October 11
vol 13, no. 114

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"And thy own heart a sword shall pierce"

" What the world needs is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the "mutant church" of the present age has given up preaching the true Gospel. It has too much "respect" for peoples' freedom to choose error, and it preaches a gospel of reassurance and affirmation, which leaves them in their sin."

    Editor's Note: We are bringing you Father's sermon he delivered this year on the Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Monday's issue, we hope to bring you his sermon he is giving this Sunday for the 21st Sunday After Pentecost. It is appropriate to feature Our Lady today for it is the Traditional Feast of her Divine Maternity. It is also the 40th commemoration of the Opening of Vatican II and in his homily this weekend, Father shows how the tree is barren for "By their fruits you shall know them." Sadly, those advancing the causes of Vatican II have forgotten the messages imparted to the children of Fatima for Sunday is the 85th Anniversary of the Final Apparition at the Cova when God allowed the Sun to dance to confirm that He had sent His Own Mother to warn and help His children. The reforms of Vatican II are hardly a fitting way to repay the Almighty by diluting His teachings, de-emphasizing the awe of God's equal Justice and Mercy in the plan of salvation, and compromising the first dogma of the Church of "no salvation outside the Church."

   The words of Simeon, "And thy own heart a sword shall pierce…" (Luke 2:35), awakened in Mary a greater awareness of her destiny as Mother of the Savior. Her life was to be one of suffering in close union with her Son, Jesus Christ, especially in the sufferings of His Passion and Death. But because the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, she is also closely united to the Church in its present trials, and intercedes with her Son as the Church follows her own way of the Cross. The Church's sorrows are Mary's sorrows.

   Mary well deserves the title "Mother of Sorrows." Her goodness and holiness, and the perfection of her nature, both body and soul, as well as her pure love of God the Father and her Divine Son Jesus, made her much more sensitive to suffering, so that she could endure far more than any ordinary human being. Because she stood at the foot of the Cross sharing in her Son's redemptive suffering, the Church calls her Queen of Martyrs and "Co-Redemptrix."

   The source of Mary's suffering was the infidelity of the sinful world towards her Son. Mary saw His divinity and authority as Messiah denied even by her own religious leaders. It was impossible for her to lead a normal life, especially after Jesus began His three years of public ministry. Today none of us can lead normal lives, since we are engaged in a struggle like theirs against the powers of darkness. Forget about retirement. There can be no rest from the spiritual combat as long as the enemy stirs up rebellion against God and His Anointed One. But our Mother of Sorrows does not desert us.

   Our "great leaders" see "the true challenges of the 21st century" as destroying the Taliban, or Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, or Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The real challenge may be to keep our leaders from launching the battle of Armageddon. The deceivers are themselves deceived into promoting the devil's own program of returning the world to the chaos from which it came at the moment of God's creative act in the beginning. And spiritual warfare takes not only human lives, but souls. The battleground is not "Ground Zero" in New York, some mountain hideout of the Taliban in Afghanistan, or some weapons storehouse in Iraq. "Ground Zero" is human souls, where the devil launches his wicked schemes and seeks to win his victories.

   Those who do not know Jesus Christ are easy victims, since the devil has created an environment in which sin has become the norm for daily living. For them the battle is already over, at least for the time being, because they live in ignorance of their true spiritual condition. The Lord saw them as fields ripe for the harvest, and sent His Apostles on a mission to preach the Gospel to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Divine Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What the world needs is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But the "mutant church" of the present age has given up preaching the true Gospel. It has too much "respect" for peoples' freedom to choose error, and it preaches a gospel of reassurance and affirmation, which leaves them in their sin.

   The contemporary church has been talking about evangelization since the Vatican II decree on the Church's Missionary Activity, Ad Gentes Divinitus (Dec. 7, 1965). As the new millennium approached, John Paul II was even more bold and dramatic in announcing his plans for a new age of evangelization, which would usher in a new springtime for the Church. We might have anticipated mass conversions among the infidels, and the return of the schismatics and heretics to the true Church. But more recently, we have begun to understand "the rest of the story." In his message for Mission Day on October 20, 2002, John Paul himself torpedoes the cause of true evangelism when he declares:

    "The total forgiveness of Christ, also for his persecutors, is the beginning of the new justice of the Kingdom of God for everyone… Through evangelization, believers help people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and, as pilgrims on this earth, although on different paths, we are all on our way to the common Homeland…" (Mission Is Proclamation Of Forgiveness, May 20, 2002).

   The document is called "Mission is Proclamation of Forgiveness." Forgiveness is everything, "cheap grace," without the need for repentance and baptism, or for the true Church.

   Why preach the Gospel if "we are all on our way to the common Homeland"? In the case of the Jews, for instance, the Gospel will not be preached. The Vatican's Biblical Commission has declared that the Old Covenant between God and the Jews is still in effect, so that the Jews can be saved without believing in Jesus. Following upon this the American Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has concluded "that campaigns that target Jews for conversion to Christianity are no longer theologically acceptable." Of course, if we are "all on our way to the common homeland," nobody has to believe in Jesus. Thus the new millennium has barely begun, and the proposed new age of evangelization and the hoped-for "new springtime" for the Church, have already fizzled.

   As Mary accompanied her beloved Son on the way to Calvary, so today she accompanies the Church in her present trials. Torn by schisms, lacerated by heresies, and nailed to the cross by apostasy, what is left of the true Church seems about to cry out like Jesus, "It is finished!" But not yet!

   Mary wept as the Body of her Son was taken down from the Cross and laid in her arms. But she was filled with indescribable joy on the third day, when Jesus Christ rose gloriously from the dead. The enemies of God and of His Holy Church may seem to have succeeded in their plan to destroy the Church. But when the Arian heresy arose in the fourth century and seemed about to destroy the Church, it was the faith of the people that kept it alive. This same "sensus fidelium" will keep the true faith alive today, until God sees fit to expose these monstrous heresies and raise up the true Church once again to be a light to the nations and the Ark of Salvation. Like Mary, who rejoiced on the third day, a day of indescribable joy awaits us.

   Mary, Mother of Sorrows and Queen of Martyrs, pray for us! †

Father Louis J. Campbell

October 11-13, 2002
vol 13, no. 114
"Qui legit, intelligat" Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons