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"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]

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fr. Campbell, Going My Way, or God’s Way?

Going My Way, or God’s Way?

Human beings are members of a proud species. They usually think they can work independently, think independently, and live independently. Yet there never was a human being who did not have to learn from others and follow others. In the end, this leads either to our salvation, or to our condemnation.

Even Jesus Christ, although He was a Divine Person, spoke of Himself as a follower: “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever he does, this the Son also does in like manner” (Jn.5:19).

The first human beings to think they could be independent, even from the God who made them, were Adam and Eve: “But the serpent said to the woman, ‘No, you shall not die; for God knows that when you eat of it (the forbidden fruit of the tree), your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Gn.3:4,5). Since Adam was head of the human race, and Eve the “mother of all the living” (Gn.3:20), the results of their sin were disastrous for all of us. 

We are followers from the day we are born until the day we die. And we had better ask ourselves whether we are following God or the devil, since ultimately we follow one or the other. There is no middle, “independent” road by which we can make our own way and arrive at some kind of do-it-yourself salvation.

The world at this time seems to have decided to give it a try nonetheless. It refuses to follow God, or to acknowledge His Son, Jesus Christ. It has set out on the road to perdition, upon which most of the human race can now be found. Pity the innocent and the young, who are being led along this dark path which ends only at the gates of Hell. Who will now teach them to find the straight and narrow path that leads to life? They are as good as lost, unless God in His mercy gives us a wake-up call, a warning, a personal revelation of the state of the conscience, and the grace to repent and turn back to Him.

If we follow what passes for news from the newspapers, our radios, and TV and internet sources, we can see our civilization crumbling before our very eyes. Our entertainment is heavy with immodesty in dress and actions, and gross immorality. The saddest thing is to see beautiful young people, those hardly more than children, turn into monsters and human wrecks – faithless caricatures of human beings who fall into all the vices and pitfalls of life.

How can we throw off this terrible curse, since we must live in the world surrounded by a generation which does not know God or obey His Commandments? And how can we save the children? There is only one answer. We must belong to the New Humanity of which Jesus Christ is the Head – the New Adam.

Upon meeting Him for the first time, Andrew and John asked Jesus where He lived. Jesus replied: “Come and see” (Jn.1:39a). He also says to us, “Come and see.” What Jesus will show us is that we need not be bound to a race which is spiritually dead and condemned. We don’t have to accept their standards or live like them. All the baptized members of the Church have been “born again” as members of a New Humanity, of which Jesus Christ, the New Adam, is the Head. Moreover, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the New Eve, the Mother of all who are reborn as members of the New Race. St. Irenaeus says:

“Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith” (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3:22:24, A.D. 189).

We are dead to the old humanity, says St. Paul: “Do you not know that all we who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? For we were buried with him by means of Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ has arisen from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life” (Rom.6:3,4).

But our full cooperation is required if we are to walk in this “newness of life”. We must be “in the world, but not of the world”. Our Lord prayed to the Father for His disciples: “I do not pray that thou take them out of the world, but that thou keep them from evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth” (Jn.17:15-17).

At all costs, we must avoid sin. These words of Our Lord should wake us up in a hurry: “Woe to the world because of scandals! For it must needs be that scandals come, but woe to the man through whom scandal does come! And if thy hand or thy foot is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter life maimed or lame, than, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if thy eye is an occasion of sin to thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell-fire” (Mt.18:7-9).

If you’ve tried and failed, you would not be the first. For all of us failures, Our Lord sends us exactly what we need to leave our sinful lives behind and become saints. The Lord sends us Power from on High, the Holy Ghost. These are the Lord’s words:

“If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you shall know him, because he will dwell with you, and be in you…  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you” (Jn.14:15-17;26).

Pray, then, as you approach Pentecost: “Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit, and they shall be created. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Ghost dost instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us by the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolations, through Christ our Lord. Amen.