"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fr. Campbell, Secondhand Lives

Secondhand Lives
Fr. Campbell 
Run to obtain the prize, says St. Paul (1Cor.9:24).  But strive only for those things which are worthy of your desire. Our wayward desires which are of the flesh alone can be deadly to our spiritual lives. The prophet Amos makes these scathing remarks about the Samaritans:

“You would put off the evil day, yet you hasten the reign of violence! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall! Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment. They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph!” (Joel 6:3-6).


While we still have the chance, we must desire those things which are worthy, says St. Paul:

“Whatever things are true, whatever honorable, whatever just, whatever holy, whatever lovable, whatever of good repute, if there be any virtue, if anything worthy of praise, think upon these things” (Phil.4:8).

Those who do not “think upon these things” cannot see beyond some earthly goal, like becoming rich and famous, or of scoring big at the Super Bowl.  They attract attention by pushing the extreme limits of modesty in dress, or exhibit the most shocking language and behavior. And those who have no clear goals of their own can have it all, second hand, of course, by sprawling comfortably in front of the TV. “Woe to them!” says St. Jude of those who have no love for spiritual things, “for they have gone the way of Cain…” (Jude 1:11).

Could America be Nineveh, and not Sodom? The great city of Nineveh repented and did penance at the preaching of Jonas, and it was spared by God. But the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, found to be corrupt and full of unnatural vice, were destroyed in a torrent of fire and brimstone, as Lot and his family fled. An America that revels in sinful and immodest displays and is increasingly tolerant of sins against nature, will suffer a similar fate.    

So how does one survive as a Christian in a society that is in a state of advanced moral and spiritual decay?  The season of Septuagesima, which we begin today in preparation for Lent, says to us, “Get sober!  It’s time to ‘think upon these things’ with St. Paul.  It’s time to abandon the broad road that leads to destruction and find the narrow way that leads to life.”

Faith in Jesus Christ, the “door of the sheep,” is the absolute and necessary beginning of salvation. The “narrow way” begins with Jesus Christ, Who is the door by which we must enter: “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All whoever have come are thieves and robbers; but the sheep have not heard them.  I am the door.  If anyone enter by me he shall be safe, and shall go in and out, and shall find pastures” (Jn.10:7-9). 

In the second place, we must remain with Him: “Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remain on the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither; and they shall gather them up and cast them into the fire, and they shall burn” (Jn.15:4-6).

In the third place, we must be obedient to His commands:

“As the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, as I also have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (Jn.15:9-11).

Jesus is our way out of Sodom and Gomorrah, our ticket to the Kingdom of God.  Get your ticket now!  Enter by faith through the Door, Jesus Christ!

The Christian life is not simply a matter of “do’s” and “don’ts”.  One must “think upon these things,” the things of God, prayerfully.  Those who are serious about escaping the fire and the brimstone will give up what is sinful and trivial to search for the more worthy things.  They will spend time with Jesus Christ, listening to Him, speaking with Him in prayer, contemplating His life and teachings in the Gospels. Don’t be a slave to the TV and the iPhone! Take up the Scriptures, sit down, and begin the most exciting adventure of your life by pondering the Gospels. Escape from Sodom and Gomorrah! Take the advice of St. Paul:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom teach and admonish one another by psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing in your hearts to God by his grace.  Whatever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to  God the Father through him” (Col.3:16,17).

But what do we do if they take away our access to the true Mass and Sacraments? Well, we still have the Blessed Virgin Mary. They can’t take HER away, although they will try. They will smash her statues and destroy or desecrate her shrines. But her children who consecrate themselves to her and pray their Rosaries daily are under her protection. Even the Old Testament Scriptures speak prophetically about her and her powerful influence: 

“Who is this that comes forth like the dawn, as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun, as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?” (Cant.6:10).

And we can hear her wise advice:

“So now, O children, listen to me; instruction and wisdom do not reject! Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways, happy the man watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts; for he who finds me finds life, and wins favor from the Lord…” (Prov.8:32-35).

1 comment:

  1. A valid Roman Catholic priest, ordained by a Pope Pius XII bishop, who teaches the Catholic Faith and administers valid Sacraments.