"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, March 10, 2018

FR. CAMPBELL, “He who called you is faithful” (1Thess.5:24)"

FR. CAMPBELL, “He who called you is faithful” (1Thess.5:24)"

Today the Church celebrates Laetare Sunday. The Introit begins: “Rejoice, O Jerusalem, and come together all you who love her…” We rejoice with the Church because God has endowed our human nature with many gifts, both natural and supernatural. The natural gifts are common to all men. The supernatural gifts are bestowed by God through the Sacraments of the Church, gifts of grace which unite us to Jesus Christ. The Church is the New Jerusalem, the “free woman” spoken of by St. Paul in today’s Epistle, whose children are made free “in virtue of the freedom wherewith Christ has made us free” (Gal.4:31).

The Jews before the time of Christ served God in fear, and were constantly in danger of idolatry, so that it was necessary for them to bear the heavy yoke of God’s chastisement. But the Church serves God through love. Our yoke is sweet and our burden light! We are not citizens of this earth but pilgrims passing through this world to our true home in Heaven.

But those who are born “according to the flesh,” having no faith in Jesus Christ, are still “enslaved under the elements of the world” (Gal.4:3), so that their good works do not merit a supernatural reward. Jesus Himself tells us of the difference between the two:

“Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn.3:5,6).

Those who are “born again of water and the Spirit,” must take care that they do not once again become slaves of the flesh. The so-called “Bible-believing” Christians say that once you are “saved” you are going to Heaven, no matter what, but the Bible does not teach this. St. Paul says: “…work out your salvation in fear and trembling. For it is God who of his good pleasure works in you both the will and the performance” (Phil.2:12,13). One would think that Traditional Catholics could not make this mistake, but we can easily be guilty of presumption, believing we are “saved” because we have preserved the traditions, and resting on our laurels because we have endured suffering and persecution. But personal conversion and sanctification are always necessary. We have yet to be saved.

Even more than fearing the “bible believers”, we must fear those who say that EVERYONE is saved. This idea has had the disastrous effect that most of the Novus Ordo have become spiritually blind and lukewarm, thinking themselves safe, not realizing that they have lost their faith and are teetering on the brink of Hell. This new doctrine has never been taught by the Church, but today it is taught at the highest levels in the Church of Vatican II, which “dialogues”, but no longer preaches the Gospel. As God says through the prophet Isaiah: “…this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips glorify me, but their heart is far from me, and they have feared me with the commandment and doctrines of men…for wisdom shall perish from their wise men, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (Is.29:13,14b).

St. Peter, prophesying about the deceivers that were to come in these later times, says that “among you there will be lying teachers who will bring in destructive sects. They even disown the Lord who bought them, thus bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their wanton conduct, and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And out of greed they will with deceitful words use you for their gain. Their condemnation, passed of old, is not made void, and their destruction does not slumber” (2Pet.2:1-3).

The denial of the supernatural, which is what we are witnessing today, leads to the idea that ordinary human goodness – goodness on the natural level – is sufficient for salvation. If you don’t kill anyone and you’re an “ordinary guy” who likes dogs and children, you’ve got it made. But ordinary human works of themselves are not sufficient, because, in the words of St. Paul, “all have sinned and have need of the glory of God” (Rom.3:23). See what he says about the Jews who do not believe in Jesus Christ and try to establish their own justice by the observance of the Law:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God is in their behalf unto their salvation. For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge; for, ignorant of the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, they have not submitted to the justice of God. For Christ is the consummation of the Law unto justice for everyone who believes” (Rom.10:1-4).

St. Augustine makes the same point about conversion – it is not our work but God’s: “Did you make it possible for yourselves to merit God’s mercy because you turned back to him? If you hadn’t been called by God, what could you have done to turn back? Didn’t the very One Who called you when you were opposed to him make it possible for you to turn back? Don’t claim your conversion as your own doing. Unless he had called you when you were running away from him, you would not have been able to turn back” (St. Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 84,8).

If conversion is not our own doing, then we must pray for the grace of conversion. Perhaps this is why we have often tried and failed, made holy resolutions and not kept them – we have trusted in our own strength and resisted the grace of God. Our Lady told St. Catherine Laboure that many graces are not given because no one asks for them.

“How much more,” says Jesus, “will your heavenly Father give the Good Spirit to those who ask him!” Lk.11:13). “And may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound, blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who called you is faithful and will do this” (1Thess.5:23,24).

Give God a chance! “Ask and you shall receive,” says the Lord. If God is in the driver’s seat, you will arrive safely at your destination, and find yourself forever with the Lord in Heaven.