "...[do not] lose heart; to face bitter (spiritual) combats is a mark of Christians, and to endure grave labors to the end is a mark of them who, as good soldiers of Christ, follow Him closely." (Pope Pius XI)

Lastly, please see links below for resources for Lent & Easter (which falls this year on 4/5/15).

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

May God bless you always,

Your Friends at MyCatholicSource.com

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"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.'" (Mt. 16:24)

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MCS News & Notes

* New User-Submitted Articles: Some new user-submitted articles have been added to the site. To view a list of currently available user-submitted articles, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/ua/user_articles_index.htm

* New Doctor of the Church: Pope Francis recently named "Saint Gregory of Narek"* a Doctor of the Church. We plan to update our Doctors of the Church page shortly. To view this page, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/saints/doctors_of_the_church.htm [* 3/4/15 Update: The page has been updated]

* Upcoming Change: We plan to remove the 'welcome to our new look' note on the top border soon. Most likely this will occur after Pentecost. For the foreseeable future, we do plan to keep the transition information page (at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/transition_info.htm ) available

* Your Help is Requested: We echo the sentiment of others that: "If we didn't know better, we'd sometimes think Google was trying to shut us down." Do you use a mobile device? Could we please ask you the favor of visiting as many pages of our site as possible on your mobile device preceded by a Google query (e.g. search for MyCatholicSource.com on Google, and then click a Google link to visit our site)? If you are able to use Google's Chrome browser with an Android device (if available), this might provide additional help. In any event, please spend as long as possible on pages of our site using your mobile device(s) after a Google query - the longer the better! Should you notice any issues on any page of our site, please notify us using the form at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/fdb/quick_feedback.htm (please include the page's URL & information about any issues encountered). Ultimately, we are hoping to improve our mobile ranking on Google and we could really use your help. Thanks in advance for any assistance!

* Lent Resources: For resources for Lent, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-lent.htm

* Easter Resources: For resources for Easter, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-easter.htm

* Indulgences Reminder: A plenary indulgence may be available for Fridays in Lent. For more information on indulgences, please see http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/indulgences.htm

* Some St. Patrick's Day Resources: Breastplate of St. Patrick - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_of_saints_pp3803.htm | Shamrock Coloring Page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_shamrock.htm

* Some Annunciation Resources: Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Blessed_Virgin_Mary.htm | Annunciation / Incarnation (Reflections) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/mary_our_mother_reflections_annunciation_incarnation.htm | Annunciation Coloring Pages - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_coloring_activities.htm

* Did you experience connectivity issues with our site in early February? We were notified by or host on 2/4/15 of a "Network Component Upgrade" that may have resulted in "brief periods of potential network connectivity instability" from 02/05/15 22:00 CST through 02/06/15 03:00 CST. Our host indicated that they would be "upgrading the network hardware that [our] server relies on" in order to "bring greater stability, redundancy and speed to [the] network." According to our host, this scheduled network maintenance may have caused our site to be unavailable for "short periods of less than 3 minutes" during this 5 hour period. We regret that we did not receive notification sooner so that we could have included the information in our last newsletter. However, when we did finally receive the notice, we were able to post it both on our site (on the notices page at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/notices.htm ) and on our blog (at http://mycatholicsource.blogspot.com ). In any event, we regret any inconvenience these connectivity issues may have caused our visitors.

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MyCatholicSource.com App News...

* It's not too late to get iStations! Our Stations of the Cross app is perfect for Lent. Last month iStations ranked #2 in Lifestyle on Amazon.com and was also on the Apple charts for America & Great Britain. We were also pleased to receive at least 2 more 5-star reviews for iStations at the time of this writing. The following reviews of iStations for Android were posted last month on Amazon.com (1st review below) & Google Play (2nd review below)...

"What a Wonderful App! Our pastor mentioned there were apps to assist you in prayer during Lent, so I searched through the ones available for the Kindle Fire. This one had good reviews, so I purchased it. It has wonderful, spiritually moving artwork and lovely prayers. I used it for the first time today and it brought tears to my eyes. I had only done the stations of the cross once, when I was a child, and this app really made me reflect on myself and the things I need to do to strengthen my spirit and relationship with Our Lord. Definately money well spent!!!!"

"I am legally blind, which makes it very difficult for me to follow along in the missalette during Stations of the Cross. This audio version has made it possible for me to do the Stations of the Cross every day during Lent. Thank you so very much for making this app available for the blind."

Other reviews have called the app "Great", "wonderful", "excellent" and "A perfect daily Lenten prayer". Comments have included references to "beautiful pictures" and "beautifully written" prayers which are "perfect for a meaningful way to remember and reflect on the death and rising of Jesus." The app was also called "Beautifully sublime" and "a great Lenten time app [that] brings home the meaning of lent and helps me with setting my goals." Why not get your copy today? Download it today at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.bfsnet.istations or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007014CYM [an iOS version is presently available at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/istations/id457131446?ls=1&mt=8 ]

* Reviews: If you've purchased any of our apps, we encourage you to please leave a review at your place of purchase. Favorable reviews really help us out! To view selected reviews, please visit http://www.bfsnet.com/bfsapps/selected_reviews.htm

* For more information concerning currently available apps, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/comrc/apps.htm (shortcut: www.MyCatholicSource.com/Apps )

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* Please see our Notices page at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/notices.htm for dates of anticipated service delays through May 2015

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The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

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"Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Mt. 1:15-16)

"Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint [St. Joseph], for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God." (St. Therese of Avila, Doctor of the Church)

"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")

"Foster-father of the Son of God, pray for us. Watchful defender of Christ, pray for us. Head of the Holy Family, pray for us." (From the Litany of St. Joseph)

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Related Resources...

* St. Joseph (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Saint_Joseph.htm

* St. Joseph (Reflections) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/saints_reflections_saints_st_joseph.htm

* Prayers to St. Joseph - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_St_Joseph.htm

* 'Quamquam Pluries' (Pope Leo XIII, On Devotion to St. Joseph) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pd/quamquam_pluries.htm

* The Holy Family (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Holy_Family.htm

* St. Joseph (Coloring Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_saint_joseph.htm

=> Note: The Novena to St. Joseph, said daily from 3/11 through 3/19, may be found here - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_novenas.htm

Looking For Something Else? Try Our Various Indexes For 15,000+ Entries - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

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"Though thou hast recourse to many saints as thine intercessors, go especially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God." (St. Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church)

"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)

"The reasons why St. Joseph must be considered the special patron of the Church, and the Church in turn draws exceeding hope from his care and patronage, chiefly arise from his having been the husband of Mary and the presumed father of Jesus... Joseph was in his day the lawful and natural guardian, head and defender of the Holy Family... It is thus fitting and most worthy of Joseph's dignity that, in the same way that he once kept unceasing holy watch over the family of Nazareth, so now does he protect and defend with his heavenly patronage the Church of Christ." (Pope Leo XIII)

"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)

"You well understand, Venerable Brethren, that these considerations are confirmed by the opinion held by a large number of the Fathers, to which the sacred liturgy gives its sanction, that the Joseph of ancient times, son of the patriarch Jacob, was the type of St. Joseph, and the former by his glory prefigured the greatness of the future guardian of the Holy Family. And in truth, beyond the fact that the same name - a point the significance of which has never been denied - was given to each, you well know the points of likeness that exist between them; namely, that the first Joseph won the favor and especial goodwill of his master, and that through Joseph's administration his household came to prosperity and wealth; that (still more important) he presided over the kingdom with great power, and, in a time when the harvests failed, he provided for all the needs of the Egyptians with so much wisdom that the King decreed to him the title 'Savior of the world.' Thus it is that We may prefigure the new in the old patriarch. And as the first caused the prosperity of his master's domestic interests and at the same time rendered great services to the whole kingdom, so the second, destined to be the guardian of the Christian religion, should be regarded as the protector and defender of the Church, which is truly the house of the Lord and the kingdom of God on earth. These are the reasons why men of every rank and country should fly to the trust and guard of the blessed Joseph." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quamquam Pluries", 1889 A.D.)

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."

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'Food for Thought' for Lent From Pope Clement XIII

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"You will begin most appropriately, and with hope of the greatest profit, to recall men to the observance of the holy law of fasting, if you teach the people this: penance for the Christian man is not satisfied by withdrawing from sin, by detesting a past life badly lived, or by the sacramental confession of these same sins. Rather, penance also demands that we satisfy divine justice with fasting, almsgiving, prayer, and other works of the spiritual life. Every wrongdoing - be it large or small - is fittingly punished, either by the penitent or by a vengeful God ["Do not plot to repeat a sin; not even for one will you go unpunished." (Sirach 7:8)]. Therefore we cannot avoid God's punishment in any other way than by punishing ourselves. If this teaching is constantly implanted in the minds of the faithful, and if they drink deeply of it, there will be very little cause to fear that those who have discarded their degraded habits and washed their sins clean through sacramental confession would not want to expiate the same sins through fasting, to eliminate the concupiscence of the flesh. Besides, consider the man who is convinced that he repents of his sins more firmly when he does not allow himself to go unpunished. That man, already consumed with the love of penance, will rejoice during the season of Lent and on certain other days, when the Church declares that the faithful should fast and gives them the opportunity to bring forth worthy fruits of penance. After all, it is always necessary to subdue concupiscence, for it is written, 'Do not follow behind your desires, and do not turn away from your will.' Let the faithful easily turn their attention during this most holy time of year to lessening the intemperance of the body by fasting. In this way the soul might understand how it should prepare itself to recall the holy mysteries of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ." (Pope Clement XIII)

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For more reflections, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/reflections_categorized.htm

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'The Glories of St. Joseph': Some Reflections

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The following are taken from a 19th century publication. The work, entitled 'The Glories of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary', is attributed to Fr. Barrie. An imprimatur was not located on the publication. [Notice: We have made some changes to the original text (e.g. punctuation, capitalization & spelling changes, shortening, combining of paragraphs). Note also that the text below may not appear in its original order]

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"Mary, spouse to Joseph, doth, in plentitude of grace, surpass both men and angels; and has not her husband, think you, the like endowments, since God judged him a fit match for her, and for this end gave him so great an abundance of grace, virtue and sanctity, that neither men nor angels ever had the like, thereby to fit him to be spouse and guide to the Virgin Mother; God judging it fit, that in her right, he should partake of all her honors, favors, and dignities. If, therefore, she be a princess, he is a prince, and he also is king, wherever she is queen; for God, who designed to raise Mary to the quality and honor of the Mother of God, at the same time designed her a husband like to herself, whom he loved above all men upon earth, and therefore endowed him with all graces suitable to such a dignity. Oh, thrice happy Joseph, thus chosen by God, and thus fitted and advanced to be the husband of the Mother of God, as His best beloved, next to Jesus and Mary."

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"Let, therefore, this declaration of his virtues, joined with the rest of those wonderful prerogatives I have before declared, convince us of his extraordinary perfection, and give us an assurance that there is neither in heaven nor earth, any creature above St. Joseph, or that is more favored by God, except Jesus and Mary."

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"Whosoever desires to experience the effects of St. Joseph's intercession will find him a true father, for he forsakes none in their necessities, but assists those who have recourse to him in all their exigencies, especially if what they desire conduce to God's honor and glory."

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"The honor St. Mary Magdalen received in kissing our Savior's feet in the house of Simon, was also very great; but all these were nothing in comparison to what St. Joseph received. He not only once, but all the time of Jesus' infancy, saw Him in the crib. How often he beheld Him in His swaddling clothes, and how many thousand times did he kiss His sacred feet? It was a signal favor St. John received, to lay his head upon his Master's sacred breast; and what knowledge of secrets and mysteries did he not draw from thence? But how many times has Jesus rested His sacred head upon St. Joseph's breast, while he carried Him in his arms, tenderly embracing and cherishing Him at home and abroad; in his journey to Egypt and elsewhere? And how many secrets did He not then communicate to him?"

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"[T]he testimony of St. Teresa, and of many others of his clients, whom I have heard avouch the same truth, is, that he refuses nothing that is asked of him, but provides a remedy in all necessities; which is a sufficient motive to have recourse to him, with all assurance of our obtaining our just petitions."

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"[T]ake occasion, when any affairs of importance happen, to address ourselves to St. Joseph, and wholly to commit them to his care. It is also a good devotion frequently to ask his blessing, and to repose a confidence in him as in a father; beseeching him to obtain of his son and spouse such an assistance as we shall on all occasions stand in need of."

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"We shall know that we are proficient in this divine school of love when we love St. Joseph above all others next to Jesus and Mary, in which consists that special devotion we ought to have to him. I say not this to lessen your love and devotion to any other saint, but to augment your love and devotion to him who, in regard of his merits, holds the first rank in heaven and earth, after Christ and His Virgin Mother, not only upon account of the love that Jesus and Mary bore him, but of the love that God has manifested toward him, by those high prerogatives He has bestowed upon him; not but that God has also very highly favored many other saints of His heavenly court: such as St. John the Baptist, whom the divine Word declared the "Greatest among the sons of women" (Matt. xi. 11); and such as the apostles also were, who are pillars of His Church, and like stars of the first magnitude in the firmament of heaven, as well as several other saints like unto these; but we must remember, as the learned and devout Gerson says, that if the first rank and hierarchy in heaven is that of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, so the second is this of Jesus, Mary and Joseph; and that all other saints are of a lower rank, and of a different hierarchy."

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"After Jesus, His blessed Mother was always the object of Joseph's tenderest affection. If any one ever excelled in devotion to the Queen of heaven, it was Joseph - he was the person that was nearest allied to her, most like her, and most attached to her - he of all mortals paid the first homage, the tenderest devotion that ever was or ever shall be paid to the incomparable Virgin. Who ever weighed more profoundly the sense and contents of the angelical salutation, and the depth of its mystery? 'Conferens in carde suo salutationem, 'Ave gratia plena'' (Pondering in his heart the words of the angel, 'Hail, full of grace'). In the noble and generous heart of the great St. Joseph, as in the nursery and hotbed of every virtue, first sprang up the seeds and first fruits of devotion to Mary - from this source it was transplanted into the hearts of the faithful and of religious devoted to Mary; and in virtue of his merits and powerful protection has it been so rich in graces and conversions in the Church of God; for to this origin must be referred, as several saints attest of themselves, whatever fruits it has brought forth or is to bring forth to the end of time."

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"[T]ake occasion to thank St. Joseph for the labor and pains he took for Jesus and Mary, and the services he did for them; 'For how is it possible,' says St. Teresa, 'to think upon what the Queen of Heaven and her little Infant suffered upon earth, without giving thanks to St. Joseph for his charitable assistance in their sufferings?' The thoughts of those passages of charity he exercised, as bearing Jesus in his arms, helping his spouse to dress Him, laying Him in His cradle, and such like ordinary actions, though but inconsiderable, it is not to be imagined what tender affections the consideration of them breeds in our hearts, and how they move us to exercise greater services to Jesus, and also a love to St. Joseph, who thereby expressed his affection to Him."

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"From whence we may gather how great an advantage the clients of St. Joseph have, who by his intercession obtain so great a blessing, than which nothing is so considerable, nothing so hard to obtain, nor anything that ought more earnestly to be sought after. What a comfort is it, then, to have so powerful an assistant, who sweetens all difficulties, lending us his efficacious hand; whereby he manifests that God has left to his care the bringing up of those who efficaciously desire to become eminent in this interior life, as a recompense of the interior life he led at Nazareth, with his sacred family; and that he is the ruler and governor of those souls who desire to have their virtues and actions concealed from the world, and only known to God"

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"Perhaps you will tell me you have neither house to build nor any foundation to make. Pardon me if I tell you you lie under a great mistake, since you have a building of perfection to raise, the foundation of a virtuous life to lay; you are also to employ your thoughts about a habitation that you must live in for eternity. One of the means to compass this great work of our salvation is a tender devotion to St. Joseph. What devotion, therefore, can be easier than this - to keep the spiritual image of St. Joseph in our thoughts, to procure it, by carrying it in our books, by keeping it in our closet, by letting it put us in mind to call upon Him whom the image represents, and beg His assistance in all our necessities? By the help of such an image, a gentleman of Venice was drawn from a most miserable to a most happy state of his soul, which had otherwise been lost. [Various stories] prove the care St. Joseph takes of the spiritual malady of those who are devoted to him."

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"As for prayer, St. Teresa assures us in her life that he who cannot find a master to teach him how to pray, must choose St. Joseph for his guide and director, and he will certainly find out the way to perform this exercise well. To confirm this, I know two persons who found great difficulty in prayer; the one, by frequently recommending himself to St. Joseph, the other, by undertaking the recital of a few prayers in his honor, found themselves assisted by him, even as soon as they had performed these devotions; and they have since, by his intercession, obtained so great a facility in mental prayer that there is no greater consolation to them than this exercise."

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"[D]evote the month of March, which has been called the month of Joseph, in a particular manner to his service, since this month has been signalized by many events relating to Joseph - in this month he received into his society the Savior of the world; in this month Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, and visited Joseph in limbo; in this month Joseph also died; this month is likewise remarkable for the finding of Jesus in the temple, and several other sacred events."

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"[Another] devotion that may be performed to St. Joseph, is, to take him for our chief patron and advocate during our whole life, and yearly to renew this resolution upon his feast. I know a religious person of our society, who constantly practices this devotion every year; offering himself to him, by the recital of a prayer, similar to our sodalities to our blessed Lady, erected in our colleges, as publicly recited at their reception. I do not persuade you to perform this exercise every day, lest to some it might appear too great a burden, but only once a year, upon his chief feast; which his true clients cannot think too much to perform: and the first time we make use of this prayer it is fit to choose him for our particular patron and protector. The prayer is short, and therefore I shall insert it here: 'O holy Joseph, spouse of the most blessed Virgin Mary, I [N.] choose you this day for my special advocate and patron; and do firmly purpose never to forsake you, nor to say, do, nor suffer any under my charge to say or do anything against your honor. I therefore earnestly beseech you that you will please to take me for your perpetual and constant servant, and to assist me in all my actions, especially in the hour of my death. Amen.'"

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"But who can tell the immense weight of his glory and his prerogatives in heaven? for to enumerate all his virtues would be endless; it is the opinion of the pious and learned Suarez that he is exalted above the apostles and John the Baptist, since he surpassed them in dignity, as the dignity of father, of governor, and of prime minister of Jesus is greater than that of herald and precursor. Others say that in a well-suited marriage, as Joseph's must have been, an equality is necessary; and so they conclude that he must approach nearest to the sanctity of Mary. Besides, as Jesus and she, by a single visit and salutation, sanctified the Baptist, how much more [of the divine spirit] must they not have infused into Joseph by their constant presence and conversation. Further, as all his thoughts, words, and actions were referred to the Word incarnate, they thence became 'Godlike and divine': what wonder, then, that St. Teresa should have such tender devotion to this favorite of heaven, and should so strongly recommend it to others as the best means of securing God's friendship, assuring them that it was through his mediation she had received the choicest favors."

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"St. Teresa of Jesus...merits the title of St. Joseph's chief devotee, and may well, therefore, be placed among his admirers. She made choice of him for her particular advocate, frequently recommending herself to him as to one she honored above all other saints. She styled him her father and master, and had an admirable confidence in him, and thereby deserved a reward from him, as she herself attests in the sixth chapter of her life - which was, that she never asked anything of him, for body or soul, that he denied her; which caused her to say, that God, by His other saints, helped us in some particular cases of necessity, but helps us in all necessities by St. Joseph, as by His plenipotentiary, to let us understand that as He was subject to him in all things upon earth as to a father, so He was the same in heaven, granting him whatsoever he asked. This was St. Teresa's opinion concerning her great patron, to whom she was so devoted that she endeavored to invite all to take him for their particular patron and protector, but especially those who desire to give themselves to prayer; and, therefore, was wont to say, 'Let him who cannot find a master to teach him the art of praying take this great saint for one, and he shall not fail to prove a most skillful scholar.' In fine, she did what she could to instill into all persons a particular devotion to St. Joseph, and, therefore, endeavored to engage their hearts, with her own, in an ardent love of devotion to him; which desire of hers, together with the experiments she had had of the good obtained by the merits and prayers of this saint, caused her to promise the same success to all who should recommend themselves to him; attesting that she never knew any person who had a true devotion to him, or rendered him any particular service, but obtained an advancement in virtue."

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"To begin, then, with his beauty of body: in this he resembled his spouse, and as she surpassed all other beauties, so in beauty St. Joseph was her consort; in which truth I agree with those learned men who hold for certain that he was no less excellent in all perfections of body than in those of his mind; for we cannot imagine that Jesus would permit so strict an alliance of His beautiful Mother with a man who had any personal defect; for what father is there that chooses not the most accomplished person to marry his daughter? Gerson affirms that in his face or countenance he resembled and was very like to Jesus, the most beautiful among the sons of men. 'The face of Jesus,' says he, 'resembled the face of Joseph.' And St. Bernard testifies, also, that he was like to that unparalleled beauty, the blessed Virgin Mary: 'Joseph' says he, 'was made to the likeness of the blessed Virgin his spouse.' So that they are all alike in beauty, in which they excelled all others...Moreover, an agreeable exterior, a sweet and pleasant conversation, are no less charming than beauty, which St. Joseph had in very great perfection, as well from his natural temper as from the many years conversation he had enjoyed with the Word incarnate, and with the Queen of angels; for in him the least defect of this kind would have been notorious, he being designed by God to treat and converse with those kings, whom He inspired and led by a star to adore His Son; and not only to treat with kings, but even with angels themselves, sent to him upon several embassies: to inform him of the mysteries of the incarnation, of the name he should give his son, of Herod's design against His life, to warn him to flee with Him and His mother into Egypt, to give him notice of Herod's death, and that he might return home, although by a different way from that he took when he fled into Egypt: whom, moreover, He designed to be the constant companion of the Queen of angels, and even of the Son and Mother of God; and therefore He endowed him with a great, noble and generous mind, and replenished his heart with such a heavenly joy as at once discovered itself in his countenance, and gave a grace and ornament to every action he performed; whereby he gained everyone's affection and esteem, yet he was not thereby the least puffed up with any self-esteem; nor did he, as it ordinarily happens, become less affable upon account of these honors done him, but received them with so bashful a modesty and so angelic a sweetness as declared that he looked upon himself as undeserving of the esteem and love they showed him; admiring and regarding their goodness, not his own merits; so that his sweet disposition, excellent humor, beautiful and pleasant countenance, breathed such a humility, joined with such winning and angelic modesty, as rendered his conversation pleasant both to men and angels, nay, even to Christ Himself. Thus the interpretation of the patriarch Joseph's dream was verified in our Joseph; for the Sun of Justice, and even the Son of God, and she who was as beautiful as the moon, Mother of God, admired and reverenced him. But all these are only exterior ornaments, and nothing in comparison to his interior - I mean those virtues that adorned his soul; for nothing is so lovely, or renders any object so worthy of love, as virtue. And it was this made St. Joseph gain so great a conquest over the hearts of all that knew him; for he was charitable, patient, meek, humble, devout, obedient, and all that either the reputed father of Jesus, or the spouse of Mary ought to have been; and although he had not of himself been so eminent in these virtues, yet the constant conversation with such eminent patterns of them as Jesus and Mary were could not but render him most eminent in the same: for, as one who lives in a perfumer's shop does not only take pleasure in the smell of the perfumes around him, but is thereby perfumed himself, so the virtues of St. Joseph were increased by theirs with whom he constantly lived and conversed."

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The Seven Dolors of St. Joseph

1. The grief which filled the mind of St. Joseph at the idea of forsaking his Virgin spouse, when she had conceived by the Holy Ghost.

2. St. Joseph's beholding the child Jesus shivering with cold in the manger, and so miserably accommodated.

3. St. Joseph's beholding Christ shedding His sacred blood, in the ceremony of circumcision.

4. The words of Simeon on the day of purification, "That a sword shall pierce the blessed Virgin's heart."

5. Christ's flight into Egypt, occasioned by the persecution of Herod.

6. The fear St. Joseph had on his return from Egypt, hearing that Archelaus reigned.

7. St. Joseph's seeking the infant Jesus, when returning from Jerusalem.

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Prayer to St. Joseph: "Assist us, O Lord, we beseech thee, by the merits of the spouse of thy most holy Mother, that what our unworthiness cannot obtain, may be given us by his intercession: Who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen."

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Liturgical Feasts in March

The following is a listing of all liturgical feast dates for March as they appear at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/saints/feasts.htm

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

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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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 and try here: http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/latin_mass_and_tradition/traditional_liturgical_calendar.htm . For other feasts, try the MCS Daily Digest each day at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

Also...

3/15/15 - Fourth Sunday of Lent | Laetare Sunday (T)

3/22/15 - Fifth Sunday of Lent | Passion Sunday (T)

3/29/15 - Palm Sunday

3/30/15 - Monday in Holy Week

3/31/15 - Tuesday in Holy Week

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. Complete the passage: "I do not sit with deceivers, nor with hypocrites do I mingle. I ___ the company of evildoers; with the wicked I do not sit." (Ps. 26:4-5)

2. What do the initials NSMV stand for and where do they appear?

3. Who said...? "May chastity, the choicest ornament of our priesthood, flourish undimmed amongst you; through the splendor of this virtue, by which the priest is made like the angels, the priest wins greater veneration among the Christian flock, and his ministry yields an even greater harvest of holiness."

4. What do Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus have in common?

5. Complete the passage: "If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but ___." (St. Paul, Heb. 12:8)

6. What does Chi Rho refer to?

7. Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will what?

8. Who said...? "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!"

9. Complete the passage: "For I hate ___, says the LORD, the God of Israel" (Mal. 2:16)

10. Who said...? "It is a certain, well-established fact that no other crime so seriously offends God and provokes His greatest wrath as the vice of heresy. Nothing contributes more to the down fall of provinces and kingdoms than this frightful pest"

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Answers:

1. "I do not sit with deceivers, nor with hypocrites do I mingle. I hate the company of evildoers; with the wicked I do not sit." (Ps. 26:4-5)

2. The initials NSMV stand for "Nunquam suade mihi vana" ("suggest not to me thy vain things"). They appear on the medal of St. Benedict and are directed at the deceits of the devil.

3. Pope St. Pius X, in "Haerent Animo", 1908 A.D.

4. Sts. Marcus and Marcellianus are twin brothers

5. "If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards." (St. Paul, Heb. 12:8)

6. Chi Rho is an abbreviation for Christ, based on first two letters of Christ in Greek, Chi (X) & Rho (P)

7. "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (St. James, Jms. 5:19-20)

8. St. Paul in Gal. 1:8: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!"

9. "For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel" (Mal. 2:16)

10. St. Charles Borromeo

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For more information concerning the topics above, try our General A-Z Index at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/help.htm

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_activities/catholic_fun_crossword_puzzles.htm

You might also be interested in the Q & A and historical information which may be found each day on the MCS Daily Digest at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/mcs_daily_digest.asp

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Concept of Divinely Revealed Unwritten Tradition?

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 http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__tradition.htm

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

Topic: Do You Reject the Concept of Divinely Revealed Unwritten Tradition? [Note: Topic is directed at Protestants]

Consider:

* Do you believe that the Bible is the sole rule of faith? Please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__bible_alone.htm

* How can one reject the concept of divinely revealed unwritten tradition when it is clear that oral tradition predates Scripture? Oral tradition existed before a word of the New Testament was written (and also before a single word of the Old Testament was written).

* If tradition was to be passed on in writing (and not orally), why does Jesus commission the apostles to preach and not to write Scripture (see Mk. 16:15)?

* "The Old Testament required oral tradition - why not the New?"

* How can one reject the concept of divinely revealed unwritten tradition when St. Paul says in the first letter to the Corinthians: "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the traditions, just as I handed them on to you" (1 Cor. 11:2)?

* How can one reject the concept of divinely revealed unwritten tradition when Scripture says to "hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours" (2 Thes. 2:15)?

* How can one reject the concept of divinely revealed unwritten tradition when Scripture says to "shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the tradition they received from us" (2 Thes. 3:6)?

* How can you reject the concept of unwritten tradition when Scripture itself says that not everything has been written down (see Jn. 21:25)?

* If tradition was to be passed on in writing, why does St. John indicate that he prefers to speak face to face (cf. 2 Jn. 1:12, 3 Jn. 1:13-14)?

* How can one reject the concept of divinely revealed unwritten tradition when Scripture itself is part of tradition (e.g. the canon of books that make up the Bible)?

* Do you think tradition is condemned because of passages such as Mt. 15:3, Mk. 7-9, and Col. 2:8? Can you not see that this refers to human tradition in opposition to God? Do you not realize that Scripture positively instructs believers to follow certain unwritten traditions (e.g. 1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thes. 2:15, 2 Thes. 3:6)? 

* In light of the fact that Scripture does positively instruct believers to follow certain unwritten traditions, how can your non-Catholic 'Christian church' be true if it does not follow such tradition? If you claim to be 'Bible only', aren't you concerned that you aren't following the unwritten, oral traditions as instructed in the Bible?

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"Reject not the tradition of old men which they have learned from their fathers; From it you will obtain the knowledge how to answer in time of need." (Sirach 8:9)

"The Gospels need tradition as the lungs need air, and as the eyes light, and as the plants the earth!" (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"The truths which God has revealed are contained in Holy Scripture and in Tradition." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Divine Tradition has the same force as the Bible, since it too contains God's revelation to men." (Baltimore Catechism)

"It is needful also to make use of Tradition, for not everything can be gotten from sacred Scripture. The holy Apostles handed down some things in the Scriptures, other things in Tradition." (St. Epiphanius of Salamis)

"The best advice that I can give you is this. Church traditions - especially when they do not run counter to the faith - are to be observed in the form in which previous generations have handed them down" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Tradition is the non-written word of God, which has been transmitted by word of mouth by Jesus Christ and by the apostles, and which has come down to us through the centuries by the means of the Church, without being altered." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"Divine Tradition is the unwritten word of God - that is, truths revealed by God, though not written in the Bible, and given to the Church through word of mouth by Jesus Christ or by the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost." (Baltimore Catechism)

"A small thing is not small when it leads to something great; and it is no small matter to forsake the ancient tradition of the Church that was upheld by all those who were called before us, whose conduct we should observe, and whose faith we should imitate." (St. John of Damascus, Doctor of the Church)

"Our Lord did and said many things which are not related in the Gospel. For the evangelists were intent on handing down chiefly those things that were necessary for salvation or concerned the building of the ecclesiastical edifice." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls." (Second Vatican Council)

"But in regard to those observances which we carefully attend and which the whole world keeps, and which derive not from Scripture but from Tradition, we are given to understand that they are recommended and ordained to be kept, either by the Apostles themselves or by plenary councils, the authority of which is quite vital in the Church." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 400 A.D.)

"Moreover that the Apostles handed down much that was unwritten, Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, tells us in these words: Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been taught of us, whether by word or by epistle. And to the Corinthians he writes, Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the traditions as I have delivered them to you." (John of Damascus, Doctor of the Church)

"Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions that you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter' (2 Thes. 2:15). From this it is clear that they did not hand down everything by letter, but there was much also that was not written. Like that which was written, the unwritten too is worthy of belief. So let us regard the tradition of the Church also as worthy of belief. Is it a tradition? Seek no further." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, c. 400 A.D.)

"Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church." (Second Vatican Council)

"The sacred and holy ecumenical and general Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, with the same three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, keeping this constantly in view, that with the abolishing of errors, the purity itself of the Gospel is preserved in the Church, which promised before through the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded 'to be preached' by His apostles 'to every creature' as the source of every saving truth and of instruction in morals [Matt. 28:19 ff., Mark 16:15], and [the Synod] clearly perceiving that this truth and instruction are contained in the written books and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand, [the Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and holds in veneration with an equal affection of piety and reverence all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament, since one God is the author or both, and also the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. And so that no doubt may arise in anyone's mind as to which are the books that are accepted by this Synod, it has decreed that a list of the Sacred books be added to this decree... If anyone, however, should not accept the said books as sacred and canonical, entire with all their parts, as they were wont to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin Vulgate edition, and if both knowingly and deliberately he should condemn the aforesaid traditions let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1546 A.D.)

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For more apologetics resources, please visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/non-catholics.htm

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In Closing...

"Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 9:24)

"When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them." (Gen. 41:55)

"Cross, my certain salvation, Cross, whom I ever adore, Cross of the Lord be with me, Cross, my refuge, forever more." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

"O God, who by sin art offended and by penance appeased, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy suppliant people, and turn away the scourges of Thy wrath, which we deserve for our sins. Through our Lord." (Collect)

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 Prayer: "Hear, O merciful Creator, the tearful prayers we present to thee, during these forty days of fast. O loving searcher of the heart, thou knowest that our strength is weak; grant us the grace of thy pardon, for we are converted unto thee. Grievously have we sinned; yet spare us, for we confess our sins to thee: and, for the glory of thy name, heal our languid hearts. Grant that we may subdue our flesh by abstinence; that thus our hearts may leave what nourishes sin, and fast from every crime. O blessed Trinity! O undivided Unity! Grant to us, thy servants, that our fasts may produce abundant fruits. Amen." (Vespers of Lent)

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