Welcome

Father Ben Reese, Archbishop Listecki and Father Dwight Campbell

“Father Campbell and Father Reese bring with them a rich tradition, a pastoral heritage, a heart for the people that they serve but also a vision; a vision to create a spirituality in the lives of many as apostles of Jesus Christ who is both priest and victim.”

His Eminence Jerome Listecki
Archbishop Of Milwaukee

 Please visit our website here. 

Summary of Our Rule/Common Life

The Apostles of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim, is a new society of diocesan priests, founded in the Archdiocese of Chicago with the permission of Francis Cardinal George, whose charism is to sanctify its members through conformity to Christ crucified in a mission of shared charity.

Our fundamental mission is to save the greatest number of souls and to renew parish life according to the following specific means:

  1. Reverently offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms, thus communicating the beauty and nobility of the Sacred Liturgy.
  2. Zealously preaching and teaching in order to extend Christ’s universal Kingship.
  3. Fostering sanctification of the family through the sacramental life and consecration to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
  4. Forming men in their vocation to natural and spiritual fatherhood, including priestly vocations, through devotion to St. Joseph.

In our mission to save souls, which we carry out in communion with the Pope and the Bishops, we offer our lives and sufferings daily in union with Jesus, High Priest and Victim, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and with Mary, our Mother in the Order of Grace.

We are located at St. John Vianney Church, 46 N. Wolf Rd., Northlake, IL 60164

Realizing that parish life for diocesan priests can become fragmented and isolated, we strive to live a common life in shared charity for the good of our priestly apostolate. Our common life, which allows flexibility to accommodate itself to the life of a parish priest, entails the following:

  1. Morning and Evening Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours) in common
  2. One-half hour morning and evening meditation in common
  3. At least one meal daily together
  4. A weekly morning of study in the areas of theology or philosophy, with a specific focus on papal teachings and St. Thomas Aquinas

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Homily 14th Sunday Year C: Spiritual Childhood

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

“Learn from me, for I in meek and humble of heart.” With these words, Jesus teaches us the inner secrets of His Heart, His Sacred Heart, so full of love for us. He teaches us how to love God and our neighbor, as He loves us – by making our hearts like unto His, meek and humble.

Jesus says, “Learn from me.” In other words, Jesus Christ is our Teacher, on two levels: divine and human. Divine, because He is God, the Eternal Son of the Father; and human, because He is truly man, the Eternal Word made flesh. And because He is fully human, He knows, from experience, from His own life here on earth, all that we go through: our trials, our joys, our sorrows.

As perfect man, Jesus fully reveals what we, as human beings made in God’s own image, are called to be; what God wants us to be, i.e., like Christ; we are called to be other Christs.

And Jesus teaches us, by His own life, by His words, His actions, how we can become truly and fully human; how we can “be all that God calls us to be.” Recall the old commercials with the line, “Be all that you can be, join the Army.” Well, Jesus has a different message. He says: “Be all that you can be – all that God calls you to be – by following Me. Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”

And in today’s Gospel, Jesus goes on to say, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” What is Jesus teaching us here? That to follow Him, to take His yoke upon our shoulders, we must practice those two great virtues which are symbolized by His Heart: meekness (or gentleness), and humility.

I’m sure this message of Jesus did not sit well with the Jewish leaders who heard Him speak. They were looking for a Messiah who would be an earthly king and make Israel the supreme earthly kingdom. But God had revealed in the Old Testament that the Messiah, the Christ, would be a different kind of king. We see this in our first reading, from the Prophet Zechariah: “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion . . . Your king shall come to you; a just Savior is he, meek and riding on an ass.”

Recall that on Palm Sunday, Jesus did not enter Jerusalem on a horse, an animal of stately bearing, as an earthly king would have done; He did not enter Jerusalem to conquer it by overthrowing the Romans, as the scribes and Pharisees had hoped. No, He came as a meek and lowly King, riding on an ass, who would conquer not only Jerusalem, but the whole world, through His sacrificial death on the Cross. He came not to conquer earthly powers, but rather to conquer the things that really enslave us: sin and death. He came also to conquer our hearts, and He conquered all these by love, specifically, by suffering love. Jesus is the King of Love.

And Jesus knew that the “worldly wise” would reject Him and His Kingdom. Only those with a childlike mind and heart would accept Him. This is precisely why in the Gospel today Jesus says: “Father, . . . Although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones” – which can also be translated, “to the merest children.”

What is Christ saying here? That only those who have the disposition of little children will be able to grasp His teaching. Elsewhere Jesus says, “To enter the kingdom of heaven you must change and become like little children.”

To really and truly follow Christ, we must become like little children – spiritually, that is; we must develop, with the help of God’s grace, a character or disposition of spiritual childhood, because by reason of our Baptism, we are all spiritual children of God, our Heavenly Father.

What are the qualities of this spiritual childhood which we must strive to cultivate in ourselves? By studying the natural qualities of children we can come to learn the supernatural qualities we need to become spiritual children of God our Father.

What are the chief natural qualities of children that we must develop spiritually, or supernaturally?

First, there is humility. Little children are naturally humble; they are not puffed up with pride, they are not arrogant.

A child is docile, and therefore teachable. If a parent tells something to a little child, the child believes. We tell children that Jesus is God and they believe it; we tell them that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist in the substance of His Body and Blood, and they believe it.

Another quality is dependence. In the womb, the child is totally dependent upon its mother for survival. Even after birth, the child is totally dependent on its mother and father for life, nourishment, health and knowledge.

Still another natural quality of children is trusting confidence. Children trust and have total confidence in those who love and care for them.

The degree to which we cultivate within ourselves the natural qualities of a child on a spiritual or supernatural level, is the degree to which we will grow in holiness, into a likeness of Christ.

First, we must drive to grow in humility of mind and heart. Simply put, this means we must always remind ourselves of who God is, and who we are:
– that God is our Creator who sustains us in being and who constantly showers His graces upon us;
– that we are His creatures, and that any natural gifts and talents we have come from Him, and any good we do is the result of His grace – and knowing this, any praise and honor we receive from others, we must not keep for ourselves – this only leads to pride (“Oh, I am so intelligent, so beautiful, so athletically gifted – I am really wonderful”), but rather, we must give all glory to God.

The motto of the Jesuits, founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, sums it up well: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (“To the greater glory of God”).

The same can be said with the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her Magnificat prayer: “My soul doth magnify the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary was filled with gifts and graces more than all the angels and saints combined; yet she did not revel in her own glory, but realized that all her greatness came from God, and therefore she always gave glory to Him.

Humility of mind and heart leads naturally to other supernatural qualities we must try cultivate within ourselves. One is docility. We must be docile, be ready and willing to be taught, and to realize our need to be taught. By whom? By the Holy Catholic Church which was founded by Christ Himself to be both Mater et Magister, that is, Mother and Teacher.

The Church is our Mother, who by the sacraments gives birth to us and nourishes us; and our Teacher, who imparts to us the teaching of Christ. And humility is the foundation for docility. Proud and arrogant people are not docile; they are unwilling to be taught, or to obey. I love Psalm 119, which says: “Teach me, Lord, the demands of your precepts, train me to observe your law, and keep it with my heart.”

Humility also helps us to be aware of our total dependence on God for everything: our lives, our very existence – if God stopped thinking about us, we would cease to exist. Now that’s a most humbling thought!

We cannot perform even the smallest, most simple good act unless God’s grace moves us to do so; we are totally dependent upon Him for any good that we do. This should inspire us, in humility, to pray always to God and ask for the grace that we need to carry out His holy will; and to pray in thanksgiving for all the graces that He has given us.

Finally, we must strive to cultivate a trusting, childlike confidence in God. Along with humility, I think confidence is the most fundamental quality of spiritual childhood. As God the Father’s little children, we must abandon ourselves completely into His loving and provident care, knowing that He is all good and all loving, that He knows what we need before we ask Him, and that He lets nothing happen to us that is not for our ultimate good and for our salvation – even (and especially) the sufferings and trials He allows us to encounter in our lives.

Our patroness, Saint Therese, is truly a model here. Her Little Way of Spiritual Childhood is a marvelous guide for us to follow. St. Therese firmly believed that we need both deep humility and great confidence, to counterbalance one another, as it were. Without humility, we become proud and arrogant; and without confidence, it is easy to lose hope.

With her deep humility and great confidence, she was able, on the one hand, to realize that without God she could do no good; on the other hand, she had the greatest confidence that with God’s help, she could become the greatest of saints. On this latter point she was right, of course, for numerous Popes have called Therese the “greatest saint of the modern era.”

St. Therese, pray for us, that we may follow your Little Way of Spiritual Childhood in order that we may become the great saints that God calls us to be!

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Homily Corpus Christi June 2014

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

It all comes down to faith. As Catholics, we believe that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; that in the Eucharist we have present Christ’s full humanity – His human body, blood and soul, as well as the fullness of His sacred divinity as the eternal Son of God.

We believe that after the words of consecration by the priest, when he repeats the words of Jesus at the Last Supper – “This is my body . . . This is my blood” – that by the divine power of God the bread and wine undergo a miraculous change of substance, which we call transubstantiation: that the substance of the bread and wine changes into the Body and Blood of Jesus, while the appearances of the bread and wine remain – the Eucharist still looks like bread, tastes like bread, feels like bread, smells like bread, but that it is no longer bread; now it is the Body and Blood of Christ.

Why do we, in faith, believe this? Because we hear Jesus say it. As St. Thomas Aquinas, in His great Eucharistic hymn of adoration to Jesus in the Eucharist, Adoro Te Devote, writes:
“Visus, tactus, gustus, in te fallitur” (“Seeing, touching, tasting, all these senses fail”).
“Sed auditu solo, tuto creditor” (“But only in hearing is the mystery believed”).

And why do we believe Jesus? Because He is worthy of belief. He is the very Word made flesh, the Eternal Son of God who became man for our salvation. And He tells us, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is Truth Incarnate, and He tells us, “My word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).

In chapter 6 of St. John’s Gospel which we read today, we hear what is known as the “the Bread of Life” discourse. Chapter 6 opens with Jesus performing the miracle of feeding 5000 on a few loaves and fish. The next day the people come to Him asking for more bread, and He tells them, “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

With these words Jesus makes clear that eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood is the key for sharing eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven, and also the key for us to be raised up on the last day with bodies glorified, when Jesus comes again and the resurrection of the dead takes place.

These words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are really a prophecy which He fulfilled at the Last Supper when He took bread and wine and said, “Take and eat, this is my body which will be given up for you. Take and drink, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

But it is helpful to keep reading from chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, because it reveals to us something critically important. It says that after hearing Jesus’ words, many of His disciples said, “This saying is hard, who can accept it?” Jesus then said to them, “there are some of you who do not believe.” St. John goes on to tell us, “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the holy one of God.’”

What happened here? Only the Twelve Apostles remained with Jesus! All the other disciples of Our Lord, who had been with Him for about three years, walked away and would no longer follow Him as a result of His teaching. “Eat your flesh and drink your blood? We can’t believe this!”

Here we see that faith in Jesus’ words, belief in His teaching about the Eucharist – that we must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood – is the real test of who are truly His disciples.

Protestants believe that the Eucharist is only a symbol of Christ’s Body and Blood, and that Jesus was only speaking symbolically about eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood. Well, if Jesus were only speaking symbolically, He would have said to those disciples who walked away, “Wait, I don’t really mean that you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” But in fact, Jesus did mean it, and this is why he allowed those who did not believe in His words to walk away.

Having faith in the great mystery of the Eucharist is not easy. In order to believe this mystery, we must have more faith than the Wise men, the Kings, who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus:
They saw the humanity of the Infant Christ, but were unable to see his divinity, yet they believ-ed that He was the King of kings and Lord of lords, as their gifts of gold and incense attest.

But in the mystery of the Eucharist, we see neither the humanity nor the divinity of Christ; rather, all that we see is what looks like ordinary bread and wine. But we believe that after the words of consecration at Mass, is no longer bread and wine but Christ’s very Body and Blood.

Faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist can be strengthened through prayer and worship; but that faith can also weaken, or even be lost, through indifference and neglect. Sadly, statistics show that in the U.S., on average only 25 percent of Catholics regularly practice their faith and attend Mass on Sunday; that means about 75 percent do not.

Why do so many Catholics not actively practice their faith? One of the main reasons has to be lack of faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. If they really believed, they would come!

About a dozen years ago there was a famous survey taken among practicing Catholics. Two thirds of those surveyed said they did not believe that the Eucharist was the true Body and Blood of Jesus; they said that they believed the Eucharist was only a symbol. Mind you, the survey was among practicing Catholics! This reveals a true crisis of faith among Catholics regarding the Eucharist!

What, we might ask, has caused this lack of faith in the Eucharist? Here I’ll give my own thoughts, which are shared by many bishops and priests who have considered this issue. It has to do with a concept in the Church called Lex orandi, lex credendi – which translates loosely as “How people pray and worship affects how they believe.” And how people receive Holy Communion affects their faith, or lack thereof, in the true, substantial Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.

I can remember about 40 years ago in my home parish, St. Denis on the south side of Chicago, one Sunday we went to Mass and the priest announced that we would no longer receive Holy Communion on our knees and on the tongue at the communion rail, but rather we would receive the Eucharist in line, standing upright; and, to go along with this practice, he encouraged us to receive Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue.

I was only 16 years old, and I remember thinking to myself, “This is not right; I want to receive Communion on my knees at the communion rail, because this is God that I am receiving, and I prefer to kneel down before God; if we kneel down at the consecration at Mass when the bread and wine is being changed into Christ’s Body and Blood, isn’t it right and proper to kneel down to receive Him in Holy Communion?” We stand to greet a friend, but we kneel before God. Kneeling is a reverential posture, expressing an interior attitude of worship and adoration.

Well, I took Holy Communion standing in line because I had to, but I still received on the tongue, because I had been taught by my second grade teacher, Sr. Veronica Marie, in preparation for my first Holy Communion, that only the priest should touch the consecrated Host because the priest’s hands were consecrated.

Lex orandi, lex credendi. Protestant so-called “reformers” who rejected belief in the Real Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist understood this. In 16th-century England, the ex-Dominican Martin Bucer objected to communion being placed on the tongue of the communicant, because this gave the impression that the bread one receives is not just ordinary bread, and also that the man who distributes communion is not the same as an ordinary man – that he has some special powers, like priestly ordination, which is precisely what we Catholics believe. Also, the rubric in the 1552 Anglican communion service prescribed that the minister should take home any bread left over after the liturgy to eat at the family meal.

I’ve been told by parishioners here that some years back, one Sunday they walked into church and the communion rail was gone. How sad. You can read through all the documents of the Second Vatican Council and those issued by the Church in the years that followed, and none of them speak of taking out the communion rails.

Lex orandi, lex credendi. How people worship affects how they believe. This is precisely why we have placed kneelers in the front of the church, to give people the option of kneeling before Our Lord and Our God when they receive His Most Precious Body and Blood in Holy Communion.

If people really believe that at every Mass the greatest miracle and earth takes place, that ordinary bread and wine is changed into the Body and Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that they receive his Body and Blood in Holy Communion, how could anyone miss Mass?

The great peacemaker from India, Mahatma Gandhi, once agreed to meet with a group of Catholics who explained to him our belief about Jesus in the Eucharist. Gandhi sat and listened patiently as they set forth for him what we believe. At the end of their presentation, Gandhi said: “I would like to believe what you Catholics believe about Jesus in the Eucharist. But I am unable to do so, because I don’t think you Catholics really believe what you say you believe; because if I really believed that my Lord and my God were truly present in the tabernacle as you say He is, I would crawl on my belly to church every day to worship and adore Him.”

Ghandi was a pagan; but his words reveal the truth about how we, as faithful Catholics, should express our faith in the Holy Eucharist – if we really believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of our King, our God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

As Catholics, we believe not only that the Son of God became man to save us from our sins, but that He remains with us, always, in the Eucharist. Like our Protestant brothers and sisters, we believe that Jesus is present in spirit whenever two or three are gathered in His name; but as Catholics we also believe that Our Lord is really Present in the substance of His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus wants all to believe in Him and to receive His Body & Blood.

Jesus is Present with us in the Eucharist chiefly for two reasons: First, to nourish the life of God in our souls through reception of His Body and Blood in Holy Communion, in order that we may love God and love others as Jesus did; and second, to worship and adore His living and active Presence – in the tabernacle where our Lord resides, and at special times when He is exposed on our altars or carried in procession, as we will do at the end of Mass today.

On this wonderful feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The saints tell us that Jesus left His Blessed Mother on earth after He ascended to Heaven so that she could teach the Apostles and early Christians how to worship and adore her Son, our Lord, in the Eucharist. Let us beg her to teach us how to adore, and how to act with true reverence toward our Eucharistic Lord; and let us join with the angels at this Mass, and at every Mass, and say: “O come let us adore Him!”

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Authentic Marriage (Homily 3rd Sunday Easter Yr B, 4/14/13)

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D

“We must obey God rather than men.” This was the response of Peter & the Apostles when the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin commanded them to stop teaching about Jesus.

The Jewish leaders at Jesus’ time found the truth of His Gospel message to be intolerable and tried to silence those who preached it.

In every age there have been people opposed to the truth of the Gospel, which has always been counter-cultural, has always gone against the prevailing thinking of the culture. The same is true today on many issues, but especially with regard to the teaching of Christ on marriage and the family, and the recent attempts to redefine marriage to include people of the same sex.

A letter to the editor in this past Wednesday’s Kenosha newspaper (4/10/13) is indicative of the misdirected thinking of so many in our society on this issue. The author states, “Opponents [of same sex marriage] have no arguments, setting aside religion. I enjoy watching opponents flail about, grasp at straws, and put forth nonsensical drivel.” Nonsensical drivel? Really?

Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the right of the federal government and the State of California to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Today I will explain the Church’s teaching on marriage, and show that it is most reasonable, and very sensible. Why take the time to do this? Because we, as Catholics and followers of Christ, must be able to respond to people like Larry Harding; we must be able to articulate, to explain in a clear and well-reasoned manner, the Church’s position on this most important issue.

So many people today, especially our young people, are confused about the true meaning of marriage and are persuaded by the powerful propaganda put forward by the gay agenda in the media – on television programs, in the movies, in music, to name a few media channels.

Back in 2006, a survey found that 71% of people who regularly viewed the program “Will and Grace” believe that homosexual relationships were normal. (“Wormwood: How television poisons our hearts, our minds and our culture,” America Family Assoc. Journal, Feb. 2013, pp. 14-15)  

College students tell me that if they voice opposition to the gay agenda, they are looked upon as Nazis by fellow students.

I was told by a sophomore girl in high school that her teacher asked her class, “How many think that homosexuals should be allowed to marry?” She said almost all the students in class raised their hands; only she and one other student did not; and after class, her fellow students berated her, saying, “Why do you hate gays?”

Things have gotten so bad that anyone who dares to speak the truth on this matter, or who follows his or her conscience and refuses to cooperate with the gay agenda, is persecuted. I’ll give a few examples.

A few years ago an acquaintance of mine, Professor Ken Howell, was teaching a Catholic identity class at the University of Illinois. The class covered a broad overview of Catholic beliefs and teachings, including morality. One of the students complained to the university when Dr. Howell explained the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual acts; the student said he was offended. Dr. Howell was promptly fired from his teaching position.

And just a couple of days ago it was reported that Fr. Greg Shaffer, the Catholic chaplain at the Newman Center at George Washington University, is being kicked off the campus because some students complained about his defense of traditional marriage in his preaching. (LifeSiteNews.com, 4/13/13)

There are many cases of couples who run bed and breakfast establishments who are being sued or facing fines for refusing to rent rooms to homosexual couples.

What about religious liberty? And the freedom to profess one’s faith, guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution? Well, the gay agenda trumps all of these; because those who promote this agenda, while they loudly proclaim “tolerance,” are intolerant of anyone who voices opposition to their agenda.

Let me make something clear. We must speak out on this issue because we have a duty to do so in justice, and in charity. We hate the sin, but love the sinner. We do an injustice to those promoting the gay agenda, and deny them Christian charity, by not speaking the truth on this matter. As Jesus tells us, the truth will set you free.

So, let us first look at marriage from God’s perspective. Scripture reveals that God instituted marriage at the very beginning of the human race: Jesus teaches that “from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. They are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human beings must separate” (Mk. 10:6-9).

Jesus in fact raised marriage to a sacrament, making it an image of the covenant of love between Himself and the Church, of which He is the Bridegroom and the Church is the Bride; a covenant that is totally faithful, which no human power can separate, and which ends only at death.

Essential to the notion of being made “one flesh” is the complementariness of the sexes, male and female. Two people of the same sex cannot enter into a union and become one flesh.

Why is it that God will not join two people of the same sex into one flesh in marriage? Because in God’s plan, marital relations have a twofold purpose that is inseparable: 1) to unite a couple in love; and 2) to procreate new human life. If we keep reading in the Genesis story, we see that God tells Adam and Eve, “Be fertile and multiply, fill the earth . . .” (Gen. 1:28).

Neither of these purposes is possible with two people of the same sex because two such individuals lack the complementarity to be united in one flesh, AND they lack the natural capacity to produce new human life through their relations.

The Bishops of Illinois recently issued a letter in response to the bill currently before the Illinois legislature which would allow two people of the same sex to “marry.” This letter says:

“Marriage comes to us from nature. The human species comes in complementary sexes, male and female. Their sexual union is called marital. It not only creates a place of love for two adults but also a home for loving and raising their children. . . .

“[M]arriage is what nature tells us it is, and that the State cannot change natural marriage. Civil laws that establish “same-sex marriage” create a legal fiction. The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”

Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, in his pastoral letter on marriage, says that “We cannot define and redefine marriage to suit our personal tastes or goals. We cannot make forms of relationship or types of conduct marital simply by attaching to them the word ‘marriage.’”

Archbishop Myers offers cogent reasons for both the confusion over the correct view of marriage, and success of the gay agenda. He says that “many young people today have not experienced permanence and faithfulness in the familial relationships around them. This impedes their appreciation of the truth about marriage . . . the dramatic increase in the number and the social acceptability of divorces . . . has produced a generation that knows marriage only as an unstable state meant to serve the individualistic happiness of the spouses alone. . . .

“Closely related to this,” he says, “the widespread use of contraception in sexual relations makes it difficult for young people today to grasp the intrinsic meaning and relation between sexual activity and procreation . . . To some, sexual activity is understood simply as a source of pleasure or recreation, . . Its deeper meaning as a one-flesh unity of covenantal partners is lost.”

The fact is, that any attempt to redefine marriage to include couples of the same sex is in reality an effort to give legal recognition, and societal approval, to the practice of homosexual sodomy, which God has revealed in both Scripture and the Church’s constant teaching to be a grave sin, because it goes against the natural law of God; i.e., the law God has implanted in our human nature, which He Himself created.

St. Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Romans, when he says: “God has given them up to shameful lusts, for their women have exchanged the natural use for that which is against nature, and in like manner the men also, having abandoned the natural use of the woman, have burned in their lust for one another, men with men doing shameless things and receiving in themselves the fitting recompense for their perversity” (Rom. 1:26-27).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the Natural Law” because “they close the sexual act to the gift of life” and “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity” (CCC 2357).

If homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and contrary to the Natural Law, we must ask: What is the genesis of the homosexual attraction? The best study on the topic is called Homosexuality & Hope, published by the Catholic Medical Association (one can get it online), which reports that:

– There is no “homosexual” gene; no credible evidence that a same-sex attraction is genetically determined; and

– People are not “born that way” – contra a popular song.

Psychiatrists and psychologists who have studied same-sex attraction say that:

– Often it is a developmental condition, a problem in normal development in the child; e.g., when one has an abusive or distant father, and one does not develop a healthy male self-image;

– Another cause is predatory behavior: Most homosexuals say their first intimate experience was being preyed upon by an older man when they were adolescents, which resulted in setting them on a “track” of this behavior.

Because the same-sex attraction is not natural, it is wrong to insist that people are “born that way” and “cannot change.” In fact, a growing number of psychiatrists and psychologists – some of whom I know – report much success with what they call “reparative therapy,” i.e., changing the sexual attraction from same sex to the opposite sex through counseling, by bringing people to a knowledge of what influenced them when younger toward their same-sex attraction.

But even here, the gay agenda is on the offensive: The State of California passed a law recently that bans such reparative therapy, claiming that it can lead to “emotional harm.”

Those with a same-sex attraction are burdened with a heavy cross; in most cases they did not choose their condition, and those that are active have very sad and lonely lives because the conduct in which they engage leaves them empty and without authentic fulfillment. The truth is that the male active homosexual lifestyle is very promiscuous.

The Church teaches that persons with a same-sex attraction must be shown true compassion: We must explain to them the truth about their condition, and tell them that while they did not choose the same-sex attraction, they can choose not act on their desires; we must urge them to lead chaste, pure and holy lifestyles.

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, calls those with a same-sex attraction – as He does all Christians – to chastity and holiness aided by disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace.

Francis Cardinal George of Chicago says that for someone to deny the possibility of living chastely is to deny the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Pope, Benedict XVI, in an address to the U.S. Bishops last year (1/12/12), said: “The Church in the United States is called . . . to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering.”

The Church, he says, “seeks to convince by proposing rational arguments in the public square. . . . Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimatize the Church’s participation in public debate . . . . As essential components of the new evangelization, these concerns must shape the vision and goals of catechetical programs at every level.”

And in a homily last July, Pope Benedict said this about the Church’s war with the current culture: “[T]he Church . . . does not preach what the powerful want to hear. Her criterion is truth and justice, even if that garners no applause and collides with human power.”

Yes, just like Peter and the Apostles up against the Sanhedrin. Amen.

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Sermon at Fr. John Hardon’s Anniversary Mass

by Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

Today, June 18, 2012, marks the 98th anniversary of the Servant of God, Father John Hardon’s birth, and the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination.

Father Hardon was many things – a priest, a faithful member of the Society of Jesus, a university professor, an author, a retreat master, a founder of various apostolates; but more than anything else, I think he will be remembered as a catechist.

This vocation as a catechist seems to have been foreordained by God. In his Spiritual Autobiography he tells us: “After being ordained to the priesthood in 1947, . . . I was told that my vocation would be to prepare men to train priests. . . . [This] would mean long preparation and understanding the Catholic faith, and I mean understanding the Catholic faith.”

In this text from which I just quoted the word “understanding” used the second time appears in italics. And any of us who ever heard Father Hardon speak know how he liked to stress certain words and concepts by repeating them, with emphasis – a good method of catechesis.

A good catechist must be able to communicate to the listener or reader the truths of our Catholic Faith in such a way that they are able to be grasped in the full depth and beauty of their meaning. And to accomplish this noble task, a good catechist must clearly define the terms he uses.

Father Hardon was a master at both of these tasks. Having a thorough grasp of the Faith from his years of dedicated and arduous study, he always articulated Catholic truths clearly and simply.

But it was not only his study of the Faith that enabled him to lucidly present these truths. His marvelous insights were also the fruit of prayer. I remember hearing him say that he prepared his talks and other works, whenever he could, on his knees before the Blessed Sacrament. And this is evident in the plethora of works he produced for the instruction and edification of the faithful.

Moreover, I think we all know about his personal vow never to waste a minute. Time was precious to him, a great gift from God, and only God knows how much time he spent on his knees before Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist preparing his talks and other written works.

Father Hardon saw his writing as a true apostolate, as an opportunity to evangelize and spread the truths of the Catholic Faith. In his Spiritual Autobiography he says: “With God’s grace, I have been motivated since my young years to write for publication. . . . The single strongest motive in my priestly life has been to put ideas on paper and make them available to potential readers.” He says that his “underlying motive for doing so much writing has been to reach as many souls as possible.”

Father Hardon encouraged other people to write as a means of learning better the Faith and growing closer to God. I recall hearing him say that by writing, we clarify our thoughts. As a priest I have tried to follow his advice, in preparing homilies, talks, and various works for publication.

Father Hardon always encouraged his listeners to write down what they heard him say during his talks. Ever the good teacher and catechist, he knew that in the process of writing, one internalizes the truths and concepts one learns. And this is why Father Hardon always spoke slowly and deliberately – to the frustration of some, admittedly, but to the pleasure of others like yours truly who desired to jot down every word he uttered.

I have a couple of anecdotes here I’ll share. I was blessed to have made my retreat before ordination to the priesthood with Father Hardon at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, the seminary I attended. In five days he went through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, speaking in his measured, deliberate manner. I recall it caused some of my fellow seminarians to groan under their breath and to fidget; but I was most pleased, for this enabled me to write down all that I heard him say.

Another little story. Some years ago to priest friends of mine and I were at the Clear Creek Abbey outside of TulsaOklahoma making a retreat. We did not have a retreat master, and we decided to use an MP3 recording of Father Hardon going through the Spiritual Exercises. On this occasion I and the priests with me did not want to write down all that we heard; we only wanted to listen. We were able to play the recording one and one-half times faster than the original speed, which made Father Hardon’s delivery sound like a normal pace – perfect, we thought! We even shared what we had done with one of the Benedictine monks at Clear Creek, and he thought it was a wonderful idea!

What might be Father Hardon’s greatest work, The Catholic Catechism, was written at the request of Pope Paul VI at a time when genuine catechesis was pretty much in disarray. Published in 1975, it provided a safe haven of authentic Catholic doctrinal teaching when little else was available. This work was later complemented by his catechetical courses which he authored first for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity and later for the laity; for example, those in Marian catechist apostolate, founded by Father Hardon, use these courses.

Listening to Father Hardon’s talks and reading his written works is always intellectually enriching and spiritually edifying. In whatever work he produced, and I think especially in his recorded talks and conferences, you can always find real gems. Here’s one of my favorites – Father Hardon’s definition of advertising: “Trying to entice people to buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have.”

Father Hardon was truly a master at definitions. To define something well, one must be able to capture the essence of the thing and make it intelligible to the reader. Whenever I want a clear definition of some theological term I go to another of Father Hardon’s great works, his Modern Catholic Dictionary.

How would you define “catechesis”? Here is how the master catechist, Father Hardon, defines the term, in part (his entire definition is too long to repeat here). Catechesis, he says, is “That form of ecclesiastical action that leads both communities and individual members of the faithful to maturity of faith. . . . catechesis is an apt means to understand God’s plan in [our] own lives and in the lives of others. Having come to know this divine plan, [we] can more effectively cooperate with God’s grace and become better instruments for the extension of Christ’s kingdom.”

Some years ago I listened to a set of audio talks by Father Hardon entitled Angels and Demons. His conference on “The Devil as Prince of this World” is a masterful catechesis on the Evil One’s machinations in the modern world. This one talk is worth the price of the entire collection found on Angels and Demons. In this conference Father Hardon demonstrates that he, much like our present Holy Father, Benedict XVI,[1] had deep insight into the philosophical and theological errors of our modern culture which emanate from the Father of Lies. Listen carefully to what Father Hardon says; here I quote him at length:

Since the beginning of man’s creation, the Devil has led millions in an ocean of lies. In our age, he has deceived millions on a most important truth: the meaning of human freedom. This gift of freedom is the greatest gift we have received from God, to enable us to love Him by submitting our human will to His Divine will.

In our age, the Devil, with demonic success, has deceived people to divorce human freedom from dependence on God. This is simply atheism in disguise. Each person’s conscience now becomes the supreme arbiter of moral truth [and] is given the status of the supreme tribunal of moral judgment. The subjective conscience of each person becomes ruler in moral matters, apart from the mind and will of God. Conscience thus becomes for each person the final judge of right and wrong, independent of the laws of God.

What is the result? Now a radical conflict exists between objective moral law and conscience, between nature [or Natural Law] and freedom. The objective moral law is ignored in favor of the subjective judgment of each person for himself. . . .

Once you make your own will be arbiter of what is right and wrong, you become the prisoner of your own sinful urges and thus lose every vestige of authentic freedom. On these grounds, terms such as “freedom,” “liberty” and “choice” are mere words which the Devil puts into the human vocabulary as substitutes for self-induced slavery.

The basic demonic lie, the most fundamental untruth which the Devil has sown in the minds of modern man, is the denial of genuine freedom. The Evil One does not want us to believe that our freedom depends upon the truth.

Christ teaches just the opposite. We are, first, to know with our minds what God expects of us. We are to use our free will to direct the mind to seek and find the will of God. That’s the only reason we have a free will – to direct the mind to learn, first, what does God want? And then to choose the good, that is, what God wants of us. Only if we do this are we truly free.

Would that these wise words be imprinted on the minds and hearts of all the faithful to safeguard them from falling into the errors of the modern age!

At a former parish at which I served, the mother of one of my close friends from childhood who attends Mass there, remarked on a couple of occasions after hearing me preach, “In your homily today you sounded like Father Hardon.” I took that as a great complement! In fact, I admit that I try to imitate this holy Servant of God in making theological points when preparing my homilies.

Father Hardon, like the Common Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas, attributed his great theological insights to the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. He realized fully that pride – especially intellectual pride – can easily lead one into error. Pride, we know, was the root cause of the fall of Lucifer.

Father Hardon realized that one needs deep humility to be a good theologian, or a good catechist. Let us ask this Servant of God to pray for us that we may be imbued with a true spirit of humility in all that we do, especially in our efforts to better learn and to communicate our Catholic Faith more effectively, in order that we may be true servants of Our Lord in extending his Kingdom.

Father Hardon quite often began and ended his talks with a prayer. I’ll end my homily today by quoting a prayer he composed and which is found at the end of his talk called “The Strategy of the Devil in Demonic Temptations” from the Angels and Demons collection:

Mary, Queen of Angels, obtain for us from your Son the wisdom and the power of successfully resisting the machinations of the Devil in our lives. Your Divine Son has told us that He has overcome the world and the Prince of this world by His life and death on the Cross. Obtain for us the light we need to recognize the instigation of the Evil One; but especially the strength to love the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is by His Cross that Christ overcame the Devil. It is by joining Jesus Christ that we, too will overcome the Evil Spirit in our lives as individuals and as members of modern society so deeply infested by the forces of evil in our day. Amen.

Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, pray for us, that we may come to better know and defend our Catholic Faith!

 

         

 

 


[1] Here we can think of what Pope Benedict XVI calls the “dictatorship of relativism” which permeates our culture.

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Homily Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24, 2012): Church v. State, Religious Liberty & Conscience

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

This Sunday we celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. We do so because this feast is a solemnity, and when it falls on Sunday it replaces the normal Sunday Mass.

 Why does the Church celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist in such a grand way? Well, he was the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, and the great prophet who prepared the way for Jesus Christ by preaching a baptism of repentance.  As St. Luke’s Gospel relates, John the Baptist’s conception and birth were foretold by the Archangel Gabriel to Zechariah, his father.  Also, as St. Augustinenotes, the birth of St. John the Baptist falls around the summer equinox, when the days begin to grow shorter. This leads up to the glorious Birth of Our Lord Christ, around the winter equinox, when the days begin to grow longer because Christ, the True Light, has entered the world.

 We could say thatSt.John the Baptist is a timely figure for today. He was beheaded because he spoke out against the local ruler, King Herod Antipas, telling him that it was wrong for him to have married his brother’s wife, Herodias.

The persecution of those who speak the truth and follow their conscience has been a reality both before and after the coming of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, kings persecuted and put to death the prophets who told them what they did not want to hear.

In New Testament times government authorities have persecuted members of the Church throughout the centuries. For the first 300 years after Christ most of the pagan rulers put to death Christians who refused to abandon their belief in Jesus. It was not until Emperor Constantine in the early fourth century that Christianity was allowed to flourish without persecution. 

But in the Middle Ages the Church still encountered problems with Catholic kings over issues such as who had the authority to appoint bishops or discipline clergy: the Pope or the King? St. Thomas Becket was put to death by King Henry II for asserting the rights of the Church against the King.  By the way, one of my favorite movies is Becket, with Richard Burton playing Beckett and Peter O’Toole playing Henry II, who I think steals the show.

This past Friday we celebrated the feast of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, both of whom were put to death under King Henry VIII. The Pope had refused to grant Henry VIII an annulment with his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which Henry wanted in order to marry Catherine Boleyn, so Henry declared himself head of the Church in England rather than the Pope in order to have his way, and he required everyone to swear an oath recognizing him as head of the Church.

St. John Fisher was the only Bishop who refused to take the oath and he was beheaded. Likewise, St. Thomas More refused to take the oath. More had been the King’s close friend, and Lord Chancellor of England. As a good lawyer he was careful to tell no one why he would not take the oath. He would only say that taking the oath would violate his conscience.

The movie A Man for All Seasons – another one of my favorite movies – portrays a powerful scene in which St. Thomas More, played by Paul Schofield, appears before Cardinal Wolsey and others who are pressuring him to take the oath, “for fellowship,” because all the other government officials have taken the oath. St. Thomas responds: “For fellowship? When we die and stand before God, and you are sent to paradise for following your conscience, and I am damned for not following mine, will you join me, for ‘fellowship’?”

By the way, A Man for All Seasons won the Academy award for best picture in 1966. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth renting.

Now we fast forward to the 20th century. In that century there were more martyrs who were put to death and shed their blood for Christ than in all previous centuries combined. This was due to governments that opposed the Catholic Faith like the formerSoviet UnionandChinawhich promoted atheistic communism.

I’m going to read now an oath required of public school teachers:

“I, before the Federal Board of Education, solemnly declare without any reservation whatever, to accept the program of the Socialist School and to be its propagandist and defender; I declare myself an atheist, an irreconcilable enemy of the Roman, Apostolic, Catholic religion, and that I will exert my efforts to destroy it, . . . I likewise declare myself ready to . . . attack the Roman, Apostolic, Catholic religion wherever it manifests itself;  also I will not permit in my home any religious practices of any kind whatever, nor will I permit any images; lastly, I will not permit any of my household to take part in any religious act whatever.” (Published in La rensa 2/23/1935).

In what country do you think this oath was required? CommunistRussia, orChina? No – this oath was required for teachers in theMexicanStateof Yukatan, in 1935.

There is a movie recently released called For Greater Glory which portrays the Cristero War in the 1920’s. During most of the twentieth century the Mexican government was controlled by Freemasons who hated the Catholic Church. In the mid-1920’s the president, Plutarco Calles, a Freemason and a socialist, tried to eradicate the Catholic Faith. OnAug. 1, 1926 all Catholic churches were ordered to be closed. Priests were put to death for offering Mass publicly, and in some areas in Mexico there was not one Catholic priest to be found – all were either killed or forced to flee.

Faithful Catholics – who called themselves Cristeros – took up arms against the government to fight for and defend their Catholic Faith and their families. The movie For Greater Glory shows that the Cristeros were successful in many battles, and basically forced the government to ease the persecution against the Church.  The movie is still be playing at some local theaters. It’s very well done, although many of the critics did not like it, I think, because it is too Catholic. The movie has a number of stars: e.g., Andy Garcia plays the Cristero general, Eva Longoria plays his wife, and Peter O’Toole plays a Catholic priest who was put to death for the faith.

You can look up on the Internet to see how many martyrs have been either beatified or canonized from this era of Mexican persecution of the Faith.

Finally, we come to the present-dayUnited States. The Obama administration has initiated a Department of Health and Human Services mandate which requires Catholic institutions to pay for health insurance which includes abortion-causing drugs, contraception and sterilization – services which the Church, and we as Catholics, in conscience cannot support as these involve intrinsic evils.

In a statement issued in late May, the U.S. bishops say that Catholics should be prepared to engage in civil disobedience if the HHS mandate is not rescinded. “Some unjust laws impose such injustices on individuals and organizations that disobeying the laws may be justified,” say the bishops. “Every effort must be made to repeal them. When fundamental human goods, such as the right of conscience, are at stake, we may need to witness to the truth by resisting the law and incurring its penalties.”

The bishops go on to say: “For the first time in our history, the federal government will force religious institutions to fund and facilitate coverage of a drug or procedure contrary to their moral teaching, and purport to define which religious institutions are ‘religious enough’ to merit an exemption.”

In a recent letter, Archbishop Jerome Listecki says: “We will not permit any government entity or group to restrict the practice of our faith to worship services. Additionally, we will reject any attempts to remove religion from the marketplace of society or attempts to define who we are as faith communities. This is our God-given right, protected by the Constitution.”

The bishops in theUnited Stateshave urged us to participate in a spiritual response to this injustice, what they are calling a “Fortnight of Freedom.” For fourteen days, from June 21 to July 4, Independence Day, we are asked to pray and fast that this government mandate may be rescinded. I have a suggestion for a way to participate in this “Fortnight of Freedom” – to pray a Rosary each of these 14 days that remain; and to fast between meals, eating nothing between our three main meals of the day.

Finally, let us call upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of our nation under her glorious title, the Immaculate Conception. O Mary, you who from your conception were preserved free from all stain of Original Sin and filled with grace, intercede for our country that the rights of religious liberty and freedom of conscience may be respected!

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Homily Pentecost Sunday 2012

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

Ten days ago we celebrated the Ascension of Our Lord into heavenly glory. If you will recall, before Jesus ascended His Apostles asked Him, “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom now?” His Apostles, even after having been with Jesus for forty days, still did not grasp the true meaning of His mission. They viewed Jesus’ mission on earth in all too earthly terms, thinking that He had come to restore the former glory of thekingdomofIsrael. Before he ascended, Jesus told them to pray and to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Today, ten days after the Ascension and fifty days after the Resurrection, we celebrate Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles just as Jesus had promised. With the coming of the Holy Spirit the Apostles received enlightenment, through the Gift of Understanding, which enabled them to fully grasp the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ mission.

And what was it that the Apostles were now able to see and understand? Precisely this:  that Jesus, the Son of God by nature, became man not only to redeem us from our sins by His suffering and death on the Cross, but also to sanctify us, to transform those who believe in Him into adopted sons of the heavenly Father. In other words, Jesus died on the Cross in order that we might receive the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, and thereby be raised from a natural to a supernatural state, to be made sharers in the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and thereby to become deified, God-like, divinized, and thus enter into true friendship with God – something not possible in our fallen, natural state. “God becoming man, became a friend of man. Man being made God-like by the Holy Spirit becomes a friend of God.” [Edward Leen, The Holy Ghost, p. 99.]

The Apostles were unable to grasp this truth as long as Jesus was with them, for they viewed Jesus in an all too human and natural way. Jesus had to be taken from them in order for them to properly understand the purpose of His mission. At the Last Supper Our Lord told them:  “It is expedient that I go, for if I do not go the Paraclete will not come to you” (Jn. 16:7). Now, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, they are enlightened; they now grasp that Jesus accomplished His redemptive work in order to communicate the Holy Spirit to us so that we can become partakers in the very life of God.

How does this happen? At Baptism the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, accomplishes the most amazing of feats: He begins to dwell in the soul of the baptized person. In theology we call this the “Divine Indwelling.” And because the Holy Spirit is one in substance with the Father and the Son, the effect of the Spirit’s dwelling in us is that the very life of Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – lives within the baptized soul, habitually, that is, continuously, as long as a person remains free from mortal sin. Jesus speaks of this Divine Indwelling in today’s Gospel when He says: “If anyone love me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and will make our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23). It is then that we become deified, God-like. “The Holy Spirit, in the work of the Incarnation, brought God down to man. He crowns this wonder by one more dazzling still. He raises man up to God.” [Leen, ibid., p. 98.]

By means of the Divine Indwelling, and the charity of God which the Holy Spirit pours forth into our souls (cf. Rom. 5:5), we are enabled to live and act no longer on a natural level, but on a supernatural level; we are empowered to live and to love in a God-like manner, in imitation of Christ Himself. In fact, the Holy Spirit enables us to make Christ’s life on earth our own. The great Solemnity of Pentecost which closes the Easter season should move us to reflect upon this profound truth.

As with Jesus while He was on earth, the Holy Spirit must become the principle of our thoughts and affections, of our will and our actions, of all that we think, say and do. Each and every day we must strive to identify ourselves with Christ’s life; His thoughts, words, affections and actions must become our own. WithSt. Paulwe must say: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal.2:20). The Holy Spirit, who was the principle of all Christ’s human actions, must become the principle of ours as well so that we can imitate Jesus more perfectly.

On this Pentecost Sunday, I propose two ways to accomplish this.

The first is by imitating the Blessed Virgin Mary. The spiritual tradition of the Church refers to her as the “spouse” of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus, no one followed the promptings and inspirations of the Holy Spirit as perfectly as did Our Lady; the Holy Ghost was her guiding Light in all things. AsSt.John of the Cross says, no created form ever entered her mind or imagination or was impressed upon her memory; rather, her entire live was governed completely by the Holy Spirit. The more we imitate Mary in her total responsiveness and free submission to the movements of the Holy Spirit, the more completely we will conform our lives to Christ’s life and accept His Kingship, His reign, over us.

The second way for the Holy Spirit to become the active principle in our lives is to develop a personal relationship with the Him; and for this we need pray to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit tends to be, I think, the neglected Person in the Trinity. This is due, in part, to the difficulty in conceptualizing the Holy Spirit as a Person. The truth is that the Holy Spirit is not fire, or a dove, or wind or some impersonal “force”; rather, He is a Divine Person, the Third Person in the Blessed Trinity, who proceeds from the mutual love that flows eternally between the Father and the Son, and who “with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,” as we profess in our Creed every Sunday.

To cultivate a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit we must carve out time for prayer to God each day. If we don’t set a time for daily prayer, the end of the day comes and we find we did not pray. Perhaps these words of the famous Primate of Belgium, Désiré Joseph Cardinal Mercier, will prove helpful here:  “I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to the things of sense and your ears to the noises of the world in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctity of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit), speak to that Divine Spirit.

Additionally, in our daily dialogue with God we must incorporate prayer to the Holy Spirit. AsSt.Paul says, when we know not how to pray the Holy Spirit assists us in our weakness and makes intercession for us with “inexpressible groanings” (cf. Rom.8:26).

I’ll end here by quoting from one of my favorite prayers. I came across it a number of years ago; it’s from a prayer of consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which the Apostleship of Prayer promotes. The second half of the prayer addresses the Holy Spirit:

Come, Holy Spirit, make my body Your temple. Come, and abide with me forever. Give me the deepest love for the Sacred Heart of Jesus in order to serve Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Take possession of all my faculties of body and soul. Regulate all my passions: feelings and emotions. Take possession of my intellect, understanding and will; my memory and imagination. O Holy Spirit of Love, give me an abundance of Your efficacious graces. Give me the fullness of all the virtues; enrich my faith, strengthen my hope, increase my trust, and inflame my love. Give me the fullness of your sevenfold gifts, fruits and beatitudes. O Holy Trinity, make my soul Your sanctuary. 

(Full prayer avail. from the Apostleship of Prayer: http://apostleshipofprayer.org/otherPrayers.html.)

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Easter Sermon 2012

Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.

We can look at the entire history of the human race and God’s plan of salvation in Christ – from its beginnings with Adam and Eve up until its consummation with Our Lord’s Second Coming – as a Divine-human drama, written by God, which unfolds according to His magnificent design; for God, Who is All-Knowing, All-Wise and outside of time, sees the past, present and future in His Eternal Vision of all things. As He revealed to us through Moses: “I AM WHO AM.”

We can call the drama “divine,” not just human, because thehigh point, the central event in the entire drama is the Incarnation and Redemption: God becomes man while remaining God. He, the Son, who was pure Spirit for all eternity with the Father and the Holy Spirit entered into time to take a human nature, in order to be able to suffer and die, and thereby to redeem us from our sins and restore us to friendship with God.

The drama began, as we know, with the creation of Adam and Eve and their Fall from grace. But this sin of Adam was “necessary,” asSt. Augustinetells us, in order that we should receive so great a Redeemer. Right from the beginning God promised a Savior, and his loving plan of salvation, the great drama, began to unfold with a series of covenants. God made a covenant with Abraham and began to form His Chosen People with him and his descendants, one of whom would be Jesus Christ.

Next, God made a covenant with Moses, the man He chose to lead His Chosen People out of slavery inEgypt. Under this covenant, God spared the firstborn sons of the Israelites. The angel of death passed over their homes because they killed the Passover Lamb, sprinkled its blood on their door posts, and then ate the roasted flesh of the lamb – that lamb which was a symbolic prefigurement of the True Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus Christ.

Over the centuries the drama continued to unfold with the Prophets whom God sent to His people – like Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who foretold the coming of the Messiah:

that the Christ would be the Son of the Most High God, and a King descended from the line of David, and who would be born of a virgin (the Virgin Mary);

that this Messiah-King, God and man, would institute a New and Eternal Covenant by the shedding of His blood;

that He, the Innocent Lamb, would suffer and die in atonement for our sins, but that His body would not see corruption, He would rise from the dead;

AND the Prophets foretold that the Christ, the Anointed One of the Father, would give a “new heart” to all those who believe in Him and are baptized and live by His teachings, thereby freeing us from slavery to sin and Satan, and giving us hope of eternal life in the Kingdom and resurrection from the dead in bodies glorified on the Last Day when Christ comes again in glory – provided we eat His Flesh & drink His Blood; for as Jesus says, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:55). Yes, the Holy Eucharist is truly the pledge of our future resurrection in bodies glorified at the end of the world, because the Eucharist is the risen, glorified Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is the night [day] we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Let us rejoice! Let us sing with all the Church the Easter hymn of praise, for Jesus, Our Lord, our God & our King, is Risen!

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