January 16, 2005
Second Sunday After Epiphany
vol. 16, no. 16

"Mother of All the Living"
Genesis 3: 20


    "You have just seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart… If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated…"
    The Blessed Mother's omen to the Children of Fatima

      Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon for the Second Sunday After Epiphany and the Gospel on the Wedding Feast of Cana, he points out the intrinsic role the Blessed Virgin Mary plays as Co-Redemptrix for her Divine Son recognizes His Mother as the Woman of Genesis in just a few words. Father explains this and reminds us of how she has continued her role and seeks to reiterate to every soul those same most important words to live by: "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye." If only we would follow them, if only the past reliable Popes had consecrated Russia as she asked. The fact remains that Russia remains unconsecrated and therefore her errors have spread greatly throughout the entire world, penetrating most deadly into the Holy See itself. Because of that the natural and supernatural have been turned topsy-turvy and the seas are swelling with deadly obstacles that can prevent so many souls from gaining safe harbor in Heaven. That is why Father brings us the powerful, beautiful and meaningful prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who, in addition to composing the Memorare, fashioned the Prayer to Mary, Star of the Sea - Stella Maris. Father relates it in his sermon. [bold and italics below are editor's emphasis.]

    In the Gospel account of the marriage feast at Cana we learn more about the Blessed Virgin Mary and her share in the redemptive work of Christ, for which she has been called by the Church, "Co-Redemptrix." Many think that since "Jesus has done it all," there is nothing left for anyone else to do. All we have to do is "accept Jesus as our personal Savior," sit back, and enjoy the ride to Heaven. The story of Cana tells us otherwise.

    No wise parent does everything for his or her children, or else they remain underdeveloped and immature, and are unable to take upon themselves adult responsibilities. God does not do everything for His children. He wants us to grow up, as Jesus did, "in wisdom and age and grace before God and men" (Luke 2: 52). God does us a favor when He burdens us with trials and responsibilities, although "God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

    In the case of the Blessed Virgin Mary, God prepared her for the awesome responsibility of being the Mother of His Divine Son, Jesus Christ, by preserving her from sin from the first moment of her conception. Because she was "full of grace," she was able to pronounce her "fiat" to the Angel: "Let it be done" (Luke 1:38).

    Some imagine that after Mary gave birth to the Savior of the world she had nothing more to do than to serve lunch to Jesus and His Apostles, although she did that too, and gladly. But the Gospel account of the wedding feast at Cana tells us that she is the Woman of Genesis, of whom God says to the serpent: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel" (Genesis 4:15).

    Jesus Himself calls His Mother "Woman," first of all when she cooperates in the first of His public miracles - changing water into wine - and then as she stands as Co-Redemptrix at the foot of the Cross, where Jesus declares her to be "Mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20), saying to her: "Woman, behold thy son," (John 19: 26), the "son" being the disciple John standing in for every disciple.

    To say that Mary is Co-Redemptrix means that she has a special share in the redemptive work of her Son. Jesus is the unique Mediator of Redemption, and only He, being God and Man, could save us from sin by paying the price of our redemption by the shedding of His Blood. But Mary, whose heart was pierced with the sword of sorrow (cf. Luke 2:35), cooperated in the Redemption like no other person as she stood at the foot of the Cross. St. Albert the Great comments:

        "To her alone was given this privilege, namely, a communication in the Passion; to her the Son willed to communicate the merit of the Passion, in order that He could give her the reward; and in order to make her a sharer in the benefit of Redemption. He willed that she be a sharer in the penalty of the Passion, insofar as she might become the Mother of all through re-creation even as she was the adjudtrix of the Redemption by her co-passion. And just as the whole world is bound to God by His supreme Passion, so also it is bound to the Lady of all by her co-passion" (Mariale, Opera Omnia, v. 37, Q. 150, p. 219).

    Mary's role in the Redemption is thus greatly expanded at Calvary. She would thereafter go into battle for "the rest of her offspring," her spiritual children, whom the devil would seek to destroy (Apocalypse 12:13-17). She would come to us often, as at Guadalupe, La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima, and countless other places made holy by the presence of the Queen of Heaven.

    What does she tell us? What she put in a few words at Cana, "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5), she has spelled out for us in later times. "Pray, pray, pray!" she says. We must change our ways and do penance for our sins if we are not to be the devil's "useful idiots" in bringing down what is left of the City of God on earth. For millions who have lost their lives in earthquakes, tsunamis, horrific storms, giant mudslides and blistering heat waves, the story is already over. Many of them, perhaps most, have fallen into the fires of Hell, as Our Lady foretold to the three shepherd children at Fatima in 1917:

    "You have just seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart… If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated…"

    The struggle is far from over, but we are all "co-redeemers" (with a small "c") if we cooperate with the grace of God and do our part in applying the fruits of the Redemption to ourselves and others, made stronger by the trials and sufferings God sends our way. St. Paul explains: "I rejoice now in the sufferings I bear for your sake; and what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ I fill up in my flesh for his body, which is the Church…" (Colossians 1:24).

    In all our struggles we have a Blessed Mother to help us. These beautiful words, which the Church uses for the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, were written by St. Bernard:

    "O you all who are tossed about on the stormy waters of life and exposed to its violent tempests, do not turn away your eyes from this bright star of the sea, if you would not be swallowed up by storm. When tornado-like temptations assail you and your boat is drifting upon rocks, look up to the star, call upon Mary. When buffeted by the billows of pride, of ambition, bitterness, envy, look up to the star, call upon Mary. When anger or avarice or the violence of sensual passions beat upon the boat of your soul, look up to Mary. When feeling crushed by the burden of sin, appalled by the foulness of a guilty conscience, terrified by the thought of the judgment to come, sinking into an abyss of sadness, a whirlpool of despair, then think of Mary, call upon her holy name. Following her you will never go astray, invoking her you will never lose hope, thinking of her you will make no mistake. ...Thus you will learn by your own experience how truly it is said that the Virgin's name is Mary - Star of the Sea."

Father Louis J. Campbell


January 16, 2005
vol 16, no. 16
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons