Sermon: St. Therese Homilies

The Devil Attempts to Tempt Jesus

1st Sunday Lent Yr A: The Devil Attempts to Tempt Jesus

The Devil, Satan, plays an important part in the world history. In the form of a serpent, he tempts first Eve, and then Adam, to eat the forbidden fruit. 

That Original Sin marks the fall of the human race from God’s grace and friendship. The Gates of heaven close. Deprived of divine grace, human beings become slaves of the Devil.  

To win back Sanctifying Grace, a share in God’s own divine life, and make us His children once again, the Son of God becomes man and dies on the cross to redeem us from our sins, and free us from slavery to the Evil One.

To prepare for His public ministry, Jesus, after His baptism by John in the Jordan River, retires to the desert to pray and fast for 40 days.

And as we see in the Gospel today, Satan tries to tempt Jesus. 

Who is Satan? A fallen angel. 

Who are the angels? They are creatures, pure spirits, who, like us, have a rational intellect and free will. 

But the angelic intellect is far superior to ours. Angels know things not by reasoning things out; rather, their great intellects allow them to grasp or understand things immediately.

We know that God created all the angels good. At the time they were created, before they were allowed to enter into God’s presence and see God, the angels were given a test of obedience.

The common teaching of the Church holds that God revealed to the Angels that the human beings would fall from God’s grace, that the Son of God would become man to redeem the human race, and that the angels would have to worship and adore the God-man, Jesus Christ; also, they would have to venerate the woman who would be Mother of God, Mary.

We think about a third of the billions of angels, led by Satan – the most beautiful and intelligent of all the angels – and moved by pride, rebelled at the thought of worshiping the God-man, Jesus Christ, and especially having to venerate the woman, His Mother, Mary. Why? Because the angelic nature, being pure spirit, is above our lowly human nature, made up of both body and spirit.

And because of their great intellects, the angels understood fully that their rebellion against God was final and definitive. 

And so was their separation from God: When these angels disobeyed, Hell began.

The Devil and the other fallen angels are offered no opportunity to repent, because their free wills, guided by their great intellects, are hardened and fixed forever in opposition to God’s will.

In other words, the fallen Angels, Satan and the rest of the demons, would refuse to repent to even if they were offered it by God, so hardened are they in their stubborn, sinful pride.

Satan and the other fallen angels are in hell, but God, in His providence, permits them to tempt us. This is a mystery. But God gives us grace to reject temptations.

How do the devils to tempt us? By suggesting things to us. 

All they can do is suggest things; they cannot force our wills to obey them and disobey God, because our wills are free. All the demons in Hell cannot force us to commit even the smallest of venial sins.

But because we are fallen creatures, our free wills are inclined to rebel against God’s will in order to do our own will, and sin.

We call this inclination to sin concupiscence; and manifests itself in particular in seven ways, which we call the seven deadly sins: PLACES-G:  pride, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, sloth, and gluttony.

In our first reading from Genesis we see evidence of both pride and lust: They desire to be like gods (sinful pride); and they can no longer look at one another in innocence in their nakedness – they feel shame from lust, so they sew fig leaves to cover themselves.

Now Jesus, being perfect God and perfect man in one divine Person, was of course free from concupiscence.

But Satan did not know this, because he really did not know that Jesus was God in the flesh.

Now, the devil and the other fallen angels would have known certain things about Jesus from their observations – e.g., that He had been conceived without Mary having had relations with Joseph. 

Saint Cromantius, a fourth-century bishop, stated: “[Satan] had heard that it had been announced by the angel to the Virgin that she would give birth to the Son of God. He saw the Magi…. He saw, after [Jesus’] baptism, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove. He also heard the Father’s voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my Son.’” 

Still, knowing that Jesus was “Son of the Most High God” doesn’t give the full picture of who He is. Though Satan could see that Jesus was a holy man of virtue, he did not know that He was the Word made Flesh – His Incarnation remained concealed. 

But from what the Prince of Darkness did observe about Jesus, he was very much puzzled and perturbed. 

St. Cromantius continues: Satan heard John with a loud voice proclaiming, “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” 

No doubt Satan, who had filled the world with sins, feared now that someone had come to take away the sins from the world. 

Another early Saint, Hilary, says that the Devil “had despaired, seeing Christ fast for forty days; but perceiving that afterwards he was hungry [since God could not experience hunger], he began to hope again” (In Matt, ii.3).

So now, in an attempt to discover who Jesus really is, he sets out to tempt Him, knowing that if he yields to the temptations, he need not be too concerned.

This is why Satan begins his temptations saying, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread . . . throw yourself off the Temple.”

The CCC (538) teaches that temptation is an attraction, either from outside oneself or from within, to act contrary to right reason and the commandments of God. 

It progresses to fulfillment, in sin, according to Pope St. Gregory the Great, by beginning with suggestion, continuing on to delight, and concluding with consent.  

In the case of Our Lord, who could not be tempted from within (because He was God) but only from without – in this case, from the Devil himself – delight in sin was not possible; nor could He ever consent to it. 

So the Devil, that most cunning serpent who Jesus tells us is “a liar and a murderer from the beginning” (Jn. 8:44), knowing Jesus is hungry, urges Him to turn stones into bread. 

Jesus refuses. Had He worked this miracle, it would have revealed his identity – which He did not intend to do. 

The second temptation as recorded by St. Matthew: “Throw yourself down from the Temple, for the angels will bear you up.” Worthy of note here that Satan quotes Scripture here. Yes, the cunning serpent knows Scripture, and can use it for his own advantage. But this temptation is a clear example of Satan putting God to the test, just to satisfy his curiosity. Would God send His angels to save Jesus from being injured – or, if Jesus is God, will He save Himself?

Finally, the Devil shows Our Lord all the kingdoms of the world, saying, “All of these will be yours if you fall down and worship me.” This temptation reveals Satan growing even bolder in his sinful pride; for if Jesus is indeed God, to offer Him the all kingdoms of the world with all their riches in return for worshiping him, is pure blasphemy.

Our Lord says to him, “Begone.” This should be our immediate response to every temptation that the Devil or his demons may set before us. We do not want to “dialogue” with the devil, engage in conversation with him, for he is extremely clever and we will come out the losers. This is the trap that Eve fell into, and we know “the rest of the story,” as they say.

The Evil One comes disguised and speaks slyly to us to ensnare us – often with sweet words. But make no mistake: As St. Peter warns us, the Devil “prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” – and sometimes he does devour. 

St. John Chrysostom wisely notes that often times we do not seek our salvation as eagerly as Satan seeks our damnation

This past Ash Wednesday, we received ashes in the form of a cross on our foreheads as a sign of our feeble fallen human nature that one day will “return to dust.” The Gospel provides us with the road map that we must travel to Calvary, and Jesus gives Himself as an example to follow in our Lenten journey, with prayer and fasting.  

Through these holy practices, along with acts of charity, let us consecrate this holy season of forty days – to arm ourselves against the attacks of the enemy.  

To quote Archbishop Listecki: “Prayer should always be a part of our daily routine, but during Lent we intensify our prayer life by deepening our relationship with God. For some, daily Mass will be added to their schedule, for others, additional time for adoration, and still others the Rosary or the reading of Scripture [or all of these!]. We often take our most intimate relationships for granted. Prayer reminds us of just how blessed we are to have the love of Christ present in our lives.”

Fasting and abstinence make us battle ready to engage in the spiritual combat that is always before us: “We intentionally deny ourselves something we can ‘have’ or ‘do,’” says the Archbishop, “in order to strengthen our will and unite us to Christ. Through our union with Christ’s sufferings, we are in ‘solidarity’ with our brothers and sisters in need.”

Almsgiving, sharing our wealth with those in need, as well as sacrificing our time in serving others, offers us the opportunity to share our blessings with others in and for Christ.

Let us do all these good and holy works in order to make Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection more fruitful and effective in our lives during this holy season.

Humility: Boast Not in Oneself, but in the Lord

Homily 4th Sunday Yr A: Humility: Boast Not in Oneself, but in the Lord

Fr. Dwight Campbell, S.T.D.


No one should boast before God. Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”


These are the words of St. Paul in our second reading today, from First Corinthians. 


Why should no one boast before God? Precisely because He is God, and we are His creatures. 

We would not even exist if it were not for Him. He created all things, including us, and He maintains everything in being


What does it mean to boast in the Lord? It means that we should attribute to God, give Him credit, for any good we do, for any holiness we attain, knowing that it is all due to God’s grace.


St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), used the motto for members of his order: Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God). That is, we should do all things not for our own glory, but for the glory of God, for His greater glory, knowing that He is the Source of all graces and blessings we receive.


The Blessed Virgin Mary is our perfect example here. In her great prayer of praise to God, the Magnificat, which she spoke when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, she says this:

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid.”


If anyone had reason to boast about gifts and graces, it was Mary. But she did not boast of herself, but rather, she realized that any degree of holiness and splendor she possessed was freely given to her by God.


Why don’t we always imitate Mary, and always give God the glory for anything we do, for all our accomplishments? Why are we always inclined to glorify ourselves, and to relish in any praise we might receive from others? It is because of our sinful pride, which is due to our fallen human nature.


Humility is the great virtue which opposes, and is a remedy for, our sinful pride.


The Prophet Zephaniah, our first reading today, exhorts us to “seek the Lord, all you humble, . . . Seek humility.” He says that the Lord seeks a people “humble and lowly.”


In the Liturgy of the Hours today, daytime prayer, is Ps. 34, which begins with these words: “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise always on my lips; in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. The humble shall hear and be glad.”


St. Paul in our second reading speaks of how “God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no one might boast before God.”


Yes, if we practice humility, God will be pleased with us and will exalt us – not only here on earth, but in Heaven. 

That’s the message of Jesus today in Matthew’s Gospel, which is the beginning of the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount. 

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, which are a complement to the Ten Commandments, and teach us the most perfect way to imitate Jesus Christ.


Significantly, the first Beatitude is about humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Poor in spirit” does not mean to be lacking in holiness, but rather to be lowly in spirit; not proud and arrogant.

Humility – like holiness – attracts. We enjoy being in the company of a humble soul. No one likes being in the presence of a conceited, self-centered

Person who always praises and draws attention to himself.

The humble will enjoy more glory, more happiness, greater beatitude, in Heaven because, as I’ve said, there God will reward them, exalt them. 


The saints realized this. Our patroness, St. Therese, desired to be known as the “Little Flower” of God. She said, “I am too little to have any vanity. . . . I prefer to acknowledge simply that ‘He that is mighty has done great things to me’ (Lk. 1:49) (quoting here Mary’s Magnificat); and the greatest [thing God has done] is having shown me my littleness, my powerlessness for all good.”


Another Carmelite Saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila, said: “There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.”


Having great intelligence and vast knowledge and can often be a source of pride. Yesterday was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, whom most agree had the greatest intellect of all the saints. (He is the patron saint of Catholic schools; hence this week is Catholic Schools Week). 

Once, when someone praised his great intellect, he said that he drew all his knowledge from praying on his knees before the Crucifix.


St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is regarded as the foundress of the Catholic school system in this country. (I used to pray at her tomb every week when I was in the seminary in Emmitsburg, MD). Mother Seton said:  “The gate of Heaven is very low; only the humble can enter it.”


Finally, let us recall the words of Jesus Christ Himself: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for yourselves” (Mt. 11:29). Yes, rest and peace here on earth, and eternal rest in the Kingdom.


Sunday of the Word

3rd Sunday Yr A: Sunday of the Word
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

How do we come to know about God, and our eternal destiny?

Well, God reveals Himself to us through nature; i.e., through the created universe. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows forth the works of his hands.”
Yes, the beautiful order that we see in nature – in the created universe, the sun, stars & planets, in the world and all that is in it – reveals that there must be a Supreme Intelligence behind all of creation, an All-Powerful Designer that placed things in order and maintains them in order.
The ancient pagan philosophers acknowledged this. By contemplating the beautiful order in the universe we can come to know the existence of God.
This is something we call natural Revelation.

And with our natural, God-given ability to think and reason, we can know basic morality – that it is wrong to steal, to lie, to murder, etc.

But natural Revelation only takes us so far – to know that God exists. By contemplating nature we cannot know that there are three Persons in one God; that He is a God who loves us and who will bestow upon us everlasting happiness in heaven if we love and obey Him.

These truths we know because God Himself has revealed them to us. This is what we call Divine Revelation.

How has God revealed these truths to us? Through His word. God has spoken to us through His word.

And how has His word been revealed to us? In two ways.
One way is through Sacred Scripture – which is the word of God set down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirt, so that the sacred writer wrote down only what God wanted written down, and nothing more.
Another way the word of God has been revealed to us is through what we call Sacred Tradition – which is the oral preaching and teaching of Jesus to His Apostles, which has been handed down to us in the teaching of the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So, the word of God has been revealed to us through both Scripture and Tradition. To know the fullness of God’s Revelation, the fullness of the truths God wants us to know about Himself and the way of salvation, we need both the Bible and the Church; both Scripture and Tradition.

Scripture alone does not reveal to us the fullness of the truth about God and His plan of salvation. “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture alone) is a Protestant invention, thought up by Martin Luther. Scripture does not interpret itself. In fact, one can interpret verses of the Bible in various ways, even in contradictory ways – this is why there are literally thousands of Protestant sects, each claiming its interpretation is correct.
And this is precisely why Jesus founded the Church as a hierarchy, with the Pope and bishops as our teachers in the faith, to assure that the truths of the faith would be preserved in their fullness.

Why am I speaking about these things on this particular Sunday? Because the Pope has proclaimed this Sunday as the “Sunday of the Word of God,” with a special focus on the Bible.

The Bible, the word of God set down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reveals to us not only truths about God; it also reveals His entire plan of salvation, beginning with the creation and fall of man, and God’s plan to redeem us in Jesus Christ which begins to unfold in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament tells about the preparation for the coming of the Savior.
Beginning with Abraham, who lived about 1900 years before Christ, God formed a people, His Chosen People, the Hebrews, later known as the Jews, from whom the Savior, Jesus, would be born.
King David, a descendent of Abraham, lived about 1000 years before Christ. King David united all the tribes of Israel under a single rule.
The 12 tribes were named after the 12 sons of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, whose name was changed to Israel (why they’re called Israelites!).
After the death of his son, King Solomon, the kingdom of David was divided into two kingdoms, north and south.

In 721 BC God permitted the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom of Israel, because the people had fallen away from the true worship of God; in fact, they sacrificed their babies and little children to the pagan gods, who were, in fact, demons.
The Assyrians first conquered the lands of Zebulon and Naphtali, which were located in the northern part of the northern kingdom, in the area known as Galilee.

Our first reading today is from the prophet Isaiah, who lived during this time. Isaiah prophesied that although the Lord first degraded these two lands (i.e., He allowed them to be conquered and become paganized), these two lands, Zebulon and Naphtali, which were in darkness and gloom, would be the first to see “a great light” – i.e., Jesus Christ, who is the great light that has come into the world:
“the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone . . . And has brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.”

As we see in today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled because Jesus began His preaching in the area of Zebulon and Naphtali, in Galilee (northern Israel). St. Matthew quotes Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulon and land of Naphtali, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light.”

Jesus begins His preaching with these words: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.”

Christ’s kingdom would not only be the Jews, the 12 tribes of Israel, but all peoples of all nations.
This is made clear in the Gospel today: Jesus calls His first Apostles, Peter and Andrew, then James and his brother John, who were fishermen, and tells them they will become “fishers of men.” Later, just before He ascends into Heaven, Jesus gives them the “great commission” – “Go and preach to all nations, teaching them everything I have taught you; and baptize them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
Ever since then, the Good News of the Gospel, the revealed word of God, has been preached to the ends of the earth.

Yes, in Christ, the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled. In Jesus Christ, our world that was in darkness has seen a great light.
Jesus, with His suffering, death and resurrection, has broken the yoke of slavery and sin, and has allowed us to be God’s children through baptism, members of His Church, His kingdom on earth, to enjoy eternal life with Him and reign with Him forever in Heaven.

Reading the Bible is a beautiful and constructive way to see how God’s marvelous plan of salvation has unfolded, and to come to better know Jesus Christ. St. Jerome has a famous saying: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

The Pope wants us to carry the spirit of this Sunday throughout the upcoming year, and to read and meditate upon Sacred Scripture, the revealed word of God.

Why not make a plan to read Scripture daily during this upcoming year?
One can go to Catholic sources on the Internet and get an outline to read the Bible, or most of it, in a year.
Holy Catholic Family Bookstore sells a Bible divided daily so that one can read it in a year. They also sell a New Testament one can read in a year.

Reading the Bible daily is a wonderful way to better learn the truths of our faith and to attain a deeper love and devotion to Jesus, who is the true Light of the world.


Jesus Servant, Savior & Eucharistic Lamb of God

Homily 2nd Sunday Yr A: Jesus Servant, Savior & Eucharistic Lamb of God
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

In our 1st Reading from ch. 49 of Isaiah: “The Lord said to me, ‘you are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.’”

Here we learn that God calls the nation of Israel His “servant.”

But then Isaiah goes on to say: “the Lord formed me as his servant from the womb. . . .” Who is this servant? It is a prophecy of Jesus, whom we know was formed in the womb of Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And Isaiah goes on to say: “It is too little, the Lord says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and restore Israel. I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

In these words we see a prophecy regarding Jesus as future Savior – not only of Israel, but of all peoples of all nations throughout the world.

If you keep on reading from the book of Isaiah, in chapters 52 and 53, the Prophet tells us that this “servant” will suffer and die to pay the price for our sins:
“It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured. . . He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins. Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole. By his bruises we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep . . . the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.” (Is. 53: 4-7).

Yes, Jesus, the Eternal Son sent by the Father, was the innocent Lamb who was led to the slaughter to pay the price for our sins.

God revealed all this in the Old T. in types and figures. The greatest of these types was the Passover lamb described in ch. 12 of the Book of Exodus. If the Hebrews killed a young male lamb, sprinkled its blood on their door posts, and then ate the flesh of the lamb, they would be saved from the punishment God inflicted on the Egyptians: the Angel of death would pass over their homes and not kill their firstborn sons.

Jesus is the fulfillment of that Old T. type. This is what John the Baptist confirms in our Gospel today. When Jesus begins His public ministry and appears at the Jordan River to be baptized, His cousin John points Him out: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Yes, Jesus is the true Lamb of God, who saves us by the shedding of His Blood on the Cross. He atones for all of our sins, and redeems or buys back that share in God’s divine life that was lost through Adam’s sin.

And just as in the Old Covenant under Moses, the Hebrews’ firstborn sons were saved from death if each household ate the flesh of the Passover lamb, so we will be saved, and raised up on the Last Day, in bodies glorified, if we partake of the Body and Blood of Jesus, the True Lamb.

This is precisely what Jesus tells us. In ch. 6 of John’s Gospel, the “Bread of Life” discourse, Jesus speaks these amazing words to the crowds of Jews:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

At hearing these words, almost everyone, including most of His own disciples, walk away in disbelief. “This is a hard saying; who can accept it?,” they say. The only ones who remain with Jesus are the 12 Apostles.

A hard saying, indeed! “Eat my flesh and drink my blood, if you want eternal life.”

Last week was the Feast of Epiphany. I always use that feast to preach about faith in the great mystery of the Eucharist. I did so last week. Today I will repeat what I said last Sunday.

Belief in the great mystery of the Eucharist requires great faith, a faith even greater than the Magi, or three Kings.
They prostrated themselves before the Baby Jesus, believing that He was not only their King, but their God and their Savior who would die for their sins, and therefore should be worshipped and adored.
Their gifts signify this belief: gold for their King, incense for their God, and myrrh to anoint His body after death.
How the Magi knew these things remains a mystery to us.

With the great mystery of the Holy Eucharist, we must have an even greater faith than the Magi: Although they could not see the divinity of the Christ Child, they could see His humanity.
In the Eucharist, we see neither the divinity nor the humanity of Jesus. After the words of consecration by the priest, the appearance of bread and wine still remain visible to us; but in faith we believe that the substance of the bread and wine are gone;
that by divine power, when the priest, acting in the Person of Christ, utters those words that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper – “This is my body which will be given up for you . . . this is my blood of the new and everlasting covenant” – the bread and wine undergo a change of substance (which we call transubstantiation).
The great miracle of the Eucharist defies our senses: The consecrated Host still looks and tastes like ordinary bread, but it is no longer bread; in faith we believe it is now the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
Why do we believe what is contrary to our senses? Because Jesus said it; and the Church for 2000 years has taught this truth, this great mystery.

The bishops of our country have called for a three-year program in which we are called to “rediscover the Eucharist.” I suppose the word “rediscovering” can be interpreted in various ways.
Those who have lost or abandoned faith in the Eucharist should make an effort to rekindle their faith.
Those who already believe should strive to deepen their faith, to uncover more and more the unfathomable riches in this great Sacrament.

How can we, who believe, deepen our faith in this Mystery of the Eucharist?

One way is by our actions of adoration:
When we genuflect, bend the knee, when we come into church and leave our pews, we attest to our belief that Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle.
When we kneel before our Lord and our God in receiving Holy Communion.
When we spend time in prayer and adoration before our Eucharistic Lord, speaking to Him heart to heart, knowing that He is present before us as truly as He was present to the Magi who adored Him and to crowds who heard Him preaching in their streets and synagogues.

If you’ve never spend time in prayer and adoration before Jesus in the Eucharist, I encourage you to do so. Just a reminder, we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in our church here every Friday after Mass throughout the day; and on first Fridays of the month we continue exposition until 6 AM Saturday morning.
I encourage you to come and spend time before our Lord in the Eucharist. You’ll find great comfort and peace in doing so. Pray the Rosary, read some Scripture or the writings of a saint; or just sit in silent contemplation of Jesus, who is truly Present before your eyes.

Another way to be discover or deepen your faith in the Eucharist is through study: Try to learn about Eucharistic miracles. Go on the Internet, on FORMED (see the bulletin). Or attend a class. In February, I’ll be teaching a class on Pope St. Paul VI’s encyclical, “The Mystery of Faith” (on the Eucharist).

On Tues. June 6, author and EWTN guest Michael O’Brien will come and do a presentation on Eucharistic miracles.

Finally, today after Mass we will have Benediction. And will expose the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance briefly on the altar to worship and adore Him, and then administer a blessing with Our Lord in the Eucharist.

This is something I plan to do on a monthly basis during this time of “rediscovering the Eucharist,” along with preaching on this topic.

Let us call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her beautiful title “Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament,” that she – who taught the Apostles and first Christians about the deep mystery of Jesus in the Eucharist – to deepen our faith and devotion to Our Lord and Savior truly Present in the great Sacrament of His Body and Blood.

Epiphany 2023

Homily: Epiphany 2023
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

“Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! 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. They come to you . . . from afar.”

These lines from our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah are very fitting for this glorious feast of Epiphany: They reveal to us that before the coming of Christ, the world was covered in the darkness of sin. Beginning with His Birth, light has come.

God is light; and Jesus, the Eternal Son of God who became man, the Word who was made flesh, is the True Light that has come into the world, to bring light to all who are in darkness of sin and death.

Jesus, the Savior, came to bring the light of salvation not only to the Jews, God’s Chosen People; He came to enlighten and to save all peoples of all nations.

The coming of the Magi, or Wise men, who were kings from the East, is a sign that salvation is now open to the Gentiles as well as the Jews – something that the Old Testament Prophets, like Isaiah, had foretold.

In fact, the Magi represent all the Gentile, or non-Jewish, nations.

The origin of the Magi, what countries they were from, and what motivated them to follow the star – that radiant light in the night sky that shined in the darkness, which guided them to the newborn Christ Child – remains shrouded in mystery.

Somehow they knew that this little Babe in His Mother’s arms was not just any king, but the King of kings – because He was also their God, and their Savior.

The gifts they bring signify these truths: gold for the King of kings; incense to burn in praise of God – the smoke of which rises like our prayers; and myrrh – a perfume that was mixed with oil, used to anoint bodies of the dead.

“Epiphany” means “manifestation.” Jesus manifested Himself as our Lord, our King, and our Savior to all the nations of the world in the persons of the Magi, whose coming with their gifts is a revelation –

“that the Gentiles are coheirs [with the Jews], members of the same body [the Church], and copartners in the promise [of a Savior]” who has come in Jesus Christ, as St. Paul tells us in our second reading, from Ephesians.

But how the Magi knew, we do not know. Some say a private revelation; but this is only speculation. It remains a beautiful mystery.

What we do know is that they believed this little Babe was their divine King, and their Savior-God. Their belief was signified not only by their gifts, but also by their actions: upon entering into the presence of the Baby Jesus and His Mother, Mary, they “prostrated themselves and did him homage,” as St. Matthew tells us.

To “prostrate” means lay oneself flat on the ground face downward – an act of deep reverence, symbolizing total submission.

The last three verses of the hymn We Three Kings beautifully expresses this truth:

Frankincense to offer have I / incense owns a Deity nigh / prayer and praising gladly raising / worship him, God on high.

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume / breathes a life of gathering gloom / sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying / sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold him arise / King and God and Sacrifice / Allelujah Allelujah / Sounds through the earth and skies.

In this glorious feast of Epiphany I always think it fitting to compare the faith of the three Magi in the presence of the Infant Jesus, with our faith in the Holy Eucharist who is Really Present in the substance of His human Body, Blood, Soul, and His Divinity.
When they prostrated themselves in worship, the Magi could not see the divinity of Jesus, the God whom they adored; all they could see was His humanity, in the form of a newborn Child: but they believed, in faith, that this tiny Babe was their Lord and their God, their King and their Savior.

With the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, we must have an even greater faith than that of the Magi:

They at least were able to see the humanity of Jesus; in the Eucharist we see neither the humanity nor the divinity of Christ, Our Lord; for both are hidden under the appearance of the bread and wine.

In fact, we believe what the senses are unable to perceive – nay, what defies our senses: The Holy Eucharist still looks and tastes like ordinary bread and wine; but in faith we believe that after the priest utters the same words of consecration that Jesus spoke at the Last Supper – “Take and eat, this is my body . . .Take and drink, this is my blood” – the bread and wine are no longer present; rather, it is Jesus who is Present, in His full divinity, as God, and His full humanity – His Body, Blood and Soul.

And in the Eucharist, we not only receive Christ’s Body and Blood as food for our souls; we worship and adore Jesus, who remains Present – in the fullness of His divinity and of His sacred humanity, in the consecrated Host.

At the end of Mass today, we will have Benediction: a brief time to worship and adore Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament – just as the Magi worshipped and adored Him on that very first Epiphany.

Mary Mother of God & Our Spiritual Mother

Homily Jan. 1: Mary Mother of God & Our Spiritual Mother

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.


Today, January 1, the last day within the octave of Christmas (7 days after the Birth of Our Lord), the Church – most fittingly – celebrates the divine Motherhood of Blessed Virgin Mary.

Since the earliest centuries, the Church has called Mary “Mother of God.” This is her most exalted title, and all the other graces and privileges given to Mary flow from this great truth: that she is the Mother of God.

Actually, in the Greek language, where this title was first used, Mary was called Theotokos – i.e., God-bearer.

We believe, in faith, that God is eternal; He had no beginning.

This is true of all three Persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Blessed Virgin Mary conceived in her womb and gave birth to the second Person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son of God.

How can we say, how can we believe that Mary is the Mother of God, if all three Persons of the Trinity, including the Son, are eternal?

To understand the mystery of Mary’s divine motherhood, we must first understand the great mystery of the Incarnation.

What is the Incarnation? God the Son, who is also called the Eternal Word, became man while remaining God when He was conceived in Mary’s womb, by the power of the Holy Spirit, on Annunciation Day – March 25, exactly 9 months before his birth on December 25. 

This is what St. Paul, in our 2nd reading today from Galatians, calls the “fullness of time”: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, . . . to ransom those under the law [i.e., the of Moses, which could not save us], so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

The Incarnation is called the “fullness of time” because the eternal Son of God, who always existed outside of time, now enters into time.

It is also called the “fullness of time” because from all eternity, God willed the Incarnation: that the Son of God would become man, and that He would do so through Mary.

In other words, Jesus and Mary were always united in God’s eternal plan.

The Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, has a divine nature: He is co-eternal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit; He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving. 

When we say that “the Word became flesh” in Mary’s womb, we mean that the Son of God took on a human nature: He truly became man, with a human body and a human soul – with a human intellect and human will.

On Annunciation Day, Mary conceived Jesus Christ in her immaculate womb. At the moment she uttered her “Fiat” or “Yes” to the Archangel Gabriel, she became the Mother of God.

At the Incarnation, the second Person of the Trinity united a human nature to His divine Person. What does this mean? It means that Jesus Christ is a divine Person with two natures, both divine (because He is God, the eternal Son), and human (because He truly became man).

Therefore, we can truly say that Mary is the Mother of God – because she conceived in her womb the Son of God who truly became man, while remaining God.

The 6th century poet, St. Fortunatus, beautifully summarizes all this:


1  The God whom earth and sea and sky / adore and laud and magnify, /
whose might they own, whose praise they tell, / in Mary’s body deigned to dwell.

2  O Mother blest, the chosen shrine / wherein the Architect divine, /
whose hand contains the earth and sky, / vouchsafed in hidden guise to lie:


Why did the Son of God become man? To redeem us from our sins. He needed a human body to accomplish the work of redemption, to suffer and die on the Cross in order to win back for us to share in divine life (which we call sanctifying grace) that Adam had lost with the Original Sin, to bring us once again into friendship with God and make us adopted sons and daughters of God the Father, through Jesus, our Brother (cf. 2nd reading, Galatians).

So, when we say that Mary is the Mother of God we do not mean that the eternal son of God began His existence at the Incarnation. We mean instead that the second Person of the Trinity took on a human nature when she conceived Him in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But there is another truth that we acknowledge today, on this feast of Mary Mother of God: the Blessed Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of God; she is also our spiritual mother in the order of grace.

This truth is reflected in the Opening Prayer for today’s Mass: “grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her, through whom we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As He was dying on the Cross, Jesus gave Mary to us as our spiritual Mother when He said: “Woman, behold, thy son”; and then said to St. John, the Apostle, “Behold, thy mother.” John represents all the disciples of Jesus.

It is because Mary is truly Mother of Jesus, Head of the Mystical Body, the Church, that she is also spiritual Mother of all the members of Christ’s Body, the Church. She is truly Mother of the Church, both Head and members (see the closing prayer in today’s Mass).

And how does she exercise her spiritual motherhood? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) no. 963 teaches, under the heading “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church”:  “The Virgin Mary is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer. . . . She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ . . . since she has by her charity joined [with Jesus] in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.’”

Mary’s spiritual motherhood is not only exercised by giving spiritual birth to us; she also, as our loving Mother, forms Christ in us, and conforms us to Jesus, her Son. Vatican II (Lumen Gentium 63) teaches: “The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, namely the faithful, in whose birth and education [formation/development] she cooperates with a maternal love.  

Moreover, as our spiritual Mother, Mary mediates the grace of Christ; she is Mediatrix of all the grace which Christ won for us on the Cross – because she not only gave birth to the Savior, but united herself in love to her dying Son as He suffered and died to redeem us from our sins – making her co-Redemptrix/ cooperatrix/associate with Jesus in redeeming us.

CCC 968: “In a wholly singular way [Mary] cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope, and burning charity in the Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of grace.” (LG 61)

CCC 969 “This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation …. Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix.”

Pope Benedict XVI’s homily May 11, 2007 in Brazil at canonization of Fr. Antonio Galvão, OFM: “There is no fruit of grace in the history of salvation that does not have as its necessary instrument the mediation of Our Lady.” This is really a short summary of the teaching of the Church down through the ages (Sacred Tradition) on Mary’s sublime role in the mediation of the grace of Christ.

And what should be our response to this truth? We should entrust ourselves to Mary, our spiritual Mother, and totally consecrate ourselves to her. St. Louis de Montfort, in his masterpiece, True Devotion to the BV Mary, explains how to do this. Let us always go to Jesus through Mary, knowing that she is the Mediatrix of all the grace of Christ, and that no grace comes to us but through her. 

Christmas 2022

Homily: Christmas 2022
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

Our Catholic Faith is filled with mysteries, supernatural mysteries: truths about the infinite God which our small, finite minds are unable to fully grasp. We can’t wrap our minds around them; we never will (b/c we’re not God!).

Consider the Trinity, the central mystery of our Faith: One God, but three distinct persons in the one God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Each divine Person is God. All three are co-eternal, with no beginning; each of the three divine Persons is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving.
As God told St. Catherine of Siena: “There is not a leaf of a tree that falls to the ground without My providence” (i.e., My knowing it and willing it).

What makes each divine Person distinct from the other? Their relations:
As we profess in the Creed: God the Father, by knowing Himself perfectly, eternally begets the Son – the Word, who is “begotten, not made”; that is, He is not created; the Word is, like the Father, eternal.
The Word is the Father’s self-knowledge personified: God the Father knows Himself so perfectly that His act of knowing Himself generates another person – a divine Person of the same substance as the Father; thus the Son, the Eternal Word, is the perfect image and reflection of the Father.
So, God the Father begets; God the Son is eternally begotten; and God the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the mutual love of the Father & the Son.

From all eternity, in the divine counsels of God, only one of those divine Persons would become man – while remaining God: the Eternal Word would become flesh in the immaculate womb of the Virgin Mary – most fitting, b/c the God-man, the Eternal Word, would preach the word of God to us.
The Word becoming flesh in Mary is another supernatural mystery, which we call the Incarnation – the next greatest mystery after the Trinity.
Can we understand how the Son of God, while remaining God, could become man in one divine Person? No. We believe this mystery on faith.

The Incarnation was foretold by the Old Testament prophets who spoke under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. For example, more than 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesied: “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel” (that is, “God is with us”).
This prophecy was fulfilled on Annunciation Day, when the Virgin Mary uttered her “Fiat” – “Let it be done to me according to your word” – in response to the Archangel Gabriel’s message.

It was at that moment – the “fullness of time” as St. Paul calls it – that the Word became flesh, the Son of God became man, in Mary’s womb. And for what purpose? To save us, to redeem us from our sins by dying on the Cross.

But consider – another aspect to the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word becoming flesh: He whom the entire universe cannot contain, dwelt enclosed in Mary’s womb for nine months before His Birth.
Jesus, as an unborn child in Mary’s womb, was totally dependent on her. We can ponder, in awe and wonder, that the Creator of all things depended totally on His Mother whom He created, for nine full months – and even after His birth, as an infant who needed to be nourished, clothed, cared for.
Here our Savior gives us an example to imitate: to depend upon Mary, our spiritual Mother, for all our needs.

The 6th century poet, St. Fortunatus, beautifully summarizes all this :

1 The God whom earth and sea and sky / adore and laud and magnify, /
whose might they own, whose praise they tell, / in Mary’s body deigned to dwell.
2 O Mother blest, the chosen shrine / wherein the Architect divine, /
whose hand contains the earth and sky, / vouchsafed in hidden guise to lie:
3 Blest in the message Gabriel brought; / blest in the work the Spirit wrought;
most blest, to bring to human birth / the long-desired of all the earth.
4 O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee / eternal praise and glory be, /
whom with the Father we adore / and Holy Ghost for evermore. Amen.
And today we celebrate the glorious Birth of the Savior, and we sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.”

Still another aspect of this mystery: Mary remains a virgin in giving birth to Jesus; her virginity is left intact, there is no pain or rupture of her body. It is a miraculous birth – fitting for the Mother of the God-man. She is “ever-Virgin,” as we say in the Confiteor.

After His birth He is wrapped in swaddling clothes – strips of cloth wrapped around His tiny body which bind Him, restrain His movement – a sign, a foreshadowing of that dark day when His body, bruised and beaten, will be fixed firmly to the Cross by three nails, to pay the price for our sins.
Mary looked upon her newborn Babe in swaddling clothes with great joy and wonder; beneath the Cross she will behold Him with unspeakable pain and sorrow in her Mother’s Heart, pierced by that sword foretold by Simeon.

On the night of His Birth the newborn Jesus is laid in a manger – a feeding trough with hay, for cattle to feed upon; again, a sign that He is the “living bread that comes down from heaven,” who nourishes us with His own Body and Blood, to enable us to live, and act, and love, like Him; and to take up our daily crosses and follow Him.

This is why, just as without Christ, there is no Christmas; likewise, there is no Christmas without the Mass: the re-presentation of Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary. Christmas literally means “Christ’s Mass.”

And without the Cross, the Incarnation and Birth of the Savior is emptied of its true meaning. As St. Augustine says,
“You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death.”

The great saints and missionaries throughout the ages preached Christ’s Birth and Death for our salvation: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Among the greatest of those missionary-saints were the North American Martyrs, the French Jesuits, who in the 17th century proclaimed the Kingdom of Christ to the Native Americans in New York and Canada.

Some, like the Iroquois and the Mohawks, mostly rejected the Gospel message; in fact, they put to death SS. Jean de Brebauf, Isaac Jogues and their companions after horrible tortures; but others, like the Huron tribes, received the Good News of the Gospel with open hearts.

To help instruct the Hurons about Jesus and His Birth of the Virgin Mary, the Jesuits composed Christmas carols, adapting the biblical story of Christ’s Birth to their Native American culture, using terms which they could understand.

I’ll end by quoting from one of these carols, called the Huron Carol, written in the Huron language by the Jesuit martyr, St. Jean de Brebeuf. The actual title is Jesous Ahatonhia (“Jesus, he is born”). The text is very tender and moving. Imagine you’re a Huron on Christmas singing this hymn:

1. ‘Twas in the moon of winter-time / When all the birds had fled, / That mighty Gitchi Manitou / Sent angel choirs instead; / Before their light the stars grew dim, / And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
(Refrain): “Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.”
2. Within a lodge of broken bark / The tender Babe was found, / A ragged robe of rabbit skin / Enwrapp’d His beauty round; / But as the hunter braves drew nigh, / The angel song rang loud and high. Refrain
3. O children of the forest free, / O sons of Manitou, / The Holy Child of earth and heaven / Is born today for you. / Come kneel before the radiant Boy / Who brings you beauty, peace and joy. Refrain

Mary’s 3-Fold Virginity

Homily 4th Sunday Advent Yr A:  Mary’s 3-Fold Virginity

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.


The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel” (Is. 7:14).


These are the words that the great Prophet Isaiah spoke to King Ahaz more than 700 years before the Birth of Christ – a prophecy that was fulfilled with the Blessed Virgin Mary: 

Mary, a virgin, would conceive and give birth to Jesus, the Eternal Son of God who became man – who is called Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”


We know from St. Luke’s Gospel, in his account of the Annunciation, that Mary conceived Jesus as a virgin: “The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to the town of Galilee, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary” (Lk. 1:26).


Why did God arrange that Mary be a virgin in conceiving Jesus? Why is her virginity important in regard to conceiving and giving birth to Jesus? 


Pope St. John Paul II, in a discourse on Mary’s virginity on May 24, 1992, said:

“Reading through the writings of the holy Fathers [the great Saints of antiquity] . . . we notice that few of the saving mysteries have caused so much amazement, admiration or praise as the Incarnation of God’s Son in Mary’s virginal womb. . . . They observed that the virginity of the mother is a requirement flowing from the divine nature of the Son; the concrete condition in which, according to a free and wise divine plan, the Incarnation of the eternal Son took place.”

In other words, it was most fitting that the Son of God, when He became man, should take flesh in a woman of singular virtue and sanctity – this is also why Mary was conceived without sin: to be a sinless vessel, without spot.


As Msgr. Arthur Calkins says: “For the Fathers, the BVM is the terra virgo – the virgin earth from which emerged the Son of God. Her fruitful virginity cannot be separated from the blessed fruit of which it is a sign. . . Catholic Tradition always witnesses to an indissoluble link between Mary’s virginity and the Incarnation of the Word.”


The prophecy of Isaiah to King Ahaz also reveals another aspect of this mystery that is not all that well known: In giving birth to Jesus, Mary’s virginity remained intact. “The virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” 

In the process of giving birth, Mary remained a virgin. 

What does this mean? It means that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a miraculous way; that her body suffered no physical injury, no rupture of any bodily part, in giving birth to the Savior God made man. 

Why is this so? Well, it is fitting that the Mother of God, the Word made flesh, in giving birth to the Savior, should not experience any physical injury or pangs of childbirth. These were a consequence of Original Sin, and Mary, in addition to being the Mother of God, was conceived without Original Sin.


The Church has always taught this truth about Mary. The CCC 499 teaches: “Christ’s birth ‘did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it’ (LG 57), and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the ‘Ever-virgin.’”

Yes, as we profess in the Confiteor at Mass, and as the priest says during the First Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon):  Mary is “ever Virgin.”


This title “ever-virgin” also means that Mary remained a virgin forever after having given birth to Jesus.


The First Lateran Council (649 A.D.), presided over by Pope St. Martin I, teaches that anyone who denies that Mary is a virgin in conceiving Jesus, in giving birth to Him, and for ever after: “let him be condemned.”


Is there biblical evidence for Mary being “ever-Virgin”, i.e., remaining a virgin after giving birth to Jesus? Yes, but first, we need to answer a common objection by Protestants. 

Protestants look to the references in the Gospels to Jesus’s “brothers and sisters” to justify saying that the Virgin Mary had other children. 


How do we respond? 

First of all, the term “brother” or “sister” was used among the Hebrews refer to close relations, one’s kin. 

For example, in the book of Genesis we see that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, is called his “brother” (Gen. 13:8; 14:16 – see Douay-Rheims transl.; other English Bibles use the word “kinsman”). And we know that two men, James and Joseph, who are called “brothers” of Jesus in the Gospels (Mt. 13:55) – were in fact sons of another woman named Mary (Mt. 27:56; cf. 28:1).

As Pope John Paul II taught (Aug. 28, 1996): “it should be recalled that no specific term exists in Hebrew and Aramaic to express the word ‘cousin,’ and that the term ‘brother’ and ‘sister’ therefore included several degrees of relationship. The phrase ‘brothers of Jesus’ indicates the children of a Mary who was a disciple of Christ (Mt. 27:56) and who is significantly described as ‘the other Mary’ (Mt. 28:1).”

Here’s another significant fact: Both Martin Luther and Urlich Zwingli – founding fathers of Protestantism – held for Mary’s perpetual virginity! So, modern-day Protestants are ignorant of what the founders of Protestantism themselves believed and taught.

So, what biblical evidence do we have for Mary remaining a virgin after giving birth to Jesus? We have Mary’s own words at the Annunciation (Luke ch. 1).

When the Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will conceive and bear a son who will reign on the throne of David forever, Mary objects and says, “How can this be, since I do not know man?” 

These words of Mary revealed that she never intended to “know” Joseph in an intimate manner; to have marital relations with him. Otherwise, Mary’s words make no sense. 

Just think about it: If you’re a young woman engaged to be married, and an angel tells you that you will conceive and bear a son, what you would naturally think? That after and your husband are married, you will have relations, and bear a son.

But Mary objects and says, “How can this be? I do not know man.” These words reveal that Mary never intended to have marital relations with Joseph; rather, that she intended to remain a virgin. But she was open to do whatever God wanted. 

The Archangel Gabriel assured her she would not have to renounce her vow of virginity: “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you” – she will conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary then utters her “Fiat” – “Let it be done to me according to your word.” 

As St. JPII taught (July 24, 1996): “[B]y voluntary choice [Mary] intended to remain a virgin. Therefore, her intention of virginity appeared to be an obstacle to the motherhood announced to her. The phrases ‘How can this be’ and ‘since I do not know man’ emphasize both Mary’s present virginity and her intention to remain a virgin. The expression she used, with the verb in the present tense, reveals the permanence and continuity of her state.”

JPII goes on to relate Mary’s “fullness of grace” (Lk. 1:28) with her desire to remain a virgin: “Mary received a wondrous grace. The unique privilege of the Immaculate Conception influences the whole development of the young women of Nazareth’s spiritual life. Thus, Mary was guided to the ideal of virginity by in exceptional inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

Yes, Mary’s vow of virginity is an expression of her total consecration, her complete dedication, to God and His divine will.

Now, what about St. Joseph? We believe that he agreed to take Mary as his wife knowing that she had taken a vow of virginity. He was going to be truly her husband, and Mary would truly be his wife; but it would be a virginal marriage, never consummated (in this unique circumstance, to fulfill God’s plan). 

Joseph would be her provider and protector, and also would be the guardian and foster-father of Jesus. God had arranged things this way, to safeguard against any scandal after Mary gives birth to Jesus.

Our Catholic tradition also holds that Joseph was a virgin as well – the reason he is portrayed in artwork holding a white lily – for purity.

In a catechesis on these topics (8/21/96), Pope St. John Paul II first speaks of Mary’s determination to remain a virgin and of her virginal marriage to Joseph. He points out that the Jewish marriage custom consisted of two parts; first, the betrothal, which was a legal contract, and then the completion when the man took the woman to his home. 

JPII says: “We can wonder why Mary would accept betrothal, since she had the intention of remaining a virgin forever. . . . It may be presumed that at the time of their betrothal there was an understanding between Joseph and Mary about the plan to live as a virgin. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, who had inspired Mary to choose virginity in view of the mystery of the Incarnation, and who wanted the latter to come about in a family setting suited to the child’s growth, was quite able to instill in Joseph the ideal of virginity as well.”

In Matthew’s Gospel, we read how Joseph, upon learning that his betrothed, Mary, was with child, decided to “divorce her quietly.” Why? Some think he was scandalized. But the better interpretation, in keeping with the great saints and devotees to St. Joseph since the Middle Ages, is that Joseph planned to divorce Mary out of reverential fear; that he somehow learned that Mary was carrying the Son of God and he felt unworthy to undertake the responsibility of being Mary’s husband and the foster-father of the Word made flesh. This explains why the Archangel Gabriel assured Joseph with the words, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Mt. 1:20). 

Now, having spoken about the true and virginal marriage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the assault on marriage and the family which took place in our country this past week.

President Joseph Biden signed into law a bill called the Respect for Marriage Act. This new law – which is the law of the land throughout the United States – really has nothing to do with authentic marriage as instituted by God at the beginning of the human race, between man and woman. 

It not only permits people of the same sex to “marry” but forces all the States in our nation to recognize the fantasy of what is called same-sex marriage.

And legal experts say that businesses, and institutions such as the Catholic Church, may now be targeted by the government for refusing to go along with this law. The Church could lose its tax-exempt status (which may not be all that bad – maybe Catholics would finally wake up and stop voting for people who are undermining the common good, which is precisely what this law does by attacking the fundamental unit of society, the family). People who own businesses, or various professionals (lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc.) may be open to lawsuits for refusing to go along with same sex “marriage.” 

The day may come soon when people may be denied entry into professions such as law, medicine, teaching, for refusing to assent to “gay marriage.” Priests who refuse to perform “wedding” ceremonies may be sued. I could see priests, and others, going to prison, or “re-education” camps, for refusing to go along with this evil agenda. 

And make no mistake about it: This is evil. It is an agenda straight out of Hell. This new law tries to force us to accept, and celebrate as something good, homosexual sodomy. I’ll say that I am willing to shed my blood to defend the teaching of Christ on marriage. 

Before she died, Sister Lucia, the last Fatima seer, said that Satan’s final attack will be against the family. My friends, we are seeing this happen before our very eyes.

When signing the bill into law last Tuesday, President Biden insulted all of us who believe and hold to the notion of Christian marriage. He said that anyone who disagrees with this new law is guilty of (and I quote here his words) “racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, trans-phobia, they’re all connected.”

So, by Biden’s logic, if you believe that traditional marriage should not be undermined and that people of the same sex cannot be married, you are evil.

Shame on President Biden. Shame on all those U.S. senators and congressmen who voted for this evil bill. All the Democrats did, but many Republicans did as well. 

God instituted marriage to make a man and woman one flesh, in a union that is ordered towards procreation education of children. 

We must pray for our president, pray for our Congress. We must pray for our country. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

Jesus living in Mary/Union of their 2 Hearts

Homily 2nd Sunday Advent: Jesus living in Mary/Union of their 2 Hearts

By Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations:  and the Lord shall make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your hearts.”  These words from our Introit today, the Second Sunday of Advent, are directed to all the peoples of all nations on earth; but they apply in a special way to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Of all the people on earth whom Our Lord came to save, it was Mary whose Heart was most filled with joy when God became man, for this Miracle of miracles took place within her immaculate womb:  It was then, at the Incarnation, that Jesus began living in Mary – a fitting topic to consider in these weeks as we prepare for the glorious Birth of Our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.

Jesus living in Mary; the Son of God, infinite in power and majesty, whom the whole universe cannot contain, is enclosed within the womb of the Virgin Mother, where he lives for the first nine months of His life on earth.  What humility! What condescension! The All-Powerful Son of God the Father, Who had shared in the glory of the Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity, “empties” Himself, as it were, of His infinite glory and majesty in the mystery of the Incarnation when He takes a human nature and allows Himself to be enclosed in His Mother’s womb for nine months. 

Our Lord could have come to the earth as a full-grown man. But He did not. Rather, He chose, in His infinite and incomprehensible humility, to begin His earthly life in a manner like us: by becoming a little baby and living in His Mother’s womb, unable to talk or interact with others. Yet, we know that Jesus gave more glory to God His Father by living within His Mother for nine months, than if He had been preaching and performing miracles for all to see.

Why was it part of God’s plan that Jesus should come to us through Mary, by living within her for the first nine months of His human life? What purpose did God have in doing things this way? No doubt, Jesus wanted to teach us to imitate Him by His example.  As any other child living in its mother’s womb, Jesus was totally dependent on His Mother, for His human life and nourishment.  What a wonder this is – that the Creator should be totally dependent upon a creature of His own making! 

By living in Mary as a Babe in her womb, Jesus teaches us to have that same dependence on Mary for everything, and to entrust ourselves – our lives, our desires, our needs – totally to her.  For she is truly our spiritual Mother in the order of grace, who not only foresees our needs, but protects us from harm as well.  The oldest known prayer to Mary in the Church, the Sub tuum praesidium, dating from the late 200’s if not earlier, reflects this notion:  

We fly to thy patronage or holy Mother of God, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but ever deliver us from all dangers, O glorious & Blessed Virgin!” 

In addition to giving us His example to imitate, Our Lord Jesus Christ had another reason for living within Mary for nine months: to establish a deep and abiding bond of love between Himself and His Mother. And this ineffable bond of love can, I believe, be best understood as a loving union of their two Hearts.

As Pope St. John Paul II teaches, at the moment of the Incarnation, when the Eternal Word was made flesh, when Son of God became man, the Heart of Jesus began to beat beneath the Heart of His Mother, Mary; and at this time a profound and abiding union of love between their two Hearts was established – a union which began to grow and deepen over time, and which now perdures in Heaven.

With this teaching, Pope John Paul was merely echoing what the great saints and spiritual writers had been saying for many centuries. For example, in the early 1600’s, Pierre Cardinal Bérulle, the founder of what is known as the “French School” of spirituality – in which many great saints and spiritual writers, like St. Louis de Montfort, were formed.

Cardinal Bérulle says that the Hearts of Jesus and Mary “live in one another,” and maintains that when Jesus was a babe in His Mother’s womb, there existed a mystical movement or inclination of Mary’s Heart toward the Heart of Jesus, and of His Heart toward the Heart of Mary. Bérulle insists that these two Hearts mutually ravished on another; that the Hearts of Son and Mother experienced a “continual attraction” and maintained a “perpetual glance” toward each other, caused by the love which Jesus impressed on Mary’s Heart, and which the Virgin Mother’s Heart returned to Jesus.

This mutual bond of love not only united their two Hearts, making them almost one Heart; it also bore fruit: a deep, abiding joy. We cannot fathom the immense joy that must have overflowed in Mary’s Heart, knowing that the Eternal Word took flesh in her womb and was living within her.  Her Heart was literally bursting with joy as she awaited her Son’s birth – a beautiful thought to contemplate during this holy season of Advent, as we await His Birth.

Contemplating this great mystery of “Jesus living in Mary” and the union of love between their two Hearts should also move us to imitate the Virgin Mother. We can imitate Mary, and share in her joy by meditating on the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Birth of Our Lord; and then the Christ Child’s presentation in the Temple and the Finding of the Child Jesus after He was lost for three days.

In 1685, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart, was novice-mistress in the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial, in France. During Advent of that year she put out a “challenge” for her novices, saying:  “Our challenge for Advent will be for us to unite in spirit and in heart with the most holy Virgin, . . . in order to render homage to the Incarnate Word, this God made child in the womb, adoring him and loving him in silence with her.”

During this Advent season let us make this challenge our own by uniting our hearts with the Heart of Mary, asking her to help us to imitate her in loving and adoring her newborn Son, and also to share her joy with us as we celebrate His glorious Birth, so that like her, we may bring that joy to others; be heralds of that true, authentic joy which finds both its source and terminus in the Eternal Word made flesh, Christ Jesus, Our Lord.


Christ’s 2nd Coming & the Antichrist

Homily 33rd Sun. Year C:  Christ’s 2nd Coming & the Antichrist

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

Today we hear these awe-inspiring words from the Prophet Malachi: “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”


Of what “day” does the Prophet Malachi speak? He refers to the Day of the Lord, the final day of the world, when Jesus, the Son of Justice, will come again to judge the living and the dead. 

Today is the 33rd Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year, which comes to an end next Sunday with the Feast of Christ the King. It is most fitting that as the Church’s liturgical year comes to an end, that the readings focus on the end of the world, the “End Times” as they are called.


In our Gospel today from St. Luke, Jesus describes two events: 

first, the destruction of Jerusalem & the Temple that would take place in 70 A.D by the Roman armies under the Emperor Trajan. Re the Temple He says: “there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” (only “wailing wall” left); 

and second, He describes the things that will precede His Second Coming. 


Why does he speak of both events in the same context? Because the violence and upheaval that would accompany the destruction of the Temple will be both a small version, and a foreshadowing, of the violence and turmoil that will come before the end of the world.


In ch. 21 of St. Luke’s Gospel, as well as in ch. 24 of St. Matthew’s and ch. 13 of St. Mark’s, Our Lord reveals the signs that will precede the end of the world and His Second Coming – some remote signs (in distant future), and some immediate signs. 


For example, in today’s Gospel from St. Luke we hear Jesus say: “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place.” Sin and evil will increase. 

And in today’s Gospel from St. Luke, as well as in the Gospels of Saints Matthew and Mark, Jesus warns us: “Do not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he.’” —  Here Our Lord is speaking of many false Christs, or “antichrists,” who will come throughout the centuries and will lead people away from His true Gospel and the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that He founded on Peter and the Apostles.


St. John the Evangelist, in his first epistle, speaks of “many antichrists” who will come; he describes them in these words: “Who is the Antichrist? He who denies that Jesus is the Christ, and who denies the Father and the Son, is an antichrist (1 Jn. 2:22). 

In fact, there have been many antichrists throughout history – precursors of the final Antichrist; some were religious leaders: like Arius (the 4th century priest who denied that Jesus was the eternal Son of God), Mohammed, the founder of Islam (who likewise denied that Jesus was God), and Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism (who denied that Jesus was eternal Son of God the Father); some who were secular leaders: like the Emperor Nero – who demanded worship of himself as a god; and more recently, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong, who also really made themselves out to be venerated like gods, and the State to be worshipped.


But immediately before Jesus’ 2nd Coming, the final Antichrist will come, he whom St. Paul refers to in 2 Thess as “the lawless one” and the “man of perdition” (2:3) who “exalts himself above every so-called god . . . claiming that he is a god” (2:4). 

This is the man whom St. John, in the Book of Revelation, refers to as “the Beast” (ch. 13) and assigns to him the mysterious number of “666” (13:18) – and says that only those who have the mark of the Beast will be able to buy and sell.

This “man of iniquity” will openly deny Our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Son of God who came in the flesh. 

Christ came in the name of His Father; the Antichrist will come, as Jesus tells us, “in his own name” (Jn. 5:43).


What will be the signs, and what will pave the way, for worldwide acceptance of this great deceiver, the Antichrist? St. Paul reveals to us in 2 Thess. that before the “man of perdition” appears, there must first come “the great apostasy,” i.e, the great falling away from the faith by masses of people throughout the world. 

Once people have fallen away from the true faith and belief in Jesus Christ, they will readily accept someone who deceives them into thinking that he is the Messiah.


Saints and scholars are of the opinion that the Antichrist will come at a time when there will be great upheaval in the world, possibly when powerful nations will be on the brink of war; the Antichrist will then appear on the world scene, masquerading as a man of peace. He will deceive government leaders throughout the world, who will hand over to him all political and economic power; then, when his power is consolidated, he will impose a false religion, false worship, and ultimately demand worship of himself. (Cf. Msgr. Hugh Benson’s superb book, Lord of the World.)


Both the Prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation reveal that the Antichrist will rule the world for 3 ½ years (in imitation of Christ’s 3 ½ years of public ministry); during which time he will bring a true reign of terror upon the Church, and will unleash the last and greatest persecution upon the faithful that the world has ever seen. 

The Prophet Daniel says: “It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. . . . many shall fall away and evil shall increase” (Dan. Ch. 12). Some saints think that the persecution will be so great that, during the reign of the Antichrist, the Mass will not be offered publicly anywhere in the world, based on the Prophet Daniel’s words: “He [the Antichrist] will abolish sacrifice and oblation” (i.e., the Sacrifice of the Mass).

But it will also be the time of the greatest saints and martyrs, those who are most devoted to Our Lady – because, as the Book of Genesis (3:15) tells us, the battle will be between the serpent (Satan) and “the woman” (Mary), between his seed and her seed (i.e., Mary’s Son, Our Lord), and she will crush his head

Finally, Jesus will bring the Antichrist’s reign to an end, at which time, with His Second Coming, Jesus will definitively establish Kingdom.

The best book on this topic: The Antichrist, by Fr. Vincent Miceli, S.J.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us sound teaching and guidance on these matters:

675 “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo [or false] messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”

677 “The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover,  . . . only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, . . . God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.”

When will all these things happen? When will the Antichrist make his appearance? Could we live to see the day?


Sister Lucy, the third Fatima visionary, died in 2005 as a Carmelite nun. In a 1957 interview with Fr. Augustine Fuentes, who at that time was the postulator for the cause of canonization of the other two Fatima visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco, Sister Lucy said this to him:


“Father, the Most Holy Virgin did not tell me that we are in the last times of the world but She made me understand this for [the following] reasons. The first reason is because She told me that the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Virgin. And a decisive battle is the final battle where one side will be victorious and the other side will suffer defeat. Hence from now on we must choose sides. Either we are for God or we are for the devil. There is no other possibility.


“The second reason is because . . . God is giving two last remedies to the world. These are the Holy Rosary and Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra in an interview in 2017 told how he had received a handwritten note from Sr. Lucia back in the 1983, in response a letter he had written asking for her prayers. Sister Lucia’s letter: “Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head.”

Cardinal Caffarra believed these words of Sr. Lucia were being fulfilled in our present age, especially with the horrors of abortion and the legalization of homosexual marriage.

And consider these words spoken by a Polish bishop at a meeting of bishops in Philadelphia in early November 1978: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the church and the anti-church, of the Gospel versus the anti-gospel.” 

That Polish bishop was none other than Carol Wojtyla, who was later elected Pope and took the name John Paul II, and who is now St. John Paul II.


These are sobering words, indeed. What does our Lord want us to do? To be faithful to Him; to be prepared, which means to always be in a state of grace (because in the end, all that really matters is that we die in a state of grace). 

We know not the day nor the hour of His glorious return. The key to being prepared is to persevere in remaining faithful. In today’s Gospel Jesus assures us: “He who perseveres to the end will be saved.”


Let us remember also the two remedies: the Holy Rosary and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us pray the Rosary – daily – as Our Lady beseeched us to do at Fatima. And let us show devotion and honor to her Immaculate Heart, knowing that it is through her pierced Heart that we enter into the Heart of her Son, Our Redeemer, and remain in His love. (A reminder: Every 1st Saturday of the month we have morning Mass with devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!)


Finally, let us remember that the victory is ours, if we remain faithful, for Christ has already conquered by His death and glorious Resurrection; and as Our Lady told us at Fatima, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” How? The Blessed Virgin Mary, the “Woman” of Genesis 3:15, will crush the proud head of the serpent (Satan) under her foot!