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Copyright © 2010, B.F.S. All rights reserved. Newsletter - December, 2010 [Plain text version]

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* Advent Greetings

* MCS News & Notes

* The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

* Reflection of Thomas à Kempis on the Birth & Poverty of the Lord Jesus

* Liturgical Feasts in December

* Fulfilled Prophecies of Scripture Regarding the Coming of Christ

* 'Catholic Trivia'

* Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Remained a Virgin?

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Dear Friend,

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." (Isa. 7:14)

Greetings during this joyful time of year in which we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our blessed Lord Jesus. We wish you and your loved ones a most holy & joyous Advent and Christmas followed by a blessed new year.

Thanks again for your support of our site and newsletter.

Warmest regards,

Your Friends at

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"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Mt. 3:2)

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MCS News & Notes

* For free Advent & Christmas resources - including 'Make Your Own Advent Calendar', Advent & Christmas Prayers, Advent & Christmas Practices, Coloring Pages (incl. Christmas Bells, Christmas Candles, Christmas Card), Scripture References, Reflections, O Antiphons, etc. - please see the Advent Topic Page at and the Christmas Topic Page at

* A spiritual bouquet is free & 'truly Catholic gift that will be appreciated by all'. You can print a free spiritual bouquet card at . [Note: This is a .pdf file. To use: Print card (preferably on colored paper or color the image by hand), fold to 4.25" x 5.5" ("A Special Gift..." should appear in front)]

* As indicated in a previous news update, we have resolved our issues with (they removed offensive material from their site, provided us with an apology, and both "promised" and "assured" us that the situation would not happen again). To shop at in support of, please use this link: . We appreciate your support!

 * We have set up a new page & shortcut for donations - Please visit (shortcut: ) to donate. Thank you for your support, which is greatly needed & appreciated!

* New: We have added a 'Catholic Travel: Collages' page to the Church Talk Section. At present, collages include images of Bethlehem, St. Peter's, Jerusalem, etc. Don't miss the images of Bethlehem (the place of Jesus' birth) as you prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord! To view collages, go to

* We are considering updating the logo at the top of our site. We expect the proposed new logo will retain the purple color & gold lettering, but omit the "www." which presently appears, allowing the remaining lettering to be larger. We hope the new logo will make it easier for visitors to remember our web address. We do not presently have a timeframe for any change. We welcome - and value! - your comments and suggestions.

* For your free 2011 liturgical calendar-flier, go to and click your choice of "fliers" links [Note: Fliers are based on the traditional calendar]

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

* The 'post of the month' page has been updated for 11/10. This month it was chosen from the Coming Home Section and it is titled "Patience is the key". To view the 'post of the month' page, please go to . To submit a post in your choice of hundreds of categories, visit

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

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The Month of December: Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

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"Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee." (Cant. 4:7)

"The commemoration of the mystery of the Most Holy Virgin, conceived immaculate and immune from all stain of original sin, should, in the first place, urge us to that innocence and integrity of life which flees from and abhors even the slightest stain of sin." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953)

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Related Resources...

* Proclamation of the Immaculate Conception -

* Immaculate Conception / Sinlessness Reflections (quotes from popes, saints) -

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Topic Page) -

* Marian Prayers -

* Popular Marian Devotions -

* Marian Scriptural References -

* Marian Encyclicals (click on "The Blessed Virgin Mary") -

* Some Reasons to Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary -

* Some Thoughts on the Blessed Virgin Mary -

* Marian Facts -

* Blessed Virgin Mary (Reflections) -

* Marian Apologetics -

* Mary, Our Mother Section -

* Marian Coloring Pages -

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

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"Thou, O Lord, and thy Mother are the only ones who are perfectly beautiful in every respect, for in thee, O Lord, there is no blemish, and in thy Mother there is no stain." (St. Ephraem the Syrian, Doctor of the Church)

"It was fitting that Jesus Christ should have such a mother as would be worthy of Him as far as possible; and she would not have been worthy, if, contaminated by the hereditary stain even for the first moment only of her conception, she had been subject to the abominable power of Satan." (Pope Pius XII, "Fulgens Corona", 1953)

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Reflection of Thomas à Kempis on the Birth & Poverty of the Lord Jesus

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The following is taken from a 1908 edition of Thomas à Kempis' "Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ". The publication bears an imprimatur. We have made some capitalization & punctuation changes, and have combined & separated paragraphs below.

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Of the Birth and Poverty of the Lord Jesus

Bless, and give thanks to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten of the Father, born before all worlds, Who, of Thy unspeakable condescension, didst vouchsafe to be born in a filthy stable, and for love of holy poverty, to be laid in a narrow manger. I praise Thee, most loving Jesus, for Thy illustrious origin; for Thy glorious birth of the pure Virgin Mary; for Thy poverty; and for Thy humility in lying in so poor and mean a crib.

Who can meditate as he should on the thought of the most High God, so demeaning Himself for our sake? O what thanks does not the human race owe to Thee, Who, for its redemption, didst choose to lie in a narrow manger! O boundless tenderness, O wondrous sweetness, O sweetest love - God born a helpless babe, wrapped in mean swaddling clothes, laid in a narrow manger, with brute beasts surrounding Him! O humility passing human thought, that the Lord of all lords should deign to become the fellow servant of His own servants! But, O my Lord, and my God, it seemed to Thee too small a thing, that Thou Who art my Creator shouldst also be my Father; Thou didst even stoop to become my Brother, and to be made flesh of my flesh, taking in very truth my nature upon Thee, sin only excepted. O Birth, outside the course of nature, triumphing over the natural order of our births, and assuaging by Divine power the tears which we shed at them, in order that, by It, our nature might be restored!

O how blessed and how lovely was Thy Nativity, O sweetest Jesus, Child of the illustrious Virgin, Who, by Thy birth from the womb of Thy highly exalted Mother Mary, dost make good the faults of our birth, renew our condition, cancel our condemnation, blot out the handwriting of the decree which was against us; that so, if a man is tempted to repine at being born of Adam's stock, he may rejoice in Thy undefiled Nativity, and in the most blessed trust that by Thy grace he has been born again.

I thank Thee, for Thy self-chosen and glorious Nativity, O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, by Whom we have access to that Grace in which we stand, and trust in the hope restored to us from above of the glory of the sons of God. Thou art the pledge of our redemption: Thou art the everlasting hope of all men; to Thee do we sinners humbly fly for refuge - to Thee, Who didst come to seek us, when as yet we knew Thee not. O sweet and holy Infancy, from which alone true innocency comes to human hearts; by which, however old a man may be, he may go back to blessed infancy, and may be made like to Thee, not by the shrinking of his limbs, but by the lowliness of his mind, and the holiness of his life!

O most gentle Jesus, Who, that Thou mightest give to all men an example of a holy life, and the means of everlasting salvation, didst will to be born of Mary the Virgin, at the hour of midnight, grant that I may tread in the sacred footsteps of Thy humility and poverty! Grant that I may join, in giving praise and thanks to Thee, the Angels and the whole company of the heavenly host, whom Thou didst cause to be the joyful heralds of Thy Nativity!

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For more reflections try here -

Also Try...

Advent (Topic Page) -

Christmas (Topic Page) -

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Liturgical Feasts in December

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

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

Reminder: Feasts may be superseded / transferred / etc.

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December 2 - St. Bibiana (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (T)

December 3 - St. Francis Xavier (N)

December 4 - St. Barbara (T)

December 4 - St. Peter Chrysologus (T)

December 4 - St. John Damascene (N)

December 5 - St. Sabbas (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (T)

December 6 - St. Nicholas of Myra (or Bari) (N)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (T)

December 7 - Vigil of the Immaculate Conception (T)

December 7 - St. Ambrose (N)

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (T) [+]

December 8 - The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (N) [+]

December 9 - St. Juan Diego (N)

December 10 - St. Melchiades, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (T)

December 11 - St. Damasus I, pope (N)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (T)

December 12 - Our Lady of Guadalupe (N)

December 13 - St. Lucy of Syracuse (T)

December 13 - St. Lucy (N)

December 14 - St. John of the Cross (N)

December 16 - St. Eusebius of Vercelli (T)

December 21 - St. Thomas, apostle (T)

December 21 - St. Peter Canisius (N)

December 22 - St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (T)

December 23 - St. John of Kanty (John Cantius) (N)

December 24 - Vigil of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) (T)

December 25 - Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas) (T) [+]

December 25 - St. Anastasia (T)

December 25 - The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) (N) [+]

December 26 - St. Stephen the First Martyr (T)

December 26 - St. Stephen, First Martyr (N)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (T)

December 27 - St. John, apostle & evangelist (N)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (T)

December 28 - The Holy Innocents (N)

December 29 - St. Thomas of Canterbury (T)

December 29 - St. Thomas Becket (N)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (T)

December 31 - St. Sylvester I, pope (N)

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

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+ Reminder: Holy Days of Obligation...

12/8/10 - Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

12/25/10 - The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

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Fulfilled Prophecies of Scripture Regarding the Coming of Christ

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The following are some fulfilled scripture prophecies concerning Jesus' coming.

[Reminder: Capitalization, punctuation, translations, references, etc. may vary. Items herein are not comprehensive. Items below be shortened and may exclude "..." notation. We make no guarantees concerning any item herein. We recommend reading Scripture in full context in an appropriate Catholic Bible. Consult appropriate, competent Church authorities for assistance in interpreting / applying Scripture. Interpretation and application of Scripture should not be contrary to the perennial, official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Do not take Scripture passages out of context. Do not inflict harm on yourself or others, break laws, take unsuitable/incautious or inappropriate/drastic actions, or take figurative items literally.]

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First Prophecy

Taken From: GEN 3:15: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel. [Note: This passage is traditionally translated as "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel."]

Other Old Testament Prophecies

Taken From: GEN 49:10: The scepter shall never depart from Judah, or the mace from between his legs, While tribute is brought to him, and he receives the people's homage.

Taken From: NUM 24:17: I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel that shall smite the brows of Moab, and the skulls of all the Shuthites

Taken From: DEUT 18:15: A prophet like me will the LORD, your God, raise up for you from among your own kinsmen; to him you shall listen.

Taken From: PS 132:11-12, 17-18: The LORD swore an oath to David, a pledge never to be broken: "Your own offspring I will set upon your throne. If your sons observe my covenant, the laws I shall teach them, Their sons, in turn, shall sit forever on your throne... There I will make a horn sprout for David's line; I will set a lamp for my anointed. His foes I will clothe with shame, but on him my crown shall gleam."

Taken From: ISA 7:14: Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Taken From: ISA 9:1-6: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian...For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David's throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

Taken From: ISA 11:1-5: But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Taken From: ISA 30:20: The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher

Taken From: ISA 35:3-6: Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe.

Taken From: ISA 59:20: He shall come to Zion a redeemer to those of Jacob who turn from sin, says the LORD.

Taken From: ISA 60:1-3, 6: Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Taken From: ISA 61:1-3: The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn; To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit. They will be called oaks of justice, planted by the LORD to show his glory.

Taken From: ISA 62:2-5, 11-12: Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD. You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God. No more shall men call you "Forsaken," or your land "Desolate," But you shall be called "My Delight," and your land "Espoused." For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you. See, the LORD proclaims to the ends of the earth: Say to daughter Zion, your savior comes! Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him. They shall be called the holy people, the redeemed of the LORD, And you shall be called "Frequented," a city that is not forsaken.

Taken From: DAN 7:13-14: As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Taken From: MICAH 5:1, 3-4: But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.

Taken From: ZECH 9:9-10: Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, Meek, and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass. He shall banish the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; The warrior's bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Taken From: MAL 3:1-2, 5-7, 15-18, 23-24: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner's fire, Or like the fuller's lye. I will draw near to you for judgment, and I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, adulterers, and perjurers, those who defraud the hired man of his wages, against those who defraud widows and orphans; those who turn aside the stranger, and those who do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. Surely I, the LORD, do not change, nor do you cease to be sons of Jacob. Since the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes, and have not kept them...for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity. Then they who fear the LORD spoke with one another, and the LORD listened attentively; And a record book was written before him of those who fear the LORD and trust in his name. And they shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; Between him who serves God, and him who does not serve him. Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day, To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the land with doom. Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day.

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For more try here -

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'Catholic Trivia'

1. What motto is associated with the Carthusians?

2. Which saint is "one of the four great doctors of the Latin Church", "humbled the emperor Theodosius", and is credited with bringing St. Augustine into the Church?

3. What is the literal meaning of the word Bethlehem (the place of Jesus' birth)?

4. Who is the following quotation attributed to? "Nihil innovetur nisi quod traditum est" [Latin for: "Let them innovate nothing, but keep the traditions"]

5. Who are Synoptici (Synóptici)?

6. In the Encyclical Divini Redemptoris, what does Pope Pius XI say with regard to women and Communism?

7. Who said...? "In either case there is a proof of friendship, viz. when a man rejoices with the joyful, and when he sorrows with the sorrowful."

8. Where does the following appear...? "All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land."

9. What is Christmastide?

10. What does subreption refer to?



1. "Stat Crux dum volvitur Orbis" [Latin for "The world changes but the Cross remains"]

2. St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

3. "House of Bread"

4. Pope St. Steven I (3rd century A.D.)

5. Writers of Synoptic Gospels (St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke)

6. "Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds women to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris", 1937 A.D.)

7. St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church"

8. 1983 Code of Canon Law, Can. 211

9. Traditional season of the Church which goes from December 24 (12/24) to January 13 (1/13)

10. "[S]ubreption, that is, the withholding of the truth" (1983 Code of Canon Law)


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

Like trivia? You might enjoy our crossword puzzles located at

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

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Defending the Faith: "Apologetics Brief" - Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Remained a Virgin?

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

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Note: Text below is taken from

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

Topic: Do You Reject the Catholic Church's Teaching that Jesus' Mother Mary Remained a Virgin? (Note: Topic is directed at Protestants)


* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching that Jesus' mother Mary remained a virgin because Scripture says that "before they came together, she was found with child" (Mt. 1:18)? If so, you should understand that "before they came together" may be taken to mean "before they lived together" or "before the time of the celebration of their nuptial rites". Also, you should consider that the phraseology used doesn't of itself necessarily mean that a particular event followed. For example, consider that "In common conversation, when we say that a man died before he reached his 30th year, we do not mean that he afterwards attained it." (DR)

* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching that Jesus' mother Mary remained a virgin because Scripture says that "He had no relations with her **until** she bore a son" (Mt. 1:25 - Note: *'s added for emphasis)? If so then, you should consider that Scripture may use this term without implying that something occurred afterwards. For example, consider the following passages (again, *'s added for emphasis)...

Mt. 28:20: And behold, I am with you always, **until** the end of the age.

1 Cor. 15:25: For he must reign **until** he has put all his enemies under his feet.

Lk. 2:36-37: There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow **until** she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.

As St. Thomas Aquinas states, "as in Psalm 123:2: 'Our eyes are unto the Lord our God, until He have mercy on us'; from which it is not to be gathered that our eyes are turned from God as soon as His mercy has been obtained. In this sense those things are indicated 'of which we might doubt if they had not been written down: while others are left out to be supplied by our understanding. Thus the evangelist says that the Mother of God was not known by her husband until she gave birth, that we may be given to understand that still less did he know her afterwards' (Adversus Helvidium v)."

Surely, this is a way of speaking that doesn't necessarily imply that something occurred afterward. When interpreting Scripture, it is clearly essential to understand ways of speaking in order not to fall into all means of serious error [e.g. taking Scripture to mean that there is more than one God because 1 Cor. 8:6 says (**emphasis added**) that "**for us there is one God**, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist."].

* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching that Jesus' mother Mary remained a virgin because Scripture calls Jesus a "firstborn" son? Do you seriously imagine that one must wait for a second-born for there to be a firstborn? "From the words, her first-born Son, some most erroneously suspect that Mary had other sons, saying that first-born can only be said of one that has brethren. But this is the manner of Scripture, to call the first-born not only one who is followed by brethren, but the first birth of the mother." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church) Such terminology has to do with Jewish law and in no way requires that a second birth follow! As St. Thomas Aquinas has said, "The Scriptures are wont to designate as the first-born, not only a child who is followed by others, but also the one that is born first. 'Otherwise, if a child were not first-born unless followed by others, the first-fruits would not be due as long as there was no further produce' (Jerome, Adversus Helvidium x): which is clearly false, since according to the law the first-fruits had to be redeemed within a month (Numbers 18:16)." 

* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching that Jesus' mother Mary remained a virgin because Scripture refers to certain persons as Jesus' "brothers" and "sisters"? Do you not realize that some ancient languages have no word for cousin (and other relatives) so the terms "brothers" and "sisters" may be used to refer to relatives other than blood brothers and blood sisters? This can be further proven by the fact that Scripture refers to James and Joseph (or Joses) as the "brothers of the Lord" but also tells us that they are the sons of Mary, wife of Clopas (who is the 'sister' of Jesus' mother Mary). (Note: See Jn. 19:25, Mt. 13:55, Mt. 27:56, Mk.6:3, Mk. 15:47) As St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church has said, "Those who are here called the Lord's brethren, are the sons of a Mary, His Mother's sister; she is the mother of this James and Joseph, that is to say, Mary the wife of Cleophas and this is the Mary who is called the mother of James the Less." As St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church" has said, "Mary who is called 'the mother of James and Joseph' is not to be taken for the Mother of our Lord, who is not wont to be named in the Gospels save under this designation of her dignity - 'the Mother of Jesus.' This Mary is to be taken for the wife of Alphaeus, whose son was James the less, known as the 'brother of the Lord' (Galatians 1:19)." It should also be noted that the term "brothers" is sometimes used in a spiritual sense (e.g. Acts 1:15).

* If you believe Jesus had siblings, why weren't they mentioned in Lk. 2:41-51?

* If you believe Jesus had siblings, explain why Christ entrusted His mother - while hanging on the Cross - to St. John and not one of his "brothers" or "sisters" (see Jn. 19:27). 

* How can you reject the Catholic Church's belief that Mary was vowed to virginity prior to Christ's birth in light of her response to the angel in Lk. 1:34 ("And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?")? If Mary was betrothed and had not vowed virginity, why would she respond this way upon being told that she was to bear a child? As St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, says, "Mary answered the announcing angel: 'How shall this be done, because I know not man?' She would not have said this unless she had already vowed her virginity to God." A woman about to be married who had not vowed virginity would certainly not need to ask how she will become pregnant (assuming she understood how this process works, which Mary obviously does in light of her answer).

* Do you reject the Catholic Church's teaching that Mary remained a virgin because Scripture refers to Mary as Joseph's wife? Does this mean that if you had a son who just got married, you would refuse to call his new bride his "wife" since they had not yet engaged in intimate relations? As St. Ambrose of Milan has said, "Neither does it make any difference that the Scripture says: 'Joseph took his wife and went into Egypt'; for any woman espoused to a man is given the name of wife. It is from the time that marriage begins that the marital terminology is employed. It is not the deflowering of virginity that makes a marriage, but the marital contract. It is when the girl accepts the yoke that marriage begins, not when she comes to know her husband physically." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 391 A.D.)

* How do you argue against Mary's perpetual virginity in light of the fact that Scripture says of a mere material gate: "This gate is to remain closed; it is not to be opened for anyone to enter by it; since the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it, it shall remain closed" (Ezek. 44:2)? "Who is this gate, if not Mary? Is it not closed because she is a virgin? Mary is the gate through which Christ entered this world, when He was brought forth in the virginal birth and in the manner of His birth did not break the seals of virginity." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 391 A.D.) How can you imagine that Scripture could speak this way of a mere piece of material that the Lord entered through, and not also expect that the Lord's own mother - the woman that He entered the world through and received His own flesh from - would remain "shut" to others? "The gate which was shut (Ezech. 44,2) was her virginity. Through it the Lord God of Israel entered; through it He advanced into this world from the Virgin's womb. And, because her virginity was preserved intact, the Virgin's gate has remained shut forever." {Rufinus, 5th century A.D.}

* How is it that Scripture recommends the practice of virginity (cf. Mt. 19:12, 1 Cor. 7:8, 1 Cor. 7:32-38, Rv. 14:3-5), but you believe that Christ's own mother was unable to accept it?

* Why is it that you would (probably) be offended to think that some person would later lay in Jesus' tomb (where Christ's lifeless body had remained but a few days), yet not be troubled at the thought that others rested in the womb of Mary - the very womb that Christ Himself took flesh from? Do you make a mere burial cave more holy than the very womb in which Jesus received life?

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"A Virgin conceived, a Virgin bore, and a Virgin she remains." (St. Peter Chrysologus, Doctor of the Church, c. 435 A.D.) 

"The Friends of Christ do not tolerate hearing that the Mother of God ever ceased to be a virgin." (St. Basil, Doctor of the Church)  

"For as a virgin she conceived, as a virgin she gave birth, a virgin she remained." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"And to Holy Mary, Virgin is invariably added, for that Holy Woman remains undefiled." (St. Epiphanius of Salamis, c. 374 A.D.)

"[T]he immaculate virginity...was unblemished before birth, during the birth, and after the birth" (St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, c. 634 A.D.) 

"Heretics called Antidicomarites are those who contradict the perpetual virginity of Mary, and affirm that after Christ was born she was joined as one with her husband." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 428 A.D.) 

"But those who are said to be our Lord's brethren according to the flesh, you must not imagine to be the children of the blessed Mary, the mother of God, as Helvidius thinks, nor the children of Joseph by another wife, as some say, but rather believe to be their kinsfolk." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Indeed, her virginity was itself more beautiful and more pleasing, because Christ, in His conception, did not Himself take away that which He was preserving from violation by man; but, before He was conceived He chose one already consecrated to God of Whom He would be born." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"Thus the Ever-Virgin remains after birth a Virgin still, never having consorted with man... For how were it possible that she, who had borne God, and had come to know that miracle from her experience of subsequent events, should receive the embrace of a man? Perish the thought!" (St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church, c. 8th century A.D.) 

"Lastly, I would ask, Why then did Joseph abstain at all up to the day of birth? He will surely answer, Because of the Angel's words, 'That which is born in her...' (cf. Mt. 1). He then who gave so much heed to a vision as not to dare to touch his wife, would he, after he had heard the shepherds, seen the Magi, and known so many miracles, dare to approach the temple of God, the seat of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of his Lord?" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church) 

"You had good reason to be horrified at the thought that another birth might issue forth from the same virginal womb from which Christ was born according to the flesh. For the Lord Jesus would never have chosen to be born of a virgin if He had ever judged that she would be so incontinent as to contaminate with the seed of human intercourse the birthplace of the Lord's body, that court of the Eternal King." (Pope St. Siricius, 390 A.D.) 

"If any one does not, in accord with the Holy Fathers, acknowledge the holy and ever-virgin and Immaculate Mary as truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit God the Word Himself, who before all time was born [begotten] of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned." (Pope St. Martin I, 649 A.D.) 

"Otherwise, on account of the glorification of the most holy Mary, she could not be known by Joseph until the birth; for she who had the Lord of glory in her womb, how should she be known? If the face of Moses talking with God was made glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look thereon, how much more could not Mary be known, or even looked upon, who bare the Lord of glory in her womb? After the birth she was known of Joseph to the beholding of her face, but not to be approached carnally." (Gloss) 

"But some suspect the brethren of the Lord to be sons of another wife, following the idle fancies of apocryphal writers, who have coined a certain woman called Esca. But we understand by the brethren of the Lord, not the sons Joseph, but cousins of the Savior, sons of a sister of Mary, aunt of Our Lord, who is said to be the mother of James the Less, and Joseph, and Jude, whom in another place of the Gospel we find called the brethren of the Lord. And that cousins are called brethren, appears from every part of Scripture." (St. Isidore of Seville, Doctor of the Church)

"Let us rejoice, brethren; let the nations exult and be glad. It was not the visible sun, but its invisible Creator who consecrated this day for us, when the Virgin Mother, fertile of womb and integral in her virginity, brought Him forth, made visible for us, by whom, when He was invisible, she too was created. A Virgin conceiving, a Virgin bearing, a Virgin pregnant, a Virgin bringing forth, a Virgin perpetual. Why do you wonder at this O man? It was fitting for God to be born thus, when He deigned to become man" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.) 

"One-texters' say that the Bible speaks of Our Lord as having brethren; therefore, they conclude, He was not born of a virgin. But this claim can be answered. When a preacher in a pulpit addresses his congregation, 'My dear brethren', it does not mean that everyone in the church has the same mother. Secondly, the word 'brother' is used in Sacred Scripture in the wide sense, to cover not only one's relatives but also one's friends; for example, Abraham calls Lot is brother: 'Pray let us have no strife between us two, between my shepherds and thine; are we not brethren?' (Gen. 13:8) But Lot was not his brother. Thirdly, several who are mentioned as brothers of Christ, such as James and Joseph, are indicated elsewhere as the sons of another Mary, the sister of the mother of Jesus and wife of Cleophas! 'And meanwhile his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen, had taken their stand beside the Cross of Jesus' (Jn. 19:25). Fourthly, James who is particularly mentioned as the brother of Jesus: 'But did I not see any of the other apostles except James, the Lord's brother' (Gal. 1:19), is regularly named, in the enumeration of the Apostles, as the son of another father, Alphaeus (Mt. 10:3, Mk. 3:18, Lk. 6:15)." (Archbishop Fulton Sheen)

"Helvidius is at much superfluous trouble to make this word know refer to carnal knowledge rather than to acquaintance, as though any had ever denied that; or as if the follies to which he replies had ever occurred to any person of common understanding. He then goes on to say, that the adverb 'until' denotes a fixed time when that should take place, which had not taken place before; so that here from the words, He knew her not until she had brought forth her first-born Son, it is clear, he says, that after that he did know her. And in proof of this he heaps together many instances from Scripture. To all this we answer, that the word 'until' is to be understood in two senses in Scripture. And concerning the expression, knew her not, he has himself shown, that it must be referred to carnal knowledge, none doubting that it is often used of acquaintance, as in that, The child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem, and His parents knew not of it (Luke 2:43). In like manner 'until' often denotes in Scripture, as he has shown, a fixed period, but often also an infinite time, as in that, Even to your old age l am He (Is 46:4). Will God then cease to be when they are grown old? Also the Savior in the Gospel, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of this world (Matt 28:20). Will He then leave His disciples at the end of the world? Again, the Apostle says, He must reign till He has put His enemies under His feet (1 Cor 15:25). Be it understood then ... that that which if it had not been written might have been doubted of, is expressly declared to us; other things are left to our own understanding. So here the Evangelist informs us, in that wherein there might have been room for error, that she was not known by her husband until the birth of her Son, that we might thence infer that much less was she known afterwards." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church) 

"It is written (Ezekiel 44:2): 'This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it.' Expounding these words, Augustine says in a sermon (De Annunt. Dom. iii): 'What means this closed gate in the House of the Lord, except that Mary is to be ever inviolate? What does it mean that no man shall pass through it, save that Joseph shall not know her? And what is this - The Lord alone enters in and goeth out by it - except that the Holy Ghost shall impregnate her, and that the Lord of angels shall be born of her? And what means this - it shall be shut for evermore - but that Mary is a virgin before His Birth, a virgin in His Birth, and a virgin after His Birth?' I answer that, Without any hesitation we must abhor the error of Helvidius, who dared to assert that Christ's Mother, after His Birth, was carnally known by Joseph, and bore other children. For, in the first place, this is derogatory to Christ's perfection: for as He is in His Godhead the Only-Begotten of the Father, being thus His Son in every respect perfect, so it was becoming that He should be the Only-begotten son of His Mother, as being her perfect offspring. Secondly, this error is an insult to the Holy Ghost, whose shrine was the virginal womb (Sacrarium Spiritus Sancti [Office of B.V.M., Antiphon to Benedictus]), wherein He had formed the flesh of Christ: wherefore it was unbecoming that it should be desecrated by intercourse with man. Thirdly, this is derogatory to the dignity and holiness of God's Mother: for thus she would seem to be most ungrateful, were she not content with such a Son; and were she, of her own accord, by carnal intercourse to forfeit that virginity which had been miraculously preserved in her. Fourthly, it would be tantamount to an imputation of extreme presumption in Joseph, to assume that he attempted to violate her whom by the angel's revelation he knew to have conceived by the Holy Ghost. We must therefore simply assert that the Mother of God, as she was a virgin in conceiving Him and a virgin in giving Him birth, did she remain a virgin ever afterwards." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

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In Closing...

"We unceasingly adore that birth from the Virgin who brought forth our salvation" (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"The dew of heaven being sprinkled on thee, thou, without losing the flower of thy purity, didst in a new manner give to the world a new flower. The Word co-equal with the Father, entering thy virginal body, took for our sakes a body in the secret of thy womb." (Adam of St. Victor)

"After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Mt. 2:9-11)

"The holy Fathers, true witnesses of the divinely revealed doctrine, wonderfully understood what St. Paul the Apostle had quite clearly declared; namely, that the mystery of love was, as it were, both the foundation and the culmination of the Incarnation and the Redemption. For frequently and clearly we can read in their writings that Jesus Christ took a perfect human nature and our weak and perishable human body with the object of providing for our eternal salvation, and of revealing to us in the clearest possible manner that His infinite love for us could express itself in human terms." (Pope Pius XII, "Haurietis Aquas", 1956 A.D.)

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