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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - March, 2016 [Plain text version]

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MyCatholicSource.com Newsletter - March, 2016

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IN THIS ISSUE:

* Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

* Resources for Holy Week & Easter

* Devotion to St. Joseph: 'The Savior of the world ardently desires that we should honor St. Joseph in a very special manner'

* Liturgical Feasts in March

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Believe That Good Works Are Not Necessary For Salvation?

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Dear Friend,

"May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ." (2 Thes. 3:5)

We hope your Lent is off to a blessed start & we hope you will be given the grace to persevere in your worthy resolutions over the upcoming weeks. 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)

Please see links below for resources for Holy Week & Easter (which falls this year on 3/27/16). Also please see below for an update on the server switch mentioned in last month's newsletter.

We thank you very much for your support of our newsletter and wish you God's blessings,

Your Friends at MyCatholicSource.com

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"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)

"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

* Server Migration Update: Great News! We do not need to move forward with a new server at this time. We were able to harden our existing server for better security and we have passed our most recent PCI scan. We will still have to switch servers at some point in the future, but at least we can hope it will be better timed. Thank you for your support and prayers! [Note that we ran into some snags before the transition process began, but, thankfully, the solution was found very shortly after a prayer for God's help. The resolution was even better than we could have hoped for - and, surprisingly, it didn't require that we switch to a new server. Thanks be to God!]

* Traffic Update: We anticipate that we may receive our 4 millionth visitor (based on raw, unfiltered access logs) sometime in March. We send our thanks to all who have visited MyCatholicSource.com!

* Thank you for your feedback! We are grateful for the kind subscriber feedback we received last month. It means a lot!

* Service Delays: Due to medical reasons, please continue to expect some sporadic delays in all correspondence & services (including processing of posts) for the foreseeable future. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for any prayers.

* 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

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

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* Do you follow the 'Divine Mercy' devotion? If so, you may be interested in this page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-divine_mercy.htm [Note: This page includes links to prayers and also to the user-submitted article "What's Up With Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion? Unanswered Questions & Things You May Not Know" at http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/ua/user_article-faustinas_divine_mercy_devotion.htm ]

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The Month of March: Dedicated to St. Joseph

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"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")

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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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"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)

"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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Resources for Holy Week & Easter

+ + + Resources for Holy Week + + +

* Good Friday (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-Good_Friday.htm

* Lenten Prayers (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-lenten_prayers.htm

* Stations of the Cross / Way of the Cross - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/prayers_and_devotions/stations_of_the_cross.htm

* The Passion of Jesus (from the Gospels) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/pcst/topical_scripture_J.htm

Note: Scroll down page to view (about 1/3 way down page...contains selections on the Passion from all four Gospel accounts)

* Jesus' Last Words From The Cross - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/jesus_last_words.htm

* Trials & Sorrows of Jesus - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/sorrows_of_jesus.htm

* The Passion / Cross Reflections - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/qt/catholic_basics_reflections_The_Passion.htm

* Holy Week / Indulgence Information - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/cg/indulgences.htm

* Stabat Mater (Sequence) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_hymns_sequences.htm

* Prayers to Jesus (Prayer in Honor of the Five Wounds, Prayer in Honor of the Precious Blood, etc.) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_Jesus.htm

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture: Abandonment & Betrayal of Jesus - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/biblical_prophecies_betrayal.htm

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture: Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/biblical_prophecies_passion_death_resurrection.htm

* Definitions (e.g. for terms such as Passiontide, Spy Wednesday, Triduum / Easter Triduum, etc.) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_basics/catholic_basics_definitions.htm

* Coloring Page: Jesus Washing Apostle's Feet - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_jesus_washing_feet.htm

* Coloring Page: Last Supper - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_last_supper.htm

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

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"O Jesus, most glorious in your magnificence: I praise and bless your incomprehensible omnipotence, weak and helpless for us in the Passion. I adore and glorify your unsearchable wisdom, accounted foolishness for us. I praise and magnify your unutterable love, which submitted to hatred of all people for the sake of your elect. I praise and extol your meek and gentle mercy, sentenced to so fearful a death for humankind. I praise and I adore your ravishing sweetness, embittered for us by your most bitter death. Amen." (St. Mechtilde)

+ + + Resources for Easter + + +

* Easter (Topic Page) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/tp/topic_page-easter.htm

* Prayers for Easter - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pr/prayers_and_hymns_for_certain_occasions_times.htm

* Easter Duty - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_basics/catholic_basics_precepts_of_the_church.htm

* Definitions (e.g. for terms such as Easter, Easter Duty, Resurrection, etc.) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_basics/catholic_basics_definitions.htm

* Fulfilled Prophecies in Scripture: Jesus' Passion, Death, & Resurrection - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pcs/biblical_prophecies_passion_death_resurrection.htm

* Easter Date - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pc/catholic_basics/catholic_basics_councils.htm

* The Resurrection Coloring Page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_the_resurrection.htm

* Happy Easter Coloring Page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_happy_easter.htm

* Alleluia Coloring Page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_alleluia.htm

* He is Risen Coloring Page - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/coloring_book_He_is_risen.htm

* Crossword Puzzle (Easter) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/crossword_puzzle_easter.html

* Word Search Puzzle (Easter) - http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/pca/word_search_easter.htm

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

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"In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia." (Liturgical Year)

"O sing, my tongue, the victory of the glorious combat! Tell how was won the noble triumph on the trophy of the cross, and how the world's Redeemer, when immolated, conquered." (From 6th century hymn)

"Now let the heavens be joyful, let earth her song begin; Let the round world keep triumph, and all that is therein! Let all things seen and unseen their notes of gladness blend, For Christ the Lord hath risen, our Joy that hath no end!" (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church)

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Devotion to St. Joseph: 'The Savior of the world ardently desires that we should honor St. Joseph in a very special manner'

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The following is taken from a 19th century publication entitled "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph". An imprimatur was not located on the work. [Please note: We have made various changes to the original text (e.g. spelling, capitalization & punctuation changes, shortening)]  

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God never caused the virtues and singular merit of Joseph to shine with greater splendor than when He said to him by the mouth of the angel, "Take the Child and His mother" (St. Matthew ii. 13, 20); for in them He committed to him His most precious treasures, giving him thus the preference over all the blessed spirits of Heaven: and Joseph received these two sacred persons into his care, to be their protector, their guardian, and defender. If, then, Heaven made Joseph the protector of Jesus and Mary, we may rest assured that he was at the same time made the protector and patron of all men. When Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross said to the Blessed Virgin, indicating St. John, "Woman, behold thy son," (St. John xix. 27) we believe that we were all entrusted to His Mother in the person of the beloved disciple. So also when the Eternal Father confided the Incarnate Word and His Mother to Joseph, He confided us all to this great saint; for the Incarnate Word had us all in His adorable Heart, and the Blessed Virgin, the new Eve, was to conceive us all in her heart of sorrows when she stood beneath the Cross on Calvary. We were to be the children of her pain, as was to Rachel her second-born son, Benoni (Gen. xxxv. 18). To be devout to Joseph, therefore, is not merely our interest in the highest sense, neither is it to be considered, on the other hand, as a mere pious practice to be cultivated or not at pleasure, but it is our duty; since that which is the desire of Jesus and Mary comes to us with the force of an obligation, which we cannot disregard without irreverence to them as well as great spiritual detriment to ourselves. Add to which, that the Church's example powerfully attracts us to this devotion, and the example of this loving mother is meant as a guidance to us, which no faithful child of hers can refuse to follow. But first we will speak only of the desire of Jesus and Mary that we should honor Joseph very greatly.

What is the Savior's most ardent desire? Is it not that all should imitate Him perfectly? By this imitation we magnify God, and efficaciously promote our own salvation. Now, let us attend to the example He set before us with respect to St. Joseph. He was the first who had recourse to this great saint. Never did son belong so absolutely and entirely to his father as did Jesus to Joseph; and, indeed, it was conformable to reason that He who had written in our hearts that beautiful precept - for it belonged to the natural law before it was proclaimed and enforced from Sinai - "Honor thy father," should Himself keep it most exactly. Never, also, did son serve his father with such assiduity and love as the Incarnate Word served our saint. Wherefore, when the Savior testifies His earnest desire that we should imitate Him, He at the same time manifests [as the devout Bernardine de Bustis has pointed out (Mariale, p. iv. Serm. xii)] His wish that we should love and reverence St. Joseph. And, indeed, it would be a monstrous thing if the members of His Body did not honor him to whom their Head paid such profound submission.

This desire of our Lord is grounded on His adorable perfections; on His justice as well as on His gratitude... His justice also would have regard to the proportion and degree of those merits; and He would have those most highly honored who merited the most. But, amongst the friends of God in Heaven, who has equal merit with Joseph? Having, then, excelled all in sanctity, the Son of God, in order to do him justice, requires that men should acknowledge it by their most profound respect and fervent love.

There is, however, another sublime office which Joseph faithfully discharged as well as that of a tender father and guardian of Jesus, which the Lord will not have forgotten in Heaven or be willing to leave without corresponding exaltation on earth. St. Bernard considered that Joseph was united with the Savior in the quality of a coadjutor, whom God gave to His Son as His associate in the most magnificent of all His works, the redemption of men (Super missus est, Hom. ii. 16). According to the Abbot Rupert, it was not without mystery that Christ was promised to Abraham as man, to David as his successor in his kingdom, but to Joseph under the name of Savior; in order that we may be persuaded that, although Joseph had no share in the formation of the Body of Jesus neither did he place the crown upon His head, he nevertheless contributed to making Him the Savior of all men, journeying and laboring and toiling along with Him, and supporting Him by the fruit of his toils for so many years. And thus (he says) he was the last of the Patriarchs to whom the Messias was promised, but in a more excellent manner than all. Albert the Great held that in this respect he could call Joseph the support of the whole human race, because, in taking the charge of the bringing up of Jesus Christ, he contributed much to the salvation of men. To Him he devoted the best years of his life; for Him he renounced every personal satisfaction, and even every personal thought, in order to aid in bringing about this one affair, the reparation of lost man, and the opening to sinners the way of eternal life. No wonder, then, that the Church should now give him the title of co-operator with the Savior in the redemption of the human race; for, indeed, the Greeks had anciently called him, by the mouth of St. Chrysostom, the partner and mediator of the mystery of the Incarnation. The justice of Jesus, then, requires that Joseph should receive upon earth the honor which he merited by having thus assisted Him in the great work which He came down from Heaven to accomplish.

But the Savior desires that Joseph should be honored by us, not from justice only, but from gratitude. It belongs to noble and generous hearts to feel gratitude, and the more noble and generous they are the more lively is that gratitude. Great souls are tenderly thankful even for small services, while little and mean souls overlook the greatest. But what heart can compare with the Heart of Jesus, that fathomless well of love? The Gospel teems with proofs of His generous appreciation of any affectionate act of homage shown Him, and His magnificent requital of the least services; nay, He makes charity, as done to Himself in the person of the poor and suffering, the rule by which He will judge the nations when He comes to sit on the throne of His majesty: "As long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me" (St. Matthew xxv. 40). And what is the recompense? The inheritance of a kingdom! See, too, His treatment of the penitent Magdalen, when she came behind Him silently as He sat...in the Pharisee's house, and anointed His feet with ointment and washed them with her tears, kissed them, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Answering the censorious thoughts of the Pharisee with a parable, the Lord then said, "Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet; but she with tears hath washed My feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest Me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet." Thou gavest me no kiss! Wonderful complaint of injured love! The Lord of all things would, then, have valued a kiss, that token of affection, from His host! Are any words in the Gospel more astounding or more sweetly touching? "My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed My feet. Wherefore I say to thee, Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much." (St. Luke vii. 36-47) Some tears, some kisses, a little ointment, the offering of a penitent's love, and the payment - forgiveness of her many sins! Again, when He sat...in Bethania, at the supper prepared for Him six days before the Pasch at which He was to suffer, and this same woman, Mary Magdalen, broke an alabaster box of precious spikenard, pouring it over His head, and a murmuring arose among some of the disciples, suggested by the hypocritical traitor, Judas, at this waste of what might have been sold for much and given to the poor, Jesus with holy vehemence defended her, and said, "Amen I say to you wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, that also which she hath done shall be told for a memorial of her" (St. Matthew xxvi. 6-13; St. Mark xiv. 3-9) World-wide glory for this one act of love and honor! The Redeemer desires that it be published and spoken of even as were His Birth, His Circumcision, His journeys and labors, His miracles, His Passion and Death! Her name was to be known as extensively as the Church was to be known; and preachers, evangelizing the world, were at the same time to exalt this holy action by which she had honored Him. But compare for a moment what this loving penitent did for Jesus with Joseph's thirty years' service, his paternal care, his journeyings, his fatigues, his exile, his daily unceasing toil, all, in short, which in body and soul he suffered for the God-Man. Can He have forgotten that Joseph was, along with His holy Mother, His first adorer on earth, and for long years His only adorer? Can He have forgotten how He lay in his bosom, and how that tender father shed tears over Him when, as a Babe, He wailed in the crib or wept in his arms; for Jesus gave Himself to Joseph in all the helpless dependence of infancy, and willed to make Himself indebted to him for His earthly sustenance? Can He have forgotten or neglected to pay that debt of gratitude? Is it possible that He should have so magnificently recompensed Magdalen's testimony of love to the extent of ordaining that the whole earth should esteem her for it, and should not have shown His gratitude to Joseph by holding him up to the veneration of all men, a veneration, too, commensurate with his life-long devotion to Himself? No, we cannot doubt that, alike from justice and from gratitude, the Savior of the world ardently desires that we should honor Joseph in a very special manner. This adorable Son of Mary, as He labored while on earth that all men should know, love, and serve His invisible Father in Heaven, so now that He is in Heaven, He disposes all things by His Providence to exalt the glory of His visible father on earth, and moves all hearts by His Spirit, which dwells in His Church, to an ever-increasing love and veneration of him. The very quality of father of Jesus in itself gives St. Joseph an incontestable title to be called the father of all the faithful. The Savior of the world made no difficulty in recognizing Joseph as His father, and, in so doing, He gave him power to receive us all as his children. And, if Joseph is truly the father of all Christians, so may we be assured that God has given him the heart of a father for us all. The Venerable Mother Magdalen of St. Joseph, one of the first of the Carmelites of St. Teresa's Reform who passed into France, said, "As it pleased God that Joseph should take the place of father to His Only Son, He gave him in consequence a grace of paternity towards all men, made him incline all his thoughts and all his affections towards them, and moves him to procure for them as much good as could the tenderest of fathers for his children". Joseph, then, is our patron and more than our patron; he is our father, even as he was the protector and father of Jesus, who in assuming our nature made us His brethren, and in adopting Joseph as His father made him necessarily our father also, and desires with all the love of His adorable Heart that we should consider him as such...

But Mary wishes [also that her spouse be honored], not from love only, but, as her Divine Son also does, from gratitude. Joseph was her protector as well as her spouse. Joseph (says St. Chrysostom) was espoused to the Mother of God that he might be to her a tutor and guardian, and an aid near to her in every vicissitude of life. He was to be as a father to her, as well as a spouse, to protect and defend her from all injury. From the very first he began to be her shield and her protection, guarding her reputation from all slanderous attacks. Albert the Great, accordingly, calls him the advocate and patron of the Blessed Virgin, because he sheltered her from the penalties which her divine delivery would have brought upon her. He was the protector at once of her virginity and of her honor. She remembers his affectionate care of her, his fatigues, his sufferings, his anxieties, and the perils to which he exposed himself to save the Child and His Mother, for the two were never separated. Both were confided to him, and Mary has not forgotten his self-sacrificing discharge of the stupendous responsibility thus laid upon him. Common gratitude would not have been unmindful of such services as Joseph's, and Mary's gratitude is not common. It is worthy of herself. See how she repaid the mere social kindness of an invitation to a marriage-feast, and besought her Son to work a miracle to save the giver of the feast from being humbled and mortified in the eyes of his guests. Now, if the Blessed Virgin had recourse to the power of her Divine Son to reward the slight honor which had been shown her on this occasion, can any one doubt the surpassing desire which she now feels in Heaven that all men should love and honor him who so loved and honored her for the thirty years they dwelt together on earth?

What has been already said of our Lord's desire that we should copy the example He gave us of reverence and submission to His foster-father, applies equally to Mary; for never did any wife reverence and honor her husband as did the Queen of Heaven and Mother of God the humble carpenter of Nazareth. That carpenter was her husband, her head, her guardian, her pure and spotless companion, and that sufficed to make her honor him as she did. Gerson, carried away with his enthusiasm, does not know which to admire most, the humility of Mary or the sublimity of Joseph, who was thus exalted. But, after giving us this splendid example on earth, and this marvelous testimony of the respect with which she regarded him, could it be possible to believe that Mary, too, as well as her Divine Son, does not ardently long to see us honor Joseph with a special cultus above that which we pay to any other saint?

Both Jesus and Mary, then, desire that we should regard Joseph as our father and our patron. Such is the doctrine of Albert the Great, who, when examining the reasons which rendered the marriage of St. Joseph with the Blessed Virgin, not only most profitable, but in a certain sense necessary, gives as the twelfth of these reasons, that this marriage was ordained in order to make men regard Joseph as their father, even as they recognize Mary as their mother. Not one of us but desires to be a child of Mary during life, and to experience her accustomed merciful aid at the hour of death. But can we be children of Mary without being children of Joseph? If Jesus would not be called her son without, at the same time, calling Joseph His father, how can a Christian reckon her as his mother without looking upon Joseph as his father? If the Savior would have deemed it an offence to the most chaste marriage of the Queen of Angels not to have reverenced Joseph as His father, even as He obeyed Mary as His mother, shall not a Christian fear to offer, in some sort, an insult to those sacred espousals, if he should treat with indifference the spouse of our Lady, whom he owns as his mother, and thus separate those whom it has pleased God so closely to unite? And, as the Fathers of the Church have drawn from the passage in Holy Scripture which says that Joseph was "the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus," his right to the title of father of Jesus, so may we also say that Joseph, being the spouse of Mary, who has conceived all Christians in her heart, and will bring them forth to the supernal light of Heaven, is therefore likewise the father of those same Christians. But if these things be true, as they assuredly are, what are we to think of the power of Joseph's intercession for us, and of its fervor? Their measure is the love of Jesus and Mary for Joseph, and his love for us, and these are beyond our ken, or even our capabilities of comprehension. A great servant of God has said that Joseph holds in his hands, not only a key of Paradise to open the door of Heaven to all his friends, but a certain kind of power over all the riches of Heaven. Our Joseph, of whom the ancient patriarch was only the figure, merited to be made on earth the steward of the house of God, and of the first family in the world, and now, in glory, the distributor of the heavenly graces conceded to mankind. All the graces which we have received from Heaven, or hope for in the course of our lives, or which all men have ever received or shall receive, are, beyond imagination, inferior in worth to the Sacred Persons of the Savior and His holy Mother; and, as the Eternal Father willed that Joseph should, in a peculiar manner, have them in his keeping and possession, does it not seem more than probable that He should have confided to him the administration of His other treasures, even such as are supernatural, all which are of infinitely less value, and were, indeed, contained in Jesus and Mary? The viceroy of Egypt, as the Abbot Rupert says, possessed all the power of Pharao, but our Joseph is far more powerful, for he may be said to hold, after a manner, in his hands all the graces of the Savior, which are the admirable instruments of the supreme power which God exercises over our hearts and wills, without infringing their rights or depriving them of their liberty...

But, to form a judgment of what Joseph can do for us in Heaven, we need not dwell only on the thought of the treasures of graces which we believe God has placed in his hands, but still more must we regard the victorious efficacy of his intercession. Mary's petitions cannot be refused. Solomon said to his mother, Bethsabee, after placing her on a throne at his right hand when she came to him with a petition, "My mother, ask; for I must not turn away thy face" (3 Kings ii. 20). But Jesus will never disappoint His mother, as that great king did, for Mary knows what she asks, and cannot ask anything amiss; and, if Mary's requests cannot be turned away by her Son, neither can she turn away those of her spouse when he addresses them to her. Ill would he know her who should believe her capable of denying anything to him to whom she has bound herself, and whom she loves more than any creature ever loved another. The intercession of Joseph is not less powerful when he turns to Jesus. He goes to Him with the confidence of a father to a son, for this relation still exists between them in Heaven... If the supplications of other saints are so efficacious with the Lord, founded as they are on the claims which their merits have conferred upon them, what must we think of the all-prevailing efficacy of those of Joseph? If the reciprocal love which subsists between Jesus and His saints gives them the well-grounded hope of obtaining what they ask for their clients, what must not be the sure expectation of Joseph, the hearts of this adorable Son and of this virgin father being knit together by so many ties of singular and especial love! We may figure to ourselves that when Joseph presents a request in favor of those who have invoked him, the Son of God would reply, after the manner of the king of Egypt to his type, the ancient Joseph, "The extent of My heavenly kingdom is before thee, give to those thou lovest what thou pleasest". What, again, cannot Joseph do in favor of sinners since we find Moses, when wielding the power of prayer, so mighty to disarm the wrath of God against His rebellious people that this "King of tremendous majesty" speaks as if His suppliant held Him deprived of liberty to chastise the guilty. "Let Me alone," He says, "that My wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them." (Exodus xxxii. 10) And Moses gained his suit. But how much more irresistible the gentle violence - if we may use the expression - which Joseph exercises over Jesus, the Supreme Judge of the living and the dead! The loving sighs of that great saint, his sweet words, and the looks of mingled tenderness and respect which he turns on Him whose countenance unites in itself every beauty, divine and human, so enthrall Him as to leave Him, as it were, no freedom to pour forth His just anger on the guilty. Joseph will take no denial, and the indignation of Jesus must yield to the request of a father whom He loves so much. Oh, the infinite compassion of the Sacred Heart which has provided sinners with such a patron, who ever has near access to the throne of mercy, and has a right to obtain for them graces and favors which they have long themselves demerited! And, if such be the power of Joseph to impetrate favors for us when we have greatly offended, what may he not obtain for us when the face of the Lord is not averted from us! And how great and overflowing is the testimony to his love for us his children and his power with Jesus, as displayed in the results of his intercession! It would need a volume by itself to treat that subject adequately. Countless as the stars of Heaven revealed by the modern telescope are these proofs of his loving patronage, which have been experienced and are being experienced every day. Such are the fruits of devotion to Joseph; and the tree is known by its fruits. Is not this marvelous - might we not say miraculous? - abundance sufficient alone to demonstrate that Joseph has been divinely given to us for our patron in a singular and incomparable manner?

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Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph: "O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me."

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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...

3/6/16 - Fourth Sunday of Lent | Laetare Sunday (T)

3/13/16 - Fifth Sunday of Lent | Passion Sunday (T)

3/20/16 - Palm Sunday

3/21/16 - Monday in Holy Week

3/22/16 - Tuesday in Holy Week

3/23/16 - Spy Wednesday

3/24/16 - Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)

3/25/16 - Good Friday

3/26/16 - Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)

3/27/16 - EASTER SUNDAY

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. Which saint on being chosen bishop "prayed that God would rather take him out of the world than permit him to be consecrated bishop of the place" and died before his prayer was finished?

2. The end of the patristic age is marked by the death of which saints?

3. What term may refer to special prayers and observances which begin on Maundy Thursday?

4. What does St. John Vianney say to do if you wish to have pious, good children?

5. Complete the passage...: "Equally ___ to God are the evildoer and his evil deed" (Wisdom 14:9)

6. What version of the bible did the Council of Trent declare as authentic?

7. According to St. Jerome, nothing is more to be feared than what?

8. St. John Vianney says we should be careful not to do anything before what?

9. According to St. Bernard, what are the four points in contemplation?

10. How many kinds of oaths are there?

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Answers:

1. St. Nilammon, who upon being chosen bishop "prayed that God would rather take him out of the world than permit him to be consecrated bishop of the place", and died before his prayer was finished.

2. The end of the patristic age is marked by the death of St. Isidore of Seville in the West (c. 636 A.D.) and of St. John Damascene in the East (c. 749 A.D.).

3. The term "Easter Triduum" refers to special prayers and observances which begin on Maundy Thursday.

4. "If you wish to have pious, good children, you must first of yourself be God-fearing and lead good lives. As the tree, so will the fruit be." (St. John Vianney)

5. "Equally odious to God are the evildoer and his evil deed" (Wisdom 14:9)

6. In approximately 400 A.D., St. Jerome completed a Latin translation of the bible called the Latin Vulgate which was used continuously by the Church for nearly 16 centuries. St. Jerome was an accomplished translator who had access to ancient manuscripts which have since perished. In 1546, the Council of Trent declared the Latin Vulgate Bible authentic and stated that no one should "presume or dare to reject it under any pretext whatsoever."

7. "Nothing is more to be feared than too long a peace. You are deceived if you think that a Christian can live without persecution. He suffers the greatest persecution of all who lives under none. A storm puts a man on his guard and obliges him to exert his utmost efforts to avoid shipwreck." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

8. "We must take great care never to do anything before having said our morning prayers... The Devil once declared that if he could have the first moment of the day, he was sure of all the rest." (St. John Vianney)

9. "The first point in contemplation is to marvel at God's majesty; the second, at His judgments; the third, at His benefits; the fourth, at His promises." (St. Bernard, 12th century. A.D.)

10. According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "Oaths are of two kinds. The first is an affirmatory oath, and is taken when we religiously affirm anything, past or present. Such was the affirmation of the Apostle in his Epistle to the Galatians: Behold, before God, I lie not. The second kind, to which comminations may be reduced, is called promissory. It looks to the future, and is taken when we promise and affirm for certain that such or such a thing will be done. Such was the oath of David, who, swearing by the Lord his God, promised to Bethsabee his wife that her son Solomon should be heir to his kingdom and successor to his throne."

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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 Believe That Good Works Are Not Necessary For Salvation?

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__works_deeds.htm

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

Topic: Do You Believe That Good Works Are Not Necessary For Salvation? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)

Consider:

* Do you believe that persons are saved by faith alone? Visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__faith_alone.htm

* Do you believe that you are saved and that you cannot lose your salvation? Visit http://www.mycatholicsource.com/mcs/nc/non_catholics__salvation.htm

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Christ teach that judgment will be based on good works (Mt. 25:31-46)? Why does Jesus specifically indicate that those who have done good works will be saved and those who have not will be condemned?

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Scripture say that "the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation" (Jn. 5:28-29)?

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Scripture say that "God...will repay everyone according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness" (Rom. 2:5-8).

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Scripture say that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5:10)?

* If good works are unimportant, why does Scripture say: "Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit. Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith" (Gal. 6:7-10)?

* If good works are unimportant, why does Scripture say that "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (Jms. 1:27)?

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Scripture say quite the opposite? "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,' but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called 'the friend of God.' See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (Jms. 2:14-26) 

* If good works are unimportant, why does Scripture say that God will judge impartially according to each one's works (1 Pt. 1:17)?

* If good deeds are not important, why does Scripture say that the dead will be judged according to their deeds? "I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their deeds, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their deeds." (Rv. 20:12-13)

* If good works are not necessary to salvation, why does Scripture speak of them as being useful to "winning true life": "Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life." (1 Tm. 6:18-19)

* If works are unimportant, why does Scripture say that St. Paul "preached the need to repent and turn to God, and to do works giving evidence of repentance" (Acts 26:20)?

* If works are of no avail, why does Scripture say that those in heaven will find "rest from their labors, for their works accompany them" (Rv. 14:13)?

* If works are unnecessary, how can Scripture say that by bearing one another's burdens one fulfills the law of Christ (see Gal. 6:2)?

* If works are unimportant, why does the Bible speak of Scripture being useful for equipping persons for good works (see 2 Tm. 3:16-17)?

* Although Scripture says that "Great as his mercy is his punishment; he judges men, each according to his deeds" (Sirach 16:12), do you expect one to now believe that the unchanging God will now simply ignore one's deeds and instead look solely at one's faith?

* If works are of no avail, how can Christ say that "everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life" (Mt. 19:29)?

* If works are unnecessary, "why is it that Christ tells us that the way to gain eternal life is by keeping the commandments" [see Mt. 19:17] (remember that the Commandments "deal in works, not faith")?

* Catholics do not believe we earn our justification by "works of the law", which is clearly contrary to Scripture (see Rom. 3:28, Rom. 11:6, Gal. 2:15-16, Gal. 3:1-14). Catholics know that we can't "earn our redemption" - redemption is a gift of Christ. However, we must cooperate with God's grace. The fact that good works are necessary - along with justification - does not in any way deny our redemption by Christ or mean we are relying on the "works of the law" for justification. As Scripture makes clear, both good works (not Jewish "works of the law") and justification are both necessary (cf. Jms. 2:14-26). Further, it should be remembered that where Scripture speaks of such works, this refers to Jewish works of the law, which are of no value since Christ established His Church, and not to good deeds. Furthermore, do you not realize that even though good works are necessary, they are preceded by grace? As St. Augustine has said, "In many passages [St. Paul] often bears witness to this, putting the grace of faith before works, not as if he wanted to put an end to works, but so as to show that works are the consequences rather than the precedents of grace. Thus, no man is to suppose that he has received grace because he has done good works but rather that he would not have been able to do these good works if he had not, through faith received grace." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 396 A.D.)

* Although the Catholic Church teaches the necessity of good works, she does not omit to mention that faith and grace are also necessary (and are, in fact, inseparable). As Pope St. Gregory has said, "Neither faith without works nor works without faith is of any avail, except, perhaps, that works may go toward the reception of faith [e.g. through God's grace]" (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

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"The good we do is both of God and of ourselves. It is God's through prevenient grace, ours through obedient free will. For if it is not God's, why do we give thanks to Him in eternity? And again, if it is not ours, why do we hope that a reward will be given us? It is not improper that we give thanks; for we know that we were anticipated by God's gift. And again, it is not improper that we seek a reward, because we know that by obedient free will we chose to do what is good." (Pope St. Gregory I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century 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)

"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)

"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 Holy Spirit, Creator, mercifully assist Thy Catholic Church, and by Thy heavenly power strengthen and establish her against the assaults of all her enemies; and by Thy love and grace renew the spirit of Thy servants whom Thou hast anointed, that in Thee they may glorify the Father and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." (Raccolta)

"Let Him be fixed deep in your heart, who for you was fastened to the cross" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"...death has not destroyed this Body which was pierced with nails and scourged... this is the Body which was once covered with blood, pierced by a lance, from which issued saving fountains upon the world, one of blood and the other of water... This Body He gave to us to keep and eat, as a mark of His intense love." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"'See how we were bought: Christ hangs upon the cross, see at what a price He makes His purchase... He sheds His blood, He buys with His blood, He buys with the blood of [Christ], He buys with the blood of God's only Son. He who buys is Christ; the price is His blood; the possession bought is the world.' (St. Augustine) This purchase, however, does not immediately have its full effect; since Christ, after redeeming the world at the lavish cost of His own blood, still must come into complete possession of the souls of men. Wherefore, that the redemption and salvation of each person and of future generations unto the end of time may be effectively accomplished, and be acceptable to God, it is necessary that men should individually come into vital contact with the Sacrifice of the Cross, so that the merits, which flow from it, should be imparted to them. In a certain sense it can be said that on Calvary Christ built a font of purification and salvation which He filled with the blood He shed; but if men do not bathe in it and there wash away the stains of their iniquities, they can never be purified and saved." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Here learn the science of the saints: All is to be found in the passion of Jesus." (St. Paul of the Cross)

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