February: the month dedicated to the Holy Family

02-01-2018Monthly Reflection

This year the first thirteen days of February fall during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. The remaining days of February are the beginning of Lent. The liturgical color changes to purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of February 2018

That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption. (See also Apostleship of Prayer)

Feasts for February

The feasts on the General Roman Calendar celebrated during the month of February are:

2. Presentation of the LordFeast
3. Blaise; AnsgarOpt. Mem.
4. Fifth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
5. AgathaMemorial
6. Paul Miki and CompanionsMemorial
8. Jerome Emiliani; Josephine BakhitaOpt. Mem.
10. ScholasticaMemorial
11. Sixth Sunday in Ordinary TimeSunday
17. Seven Founders of the Orders of ServitesOpt. Mem.
18. First Sunday of LentSunday
21. Peter DamianOpt. Mem.
22. Chair of St. PeterFeast
23. Polycarp of SmyrnaMemorial
25. Second Sunday of LentSunday

Focus of the Liturgy

The Gospel readings for the Sundays in February are taken from St. Mark and are from Year B Cycle 2 of the readings.

February 4 - Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - The Gospel is about miracles our Lord worked — including healing Peter's mother-in-law.
February 11 - Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time - The Gospel is about Christ healing a leper.
February 18 - First Sunday of Lent - Jesus is tempted by the devil in the desert.
February 25 - Second Sunday of Lent - The Gospel relates the story of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Mt. Tabor.

Highlights of the Month

The month of February is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Family. Between the events which marked Christmas and the beginning of Christ's public life the Church has seen fit to recall the example of the Holy Family for the emulation of the Christian family.
The Feast of the Presentation (February 2) or Candlemas forms a fitting transition from Christmas to Easter. The small Christ-Child is still in His Mother's arms, but already she is offering Him in sacrifice. Further reading on the Presentation of the Lord here.
The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes (February 11) will not be celebrated this year because it is superseded by the Sunday liturgy. The feast of Sts. Cyril and Methodius (February 14) is superseded by the Ash Wednesday liturgy.

From Feast to Fast

Though the shortest month of the year, February is rich in Liturgical activity. It contains a feast (Presentation of our Lord) that bridges two other seasons (Christmas and Easter)! In addition, the faithful may receive in February two of the four major public sacramentals that the Church confers during the liturgical year: blessed candles and the blessing of throats.

The Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd harkens back to the Christmas mystery of Light except that now, Christ, the helpless babe, is “the Light of Revelation to the Gentiles who will save his people from their sins.” Candles, symbolizing Christ our Light, will be carried in procession this day, as will be the Paschal candle during the Easter Vigil Liturgy.

"The Light of Revelation" shines more brightly with each successive Sunday of Ordinary Time, until its magnificence – exposing our sinfulness and need for conversion – propels us into the penitential Season of Lent. We prepare to accept the cross of blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday (March 1) and plunge ourselves into anticipating the major exercises of Lent – fasting, prayer, almsgiving – laying our thoughts and prayers on the heart of our Mother Mary. She, who offered her Son in the temple and on the Cross, will teach us how to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow after her Son.

Ideally, the members of the domestic church should try to have the candles for their home altar blessed on Candlemas Day (February 2nd); and the next morning, on the Feast of St. Blaise, all might receive the blessing of the throats. Always a solicitous Mother, the Church offers this sacramental during the wintry month of February, and also sets aside the World Day of Prayer for the Sick on February 11, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.