If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand.

There is a saying in English, "If you play with fire, be ready to get burned." Its meaning is baldly obvious: don't do things that are bad for you; there are consequences. But when a culture simply takes up the dogma that consequences aren't real, the phrase starts to fall apart. And we start to see scriptures like the one above as limiting, rather than freeing. 

God intends His commands to us to bring freedom. Just as the musician finds freedom in the scales and chords, and the driver finds freedom in the white and yellow lines, so the Christian finds freedom in God's commands. Without scales and chords, musicians would never string together a melody. Without the lines on the roads, drivers would be forever in a wreck or a panic. Without the commands of God, the Christian is left bumbling in the dark wondering how to master himself and how to get to God.

It is only with the dogma of no consequences that this freedom is seen as a shackle. It is only in the darkness of the diabolical anti-trinity - me, myself and I - that guidance and direction and warnings about the danger of fire or damnation are seen as unwelcome and intrusive.

Of course, the one place this way of thinking is normal is the place in which we find ourselves as a culture: kindergarten! Children are incapable of seeing the world through any eyes other than their own. They are, by nature, self-centered. But children are also innocent. They are growing and developing and eager to seek the truth, not just to confirm their own dogmas. Our culture has become childlike in all the wrong ways. If we are to find happiness, we must see the commands of God as ways of freedom, not obstacles to it.

Insights From Second Street

There are so many quotations, serious and comical, about love that it’s really impossible in only 300 words to pick any of them. The reason for the vast multitude of ideas about love is simply that it truly does make the world go ‘round. In the ancient world, they understood that love comes in various forms - some more important than others. The Greeks had four basic categories: Affection (Storge), Friendship (Philia), Passionate or Erotic (Eros) and Sacrificial (Agape). Each love, in its proper place, is good (in the deepest sense of the word “good”).

Love - in each of its forms - reveals the supernatural part of each of us. Affection and Friendship reveal our supernatural desire to be connected to other people and to love them for who they are. Erotic love reveals that part of ourselves that seeks ecstasy - to be more than just flesh. Erotic love is a constant symbol of prayer and the spiritual life - especially in the Bible (try reading the Song of Songs!). The greatest and most divine of all loves is Agape - sacrificial love. “Man has no greater love than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.” “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

But, like all things in this life, love can be twisted. It can be stripped of it’s proper place and turned to evil. Disordered affection becomes stalking or same-sex attraction. Disordered friendship leads us to “falling in with a bad crowd” or leading others to sin. Disordered passion becomes lust and leads to pornography or objectifying another person. Disordered agape - the highest form of love - becomes a willingness to sacrifice not myself, but others. Agape is twisted to pride - the lowest of all the deadly sins.

If we are to order our love properly, we must always speak and think about love with reference to the one who is love. Valentine’s day ought not to be a day for selfish sharing between two people - it ought to be a day for selfless giving of two people to one another and to the Lord God! Invite Jesus to Valentine’s day… See what happens.

The Jargon…

by: Tommy Myrick

Have you ever wondered why the Altars in our church are not on ground level? There are two steps from the floor, and then you have the Mary and Joseph Altars. Still higher is the High Altar, which is two steps higher than the Mary and Joseph Altars. Is there a reason besides aesthetics? You bet!

It is important that we remember Salvation History. It is believed that the Garden of Eden - where God established his covenant with Adam through the institution of the family - was actually on a mountain. God later swore to Noah that he would not destroy the world again by water… on top of a mountain. God established his covenant with Abraham after seeing his willingness to sacrifice Isaac... on a mountain. God ordained Moses as prophet... on a mountain. Moses received the ten commandments... on a mountain. The temple on which the Priests offered sacrifice was… you guessed it, on a mountain. Jesus was transfigured before Saints Peter and John... on a mountain. (Peter even suggested erecting three altars here for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses.) Last but not least, Christ gave his life for the reparation of our sins... on a mountain.

It seems that when God met with a person to establish something world changing, those meetings happened on mountains. The sanctuary is supposed to symbolize such a meeting place. In the Traditional Latin Mass, there are rubrics for the priest to “ascend the altar.” He must make a journey to the meeting place of God, Himself. The reality of the King of the Universe descending from His throne in Heaven to be with His people takes place on this very altar. For us, that should mean something life changing! God humbles Himself at every Mass to be with His people spiritually and physically in the Eucharist. No other god or idol can do that! May we be ready to meet our God at Mass as He descends from Heaven to be with us on the mountaintop!

Parish News

BLESSING OF ENGAGED & MARRIED COUPLES IN HONOR OF ST. VALENTINE'S DAY This weekend, Father will extend a blessing to all couples - married, engaged, or merely courting - in honor of St. Valentine’s day. Couples are encouraged to attend Mass together and to receive the blessing in a spirit of chaste love and devotion!

FEBRUARY 22nd IS A BASILICAN FEAST DAY This Saturday, Feb. 22nd, is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. A Plenary Indulgence has been extended by the Holy Father for our Church. Because the day falls on a Saturday, anyone who attends the 8a & 4p Masses on Sat(2/22) may receive a Plenary Indulgence under the usual conditions. All are welcome!

***Congratulations to the SMS Lady Tigers & Coach Johnny Cox who are in the District Playoffs!***

WE ARE COMMITTED TO FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY Many of our financial documents, including statements of assets are available on our website at MinorBasilica.org/Finance. If you feel like you need more specific information, please visit the office.

PRIESTHOOD & RELIGIOUS LIFE Until you’re married or dead, every Catholic owes God the courtesy of considering a life dedicated to the Church as a priest, a nun or a religious brother. Every parent owes their child encouragement in discerning that life. And every Catholic is waiting for the heroism of the young. ForYourVocation.org or (318)757-3834.

Parish Events

  • Sun, 2/16, Blessing of Engaged & Married Couples in Honor of St. Valentine’s Day
  • Mon, 2/17, Presidents’ Day, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Wed, 2/19, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Sat, 2/22, Basilican Feast Day - Chair of St. Peter, Holy Mass @ 8a & 4p
  • Wed, 2/26, CCD & Wednesday Night Adult Catechism, 6-7p @ St. Mary’s
  • Mon-Tue, 3/3 - 3/4, Mardi Gras Holiday, NO School & Parish Office CLOSED
  • Wed, 3/5, Ash Wednesday - Day of Fasting & Abstinence - Holy Mass @ 6:30a, 9a(SMS), & 6p
  • Wed, 3/5, CCD Mass, 6p @ The Minor Basilica  
  • Fri, 3/7, Benediction & Way of the Cross, 5:15p

Parish Finances

Our Sunday Collection last week was $8,842.

Thank you for your generous return to our Lord!

For more information on our finances, click here.

Within the Sanctuary

Sat 2/15 4p Mike Bouchie, (Lector) • Michael Yankowski, Red Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CH) • Joanne Yankowski, Jo Lapeyrouse, (EMHC-CI) • C.J.Bouchie, J.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/16 9a Joe Cunningham, Sr., (Lector) • Buddy Giering, John Cunningham, (EMHC-CH) • Emelda Odom, (EMHC-CI) • C.Cunningham, J.Cunningham, M.McCart, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/16 11a Greg Burke, (Lector) • Linda Lee, Jennifer Maggio, (EMHC-CH) • Lucile Ingram, (EMHC-CI) • W.Lee, I.Lovemore, C.Fisher, (Altar Boys)

Sat 2/22 4p Levi Thompson, (Lector) • David Bouchie, Carl Henry, (EMHC-CH) • Jimmy Gunter, Elaine Bacon, (EMHC-CI) • M.Thibodaux, D.Thibodaux, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/23 9a Roger Cunningham, (Lector) • Jeff & Carol Green, (EMHC-CH) • Michael King, (EMHC-CI) • G.Ingrish, J.H.Ingrish, J.Miley, (Altar Boys)

Sun 2/23 11a Gilen Norwood, (Lector) • Haley Johnson, Barbara Laborde, (EMHC-CH) • Tara Whitehead, (EMHC-CI) • S.Maggio, V.Maggio, W.Mayeux, (Altar Boys)

*Altar Boys who are not scheduled may serve if space permits. Come to the Sacristy 10 minutes before Mass.

Memorials & Prayer Intentions

The Sanctuary Candle and Sanctuary Flowers may be offered in memory of a loved one by contacting the office.

Holy Masses

  • Sat 4p: N.L. Vercher & Red & Sadie Thomas
  • Sun 9a: Pro Populo
  • Sun 11a: Lois Louise Trahan Duhon
  • Sun 5p: Fr. Jamie Medina
  • Mon 6:30a: Buddy Masson
  • Mon 8a: Clay Hennigan
  • Tue 6:30a: John Levy Frederick
  • Tue 10a: SMS Students
  • Wed 6:30a: Mary Jean Thomas
  • Wed 9:20a: SMS Faculty
  • Thu 6:30a: Doris & Will Pierson & Elise James
  • Thu 8:10a: SMS Benefactors
  • Fri 6:30a: Dorthy Benefield
  • Sat 8a: Sylvian LaVasseur

Pope Francis' Prayer Intentions for this Month are that the Church and society may respect the wisdom and experience of older people. And that, priests, religious, and lay people may work together with generosity for evangelization.

Please pray for our Sick & Suffering: Lolette Allen, Lauren Bienvenu, Mark Birch, Bill Boone, Kathy Bostick, Tripp Bostick, Chad Bouchie, Mar-Lou Brasher, Flo Brouillette, Bailey Byrd, Carolyn Carter, Emilia Cofio, Woody Cox, Kim Cunningham, Lela Mae Dalme, Joe Davis, John DeFee, Marguerite Felchle,  Alma Fernandez, Tom Foshee, Reba Friday, Paula Gagymad, Vicki Gahagan, Sophie Gill, Joyce Hayne, Deborah G. Hernandez, Sue Van Hook, Kalita Jones, Mary Keyser, Paul Keyser, Gary Kilgore, Martha LaCaze, Jheanny Ladao, Daniel Laroux, Jane Locke, Jaden Eli Lodridge, Joseph Longo, Lisa Mack, Faris Michael, Meg Michael, Lacey Mitchum, Fr. Joe Montalbano, Mary Moss, Shane Niette, Mary Odom, Sharon Roach, Wes Rollo, Makaehan Ross, Shirley Roy, Amanda Rozman, Joseph Ryan, Donna Slaughter, Billy Smith, Brent Trichel, Rosalind Trussell, Patricia Vazquez, Billie Vercher, Julien Vienne, Ruthie J. Wallboughly, Tyler Ward, Jessica Warner, & Janine Waters