Time After Epiphany
vol 14, no. 1

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"He is like a refining fire"

Those words from Malachias 3: 2 remind us that the trials and sufferings God wills for us are preparing us to come through the kiln of spiritual conditioning so that we might stand Christlike against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

    Editor's Note: In Father Louis Campbell's sermon which he delivered on the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which commemorates the day of Candlemas when she presented her Divine Son in His Temple, Father shares the beauty of order that God so deigned for man since time began. This is reflected in the wonderful traditional liturgical cycle for we, too, must be purified - cleansed and tried to temper our faith - "more precious by far than gold which is tried by fire." Father emphasizes that only through our Traditional Catholic faith can we be in communion with this perfect order which God deigns over the chaos of the world, of the evil one - something the Illuminati push. Sadly, the agenda to please man grows more perverse with the unconsciable acceptance of the Seven Deadly Sins. Father reminds us that only in the Great Sacrifice - the Holy Mass - can we find our nourishment and strength against the Ordo ab Chao - Order from Chaos.

    On this Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also called Candlemas Day, we carry candles to pay homage to Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. The Feast highlights the beginning of God's plan to reestablish the order He intended at the beginning of creation. As the Spirit of God hovered over the waters, God created an ordered world out of the original chaos. "In the beginning," says Sacred Scripture, "God created the heavens and the earth; the earth was waste and void; darkness covered the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring above the waters. God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Gn.1:1-3).

    The devil, whose constant desire it is to return to chaos the beautiful world God created, so as to impose his own world order, persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey God's commands, thus creating disorder between them and their Creator. After the Fall, disorder reigned in human affairs because grace was withdrawn, and fallen human nature could not avoid the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony and sloth.

    Through the Sacred Liturgy we are witnesses, as another Woman, without sin, makes her way to the Temple with her husband to fulfill the requirements of the Law, forty days after the birth of her Child. Mary and Joseph will make their offering of two young turtledoves, the offering of the poor. As the Spirit of God hovered over the waters in the beginning, and as the same Spirit overshadowed the Ark of the Covenant in the Sinai desert, so the same Holy Ghost had overshadowed Mary, and she had conceived the Son of God. Now in God's eyes there is no need for her to observe the ritual of purification. But perhaps she does so in obedience to the Law to atone for the disobedience of the sinful Eve.

    Few understand the drama that is unfolding. As Mary and Joseph enter the Temple with the Child Jesus, unnoticed except for Simeon and Anna, the prophecy is fulfilled: "And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord Whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant Whom you desire… But who will endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like the refiner's fire, or like the fuller's lye" (Mal.3:1-2).

    Who will endure? Those who wish to follow Christ must submit to the purifying fire of suffering for the destruction of the old and the creation of the new man, as St. Peter says: "…now for a little while, if need be, you are made sorrowful by various trials, that the temper of your faith-more precious by far than gold which is tried by fire-may be found unto praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1Pet.1:6,7).

    This should help us to make sense of the present chaotic state of the world as we are faced with a senseless war with Iraq, a war which could very well expand into conflict on a global scale. Grace is again withdrawn, and mankind still cannot avoid the seven deadly sins. The devil is still at work in our time, creating havoc and disorder, so as to impose his own Godless New World Order. In fact, a key motto of the Masonic globalists is "Ordo ab Chao"-"Order from Chaos." Their plan is to make things so bad, so chaotic, that the people of the world will accept anyone who will lead them out of the chaos-even if he should be the Antichrist.

    As though they could persuade us to accept the new order of things, the proponents of the new "chaos theory" are trying to convince us that chaos is a built-in part of the universe, so that everything is always in a constant state of change and upheaval. Yesterday's truth becomes today's rigid dogmatism, which must be abandoned or destroyed for the sake of progress. No, make that "for the sake of change," since progress is impossible where there is chaos. You can see where that leaves the Traditional Catholic Faith - it joins Stonehenge and the pyramids in the dust of history.

    But the philosophers of this world, who change their minds with every phase of the moon, do not know Jesus Christ, who is "the same, yesterday, and today…and forever" (Heb.13:8), nor "the Father of Lights, with Whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration" (Jas.1:17). Only those with faith in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, are able to see that the Spirit of God is still at work in the world, hovering over the chaos, bringing to birth a new heavens and a new earth. The Church, the flock of Christ, is being purified in the fire of suffering so as to become the holy and beautiful Bride of Christ, without spot or wrinkle, renewed in the image of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church.

    But the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Great Sacrifice, restores us and heals our wounds. Each feast, like the one we are celebrating, takes us further along the road to our final destination, which is eternal life, where everything is in perfect order and obedience to the will of our Good and All-Holy God and Father. Dom Prosper Gueranger explains:

    "He comes to His Temple and this temple is our heart. But he is like a refining fire, that takes away the dross of metals. He wishes to renew us, by purifying us; that thus we may he worthy to be offered to him, and with him, by a perfect sacrifice. We must therefore take care and not be satisfied with admiring these sublime mysteries. We must hold as a principle of our spiritual life, that the mysteries brought before us, feast after feast, are intended to work in us the destruction of the old, and the creation of the new man. We have been spending Christmas; we ought to have been born together with Jesus: this new Birth is now at its fortieth day. Today, we must be offered by Mary, who is also our Mother, to the Divine Majesty, as Jesus was. The moment is come for our offering, for it is the hour of the Great Sacrifice; let us redouble the fervor of our preparation" (Dom Prosper Gueranger, The Liturgical Year).

Father Louis J. Campbell

Time After Epiphany
vol 14, no. 1
"Qui legit, intelligat"
Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons

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