Fr. Campbell, “Hold fast the testimony of Jesus” (Apoc.12:17)
Our Lord Jesus Christ was sent into this world by God, the Father, to prepare the way to Heaven for us. As we see in the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent, He had competition. Our Lord was in a constant struggle with His adversary, the devil, and with the devil’s seed, the unbelieving Pharisees and those who plotted His death upon the Cross. This struggle was already foretold in the Book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible. Jesus was the Redeemer promised Adam and Eve after their fall from grace and their expulsion from Paradise. At that time God said to the serpent (the devil):
“I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, between thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gn.3:15).
The prophecy was fulfilled in the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Son, Jesus Christ. The seed of the serpent would be in constant conflict with the Woman, Mary, and her Son, Jesus Christ, and with all of “the children of promise” (Gal.4:28). We see this literally fulfilled as Jesus cast’s out a devil, and he is accused by His adversaries of casting out devils by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of devils. This conflict would result in the conviction of Our Lord by the Sanhedrin, and His suffering and death on the Cross. But it was not to end there. In fact, it will not end until Judgment Day, when the devil and his seed will be cast into Hell forever.
The Bible describes this conflict as between a Woman and her Seed. Mary stands as the Woman, the Church at its beginning, and she is at war with the serpent along with her Son, Jesus Christ. In the words of Fr. Hugo Rahner:
“Thus we find ourselves at the heart of the early Church’s teaching about Our Lady and the Church. This is the fundamental doctrine, that Mary is a type or symbol of the Church, and therefore everything we find in the Gospel about Mary can be understood in a proper biblical sense of the mystery of the Church” (Hugo Rahner, Our Lady and the Church, Logos paperback, 1965, p.11).
“It is this return to the heart of Mary that we need today, so that our love for the Church as Mother may grow together with our love of the Mother of Jesus. Then we can begin to understand once more how the early Christians loved their Mother even to the death, because they loved Mary in the Church, and in both they loved Christ” (p.10).
St. Paul called us the children of promise:
“Now we, brethren, are the children of promise, as Isaac was. But as then he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the spirit, so also is it now… Therefore, brethren, we are not children of a slave-girl, but of the free woman – in virtue of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free” (Gal.4:28,29;31).
Like Agar, the slave-girl, Eve brought forth her children unto slavery. But Mary brings forth her children unto freedom, first of all her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and then the rest of her children, the “children of promise”. Mary and the Church are indivisible.
The devil in his fury continues to pursue the Woman, the Church, but Our Lady, Mary, is no longer vulnerable in any way to his attacks, as we read in the Apocalypse:
“And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bring forth, that when she had brought forth he might devour her son. And she brought forth a male child, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred and sixty days… And the dragon was angered at the woman, and went away to wage war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God, and hold fast the testimony of Jesus” (Apoc.12:4b-6;17).
Does the Church still “hold fast the testimony of Jesus”? Yes, absolutely! The True Church hands on, unchanged, the same teachings, the same truths, which the Apostles and true Catholics of all time have believed. But the Vatican II “church” has departed in alarming ways from the original Faith of the Church, and has fallen into heresy and apostasy. Our Lord warned us about the great falling away from the faith:
“When the Son of Man comes, will he find, do you think, faith on the earth?” (Lk.18:8).
St. Paul also spoke of the great apostasy to come in the end times:
“Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first…” (2Thess.3).
In the meantime, “Francis” Bergoglio does his best to destroy what little is left of the true faith. There are no warnings about sin from Francis. With smiles and warm embraces he greets his sodomite friends, in keeping with his famous line, “Who am I to judge?” But he wasn’t slow to judge Donald Trump, saying that he wasn’t even a Christian because he wanted walls and not open borders. And even though there are other alternatives, he invoked the principle of the lesser of two evils to justify the use of contraceptive devices when there is danger of being infected with the Zika virus. But it can’t be done. The list goes on and on.
But in the words of Joshua, who led the Israelites into the Promised Land:
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve him completely and sincerely… If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve… As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Jos.24:14a,15a;15c).