Saturday, July 4, 2015

St. Monica: An Example for the Catholic of the 21st Century

St. Monica, feast day, May 4th

(The following is based on the book Life of St. Monica by F.A. Forbes, Imprimatur June 1915. available as a free Kindle download HERE)

During the time of St. Monica, the 4th Century AD, the world was pagan, for the most part, but Catholics were no longer persecuted thanks to the Emperor Constantine. There were signs everywhere of the growth of the Faith, but also great opposition. Much like the Catholic of today, living in the midst of the Great Apostasy, St. Monica had to deal with a great many people who were not Catholic, including family members. Although her parents were Catholic, they arranged for her to marry a pagan Roman, Patricius, due to his station in society. She obeyed her parents and married him, suffering greatly at his violent temper and hatred of Catholicism. Her mother-in-law also was pagan and treated Monica badly. How did St. Monica react? Did she hide from her non-Catholic relatives and refuse to associate with them? After all, her husband was a demon-worshiping pagan - should she not leave him and her mother-in-law? Should she sit at the same table with him? Here is what St. Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians: 
Chapter 7:
[13] And if any woman hath a husband that believeth not, and he consent to dwell with her, let her not put away her husband. [14] For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy. [15] But if the unbeliever depart, let him depart. For a brother or sister is not under servitude in such cases. But God hath called us in peace.
NOTE [14]  Is sanctified: The meaning is not, that the faith of the husband or the wife is of itself sufficient to put the unbelieving party, or their children, in the state of grace and salvation; but that it is very often an occasion of their sanctification, by bringing them to the true faith.
[16] For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
So St. Monica stayed with her violent pagan husband and treated him with kindness and charity, bearing three children, one of which, of course, was Augustine. St. Monica's tenderness with her husband and mother-in-law were accompanied by intense prayer and sacrifice for their conversion and after many years, both were converted and baptized, dying two years later as Catholics. She had saved them by remaining with them, serving them, cooking for them, cleaning for them, and, praying for them.
Nearly everyone knows the story of St. Monica's son, St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, and one of the greatest penitents in the history of the Church. What made him such? His mother's presence. When Augustine became a Manichean, St. Monica became angry and, at first, would not allow him to continue to live in her house. However, she was still with him almost constantly. When he decided to leave Carthage and go to Rome, Monica followed him there. At least she tried to do so. Augustine tricked her into missing the ship and he left without her. Did she leave him alone? NO! She went after him anyway. When she finally got to Rome, he had gone to Milan. She followed him to Milan. Finally, through the prayers of St. Monica, and her tenderness and her presence with Augustine, he was converted and baptized. 
Some people believe that when they come to the Catholic Faith, whether it is from the Novus Ordo or some other false religion, that they must shun their families and avoid all contact with them. St. Paul's teaching reveals this for what it is: False. Of course, we must share the Faith with our loved ones; we must not go to their false churches, or share in prayers led by non-Catholics. But we must follow the example of St. Monica in living the teaching of the Church as expressed by St. Paul. He was speaking of spouses, but what he said applies equally to other relatives and friends as well. If they are willing to live in peace with us, we must not shun them, but rather, win them over with kindness, patience, and persevering prayer. Too many families are broken up by misguided Catholics thinking that they must avoid their relatives in order to convert them. But all this will do is make them forget about you and think you hate them because they are not Catholics. We must preach the Gospel, as St. Francis says, using words if necessary. That is, by our kindness and affection we win souls - if they are united to intense prayer and fasting. We must also ask the intercession of St. Monica and St. Augustine for the conversion of our families and friends and ask them to show us what we can do to help save their souls.
Dear St. Monica, please pray for the conversion of our family and friends. Amen.

Fr. Campbell's Sermon for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Blood on the Moon

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 5, 2015
Blood on the Moon

Without faith one cannot know the truth. You will know what the world knows, but the world is blind to the truth. If you know Jesus Christ you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free, because Jesus Christ is the Truth. The true Church uses the word “believer” to refer to those who know Jesus Christ and adhere to the Church He founded. Apart from Jesus Christ there are no such believers. Belief in a false religion does not make one a believer. St. John has this to say about believing near the end of his Gospel:

“Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (Jn.20:30,31).

Those who don’t want to go to Hell must believe and keep the faith! And that is not easy these days. Our faith is threatened by the spirit of the times and the faithlessness of the unbelieving world around us. The governments and powerful leaders of this world have turned against Jesus Christ and His teachings, and are persecuting His Holy Church. The false shepherds at the Vatican love this world more than the God who made it. The false teachings of the new theologians are leading once faithful Catholics away from the Church, and millions of them no longer believe.   

However, according to the Vatican II Antipopes, believing in practically anything at all makes one a “believer.” Following the lead of the false shepherds beginning with John XXIII, Francis welcomes and addresses the Jewish Masonic organization, B’nai B’rith, and calls them “believers”. And what do they believe? That Jesus Christ is in Hell, that the Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, was a woman of loose morals, and that those who believe in the Divinity of Christ are to be executed. Does that make them “believers”? I think not! St. Paul tells us what attitude we should have towards unbelievers:

“Do not bear the yoke with unbelievers. For what has justice in common with iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what part has the believer with the unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God says, ‘I will dwell and move among them, I will be their God and they shall be my people.’ Wherefore, ‘Come out from among them, be separated, says the Lord, and touch not an unclean thing; and I will welcome you in, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord almighty’” (2Cor.6:14-18).

Today God is mocked and blasphemed! The White House brazenly displaying the colors of the rainbow should make the blood run cold in our veins. And legalizing same-sex marriage is only the tip of the iceberg. The pedophiles and polygamists are waiting in the wings for their turn to be recognized as honorable and law-abiding Americans. God’s Divine Son and His Holy and Immaculate Mother, Mary, are insulted and blasphemed! His Holy Catholic Church is maligned and persecuted. The Great Persecution foretold in the Apocalypse has begun. But God’s avenging hand is about to strike!

Our Holy God and Father is horribly mocked in movies and videos, and on Broadway, with unbelievably blasphemous insinuations about His infinite perfections and Divine Goodness, while the critics applaud. We should be thankful we don’t live in New York. But the whole nation has brazenly declared its independence from God and has joined the ranks of the ungodly, who were destroyed in the Great Flood in the time of Noah, and the corrupt citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, who perished in a rain of fire and brimstone. The words of the Apocalypse again apply:   

“And after this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was lighted up by his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, ‘She has fallen, she has fallen, Babylon the great; and has become a habitation of demons, a stronghold of every unclean spirit, a stronghold of every unclean and hateful bird; because all the nations have drunk of the wrath of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and by the power of her wantonness the merchants of the earth have grown rich’.” (Apoc.18:1-3).

Jesus warned us how to recognize the false prophets:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them” (Mt.7:15-20).

So are we left helpless and hopeless? Not at all! God has plans for those who serve Him. St. Peter himself gives us these words of encouragement, as he quotes from the prophet Joel:

 “And it shall come to pass in those days, says the Lord, that I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And moreover upon my servants and upon my handmaids in those days will I pour forth of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth beneath, blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:17-21).

How dare they spew out their hatred and contempt for God! Theirs will be the terrible punishment spoken of in the Apocalypse, for our God is Holy:

“But as for the cowardly and unbelieving, and abominable and murderers, and fornicators and sorcerers, and idolaters and all liars, their portion shall be in the pool that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Apoc.21:8).

We will “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1Tim.6:12)! Every Wednesday we will offer the 10AM Mass in atonement for the blasphemies committed against the Most Holy Trinity, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Hopefully some of you will be able to come to the Mass. If not, I ask you to join us in spirit, wherever you are. Make a note of it on your calendar. Offer your Family Rosary in atonement. In addition, we will once again offer Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Sunday Mass on the last Sunday of the month.

“Show us, O Lord, your mercy, and grant us your salvation” (Ps.85:8).

Friday, July 3, 2015

St. Joseph in the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

The Flight Into Egypt by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

St. Joseph, the Just Man. We have no recorded words of his in the Gospels. We know very little of his life from the Gospels. Yet, what a wealth of graces are to be had by meditating on his role in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Joyful Mysteries, of course, are the main source of inspiration for meditating on St. Joseph and what a shame it is if we forget him and the integral place he holds in the Heart of Our Lady and of Our Lord, as well as in the Mind of God who chose St. Joseph to be the Foster-Father of the Saviour of mankind.

Following are some of the thoughts that come to mind as I meditate on my dear St. Joseph and his essential, but hidden, role in our salvation.

The Annunciation

When the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Our Lady, the world lay in darkness. The civil authorities and the high priests were all illegitimate. Satan seemed to have triumphed and paganism was the norm. And yet, when Gabriel spoke those words Ave, Maria the grip of Satan on the world was shaken, when Our Lady gave her consent Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum, everything changed. But, how was it possible that the Messias should be born into a world of evil? How could He be left with a poor maiden to face the world? St. Joseph is the answer. Our Lady was betrothed to St. Joseph and the Holy Family would be an island of sanctity and peace in the ocean of sin that was the world. St. Joseph was the bedrock, the foundation of strength that would hold up Jesus and Mary in their earthly life. Knowing that this was the case, and that St. Joseph was that wise steward whom the Lord set over His family; that God chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of the Virgin Mary, all was in order. Order which opposed the chaos of the world. St. Joseph was the means God chose to provide that order and without him, we would still be awaiting the Messias.

Pray to St. Joseph in this mystery, that he keep order and peace in your home and family. That he help you to do your daily duty so that God's order is preserved in the Church and in society.

The Visitation

Before the Archangel Gabriel departed Our Lady, he told her that St. Elizabeth was to bear a son and that she was in her sixth month. Our Lady, knew that the Lord wanted her to go to her cousin, and, more importantly, to bring Jesus to John the Baptist. Did she make such a journey alone? Of course not! St. Joseph accompanied her. He made all of the preparations for the trip and made sure that she was safe. He provided her food and the animal that she rode during the journey and made sure that she knew to inform him when she was ready to return to Nazareth so that he could bring her home as well.

Pray to St. Joseph in this mystery that you be the perfect instrument in God's hands so that His Holy Will be accomplished - even if you are not the center of it. God has plans for the good of all and He needs many people to humbly play their part so that the primary actors can fulfill their part of His plan. Ask St. Joseph to help you to imitate his humility in seeking only that God's Will be done, regardless of whether anybody knows you played a part.

The Nativity of Our Lord

Our Lord had to be born in Bethlehem. So to Bethlehem He must go. And St. Joseph managed the entire long, cold journey. He made the arrangements for the stable when nobody would allow the Holy Family to stay with them. Did St. Joseph leave The Blessed Virgin to give birth to the Saviour without doing all he could to see to their comfort? No! He cleaned it as much as possible. He covered openings and cracks to keep out the cold. He built a fire in such a way that the heat could enter the stable while the smoke did not. He brought in animals so the warmth of their bodies and their breath would keep the new born Saviour and Our Lady warm. In short, he turned a filthy stable into the abode of the Son of God and His Holy Mother.

Pray to St. Joseph, that he turn the filthy stable of your heart into a fitting abode for the Son of God to enter in Holy Communion. Ask St. Joseph to clean out the muck that has accumulated in your soul so that Jesus and Mary may find a worth abode in which to dwell. Ask him to build a fire of Love of God in your soul so that the Christ Child find a place of warmth and joy and not coldness and indifference. 

Our Lady and St. Joseph Present Jesus in the Temple

From the time of Jesus' birth in the stable to the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, forty days have passed. This time was required before a new mother could go out in public. Thus, there are two ways of looking at this mystery - The Presentation of Jesus, and the Purification of Our Lady. The Holy Family probably had moved to better quarters during this time. Jesus had been circumcised 32 days earlier and now St. Joseph took Our Lady and the Baby Jesus to the temple to present the offering of two turtle doves. As Our Lord was carried in, St. Joseph watched as St. Simeon prophesied about the sword of sorrow piercing the Heart of Our Lady. How this must have torn the Just heart of St. Joseph to hear. How tenderly he loved his Holy Spouse! To hear that her Heart would be rent, must have rent his own heart. And at the same time, what joy to hear that the redemption of mankind was at hand. St. Joseph had a heart that beat only to serve God and Our Lady and his compassion was such that he felt keenly every joy and sorrow that came to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart.

Pray to St. Joseph to obtain for you a heart filled with compassion for the sufferings of others. Especially, that you feel keenly the sufferings of Our Lord and Our Lady as they see God offended by mankind. Ask St. Joseph to offer take your heart to Our Lady so that she may purify it and present it to Christ, that after passing through St. Joseph and Our Lady, it will be worthy to be given to Christ.

Our Lady and St. Joseph Find Jesus in the Temple

How much has happened in the twelve years between the Presentation and the Finding in the temple! The life of Jesus was in danger from Herod who wanted to see Him dead rather than give up his throne, as he thought would happen. St. Joseph lead Jesus and Mary into a pagan land, Egypt, and provided for them for many years. Then, he lead them back to Nazareth and safety. They go to Jerusalem in obedience to the Law of Moses and find that Jesus is not with them as they return. St. Joseph feels responsible! How could he have allowed this to happen - he asks himself. His heart was composed of nothing else but the love of Jesus and Mary - now Jesus was missing and Mary was in anguish not knowing where Her Son was. Oh, the pain that must have seized the heart of St. Joseph to see this! He leads the Blessed Virgin back to Jerusalem looking everywhere until finally, they find Him in the Temple. Our Lady gently asks Her Son why He had allowed this to happen, mentioning also that her beloved spouse, St. Joseph was in anguish as well. 

Oh the lengths to which St. Joseph went as the Head of the Holy Family! All in silence. Never a groan; never a complaint. All for Jesus. All for Mary. 

Ask St. Joseph, the Head of the Holy Family, the Protector and Provider of the Holy Family, to the the Head of Your Family. Ask him to be your Protector and Provider. Ask him to make your family a holy family. He will do it! Never let a day pass without giving yourself into his holy hands and delivering to him all of your needs and fears. They will all be met. You will be safe. Yours will become a holy family.

Dear St. Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, please be the Head of our family, be our Protector and Provider and make our family a holy family. Amen.