Sermon: St. Therese Homilies

The Assumption 2021

The Assumption 2021

Homily: Assumption of BVM (2021)

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

This Sunday we celebrate the glorious feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, body and soul, into heaven.
Mary’s Assumption was defined as a divinely revealed dogma of the Church – which means all the faithful must believe it – by Pope Pius XII on Nov. 1, 1950.
Pius XII was not proclaiming a new teaching; he was merely confirming in a most solemn manner a truth about Mary that had been believed and taught in the Church from the very beginning. Here are the words of the definition:
“We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”
Nowhere in the Bible do we read about Mary being assumed body and soul into heaven. Yet, Pius XII said that Mary’s Assumption is divinely revealed. So, how did God reveal this to us, so that we must believe it with divine faith?
As Catholics, we do not look to “Scripture alone” as the source for our belief in truth revealed by God: that’s a Protestant approach to the faith which began with Martin Luther, called Sola Scriptura.
As Catholics, we believe that in addition to sacred Scripture, God reveals truths to us through something called Sacred Tradition; i.e., the teaching of the Church handed down from the time of the Apostles through preaching.
One of the forms of this teaching, perhaps the most important form, is the sacred liturgy, and here we can look to the prayers in the Mass.
There’s a saying in Latin, lex orandi, lex credendi, which basically means how we pray reflects what we believe.
The earliest Masses in the Church in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated her bodily assumption. These Masses date to the fourth century in the East and the fifth century in the West.
The prayers composed in these Masses reflect the belief of the Christian people, and these prayers were based upon the preaching and teaching that had been handed on to them from the Apostles. As pope Pius XII said in his Bull defining the Assumption, “the liturgy of the Church does not engender the Catholic faith, but rather springs from it, . . . as the fruit comes from the tree.”
In explaining the foundation for our belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption, great saints over the ages have used an argument from “fittingness.”
The separation of our souls from our bodies at death is a direct consequence of Original Sin. In faith, we believe that if we die in a state of grace, i.e., with a share of God’s divine life in our souls, that we will rise on the Last Day, at Christ’s Second Coming, in a glorified body – a body that will be like that of Jesus, who rose from the dead in a body glorified; a body that will have no hunger or thirst, no sickness or pain, a body that will never die.
All those in Heaven and in Purgatory (which ends at Christ’s 2nd Coming), whose souls have been separated from their bodies at death, will receive their bodies back in a glorified state.
It is then, at the resurrection of the dead, that all who have died in a state of grace will be fully redeemed, with bodies glorified.
The Virgin Mary did not undergo this separation of her soul from her body at the end of her life here on earth. (Actually, Pius XII never defined whether Mary died, but weight of Tradition, including modern Popes, say that although she did not have to die since she was free from Original Sin she did in die to be more fully conformed to Jesus who died; although they call her death the “Dormition” or “falling asleep”.)
At her death, Mary was taken up to heaven with a glorified body.
Why? It was most fitting that the Mother of the Son of God would share fully in the fruits of Christ’s Redemption, and be the first to be fully redeemed;
it was most fitting that Jesus should not permit the body of her from whom He took flesh to undergo corruption, but should rather glorify it!
Mary was always totally united with her Son – in conceiving, giving birth to Him, and at His death on the Cross.
As an example I will quote words from homilies of some ancient saints, who linked Mary’s other privileges – her being Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception and sinlessness, her virginity – with her bodily assumption.
Perhaps the greatest preacher on Mary’s Assumption was St. John Damascene from the 7th century. In a sermon he said:
“It was fitting that God’s Mother should possess what belongs to her Son [a glorified body], . . . It was fitting that she who had seen her Son upon cross and thereby received into her heart sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him [Mary is Co-redemptrix], should look upon him [with bodily eyes] as He sits with the Father.”
Another saint from the 8th century, Germanus of Constantinople, said “your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust.”
A more recent saint, Pope John Paul II, in his homily at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado on August 15, 1993 (at which I was present and celebrated the Mass with him along with hundreds of other priests), said:
“The Son [of God] took His human life from her; in return He gave her the fullness of communion in Divine Life. . . . In Mary the final victory of life over death is already a reality.”
The Church also looks to the Scriptures as a basis for Mary’s bodily assumption. Although her assumption is not explicitly revealed in Scripture, it is there implicitly.
For example, our first reading for today’s Mass: Rev. 11:19-12:1:
“God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars.”
In the Old T., the ark of the covenant was the wooden chests, covered with gold, that carried the 10 commandments, the word of God written on two stone tablets.
In the New T., Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant: In her womb she carried the very Word of God in Person: the Son of God who became man.
The ark of the old covenant was a type – a future foreshadowing – of Mary, the ark of the New Covenant.
And the Blessed Virgin Mary herself is a type of the Church: The “woman clothed with the sun, moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars” symbolizes the Church in its final perfection, its final glory, when we, the members of Christ’s Body, have been purified are united with Him in bodies glorified at the resurrection. This is our second reading today from 1 Cor., where St. Paul speaks of the resurrection from the dead, when at Our Lord’s 2nd Coming, “those who belong to Christ” will rise with glorified bodies and be united to Jesus Christ.
It is then that the Church, which is Christ’s Mystical Body, will be fully perfected – a perfection which the BV Mary has already attained in her glorified state. As the Second Vatican Council teaches: “In the most holy Virgin the Church has already reached the perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle.”
Another basis for the Church’s belief in Mary’s bodily assumption is from silence: there is no mention or record of her bones. As the tombs of SS. Peter and Paul and the bones of the faithful in the catacombs give witness, the Church from the beginning venerated the bones of its saints. The fact we have no mention or record of Mary’s relics speaks loudly in favor of her bodily Assumption.
Pope Pius XII defined Mary’s Assumption on Nov. 1, 1950. On Oct. 30 & 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 8 of that year, Pope Pius XII, while walking in the Vatican gardens, saw a miracle of the sun somewhat like that seen by the pilgrims at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917: The sun appeared as opaque globe surrounded by a luminous sphere, and it circled about inside this sphere, shaking and palpitating. Many think this was a reward from Heaven for having defined the Assumption as a dogma.
While on this earth, we are in battle with the forces of evil, especially the Devil – as was Mary, as depicted in our first reading from Revelation, which speaks of the “huge red dragon” who tries to devour the Son to whom the woman, who is Mary, gives birth.
As revealed in Genesis, Mary is the “woman” who crushes the head of the serpent; and as revealed in Rev. 12:1, that same woman, Mary, is the heavenly Queen who reigns – clothed with the sun (the grace of Christ), crowned with twelve stars (Queen of Aposltes), with the moon (an image of the Devil) under her feet.
As Pope St. John Paul II said in his World Youth Day homily:
“As Mother of the Church, you [Mary] guide us still from your place in Heaven and intercede for us. You lead us to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and help us to increase in holiness by conquering sin.”
Let us always turn to Mary, our heavenly Mother and Queen, pleading for her intercession that we may conquer sin in this life in order that we may be raised up on the last day to reign with her and her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

16 Carmelites Martyrs

16 Carmelites Martyrs

Homily 16th Sunday Year B: The French Revolution & 16 Carmelites Martyrs

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

 

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely.” (Jer. 23:5)
These are the words of the O.T. Prophet Jeremiah, foretelling the coming of Christ as King. Jesus has already come and founded His Church, His Kingdom on earth. Our duty is to help extend His Kingdom, the social reign of Christ the King, until He comes again in glory.
This past Wednesday, July 14, the French celebrated Bastille Day: the storming of the Bastille, a military fortress and prison in Paris, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
The French Revolution was co-opted and controlled by radical, anti-Catholic, God-hating atheists.
French Revolution at its core was a demonic attempt to crush Catholicism and faith in Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
These radicals, after lopping off the heads of their King, Louis XVI, and his wife, Marie Antoinette, changed the days of the week. They eliminated Sunday as God’s day; and changed the calendar – no feast days of saints.
In the Notre Dame Cathedral, the government took out the Blessed Sacrament, the Real, Substantial Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and erected in its place a statue of a woman representing the goddess of reason.
I wonder if she looked like Pachamama – the Mother Earth goddess that modern day pagans in Peru and Bolivia worship, and who, by the way, is very much like the goddess Astarte, who back in O.T. times was the mother goddess of the Canaanite people; on Mount Carmel the great Prophet Elijah – founder of the Carmelite order – challenged the pagan prophets of Baal and Astarte and destroyed them. (See “EWTN’s Fr. Mitch Pacwa condemns Pachamama ‘worship’ at Amazon Synod,” LifeSiteNews, Nov. 7, 2019).

On Feb. 13, 1790, the government forbade the taking of religious vows, and it wickedly went on a search and destroy mission for any violators.
A little over two years later, in September, 1792, government authorities seized the Carmelite convent in Compiegne, a town 50 miles north of Paris, and forced the nuns there to live separately and abandon their habits, which were considered “offensive to republican eyes.”
Although they lived separately, they continued to meet and pray in secret for two years until someone reported them. On June 22, 1794 they were arrested
This was during the worst period of the French Revolution, known as the Reign of Terror, which lasted from Sept. 5, 1793 to July 27, 1794: the faithful were persecuted; many priests and nuns from religious orders fled or went into hiding; but many were arrested; many were guillotined.
Many historians agree that the French Revolution gave birth to atheistic communism. One of the pillars of the atheistic communist State is control of the media: You hear and read only what the government permits you to hear and read.
Pravda – which was the official news organ of the communists is Russia, means “Truth” – i.e., the only “truth” that the government permits you to hear or to read in print or social media.
Government control of social media, and censorship of what the government does not want you to hear or read, effectively takes away the right to freedom of speech, which is guaranteed under the First Amendment to our Constitution.
That’s the first step. Then comes restrictions on, and eventually elimination of, freedom of religion:
This happened in France during French Revolution under its atheistic government; in Russia under atheistic communism; and its happening now in communist China, where Xi Jinping has ordered that no child under 18 years of age may attend a religious service, and no expression of opposition to the government is permitted.
In fact, the Chinese people – with the help of big tech companies like Google – monitor their people, who get “social credit” points added or taken away.
An example: just recently a Chinese student was interviewed walking to class on the campus of a college here in the U.S. She said should could not stop and talk because her government is able to track her with her cell phone (which she must carry), and if she takes too much time going from her room to class, she will lose social credit points and jeopardize her status as a student.
Here is some interesting news you may not have not heard; or if you did, it’s likely you did not hear any criticism of it from the big media outlets like CNN and MSNBC:
At a press conference this past Thursday, President Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, admitted (incredibly) that the federal government is collaborating with big social media platforms like Facebook to censor the free exchange of ideas and free speech – specifically regarding the Wuhan Covid-19 virus.
Here’s what Jen Psaki said [per The New York Post, July 15, 2001]:
“We are in regular touch with the social media platforms and . . . through members of our senior staff and also members of our COVID-19 team — given . . . this is a big issue, of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”
She added: “We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking . . . We are flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” “Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful violative posts.”
So, the federal government is collaborating with Facebook and other social media platforms to “track” us – anyone who spreads what it considers “dis-information” or views and opinions it considers “harmful”; and to “remove” opinions posted by people that the government considers “violative.”
Gee, could that be you and me? (My aunt is popular on social media, and she has been censored many times for expressing her opinion on various issues.)
So, Biden’s press secretary has just proclaimed censorship by the federal government of the free exchange of ideas – which for the time being, concerns only the Wuhan Covid-19 virus.
This follows on a series of statements from health officials who contradicted themselves throughout the pandemic on issues such as:
the effectiveness of wearing masks (the previous Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, originally said no, then yes to masks),
and that COVID-19 leaked from a Chinese lab in the Wuhan Province – which Facebook at first censored, but now is pretty much an accepted fact.
There are a lot of differing views by accredited medical doctors and scientists regarding how to treat those who contract the Wuhan virus, the effectiveness of treatments, etc.
One of the pillars of our nation at its founding was freedom of speech: that’s why it’s listed in the First Amendment to the Constitution – right after freedom of religion.
Is our federal government going to censor me – or arrest me – for saying things which some bureaucrat considers “disinformation” or “violative” of some official policy? – Like, for example, that I think it’s better for young people to just contract the virus and develop a natural immunity, rather than getting a shot – the long-term effects of which to their health, their immune system, and their fertility, are unknown?
I may disagree with your views on this; you may disagree with mine. But we both have a constitutionally protected right – actually, a God-given right that is recognized by our First Amendment – to express our views and opinions.
One of the pillars of our nation is the free exchange of ideas, opinions, theories, especially in areas of science and medical treatment, where theories are discarded and replaced by new, better ones all the time.
At the same press conference, current U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, said “we’re asking [social media companies] to consistently take action against misinformation superspreaders on their platforms. Misinformation takes away our freedom to make informed decisions about our health.”
Really? How does “misinformation” take away our freedom to make informed decisions? To the contrary, the spread of information (even if it may be debatable), allows the free exchange of ideas, and gives people the freedom to choose what to believe, and what not to believe!
In a totalitarian regime, censorship of ideas and speech is always followed by censorship – and persecution – of religion, the truths taught by Jesus Christ.
This is what happened in France during the French Revolution. It happened in Communist Russia. It’s happening right now in Communist China. And I truly believe, it going to happen here in this country; maybe very soon:
You say that marriage is only between a man and woman? Well, that’s “misinformation”! Don’t you know that the Supreme Court has ruled that people of the same sex can marry?
You say that God intends every marital act be open to conceiving new human life, and that contraception and abortion are immoral? Don’t you know that the Supreme Court has ruled that both contraception and abortion are “rights” under our Constitution? What you’re saying violates social norms, is “offensive to republican [sensibilities],” and takes away “freedom” for people to choose whatever they want to do.
We live in dangerous times, my friends.
Now, let’s continue with the story of the 16 Carmelites. After their arrest they were transferred to a prison in Paris on July 12. On July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, they learned that they would face trial the next day.
They sang in prison: “Let our hearts be giv’n to joyfulness / The day of glory is now here! / Let us banish all our weakness. / We can see that the cross is now near! / Let us prepare ourselves for the victory! . . .”
The trial took place on the morning of July 17. They were found guilty and sentenced to death by guillotine that afternoon. By God’s providence, that was the day their prison garb was washed. They wore their Carmelite habits as they were wheeled by cart about two miles to the guillotine. They sang the whole time. The crowds the lined the streets usually shouted and jeered at those going to the guillotine. But before this scene, they were silent: Their Catholic consciences were being pricked at seeing Carmelite nuns going to the guillotine.
At the foot of the scaffold, each sister renewed her vows and asked the Mother Superior, “Permission to die, Mother?” To which they were told, “Go, my child!”
They all chanted the Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) as one by one, they ascended the scaffold, and the guillotine fell on each one’s neck.
The Reign of Terror ended ten days later with the beheading the infamous Robesierre, of one of the leaders of the Revolution.
Let us invoke these 16 heroic Carmelite martyrs – who were beatified in 1904 by Pope St. Pius X and whose feast day is July 17 – to intercede for our nation, that it may return to God; and that the social reign of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, may restore peace and order to our land, and every nation throughout the world, through the Blood which He shed on the Cross for our salvation.

Charles Carroll

Charles Carroll

Fourteenth Sunday Year B:

Charles Carroll & the Declaration of Independence

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

 

This Sunday, July 4, our nation celebrates the Declaration of Independence from England by the original 13 colonies, which is seen by many as the founding of our nation.
A few years back I read a book by Michael Medved called The American Miracle, in which he describes a whole series of amazing events which demonstrate that the hand of God was at work in the founding of our nation; among these: winning critical military battles against insurmountable odds.
For example, at the Battle of New Orleans on Jan. 8 1815, a miraculous fog helped U.S. troops under Gen. Andrew Jackson to a resounding victory over the highly trained British troops that greatly outnumbered the Americans.
Ursuline nuns had been praying a novena to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, and after the battle Gen. Jackson thanked them. A thanksgiving Mass is still celebrated by the Archbishop of New Orleans every year Jan. 8 at the national shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
Another interesting fact that Michael Medved points out concerns two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson, who penned that document and became our third President; and John Adams, who was our second President.
Both men died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Both men died within five hours of each other, though without knowledge of the other’s death. Coincidence? Or, God’s Providence at work? About a month later Daniel Webster commented on the death of these two founders on the same day, saying that it was “proof that our country and its benefactors are objects of [God’s] care.”
There was one lone the Catholic who signed the Declaration of Independence: Charles Carroll, who died in 1832 at the age of 95, as the last surviving signer of that document. Charles Carroll was born to Irish parents in 1737 in Annapolis, Maryland. At age 11 he was sent to France where he was educated first by the Jesuits, and later obtained a law degree in London before returning to Annapolis and 1765.
He was fluent in five languages, and had received the most extensive formal education of any of the signers of the Declaration.
But at that time, being a Catholic was difficult because Catholics were subject to unjust discrimination. For example Catholics were barred from holding public office in Maryland, due to a law passed in 1704 to “prevent the growth of popery in his province.”
One can say that this law was doubly unjust, considering that Maryland was founded as a Catholic colony, and the original Catholic colonists there practiced tolerance toward people of other faiths, which tolerance was not reciprocated after the Protestants became the majority in that colony.
Our Gospel today from St. Mark relates that when Jesus returned to His native place (Nazareth) to preach, He was not accepted; in fact, those who had known Him when He was growing up there “took offense at him” (it’s seems that they envied Him); and this caused Jesus to say, “a prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house” – and that Jesus “was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”
We must note that when St. Mark tells us that Jesus “was not able to perform any mighty deed [miracle] there,” he does not mean that Jesus lacked the power to do so; rather, He refused to do so because they did not deserve miracles on account of their lack of faith in Him.
But back to our story. Just as Jesus was rejected in his native place, so was Charles Carroll. In Maryland, his native place, he could not earn a living as an attorney or hold public office precisely because he was Catholic.
Beginning in 1765, the year Charles Carroll returned to Maryland, the British began taxing the colonists. Charles became a prominent voice in opposing this injustice, arguing that the colonists should be able to control their own taxes.
Years after he signed the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll remarked: “I zealously entered into the Revolution” in order to obtain religious as well as civil liberty”; “God grant that this religious liberty may be preserved in these states, to the end of time, and that all who believe in the religion of Christ may practice the leading principle of charity, the basis of every virtue.”
Charles Carroll was a man of considerable wealth, who owned a much property, and helped to finance the revolution. He helped to establish religious freedom for all Catholics in the years after our nation was founded.
Charles himself was chosen to attend the Continental Congress in 1776; and in 1781 he was elected to the Maryland State Senate, a post he held until 1800. He also helped to found the first Catholic diocese in the United States, which became the Archdiocese of Baltimore. His cousin, John Carroll, was appointed the first Bishop of Baltimore.
In the first part of the 1800’s, a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville toured this new nation, the United States of America, and wrote his reflections in a famous book called Democracy in America. In this work he said:
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard the pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and genius of America. America is great because America is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Our first president, George Washington, likewise acknowledged that morality is necessary for true democracy to flourish and bring happiness to people:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
John Adams uttered similar words: “Religion and virtue are the only foundations for free government.”
Finally, James Madison, our nation’s fourth president, said: “The future of America rests not in the laws of this Constitution, but in the laws of God.”
Let us pray, on this anniversary of the signing of our nation’s founding document: May the people in our country return to God and to the practice of Christian morality; may our laws and policies reflect the laws of God and the teachings of Christ and His Church, so that our nation may be worthy to have Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, reign over it, and that God may bestow His blessings upon it – now, and to the end of time.
* Information in this homily was taken from an article by Dr. Donald DeMarco, “The Lone Catholic Signer of The Declaration of Independence,” in The Wanderer (July 1, 2021), 4A (www.thewanderer press.com)

Devil’s Motive to Tempt Us

Devil’s Motive to Tempt Us

Thirteenth Sunday Year B: Envy: the Devil’s Motive to Tempt Us

 

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

 

“God did not make death . . . [rather], God formed man to be imperishable; [in] the image of his own nature he made him. But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world.”

This is from our first reading, from the OT Book of Wisdom.

If God did not make death; if He created man in His own image – to be imperishable –how did death come about?

Death, and human suffering, became part of our human condition because of sin – that Original Sin of Adam and Eve.

Our stained glass windows above the Stations of the Cross explain in beautiful images the history of salvation.

The first image, in front at your right side, portrays Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

They were created in God’s image, meaning God made them with a rational intellect and a free will – in order to know, love, and serve God in this life, in order to be happy with Him forever in heaven.

But that’s not all. God gave our first parents a share of his own divine life, called sanctifying grace, which made them God’s friends and even the right to enter heaven; they were truly heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Moreover, death was not part of the original plan of God for the human race – for Adam and Eve and all their descendants.

Most theologians are of the opinion that in God’s original plan, if Adam and Eve had not sinned and fell from God’s grace, human beings after a certain time here on earth would have been taken up to heaven without having to undergo the pain of death.

The God had to test the love of Adam and Eve; for all true love must be freely chosen; it cannot be forced upon someone.

So God allowed the devil to tempt our first parents.

Before that He had warned them, that they could eat of any of the fruits of the trees in the garden, except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said, “If you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will surely die.”

That is, they would die a twofold death: he would suffer bodily death; but more importantly, they would die spiritually, losing sanctifying grace, the share of God’s life that made them friends with God and gave them the right to heaven.

Well, we know the rest of the story. Satan tempted first Eve, and then Adam, and they fell from God’s grace.

Our second stained-glass window depicts the shame of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden – Paradise lost.

The Book of Wisdom says that it was “by the envy of the devil that death entered the world.”

What exactly is envy? It is one of the seven deadly sins, that is, of the seven ways that we are inclined to rebel against God due to our fallen human nature.

Envy is defined as sadness or sorrow over the excellence, good fortune, or success of another; when someone considers himself deprived of what another has: intellectual or physical talents, good looks, etc.

Envy goes beyond mere jealousy, desiring what someone else has, which can be a good thing – we’ll work harder at our golf game to be as good as someone else.

Envy actually desires that the good of another be taken away; that he be deprived of it – precisely because we ourselves don’t have that good. And here we can see how envy is linked, and rooted in, pride – the real root of all sin.

St. Augustine called envy a “most wicked sin”; a sin against charity, which always wills, and rejoices in, the good of another.

So, why did the devil envy Adam and Eve – and why does he envy us: his motive in tempting them – and us – to sin?

Because by his rebellion against God, he (and the other angels who rebelled with him) lost eternal happiness in heaven.

The devil knew that Adam and Eve were destined for eternal happiness in heaven; he knows that we too are destined for eternal happiness – something he can never have. Therefore, out of envy he tempted Adam and Eve; and out of envy he tempts us as well.

Why does God permit the devil to tempt us? This is indeed a mystery. It is part of God’s Providence; His providential plan for the human race.

But we do know that the Devil truly does tempt us.

What are the main tactics the devil uses in tempting? One major tactic he uses is is to convince people that he does not exist.

The existence of Satan and the fallen Angels is a truth revealed by God. Jesus Himself tells us that the devil is a murderer (of divine life in souls) from the beginning; and that he is the Prince of this world (although not the King – who is Jesus Christ – the King of kings and Lord of lords).

In tempting us, the devil and his fallen angels know our weaknesses, because they study us, and will attack in the places that we are most weak and prone to sin.

C.S. Lewis, in his brilliant novel The Screwtape Letters, portrays a seasoned demon giving advice on how to tempt human beings. A marvelous read!

St. Teresa of Avila (Carmelite and Doctor of the Church) says that one common tactic of the devil is to “make us believe that we have virtues when we do not.” This leads to false confidence in ourselves.

She says that “The truly humble person always walks in doubt about his own virtues.”

Old song, “O Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way,” pokes fun at this prideful and vain mentality.

I tell students: “I’m the most humble person I know.” (Ha)

Yes, Satan tempts us. We are in spiritual warfare – always. 2nd Peter: “The devil prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”

However, the power of Satan, although real, is limited. He is only a creature, whose power is limited and subordinated to the will and dominion of God.

And God will always give us the grace to resist temptations, provided we ask for it.

This is why we need to pray – as we do in the Our Father prayer: “Lead us not into temptation” – i.e., do not permit us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist.

And, “deliver us from evil.” Our English translation is somewhat misleading. In the original Greek, there is a definite article before the word “evil”: it reads: “deliver us from the evil” – i.e., from the Evil One.

In other words, we pray not just to be delivered from some abstract evil, but from one who personifies evil, an angelic person, Satan, the Evil One, the angel who hates and opposes God (cf. CCC 2851).

Jesus Himself, in His priestly prayer at the Last Supper, said: I pray heavenly Father “that thou shouldn’t keep them from the evil one” (Jn. 17:5).

The truly humble person that is not overconfident; he realizes that he can fall any time, and constantly prays to God for the strength to resist temptations.

Let us imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary, a perfect model of humility, in always having confidence in God and appealing for His grace to strengthen us against the wiles and tactics of the Evil One.

Holy Baptism of our Lord

Holy Baptism of our Lord

Baptism of Our Lord
Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

In the feast we celebrated last week, the Epiphany, the Magi come to adore the new-born Christ child, which symbolizes that salvation is open to all peoples of all nations.
The Prophet Isaiah, in today’s first reading, says: “All who are thirsty, come to the water and drink.” All peoples on earth were thirsting for the salvation that would come from Christ and the waters of baptism.
In today’s feast, the Baptism of Our Lord, we learn how everyone can attain that salvation:
All who accept Jesus in faith and are baptized become members of the Church, Christ’s Mystical Body; they become adopted sons and daughters of God the Father and thereby can claim Heaven as their inheritance.
This is the meaning of Christ’s baptism: Jesus entered the waters of the Jordan River not because he needed purification – as God who became man He had no stain of Original Sin or personal sins.
No, Jesus underwent baptism by His cousin, John, to make holy the water with which we are baptized.
As the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus was one in substance with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
But at the Incarnation, the Son of God truly became man.
As the Eternal Word who became flesh, Jesus is Head of the Church, which is His Body; and as Head of the Mystical Body He was able to receive the Holy Spirit in His human nature in order to communicate it to us, and to everyone who believes in Him and undergoes baptism.
As St. Cyril of Alexandria says:
“[T]he Father can be said to give the Spirit again to the Son, though the Son possesses the Spirit as His own, in order that we may receive the Spirit in Christ. . . .
“The only-begotten Son receives the Spirit, but not for His own advantage, for the Spirit is His, and is given in Him and through Him, . . . He receives it to renew our nature in its entirety and to make it whole again, for in becoming man He took our entire nature to Himself. . . . Christ did not receive the Spirit for Himself, but rather for us in Him” – that is, He received the Spirit as Head for us who are “in Him” as members of the Church, which is His Body.
The baptism of Jesus is also an epiphany; i.e., a manifestation not only of His divinity, but also of the Triune God: of the Father and the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit comes in the form of a dove. Why a dove? At St. Peter Chrysologous says, “A dove announced to Noah that that the flood had disappeared from the earth; so now a dove is to reveal that the world’s shipwreck is at an end forever.”
And from Heaven the voice of the Father is heard: “You my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
God the Father reveals that Jesus is His Eternal Son – the Son whom He sent to die on the Cross and thereby make possible our cleansing from sin by baptism; to enable us to be reborn through water and the Holy Spirit and thereby make us co-heirs with Christ and reign with Him after the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day.
Let us turn once again to the Prophet Isaiah: “For just as from the heavens the rain and the snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, . . . So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; my word shall not return unto me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
The “word” that Isaiah refers to in these lines, that comes forth from the mouth of God, is the Eternal Word, the Son, whom the Father sent to the earth to do His will, i.e., to redeem us and thereby make salvation possible to us through the waters of baptism.
On this feast of Christ’s baptism, it is well that we recall the meaning of our own baptism. As St. Hippolytus says:
“Whoever goes down into these waters of rebirth with faith renounces the devil and pledges himself to Christ. He repudiates the enemy and confesses that Christ is God, throws off his servitude [to Satan] and is raised to the status of an adopted son. He comes up from baptism resplendent as the sun, radiant in his purity, but above all, he comes as a son of God and a co-heir with Christ.”
As adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father, let us strive with all our might to love God and neighbor; to live pure, holy and Godly lives which reflect the spotless garments with which we were clothed at our baptism, so that on the Last Day, when Christ comes again, we will rise with bodies glorified and reign with Him forever in the heavenly Kingdom.

Contemplating St. Joseph

Contemplating St. Joseph

CHRISTMAS 2020: Contemplating St. Joseph
by Fr. Dwight Campbell, S.T.D.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.”
Tonight we celebrate the glorious Birth of Jesus Christ, who is the great Light that has come into the world – to bring the light of His truth to all of us who walked in darkness and gloom until his coming.
Tonight we rejoice with all in Heaven and on earth; for Jesus Christ, our Savior, is born.
Jesus Christ, Son of God from all eternity and Son of Man by His taking flesh from the Virgin Mary, came:
to remove the yoke of Original Sin that burdened us;
to take away the rod of our taskmaster, the devil;
to free us from slavery to sin and make us sons and daughters of the Father, by giving us a share in His Sonship.
Tonight we rejoice, for a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us.
His name is Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father Forever, and Prince of Peace.
He reigns forever from His heavenly throne, and His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.
Let us contemplate this momentous event, the glorious Birth of our Savior, our King, and our God – who became man while remaining God in order to redeem us from our sins.
Let us enter into the quiet silence of the stable in Bethlehem and ponder this great mystery: the Son of God made man who enters this world of ours as a little helpless Baby, born of His Virgin Mother, Mary.
In this year in which Pope Francis has proclaimed dedicated to St. Joseph, let us take this holy Saint as our model, this beloved foster-father of Jesus and Guardian of the Redeemer, virgin-spouse of Mary.
St. Joseph was a silent spectator to the events of this night a little more than 2000 years ago, contemplating in wonder and awe the Virgin Birth of the Savior by his wife, the ever-Virgin Mary.
Let us imagine ourselves, with St. Joseph, spectators to this great event.
Let us try to identify with Joseph and what he must have experienced that first Christmas night.
We can think of how he must have felt when, after making the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the cold of winter, with a wife ready to give birth, he can find no room at any inn.
The Holy Family was turned away by all.
Finally, probably out of sympathy for this poor couple, they are told that they can spend the night in a stable within a cave, among the animals.
And it is here, in simple and holy poverty, that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is born – to teach us that worldly riches matter not in God’s eyes; that true wealth is found in the things of Heaven.
We can only imagine the awe and reverence St. Joseph must have felt as a witness to what happened on the night Christ was born.
I’ve always wondered what Joseph was doing during the time Mary was giving birth to Jesus.
Modesty would have required that Joseph, a virgin himself, not behold this sacred event.
And of course we know that this was no ordinary birth, but a miraculous one, with Mary’s virginity left intact.
Here we can turn to the mystics, to whom God has deigned at times to reveal events in the lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph which were not recorded in the Gospel accounts.
One such mystic is Sr. Maria Cecilia Baij, who was Abbess in a Benedictine convent in Monteflascone, Italy in the mid-1700’s.
Jesus Himself revealed to Sister Maria facts about St. Joseph’s entire life, which she wrote down and appear in a book, The Life of Saint Joseph.
So, what was St. Joseph doing while Mary was giving birth to Jesus?
Well, Joseph was very weary and worn out after the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and from his unsuccessful attempts at finding a place for he and Mary to spend the night.
After settling in at the stable in the cave, Joseph said his prayers and then, on the bare ground, fell asleep. He then had a dream about the Savior being born in this stable and two animals coming to keep the Divine Infant warm by breathing on Him.
At midnight, an Angel appeared to him in the dream and told him: “Go quickly and adore the Savior of the world, who has just been born.”
Joseph awoke. Sr. Maria describes the scene:
St. Joseph “saw the Divine Infant enveloped in light, and shining more brightly than the sun. The whole stable became illuminated. The happy Joseph prostrated himself at the feet of the Divine Infant, who was lying on the ground, and adored Him.
“Tears of joy streamed from his eyes, only to be followed by tears of sorrow at the sight of his Incarnate God in the midst of such poverty, and his own inability to do anything for Him. He made acts of love, admiration, and thanksgiving. The Divine Infant look at Joseph with an expression of ardent love . . . .
“St. Joseph now received many illuminations which enabled him to understand why the Savior of the world wished to be born in this stable, in such great poverty, and totally unknown to the world at large.
“The angelic choir now intoned ‘Glory to the Most High God [and] peace on earth to men of goodwill.’”
“The Mother of God took her Infant up into her arms . . . Joseph knelt down beside [them] . . .
“Mary wrapped up her little Infant and laid Him in the manger . . . An ox and an ass came to abide in the cave and proceeded to keep the newborn Savior warm by breathing over him. St. Joseph . . . knelt down and adored the Savior . . . and then meditated upon this great mystery.”
As the great Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, says of the Newborn Baby Jesus in a poem: “So He who had only a Father, now had a Mother undefiled.”
Yes, God the Son, who from all eternity had only a Father, now had a mother, too – the Blessed Virgin Mary.
With what love must St. Joseph have gazed upon this scene: Holy Mary looking down on the Son of God as He – whose mighty arms uphold all of creation – rested in her loving arms as a helpless child!
We can’t really imagine St. Joseph saying anything while he beholds this wondrous scene. He just ponders the mystery – in silence.
Pope St. John Paul II says, “The silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence.”
The Saints teach us that the real meaning of Christmas is to foster a rebirth of Christ in our hearts, through faith and good works borne of love.
St. Ambrose, the great fourth century Father and Doctor of the Church whose preaching converted St. Augustine, says: “A soul that believes, both conceives and brings forth the Word of God. . . . Christ has only one Mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.”
St. Joseph was the first to conceive and bring forth Jesus, the Word made flesh, in faith, because he believed what the Angel told him about Mary, and took her as his wife into his home; and thereafter was Guardian and protector of the Holy Family.
St. Ambrose says: “Every soul receives the Word of God, if only it keeps chaste, remaining pure and free from sin, its modesty undefiled. The soul that succeeds in this proclaims the greatness of the Lord, just as Mary’s soul did.”
St. Joseph’s soul did so as well.
In our second reading for this Christmas Mass, St. Paul writes to Titus: “The grace of God has appeared in Christ, saving all and training us to reject Godless ways and worldly desires, and to live temperately, justly, devoutly, as we look forward in hope to the coming of our Savior.”
Let us imitate St. Joseph this Christmas, and contemplate, in silence, the great mystery of the Birth of our Savior.
Let us, like St. Joseph, that “just man” (as Scripture calls him), nurture the life of Christ which we received in the womb of our souls at Baptism, and bring Him forth to others by our lives of purity and holiness.
Only then will we give real meaning to the Birth of our Lord on Christmas.
And let us rejoice this holy night, with all the Angels and Saints, that Christ, our Lord, is born!

We Learn Humility from Jesus

We Learn Humility from Jesus

Homily 26th Sunday Year A: We Learn Humility from Jesus

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

“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.”
These are the words of St. Paul to the Philippians, our second reading for today, in which we learn about true humility.
Humility is called the Queen of all the virtues, because it is the chief way to conquer the root of all sin, which is pride – and the sidekick of pride, which is vainglory or vanity.
Because of our fallen human nature, we are inclined or prone to exalt ourselves in the eyes of others, and to imagine ourselves to be more holy, more talented, then we really are.
Humility – the virtue which opposes pride – helps us to be honest and truthful about ourselves:
First of all, to realize that we are mere creatures who are totally dependent upon God for any natural talents and abilities that we may have, or any amount of holiness that we attain – which is due more to God’s grace than to our own efforts (because it is God’s grace that enables us to do good).
In fact, true humility makes us acknowledge that we are dependent upon God for our very existence: If God stopped thinking about us, and the rest of creation, everything would cease to be. This is truly a humbling thought!
The great medieval Saint and Doctor of the Church, Catherine of Siena, has a famous line in this regard which I love to quote: “God is He who IS; I am she who is not.” In other words, she owes her very existence to God’s good will.
Humility is the virtue which keeps us honest about ourselves, who we are, and who God is.
The word humility comes from the Latin word humus, which means earth or ground, which is beneath us.
The humble person regards not himself as great, but rather regards others as more important than himself – as St. Paul says in our second reading.
The humble person looks at the sins of others, and instead of looking down on them and thinking how much more holy he himself is, will say: “There but for the grace of God go I.”
We have a three-year confirmation program at our parishes, and I teach the freshman Scripture. In trying to teach them about humility, I first give a definition, and then I say (trying to keep a straight face): “I am the most humble person I know.”
They look at me very solemnly, moving their heads up and down, thinking, no doubt, yes Father Campbell must be a true model of humility.
Then I have to explain to them that the statement I just made is a prideful one; for no one who is truly humble would brag about it, and certainly he would not think himself as the most humble of persons!
Our supreme model of humility is Jesus Christ. St. Paul tells us that Jesus, though He was God, “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in the likeness of man.” In other words, the infinite glory of Christ’s divinity was hidden beneath the veil of his humanity.
St. Paul goes on to say that Jesus “humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus, the Son of God who became man while remaining God, was sent by
God the Father to suffer and die for our sins. Thus, He was obedient unto death for our salvation.
And here we see another sign of true humility: The humble person is obedient; is willing to submit his will to that of another: e.g., children to their parents, those in religious life to their superior.
The humble person strives always to obey God in all things; to do God’s will rather than his own will. And this is not easy; in fact, it is most difficult, because as fallen creatures our wills are rebellious by nature.
Jesus tells us that we must obey God to get to Heaven: “Not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my heavenly Father” (Mt. 7:21). Satan, the prince of demons, fell from God’s grace because of pride. In Scripture we read words attributed to him: “I will – not – serve” – in other words, “I will – not – obey”; I will not submit my will even to you, God.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), explains how Satan tempts people to follow him in pride: First, he tempts them to riches, which leads to honor, power and prestige, which in turn leads to pride; and pride opens the door to all other sins.
This is why Jesus warns us about heaping up wealth and riches.
Jesus Himself is our supreme example: He embraced poverty, He shunned worldly riches & honors, and willingly bore the scorn and hatred of others for doing what is right and for preaching the truth; and ultimately He accepted death, to win life for us.
Not only that, but Jesus continues to humble Himself in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, the Holy Eucharist.
In this great Sacrament, not only does Jesus veil His divinity; even His sacred humanity is hidden before our eyes under the appearance of ordinary bread!
And Jesus does all this in the Eucharist, the great Sacrament of His Love, so that we might be more fully conformed to Him, and be able to love as He loved, and to humble ourselves as He did; to fulfill His beautiful but challenging command: “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of Heart.”
There is a beautiful prayer composed more than a century ago by Cardinal Merry del Val, who was secretary of state under Pope St. Pius X and whose cause is underway for canonization: The Litany of Humility. I’ll end by reading from it. You can find it online.

Litany of Humility
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, O Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Losing One’s Life for Christ

Losing One’s Life for Christ

Homily 13th Sunday Year A: Losing One’s Life for Christ

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

Our Catholic Faith, and the teaching of Christ upon which it is based, is full of paradoxes. A paradox is an apparent contradiction.

 

Take, for example, the words of St. Paul in our second reading today, from his Epistle to the Romans:

 

In Baptism we died with Jesus and were buried with Him into His death, “so that just as Christ was raised from the dead . . . we too might live in newness of life. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”

 

So, it is through dying that we live: a paradox, and apparent contradiction.

 

As Catholics, followers of Jesus, how do we understand these words?

 

In baptism we are to die to sin and selfishness – a life centered upon self, and we are to live the new life of Christ who is risen from the dead, meaning we are to live no longer for ourselves, but for God and for others.

 

The words of Jesus in the Gospel today further explain, and reinforce this teaching, again with paradoxical language. Jesus tells us: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

 

And precisely how do we lose our lives in Christ, in order to truly find our lives, and attain the Kingdom of Heaven? By taking up our daily crosses. Jesus says: “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.”

 

The fact is, in today’s culture, living for God and for others with the hope of attaining Heaven, and taking up one’s daily cross, are not popular ideas. Our popular culture is centered primarily on self. (There’s even a magazine with that title!)

 

In this week’s Catholic Herald newspaper, Archbishop Listecki addresses this topic, bemoaning how much secular thinking has influenced our culture:

 

He describes secularism in these terms: “It is the here and now that counts with little concern for the afterlife.” He then describes the problem with this mode of thinking. He says that “When the spiritual aspect of life is eliminated, then the only concern for human beings becomes what is either gained or lost in the present world.

 

How sad it is for people to live their lives totally centered on worldly pleasures and is selfish pursuits. Such people will never find true happiness. Why? Because we are made for God, and only God can fill the desires of our hearts.

 

As St. Alphonsus Liguori says: “Nothing can satisfy one whom God does not satisfy.”

 

As followers of Jesus Christ who have died with Him in Baptism and now share in His divine life, our lives are no longer our own. We truly belong to Christ who paid the price for our sins by shedding His blood for us on the Cross.

 

Therefore, we must live lives in service of God and neighbor, rather than making the selfish pursuit of wealth, popularity and pleasure the primary focus in our lives, keeping in mind that if we life a Christ-centered life rather than a self-centered life, we will attain the great reward held out to us: never-ending happiness in the kingdom of Heaven.

 

Christianity is based on self-denial; there is no Christianity without the cross. Those who value the pleasures which the world offers over and above eternal life and holiness – the latter which includes taking up our daily crosses – will lose the greatest reward: Heaven.

 

As one ancient Christian writers says: “It is better to die for God’s sake and to live eternally than to live for the sake of human interests and suffer eternal death. Christ died for us, . . . How much more ought we to die for him?

 

And here’s another paradox: In living a life of selfless service to God and neighbor, and by taking up our crosses each day for love of Jesus and in union with Him – being patient, kind, generous – we obtain great happiness here on earth as well.

 

In fact, the people that are most happy, who are most filled with true, authentic joy, are those who forget themselves and spend their lives for God and for others.

 

To prove this point, all we have to do is look at the Saints – especially the martyrs who were willing to lose their own lives rather than deny Jesus.

 

The Saints are our models to imitate in following the teaching of Christ that we hear in today’s Gospel.

 

Here are some words of wisdom from the Saints in regard to bearing our daily crosses with patience, and finding God’s will in doing so, which brings with it true happiness in this life, and never-ending joy in the next:

 

St. Philip Neri says: “Sufferings are a kind of paradise to him who suffers them with patience, while they are a hell to him who has no patience.”

 

St. Alphonsus Liguori says something similar: “By the law of nature, there is no pleasure in suffering; but Divine Love, when It reigns in a heart, makes its take delight in its sufferings.”

 

St. Mary Magdalen di Pazzi (one of the Carmelites painted in our sanctuary) says: “All sufferings, however great, become sweet when we look at Jesus on the cross.”

 

Yes, we must see all our sufferings as a share in Christ’s suffering on the Cross – for our own sanctification, and for that of others (e.g., the conversion of sinners).

 

The Saints tell us that we must bear our daily crosses because God has willed them.

 

St. Alphonsus says: “Patience is a perfect sacrifice that we can offer to God, because in our trials we do nothing but accept from His hands the cross that He sends us.”

 

He also says: “What does he gain who refuses the cross? He increases its weight.”

 

St. Gerard Majella insists: “In all trials, I will say always: ‘Lord, Thy will be done.’”

 

And the Saints assure us of the heavenly reward that awaits those who bear their crosses in this earthly veil of tears:

 

The great Carmelite Saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower), says: “Life is only a dream: soon, we shall awaken [after death, when hopefully we shall see God]. And what joy! The greater our sufferings, the more limitless our glory. Oh! Do not let us waste the trial Jesus sends.”

 

These words of St. Therese reflect the teaching of Christ and the Church on merit: By accepting patiently all of our daily crosses which God in His loving Providence arranges for us, we grow in holiness and merit greater glory and happiness in Heaven!

 

St. John Bosco assures us: “Your reward in Heaven will make up completely for all your pain and suffering.”

 

Here are more words of wisdom from the Little Flower: “When we shall see Him in Heaven, then we shall understand the price of suffering and trial. Like to Jesus, we shall say: ‘It was truly necessary for suffering to try us and bring us glory.’”

 

And I’ll end with these famous lines – very beautiful – from another great Carmelite Saint and Doctor of the Church, St Teresa of Avila: “Let nothing disturb thee. Let nothing affright thee. All things are passing; God only is changeless. Patience gains all things. He who hath God wanteth nothing. Alone God sufficeth.”

Father’s Day Homily: All Fathers Matter

Father’s Day Homily: All Fathers Matter

12th Sunday Year A Father’s Day: Fathers Matter

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

Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

 

Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, was sent by God the Father to reveal Him to us, and to redeem us from our sins. Jesus, the Son, was “obedient unto death, death on the cross.”

 

St. Paul tells us that all fatherhood comes from God the Father “from whom all fatherhood is named” (Ephes. 3:15).

 

We’ve all heard that “Black lives matter.” But the full truth is that all lives matter, no matter what race or religion one belongs to.

 

Today, in light of Christ’s words in the Gospel which I quoted at the beginning of my homily, and because this Sunday is Father’s Day, I’m going to tell you why All Fathers Matter.

 

This is a most timely topic. We can look around and see that our society, our culture, is severely fractured and is in disarray.

 

Just a few days ago Archbishop Listecki, in his “Love One Another” blog, said,

 

I never thought I would experience anarchy having a foothold in the United States. Yet, the takeover of six city blocks by a group claiming they speak for people in Seattle, Washington, has left me wondering just how far we have sunk in our understanding and respect for the established rule of law.”

 

I submit that one of the main causes of problems in our society is fatherlessness – children growing up without a father in the household.

 

Fatherlessness represents a crisis in all races. When boys are growing up, especially in their teenage years, they need the discipline and guidance of a father; and they need a father to show them the meaning of true, authentic masculinity.

 

In my previous lifetime, as an assistant state’s attorney who prosecuted juvenile delinquents, I witnessed the devastating effects of boys growing up without fathers. At least 90% of the teenage boys I prosecuted came from homes where their father was not present, due to divorce or abandonment.

 

Girls need a father as well, to give them an example of true manhood – because most girls will look for a man to marry who models their father; AND they need a father as well for moral guidance and protection.

 

Father Reese shared with me the story of a woman judge he knew who told him how on one occasion in her teenage years in the hot summer weather her father, who was driving by in his car, saw her walking down the street dressed immodestly. He ordered her to get in the car, drove her home and made her change her clothes. She threw a fit at the time; but later as she grew more mature she was so thankful that her father acted the way he did – to protect her.

 

I recall hearing the Catholic convert and apologist Steve Ray talk about how he sits down with young men that come to his house to pick up his daughter for a date; he makes very clear what will happen to them if they should violate his daughter in any way, and they understand.

 

Yes, a good father is a guardian and protector of his wife and children, especially of his daughters.

 

What happens when fathers are not around to give moral guidance and protection to their daughters? Girls that grow up in fatherless homes tend to be promiscuous, because they are looking for that love that is missing from their fathers.

 

And in this age where there are false messages about sexuality and much confusion about gender, young teenage girls can easily be misled by social media, friends and classmates. But girls who have a tender, loving father who affirms them in a loving way will not be confused about their sexuality.

 

And as I said before, often when boys do not have a father, they tend to get in trouble with the law and exhibit antisocial behavior. When boys come from a stable home with her mother and father present, especially when the family attends religious worship, criminal or antisocial behavior decreases proportionally.

 

Fatherless homes are a plague in society, regardless of race or nationality; but statistics make clear that this is especially true in the black community.

 

More than 70% of black children are born today out of wedlock; about the same percentage of young adult black males are either in prison, probation or parole. And young black women continue to have children out of wedlock.

 

This sad cycle perpetuates itself. A person from a fatherless home is more likely to engage in behavior that results in more fatherless homes.

 

And here I’ll add that the group Black Lives Matter will not assist the black community with its problems, but will only make the problems worse.

 

Why do I say that? I’ll read here from the Black Lives Matter website, under the heading, “What We Believe”:

 

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

 

This is language right out of the Marxist playbook!

 

The BLM website goes on to say:

 

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).

 

So, abolish the traditional family with mother and father, and embrace the homosexual agenda; this is going to help the black community? That’s insane. Nay, that is EVIL!

 

And while BLM has removed from its website language that said women have the right to “reproductive freedom” (i.e., abortion), its leaders still work with Planned Parenthood – the largest abortion provider in the country, which specifically targets the black community. PP has done so from the very beginning, with its foundress, Margaret Sanger, who promoted the idea of eliminating the black and “inferior” races.

 

So, BLM does NOT care about all black lives, especially unborn black babies!

 

Archbishop Listecki, in his blog from a few days ago, goes on to say:

 

Ideologues claim that they have a better way, that the people will now claim their rights and everyone will be equal.”

 

The Black Lives Matter organization is one of these ideological groups, one that embraces a neo-Marxist agenda.

 

The Black community is suffering because black families are in a shattered state, and yet Black Lives Matter claims that it wants to get abolish the nuclear family structure and get rid of thinking that sees heterosexual relationships as normal. This will only further harm the black community – something worthy black leaders admit.

 

A few days ago Mr. Niger Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, told EWTN host Raymond Arroyo that fatherlessness and disrupting the family is “going to hold black people back.”

 

Fathers matter. Black fathers matter. White fathers matter. Hispanic fathers matter. ALL fathers matter!

 

Three Sundays ago, along with some peaceful protests here in Kenosha, there was also vandalism and looting. Looking out the window of my Mt. Carmel rectory I saw about 40-50 cars driving in Columbus Park (next door) and then up and down the street in front of the rectory and church, honking their horns and yelling loudly as they leaned out the car windows.

 

These cars were filled with young males – both white and black; and many cars had Illinois license plates. They were not here to “peacefully protest.” Someone from this group threw a Molotov cocktail (a firebomb) through the window of the restaurant across the street and down the block from the rectory; they broke the window of a Mexican store just up the street from the church. I feared for the safety of my church, school and rectory, and was thankful that about twenty National Guardsmen were stationed directly in front of my church while this was going on.

 

I would be willing to wager that most, if not all, of these young men in cars did not come from homes with a loving, caring father, and have never known a father’s tender love and guidance.

 

On this Father’s Day weekend, let us turn to the model of Christian fatherhood, St. Joseph, for his prayers and heavenly intercession. St. Joseph was the Guardian and Protector of the Holy Family. He is also the universal Patron of the Catholic Church.

 

We just put up a statue of St. Joseph, an old statue which was donated but needed to be refinished. We are thankful that our parishioner, Mary Magdalene Moser, who is an artist, refinished the statue. It is truly beautiful.

 

Our parish purchased the book Consecration to St. Joseph as an Easter gift; please take one after Mass if you do not already have one (please, one per family).

 

Finally, let us pray that Saint Joseph may be an inspiration and guide for all fathers, and that all fathers may look to this powerful Saint for assistance in fulfilling their beautiful and most important vocation as fathers.

Holy Trinity Sunday

Holy Trinity Sunday

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

 

This Sunday – one week after Pentecost – is Holy Trinity Sunday.

 

One of the great defenders of the doctrine of the Trinity, perhaps the greatest in the history of the Church, is St. Athanasius.

 

St. Athanasius – known as “the Champion of Orthodoxy” – was born of Christian parents in Alexandria, Egypt in 297 AD.

 

He received an excellent education – which included ancient Greek philosophy and Christian doctrine.

 

As a youth he was instructed by a great desert hermit, St. Anthony of the Desert.

 

At 21 years of age – personal secretary & deacon under another Saint: Alexander, the Patriarch (Archbishop) of Alexandria. About this time Athanasius published his first written work: On the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.

 

In the year 323 a priest named Arius began teaching that Jesus Christ was not God: “There was a time when the Son was not.”

 

Arius was very persuasive – even wrote hymns to promote his heresy, sung to the melody of popular songs, and many bishops – some say most bishops, went along with his false teaching.

 

What happens if one says Jesus was not God, but only a creature (there was a time when He, the Son, did not exist)? YOU ELIMINATE THE HOLY TRINITY!

 

About 300 years after the Arian heresy – a fellow from Arabia spread the same deceptive lie: Mohammed, the founder of Islam. Islam is, in essence, Arianism repackaged, as it essentially denies that Jesus is God, denies three persons in one God.

 

Mohammed taught: “There is only God: ALLAH (Arabic for God), and Jesus was a prophet, but I am the greatest prophet of Allah”

 

Many historians think Mohammed picked up on Arianism, which was circulating around the Middle East for centuries (heresies don’t die our easily, the Devil works to undermine the true Faith). Moslems today consider us heretics because of our belief in the Trinity, and that Jesus was God who became man.

 

But back to the early 4th century: The first Christian Emperor, Constantine, saw that the teaching of Arius was dividing his empire – called a council in the year 325 AD to settle the matter, which was held in Nicaea – in northwest modern day Turkey. The Pope sent representatives who were present at this first ecumenical council.

 

The Council of Nicaea condemned the heresy of Arianism and promulgated a Creed – believed to have been written by St. Athanasius – in which we profess Jesus is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, consubstantial with the Father” – i.e., of the same substance or nature as God the Father.

 

Few months after the Council of Nicaea St. Alexander, the Patriarch of Alexandria, died, and St. Athanasius was chosen as successor – he was not yet 30 years old!

 

Well, heresies don’t die out easily – as we saw with Mohammed.

 

Many bishops, and some emperors who succeeded Constantine (e.g., one of his own son) were Arians, and St. Athanasius was persecuted for his orthodoxy (teaching the truth).

 

In fact, St. Athanasius was exiled from Alexandria 5 times, for a total of 17 years.

 

Under some of the emperors he had to flee and go into hiding.

 

There is a famous story: On one occasion the Emperor Julian the Apostate (who outlawed Christianity and tried to bring back worship of the Roman pagan gods) ordered the arrest of Athanasius, who escaped by boat on the Nile River; in the boat his companions saw an imperial galley was after them. Athanasius calmly told the rowers to turn around and row toward the emperor’s galley. The pursuers shouted out asking if they had seen Athanasius; those in Athanasius’ boat said: “He is not far off – Row fast if you want to overtake him” – and the emperor’s galley kept going same direction. Athanasius must have had a good laugh.

 

So – the Holy Trinity. We believe: 1 God, 3 divine Persons in the One God: the greatest mystery (Incarnation is the second greatest mystery).

 

If all 3 Persons are God – what makes them distinct from one another? Their RELATIONS: From all eternity God the Father begets/generates the Son – the Word (analogy: we know ourselves in words/ideas); God the Father, knowing Himself perfectly, eternally generates/begets the Word – a Person.

 

The Son/Word is begotten eternally, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from their mutual love or “breathing forth.”

 

So, the God the Father eternally begets, the Son/Word is eternally begotten, and the Holy Spirit from all eternity proceeds from the mutual love breathed forth from the Father and the Son.

 

It is believed St. Athanasius wrote another formula for a creed – or influenced it, the Athanasian Creed. It’s a powerful summary of the truths we believe about the Holy Trinity. It’s long, so I’ll read just the first part of it:

 

ATHANASIAN CREED

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it Is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith unless he keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

 

And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

 

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal.

 

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, and the Holy Ghost Uncreated.

 

The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible.

 

The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal.

 

As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

 

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. . . . He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

 

I’ve given today in a nutshell the theological explanation of the Holy Trinity. If you don’t understand it fully, that’s OK, because neither do I. None of us ever will understand God fully, even in Heaven, because the mystery of the Triune God is infinite, and our minds our finite.

 

Let us now profess our faith in the three Persons in One God.