"Though the earth be shaken" |
Psalm 45: 3
It has often been said that home is where the heart is and there is no greater Heart than the Heart of the Holy Family wherein dwell the chaste and pure, obedient heart of Joseph guarding the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Divine Son and Blessed Mother.
"The Feast of the Holy Family, into which the unique Savior of the world was born, should convince us that in Jesus Christ God is truly with us, and that with faith in Him and obedience to His commands we have nothing to fear, for 'God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea; though its waters rage and foam and the mountains quake at its surging. The lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob' (Psalm 45: 2-4)."
Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Double Major Feast of the Holy Family he points out the importance of "home" and equates the devastation of the most recent disastrous tsunami in the Indian Ocean ravaging Southeast Asia with the loss of home, hearth and heartland. But if one is anchored in the home of God, guided by the example and intercession of the Holy Family, then even the worst earthquakes, tsunamis, floods or fires or worse can shake us from realizing our spiritual home which is Heaven. Our life on this fragile planet earth is but a drop of water compared to the unending ocean of eternity that will be like the calmest of seas for us forever in one of the Almighty's many mansions in Heaven. Conversely, if we place our emphasis on that drop of water more than the everlasting sea of eternity, then the tsunamis of hell will erupt and cascade down on us, crushing us under satan's hardened mantle of madness. While humanistic assistance is vital in these desperate times for our neighbors who are made in the image and likeness of Christ, it cannot be the end all and be all; and, in these times when society and the conciliar church give more credence to the material and modern than spiritual and ancient, there will be consequences for Our Lord has assured this in Scripture as Father explains in his sermon. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]
Father Louis J. Campbell
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O lord of hosts! My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young - your altars, O lord of hosts, my king and my God! Happy are they who dwell in your house!" (Psalm 83:2-5).
Everyone needs a home. Everyone looks for his place in the universe, something to hold on to, something to give meaning to his life, especially in times of trouble and insecurity. At such times we need to turn to God. But in fact, most human beings are homeless persons, in the sense that they do not know the true God. As Thoreau said in Walden Pond, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." They are desperate because in not knowing God they have lost the very meaning and purpose of their existence.
The Holy Family - Jesus, Mary, and Joseph - help us to understand our destiny, which is Heaven, where we shall know God and love God. The essence of Heaven is knowing God as He is, which the Church calls the Beatific Vision. "Beloved," says St. John, "now we are called the children of God; and it has not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like to Him, for we shall see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2).
Those who knew Jesus Christ, His Holy Mother Mary and St. Joseph, were close to Heaven without knowing it, since the Holy Family was Heaven on earth. But in this world there is always a distance, something imponderable about the other person, even in the closest of relationships. It will not be so in Heaven. In Heaven, besides knowing God, we shall also know and love the others who are there with us, where our closeness to them on the spiritual plane will be far greater than anything that earth can afford.
To be without God is the greatest of human tragedies. The essence of Hell is separation from God. Hell is homelessness, loneliness, hopelessness. Having lost God, and everyone else as well, one has no place, no home, for all eternity.
Unlike the optimistic proponents of the New Theology, who teach that virtually no one goes to Hell, if, indeed, it even exists, Our Lord spoke about Hell on many occasions. Those who work iniquity, He said, will be cast "into the furnace of fire, where there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:42). At the end of the world the Son of Man (Jesus) will say to those on His left hand (unrepentant sinners): "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
We have seen recently an image of Hell in the great earthquake which struck Indonesia, and the destructive tsunami which swept the coasts of many of the countries bordering the Indian Ocean. Not only many bodies, but no doubt many souls were lost on that day. And it continues to be a Hell on earth for the poor people whose lives have been changed forever by this terrible calamity. Think of the broken families, the missing loved ones, children without parents, parents without children, homes swept away, livelihoods destroyed, the future bleak and uncertain. The final death toll may never be known because thousands were swept out to sea, and relief agencies warn that the fatalities may be doubled as a result of epidemics and starvation. On the plus side is an unprecedented humanitarian response from all over the world.
But is God looking for another response? Are we looking at just another natural disaster, or is this a wake-up call from God? Think of Noah and the Ark, and the great flood that took all those who ignored Noah's warnings from God. Think of Sodom and Gomorrah, upon which rained fire and brimstone. Jesus Himself gave solemn warnings and spoke about the signs that would precede His coming:
"There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations bewildered by the roaring of sea and waves; men fainting for fear and for expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the powers of Heaven will be shaken" (Luke 21:25,26).
Have no doubt, Jesus says, that day will come for all:
"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be overburdened with self-indulgence and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly as a snare. For come it will upon all who dwell on the face of all the earth. Watch, then, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).
But how will the peoples of the world escape if the true Gospel is not preached to them? Telling them that they are all on their way to the "Common Homeland" whether baptized or not, as the Conciliar Church teaches, leaves them out in the cold. Important as it is to rush to the aid of the earthquake and tsunami survivors with clean water, food, and medical supplies, it is infinitely more important to teach them the way to Heaven through God's plan of salvation, a plan which includes faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Messiah, Baptism, and membership in His Church, which is the Ark of Salvation. Jesus addressed His Apostles:
"'Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In My Father's house there are many mansions. Were it not so, I should have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and I will take you to Myself; that where I am, there you also may be. And where I go you know, and the way you know.' Thomas said to him, 'Lord, we do not know where thou art going, and how can we know the way?' Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me'" (John 14:1-6).
The Feast of the Holy Family, into which the unique Savior of the world was born, should convince us that in Jesus Christ God is truly with us, and that with faith in Him and obedience to His commands we have nothing to fear, for "God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Therefore we fear not, though the earth be shaken and mountains plunge into the depths of the sea; though its waters rage and foam and the mountains quake at its surging. The lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob" (Psalm 45: 2-4).